Friday, April 29, 2016

Democrats Unite Over Dinner to Defeat Republicans in 2016

Much of the talk has been about division and disunity in this 2016 election season so far, but I sat and mingled with Hillary Clinton supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters at the Marion County Democratic Party's 2016 Unity Dinner last night.  No one threw anything at each other.  The barbs were all saved for the opposition at this good ole' fashioned Democratic speechfest held at the Agriculture Horticulture Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Marion County Democratic Party Chair Joel Miller sat the tone noting without mentioning him by name that Donald Trump had spoken twice at the Fairgrounds in the last two weeks.  Miller said, "Tonight, we are going to exorcise the demons brought forth on this place."

He introduced first Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.  Hogsett threw out his prepared notes claiming that Miller's speech on Democratic values had all he had planned to say.  He then went on to go more in depth about the Democratic Party and its values and what he's trying to do as Mayor.  Hogsett also credited Chairman Miller for leading the party at a time when Democrats hold every Marion County executive office and the majority of the legislative seats as well as the City-County Council majority.

Lake County's Lorenzo Arrendondo, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate for Attorney General, spoke about civic engagement.  He talked about the importance of getting people to the polls and educating young people of the importance in voting.  Arrendondo, who, according to Miller would be the first judge to be the Attorney General, criticized the current Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, for taking cases that were not likely to be sided in Indiana's favor.

That brought Glenda Ritz to the podium.  Ritz said that her effort in 2016 will be grassroots just like it was in 2012.  She noted Governor Mike Pence's many attempts to undermine her authority as the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction.  "I am the head of the only state department that Governor Pence doesn't control, the Department of Education," Ritz said.  She said her constituency was ready to defeat Pence.

Next up was U.S. Senate candidate, Baron Hill.  Hill said that people often ask him about who he would rather run against.  "I don't give a damn who they run against me," said Hill to the cheers of the crowd.  "I am going to stand and fight for Hoosiers."  Hill then went on the attack against Young and Stutzman.  He sliced and diced their ultra conservative votes and records in Congress.  Hill defended his record as a Congressman and mentioned how the policies he voted for and helped pass did things like save General Motors, pay back the loans to the company, and provide health care for millions of Americans and many Hoosiers.

Hill said, "If you'll stand and fight with me, it will be the first time Indiana has had two Democratic Senators since Birch Bayh and Vance Hartke.  IT IS TIME!"  The crowd roared back.  With the rafters wiggling from Hill's speech, the final speaker of the evening stepped to the microphone, John Gregg.

The Sandborn native didn't disappoint.  "I want to serve as your Governor. I'm not interested in being your Governor.  We've got someone who wants to be Governor, who's concerned about the title and the trappings. I want to serve as Governor.  I want to put the needs of the 6.5 million Hoosiers first and I want everyone to feel welcome as we work on those to make a better Indiana.  That's the kind of Governor I want to be.  I am ready to serve as Governor," said Gregg.

Gregg then laid out his plan for retaking the Governor's Office in 2016.  "The polls show we're tied, and I haven't even been on TV, yet.  The polls also say that even Republicans don't like Mike Pence," said Gregg.  He said he would be highlighting the Governor's record and how he's worked against working folks and teachers along with being divisive and ideology driven.

Recalling a story from his youth, Gregg explained how he once climbed the Sandborn water tower and may have handed a can of spray paint to his friend.  He said he wants to climb the State Office Building and change the sign from "Indiana, The State That Works" to "Indiana, The State That Works Despite Mike Pence!"

The former Indiana House Speaker highlighted that Indiana faces a significant drug problem.  He said that drug addiction for non-violent offenders should be treated as mental health issues and not criminal issues, "And when our opponents try to quote scripture, I will tell them 'There but by the grace of God go your or I,'" said Gregg.

"I won't be a Governor who bases his decisions on some rigid ideology. I will base my decisions on competence and inclusion," said Gregg.  He said that his first act would be to draft and sign an executive order protecting LGBT citizens in Indiana as a class from discrimination.  He said that as Governor that he would work to get LGBT Hoosiers added to the non-discrimination clause via the General Assembly.

He also attacked the Governor on Pence's support of the controversial bill that has women and those that support them upset across Indiana, House Enrolled Act 1337.  "If I were Governor, I would not have signed that bill, and I would have vetoed it," said Gregg.  "See this? (pointing to his nose) This is John Gregg's nose, and it's not going to be in your bedroom or your doctor's office or at your dinner table.  Mike Pence's already is, but mine is going to stay right here on my face."

Both Congressman Andre Carson and Senator Joe Donnelly were scheduled to speak but had to remain in Washington on official business.

All-in-all, it was a great night and a fun night.  The chicken was delicious.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Tennessee Trey" Puts Hoosierism to Test

I was getting ready for work this morning and brushing my teeth when the latest Trey Hollingsworth ad came on in the next room.

It features a bunch of different people talking about Hollingsworth and singing his praises.  One man says, "He's a real Hoosier."

I just about spit my toothpaste out all over the mirror in laughter.  The thing is that Hollingsworth actually wants you to believe he is a Hoosier.

I won't get into what the original definition of a Hoosier is here because no one really knows where the word came from or what it really meant.  Now, it's come to describe people who are from or that have lived in Indiana.

For me, it's a source of pride.  Even though our state sometimes seems stuck in the 50's, at least politically, I take pride being a Hoosier.  I take pride in my home state, and I enjoy that our politics is not always cut and dry.

One thing Hoosiers can't stand is a phony.  Hoosiers won't stand for someone who tries to be someone or something he or she is not.  For the most point, true Hoosiers can seek these folks out and expunge them from our politics.

The mantle of Hoosier is different than just about any other state name.  Someone from Ohio is, for example, an Ohioan.  You have Michiganians or Michiganders from Michigan.  Alabamans, Floridians, New Jerseyans, and on and on.  You don't call Hoosiers Indianans.  We are Hoosiers.

Trey Hollingsworth is no Hoosier.  He's a Tennessean living in Kentuckiana.  There's nothing wrong with that.  He just shouldn't be telling 9th District Hoosiers he is one of them when he is not.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's Trump's Race to Lose on Republican Side

Donald Trump
It's time to face the facts for Republicans.

Donald Trump is your nominee.

I don't know how he did it or why it happened, but Donald Trump is going to be the nominee of a major political party for President of the United States.

Ted Cruz is trying to win Indiana, but I think he's turning off more voters than he's winning, and, like Van Jones mentioned on CNN last night, I have no clue why John Kasich hasn't gotten more traction.

So, as Trump gets ready to speak again at the Fairgrounds, he is in a tremendous position to shut this whole thing down with continued momentum and a win in Indiana.

I don't know if Bob Knight, who will be at tonight's Trump rally, will help him, and I think it's telling that Governor Mike Pence is withholding his endorsement of Trump or Cruz.  I also am not sure that an endorsement from the weak Governor of Indiana is a blessing or a curse given his standing with the voters.

It just seems that after last night's five for five performance that Donald Trump is now more likely than ever to get close to the delegate count he needs or to exceed the delegate count to become the GOP nominee in July in Cleveland.

Cruz and Kasich might as well go home.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bill Clinton Headlines Hillary Event Today in Indy

President Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton will be in Indianapolis today at Hillary Clinton's Campaign Headquarters in Indianapolis for an organizing event.

The 42nd President is expected around 11:30 a.m.  Doors will open an hour before that.

It's President Clinton's first trip to Indiana since 2012 when he stumped for Joe Donnelly and John Gregg.

Hillary Clinton, in the meantime, will speak in Munster and in Mishawaka today.  While her campaign e-mails are still talking about the primary fight with Bernie Sanders, her public speeches have taken a turn towards talking about Donald Trump.

Speaking of Bernie, he's holding town halls on the Purdue campus and on the IU campus on Wednesday.  The Purdue event will be at the Cordova Recreation Center with the doors opening at 9:00 a.m.  The IU event will be at the IU Auditorium with the doors opening at 5:00 p.m.

Trump will be back in town, quizzically, on Wednesday.  He's speaking with Bob Knight at the Indiana State Fairgrounds again.  I'm not sure why Trump thinks speaking in the same location with a man who really hasn't been relevant in Indiana in 16 years is a good idea, but it's his dime, right?

Ted Cruz, so far, has worked the hardest of any candidate.  He's been all over Central Indiana.  His well-publicized deal with John Kasich to attempt to block Trump from getting Indiana's delegates on May 3 has drawn criticism from within Republican ranks.  It might turn out to benefit Trump in the end.

Indiana is right in the middle of this fray on both sides of the aisle.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Libertarians Nominate Ticket for 2016

Rex Bell
The Libertarian Party of Indiana met at the Wyndham Hotel on Indy's Westside this past weekend and nominated their candidates for Governor of Indiana and Lt. Governor as well as candidates for federal office.

2012 GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Wallace lost to fellow businessman Rex Bell for the nomination.  IT Consultant Karl Tatgenhorst received the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.  Tatgenhorst ran a strong campaign for Secretary of State in 2014 and, full disclosure, is a good friend on Facebook.

According to his campaign website, Bell was born in Millville, Indiana, and has owned Bell Contracting since its founding in 1974.  His campaign is based in Hagerstown, Indiana.

Other key LPIN nominations:
Lucy Brenton will run against Baron Hill and what's left of either Todd Young or Marlin Stutzman for Senate.

Donna Dunn will take on Democrat Pete Visclosky in U.S. Congressional District 1.  So far Republicans have yet to name a nominee in this race.  Is Mark Leyva available again?

Steve Mayoras will be the Libertarian candidate for Congress in District 4.  That seat, of course, is currently held by Todd Rokita.  John Dale is the likely Democratic nominee.

In District 6, Richard Turvey is the Libertarian candidate.  Current incumbent there is Luke Messer.  Five Democrats are in the race for the nomination, so it's anyone's game on that side.

Indianapolis and District 7 will have a Libertarian choice in Drew Thompson.  Congressman Andre Carson should win over his primary opponents on May 3 and face the "yard sign king" J.D. Miniear, the "yard sign queen" Cat Ping, or Wayne "Gunny" Harmon.

For the 9,384th time, Andy Horning will carry the Libertarian banner (but who's counting...I'm kidding, Andy).  This time it's again into the 8th District race against likely Democratic nominee David Orentlicher and incumbent Republican Larry Bucschon.

And, in the 9th Congressional District, Russell Brooksbank will be the Libertarian nominee when he'll likely face Democrat Shelli Yoder and the survivor of the Republican Primary between "Tennesee Trey" Hollingsworth, Greg Zoeller, Erin Houchin, Brent Waltz, and Robert Hall.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bad Lip Reading Takes on Latest D Debate

The guys and gals at Bad Lip Reading have released their latest take on the the Democratic debate from last week.  While it's not their best effort, it's pretty funny for a Friday.

Enjoy.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

In Memoriam, Prince (1958-2016)

Prince
Legends come cheap these days.

You do a few things it seems, and people are ready to label you the "GOAT" or the "Greatest of All Time".  Fact of the matter is that true legends, the ones truly worth remembering, only come along once in a while.

We lost one of those today--Prince.

The mysterious musical genius who was painfully private and extremely shy was found unresponsive in his home in Minnesota.  It was a sad end to a life lived in the spotlight.

Like almost every legend, Prince, lived in that spotlight.  Unlike most legends, we only knew what he wanted us to know about him.  It's what helped make his legend.  Painfully private, Prince managed to be famous without wallowing in his fame.  Instead, like Michael Jackson, he used his fame to hide away.  He was almost a prisoner of his own success.

On the off occasions that we saw him perform in public these days, we were treated.  His performance at the Super Bowl in 2007 under the Miami rain was stunning.  Prince was a showman and a showstopper.  When he was on, you had to watch.  From his recent performance on SNL to his shredding of Beatles hit "While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago back to the time he showed up on MTV in a yellow suit missing the seat of his pants, Prince was indomitable on stage.

More than just a showman, Prince was a musician.  The music was amazing.  Each of his albums were musical masterpieces and almost always critical successes.  Prince could marry emotion with a dance beat or make your heart cry with a ballad.  He could take you to church in a love song.  He could write and perform musical sex.  The man was without peer in this way.

He could sing.  He could dance.  He could play multiple instruments.  He could write.  He could produce.  He could choreograph.  You name it.  Prince could do it.  He was a musical chef that could make the entire musical meal.

Unfortunately, we won't see what the next chapter of Prince's musical story will be, but we are left with the intense memories of what was.  For those of a certain age, we remember the Artist.  The Symbol.  The man named Prince Rogers Nelson.

Another icon has bowed from the stage.  This one, for some reason, hurts a little more to me.

Prince is gone, from this world anyway, at the age of 57.

When Donald Met Michael...

Donald Trump met with Mike Pence shortly before his rambling, warbling, drunk-like talk at the Indiana State Fairgrounds yesterday.  I can only imagine what they must have discussed.

For all I know, they could have swapped hair tips or played party games. Can you imagine Trump playing Pictionary?

Likely, the subject of the planned delegate revolt in Indiana against Trump came up.  Word on the street is that even it "the Donald" wins the Hoosier State on May 3, Hoosier delegates are only bound to the winner of the Indiana Primary on the GOP side for the first ballot.  After that, they can go any which way that they want.  They could give the votes to Mitch Daniels or Mickey Mouse if they so desired.

If Trump thinks Pence has some pull with the Indiana GOP, he is barely right.  Many Republicans see Pence as damaged goods and are disappointed.  That's even some of his most hardcore supporters from 2012.  Trump's endorsement certainly didn't help Pence among the independent voters John Gregg is going to need to get to defeat the Governor in November.

Something else stinks to high heaven about this meeting, too.

Remember the Syrian family that was supposed to resettle in Indiana before Governor Pence took it upon himself to bar them from entering the State of Indiana despite YEARS of sceening by Catholic Charities?  He told that family that Indiana was closed and refused to meet with them face to face.

Eventually Judge Tanya Walton Pratt told the Governor that Catholic Charities was right to defy his order and he was out of line with the U.S Constitution.

So, I guess if you're a rich politician moonlighting from your job of being a reality TV star who requested and audience with the Governor, go right in.

If you're a poor Syrian immigrant whose homeland is destroyed beyond all recognition who has been denied entry into the Hoosier State, nope...can't see you.

I just couldn't stop thinking about that as I saw the two awkward men together.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Clinton's Breadth of Experience, Toughness, Vision Earn Endorsement

Hillary Clinton
When Hillary Clinton sat down at the politically-motivated Benghazi hearings late last year, I watched intently.

I wanted to see what she would do and how she would answer the tough questions that no doubt would come her way. Most of all, in that moment, I wanted to see if Hillary Clinton acted like a President.

As the testimony went on and as the questions flew, Hillary Clinton had one of her finest hours in public life.  She managed to turn a potentially negative moment to her campaign into a positive that showed the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief.

In every way, I was satisfied that she would make a great President under pressure. It was that moment that I decided that while Bernie Sanders says many great things Democrats should fight for and agree with that it’s Hillary Clinton I want to lead my nation into an uncertain future.

As she stood on that stage in New York celebrating winning the New York primary, Clinton asked us to imagine a very different future in America.  "There's nothing that's wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right in America," she said.  If anyone knows both sides of that, it's Hillary Clinton.

No one in politics has dealt with the kinds of unfair and unsubstantiated attacks for as long as Clinton has, and, through it all, she’s still standing, and, with apologies to Elton John, better than she ever did.

It's that fact.  The survivor that Hillary Clinton is that qualifies her and makes her the best choice for President than any other choice out there on either side.  No one knows what it's like to get knocked down and get back up like her because few have suffered the kinds of attacks she's been politically hit with for as long as she has.

While Senator Sanders has a long and distinguished electoral history as a Mayor, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator, even he cannot match the breadth of experience Secretary Clinton has. 

Besides her work as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was the first and only First Lady to have an office in the West Wing. She laid the groundwork for the landmark Affordable Care Act. Clinton is the only First Lady to have served in elective office as a U.S. Senator. She’s also lived in the Midwest and the Deep South. She’s the only candidate to serve as the First Lady of an economically-disadvantaged Southern state.

I like what Hillary says about education.  I like that she wants to invest in early childhood education.  She's always been a proponent of these types of initiatives.  Remember her saying, "It takes a village to raise a child."  It does.  Clinton has long been a proponent of putting teachers back in the classroom and has spoken out on testing but also believes in accountability for schools.

She’s not perfect, but she helped to rebuild this country’s standing in the world after the disasters of the Bush Administration. She worked in the Senate to help rebuild lower Manhattan after the terror attacks destroyed the Twin Towers and left other buildings in ruin. Clinton was a member of the Obama Administration that killed Osama bin Laden, brought Iran to the table, and has worked to thaw relationships with Cuba.

For her entire career, Hillary Clinton has stood up for women's rights and human rights.  Her landmark speech about women's rights in China inspired many to the cause.  

After her loss to Obama in the 2008 Primary season, Clinton unified the party. Later that same year, she agreed to once again put her own ambitions behind and serve her country in the Obama Administration. They became close friends.

If you’re supporting Bernie Sanders, it may be true that Hillary Clinton is not be your candidate right now. I would hope that whatever candidate wins this race between the two will gain your support. If Bernie wins the nomination, he has mine. Like Hillary who would be the first female elected President, electing Bernie would make history. Sanders would be the first Jewish President in 228 years. As Democrats, we do big things.

I just believe now, at this time, we need someone like Hillary Clinton. Clinton is someone who is progressive enough to see where we need to be in the future, but who is pragmatic enough to get us there. I enthusiastically endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Old "No Mean City" Slogan Getting Shot All To Pieces After Bloody Indy Weekend

12 shot, 6 dead.

All spread out across the City of Indianapolis over some 60 hours this past weekend.

Had some person walked into some non-descript office building and shot 12 of his or her former co-workers, we would have led NBC Nightly News and every other news show.

As it stands, it's just another weekend in Indianapolis. One that should give us pause.

Add in a horribly mutilated body found in White River, and it was an extremely violent spring weekend in our city. We haven't even gotten to summer yet. 

Our "No Mean City" is mean, and it seems to only get meaner.

We changed Mayors.  We changed Councils.  We knew that wouldn't fix the problem in itself.  For the vast majority of us, maybe we can write it off as just sensational headlines about parts of the city we'll never be in, but it's been harder to keep the headlines away.

The quiet of a Camby evening at a strip mall was recently rocked when a man allegedly shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.    

Are we just beyond help in Indianapolis?  We all know that our General Assembly won't make it harder to get guns here.  Yes, I know that's not the entire issue.  I don't want to restrict guns for law-abiding citizens, but how can we keep them out of the hands of those who aren't law-abiding or shouldn't have them?

As a community, we have to look in the mirror.  Senator Joe Donnelly has been engaged in this battle at the federal level as has Andre Carson, Susan Brooks, and others.  I know Mayor Joe Hogsett, IMPD Chief Troy Riggs, and the City-County Council want to solve this issue as well.

Hogsett and Riggs are implementing fundamental changes in how IMPD patrols...going back to the old beat system.  Community policing.  Those reforms are going to take time to see if they actually cut into the problem, and I make it clear that these tactics won't solve the issue.  Only people can solve this problem together.

Every time a gun fires in anger, it's preventable.  Every time.  We have to focus on solutions to get people to stop shooting at each other.  If you know how to do that, let me know, but I think it starts early with education. 

One way or another, we have ourselves a crisis, and it's only getting worse.  To solve it, we had better be ready to throw everything reasonable at it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gregg Previews General Election Platform; Outraises Pence

John Gregg Talks to Indiana Retired Teachers
Association Members
photo by Gregg Campaign
On Friday, reports came out showing John Gregg had outraised incumbent Mike Pence in the race for Indiana Governor.

Gregg showed raising $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2016.  Pence clocked in at $1.5 million, but that would have been a paltry $1 million without a last-second check from the Republican Governors Association for $500,000.

While some have pooh poohed this latest revelation.  It's significant for Gregg.  This is not the first time he has outraised his Republican opponent in this race.  Gregg still trails in overall campaign cash, but the $5.1 million cash on hand to Pence's $7.7 million means that both men have the kind of money to run a strong statewide campaign.

The message Gregg will carry forth will be strong.  I saw Gregg's excellent stump speech on Thursday as he addressed some of the members of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.

Gregg took what's best about his personality, his homespun Indiana humor, and toned that down.  He laid out the numbers and plainly said that to win this 2016 election, he's going to have to get moderate Republicans and independents to vote his way.

As a part of his 2016 platform, Gregg said he's going to focus on bringing living wage jobs to Indiana as well as focus in on job retraining for those who have lost their jobs.

In education, Gregg said we need less testing and more focus on what the teaching practitioners say in the classroom.  He says we need to end making decisions at a state level without listening to those who are in the classroom each day.  He also pointed out that when Governor Orr proposed ISTEP all those years ago, he voted against it as a freshman legislator.

Gregg tied together drug abuse and mental health issues as causes of crime across the Hoosier State.  He noted that the penal system in Indiana has become a large mental health provider for those that have never had treatment.  Instead of jailing people with clear issues, Gregg suggests helping them with those issues before they become problems to themselves or society.

Finally, Gregg said he's a proponent of ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Hoosiers.  He also said that while he is pro-life that it's not up to "middle-aged guys at the Statehouse" to tell a woman what's best for her or her body.

It was a very different, more disciplined John Gregg than the one I have seen on the past on the stump.  This John Gregg looks even more gubernatorial than version 2012, and his message was very well-received by the retired teachers.

It's a long way to November, but Governor John Gregg is starting to look like more than just a possibility.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ads May Be Telling in Primary Race for GOP Senate Nod

I don't know if any public polling has come out about the GOP's race for U.S. Senate, but you can maybe tell a few things by the ads the campaigns are running against each other.

Let's begin with Todd Young's ad.  It's largely straightforward in its approach in attempting to paint Young as a conservative.



Now, we move to Marlin Stutzman.  A new ad just released to his YouTube channel takes a very dark, odd, and negative turn.



It's much different than the God, guns, and the American farmer ads he's tried to use earlier in the campaign. This ad is a little strange, but it hits very hard on Young's record.

Thus, I have to conclude Todd Young is leading and Marlin Stutzman is behind.  I could be wrong, and this one might be close.  We'll see how this one continues to go.

Democrat Baron Hill waits for the winner of this GOP squabble.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

One of THOSE Days...

As I said when I decided to pick up daily updates again, I'm not going to break my neck to get something up here every day.

I'm focusing on quality these days over quantity.

To that aim, my day job kept me late at work last night, and I was unable to get anything posted before Mr. Sandman visited.

Now, I'm going back to bed.  I appreciate your readership, and thanks for understanding.

Meanwhile, enjoy my favorite song at the moment with an "F bomb" warning.  It's Mike Posner and "I Took a Pill in Ibiza".

See you back here tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hollingsworth Must Be Defeated for Good of Democracy

Kelly and Trey Hollingsworth
The United States Constitution has very thin residency and other requirements for being a United States Congressman.
  • Be 25 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen for seven years
  • Be an inhabitant of the state they represent
There's nothing there that says I even have to be a registered voter.  There's nothing there that says that former felons can't be Congresspeople.  These are three simple requirements.

It also means that I could run from Indianapolis against Pete Visclosky in the Region and not only legally represent that district but continue to represent it from my home in Indianapolis.  

Of course, I am not running against Visclosky nor would I ever think of running against him.  Congressman Visclosky is well-liked in his district, and he lives there.  He knows the folks that send him back to Congress.  They are his constituents.  He's won that race with shoe leather on the ground.  He has been to all the local dives shaking hands, and I'm sure he's eaten a few elephant ears at county fairs, attended a few chili suppers, and spoken to many church congregations.  I wouldn't know where to begin.

In 2014, Erin Magee was running for Congress in the 7th Congressional District from his home in Tennessee.  He made no bones about it.  He said if he was elected to Congress that he would move to Indiana to serve his district, and, again, there's nothing in the Constitution to say he was wrong in his approach.

Magee was never going to defeat Congressman Andre Carson.  In the end, the GOP in the 7th District made sure that Magee didn't even have to think about moving.  He finished last in the primary race won by Catherine "Cat" Ping.  Magee at least was honest about his intentions and didn't attempt to deceive anyone.  If you were informed, you knew he was the guy from Tennessee trying to win a Congressional seat in Indiana.

Here we are in 2016.  As you well know, 9th District Congressman Todd Young is running for Senate.  Three well-known Indiana politicians threw their hats in the ring and another longtime resident of the ninth said he'd give it a go.

Enter Trey Hollingsworth...a man the blogosphere has been on to for weeks but the mainstream media is just now getting around to exposing.

It appears that until very recently, Hollingsworth had a lot in common with Erin Magee.  They both lived in Tennessee.  Hollingsworth, who rents a Jeffersonville apartment, only registered to vote in Indiana in October.  

Hollingsworth sat down with the Indianapolis Star's Matt Tully last month, so we can assume he is a real person.  He wouldn't apparently agree to sit down with Roll Call, a national publication, that has raised serious questions about his motivation for moving to Indiana and running in the 9th Congressional District race.

You see, Hollingsworth is a man of means, and it appears that instead of doing the traditional kind of shoe leather campaign that he's waging an all out air assault against former frontrunner Greg Zoeller.  As political zen master Brian Howey puts it, the "carpetbagger" believes he can "buy an Indiana Congressional seat."  He calls it "Exhibit B" in the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court case which opened the doors for Super PACs to silently work their magic in American politics.

Listen, I'm all for a good Republican Civil War just like I'm sure the GOP was happy about five Democrats walking out of Monday night's City-County Council meeting in protest.  I'm sure that Shelli Yoder would love the chance to run against a guy that very well may be a Hollywood actor playing the part of a Congressional candidate for all we know. Ok, it's probably a stretch, but is it really that much of one?  It would make for one heck of a movie.

For democracy's sake, Trey Hollingsworth needs to be turned back by someone to show that Congressional seats need to be earned and not bought and paid for.  I hope that happens in November when Shelli Yoder is going to Congress, but I won't cry if it happens May 3, either.

Trump Campaign Denies Involvement in Bizarre E-mails Sent to Delegates

Donald Trump
Tom John, Kyle Babcock, and other Indiana Republicans were quoted last week in a Politico piece about how delegates in Indiana are lining up against Donald Trump in the likely event of a contested Republican nomination at the GOP’s National Convention this coming July.

Indiana's delegates are only pledged to a candidate on the first ballot.  All bets are off after that.

According to Abdul-Hakim Shabazz on Indy Politics, John and Babcock (and others) each received a bizarre e-mail from someone or a group supporting Trump implying harm could come to either man or their families if they did not support Trump. It said that they were being watched.

That’s creepy.

For their part, the Trump campaign tells Indy Politics that no one associated with them in any official capacity is sending the e-mails.  In this day and age, that could be very true.  That said, this is serious enough for Donald Trump himself to come out and categorically tell his supporters to stop this mess. 

All candidates should denounce these actions.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DeLaney Reports Session Victories, Defeats, Disappointments

Rep. Ed DeLaney
State Rep. Ed DeLaney penned a wonderful summary of this year's General Assembly session, and I think it bears sharing.  The words below the line are DeLaney's, not mine.

DeLaney stands for reelection in 2016 and is one of the best in the business.
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2016 Session Report

By Rep. Ed DeLaney, House District 86

As I had feared, the Indiana General Assembly failed to accomplish what was needed in this year’s short session. First, let me deal with the three main items I had focused on.

Social Issues

We should have devoted much of our efforts to assuring civil rights to all citizens including members of the LGBT community. Sadly, the Senate debated the matter, but did not vote on it. The House refused to take up a broad bill and had only a limited discussion. Unless the legislature sees it differently next year, we have to rely on a patchwork of local ordinances to protect our people.

The Senate sent the House an horrendous measure on abortions. The bill, which the House passed with even some Republican opposition, and the Governor has signed, disrupts the ability of doctors to receive information from their patients and to give confidential advice. It transfers to the legislature decisions about family planning. It will lead to litigation and may well be overturned by the Courts. It’s yet another extreme measure by the far-right section of the Statehouse Republicans, led by our Governor.

Sadly, our inaction on civil rights and misguided action on abortion have one thing in common: both are designed as part of campaigns for re-election by the Governor and his allies in the legislature.

Education

The results on education are mixed. We continued to tinker with education policy and to undervalue the 94% of our teachers and kids in traditional public schools. We passed legislation designed to end ISTEP but gave little guidance about what will replace it. Unfortunately, we also denied the Democrats in the legislature any role in the commission set up to replace ISTEP. The bottom line is that we have yet to guarantee testing that costs a reasonable amount of time and money and allows for fair evaluations of our kids.

On a happier note, an effort to allow school management to increase pay for favored teachers failed. I can only hope that this idea and other attacks on teacher collegiality and respect will continue to fail.

Transportation

The House succeeded in doing something about roads, but nothing about transit. The Governor and the Senate refused to support anything except stopgap funding of our roads. The Governor’s team didn't chose any of the applicants for Regional Cities funds who wanted to enhance public transportation. So all in all, we will continue dodging potholes

We did allow local governments room to increase vehicle registration fees if they are willing to bear the responsibility for the increases. If they do raise these fees, they may get some matching funds from the state. In short, we did a patch job.

Victories

I was pleased to be able to play a role in crafting legislation designed to encourage police use of body cameras. The legislation sets guidelines for public access to the video that should help us all in assessing what happened in violent episodes.

We made modest increases to the caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. All parties concerned, including doctors and hospitals, worked together to get a decent result. It had been years since we raised the cap. Our limits are still reasonable but far from generous. I was happy to be part of these discussions.

I put a lot of time into a bill designed to allow electronic medical diagnosis also called “telemedicine.” The original bill was dangerously vague. I was able to get an amendment passed in the House that focused on the risks in assessing vision problems without seeing the patient. The Senate then worked to make sure we could be both efficient and safe in diagnosing and prescribing over the web.

Defeats

We worked hard at creating a new system for selecting Judges for Marion County. Our current system has been declared unconstitutional and must be replaced by next year... Unfortunately, the Senate allowed politics to interfere and nothing passed.

We allowed our restrictive election laws to stay in place. We have been a “leader” in restricting voter registration and ballot access. As a result we are at the bottom of national ratings on voter turnout. This is not just an embarrassment. It literally undercuts democracy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Familiar Crew Pursuing 7th District Seat

Congressman Andre Carson
Andre Carson is going back to Washington in November.  Let's just say that right away.

He won't take anything for granted.  He will wage a strong campaign, but he, again, should be going back to Washington by winning this November.  He's earned his way back.

That hasn't stopped the same folks from lining up against him in the primary and the general election.

On the Republican side, three candidates are opposing him.  Wayne "Gunny" Harmon leans heavily on his military background as does Cat Ping.  Both spent significant time in the military.  The third candidate is conservative pundit J.D. Miniear.  All three of these candidates have run before.  In 2014, in fact, it was Cat Ping that prevailed in the primary and had a stronger-than-normal showing against Carson.  In a Presidential election year, it's highly unlikely that Ping or any GOP candidate will knock off Carson.

On the Democratic side, Curtis Godfrey and Pierre Quincy Pullins are back for another bite at the apple.  In 2014, Godfrey, Pullins, and Mmjoa Ajabu got only ten percent of the vote combined.  Carson claimed 90 percent of the vote, and he'll probably be aiming for that or similar in this primary season.

While some would look at these candidates and ask why challenge a Congressman like Carson?  I would credit them all.

They filed the paperwork, and they know the odds.  Whatever the purpose they have for running and, in some cases, running again and again and again, they are fulfilling an important role in politics: providing a choice for voters.

It annoys me to no end to look at my ballot and see "no candidate filed" on it.  Every officeholder, regardless of party, should have a challenge now and then.  When it comes at the ballot box, I think it makes the officeholder more accountable to the people they serve.

I've run for two offices in my life.  I ran for Decatur Township Board and for City-County Council.  Both times, I entered the race knowing exactly what my chances likely were.  Especially when I ran for Council, I still raised money, attended forums, and knocked doors even though I knew that my chances of beating Jason Holliday in a 70-30 district were slim.  You know what?  I met people at the polling sites that had concerns and questions and things I later passed along to Holliday.

Come 2018, expect to see these same names back on the ballot again, and that's ok.  In fact, we should encourage people that want to run to do just that.  It's healthy for our democracy.  Maybe Congressman Carson would disagree with me, but I think he enjoys the competition.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Carrier to Return $1.2 Million to City for Job Training Programs

Mayor Joe Hogsett
Great news from the Mayor's Office was released yesterday.

After some tireless work, Mayor Joe Hogsett's Task Force tasked to deal with the Carrier relocation announced some fruits for its labor.  The owner of Carrier, United Technologies Corporation, is depositing $1.2 million into a fund for job retraining and other programs to help the displaced workers.  The amount equals the amount of local incentives given to UTC over the years.

The news that Carrier was moving its operations to Mexico came in early February like a rock dropped from a helicopter.  It came out of the blue and suddenly changed the present and future of the Westside.  Hogsett formed a task force, chaired by Deputy Mayors Angela Smith-Jones and Jeff Bennett, which includes community members, business leaders, and political representatives, to deal with the loss of Carrier to the community.

On an unrelated note, I've had the chance over the past few weeks to talk to three different Republican City-County Councillors.  All of them report better relationships with the Mayor's Office than under the previous administration.  They praised Hogsett for his accessibility and his administration's communication skills.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Scott Could Have Turned Negative Encounter Into Positive

In Indiana, Mike Pence is mighty unpopular, but he's not the only Governor in the U.S. who has issues.

Florida's Rick Scott has done some downright nasty things in Sunshine State.  Yesterday, the Governor decided to go to Starbucks where he was recognized by a fellow customer.  The outspoken customer let the Governor have it with a diatribe so loud that Scott could say little.

Be aware there is some bad language in this clip.



Cara Jennings told news reporters that she tried to have a civilized conversation with the Governor before the video started, but he wasn't having it.

Governor Scott called the video a setup and called Jennings an anarchist.

By the way, the rant, which Politifact actually fact checked, rated partly true.

I can't honestly condone Jennings's methods.  I do believe in speaking truth to power, but I also believe that no matter how much you don't like an officeholder that they still hold that office.  For example, Governor Rick Scott may have endorsed Donald Trump and done a ton of things you don't like.  He's still the Governor of Florida, and I think he deserves respect for holding that office.  There was nothing wrong necessarily with what Jennings did until she called the Governor a name, in my view.

Of course, the Governor did not respond in a very good manner, either.  Instead of turning a negative encounter back into a positive for him, he came off as looking like a guy who couldn't get his coffee and get out of there fast enough.  He cuts bait in the end and doesn't even get his coffee before fleeing the restaurant with his aides.

In the end of this whole encounter, there is no winner, but the Governor comes off as looking really weak and very childish.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Familiar Feel in Indiana's U.S. Senate Race

Rep. Todd Young
Rep. Marlin Stutzman
I have no idea what will happen on May 3, but I know this.

If Todd Young were a mine, he'd be making diamonds.

The Congressman is under attack and under pressure from his own right in the form of Congressman and certified Tea Party favorite Marlin Stutzman.  Stutzman has managed to get to the far right of Young even though Young is pretty far to the right.  The race further right has put Young and Stutzman in some interesting places when they may have to come back towards the center in the fall.

That's because they may not have any top of the ticket help.  If Donald Trump is the nominee, Republicans may hemorrhage votes and they down ticket folks will be left to fend for themselves.  Some forecasts show that a Trump nomination puts Indiana in the position to be a swing state nationally.  With a very unpopular Governor up there at the top of the ticket, Baron Hill has to be smiling.

Baron Hill
This election is starting to look a little like 2012 when it comes to the race for Senate (add in the competitive Presidential Race).  Centrist Democrat (Hill is just to the left of Joe Donnelly but not much) kicks back and waits for Republicans to duke it out in the Primary.  The more moderate Republican (then Richard Lugar) loses and the more conservative (then Richard Mourdock) nominee moves forward only to wilt under the pressure of the big lights.  The Democrat sweeps to victory.

Baron Hill is wise to just stay quiet and stay out of the way of what could be a Republican nightmare on Election Day 2016.

It certainly won't be an establishment crowd out and about on May 3.  That's very bad news for Todd Young.  The money being thrown in the race by the Chamber of Commerce all goes for naught if he loses.

I won't cry for Young if his political career takes a short detour after a loss to Stutzman, but it becomes imperative that Hill wins in November if Marlin is the nominee.  So far, Marlin's all slick "God Made a Farmer" type advertising.  A look under the hood will show you that he's a lot more Richard Mourdock than Richard Lugar.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sanders Wins Wisconsin As Clinton Campaign Lands in Indiana

Congressman Andre Carson Speaks
at Clinton Indy Campaign Office Grand Opening
Bernie Sanders won the Wisconsin Primary tonight continuing his momentum forward in the battle for President of the United States.

The fight continues on.  Hillary Clinton had hoped to put the Sanders campaign away by now, but it appears that this is going to be another one that comes down to the wire.

The math is pretty simple.  Clinton is nearing the delegate total she needs, but the results are turning towards Sanders.  It's Clinton that remains in the catbird seat, but her grasp on the title of frontrunner is loosening.

That brings us to Indiana on May 3.  There are probably a few Clinton wins on tap between now and then.  Depending on what happens in Wyoming, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland, this state could be in a position to close out Sanders or to keep his campaign alive.

Last week, Sanders opened a campaign office in Broad Ripple.

If Clinton's campaign is in trouble, it didn't seem like it as a who's who of Central Indiana Democratic politics showed up to open her Indianapolis campaign office.

On the program, Indiana Recycling Coalition Executive Director Carey Hamilton spoke along with Cordelia Lewis-Burks, the longtime Vice-Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, and Congressman Andre Carson left the crowd in a raucous mood.  Carson said he recently had breakfast with Sanders in Alabama and that he had a great respect for him as a legislator, but he said that when he thinks of a President, he thinks of a person with the breadth of experience of Hillary Clinton.  He also urged the crowd to make history again in 2016 by electing the first female President after electing the first African-American President in 2008.

Expect the candidates on both sides of the aisle to start making statewide appearances in the next few weeks.

Ninth District Race: It's Tennessee Trey vs. Zoeller & Company

Greg Zoeller
Trey Hollingsworth
Trey Hollingsworth is a Republican, and he's rich.

How rich?  Well, if he were to be elected to Congress, he'd be one of the richest members. He also has loaned his campaign over $600,000, and we've seen a constant stream of pro-Hollingsworth ads paid for by his campaign or outside PACs.

Hollingsworth's certainly saying all the right things to appeal to his right wing base.  He wants to repeal Obamacare among other typical Republican talking points.  He's got all that down.

It seems to be just part of the plan to introduce the 32-year-old entrepreneur to Hoosiers.  After all, he just moved to Indiana from Tennessee last year seemingly to run for the 9th District Congressional seat being vacated by Todd Young.

Is it opportunism at its best or a miscalculation?

It seems that Hollingsworth sees his main competition for the seat as Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.  The southern Indiana Republican has never met a lost cause he can't defend in losing case after case to the federal government in court.  Term limited, Zoeller, the cousin of pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, cannot run again for Secretary of State.  Instead of running for another term as AG, Zoeller's leaning on his experience as a Senate and White House staffer and running in the 9th District for Congress.

Shelli Yoder
There are others in the race.  State Senators Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz are running along with engineer Robert Hall.

Hard to handicap this one.  If GOP voters buy Hollingsworth's line that Zoeller is a member of the establishment and is a career politician, then Zoeller might be in trouble.  If Hollingsworth is seen as a carpetbagger who moved to Indiana to get elected, then he might be in trouble.  I think this one has the chance to be incredibly close.  It's also a big of a wildcard race with the vote splitting a potential of five ways.

On the Democrat side, past candidate and Monroe County Councillor Shelli Yoder seems solid in her bid against token opposition.  Yoder ran for the office in 2012.  She gave it a credible run then, and Democrats will likely give her another chance.

The other Dems include James McClure, Jr., Bill Thomas, and the ever-present Bob Kern, who adds the 9th District now to the offices he's pursued going back to the 90's.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pence's Mess Only Makes Him Vulnerable

Governor Mike Pence
Some Democrats seem to believe that a John Gregg win is a foregone conclusion in November.

Let's put it this way, if this were Jenga, Mike Pence's tower is riddled with single blocks down low and is listing severely.  It's still standing though.

Pence has managed to be the worst Governor of my lifetime (40 years).  Despite a reasonably good set of indicators (surplus, good state credit rating, lower unemployment, etc.), he remains incredibly unpopular because he cannot help himself when it comes to making the wrong political moves.

It's like watching Chevy Chase run into the loose attic boards in Christmas Vacation.  Each way he turns, Governor Pence keeps stepping the wrong way and smacking himself in the face with a two-by-four.  It would be hilarious...if he weren't our Governor.

Pence's first mistake was believing he had a mandate.  Hoosiers, if you remember correctly, elected Pence with under 50 percent of the vote.  The Governor squandered a double-digit polling lead a month before the election and eeked out one of the closest victories in recent memory in 2012 against Gregg.  He wasn't popular to begin with at all.

He screwed up further early in his administration by failing to communicate with legislative leaders and having much of his first-year agenda either changed or blown up by Brian Bosma and David Long.

Then came the RFRA debacle.  Instead of just state disdain, the nation suddenly saw what a fool idiot Pence was politically.  His national interview with George Stephanopolous was an unmitigated disaster, and, as pressure mounted, he was forced to back up again.  While Pence had lost independents, he had not lost those in his base who believed RFRA was the right thing for the state...until he tried to fix RFRA alienating those right wingers out there.  On top of everything, he refused to tell anyone his stance on protecting LGBT rights for months before making it clear that he has no intention of doing anything for the community.

Now comes the draconian bill designed to sanction doctors performing abortions for reasons such as the race, sex, or possible disability of the fetus goes even deeper.  Controversially, the bill also requires aborted or miscarried fetuses to be interred or cremated.  Even if you agree with some of the bill, you have to see where it is another example of government overreach.  There are very legitimate reasons a woman may elect to not carry a fetus to term, but this new bill limits a woman's right to choose what happens with her own body.

While the bill was drafted and passed by the General Assembly, it was championed and signed by Governor Pence.  Now, in protest, women are calling the Governor's Office and reporting their periods as part of the "Periods for Pence" protest.  Click the link to read more about that.

With other messes like his failed "Just In" state-run media house, his Pencership controversy, and the handling of the dismissal of Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellsperman, Pence is damaged goods.  He is limping, politically, and he would seem to be in trouble.

John Gregg
While he's in trouble, he's still hanging on.  He's the incumbent, and I would propose that while it might be easier to topple Pence than other Republicans, John Gregg is still faced with a tough job.  Pence is going to get a lot of money to help in his cause.  He's already raised a lot, and Republicans will raise more.  November is also a long way away, and I'm not convinced everyone is plugged in yet to the Governor's race.  On top of this, the Libertarians are also fielding either Rex Bell or Jim Wallace...both of which should not be taken lightly as candidates.

Gregg will have to continue to work his mustache off.  In the end, while Republicans are likely to continue to hold serve in the General Assembly, the power of the Executive Order for Gregg will be great.

Recently, Gregg said he's modeling himself politically in the mold of Mitch Daniels.  While he was attacked by some for saying it, he has a point.  Daniels was FAR SMARTER politically than Governor Pence.  He understood that while Indiana is a very conservative state that Hoosiers tend to be much more common sense than some believe.  Hoosiers don't take kindly to blind ideology.

For the most part, Daniels steered clear of the pitfalls Pence has stepped directly into, and it served him well as Governor.  While I don't disagree with much Daniels did, the Pence Administration has made me at least long for the days when the Indiana Governor was smart enough to know which political fights to pick and leave alone.

Every Indiana Governor in my lifetime up until now has been smart enough to do that.  Otis Bowen, Robert Orr, Evan Bayh, Frank O'Bannon, Joe Kernan, and Mitch Daniels all look like gubernatorial geniuses compared to Pence.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Pence Announces Naming of I-69 Extension to Honor Scalia


Governor Mike Pence announced late Thursday that he would be signing an executive order naming the soon-to-be-built I-69 extension from Bloomington to Indianapolis after Antonin Scalia.

"In Indiana, we believe in defending the words of the Constitution.  We believe the words that James Madison used are sacred, and few Supreme Court Justices have defended what the Founders intended like Antonin Scalia," said Pence, nodding his head to add emphasis.  "The Antonin Scalia Expressway will serve as a lasting tribute to this great American who heroically defended the Constitution against judicial activism from his spot on the Supreme Court bench," Pence added.

Pence said other great Hoosiers were considered for the honor.  The shortlist included author Kurt Vonnegut, basketball coach John Wooden, singer John Mellencamp, journalist Jane Pauley, songwriter Cole Porter, and Three's Company star Joyce DeWitt.

At the same news conference, Mike Pence announced that today would be April Fools Day so be careful believing what you read on the internet.  Sophomoric bloggers will write things that seem somewhat believable, but are easily proven untrue with a Google search.