Thursday, March 30, 2017

Future Caucus Promotes Cooperation, Bi-Partisanship in State Government

A group of 14 Indiana lawmakers held a news conference yesterday in Indianapolis, and their message was extremely important.

Bi-partisanship, reaching across the aisle, and working together is something that should happen in government and that should start asap.  Indiana's "Future Caucus" is a group of 14 milennial Indiana lawmakers (seven from each party) dedicated to trying to find common ground and work together.

The news conference on the Statehouse lawn yesterday included ideological opposites Democrat Dan Forestal and Republican Timothy Wesco as well as other lawmakers.  If Wesco and Forestal can find common ground, there is hope for us all.

As representatives of the caucus and the Millenial Action Project said at the news conference, it's critical to show millenials that even opposites agree on many things.  It's also important to reach out and involve young people in the political process.

I know from talking to young people on a near daily basis that many want to be involved, but they have no idea what the "on ramp" is to get involved or don't understand why there is so much rancor an gridlock in politics.  Frankly, I have trouble sometimes with that.  I certainly wish things were much more collegial on both sides of the aisle.

I wish he future caucus the best as it hopefully grows from 14 to maybe 150 someday in Indiana.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Indiana Congressional Caucus Splits on Internet Privacy, Trump Tax Return Issues

All of the Republican members of the Indiana U.S. House delegation voted to rollback Obama-era privacy rules and to allow your internet service provider to sell your web search data to advertisers.

Democrats AndrĂ© Carson and Pete Visclosky voted to protect your privacy.  The Republican delegation of Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks, Todd Rokita, Susan Brooks, Luke Messer, Larry Bucschon, and Trey Hollingsworth voted in favor of violating your privacy and selling that data without your consent.

Sickening isn't it?

This came on a day when many of these same representatives (all but Messer who didn't vote) voted to keep President Trump's tax returns private even as questions about his ties to overseas governments continue to mount.  Carson and Visclosky voted to have the Trump tax returns released to Congress.

So, as you surf the net, you can thank your Republicans in the U.S. House for less privacy and for allowing your ISP to sell your data.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Brewer Takes Chance on Reality TV

Former Mayor Candidate
Chuck Brewer
I was perusing my Facebook wall this morning when I saw local activist Evan McMahon's post on a new CNBC Show.

"I was watching previews for The Partner, on CNBC, and thinking 'man that guy looks familiar'. Well he should, it's former Indy Mayoral candidate and owner of both Soupremacy and Potbelly, Chuck Brewer," wrote McMahon.

Inspired to do a Google search, I found the show's web page.  Sure enough.  There's the first contestant, Chuck Brewer.

In his contestant video, Brewer highlights his military service and his success in business.  He talks about selling off his Potbelly franchise and continuing to work with his own concept, Soupremacy.  Again, it doesn't tap into his personal life too much other than he's a father.  It also doesn't mention anything about him running unsuccessfully for Mayor of Indianapolis.

Nevertheless, Chuck Brewer impressed many with his run in 2015, and I wish him the best on the reality show.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What's Up With the Blog?

I've been pretty sporadic about posting lately, and I apologize.

I need to get back on the blogging horse, but it's not probably going to happen over the next couple of weeks.  I have some busy times ahead followed by a two-week vacation and a good friend coming into town.

Thus, I'll post whenever something gets my dander flying, as my grandmother used to say, so stay tuned.  As always, I appreciate your patience when I go on these "sabbaticals".

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hogsett Building Strong Relationships Across Aisle

Mayor Hogsett and Governor Holcomb share
a laugh at a jobs announcement
Photo courtesy of Twitter
As President, Barack Obama was widely known as “No Drama Obama”. The circus took over on January 20, and the poo hasn’t stopped being flung.  In Washington, we could use a little less drama these days. 

Thankfully, here in Indianapolis, we have our own version of “No Drama Obama” and that’s Joe Hogsett. 

 His smoothly sailing ship has yet to hit an iceberg in this city, and he’s just done it by going about his business and doing the work.

Hogsett has barely hit a speed bump with most of the City-County Council. Sure, there’s a renegade few on the body, but they are largely hidden by a strong relationship that Hogsett has built with the Republican side of the aisle. 

The Republicans like Hogsett…even when they have to criticize him. If you don’t believe me, pull aside one of the Republicans and ask them. The Mayor has reached out across the aisle and has listened to their concerns.
Republicans feel more listened to than they did under Greg Ballard. Again, if you don’t believe me, ask them in a private moment.  Sure, you'll get the pushback from time to time that politics requires, but it's half-hearted pushback at best.  You won't see Joe Hogsett yelling down a Republican member of the Council.
When you think about it, the drama that existed between the Council and the Mayor’s Office is largely gone. Part of that is partisan, sure. It doesn’t go unnoticed that Hogsett is a Democrat with a 14-11 majority on the City-County Council, but one only has to look back about 10 years to see the dysfunction between Democrats that led to a Republican snap back as they took back the Mayor’s Office and the Council in 2007. 

Maggie Lewis is a very capable Council President, and she’s more comfortable ever in that position. With Zach Adamson in the Vice President’s role and Mike McQuillen leading the opposition, the Council seems to have found a sweet spot where it’s getting things done for the city and putting good proposals on the Mayor’s desk for his signature.

As we reach halftime of this Mayor’s first term, it’s hard to see a snapback coming. Jim Merritt was a good choice for the Republicans to lead their sinking ship in Marion County. If anyone can plug their holes, he can. Kate Sweeney Bell is also a great choice for Democrats moving forward. She will be a strong chair, and, as Hogsett’s choice to succeed Joel Miller, ensures there will be tranquility in the party, as much as there can be for Democrats, anyway.

There are lots of problems for the City of Indianapolis to solve, and the Republicans and Democrats in city government are going to have to continue to be a model for other governmental agencies to continue to get things fixed here in our city.

Even though it’s bad for my blog, I love the “No Drama” philosophy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Haltime at the Statehouse

We've reached halftime of the Indiana General Assembly session.

I believe John Mellencamp accompanied by Billy Joel is the halftime show.  Sit back and relax and watch...

In all seriousness, the Indianapolis Business Journal or "IBJ" published this excellent list of the bills still wandering the halls of the House and Senate Chambers.  The piece also discusses some of the implications of these bills.

Everything from an abortion bill that could conceivably give rights to perpetrators of incest to a bill that would explicitly allow student-led school prayer are still living as the House takes up the Senate's bills and vice versa.

Hat tip to Indy Politics and their daily e-mail for drawing our attention to the excellent work by the IBJ.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pence Hypocritical on E-mail Mess

Mike Pence would have you believe his e-mail flap is no big deal and that it doesn't compare to Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal.

Truth of the matter, like Hillary Clinton, Pence was trying to conduct business in a busy world.  Clinton set up her private server at home so she could do the work of Secretary of State from there, and there's no question that Mike Pence was doing the same thing.

Sitll, it's hypocritical for Pence to have criticized Clinton for her use of a private e-mail to conduct work business while he was doing the same thing.  People are right to call him out for this duplicity on this issue.

The fact that some ID thief was able to stumble in and hack the Governor's America Online account without really even knowing what he or she did makes it kind of funny. There's no evidence Hillary Clinton's private server was hacked.

The Star's Tony Cook's expose from last week hit hard at the Vice President, but it still didn't shine the excrement that was Donald Trump's incredibly bad and horrible week.  Pence's e-mail scandal is minute compared to the continuing Trump Administration's mess with Russia.  That's an onion that keeps unpeeling.

Pence was hacked, and he used a private e-mail account to conduct state business.  Knowing these two things, he continued to criticize Hillary Clinton.  That makes him a hypocrite...with a capital H.