Monday, April 30, 2007

Hillary Clinton Coming to Indianapolis

Always one step behind Republicans Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton is coming to Indianapolis for a fundraiser.

I doubt that any of the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls will want to be seen in the presence of their party's presidential front runner, so they probably won't be attending.

Democratic presidential contender Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will visit suburban Indianapolis for a fundraiser on Saturday.

Clinton is invited to the Hamilton County home of Bren Simon, a major Indiana contributor to the Democrat Party who used to hold fundraisers for President Bill Clinton.

Members of the Simon family contributed $32,200 to Clinton so far this year, accounting for nearly half of the Hoosier funds she received, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending.

None of the other presidential hopefuls received more than $5,800 from Hoosiers contributing at least $200. Campaigns do not have to disclose the identities of donors giving less than that.

Simon is the wife of shopping-mall magnate Mel Simon.

This is an open thread with comments enabled.

Let's see who can come up with the best caption for the above photo.

"Not Too Bad"

Mitch muzzled no longer.The Governor says he will sign the budget, slots bill, and property tax relief passed on Sunday night by the General Assembly.

Of Daniels' twelve initiatives for the year, nine were approved in some form or to some degree, despite having to make it through a hostile Democrat-controlled House.

The Governor got money for full-day kindergarten, more money for schools, nominal property-tax relief, health care for uninsured Hoosiers, and tax breaks for members of the military.

That's a record of achievement, and I daresay bipartisanship, that will form a good foundation for the coming reelection campaign.

So much for the whole meme about the unlistening (he listened over the Commence Connector), uncaring (he is getting health care for uninsured Hoosiers), partisan (he worked bipartisanly to get his agenda through a Democratic House) Mitch created by the Democrats over the past two years.

And the Democrats can't complain about any of it, because they controlled the House and passed most of it.

Though that probably won't stop their hacks from trying anyway, just not right away.

Taking Down Words only managed one post about the end of the session, despite the passage of everything in time being supposedly some great triumph by Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer.

Bipartisanship doesn't sufficiently fuel the nut jobs, I guess.

Shout-Outs

Thumbs UpTwo new additions to the Hoosierpundit blogroll to announce today.

The first is the Burton Blog from IndianaDan.com, 5th District GOP Congressman Dan Burton's campaign website.

I'd add Dr. John McGoff's campaign blog too (he is challenging Burton in the Republican primary), but nothing is ever posted there.

Second is Circle City Pundit, blogging on politics in Indiana and in general.

I'm a sucker for [insert some word here]pundit blogs, for obvious reasons, and even moreso when they're willing to list me in their blogroll.

Good reads, both.

The Gipper's Men Are Backing Thompson

It seems that Ronald Reagan's men (whatever that term means) have found their man.

They're backing Fred Thompson, another Hollywood-actor-turned-politician, for the White House.

I hear a lot of excitement about Fred Thompson from conservatives in Southern Indiana, and very little positive from them about the rest of the GOP field (I'm not settled on anyone yet, personally).

I can't help but thinking, though, that Thompson may be waiting too late to get into the race if he intends to run.

Ethics for Dummies

Budget Passed, Session Ends

It's over.

The session has ended with the passage of the budget and various other measures.

We'll now see which will earn the signature of Governor Mitch Daniels.

The Indy Star (budget, cig tax, slots, and bonuses) and the Courier-Journal (everything) have the stories.

The breakdown (based on an earlier listing):

1. Health care for uninsured Hoosiers.

Passed. Something for Mitch Daniels to crow about.

2. Cigarette tax hike.

Passed to fund #1. A necessary something that the Governor probably shouldn't crow about.

3. All-day kindergarten.

Passed, sort of. Funded to the tune of $92 million and not yet mandatory, but still something for the Governor to be proud of.

4. More funding for education.

Passed. Another something for the Governor to mark as an achievement.

5. Property tax relief.

Passed, but a mere band-aid on a bleeding ulcer. Democrats get credit for passing approving a stopgap that's only good until 2009. But credit also to the Republicans, who drew attention to it and made it an issue. It would never have even been considered were it not for their dogged and fierce push.

Even so, the relief is very limited and contingent in large part on #6.

6. Slot machines at race tracks.

Passed to help fund #5. Boo, hiss. It will be telling as to whether the Governor will sign this. He has always said he opposes further gaming.

7. Turning casino riverboats into casino barges.

Passed. Boo, hiss.

8. Cracking down on illegal gambling.

Passed, sort of.

9. Genuinely balanced budget.

Passed. By Espich's own admission, the budget was structurally balanced. Something for everyone to be proud of.

10. Prohibition on casinos relocating.

Passed inside H.R. 1835.1.

Harrison County thanks you, Johnny Nugent, though I'm sure Clark County curses your name.

Pay bonuses for certain legislators.

Passed. Boo, hiss. Indiana Law Blog says that it could be unconstitutional, though.

Seat belts.

Passed.

Bart Peterson's Indy Works program and fire department consolidation.

Nope. Down in flames.

The provision concerning the Ivy Tech appointment restriction appears to have been withdrawn from the budget in the early evening.

However, I would not put it past The Hair to have inserted back into the budget or some other conference committee report for another bill at the last moment, when it was too late to be noticed because the 24-hour reading rule had been waived and it wouldn't be caught.

With the bills on their way to the Governor's desk for signature or veto, someone should be keeping a sharp eye out to see if that provision got reinserted someplace else.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

More on the Shady Ivy

Advance Indiana and the Indiana Law Blog have posts about the controversial provision in the budget that would restrict the governor's appointments to the board of trustees of Ivy Tech.

Among the interesting tidbits:

[Updated at 6:15 pm] More information on Ivy Tech, Indiana's community college system, has been added to the end of the online Star story this afternoon:

The outgoing Ivy Tech president, Gerald Lamkin, has been at Speaker of the House] Bauer’s office throughout much of the final hours of the session.

Bauer and [House Ways and Means Chairman Bill] Crawford are both employed by Ivy Tech. Bauer is vice president of external partnerships and Crawford is manager of community relations and outreach programs

Presently, it appears that the Speaker has blinked and the appointment provision has been removed--actually removed--from the revised budget (PDF warning).

Another Poison Pill

Last week, Pat "The Hair" Bauer was trying to kill the Governor's plan to provide health care to uninsured Hoosiers by demanding the addition of a "bed tax" that would have to be paid by hospitals.

Now, according to the Indy Star, it seems that The Hair has found a new poison pill.

This time, he has stuck it into the budget bill itself.

He has reneged on the word of House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Crawford, who promised that a provision mandating the appointment of Democrats to the board of trustees of Ivy Tech would be removed from the budget.

Surprise, surprise, when the draft copy of the budget was released this morning, that provision was still tucked away within the bill.

Governor Daniels has threatened to veto the entire budget if it is not removed.

Do Bill Crawford and The Hair fear for their cushy non-jobs with Ivy Tech, or do they enjoy making bald-faced lies to their fellow legislators (and to the governor) that are shown as such the next morning?

Will they cave to the veto threat and remove the provision, or will they try to keep it in there and force a special session?

How will The Hair explain to the people of Indiana that he forced a special session of the legislature in the sole interests of his own job security?

Will The Hair blink in this showdown?

The alternative is for him to call a lot of unwanted attention to a practice by the Democrats that has in the past been given largely a blind eye by press throughout the state of Indiana.

A special session sparked by The Hair's intransigence over the Ivy Tech trustee appointment provision will shine a big uncomfortable spotlight on the system of cushy-employment-for-generous-budgets that the Democrats have going currently with Ivy Tech.

Bring it on.

Sunlight, Justice Brandeis wrote, is the best disinfectant.

On the Brink...

Many things, as is typical of legislative sessions, now stand on the brink and by midnight tonight, we will know the outcome.

The Governor's plan to use a hike in the cigarette tax to finance health care for Indiana's uninsured seems to be on the verge.

A tentative agreement has already been reached.

A property tax relief plan may become a reality.

So what of the following will survive to come out of the session at the end?

1. Health care for uninsured Hoosiers.
2. Cigarette tax hike.
3. All-day kindergarten.
4. More funding for education.
5. Property tax relief.
6. Slot machines at race tracks.
7. Turning casino riverboats into casino barges.
8. Cracking down on illegal gambling.
9. Genuinely balanced budget.
10. Prohibition on casinos relocating.

Art Contest

Joe Lieberman on Iraq



If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

If you have dial-up or can't watch the above video, here is the text of Lieberman's remarks (emphases mine):

In sum, you can't have it both ways. You can't withdraw combat troops from Iraq and still fight Al Qaeda there. If you believe there is no hope of winning in Iraq, or that the costs of victory there are not worth it, then you should be for complete withdrawal as soon as possible.

There is another irony here as well.

For most of the past four years, under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the United States did not try to establish basic security in Iraq. Rather than deploying enough troops necessary to protect the Iraqi people, the focus of our military has been on training and equipping Iraqi forces, protecting our own forces, and conducting targeted sweeps and raids—in other words, the very same missions proposed by the proponents of the legislation before us.

That strategy failed—and we know why it failed. It failed because we didn't have enough troops to ensure security, which in turn created an opening for Al Qaeda and its allies to exploit.
They stepped into this security vacuum and, through horrific violence, created a climate of fear and insecurity in which political and economic progress became impossible.

For years, many members of Congress recognized this. We talked about this. We called for more troops, and a new strategy, and—for that matter—a new secretary of defense.

And yet, now, just as President Bush has come around—just as he has recognized the mistakes his administration has made, and the need to focus on basic security in Iraq, and to install a new secretary of defense and a new commander in Iraq—now his critics in Congress have changed their minds and decided that the old, failed strategy wasn't so bad after all.

What is going on here? What has changed so that the strategy that we criticized and rejected in 2006 suddenly makes sense in 2007?

The second element in the plan outlined by the Majority Leader on Monday is "the phased redeployment of our troops no later than October 1, 2007."

Let us be absolutely clear what this means. This legislation would impose a binding deadline for U.S. troops to begin retreating from Iraq. This withdrawal would happen regardless of conditions on the ground, regardless of the recommendations of General Petraeus, in short regardless of reality on October 1, 2007.

As far as I can tell, none of the supporters of withdrawal have attempted to explain why October 1 is the magic date—what strategic or military significance this holds. Why not September 1? Or January 1? This is a date as arbitrary as it is inflexible—a deadline for defeat.

The fact that some--even many--Democrats advocated sending more troops as late as December of 2006, and ceased doing so when it became clear that would be Bush's new strategy, is not new to me.

But Lieberman makes an interesting, and very salient, point.

In the 2006 election, the American people voted for a change of course.

George W. Bush changed course.

He fired his secretary of defense, sacked his top generals, and got a new strategy with new tactics.

There is now cautious optimism about many aspects of that change of course, as General Petraeus is reporting to Congress this week in the briefings that Field Marshal Pelosi couldn't be bothered to attend.

Democrats have opposed the new strategy.

Instead, as Lieberman points out, they are advocating going back to the Rumsfeld strategy, which they were earlier attacking as not working.

Why go back to doing something that wasn't working?

Do they expect a different result?

Do they want to fail?

It makes no sense.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Coming Soon to Your Mailbox?

A property tax relief check, maybe?

One thought on this.

House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, called the rebate checks a “bad idea.”

“What could be more ridiculous than billing people (and) sending part of it back?” Bosma asked.

It is less ridiculous than keeping the money and not sending it back.

When the Republican Congress passed George W. Bush's tax cuts, they sent the money back immediately in the form of a rebate check to individual taxpayers.

They got the money back and then they spent it, which stimulated the economy.

Of course, Bosma is correct; it's better to not bill people in the first place.

But if they've already paid (as would be the case with people that pay Federal taxes out of their paychecks in the above example), then there is no reason not to send them a rebate check.

Legislature Passes Serial Meetings Ban

From the Courier-Journal.

Lawmakers passed a bill yesterday to prohibit so-called "serial meetings" -- separate gatherings of less than a quorum of a government board to discuss the same subject with the purpose of conducting official business.

The House voted 89-6 for the bill before the Senate passed it 43-2, sending it to Gov. Mitch Daniels.

And speaking of the Legislature, a scheme by Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer to place restrictions on future Daniels appointments to the board of Ivy Tech was met with a veto threat and was removed from the budget bill.

The provision, hidden deep in the budget, would have required the governor to appoint members to the Ivy Tech board of trustees based on party affiliation; restricting it to no more than 55% of a given political party.

Because Ivy Tech's board has only 14 members (and the measure applied only to Ivy Tech), meeting the required percentage would have meant splitting the board down the middle with half Republicans and half Democrats.

It seems that The Hair was concerned that Daniels might appoint people that would upset the cherished system of patronage at Ivy Tech, where Democrats like Bauer serve in cushy non-jobs while simultaneously writing generous budgets that fund their employer.

Confronted with a veto threat and his plan exposed to the light of day, The Hair back down and retreated once more into the shadows.

From Heartland Monitor

Zing.

Frankly, this new “leadership” team in the Statehouse is embarrassing. Forget about the fact that House D's have zero respect for Joe Taxpayer and hardworking families all over the state, they apparently are unable to even waste our money in an orderly fashion.

R.I.P. Boris Yeltsin


Missed this when it happened earlier this week, but better late than never.

Remember, It's All Mike Sodrel's Fault

From the Seymour Tribune:

That grumbling Thursday may have been Jackson County residents filling their cars, trucks and vans with gasoline hovering around $3 a gallon.

Most stations across the county increased the price of a gallon of regular gas to $2.99. Premium blends bumped across the $3 mark.

Some analysts say the nation is one incident away from $4-a-gallon gas this summer.

The last time gasoline prices approached $3 a gallon nationwide, hurricanes had ripped apart the Gulf Coast oil infrastructure and world oil supplies were stressed.

Today, oil supplies aren't pinched, but rusty U.S. refineries aren't producing enough gasoline to meet demand, which is driving up pump prices ahead of summer's peak driving season, and some fear $4 a gallon gas looms soon, some industry watchers say.

Fear not, citizens of the 9th District and natives of Baron Hill's hometown.

You voted for change so he isn't your congressman anymore, but high gas prices remain entirely Mike Sodrel's doing.

Everyone knows that a millionaire whose business consumes hundreds of thousands of gallons of gas a year simply must be in the pocket of the big oil companies and want everyone to pay more for gas.

It's not Baron Hill's fault. Nope, not at all.

Floyd County & New Albany Talk Merger

Or at least a partial merger of services and functions, according to this article in the News & Tribune.

My favorite quote:

“That’s part of the problem in this area,” Zurschmiede said. “Nobody’s thought about the future.”

That summarizes pretty much the entire political situation in both the city of New Albany and in Floyd County in recent times (and a lot of surrounding parts of southern Indiana *cough Harrison County *cough*).

Poor Tommy Thompson

When I saw the title of this article on the Indy Star's website, I immediately thought of the other Thompson that might be running for president.

Doesn't say much for the chances of Tommy Thompson's campaign, does it?

A Cheap Solution?


Varvel's cartoon dovetails with the Indy Star's editorial proposing that the entire license plate legal kerfuffle can be resolved with a fifty-cent fee, since the "In God We Trust" plate costs fifty cents more to make than a normal Indiana license plate.

I somehow doubt that the compromise will assuage Mr. Studler or the ACLU.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Trouble in Bloomington, Part 3

Baron HillLast week, the Supreme Court upheld a law banning the partial-birth abortion procedure.

As pointed out to me recently by a Hoosierpundit reader, Congressman Baron Hill has not said publicly his opinion of the court's ruling in that case, Gonzales v. Carhart.

Back in 2003, Mr. Hill voted for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

This might give some indication of his views on the issue, but Hill also refused in the campaign to speak firmly against abortion.

In fact, the DCCC--the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee--ran at least one advertisement that had an IU law professor named Dawn Johnsen in it, speaking in favor of Hill's election.

As I blogged at the time, Dawn Johnsen served in the Clinton administration and prior to that spent five years as the legal director for NARAL, the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League.

Johnsen has featured prominently as a legal commentator in some news articles covering the recent Supreme Court decision.

The Associated Press and The New York Sun have both featured her recently, with such quotes as this:

"I did not expect the kind of hostility to abortion and disrespect for women that [Justice Kennedy] demonstrates in the opinion."

Obviously, Johnsen is not pleased with the Supreme Court's decision in Gonzales v. Carhart.

Being a law professor, she is obviously an intelligent woman and clearly has strongly-held opinions.

Why would she be willing to speak in favor of electing Baron Hill in a campaign ad, when he voted for the very legislation she has decried when that same legislation has been upheld by the highest court in the land?

Did she not know about Baron Hill's vote on partial-birth abortion?

I would find that hard to believe.

Does she know something about his views about abortion that we do not?

Baron Hill has not exactly been very pro-life, after all.

Why would someone that has made so much of her career in defending abortion defend Baron Hill, unless she knew him to be willing to do the same?

And since Baron Hill has not spoken with regard to the Supreme Court's ruling, are we to assume that he agrees or disagrees with the former legal director for NARAL?

Those people in Bloomington, they seem to be causing Baron some trouble again.

Prior posts in this series:
April 21, in which the IU student paper decries Baron's use of college students for PR gimmicks.
April 21, in which the IU student paper runs a cartoon mocking Baron for his many motives and positions.

Varvel in Arabic


The Arabic version of this cartoon by Indianapolis Star editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel.

Now, if a comic in the Indianapolis Star can make its way to a newspaper in Jordan, it stands to reason that some of the things Democratic Congressional leaders are saying about retreating from Iraq is going to make its way into papers in the Middle East, too.

And it stands to reason that things like that will have more of an impact than a mere cartoon that journeyed to the other side of the world.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dick Cheney Slams Harry Reid



If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

The full text of the Vice President's remarks is available from the White House website, here.

The primary part:

Yet only last November, Senator Reid said there would be no cutoff of funds for the military in Iraq. So in less than six months' time, Senator Reid has gone from pledging full funding for the military, then full funding but with conditions, and then a cutoff of funding -- three positions in five months on the most important foreign policy question facing the nation and our troops.

Yesterday, Senator Reid said the troop surge was against the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. That is plainly false. The Iraq Study Group report was explicitly favorable toward a troop surge to secure Baghdad. Senator Reid said there should be a regional conference on Iraq. Apparently, he doesn't know that there is going to be one next week. Senator Reid said he doesn't have real substantive meetings with the President. Yet immediately following last week's meeting at the White House, he said, "It was a good exchange; everyone voiced their considered opinion about the war in Iraq."

What's most troubling about Senator Reid's comments yesterday is his defeatism. Indeed, last week, he said the war is already lost. And the timetable legislation that he is now pursuing would guarantee defeat.

Maybe it's a political calculation. Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics. Senator Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election. It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interests of our country, not on the interests of their political party.

Second Try at Marriage Amendment

Pat 'The Hair' BauerTuesday, the mere suggestion that the House Rules and Procedures Committee should again consider the marriage amendment was enough to force the Democrats to abruptly adjourn the committee.

Methinks that Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer might have a bit of difficulty holding his committee members in line on a second vote.

The Hair only killed it in committee initially by the skin of his teeth.

With time running out in the session, Bauer has many balls to juggle.

It might be too much to expect The Hair to keep them all in the air while at the same time squeezing his own people to vote against the marriage amendment.

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Baron Hill CelebratingVote for it again.

That's right. It wasn't enough for Congressman Baron Hill to vote for the emergency war supplemental once.

He really liked its mandated retreat timetable, its provisions to tie the hands of the generals, and its pages filled with more than twenty billion in pork barrel spending.

Baron Hill liked them so much that he had to vote for it a second time.

This time, the pork-and-retreat boondoggle is heading out of conference committee, where negotiators from the House and Senate have resolved their two versions of the bill.

Having been approved by the House and (one assumes soon) the Senate, the bill will head to the President's desk; he has promised to veto it.

Mr. Hill must be pleased, because this vote increases his "vote with Pelosi" percentage.

It has moved up to 96.61%.

Most Honest and Open Congress Ever?

The National Republican Congressional Committee doesn't seem to think so:

George Bush = Virginia Tech Shooter?

Sometimes, you read things in the newspaper (or the newspaper's letters section) that just shock you and leave you at a loss for words.

This is one of those times.

Reader compares campus tragedy to war

The tragedy at Virginia Tech was horrible. Thirty-two dead and 15 wounded. These were our best and brightest. How awful but what if it were the entire campus with thousands dead and all the rest wounded? Would we be horrified and spurred into action if that should happen. You bet and we would be doing all we could to see that it never happened again.

Well it has. Over the past four years that is just what has happened to our best and brightest in Iraq. What is the difference? There is none except the perpetrator is our government and more specifically the President and his cronies in the White House and even more horrifying the Do Nothing Congress of the United States. All who support this slaughter should not only be voted out of office but charges of a very strong nature should be brought against them. All of Iraq is not worth one life of our service men and women.

Yes the 25,000 plus who have been affected, not to mention the untold survivors who were their loved ones are no more important than those at Virginia Tech. And the President and all who support him are just as guilty as the one loan maniac that killed and maimed at VT.

— John D. Ferguson, Charlestown

I just think it's a bit much to compare the President of the United States to the wacko crazy that shot all of those poor people at Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What Baron Hill Says About Pork

One last YouTube video from Baron Hill at SPEA on April 12.



Sometimes, Baron says, you just gotta stuff in some pork if you want to get things done.

After all, aren't bought votes the best kind?

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

Prior posts in this series:
April 23: What Baron Says About Experience
April 21: What Baron Says About Iraq, Then & Now
April 20: What Baron Hill Says About the Draft
April 19: What Baron Hill Says About Job Approval
April 18: What Baron Says About Revealing Your Hand to the Enemy
April 17: What Baron Says About Sacrifices
April 16: Baron Hill on Iraq at SPEA

Pelosi Won't Meet with Petraeus

Dazed and ConfusedGeneral David Petraeus, top general in Iraq and the Army's expert on counterinsurgency warfare, will be on Capitol Hill this week to speak to Congress.

According to ABC News, Field Marshal Pelosi--Speaker of the House, General of the Armies, and Minister of Foreign Affairs--will not be meeting with him.

She has more important things to do, I guess, like getting her face tightened.

As the House and Senate prepare to vote this week on the final conference report on the $124 billion troop funding bill — which would also mandate that U.S. combat troops begin withdrawing from Iraq on Oct. 1 at the latest — Gen. David Petraeus is scheduled to come to the Hill tomorrow to brief lawmakers on the progress of the recent troop escalation.

ABC News has learned, however, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will not attend the briefing...

Last week, House Democratic leaders were criticized by their Republican counterparts when they initially declined an invitation from Petraeus to brief House members on the status of the war due to "scheduling conflicts."

Scheduling conflicts trump getting a report on the progress of the war from the top commander on the ground?

But I forgot.

Nancy Pelosi doesn't need an update about what is actually going on in Iraq from General Petraeus.

No, the Field Marshal has already made up her mind.

Any inconvenient facts that General Petraeus might report won't be informing her decisions and actions, because facts don't matter to her.

Marine in Iraq Slams Harry Reid

Ouch.

This had to hurt:

A tough U.S. Marine stationed in one of the most hostile areas of Iraq has a message for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid: "We need to stay here and help rebuild."

In raw and emotional language from the bloody front lines, Cpl. Tyler Rock, of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, skewered Reid for being far removed from the patriotism and progress in Iraq.

"Yeah, and I got a quote for that [expletive] Harry Reid. These families need us here," Rock vented in an e-mail to Pat Dollard, a Hollywood agent-turned-war reporter who posted the comment on his Web site, www.patdollard.com.

"Obviously [Reid] has never been in Iraq. Or at least the area worth seeing . . . the parts where insurgency is rampant and the buildings are blown to pieces," Rock wrote.

Based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., Rock catalogued a series of grim daily traumas in Iraq, like getting covered in ash and sleeping under a dirty rug in an Iraqi family's house, or watching "several terrorists die" on the same strip of pavement.

But he says he is optimistic about the future of a country that he says has "turned to complete s- - -" during a bloody insurgency.

He also spoke admiringly of the risks brave Iraqi citizens take every day.

"If Iraq didn't want us here then why do we have [Iraqi police] volunteering every day to rebuild their cities?" he asked.

"It sucks that Iraqis have more patriotism for a country that has turned to complete s- - - more than the people in America who drink Starbucks every day.

"We could leave this place and say we are sorry to the terrorists. And then we could wait for 3,000 more American civilians to die before we say, 'Hey, that's not nice' again."

"And the sad thing is after we WIN this war. People like [Reid] will say he was there for us the whole time."

Rock's candid e-mail swept across the Internet after Dollard posted it on his site, and it was picked up by the Drudge Report and numerous other Web sites.

"What does [Reid] know about us 'losing' besides what he wants to believe? The truth is that we are pushing al Qaeda out and we are pushing the insurgency out. We are here to support a nation."

You can read the full text (complete with expletives) of the actual email here at Pat Dollard's blog; that post has received 730+ comments, so the page may take a moment to load.

Dollard also has an email by a Marine officer echoing the one from Corporal Rock:

We are reaching a tipping point in this fight. We have finally learned this culture. We have finally begun to commit the necessary forces. We have truly learned to fight a counter-insurgency.

Very real gains are being made despite claims from our Congress that we have already lost. A counter-insurgency battle is not one of quickly attained and easily recognizeable benchmarks.

It is not won in a year or four. It takes time, resolve, and a willingness to use what we have learned from past mistakes and expectations. From firsthand experience I can tell you, this “Surge” is working. We need to continue to support these people and give them a fighting chance at creating a nation on their own terms.

To echo the sentiments of my fellow Marine in 1/6, the reality of what is happening on the ground in places like Ramadi is not being reported to the American public. The pundits and politicians on both sides do not fully grasp the conditions on the ground here. They are arrogantly and irresponsibly using this war and the troops who fight in it for political gain and election currency. They manipulate the truth or do not care enough to seek it out. At least I know where I stand with the citizens of Ar Ramadi.

Those Marines sure tell it like it is.

Harry Reid just tells it how it is best for him politically.

Baron Sends Letter on Ethics Reform

Baron Hill sent a letter.

It's the least he could do, really:

Continuing their efforts to restore accountability and high ethical standards to Congress, Congressmen Baron Hill (D-IN) and Zack Space (D-OH) led a group of 27 Freshmen Democrats in calling for greater independence and professionalism into the ethics enforcement process, particularly during ethics investigations.

The Members sent the letter to Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement Chairman Mike Capuano.

Meanwhile, Congressman William "The FBI Found $90,000 in Cold Hard Cash from Bribes in My Freezer" Jefferson--called "Dollar Bill Jefferson" by newspapers in his home district of New Orleans--still hasn't been held to any sort of ethics standard by his fellow Democrats.

But that's okay. The former inmates should police the prison.

What a grand idea.

Remember:

"There’s probably not a whole lot wrong with going to lunch with a lobbyist and having him pay for it."
- Congressman Baron Hill, January 12, 2007

Soft Knocking in Baghdad

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fire Up the Warp Drive

Astronomers think that they have found an Earth-like planet in a solar system some twenty light years from us.

Of course, we can't make a return trip to our own moon, let alone make a first manned visit to another planet in our own solar system.

You can forget about going to another solar system entirely.

The budgetary process would never fund it and, besides, it's 20 light-years away and warp drive only exists in science fiction.

To give some comparison, Voyager 1, the fastest object ever made by man, has managed in 30 years to only get nearly 14 light-hours from Earth.

Boo, Hiss

The Governor says that he will sign legislation giving the state legislature a pay increase.

"All things considered, I think it’s acceptable," Daniels told reporters. "One raise in 20 or 21 years is probably not excessive. It wasn’t a priority of mine, but this is a legislature in which we have to be flexible and accommodate the interests of everyone.”

I still think it would have been better to tie the pay increase to a prohibition on working for organizations funded by the state's budgetary process, over which the legislature has oversight.

As it stands, the Legislature is going to effectively be rewarded with a pay increase for a session that has, thus far, not accomplished anything major for Hoosiers.

Kenn Gividen Doesn't Like Jim Schellinger

The ArchitectFormer Libertarian Kenn Gividen sure doesn't like Jim Schellinger, the architect-turned-politician that the Democratic establishment in Indianapolis hopes to run for governor in 2008.

Back in March, Gividen posted on his blog about the obscene and exorbitant fees that schools pay to architecture firms for these so-called "designer" schools.

These are just the sorts of schools that Schellinger's architecture firm has long specialized in planning.

Now, Gividen is highlighting the "tried-and-proven recipe for scamming property owners out of their money" first devised and used in Columbus by Schellinger.

The obscene show at Columbus last night was haunted by architect and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger. It followed the tried-and-proven recipe for scamming property owners out of their money.

The tax-and-spend scheme will achieve the following:

• Pad the pockets of architects by selling taxpayers on insane building programs.

• Firm up the position of teachers' unions by tying up tax dollars on government school projects.

• Reduce the likelihood of school choice by locking up tax dollars on government schools.

The strategy involves creating a "problem" then offering a "realistic" solution. Note that the cost is not mentioned until after the scam has been sufficiently sold.

The master plan includes the following:

1 - Launch a sales campaign with a news story beginning with the word "parents." Portray an illusion that parents favor this deluge of insanity.

2 - Freely spout idealistic nonsense: "It's all about the children," "Our kids deserve world-class schools" or "Obscene spending sprees on school building projects will attract business investment to our community," etc.

3 - Pretend its more than bricks and mortar by having the school superintendent say, "We want to make sure it is more than bricks and mortar. We must improve the way we serve students." Then proceed with bricks and mortar.

4 - Pretend the public will make the ultimate decision by hosting a series of community hearings that are always ignored by the public but summarily stacked with tax-and-spend, pro-unionists.

5 - Produce an endless array of bogus newspaper stories that portray the scam as community endeavor.

6 - Pacify (see Sellinger sales tactic #489: "Everyone here cares about kids") or demonize any and all who dare oppose the scam (see The Republic, Sunday, January 11, 2004, front page banner atop the page, above the masthead scandalizing Billie Whitted and Russ Bernard).

"'We have a master plan, but it has not been finalized,' Schellinger said."

No kidding.

The Schellinger stratagem in such things, as far as I can see it, seems to be to hold innumerable small public meetings about an issue (in this case appropriating the money to pay him to plan for them a designer school).

Few people attend such meetings anyway, and the more that are held the more dispersed the opposition.

After months of meetings, opponents will be worn out and will cease coming.

This makes it appear that opposition to the school has been addressed and eliminated because of the many public meetings, when nothing of the sort has actually happened.

While Mitch Daniels might have done well to use this very strategy (meeting them to death, as it were) for some of his more controversial policy initiatives, I am not thinking that it works well as a political strategy to get you elected.

Sunlight Foundation Fails Baron's Website

Flunking OutCongressman Baron Hill is an A student when it comes to the grade he cares about.

He votes with House Speaker and San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi 96.55% of the time.

But when it comes to government transparency and being open with his constituents, the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation gives Mr. Hill and his Congressional website a failing grade.

Their Congressional Website Investigation Project gave his website a grade of 24%.

On their (admittedly lax) grading curve, it only takes a 40% grade to pass, but Baron Hill could not manage to meet even this low standard.

If students got grades like that in a class, the teacher would certainly fail them.

And now for Baron Hill's report card:

A list or a link to bills the member has sponsored or co-sponsored?

No.

The name(s) of the committee(s) and subcommittee(s) on which the member serves?

Yes.

Links to the Web sites of the committee(s) on which the member serves?

Yes.

Statements or links to statements inserted into the congressional record by the member?

No.

A page or email address to contact the member electronically?

Yes.

Personal Financial Disclosure (which lists the member’s assets and sources of income)?

No.

Member/Officer Reimbursed Travel Expense Disclosure (filed when a third party pays for a member or staffer's junket)?

No.

Expenses charged to the Member Representational Allowance (for Representatives) or the Official Office Expense Allowance (for Senators)?

No.

Information on franked mail, including copies of letters and cost of sending them?

No.

A public calendar with the member's schedule, including attendees and subjects of meetings?

No.

A list of earmarks sponsored by the member?

No.

Information on a member's interventions with or correspondence to regulatory agencies?

No.

24%, a failing grade.

Don't worry, Baron. Nancy still gives you an A+ for that 96.55%.

Battle on Haifa Street in Baghdad

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sheryl Crow: Fight Global Warming through Toilet Paper Rationing

The Grammy-winning singer thinks that this change would do you good:

Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment.

Crow has suggested using "only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required."

...

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."

You just can't make this stuff up.

Even Rosie O'Donnell thinks it's crazy.

An environmentalist's worst nightmare.

ACLU Sues Over "In God We Trust" Plates

In an action that should surprise no one given their history, the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the State of Indiana over the "In God We Trust" license plate.

The Indy Star has the story.

Of course, nothing will win you friends and favorably influence people of faith more than the ACLU filing a lawsuit over something religious in a state as red as Indiana.

What they might win in court of law, they will more than lose in the court of public opinion; though it's not as if the Hoosier state is a great bastion of support for the ACLU anyway.

As a side note of interest, it seems that Mark Studler (on whose behalf the ACLU has sued the state) has one of those environmental license plates:

The plaintiff bringing the case, Mark Studler, said he pays an additional $40 for one of the popular environmental plates depicting an eagle above the word "Environment."

As I've said before, I've seen a lot of those light blue "save the environment" plates on gas-guzzling SUVs.

I wonder if Mr. Studler drives one of those.

Anyway, I can't help but wonder if the case might be weakened by the fact that the plates cost no more--and are thus not preferential over or under--the normal license plates.

The "In God We Trust" plate is not technically classified as a specialty plate but instead as a variant of the regular plate, so I wonder whether the court will even accept the basis of the case (it's not like it's being heard by the 9th District Court that threw out mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance).

Colts Visit the White House

The Indianapolis Colts visited the White House today to be honored by the President for their Super Bowl win back in February.

The Indianapolis Star has the story, and the White House has the full text of the remarks.

My favorites:

I want to welcome Jim Irsay and Meg, and Carlie, Casey, and Kalen. I had the honor of calling Jim after they won. I understand how hard it is to be an owner of a sports team and win. (Laughter.) I never did it.

...

Some of these guys [referring to the Indiana Congressional delegation] get elected for the first time, and the first thing that happens is the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl. You're not taking credit, are you?

What Baron Says About Experience

Another YouTube video from Baron Hill at SPEA on April 12.



So what Baron Hill learned from twenty years of public life is to say one thing to the public--to the voters--but to say another thing in private or when the voters aren't paying attention (like when he votes with San Francisco 96.55% of the time).

That's not a Hoosier value either.

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

Prior posts in this series:
April 21: What Baron Says About Iraq, Then & Now
April 20: What Baron Hill Says About the Draft
April 19: What Baron Hill Says About Job Approval
April 18: What Baron Says About Revealing Your Hand to the Enemy
April 17: What Baron Says About Sacrifices
April 16: Baron Hill on Iraq at SPEA

Where Was Jen Then?

Jen Wagner, the Democratic Party's communications director and author of their blog mouthpiece Taking Down Words, laments that there are 800,000 Hoosiers who lack health insurance.

I want to know where this commendable concern was when Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer was busy gutting the Governor's plan to provide health insurance to many of those 800,000 uninsured and vulnerable Hoosiers.

Certainly, Mitch Daniels' health care plan won't help everyone, but it seems to be a good start.

It's also a good start that doesn't begin with the predicate that every problem has to be solved with a new government program (though Gary Democrat Charlie Brown's version of the legislation would create one to do the job).

But good starts at fixing problems have never stood in the way of The Hair (who is even now trying to kill it again) when he wants to be petty and vindictive, or the Indiana Democratic Party when it comes to political hackery (just guess how many uninsured Hoosiers there were when the Democrats began their sixteen year adventure in one-party rule in the Statehouse).

Now there's something worth lamenting.

Senator John Thune on Tax Increases



South Dakota Senator John Thune on just how much money the average family will have to pay under the Democratic budget, which contains the largest tax increase in American history.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Trouble in Bloomington, Part 2

Baron Hill loves Bloomington.

In 2004, when he was trailing in the vote count against Mike Sodrel on Election Night, Mr. Hill proclaimed that Bloomington and Monroe County were his ace in the hole that would save him from the Republican challenge.

There weren't enough votes to be conjured in Monroe County to save Baron in that election, but he won the area by almost eight thousand votes in 2006.

That was 80% of his margin of victory.

Bloomington is Hill's base, and he spends a goodly amount of time there when Congress is in recess.

For example, Baron Hill never likes to make public his itinerary in the 9th District, except when he is going to be in Bloomington.

He has one of his two offices in the 9th District in Bloomington (the other is in Jeffersonville).

Other portions of the 9th District, including his hometown of Seymour, get no love.

When Baron Hill needs a friendly audience on virtually any issue, particularly controversial ones like the Iraq war, he can find one in Bloomington (as he did recently at SPEA).

But it seems that the students at Indiana University in Bloomington are getting wise to Baron's pandering.

In the wake of his gaffe-filled speech at SPEA (just check the video clips I've been posting), they seem to be getting wise to Hill's strategy.

In a single day, the Indiana Daily Student struck back TWICE at Baron Hill.

They ran an editorial cartoon denouncing him as a two-faced, power-obsessed, money-hungry, quavering and craven politician.

They also editorialized about his visit to SPEA, noting that it was a clever but easy (and probably empty) public relations gesture:

It could be seen that Hill’s taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to budding policymakers is an example of his dedication to higher education, but we’re not particularly convinced...

It was an easy, safe decision to come to a liberal campus and use tired rhetoric to bash conservative policy, then be able to point to it and say, “Look how I took my time out for students.”

Considering all these factors, we’re not convinced that last week’s visit was not an easy, if wise, public-relations move.

Hill said nothing new, nor did he spark controversy. He did nothing to directly support us...

But to prove to us that this appearance was more than just a well-placed public-relations move and that Hill was not simply using us as a conduit to garner more support, Hill’s camp would be wise in planning such events in tandem with a more active role in serving Indiana’s educational interests in Congress.

We appreciate Rep. Hill making an appearance on our campus. Such programs are always a great educational experience and an understandable public-relations move.

However, this cannot be used by the Hill camp as a distraction from truly supporting higher education, as the Democratic Party now controlling Congress claims to do...

We should not be simply used as convenient pawns for the public-relations department. We should be served with as much fervor as the other sectors of his constituency.

Oh dear. It seems that the peasants are restless.

I bet that students in Bloomington wouldn't appreciate learning that their Congressman's votes to "cut student loan rates" were a cheap gimmick that will be good only for six months in 2011 and will save them less than a sixth of what Democrats have claimed.

More Likely to Run, or Less?

World Bank LogoKevin Shaw Kellems, a former Lugar aide, has been occassionally mentioned as a possible candidate to run as a Republican in the 9th Congressional District against Democrat Baron Hill.

Unfortunately for Kellems, he has also been a longtime aide and associate of former Pentagon #2 and Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz, who now heads the World Bank.

As Advance Indiana reports, Wolfowitz has gotten into a bit of a scandal--little reported in the United States--about giving cushy staff jobs to two people (as an aside, Wolfowitz apparently asked to recuse himself on the matter but was told that he could not do so).

One was a woman with which Wolfowitz has been romantically involved, and the other was Kevin Kellems.

Wolfowitz has now apparently hinted that he is willing to sack them both in order to end the scandal.

Brian Howey mentioned Kellems as a possible candidate against Baron Hill back in February.

So this begs a simple question.

How do the Wolfowitz scandal and/or being fired from the World Bank impact the possibility of Kellems returning to Indiana and running for Congress?

Is he even interested in running, should Mike Sodrel not run?

Going Back to the Bad Old Days

From the New York Times:

MOSCOW, April 21 — At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”

In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

Sort of reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons where Russia turned back into the Soviet Union.



"The Soviet Union? I thought you guys broke up?"

"Yes, that's what we wanted you to think! MUWAHAHAHA!!!"

What Baron Says About Iraq, Then & Now

Another YouTube video from Baron Hill at SPEA last week.



Before the election, Baron said that he'd vote the same way.

This year, he says that he wishes he had that vote back.

The only difference is that in 2002 and 2004, the Iraq War was popular.

It was politically expedient, even politically savvy for Baron to vote for it.

Today, it is unpopular, so he has to come up for a new political spin on why he voted the way he did.

He can't very well admit that he voted for it simply for political reasons, so he came up with the excuse that he was lied to.

He can't admit that the intelligence was wrong and that everyone from the President down was wrong; to do so would mean he couldn't latch on to anti-war and Bush-hate sentiment among his Bloomington supporters.

But ask yourself this when Baron says he was lied to:

If the Bush administration was so wicked as to knowingly lie the nation into war when they really knew there was no reason for it and the intelligence was "a lie," wouldn't they have also been wicked enough to fabricate evidence after invading Iraq to match up with "faked" reasoning for war?

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

Prior posts in this series:
April 20: What Baron Hill Says About the Draft
April 19: What Baron Hill Says About Job Approval
April 18: What Baron Says About Revealing Your Hand to the Enemy
April 17: What Baron Says About Sacrifices
April 16: Baron Hill on Iraq at SPEA

Baron Hill Editorial Cartoon


When the student newspaper of Indiana University, the Indiana Daily Student, is criticizing Congressman Baron Hill, he should realize he has a popularity problem.

More on their criticisms later today.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Let Me Get This Straight...

The Hair...The House Democrats want to expand the availability of health care for Hoosiers by taxing hospitals and thus making health care more expensive?

The Indy Star and the Courier-Journal report that the Democrats want to implement a "bed tax" on hospitals.

Like every tax, it will just be passed on to the consumers, in this case Hoosiers needing to visit the hospital or the emergency room.

The Democrats' "bed tax" will make health care more expensive.

Ironically, they are demanding the "bed tax" to finance a program to provide health care to Hoosiers that cannot presently afford it.

Yet, simple reason and basic Econ 101 shows that their "bed tax" will probably increase the cost of health care, and thus increase the number of Hoosiers that cannot presently afford it.

But it's not really the "bed tax" that the Democratic colleagues of Charlie Brown (D, Gary) are "kind of adamant on," is it?

No, I suspect that Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer (Democratic colleagues, plural, my rear end) isn't adamant about a bed tax at all.

The only thing that The Hair is adamant about is demanding the insertion of some provision into the bill that Senate Republicans will never agree to.

These are so-called "poison pills", long a staple tactic of the majority in American legislatures.

A poison pill is some provision, irrelevant to most people, that the opposition party will simply never accept.

It is a clever way to kill a bill that you don't want to pass but don't want to appear to kill yourself, and whose obstruction and death you can then blame on the other party.

If the Senate Republicans agree on a bed tax, The Hair will conjure up a new poison pill.

Perhaps it will be a tax on IV bags or maybe on syringes or perhaps the televisions in hospital rooms.

It might not even be related to health care.

The Hair, through the happy euphemism of Charlie Brown's "Democratic colleagues" and the Democratic caucus, could demand a tax on anything under the sun.

And if the Senate Republicans swallow the bed tax, he'll come up with something else.

The bar over which Daniels and the Republicans must leap will then always be raised until it is so high that they will throw in the towel.

Lucy will always pull the football away at the last moment, even when she is on Charlie Brown's team.

The Governor wants his health care proposal to be passed, he wants to pay for it with the cigarette tax hike, and he will apply considerable pressure to members of his own party in the House and Senate to "git-R-done."

The Hair wants to stop him, and will stop at nothing to do so.

If Mitch Daniels manages to pressure Senate Republicans into swallowing the bed tax, Charlie Brown's Democratic colleagues (IE, Pat "The Hair" Bauer) will dream up something new that they won't like to try and kill it instead.

Something Else to Not Tell the Democrats

Economic development in southern Indiana is "red hot."

Hill Rom, which makes hospital beds and other medical equipment, announced Tuesday that it was investing $1.6 million to turn its corporate offices in Ripley County into a research-and-development center that will employ 80 people, primarily engineers and technicians expected to earn an average $37 an hour.

The state's economic-development corporation provided $173,000 in training grants and $2 million in tax credits to encourage the investment by Hill Rom, a Hillenbrand Industries subsidiary.

Daniels also said he believes the construction of new Ohio River bridges will give the region an enormous boost.

"I think there is very positive agreement and will to get going on this project and get started with the East End bridge," Daniels told the One Southern Indiana luncheon at the Holiday Inn Lakeview.

From his Major Moves initiative funded by leasing the Indiana Toll Road, Daniels said, "Indiana has money in the bank" for the bridge project.

As I said earlier, don't tell the Democrats.

It would be unfortunate if they had to come out of the little fantasy world of doom and gloom that they have constructed for themselves over the past couple of years.

I suspect it is not a coincidence that their Chicken Little cries that the sky is falling have something to do with their party suddenly finding itself no longer in power for the first time in sixteen years, which is undoubtedly their only real cause of worry.

Senator Harry Reid Surrenders



Read all about it here.

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

What Baron Hill Says About the Draft

Another YouTube video from Baron Hill at SPEA last week.



Nobody is sacrificing, it seems, but support for reinstituting the draft is growing?

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

Prior posts in this series:
April 19: What Baron Hill Says About Job Approval
April 18: What Baron Says About Revealing Your Hand to the Enemy
April 17: What Baron Says About Sacrifices
April 16: Baron Hill on Iraq at SPEA

Funny Image of the Day

John Edwards' $400 Haircut

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards always wants the best hair styling that campaign donations can buy.

His campaign's finance reports declared that the campaign paid $400 for haircuts for former Democratic VP nominee Edwards in California and New Hampshire.

Barbers in flyover country were incredulous.

In Iowa, with its important presidential caucus, such fancy and expensive hairdos are frowned upon according to the Iowan Quad-City Times:

“If I charged $400 for a haircut, they’d come after me with white coats,” said Leo Fier, who has been cutting hair for 49 years at his shop in DeWitt, Iowa.

To paraphrase Edwards' campaign theme, there really are two Americas:

Those that can afford to pay $400 for a haircut, and those that can't.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sometimes, You Just Need to Let Go

The Evansville Courier & Press can't get over former Congressman John Hostettler ignoring and not liking them.

First there was a column about what he had been doing since the election, or rather about how they couldn't figure out what he had been doing since the election.

Now, there is an editorial saying that Hostettler should tell them what he's up to.

They even quote the ignorance displayed in their own column as a source to provide the basis for their editorial.

But the answers to their questions are difficult to come by. As the newspaper report said, "Men who once served as Hostettler's top aides, friends who held prominent volunteer positions in his campaigns and activists who were among his closest political allies say they don't even know if he has a job."

How sad it is, then, that Hostettler himself declined to enlighten so many people who wish him well people who once worked so hard for him by refusing to talk to the Courier & Press.

...

And the shame of it today is that people who care about him and were loyal to him even if they weren't in his inner circle are still being kept in the dark.

The Courier & Press should just let it go.

John Hostettler is now a private citizen.

He doesn't have to speak publicly or answer the questions of their newspaper.

One also shouldn't confuse their ignorance, and their shoddy reporting, with people close to Hostettler knowing what he is doing and perhaps knowing that he wouldn't want them to talk about it to a newspaper that he holds in such low regard.

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran



This clip doesn't show it (I can't help but wonder why), but McCain went on to discuss Iran much more seriously just after it cut off.

Vigil by Candlelight

What Baron Hill Says About Job Approval

Another YouTube video from Baron Hill at SPEA last week.



Only Congress could somehow manage to be less popular than President George W. Bush right now.

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

Prior posts in this series:
April 18: What Baron Says About Revealing Your Hand to the Enemy
April 17: What Baron Says About Sacrifices
April 16: Baron Hill on Iraq at SPEA

Partial Birth Abortion Ban Upheld

Forgiveness is a Virtue

And Todd Rokita has now been forgiven.

"It's over for us," said Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, leader of the group, adding that there are more important issues "than a slip of the lip."

...

"He apologized to our satisfaction. We do believe he was sincere in his apology," Smith said.

I wonder how forgiving the rest of the Democratic Party will be.

Will they follow the lead of Smith and the Black Legislative Caucus?

Or will they try to continue to push the issue for political gain?

How many more posts can Taking Down Words squeeze out of this?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Baron Says About Revealing Your Hand to the Enemy

More YouTube video from Baron Hill at SPEA last week.



The man is a certified military genius.

If the above video won't display properly, you can see it here.

Prior posts in this series:
April 17: What Baron Says About Sacrifices
April 16: Baron Hill on Iraq at SPEA

Minimum Wage Hike Headed to Daniels

I'm excited.

Indiana is going to raise its minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, assuming Mitch Daniels signs this.

That means a pay increase of $2. 10 per hour for everybody, right?

Or does it just mean price increases for everybody instead?

Taking Credit Where Undue

The Indianapolis Star and the Courier-Journal report that the Army is spending a hundred million dollars to develop the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County.

This, obviously, is a good thing for Indiana.

Congressman Baron Hill was quick to join the bandwagon, with a press release touting his involvement in the Muscatatuck development:

“I have had the privilege of being involved with Muscatatuck for a long time,” Hill said. “And, I’m very proud that this day has finally come. This expanded training site will be a great boon to the economy in southern Indiana.”

While it's great that Mr. Hill has been involved in the Muscatatuck training center for "a long time," there are many problems with that assertion.

The development of the urban warfare center at Muscatatuck (boy, there's a word that just rolls off your tongue) started a year ago, as the Indy Star points out in its article:

A year ago, the Muscatatuck State Developmental Center became the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, under the command of the Indiana National Guard. More than 9,000 civilian and military personnel have trained on its 1,000 acres.

Baron Hill was not the congressman in the 9th District when it switched over; Mike Sodrel was.

A brief search on Google for Sodrel and Mustatatuck returns a variety of news articles illustrating the efforts of the now-former congressman to establish the urban warfare center there.

For example, from Purdue News:

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act in June 2005 that included $2.5 million for the center at Muscatatuck. That measure was led by former U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., who said this center is a significant first step in what will be a prolonged effort to build a permanent military institution at this Indiana site.

"The national defense of our country is a top priority of the federal government," Sodrel said. "This facility will help further the vital defense training our National Guard needs so it can be prepared in the face of any catastrophic event. Additionally, it will help bolster the training of the state's emergency responders."

Google's caching system even provides a Sodrel press release on it:

Sodrel Secures Funding for Muscatatuck
Washington, Jun 21 - Congressman Mike Sodrel announced that the House of Representatives has passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which includes an earmark of $2.5 million for a new Center for Urban Preparedness and Response to be located at Muscatatuck.

“This is a significant first-step in what will be a prolonged effort to build a permanent military institution at Muscatatuck,” Sodrel said. “I have worked to point out to the Pentagon, and I believe they understand, that Southern Indiana is a particularly good location for the military to train its forces.”

The funding was included in the House bill at Sodrel’s request. Sodrel worked with members of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Leadership to ensure that the funding for Muscatatuck was included in the final version of the bill that was passed by the House of Representatives.

Sodrel, certainly rightly given the outcome now, put much effort into developing the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

His efforts--the seeds he planted in his brief time in Congress with this "significant first step"--have now yielded something very positive for Indiana and for the citizens of the 9th Congressional District.

Baron Hill, however, was swift to swoop in and take credit for the entire thing.

Certainly, Mr. Hill was "involved with Muscatatuck for a long time."

It was closed in 2003 on his watch, as noted in the Purdue piece:

Before it was closed in late 2003, the Muscatatuck State Developmental Center had housed more than 2,000 developmentally disabled residents.

That's probably not the sort of involvement Hill wants to really emphasize, given that it was reopened as an urban warfare center with help from Mike Sodrel, and will now bring $100 million to the 9th District as a part of developing that training center thanks to Sodrel's efforts.