Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Google 2012 Year in Review

This video needs no introduction.  Just watch.

Jib Jab Looks Back at 2012

As we dig out, take a few moments to enjoy Jib Jab's annual look back at the previous year.  Enjoy 2012 the year the world almost ended...well sorta.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ballard Keeping Low Profile on Social Media as Blizzard Advances

Where's the Mayor?
As the blizzard of 2012 heads towards Indianapolis, we aren't certain what the effects might be.

It does appear that the National Weather Service is pretty certain that we will get some significant snow and some significant wind to go along with that.  It's our first blizzard warning since 2007.

On Facebook and Twitter, the local Department of Homeland Security has been posting a constant stream of things directed at the citizens of Indianapolis to keep them safe.  So far, at the time this is posting, Mayor Greg Ballard has sent two tweets and has posted nothing on Facebook.

What a contrast in styles to that of Ballard's counterpoint in Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker.  Booker utilized his Facebook and Twitter accounts masterfully by tweeting out updates and posting important statuses throughout the recent Hurricane Sandy mess.  He also used his Twitter account to stay in touch with his constituents needing services.

For all we know, Ballard may be nestled all snug in his bed while Indy prepares to receive the Blizzard of 2012.  I guess we'll have to see in the morning.

Perhaps this storm won't amount to anything, but, if I were Mayor of Indianapolis, I certainly would be using my social media accounts to reach folks in a non-traditional and new media way.  Maybe the Mayor will get the message before it's too late.

Monday, December 24, 2012


It's Christmas Eve, and I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!  I hope that you all have a wonderful time with family and friends.

See you after the holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Memoriam: Brian Patrick Benson

Brian Benson
photo from Facebook
The Marion County Coroner today identified the man killed in the Fountain Square pedestrian accident as 22-year-old Brian Benson.

Benson and Indiana Stonewall Democrats President Aaron Schaler were walking on a sidewalk along Prospect Street in Fountain Square when a van driven by Joseph Crandall jumped the curb for some unknown reason and hit the pair. Crandall told police he was in a rush, according to reports.  Schaler sustained several injuries and is recovering in the hospital. Unfortunately, Benson died on the scene after news reports say he was dragged under the van for over 60 feet.

As many of you know, I teach at Ben Davis High School, and Benson graduated from BD in 2008. I did not ever have him in class or have any contact that I remember with Benson, but many of my former students did. They are pouring their hearts out over on Benson’s Facebook page.

Facebook sometimes becomes an impromptu tribute to those that are lost. You can learn a lot about a person from what is posted there. In just a few minutes, I learned a lot about a man I had never met. I learned he was a talented actor and singer. I learned from many of his friends and their posts that he was the kind of person that you could go to with your problems. I also got to hear him perform.

Suddenly, I felt a sense of loss, too.

What is to follow is some of those old clichés, but life is certainly precious. You just never know when it’s your time or when a loved one will no longer be there. That’s why we have to hold each other tight and love like it’s going out of style. That sense of love binds us together in tragic times like these.

Continued recovery wishes go out to my good friend Aaron Schaler who, according to his friends, is in good spirits considering everything he’s been through. Aaron is a strong person who will get through this tragic circumstance, but he’s going to need a lot of love and support to help him.

My deepest condolences go out to all the friends and family members dealing with the loss of Brian Benson. I wish I would have known him like you did. I get the feeling that I missed out on someone pretty special.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Get Well Soon Aaron!

Indiana Stonewall Democrats President
Aaron Schaler
(photo from Facebook)
Word came late tonight that Indiana Stonewall Democrats President Aaron Schaler was injured in an accident in Fountain Square.

WIBC reports that Schaler was on foot in Fountain Square when he and another man were struck by a van that went up and over the curb.  The other man was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the van, Anthony Scott Crandall, did not "appear intoxicated" according to the WIBC report.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the so far unidentified man who was killed in the incident.

I want to also send my best wishes out to Aaron who is a friend of mine, and a frequent reader of the blog.  Get well soon big guy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Memoriam: Senator Daniel Inouye

Word came today that one of my favorite Senators, Daniel Inouye, had passed away at 88.

Senator Inouye fought all his life.  As a child of Japanese immigrants, Inouye fought racism when young.  On the battlefield, he fought bravely as an Asian-American soldier for the United States.  An eyewitness to the Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941, he lost an arm in battle during World War II.  In the Senate, Inouye fought for the voiceless.  He was one of the earliest advocates for the LGBT community, and he stood up for those that couldn't stand up for themselves.

Senator Daniel Inouye
President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate
Inouye famously served on the Watergate Committee as well as chairing the Iran-Contra Committee.  He LITERALLY served in Congress the entire time that Hawaii has been a state.  In 1959, he was elected to Congress as a House member, and he moved to the Senate in 1963.

I can't do justice to the Senator's long career and long life here in just a few words, but the Senator definitely made a huge impact on his state and his country, and he will leave big shoes to fill in the Aloha State.  Reportedly, Senator Inouye's final word was, "Aloha."  A fitting word for a man who represented Hawaii with distinction for so many years.

Another lion of the Senate is gone as Senator Daniel Inouye leaves this Earth after 88 remarkable years.  My deepest condolences to his wife and his family and friends as well as to the entire state of Hawaii.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why Never Is Answered.

I still literally cannot believe what happened in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.  It has really thrown me, and, quite honestly, it's taken me a few days to gather my thoughts on this.  I still have not gotten to the point that I can make coherent sense out of what happened there.

I feel hurt and anger, and I don't know anyone that was killed or anyone connected directly to the tragedy.  I am not a parent.  I don't know what I feel about all of this, exactly.  It's times like this you just want to shake your fist and ask WHY?  Why those 20 kids?  They were all born in 2005 or 2006.  WHY?  Why the children?  So precious and so innocent.  Why?  There's never any answer no matter how much you shake that fist.

What I do know is that teachers and administrators in that school saved lives.  The heroism of the six adults that were killed in this massacre is just so hard to describe.  First responders saved lives.  Well-practiced procedures saved lives.

That said, 20 little candles were snuffed out way too early.  Six educators lost their lives at that school.  Principal Dawn Hochsprung reportedly died trying to subdue the shooter.  Some like  

December 14 will now go down in history as a day something very very bad happened.  Just know that life is precious and every second of every day counts because no matter how young or how old, tomorrow is never guaranteed.

My deepest condolences go out to all those affected by this tragedy.  May you somehow find peace and love in some way this holiday season.

The victims of this tragedy are all Gone Too Soon.

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Hodge Podge: Mahern Stepping Away; Next Up for Beth; Holiday Posting Schedule

Mahern Steps Away
Brian Mahern
Brian Mahern has announced that he would not seek a leadership position on the City-County Council or in the Democratic caucus in the upcoming Council term.  He will, however, stay on the Council. 

Citing differences with the agenda of Council President Maggie Lewis, the current Council Vice President told the Indianapolis Star's Jon Murray he still supports Lewis but wants to give the Council a chance to elect a VEEP that shares Lewis' agenda.  Lewis was effusive in praise of Mahern telling Murray that Mahern is "smart and articulate."

Murray's article seems to signal that some Council Democrats may not have supported a second term as Vice President for Mahern, anyway.  Murray writes:

Among the Democrats, who retook majority control of the council Jan. 1, Mahern, 44, has been a vocal and repeated critic of many of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard’s initiatives.

He’s also tangled with members of his own caucus, both behind closed doors and publicly. Some have grumbled privately about his penchant for calling press conferences and his perceived political ambitions, raising the prospect that some Democrats may have considered opposing a bid for a second year as vice president had he decided to seek one. 
The vice president sits next to the president at the front of the chamber during meetings but has little responsibility other than filling in when the president is absent from meetings. Mahern, however, has harnessed the position to speak out against spending by the Capital Improvement Board, the agency that runs the city’s sports venues and convention center, and to voice disagreement with the administration’s economic development strategies.

Who will replace Mahern? There are a lot of excellent candidates.  This move releases Mahern to blaze his own trail on the Council, and he told Murray he will continue working on issues for which he is passionate.  Mahern is rumored to be one of the many Democrats that are considering a run for Mayor in 2015. 

Next Up for White?
Marion County Clerk Beth White cannot run again for her current job, so it is rumored that she may be considering a run for a higher-level state office: potentially Secretary of State in 2014.  No announcement has been made, and one won't come for a long while if she decides to run.  

After a rocky beginning with the first primary election, White has done a tremendous job.  The Marion County Clerk's responsibilities are mind boggling.  Collecting child support, issuing marriage licenses, and taking care of all the court filings are just a few things the Clerk must manage.  It's a big job.

Blog Posting Schedule:
As is tradition here, I will be going off my normal daily posting schedule beginning Monday, December 17.  My day job typically gets very busy at this time followed immediately by the upcoming holidays.  I will return to daily posting on January 7, 2013.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to check in.  I'll still be updating the blog, but I won't be doing it every day at midnight.  If the past is any guide, I'll have trouble staying away for too many days.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Boehner Tries Power Play Without Power

House Speaker
John Boehner
U.S. House speaker John Boehner told reporters a couple of days ago that President Barack Obama needs to come up with a new proposal to avert the “fiscal cliff” the United States is heading for if a deal is not cut soon. The thing is, the House has his proposal, and the President has the backing of the nation on it.

Poll after poll rejects the Republican plan to avert the monetary calamity by cutting spending only and fixing the crisis by eliminating a number of tax deductions. This is also the plan pretty much widely rejected by the voters at the ballot box on November 6 when it was touted as a solution by then Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney.

The President has a more balanced approach of spending cuts and a return to the Clinton-era tax rates for the top two percent of earners in the U.S. For 98 percent of us, we will not see our tax rates change at all. Republicans argue that the President’s plan hurts small businesses and job providers and continue to sit arms folded and refusing to acknowledge the results of last month’s election.

If the United States is allowed to go over the fiscal cliff, it could trigger another recession with extreme spending cuts and major tax increases. President Obama claims this would amount to $2,000 more in taxes paid by average American families.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying the President’s plan is perfect. I am saying that the President has more of a political tailwind at this point than a Congress with just a 10 percent approval rating. That will go down even more if this crisis doesn’t get solved. I know I don’t have $2,000 more to pay Uncle Sam, do you?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blame Goes Both Ways in 107-2 Drubbing

Panthers Under Fire
Bloomington South runs a classy, successful girls basketball program, and Larry Winters, the head coach of that program, is and has been the catalyst of it for many years.

That’s why last night’s 107-2 win over Indianapolis Arlington was so surprising -- slap across the face from an unseen hand surprising.

I have known Coach Winters only casually as a high school basketball fan knows a coach. I’ve seen his teams play just about twice a year now for the last 16 years. They are always well-coached and classy. He has put together an excellent program and maintained it at such a level that Coach Winters was an Indiana All-Stars Assistant Coach in 2011. Those honors don’t come around unless you have achieved at a high level for many years.

Those things should not be forgotten just because his team beat another team, 107-2.

Unfortunately, all we are hearing today is the uproar over Coach Winters’ Lady Panthers beating a rebuilding Arlington team. Arlington had no business on that floor against that team, and someone at Arlington had to see that. Arlington was taken over by the State of Indiana this past year and put under the control of a charter school provider.

There are over 380 members of the IHSAA as well as some teams that play basketball that aren’t. Bloomington South is one of the 15 or 20 best programs this year in the biggest class, 4A. Arlington is one of the worst in the smallest class, 1A. It doesn’t take a diehard sports fan to see it was going to be a mismatch.

From watching him coach and seeing his teams play over the years, I can’t imagine that Coach Winters, a man who I’ve rarely heard raise his voice at a player or an official, set out to embarrass anyone. I’m sure things snowballed and then bam. It’s 107-2.

Of course, in this 24/7 media environment, it’s all a whirlwind and things get crazy. People are calling for his head all over social media. So, we should simply fire him for what? Being too successful? It’s not like his girls were rubbing this loss in. Coach Ebony Jackson of Arlington told Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star that she respects and still respects Winters and his program. Whether or not they are successful on the year, the Arlington girls are better because they played the game. They learned about teamwork, coming together, and competing. They took a big loss, but it’s certainly not the first in their lives and I doubt it will set them up for failure later in life. Let’s not blow this more out of proportion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and say that Coach Winters couldn’t have done things differently. In hindsight, I’m sure he might wish he handled this game differently. I did, however, drop him an e-mail in support today.  Arlington, however, ultimately decided to play this home game, so don't blame Coach Winters for everything.

No one meant for this to happen, but it happened. Let both teams move on from this with lessons learned. That’s what high school sports are, for goodness sakes. They are another opportunity to learn life lessons.

Get ready for the knee jerk mercy rule talk.  Listen, do whatever you like, but don't simply call for a man to be fired because you fail to look at his entire body of work as a coach and choose to overlook the reason the game was played at all.  Let's just move on, please.

Pence's Tax Plan Unpopular

One of the key parts of Mike Pence's Road Map for Indiana is proving unpopular for the Governor-Elect as he gets set to take office.
Mike Pence

Pence's much discussed plan to cut income taxes across the board by ten percent is running into snags not only in the Indiana General Assembly, as we talked about just a few days ago here on this blog, but with Hoosiers at large.

The WISH-TV/Ball State University Hoosier Survey showed that 64 percent of Hoosiers oppose Pence's tax cut plan and would rather see that money spent on education or job training programs.  Why?  Oh...I don't know.  Maybe it's because Indiana is currently hovering above the national unemployment rate.  A tax cut isn't going to do you any good if you have no income.  Maybe Hoosiers are smart enough to smell a poorly-conceived campaign promise when they hear it?  

So, what's a Governor-Elect to do?  Hang on to his agenda at all cost or, in a nod to both legislative and public opposition, drop back ten yards and punt?

Not as easy as being in Washington is it, Governor-Elect?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lewis, Mahern Hold High-Dollar Fundraisers

City-County Council
Maggie Lewis
City-County Council President Maggie Lewis is in a safe district on the City-County Council, so why is she holding a top-dollar fundraiser hosted by many current Democratic movers and shakers?

Well, if you believe Abdul-Hakim Shabazz over on Indy Politics, she may run for Mayor in 2015.

On Monday, Lewis was the beneficiary of a fundraiser hosted by the following big current and former hitters in Marion County and Indiana politics: Former Mayor Bart Peterson, State Senator Greg Taylor, Dave Corbitt, Carl Drummer, Adairius Gardner, Lacy Johnson, Melina Kennedy, Dave Lewis, Frank Short, and Joe Smith.  Top level contribution was $1,000.

I haven't talked to President Lewis about the possibility, but there's no reason to believe that she couldn't run and win.  At this point, it's just rumor and innuendo, but it definitely makes sense for Lewis to run.  She is well-loved, smart, politically savvy, sharp-as-a-tack, and has an impressive resume.  I have always been impressed with her.

City-County Council
Vice President
Brian Mahern
Other Democrats often mentioned as rumored Mayoral candidates include Vop Osili, John Layton, Joe Hogsett, and Brian Mahern.  Quite a deep bench there for the Democrats.

Mahern has a big fundraiser of his own coming up on Thursday at his dad's house, hosted by Auditor Billie Breaux, Assessor Joe O'Connor, Surveyor Debbie Jenkins, Sheriff John Layton, Treasurer Claudia Fuentes, Recorder Julie Voorhies, Chairman Ed Treacy, Former Rep. Bill Crawford, Constable Tony Duncan, Councillor Vernon Brown, Councillor Pam Hickman, Chip Garver, Chris Gibson, Greg Hahn, Lacy Johnson, Ed Mahern, Amy and Les Miller, Andy Miller, Joel Miller, Kevin Murray, Frank Short, Becky Smith, David Suess, Kip Tew, Heather Willey, and Unite! Here.  Top level for this one is $500.

2015's election cycle will definitely be one to watch even now.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pence Must Sell Tax Plan

Gov.-Elect Mike Pence
If a tax plan falls in the General Assembly without being passed, does it make a sound?

As has been well noted, Governor-Elect Mike Pence has a plan to cut income taxes by ten percent here in Indiana across the board.  He's going to include that in the budget.  While many believe that the plan has its merits, some others wonder how he is going to pay for his plan and are less interested in making it happen.  Some of those folks are in his own party and are the movers and shakers who will make these decisions.

One of the questions I would have is where is he going to pay for this cut?  Indiana has (artificially) maintained a surplus while cutting schools and local governments down to the bone.  This surplus is now in jeopardy with this Pence plan.

Furthermore, with schools now dependent more than ever on sales tax and income tax revenue rather than the more stable property tax revenue, some of the largest districts are being challenged to do more and more with less and less.  Schools are now scratching their heads.  The loss of more state revenue would cripple them even more.

It appears that Pence's plan is meeting its own opposition from within the GOP.  Some of the more experienced state legislators are questioning whether this is the proper course of action for a state that has been teetering on the edge of this economy.

If Pence wants this plan to pass, he's going to have to work for it.  Indiana's Governor is often at the mercy of the Indiana General Assembly which holds more power than most legislatures over a Governor.  This long session could be interesting.  If Pence gets slapped back, it would be a huge embarrassment as this was something he campaigned on extensively.

The GOP Civil War begins.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Messer Makes Right Move For Him, Family

The Messer Family
Photo from Messer's Campaign Facebook
Luke Messer has announced that he’s moving his family to Washington, D.C.

The Congressman-Elect in Indiana’s 6th District is following the example of Mike Pence before him and is planning to move his wife and small children to a new home in Virginia while maintaining a residence in Indiana, according to WISH-TV’s Jim Shella, who reported this a few days ago.

I have to say that I have no problem with Messer’s decision with one caveat. If he maintains a vibrant presence here in Indiana and actually maintains a home in his district that he uses when he’s in the district, then he could live on the darkside of the Moon, and I wouldn’t care.

It’s clear Messer is making this decision for the right reasons. With three young children who need their father, it’s pretty cut and dry to me. He’s doing what he feels is best.

Other Congressmen have come to different decisions. Congressman André Carson continues to live in the district with his family. There was a big deal about Congressman Todd Rokita living in his office in Washington. That's fine for them.  With this sort of thing, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

Politically, the fact that Messer is “shining a light” on what could potentially become a problem for him politically means that he wants to get out in front of the residency issues that dogged Richard Lugar, Mike Pence, and David McIntosh in the 2012 Election Cycle.

To me, this was well-handled by a smart politician and probably a very good dad.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Teachers, Get Ready to Defend Yourselves??

Let the crazy begin!

The Indianapolis Star reports that in the upcoming General Assembly session, Sen. Dennis Kruse, a Republican from Auburn, plans to introduce a bill for passage that would require teachers to provide evidence if their instruction is challenged by students. Kruse calls it a “truth in education” measure.

This is another way that creationists are trying to sneak creationism, for which there is no scientific proof, into the curriculum. Evolution, for which there is tons of proof, could be challenged by a student and, under the measure, a teacher would be required to defend his or her teachings.

Thankfully, the Star reports that the House Education Chair, Rep. Bob Behning of Indianapolis, is unlikely to give the bill a hearing if it passes the Senate calling it “overbroad” and saying it puts an undue burden on teachers and schools.

This is the kind of craziness we can expect from the GOP so enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Step Back from the Fiscal Cliff

House Speaker John Boehner
Did we have an election on November 6?

I mean, I could have sworn that voters went to the polls on that day and by-and-large rejected the Republican Party's view of government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.  Hmm...sure couldn't tell it now here a month later.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner continues to obstruct President Barack Obama's solution or progress along with meaningful negotiations to avert the so called "fiscal cliff" we are all about to drive off of with the U.S. Government.

Both sides have their plans, and, so far, their sticking to them.  The Republican plan tries to balance the budget with spending cuts and ending deductions.  The Obama plan would add spending cuts and raise the tax rate of the highest two percent of income earners or those that make $250,000.  The GOP says this plan will kill jobs.  Dems counter that the rate raises only go up to what was law under Bill Clinton's Administration when the U.S. settled in for fiscal growth and a booming economy.

President Obama won the election on November 6 by campaigning on tax reform and spending cuts.  Romney campaigned on much of what is in Boehner's plan.  Thus, it's reasonable to say that Boehner's plan was vetted by the voters and not popular.

Obama has put together this great video as a closing argument on why the President's plan addresses the fiscal cliff in a manner palatable to the majority of Americans.

In the meantime, John Boehner is simply trying to hold his caucus together before his new caucus is even sworn in.  Should be an interesting time for Speaker Boehner.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pence To Begin Term in Indiana Cold

Will Pence ride in on a horse or roll up
in his red pickup?
Governor-Elect Mike Pence announced that he will hold his inauguration outdoors on January 14.  What he does for the next four years will certainly determine his political future in 2016.

You would figure that Pence would have the political wind at his back.  After all, Mitt Romney was an easy winner in Indiana.  Pence will have 70 Republicans in the Indiana House and 37 Republicans in the Indiana Senate.  It should be a breeze to get his agenda through and on to the Presidency in 2016.  As Lee Corso, ESPN's college football analyst often says, "Not so fast, my friend."

Pence didn't receive a majority of the votes for Governor.  He was just a few tenths of a percentage point short of 50 percent, and he saw his huge lead squandered by a lackluster response to an aggressive John Gregg over the last few weeks of the campaign.  A double-digit poll lead became a three-percentage point win on election night.  This was, again, during an election where Republicans gained seats in the Indiana House and had their Presidential candidate carry the state by a wide margin.

It's going to be a tightrope of sorts for Pence, and I'm not sure he's politically savvy enough to walk it.  Governor Daniels was.  Until the last few weeks when he has suddenly become noticeably more defensive and bitter, Governor Daniels pushed for truces on social issues and tried to focus on economic issues like state surpluses and tax relief.  Daniels was also good enough to make people buy what he was doing.  He didn't say he was balancing the budget on the the backs of the schools and the local governments, but that's what he did.  The electorate bought it.

Pence can't be that savvy, in my view.  He is, famously, "Christian, Conservative, and Republican, in that order" by his own words.  It will be interesting to see if he keeps himself in the middle of the road or if he will be pulled to the right by the Christian conservatives or pulled to the right by the Tea Party.  If he gets pulled to the right by both interests, he may find himself out of step with the 2016 Republican Party which likely will be much more moderate than it is today.

Furthermore, there's this issue of having all the power in one's hands.  Sometimes having all the branches of government held by one party works against you.  When you don't get the results you want from your agenda, you can't point fingers or place blame.  It's all on you.  Even though the Governor of Indiana is a weak executive compared to other governors (it only takes a majority vote in the General Assembly to override a veto), the politician in the Governor's Office is seen as the leader.  Revolts can have dire consequences, especially when the opponent and the opposition is palatable to the revolutionaries.

I don't think it's going to be an easy four years for Mike Pence.  He's not going to just say he was a hardworking Governor; he's going to have to put the proof in the pudding.  It all starts January 14.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daniels Continues Attack on Public Educators

Mitch Daniels
His educational reforms rejected at the 2012 ballot box; Mitch Daniels besmirched the reputation of Indiana educators and accused them of using illegal means to help Glenda Ritz win election as Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The report appeared online on Saturday in the Indianapolis Star.

Despite the fact that Mitch's chosen one, Tony Bennett, had all the money, slick campaign ads, and the attention of media outlets across the state, Bennett fell short and Ritz won the election with 1.3 million votes.  This amounted to more votes than Governor-Elect Mike Pence received.  For a "down ballot" race, this is remarkable.

Daniels alleged, without evidence, that teachers were sending campaign e-mails on Ritz's behalf during school time using school resources.  He also alleged that teachers used back-to-school nights to talk about the Superintendent of Public Instruction race.

The only place I saw many teachers posting was on their own personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Before and after hours, teachers and future teachers took to the web to sound the alarm about Dr. Bennett and his policies.  It was a brilliant social media strategy.

Glenda Ritz
When I talked with a few of my former students who were going to go into teaching, they were all aware of Ritz and Bennett and the stakes of the election.  That certainly surprised me.  Even my mom knew.

Now, tell me how does that work when Ritz had only enough money for a few ads...mostly on the radio?  That's good word of mouth and social media campaigning.  Ritz also found an unlikely group of supporters in Tea Party activists upset about Bennett's push to overrun publicly-elected school boards as well as his love of the common core curriculum.  I doubt this was 1.3 million votes, but it did help.

Instead of congratulating her on a great campaign, Ritz's opponents are acting like they are afraid of what she might do in office.  Abdul-Hakim Shabazz wrote another critical column on his Indy Politics site on Saturday.  He's been hanging on her like glue.  Daniels has also been loose-tongued about all of this, and there are signs that the Indiana General Assembly is going to try to strip Ritz of all her powers before she has a chance to speak up.  I'd advise them to be careful.  That Twitter and Facebook campaign that helped elect Ritz can be put into play to help send home politicians that refuse to listen to what the voters have said with their ballots.

What are they so afraid of in trying to silence her?  Republicans like Daniels hold all the legislative cards.  I think it's crystal clear that they are trying to marginalize Ritz and attach her as a mouthpiece of the teachers unions so that people will stop paying attention to what she says.

As far as Daniels goes, you have to wonder why he's so bitter?  Makes you wonder if Daniels may be regretting taking that job at Purdue University that essentially put him on the sidelines the entire General Election season.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

R.I.P. Rick Majerus

Rick Majerus died today after a long battle with heart disease.

In the end, though, Coach Majerus will be remembered long for what he cared about with his heart.  His players and for the game of basketball.  This press conference from what turned out to be Coach Majerus' final game tells all you need to know about him.

The happy go-lucky Coach Majerus is gone much too soon at 64.