Friday, September 30, 2016

Johnson Blowing This All on His Own...It's Not the Media

Libertarians are claiming that the liberally-biased media is now coming out against Gary Johnson because Hillary Clinton needs the votes.  Wait a minute...I thought that he didn't take votes from...nevermind...

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Libertarians are claiming that the media is now giving Gary Johnson a hard time because Hillary Clinton is in a tight race with Donald Trump.

Stay with me here, folks...

What if Hillary Clinton said there's no need to address climate change since the sun is due to swallow the Earth (billions of years) in the future?  She didn't.  Gary Johnson did (in 2011).

All I'm saying is, imagine if Hillary Clinton said, "What is Aleppo?" in an interview.  She didn't.  Gary Johnson did.

What if she stuck her tongue out at a reporter during an interview in the middle of an answer to a question?  She didn't.  Gary Johnson did.

What if Hillary couldn't identify one foreign leader when asked who her favorite was?  Gary Johnson did.

What would Fox News be saying?  What would CNN be saying?  What would MSNBC be saying?

Nope, sorry.  You don't get a free pass on this one because you're a Libertarian, Gary.

The writing is on the wall on this one.  Gary Johnson's not proving to hold up well this election.  He's been erratic.  He's been goofy.  He's been unpresidential.

Gary Johnson, like Donald Trump, isn't fit to be President.  I regret treating him as if he were earlier in this campaign.

Too bad Bill Weld isn't at the top of that ticket.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Still We Rise

I have something a little different today.  This is Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi from Pentatonix plus Brian Justin Crum, Mario Jose, and Mary Lambert with a beautiful rendition of Katy Perry's hit, Rise.  It was made as a gift for the LGBTQ+ community.

Hopefully it uplifts you on this Thursday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gregg Takes First "Debate"

I watched a bit of today's gubernatorial forum on education, and I have to say that I was not impressed by any candidate.

I felt that this was an excellent opportunity for the three candidates to connect in some way with students, teachers, and parents about education.  Instead, I think you heard two candidates spit back canned answers (Eric Holcomb and John Gregg) with Rex Bell who often played the anti-government and establishment card.

The candidates took questions from students and from the moderator.  One particular student caught my attention.

A young man from Tech High School asked a question about whether undocumented immigrants living in Indiana should be eligible for in-state tuition rates rather than the out-of-state rates.

Bell supported the measure.

Holcomb said that the issue had not passed the legislature and had not gotten much traction.  Essentially, his heart isn't in fighting for these kids.

Gregg said it was a tough issue that should be looked at on a "case-by-case basis".  

I guess we'll look towards next week's debate at the University of Indianapolis on Monday to see if debates will change this race.  I'm planning to attend.

All-in-all, since he seems to be the frontrunner, John Gregg probably won this debate.  Holcomb, who is a much better debater than Mike Pence ever was, scored no major points.  Bell was likable but not gubernatorial.

Gregg comes out ahead.  I saw no reason why swing voters would swing to Holcomb's side.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lynn Coleman Attracts DCCC Help

There’s some bad news for Jackie Walorski in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District.

Lynn Coleman’s campaign is doing so well that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commission is entering the race. 

The DCCC entering the race so late means that they must have some data that this race is trending Coleman’s way and that he must be within striking distance. Otherwise, they’d spend their valuable money and time elsewhere.

In the 9th Congressional District, the DCCC has been engaged for a while as Shelli Yoder continues to fight against “Tennessee” Trey Hollingsworth. That race has been showing up as a dead heat for weeks. It was thought to be the only close race in Indiana between a Republican and a Democrat.

There is no question that the weakest incumbent is Walorski. After all, Joe Donnelly held that seat even after it was redistricted. Walorski has done little to distinguish herself as an incumbent. She’s managed to hold off Joe Bock in 2014 in an off-year election. 2016 is a Presidential year, and she barely defeated Brendan Mullen in 2012 to claim her spot in Congress by about one percentage point.

If Democrats are ever going to take back the U.S. House, this is a district that must go back in the blue column along with the 8th Congressional District.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Clinton Rocks Trump in First Debate

Well, the debate is over.

The clear winner was Hillary Clinton, and it wasn't even close.

Donald Trump was rattled and rambling all night.  He was spewing lies and half-truths at such a rate that it was hard to fact check.

It's now up to the voters to make a decision about what kind of President of the United States they want.  It couldn't have been more clear tonight about who was the more polished and prepared candidate to take the Oath of Office on January 20, 2017.

That person is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Will independents respond to her?  Will she use this excellent opportunity as a springboard?  All of that remains to be seen.

The next Presidential Debate is October 9.

Debates About Only Remaining Campaign Event for Clinton to Stop Trump Momentum

Donald Trump
I'm starting to feel like this is becoming Donald Trump's election to lose.

It seems that no matter how crazy he gets or how the times scream out for someone opposite of him to lead the free world that this election continues to move in his direction.  

It's getting dire.

Then comes tonight.  One of the last things that can shake up this race: the first of three debates. 

Tonight will not win the election for either candidate, but it can certainly lose it.  In the age of the GIF, the wrong smirk or look at the wrong time can become something that a campaign is forced to respond to.  The right sound byte can zing the opponent and help the fortunes of a candidate.

In 2012, Barack Obama briefly lost his way with a horrid first debate performance.  Mitt Romney was declared the winner by almost everyone, including me.  The polls tightened a bit, and things became a little uneasy for the frontrunner.  During the second debate, Obama stopped the momentum as Romney made a unforced and strange comment about having "binders full of women" that he used to find qualified candidates for positions when he was Governor of Massachusetts.  It was a shaky moment, and it turned momentum back towards the President  who won the second and third debates.

Hillary Clinton
It's really hard to handicap tonight's debate.  Trump could gaffe big time, but he's been amazing at mitigating the damage.  What aspects seem like they might be shortcomings for other candidates (lack of couth, tact, common decency, connection with reality or the truth) seem almost like virtues for Trump.  Whereas the vitriol and hate for Hillary Clinton by Republicans and even some Democrats have clouded her message.

The media clearly has been perplexed by this race.  They aren't covering Trump like a traditional candidate because he's definitely not.  Clinton, who is getting the traditional treatment, seems to be getting the tougher go.  

The clock is working into the fourth quarter on this race.  Donald Trump has the football, and his team is driving.  Hillary Clinton is on defense with a small lead, but you can see her players are tired and on their heels. 

Tonight, Clinton has to either hold Trump to a field goal or find some way to get a big hit on Trump to get the ball back so she can be on offense.  Maybe Trump will throw her the ball, or maybe he's going to leave her an opening.

After over almost two year's worth of campaigning, it's come down to the debates. As NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens once said, "Better get your popcorn."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cardwell's Use of GOP Contacts to Promote Business Raises Eyebrows

Indiana Republican Party Chair and Mike Pence loyalist Jeff Cardwell has recently come under fire for possibly using party e-mail lists to promote his own business and his own charity.

GOP Chair Jeff Cardwell
The IBJ wrote that this all started when prominent Republicans started receiving ads for Cardwell's hardware store on Indy's Southside.  

When they unsubscribed from the list the ads were coming from, the notice seemed to indicate that the list had been somehow party-related.  According to the Indy Star, Cardwell defended himself and his actions by saying that he has built a network of contacts in business and politics over the years and that they overlap often with his political contacts.  

Excuse me, cough...cough.

(Deep breath...quick exhale) 

So let's pretend we believe Cardwell's excuse.  

Even if you take him at his word that he was targeting people he knew in his network of contacts to promote his Southside hardware business, that means he was engaged in, what I would consider, questionable business practices.  


I get tons of political e-mails on my personal account each day. I don't get spammed by candidates or party officials that own businesses with information about those businesses.  My friend, Steve Terrell, for example, is an excellent attorney.  We do exchange personal e-mails often.  That said, Steve's never sent me information about his law practice or begged me to use his services to write a will.  

I've never gotten an e-mail from my friend Zach Adamson about a haircut deal at his salon.  

When I hear from my friend Robin Winston, it's always about an awesome political opportunity I usually find interesting.  

Pam Hickman never sends me anything about jewelry sales at Patora Fine Jewelers.

These people are never trying to sell me their services or products.

I'm more casual friends with other people that own businesses that are in politics, and I've never received an e-mail from them about their businesses.  The e-mail lists I'm on are typically only ones I put myself on or ones that clearly are political lists.

Let me be frank.  I think Cardwell got caught trying to butter his bread on the party's contact list or a version of it.  Either that, or he's just no better than those spammers that call you at dinner time.  He just does it by e-mail.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Holcomb Won't Push for LGBT Protections; Gregg Will

Eric Holcomb
It’s very cliché, but there’s what is right and what is popular.

I was always brought up to fight for what is right even if it was not popular, and, in many cases, what is right is not always popular. That’s because what’s right sometimes takes effort and it sometimes goes against the grain.

No matter how hard it gets, Eric Holcomb has said that he isn’t going to fight for what’s right for LGBT Hoosiers. "I don't tend to focus on issues where there's 0% probability of success," the Lt. Governor said, according to WIBC’s Eric Berman.

Well, maybe, dear Eric, there might be a chance of success…I don’t know…if you led the way on this? If you decided to be a champion for the rights of an oppressed minority, maybe other Republicans would follow and there would be a chance for success.

In short, what Holcomb is saying is, “Gay people, vote for the other guy because I don’t have the heart to stand up for you and for what’s right.”
John Gregg

John Gregg has made the civil rights of LGBT Hoosiers a main campaign plank of his this time around since the first day. Was he wrong on the issue in 2012? Yes. He’s apologized, and he’s said he was wrong. He is now promising to fight for LGBT rights at the Statehouse in the form of putting this oppressed minority into the state’s non-discrimination clause.

Yes, it’s going to be hard, and he may not get it done, but I believe John Gregg is going to try to do what’s right for all Hoosiers.

If people didn’t pursue things that have no consensus, where would we be as a world? We would still probably believe the world is flat and that the sun orbits us. We would have never landed on the Moon or pushed the boundaries of space. We never would have made landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act happen.

When you’re a leader, you look to BUILD consensus…not look for consensus that already exists. Holcomb SERIOUSLY misreads this issue. Times are changing. If John Gregg can evolve and Barack Obama can evolve, certainly Eric Holcomb can see that others can and will too. All it takes is for an ally to stand up and make the case. All it takes is for an ally to LEAD on the issue. Sometimes all it takes is to try.

Eric Holcomb refuses to be that ally. He’s not fit to be my Governor.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Yoder Releases TV Ad

Shelli Yoder's up and on the air with her first ad of the General Election campaign season.  She has a great opportunity to take the 9th District back for Democrats against carpetbagger, "Tennessee" Trey Hollingsworth.

All-in-all, a solid, positive ad that introduces Yoder well.  The 9th District is a toss-up even though Hollingsworth has unlimited funds to spend.  Looks like he's going to need it because Yoder is not going away.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Basketball and the Bayhs Bring GOP Criticism

Last week, Evan Bayh's campaign asked Republicans to leave his two twin boys out of the campaign after Bayh used the 20-year-old twins in a campaign ad.

The ad is one I'm sure you've seen.  Bayh is refuting some of the claims against his post-Senate career and touting his record as a legislator and as Governor of Indiana.  In the last scene, he lobs up a basketball for his son Beau to slam home, and the ball goes in.  It's a nice moment, and the smile from Beau is a truly awesome moment you don't see in campaign ads too often.

The "boys" as we've come to know them are all grown up.  They love their dad, and it's great to see them stumping for them.  I love the ad.

Of course the GOP was quick to criticize that both Beau and Nick attend Harvard and largely grew up outside the Hoosier State.  They also point out that the Indiana Pacers and Indiana State gear they are sporting in the ad may have been even more of an attempt to refute the anti-Hoosier charge that Bayh has had to beat back over the last few weeks from those loyal to Todd Young.

Bayh's request to leave his twins alone is noble but misplaced.  If a politician is actively attempting to shield his family from the limelight, I would totally agree with Bayh's request to leave his sons out of this.  That said, Beau and Nick are 20-year-old men now, and, after all, it was the campaign's decision to bring them into this fight.  No one forced Bayh to make an ad with his sons.

So, let's move to the second part of this.  Is the attack isn't unfair or overly nasty?  If the Republicans had just attacked with "his sons go to Harvard" without any pretext, I might agree more with Bayh.  That said, Beau and Nick Bayh are stars of a campaign ad with their father that is, in fact, trying to portray him as more Hoosier.

For this reason, I don't think that the discussion of the twins in the context of this ad is out of bounds at all.

I think it's a particularly weak argument though.  The GOP's attacks that the Bayh family isn't Hoosier enough requires some definition for me.  Beau and Nick may have grown up somewhere else, but they were born in Indiana.  They are Hoosier by birth.  Evan Bayh is a Hoosier, too.  If Beau and Nick identify as Hoosiers, that's all I need.  Evan and Susan Bayh have every reason to be proud of their two sons. Harvard?  That's impressive.  I congratulate them.

Something tells me that Beau and Nick are capable of taking care of themselves.  Whatever happens in this campaign with their father, they clearly have long, successful careers ahead of the family business or otherwise.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bayh is no Bumpkin

Todd Young’s latest ad is a disgrace to not only his campaign, but it’s a disgrace to Hoosiers everywhere.

While trying to make a point about Evan Bayh, Young may have managed to make a point about himself and his own campaign that bears note. It’s a cautionary tale to campaigns and campaign managers that try to make humorous ads.

The ad starts out repeating the same tired lines about Bayh’s post-Senate career. Then it talks about how he’s come back to Indiana to run for Senate again. The ad ends with an actor playing Bayh putting on a hilljack accent and trying to appeal to Hoosier voters in a TV studio full of Indiana props. The backdrop fails, and “Bayh” is exposed.

When have you ever heard Evan Bayh put on some country bumpkin accent? You can say a lot about Bayh, but it’s often the other way. Bayh is stiff and sometimes cold on the campaign trail. It doesn’t seem to be something he likes or enjoys. He talks like an intellectual, and he has voted right along the same lines that Richard Lugar did when he was in the U.S. Senate with a more center left approach than Lugar’s center right approach.

Todd Young’s actor playing Bayh with the country bumpkin accent shows you that this must be what he thinks about Hoosiers. He thinks we’re all hilljacks. Of course, he also thinks that the retirement age should be higher and that social security is a Ponzi scheme.

Young’s ad isn’t even funny because it gets the parody totally wrong. Evan Bayh would never look or sound similar to his persona as portrayed in the Young ad. So, who knows whose reality Young is trying to reflect in the ad? Is this what he thinks gets Hoosier votes?

All we know about Todd Young is he’s a former Marine who has embraced Tea Party policies that have been repudiated by voters in the Hoosier State before. Maybe it’s Todd Young that’s been in Congress too long. After all, he tries to blame Bayh for all of Indiana’s problems, but, if you believe Young’s own ads, Bayh wasn’t even here to cause any problems. That means that Todd Young is part of the problem.

Plus, he just doesn’t seem that in to us.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ballard Put Us Here; Democrats Digging Out

Mayor Joe Hogsett
For eight years of the Greg Ballard Administration, Indianapolis was told that the budgets were honestly balanced and that the city was on strong financial footing.

That wasn’t entirely accurate. As Joe Hogsett’s Administration has found out, sometimes the devil is in the details.

Early in Ballard’s term as Mayor of Indianapolis, he criticized the previous administration under Bart Peterson for all the so-called “fluff” in the budget. I’m told by sources in the know that out most of that “fluff” was rainy day money or revenue set aside for fiscal crises. Other money for rainy days could be raised by city assets such as parking meters or even the water company.

The state gave Indy $52 million to spend on road and street repairs or to put in a rainy day fund. Hogsett chose to start to rebuild Indy’s rainy day fund by putting that cash aside. To address public safety issues, roads, and park issues, Hogsett’s Administration wants to borrow $75 million. That plan was approved by the City-County Council Monday night, 13-12, according to the Indianapolis Star’s excellent reporting by Brian Eason.

Republicans say that Hogsett should spend the state money first before thinking about borrowing, but Democrats and Hogsett point out that this plan gives the city more flexibility. The Republican mentality is exactly what’s built the city’s fiscal problems. Instead of working to replenish the city’s rainy day money, Republicans have spent more than we’ve had coming in for years.

There really are no easy answers at this point to the issues this city has financially. I think Hogsett’s plan best allows the city to replenish those rainy day funds spent down by Ballard while continuing to do what it needs to do to operate.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Golden Girls Take on 2016 Election (PARODY)

(Ok, I realize this is a little raunchy, but it was the Golden Girls.  If you didn't like that show or don't like a little political parody, then move along.

I saw a Designing Women scene that had been altered to talk about the 2016 election, so it got me to thinking about the Golden Girls and what they would think.  Here goes.  My apologies to the creators...)

Dorothy sits on the sofa reading a magazine. Disgusted, she throws the magazine aside and puts her hand to her face in a worried expression. Rose enters and sits down on the chair to Dorothy’s left. Blanche enters from the lanai holding a book and wearing a tight floral print sun dress with a very light matching jacket. 

Blanche sits down next to Dorothy and places her book on the table.  She notices the magazine, picks it up.

Blanche: I see you have been reading about politics again. Big Daddy always said there are just some things that should never be brought up in polite conversation.

Rose:  Oh yes, my mother always told me never to talk about what my father did after he ate onions, but sometimes you just had to say something.  I mean the smell was just aw...

Blanche:  We get it, Rose.

Dorothy:  I'm sorry, but I just don’t know how a major political party can elect a self-centered, egotistical, misogynistic, psychopath like Donald Trump to be their nominee for President.

Blanche:  See, you're already making me uncomfortable.

Dorothy:  Well, that could be the dress you're wearing.  If you slipped a dime in your pocket, you could probably read the date.

(Blanche gives Dorothy a dirty look. Sophia enters and is using a watering can to water the plants near the kitchen)

Blanche:  I understand why people don't like Donald, but, for the record, I like Donald Trump Jr.  He got all the good genes from his mommy and his father.  He can be my Commander-in-Chief anytime.

Dorothy:  Like that's some difficult position to hold!  

Blanche:  You're right, Dorothy.  I may be a good Southern Republican, but I cannot vote for Trump.  I'm thinking of voting for Gary Johnson.

Sofia (While continuing to water plants):  Is he the one with the squirrel on his head?

Dorothy:  Ma!

Sofia (Approaches the couch):  Well, all I'm saying is that if that thing scurries off his head during his State of the Union looking for nuts, don't be surprised.  It happened to Mussolini once.

(Sofia exits into the kitchen)

Rose: Oh I don’t know Dorothy. I’ve always kind of found Donald Trump interesting.

Dorothy: (Looking down over nose) Rose, what could you possibly find interesting about THAT MAN?

Rose: Well, he reminds me of Baron Von Flagen Flugen, the richest man in St. Olaf. He had to leave the Mayor’s race because of the Cow Milking Incident of 1938.

Dorothy: (Dramatic pause) Normally, I’d tell you to shut up, but I’m actually interested for some reason. 

Blanche:  Me too.  

(Sophia re-enters carrying a glass of milk and some chocolate chip cookies)

Sophia: Me three, I was listening from the kitchen. 

(Sophia sits down next to Dorothy)

Rose: Oh, Baron Von Flagen Flugen made his money selling dairy farms. You should see how he would buy up a farm, turn it around, and then sell it at a profit. You know he actually claimed to be the fastest cow milker in the world, and he got challenged by Hans Ver Mugen Slagen to prove it.

Dorothy: So, what happened?

Rose: Well, Baron had built himself the tallest building in St. Olaf. It was four stories tall and it said “Von Flagen Flugen” on the outside. It was a sight to see. 

Dorothy: Come on, tell me what happened when he was challenged, Rose. 

Rose: I’m just glad you’re interested in my stories. Most times you guys just tell me to 

Blanche and Dorothy: SHUT UP AND GET ON WITH IT (Rose with a dumb look) 

Blanche: Come on Rose, Sophia is not getting any younger, and I must get some cucumber slices on my eyes after being outside or else my eyelids will just get so puffy.

Sophia: If you put the rest of the salad all over your body will that cure the rest of your puffiness? 

(Blanche gives Sofia a dirty look.) 

Sophia: So, get on with it, ok? I’m not getting any younger here, and Blanche has a date with a cucumber. 

Rose: Ok, you see, Hans’s brother Lars was a bit of a trickster, and he played a trick on Baron and switched his cow out with a bull. So, he was surprised when he started milking his cow and… 

(Sophia looks at her glass of milk, sets it down on the table.) 

Blanche: I think we get the big picture Rose. 

Rose: You should have seen the sight. I mean there was Baron in his black suit covered in the bull’s… 

Dorothy: That’s enough, Rose. We understand. 

Rose:  It was quite the sticky situation!  Anyway, Baron was so embarrassed that he sold his farms and was never seen in St. Olaf again. I mean, think of it.  It was a big scandal.

Blanche:  What scandal?

Rose:  Well, don't you know?  Baron couldn't tell the difference between a cow and a bull.  He had to drop out of the Mayor's race.  Something like that is just unforgivable in St. Olaf.  

Dorothy:  Not to mention a good excuse to get a new suit. 

Sophia gets up off the sofa and heads for the door.

Dorothy:  Ma, where are you going?

Sophia:  I've had enough of this bull.  My friend is coming over to take me to Shady Pines.  It's Bingo Day.  Last time, I won a whole 25 cents.  At my age, I can't pass up that kind of dough.

(Sophia exits)

Dorothy:  Well, I'm going down to the local Democratic Headquarters to see if I can do anything to elect Hillary Clinton.  Rose, do you want to come with me?  

Rose:  Sure, I'll go.  I can make some phone calls.

Blanche:  I want to go.  Democratic men are great lovers. Maybe I'll run into that cute Martin O'Malley.  Just give me a moment to powder my nose.

Dorothy:  You're going to need more than a moment.

Rose:  So I heard Hillary was born in Chicago but was the First Lady of Arkansas.  When did they move Chicago to Arkansas?

Dorothy:  About the same time as your first lobotomy, Rose.  Come on...Blanche can catch up.  She's a Republican anyway.

Rose:  What's a Republican?

Dorothy:  Lord, give me strength!

End of Scene

Monday, September 12, 2016

Clinton Can Come Out Stronger After Health Setback

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton's health became a campaign issue yesterday when she experienced some sort of health episode at the 9/11 Memorial Service in lower Manhattan.  Not feeling well, she left the event early.

While getting into a van, Clinton was caught on video moving slowly and appearing to faint as she was supported by people around her. Early word was that she got overheated and dehydrated and went to Chelsea's apartment to cool off.

A few hours later, Clinton left Chelsea's apartment looking good, walking normally and waving to supporters and reporters.  A statement from the campaign from Clinton's physician, Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, said Clinton was diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia and was taking antibiotics.  She was ordered to rest.  At the event, Dr. Bardack said in the statement, Clinton got dehydrated and overheated but was now "recovering well" after she was able to examine the Secretary.

For this particular moment, the Clinton Campaign couldn't have handled this better.

For most candidates, this would be that, but Clinton's health has been under question by Donald Trump and his supporters who claim she's not healthy enough to be President of the United States.  It's total bull.

Some Hillary supporters are crying sexism and are rushing to defend her at all costs.  This whitewashes what happened on Sunday, and it helps feed the Trump narrative.  There's a way to turn this around, though.

First thing's first, this won't change my vote, and I doubt it will change the votes of those who are decided.  It does give me pause and concern for Secretary Clinton and it drives home just how much these candidates sacrifice when running for and when serving as President of the United States.  It's exhausting work.  I want to see Clinton win, but I want her to serve and be healthy through her entire term.  Let's be honest, Trump doesn't appear to be a picture of health on his own.  Clearly, he's overweight and out of shape. He's 70 years old and would be the oldest person elected President if he wins.  Clinton would be the second-oldest.  Hillary Clinton is still by far the best choice for President.

I believe that now the cat is out of the bag about her health, so to speak, Hillary needs to take conrol of the situation. First thing's first, she needs to take whatever time is necessary to get well.  If it takes a week, take a week, but do not hit the campaign trail too soon after this.  A repeated fainting spell only will make this story worse.  She needs to assure that this doesn't happen in public again.  If that means she carries a bottle of water with her everywhere she goes, then do it.

Also, before going back out on the campaign trail, I'd book an interview with one of the major news networks and talk about taking your health seriously.  How she's putting her health up front, and I'd be open and honest about everything that is possibly problem.  It's not going to change what the right thinks about her, but her honesty will be appreciated by most Americans.  Her supporters will only support her more.

After that, I'd put it to bed, and I'd say that my cards are on the table, and I'm done talking about the issue.  I'd get a full physical and release the results and leave it at that.

Hillary Clinton is fit to serve as President.  She's a strong, tough, and amazing person who will serve this country well as its Commander-in-Chief and Chief Executive.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Since Life Changed

Every visiting tourist had to have this photo
of the WTC towers.
Today marks 15 years since the world changed.

Many times when you say something like that, it's an overstatement or cliche. With 9/11, it's just about right.

The world changed on 9/11 when four hijacked airplanes came down in United States airspace.  Nearly 3,000 people became innocent victims, but the toll could have been so much more disturbingly high.  Had the World Trade Center towers have fallen more quickly or had the plane hit another part of the Pentagon or had Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania been allowed to reach its intended target, more would have died.

2,977 souls left this Earth that day because they boarded an airplane, went to work, visited a friend or tried to save lives.

Nineteen others not counted in that number died trying to take down the American way of life with a twisted view of Islam.

That doesn't even account for those that have died in the War on Terror that continues as we speak.

The rest of us that were alive on September 11, 2001 and that were old enough to know what was happening will forever remember where we were and the feelings that we had.  The horrible day unites us like perhaps no other event in our lives.  It was a shared experience that affected us all in different ways.  It's a shared time capsule of life.

One thing is still for sure. Life isn't the same as it was at 8:45 a.m. on September 11, 2001.  That was the last minute of life before the terror attacks.  That was before the fuselage of American Airlines Flight 11 poked through the facade of 1 World Trade Center.

We were a little more innocent then.  We were a little more trusting then.  We were maybe much more naive.  In the next minute, we were horrified, and the scars still remain.

The scars have healed a bit.  The survivors and the families of those lost that day have moved on somehow.  Ground Zero is now the National 9/11 Museum as the beautiful new World Trade Center rises from the ground around it.  The Pentagon shows no signs of damage where the plane hit it, and the gash in the field in Shanksville has long since been cleared.

The scars are still there though.  They're still there though right under the skin.  You can feel them every 9/11.  The memories flood back like ghosts from the depths of the mind.

Yes, 15 years ago, the world changed...and so did life as we know it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gary Johnson Gaffes Badly on Aleppo

Gary Johnson’s smoothly sailing ship hit an iceberg yesterday.

Being a serious Presidential candidate is hard, and, if you're not careful, the whole thing can blow up in your face...quickly.

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the trending topics around the world today, and, at the center of it all is the Syrian city of Aleppo. It’s 2.1 million residents have been caught in the middle of the Syrian Civil War between government-loyal forces and opposition forces. It’s resulted in mass bombings of Syrian civilians and soft targets by both sides.

The images are gut wrenching and heart breaking. A couple of weeks ago, a viral video of a five-year-old Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh captured attention as he was placed, dust covered and injured, into an ambulance without a peep from him. The dazed look in his young eyes shocked the world. CNN reports that his ten-year-old brother, Ali, died a few days later from injuries sustained in the bombing. 

It’s a scene that repeats over and over in Aleppo. Bombings, crying children, busted families, and a good people caught in the middle.

Gary Johnson was asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe by journalist Mike Barnicle if elected President, what would he do about Aleppo?

Johnson asked, “And what is Aleppo?”

Barnicle went on to explain that Aleppo it is the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis. After that, Johnson seemed to pick up on and understand the question. His answer was that it should be a diplomatic end to the crisis involving Russian influence.

Later, Johnson responded that he was disappointed with himself and that he needed to do better when it comes to knowing what Aleppo is. 

Now, this is not a gotcha question. Gary Johnson should have known what Aleppo is. He should know what Raqqa and Damascus are. The fact that he doesn’t shouldn’t, however, disqualify him. His answer to the question, once clarified, showed that he clearly understood the crisis at some level. He also made no excuses and blamed no one for the gaffe but himself.

It’s more galling that Johnson didn’t know specifically what’s going on in Aleppo itself. A once beautiful city is now ruined, and, more importantly, many of its residents have nowhere to turn. They sit in their homes as the bombs drop.

Ironically by gaffing, Johnson may have brought attention to the entire crisis. I doubt this will count for much in the end.  Johnson's supporters don't care. Those that are voting for Johnson as an alternative don't care. The only ones that care are probably the hardcores and the media.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Commander-in-Chief Forum Lifts Clinton, Exposes Trump Flaws

I watched last night's Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC.

You might guess which candidate I supported, but I really didn't think I would be as shocked by the forum as I was.

I thought Hillary Clinton had some bad moments early.  She was on the defensive about her e-mail and classified information scandal for the first 10 minutes of the show.  After that, she was able to make a strong transition to her plans for the military and for counterterrorism.  She also scored points with me for simply knowing that September is suicide prevention month and that it is a key issue with our veterans when they came home.

When Trump came on the stage, I was shocked by how unprepared he seemed to be for the forum.  He still doesn't have a cogent answer on why he's qualified to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.  Trump contradicted himself constantly and failed to answer many questions to the degree that they should have been answered.  When confronted on Russia, Trump tried to play it both ways.

One moment, Trump was criticizing President Obama for not following the recommendation of the experts. This came moments after he had just said he plans to convene experts on terrorism and dealing with ISIS and only go with their plan if he liked it.  He said he wants to be unpredictable.

In shot, last night's forum was a mess.  The Trump campaign can't be happy with the way it went.  In this bizarro world, the forum went so badly for Trump that it probably will give him a boost in the polls.

I have no clue how any sentient being can watch that forum last night and vote for Donald Trump.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wake Me Up When September Begins!

The calendar has turned to September, and it’s after Labor Day.

That means campaign season has arrived in full swing, and you’re sure to be tired of the ads you’ll see between now and November 8.

As you well know by now, Indiana has three elections with national significance to watch from a results standpoint because they are going to be close. The Indiana Governor’s race appears to be a dead heat heading down the stretch as does the 9th District Congressional race and the Indiana U.S. Senate election. Put a cherry on top of a close Presidential election, and it’s going to be one whale of an election season.

In the race to be Governor of Indiana, John Gregg had taken a toehold lead it seemed a few weeks ago, but Eric Holcomb has had a smooth and strong launch to his campaign. It seems that Republicans are back on track in what was a 50-50 race before Mike Pence removed himself from the running by accepting Donald Trump’s offer to be his running mate. Libertarian Rex Bell hasn’t made the splash that Rupert Boneham did in 2012, but he’s also going to earn some votes this time around.
In the 9th District, this one continues to be too close to call with Shelli Yoder going head-to-head with “Tennessee Trey” Hollingsworth. It’s odd that Republicans are trying to paint Evan Bayh as an out-of-stater when Hollingsworth moved to Indiana specifically to try to win this 9th District seat. Russell Brooksbank is also running in the 9th.

Finally, the race that seems to have attracted a lot of advertising dollars because of all that weighs on it, former Senator and Governor of Indiana Evan Bayh is attempting a political comeback against Representative Todd Young and Libertarian Lucy Brenton. Bayh has a lead in almost every poll with wide margins in most, but the Republican attack machine continues to try to tarnish his voter-friendly image. Balance of the U.S. Senate is question. A win by Bayh could mean the Democrats take back the Senate if puzzle pieces fall in other states.

Add in the tightening national polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and it’s going to be a really important time to stay involved. The direction of the country is at stake.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Reuters Poll Puts Trump Ahead in Indiana

A new poll by Reuters shows that Donald Trump is destroying Hillary Clinton in Indiana, 56 percent to 32 percent.

The same poll shows Clinton with a national lead of six points over Trump, 46 to 40 percent.

If that particular poll holds true, these are very similar numbers that Mitt Romney pulled in Indiana when he got 54 percent of the vote in 2012.  President Obama ended up with 43 percent in the Hoosier State.

Except for Obama's squeaking by John McCain to turn Indiana blue in 2008, this is right in line with where George W. Bush finished in Indiana back in 2000 (56-41) and 2004 (59-39).  In essence, these results are fairly normal for the Hoosier State in this poll.

Hoosiers, don't be dismayed.  This is only one poll.  There have not been too many polls for the Presidential Election in 2016 here in Indiana, so it's hard to know if this is a reliable poll or an outlier. I'm guessing we won't see too many polls on our state for the Presidential race.

What is encouraging is that Hillary Clinton's campaign thinks there is a reason to be in Indiana.  The campaign is still spending resources on voter outreach.  If they didn't believe it was worth it, they would close up shop and pull out.

My only caution is to watch polling carefully over the remainder of the campaign season and look for trends between the same poll rather than celebrating an individual poll.  There is no definitive poll that will tell us what is going to happen when the votes count.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Holcomb's Campaign Videos Show Candidate on Trail

On Eric Holcomb's YouTube page, there is a series of videos showing the Republican nominee campaigning across Indiana.

They actually are brilliantly done, and the Holcomb campaign should be applauded for doing them, but you really get a feel for the firehose from which Holcomb is drinking right now.  In one episode, Holcomb is in Carroll County at a bacon festival in Delphi.

In the video, he's hopping from booth to booth sampling the bacon vittles.  He also gives a motorist a helpful push out of a wet parking spot.  He also gets the grand tour of the sites, makes a joke about James Whitcomb Riley's possible indiscretions in Delphi and shakes lots of hands and hears lots of stories.

This is something John Gregg has been doing across Indiana for the better part of the last five years now.  Gregg of course makes the argument that he wants to "serve" as Governor where Holcomb just wants to "be" the Governor.  Holcomb has only been Lieutenant Governor for a few months and the Republican nominee for Governor since late last month.

It's pretty much unfiltered Holcomb, and he comes across as an average joe.  As someone who enjoys campaigns and politics, I enjoyed them from a campaign-log.  More candidates should do these types of things, in my view.  You really get a feel for the person, and Holcomb comes across well even as he's stuffing himself with bacon pizza, bacon cookies, and ice cream.  After all, that's the campaign trail.  Food glorious food!

I have to hand it to the Holcomb folks on this one.  Smart campaigning especially for a guy not many people know.  The question is...will anyone see them in time?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Holcomb Releases First TV Ad

Just in time for Labor Day weekend, Eric Holcomb has finally pulled enough change out of his couch cushions to get a TV ad up.  I saw it for the first time last night during WTHR's evening news.

It's available in 30 and 60 second versions.  It's frankly strong ad that introduces Holcomb well.  The ad's theme is "Called to Serve".  The ad isn't flashy and doesn't stand out.  In fact, I almost didn't realize it was an ad for Holcomb.

John Gregg's campaign as well as the Democratic Governor's Association continue to take swipes at Holcomb.  Might be time for a change in tactics now that Holcomb is up and on the air.  Gregg might want to take step back and remind the voters who he is and what he's fighting for rather than continue the offensive on a guy who isn't that well known yet.  If anything, I think I'd begin attacking Holcomb on his own right rather than attacking him as Mike Pence, Jr.  There's plenty to go after.

One way or another, welcome to the airwaves, Mr. Holcomb.