Thursday, February 28, 2008

Notorious Nellie: Campaign Finance Problems Continue to Plague Ackerson's Campaign to Unseat Steve Buyer in IN-4

The campaign finance filing problems for the campaign of 4th District Democratic challenger Nels Ackerson are nothing new.

Back in October, FEC campaign finance filings revealed that Ackerson was on his second campaign treasurer, sacking the first after violations of that most basic of Federal election laws, the limit on individual campaign contributions.

Since then, Ackerson's personal contributions to the Indiana Democratic Party have been made listing his residence as being in a wealthy Maryland suburb of Washington, while Indiana law requires residency within the state of Indiana (which Ackerson professes to have in his campaign filings).

Residency questions aside, such a wide difference in the places Ackerson likes to call home makes him seem at the very least to be a carpetbagger.

Ackerson's campaign likes the flip-flop.

The guy that went out as campaign treasurer in those filings I posted about in October (James Hurst) came back this year (his replacement, David Center, has been sacked), and with him came amendments to Ackerson's campaign filings.

These amendments show a campaign that continues to be significantly troubled.

On January 3, the Federal Election Commission sent a "request for additional information" to David Center, then the Ackerson campaign treasurer, questioning whether the campaign was fully disclosing all contributions over $200 and providing the required identification information, as required by Federal election law.

Ackerson's Q3 filing had over $100,000 in contributions that were wrongly listed as unitemized (under $200) and had to be reclassified as itemized (over $200, and thus requiring disclosure and identification info) after the FEC caught his campaign failing to meet its basic requirements.

The year-end report for Ackerson's campaign had almost $40,000 in similar such errors. This seems less, until you realize that it was almost two-thirds of all of the money that the candidate raised in Q4.

Indeed, Ackerson had to dip into his own wallet to the tune of $20,000 in order to keep his campaign afloat.

His wife Sharon chipped in $4,600, the most she is allowed by law to donate.

Most of the rest of Ackerson's contributions, almost half of the remainder, came from trial lawyers and big law firms.

Spending between thirty and forty thousand a quarter, this early on, Ackerson isn't exactly piling up the big bucks that he will need for media buys in the fall.

Without his own money being chipped in to pad the contribution numbers, Ackerson's campaign would barely be keeping its head above water.

His fundraising has hardly been at a level that would inspire Democrats at both the state and national level to take a chance on his long-shot candidacy in a district that is so heavily Republican.

And not only is his fundraising lackluster, to put it mildly, what money he is getting in significant quantity is coming from groups (such as trial lawyers and the ultra-liberal Simons) that are not exactly going to lend any credance to the idea of Nels Ackerson being a down-to-earth middle-of-the-road Hoosier.

William Frank Buckley, Jr., 1925-2008


“Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”

“Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.”

“The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.”

Senate Approves Yet More Gambling

If the state of Indiana is addicted to gambling, then the Senate on Wednesday took a big snort of a line of something.

From the Courier-Journal:

INDIANAPOLIS – Customers could buy paper pull-tabs and participate in raffles and other small-stakes wagering at taverns under legislation the Senate narrowly approved today.

Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, said House Bill 1153 provides a “fair, level playing field” for bar owners who have been hurt by laws that allow nonprofit veterans and social clubs to offer small-stakes wagering while cracking down on illegal gambling in for-profit establishments.

HB 1153 passed 26-21 and now moves back to the House, where members will consider changes made by the Senate.

The bill’s author, Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, said he intends to send the bill to a conference committee where members of the House and Senate will try to work out a compromise.

First of all, the "fair, level playing field" that Jim Arnold thinks is so great is going to hurt the charitable organizations that last year's expansion of gaming was supposedly designed to help.

When every corner bar has pull-tabs, people are not going to bother to go to the VFW across town.

Second, the taxation levels being placed upon this new massive expansion of gambling are negligible. One estimate I saw said that the state will get new revenue in the area of anywhere from $5 to $25 million; Matt Bell (R-Avilla) said in committee that his estimate was $14 to $18 million. Both estimates are so small that even its proponents do not try to make the laughable proposition that it is good for the state's finances.

Third, the level of taxation and its other provisions show the hypocrisy and expose the lie inherent in the claims of Mr. Arnold and Mr. Tyler that this legislation has been put forward to create a "fair, level playing field."

Indeed--and Indiana Gaming Commission Director Ernie Yelton noted as much in statements about the bill--businesses will be book their purchases of the "paper games" as expenses; charities and other organizations presently allowed to sell them do not have that ability.

This could, perversely, result in businesses actually (by virtue of booking more expenses and thus having less income for taxes) paying less in taxes than before and potentially seeing the state getting less revenue overall.

Accordingly, the field will disproportionately favor the businesses, not the charities; the legislation makes a mockery of the claim of creating a "fair, level playing field."

Fourth, HR 1153, as I have mentioned earlier, is a special interest creation that will create what amounts to a de facto pull-tab printing monopoly in the state of Indiana for a company, the Muncie Novelty Company / Indiana Ticket Company, that is based in the district of Dennis Tyler (D, Muncie) and is apparently one of the only such companies in Indiana (if not the only such company) that prints pull tabs.

So the Senate has stabbed the charitable groups it was trying to help last year in the back.

It has approved a massive expansion of gambling.

And it has caved into the special interests with the legislation's "25% from Indiana" provision designed to help a business in the sponsor's district.

I expected this sort of bad policy cronyism from the House Democrats.

I did not expect it from the Senate Republicans.

Name and shame; here are the 26 craven worms, err, senators (16 Democrats, 10 Republicans) that voted for this piece of crap.

Ronnie Alting (R, Lafayette)
Jim Arnold (D, LaPorte)
Phil Boots (R, Crawfordsville)
Jean Breaux (D, Indianapolis)
John Broden (D, South Bend)
Bob Deig (D, Mount Vernon)
Sue Errington (D, Muncie)
Lindel Hume (D, Princeton)
Robert Jackman (R, Milroy)
Luke Kenley (R, Noblesville)
Timothy Lanane (D, Anderson)
Sue Landske (R, Cedar Lake)
James Lewis (D, Charlestown)
David Long (R, Fort Wayne)
Frank Mrvan (D, Hammond)
Allen Paul (R, Richmond)
Marvin Riegsecker (R, Goshen)
Earline Rogers (D, Gary)
Vi Simpson (D, Bloomington)
Connie Sipes (D, New Albany)
Timothy Skinner (D, Terre Haute)
Samuel Smith (D, East Chicago)
Karen Tallian (D, Portage)
John Waterman (R, Shelburn)
Thomas Weatherwax (R, Logansport)
Richard Young (D, Milltown)

Clearwater Coverage in Brown County

From the Brown County Democrat:

Clearwater

Gretchen Clearwater is running for Congress in the 9th District of Southern Indiana. The primary election is May 6. She is a progressive Democrat, running for a second time after having lost previously to Baron Hill.

Neither a woman nor a minority has ever held the seat of Congress in the 9th District since Congress began in the 1840s. Register to vote before the deadline of 4 p.m. on April 7.

Ms. Clearwater’s Web site is viewable at www.clearwaterforcongress.com and questions can be asked at www.bloomingtononline.net under the title “Vote Bloomington!”

Details on the Howey Poll

Not quite crosstabs, but close.

Kentucky Dems Easily Beat Pat "The Hair" Bauer in Heavy Handed Tactics Department

When his committee wouldn't approve a casino gambling amendment, Kentucky Democrat House Speaker Jody Richards sacked one member of the committee by fiat and appointed two new members sure to do his bidding.

From the Courier-Journal:

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A bill to legalize casino gambling survived a series of bizarre legislative twists yesterday that revealed a major split within the leadership of the House Democratic majority.

In the morning, two versions of the proposed constitutional amendment -- which would authorize nine casinos and is Gov. Steve Beshear's top priority -- failed to win approval from a House committee.

But yesterday afternoon House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, led a rare move to change the membership of that committee and get the bill to the House floor.

Richards removed Rep. Dottie Sims, D-Horse Cave, because she did not vote for a version of the amendment that he supports.

Then he and two other House leaders added two new members to the panel -- over the objections of Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Okolona, who supports a different version of the amendment.

"I want to get that amendment out of committee, and we intend to do it," Richards, D-Bowling Green, told reporters later.

But Clark called Richards' move "the cheapest form of petty politics I've seen up here in 24 years -- to take a member off a committee because she did not vote the way the speaker wanted."

Sims was furious and almost in tears over her dismissal. "It's communist," she said of her ouster. "… The leadership is in disarray. They're split."

Depending on how you look at it, The Hair is either clever enough to think to pack his committees with loyalists in advance, or he's not yet advanced to the whole dictatorial "sack the opponents and rig the vote" level just yet.

I'd bet on the former; yet another area (though an ignominious one) where Indiana is ahead of Kentucky.

The Answer to Life, the Universe, & Everything

From Google.

Somewhere, Douglas Adams is smiling.

Calypso Louie Approved!


I guess he'll have to go back to wearing his "Grandson Carson for Congress" button instead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another Poll Shows Mitch Daniels in Command for November Reelect

The new Howey poll shows Daniels ahead of both Democratic challengers by better than twenty points.

It is the third such poll to indicate him significantly ahead in recent weeks and months.

One in December showed him up over the Democrats by a margin in the low to mid teens, and another taken in late January after his State of the State address indicated a lead by around a twenty percent margin.

All three of these polls stand in stark contrast to the outlier poll from the Star (whose sample was unrepresentative) that showed him in a much closer race.

The poll also shows bad news for Hillary Clinton; she trails Barack Obama by fifteen points, which has to make you wonder how well she is really doing in neighboring Ohio (where the demographics are similar).

Jon Elrod trails Grandson Carson by 18% in the Howey poll, but that number is somewhat misleading.

Daniels will be up in November and Clinton will face Obama in a high-turnout primary fight.

Grandson Carson will face Elrod in a special election, where turnout will be low and the situation is much more fluid and difficult to poll.

The turnout models, which impact the end results, are dramatically different for a general election relative to a primary election, and further different still for a special election.

If the traditional Carson machine comes into play in full force in the special, Elrod will be swept away.

If it does not (and Elrod is an amazingly strong campaigner with broad appeal, and and some Democrats want Carson to lose for tactical reasons concerning the May primary), things could be much closer than the Howey poll indicates.

And kudos to Howey for putting the results of the poll out straight away, rather than trickling them out for two weeks as the Indianapolis Star likes to do.

Now, if only he will make the crosstabs available...

Computer Glitch (Temporarily) Saves Township Assessors from Elimination

But their fate is likely to hang in the balance again later today.

From the Indy Star:

Township assessors keep jobs another day
Skillman misses tiebreaking vote to eliminate them


Gov. Mitch Daniels' hopes of eliminating township assessors suffered a setback Monday when his lieutenant governor missed a key opportunity to cast a tie-breaking vote to pass the provision.

A second chance could come as early as today, when House Bill 1001 -- the massive bill containing Daniels' property tax plan -- may come up for a final vote in the Senate.

Before that vote is cast, the Senate will again consider whether to amend the bill to eliminate township assessors and shift their duties to county assessors.

Sen. Teresa S. Lubbers, R-Indianapolis, tried to change the bill Monday to do just that, but the amendment stalled on a vote of 23-23.

Skillman, who as lieutenant governor also serves as president of the Senate, announced that the measure had failed.

She said later that she thought she could cast a tiebreaking vote to pass the measure. While she conferred with the Senate parliamentarian on the rules, a staffer cleared the voting machine, leaving no way for her to cast the deciding vote.

"I would have voted yes," Skillman said. "This was an amendment that takes us one step closer to the governor's introduced version of property tax reform."

The article subtitle and the first sentence make it seem like Becky Skillman was for some reason absent; only when you read deeper do you realize that this was due to a computer problem (or, depending on how you look at it, a staffer problem).

Had the staffer been patient (or if the computer software for the voting machine had an "undo" option), the amendment eliminating township assessors would have been approved.

As it stands, they'll just vote again today and (assuming the senators vote the same), it will be approved then.

Yet More Pointless Veep Speculation

This time concerning Mitch Daniels and John McCain (hat tip: Disenfranchised American):

WASHINGTON — Energy policy, health care and highways were the top issues on the agenda of the National Governors Association here Sunday, but many governors were consumed with presidential politics, buzzing about the possibility that the next vice president would come from their ranks.

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican, said that “Senator McCain has national security and foreign policy credentials nailed down tight,” so it would make sense for him to choose a running mate who had wrestled with domestic issues as a governor.

Such speculation turned to Congressman Mike Pence when McCain was in town last Friday:

Governor Mitch Daniels referenced [the discredited Times lobbyist story] in his introduction of McCain, telling people in the crowd to buy a book written by McCain.

"It's not very expensive. After you've canceled your New York Times subscription you'll have money left over," said Daniels.

One person at the town hall meeting wanted to know if his plans to move on included the selection of Indiana Congressman Mike Pence as a running mate.

"I'm very proud and I know that all of you are proud of Mike Pence as well," responded McCain.

The Republican frontrunner didn't rule it out but said he needs to secure the nomination before he picks a running mate.

And let's not forget a new iteration on a terribly old and worn-out theory: Obama-Bayh 2008.

There’s a case to be made that an Obama-Bayh ticket is at least vaguely in the realm of possibility.

To begin with, Bayh hasn’t committed any unpardonable political sins in his endorsement of Clinton or his conduct in the campaign so far.

Had Bayh waited till Obama began winning primaries and astounding everyone with his fundraising, his endorsement would have been seen as equal amounts of pro-Clinton and anti-Obama. But declaring his fealty when Bayh did – and to a candidate with whom he had a long-standing political relationship if not friendship – is easily cast as both political pragmatism and a personal commitment.

Bayh has been Clinton’s surrogate in any number of situations, but he hasn’t bad-mouthed Obama.

I somehow doubt that either one of them will get the nod at the end of the day.

Daniels simply doesn't have enough hair to balance out McCain (Republican tickets always need good hair), Pence would be better off fighting the good fight in Congress, and Obama and Bayh together would be a ticket so lightweight and devoid of real substance that it would blow away when someone sneezed.

Howey on Grandson Carson's Islam Problem

There's just something about that photo of Grandson Carson.

It's almost one you'd expect to see of him somewhere decidedly less flattering than on a campaign website.

Brian Howey gives voice to a political consideration--deserved or not--that has been getting some attention of late in the Indiana blogosphere concerning Grandson Carson's religion and who has spoken on his behalf.

CARSON FUNERAL A PROBLEM FOR ANDRE

Andre Carson’s greatest political asset may be his grandmother’s name, but one of his biggest liabilities is proving to be her funeral (Indianapolis Star).

That’s because his family gave a spot in the parade of dignitaries who eulogized Congresswoman Julia Carson to Louis Farrakhan, whom Jewish leaders consider one of America’s leading anti-Semites, gay rights activists consider a homophobe and who famously referred to white people as "devils."

In recent weeks, Andre Carson has been reassuring Jewish leaders here and in Washington that Farrakhan’s appearance wasn’t his idea. He has spoken publicly about his distaste for discrimination, homophobia or racism of any kind. He has talked repeatedly of his desire for unity.

But the Farrakhan episode also called attention to something that went largely unrecognized before — that Andre Carson is a Muslim and that, if elected March 11, he would be Indiana’s first Muslim representative in Congress and only the second in U.S. history.

How his faith will factor with voters, if at all, is unknown. But in a post-September 11 world, it has led some of his own campaign advisers to interject, without being prompted, that Andre Carson is not an Osama bin Laden Muslim.

And since the funeral — which included Farrakhan’s own plug for Carson’s candidacy — the young Carson has been trying to explain that he also is not a Louis Farrakhan Muslim.

Carson says his faith is just part of who he is. "It is not the totality. Like every other human being, I have various faces," he said. "I am multifaceted."

So he's two-faced?

How career politician of him.

His grandmother must be smiling right now.

This being said, admitting that you're two-faced is not exactly a good way for Grandson Carson to get out of this whole Farrakhan quicksand he has found himself in of late.

House Republican Campaign Conference Call

I had the chance to listen in on a conference call yesterday by the HRCC, talking about the lay of the land going into 2008 and what sort of opportunities (and challenges) the House Republicans face in regaining the majority in November.

"Gonzo Defenestrater" has a good summary of the call over at When the Going Gets Weird, the Tough Turn Pro (which I have just added to the blogroll, incidentally).

They're seriously looking (as they always are) at challenging Paul Robertson here in House District #70.

We'll see how long their enthusiasm for that lasts; last year he had chased them off to greener pastures by Labor Day, so maybe they'll actually stay around until November this go around.

Will that Be His Name on the Ballot?

Got to love this:

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, is facing a challenge from Democrat Tony "Big Dog" Van Pelt. Steele is an attorney, and Van Pelt works in customer relations for Andy Frain Services. Van Pelt said yesterday that he wants to run so there is someone in the legislature to represent "the working man."

The Gray Lady Falls

An Empty Box

Monday, February 25, 2008

Star Derides The Hair's Crazy Tax Scheme

Now, don't get me wrong.

I am sure that some great ideas in history have started by being scratched onto napkins.

The Hair's, well, hair-brained scheme to tie property tax caps to incomes is not going to go down as one of them.

From the Indy Star:

It may qualify as the worst property tax idea on record.

But the House Ways and Means Committee actually approved a proposal last week that would base homeowners' tax bills not on the value of their properties but on household income.

How would such a radical shift affect tax revenues? Would most Hoosiers' tax bills increase or decrease? Could high-income homeowners create a tax shield by shifting property titles to low-income spouses? Why should the state penalize property owners who decide to invest more in their children's education than in house payments? Or reward those who overextend themselves by buying more expensive houses than they can afford?

Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, who not only hatched this nonsense but also successfully amended it to SJR 1, couldn't answer such questions. The committee chairman, Bill Crawford, admitted that an analysis of the proposal's fiscal impact, a basic step with any legislation that would affect revenues, had not been completed.

Gov. Mitch Daniels described the amendment as "poorly conceived." That's a kind criticism under the circumstances.

House Republicans also quickly and appropriately derided the amendment.

Such distractions underscore the fact that even on an issue as urgent as property tax reform, and even after voters have warned legislators to act now or face defeat on Election Day, the game-playing in the Statehouse continues.

Now that the Democrats have finally, after over half a year of property taxes being an issue and doing nothing but complain and point fingers, put forward a plan on how to address the problem, the Indianapolis Star rightly derides it as "the worst property tax idea on record."

Baron Must Feel Insufficiently Bribed to Pick Presidential Candidate Just Yet

From the News & Tribune:

Hill, who was in Clark County on Friday to file for re-election, said he’s not ready to endorse Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., or Barack Obama, D- Ill. — the two major candidates still left in the Democratic race for the White House. Although, he said, he may offer his opinion before the campaign’s end.

Voters in more than half of U.S. states have weighed in and the party is no closer to having a nominee. Obama — who’s won the last 11 contests and holds a small delegate lead — is seen as the front-runner by many national pundits.

In recent presidential elections, nominees for each party have been all but decided by the time Indiana’s May primary took place. Hoosier votes could have more influence in 2008 because of the close contest.

Hill’s position on the race is important because he’s what’s known as a super delegate — free to support either candidate.

As I noted last week, Baron Hill has received money from both Democratic candidates (more from Obama than Clinton).

But he has only received $15,000.

On the menu of prices, $12,500 (the amount given by Obama) appears to be just enough to get Baron's wife to wear a t-shirt for your campaign.

That same menu indicates that $30,000, when given by a lobbying client to his former employer, was enough to get that client a juicy lobbying contract.

On the basis of that pricing menu, I suspect that obtaining Baron's vote at the Democratic National Convention will not come cheap.

NYT Ombudsman Slams McCain Article

I like how the article says that it appeared in the online edition.

The New York Times' ombudsman strongly criticized the newspaper's insinuation this week that White House hopeful John McCain had a tryst with a female lobbyist 31 years his junior, nearly 10 years ago.

"The newspaper found itself in the uncomfortable position of being the story as much as publishing the story, in large part because, although it raised one of the most toxic subjects in politics -- sex -- it offered readers no proof that McCain and (Vicki) Iseman had a romance," public editor Clark Hoyte wrote in the Times' online edition.

In an article signed by four reporters that raised more backlash against the daily than the candidate, the Times Thursday cited unnamed McCain advisers who, "convinced the relationship had become romantic," had asked Iseman to keep away from the senator.

"The article was notable for what it did not say," wrote Hoyte in his column to be published Sunday. "It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance.

"It did not make clear what McCain was admitting when he acknowledged behaving inappropriately -- an affair or just an association with a lobbyist that could look bad," he said of alleged comments McCain made to his advisers.

Hoyt also criticized Times executive editor Bill Keller's explanation that the article's main thrust was not the alleged affair but the political favors the Republican bestowed on a lobbyist, which Hoyt said "ignored the scarlet elephant in the room."

"A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. ... The stakes are just too big."

"The pity of it is that, without the sex, the Times was on to a good story," Hoyt added, recalling that McCain, 71, had been reprimanded in the past for cozying up to lobbyists -- the influence of money in politics is a recurring issue in Congress.

On Saturday, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Newsweek all said McCain's denials about the Times' article contradicted earlier statements of his that he did have contacts with two business clients of Iseman, 40.

Meanwhile, several conservative media commentators who up to now had been critical of McCain rallied to his side against The New York Times, which they consider a bastion of liberal, left-wing America.

Apparently, critical statements by their own ombudsman were not in the category of being in with "all the news that's fit to print."

I Feel Sorry for Dr. John McGoff

From his campaign blog:

Straight from the horse's mouth: John being taken "seriously" by Burton

From the Greenfield Daily Reporter:

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton reached out to Greenfield residents this week as he campaigned here to influence voters before the May primary election.

One of the reasons for the congressman’s attention is to parry a challenge from GOP rival John McGoff, who is first serious primary challenger of Burton’s 13 congressional elections.

“John is forcing us to work a little harder,” said Rick Wilson, Burton’s deputy chief of staff who has worked for the congressman for 15 years. “We’re obviously taking it seriously.”


When you have to cite the words of your opponent's staffers in order to try to be taken seriously, your campaign might (maybe, just maybe) have a problem.

Will that Be His Name on the Ballot?

Got to love this:

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, is facing a challenge from Democrat Tony "Big Dog" Van Pelt. Steele is an attorney, and Van Pelt works in customer relations for Andy Frain Services. Van Pelt said yesterday that he wants to run so there is someone in the legislature to represent "the working man."

News Flash: The Patriots Cheat


Yet more evidence, this time from the New York Times (of all places):

INDIANAPOLIS — The Patriots’ pattern of illicitly videotaping the signals of opposing N.F.L. coaches began in Coach Bill Belichick’s first preseason with the team in 2000, a former Patriots player said. The information was put to use in that year’s regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Belichick’s debut as New England’s coach.

The secret taping of signals, which is against league rules, continued at least through three championship seasons to the 2007 season opener against the Jets, when the Patriots were caught and subsequently sanctioned by the league.

As coaches and executives gathered here Thursday for the N.F.L. scouting combine, many saying they were satisfied with the league’s investigation and ready to move on, new details were emerging about the history of the Patriots’ videotaping.

According to several executives in the league, the season opener against the Jets was not the first time the Patriots had been spotted taping another team’s defensive coaches at Giants Stadium. In the final preseason game of 2006, the Patriots were caught taping a Giants defensive assistant giving signals, the executives said.

The incident prompted a letter addressed to all teams seven days later from the N.F.L. vice president Ray Anderson that detailed the league’s interpretation of the rules. That letter was cited by Commissioner Roger Goodell when he punished the Patriots.

Belichick has said that he misinterpreted the league’s bylaws, telling Goodell that he thought it was permissible to use electronic equipment as long as the information was not used in the same game. That explanation has been greeted with disbelief by some peers and league officials.

In a news conference last week, Goodell said Belichick’s explanation led to the assumption that he had been videotaping opponents’ signals “as long as he has been head coach.”

Read the whole thing.

And, no, everybody was not doing it.

Hat tip: Doug Masson.

The Legacy of El Commandante


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias"

All the News that's Fit to Fake


The Indy Star's recent editorial puts it well:

The United States is fighting a war on two fronts. Terrorists threaten the nation's security. The economy may be headed into recession, if it's not there already. Health care and energy costs continue to surge. The list of issues that should command Americans' attention, from taxes to illegal immigration, goes on.

But what has dominated news media coverage of the presidential race this week?

The Clinton campaign's charge that Barack Obama plagiarized another politician's speech. Questions about whether Obama's wife is proud of America. And whether John McCain, who is scheduled to appear at a town hall meeting today in Indianapolis, had a "romantic'' relationship with a lobbyist eight years ago.

The accusation against McCain arose Wednesday night after The New York Times released a story that can best be described as strange. Strange because it wasn't really about McCain's relationship, romantic or otherwise, with a lobbyist named Vicki Iseman.

Here's the key sentence in The Times' story, one that outlines the theme of the report: "Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.''

Let's break down that sentence. The candidate has promised to hold himself to high ethical standards. He's confident in his integrity. But sometimes he's blind to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interests. Underline the words "potentially embarrassing.'' Not clearly immoral, unethical or illegal. But potentially embarrassing.

That's not exactly Watergate material.

But The Times' story dominated the news cycle Thursday not because of "potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest'' but the loaded word "romantic.'' The TV talking heads panted hot and heavy over whether McCain had indulged in an affair eight years ago. For the record, both McCain and the lobbyist, Iseman, deny the accusation.

Bob Bennett, McCain's attorney, also strongly denies the main thrust of The Times' story, citing about a dozen instances when the senator voted against the interests of Iseman's clients.

For America's sake, please tell us that this week does not signal the start of nine months of shaky allegations and mudslinging. Voters deserve, and this nation needs, a higher level of debate.

Only slightly more than nine more months to go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Property Tax Tweak from House Dems Causes 50% Funding Shortfall, 30% Hike in Income Taxes

Sometimes, you know, when making this utterly, completely, and totally idiotic amendments to legislation, The Hair and his balding crony, Bill Crawford, should actually give some measure of thought to the consequences of what they are proposing.

They have an entire bureaucracy devoted to conducting research and telling them such things, though they apparently do not listen to it.

The Indy Star reports on what they did:

In what Gov. Mitch Daniels called a "half-baked" move, Democrats on Wednesday altered the core principle of his property tax reform plan and based tax caps on household income rather than a home's assessed value.

Since he first pitched his sweeping proposal in October, Daniels has pushed for homeowners' tax bills to be limited to 1 percent of their home's assessed value.
While House Democrats approved that concept last month in House Bill 1001, the legislation that reflects most of Daniels' plan, they changed their minds Wednesday when it came to placing those caps in the state constitution.

Instead, Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, pushed a proposal that would limit a homeowner's tax bill to 1 percent of their household's annual income -- meaning a family that makes the median state income of $44,806 per year would pay about $448 in property taxes. Under Daniels' plan, the property taxes on the median-priced home in Indiana, $104,833, would amount to $1,004 year.

The change was placed into Senate Joint Resolution 1, the legislation that would amend the constitution.

And don't doubt for a moment that Crawford is clueless (as if there could be doubt.

He admits as much himself:

Rep. Jeff Espich, a top Republican fiscal leader, repeatedly questioned Crawford about whether he could demonstrate what financial impact his proposal would have on schools, local government and taxpayers.

Crawford said he couldn't answer those questions because there was no analysis or fiscal data available that compares the incomes of Hoosiers to the value of their homes.

"This isn't based on any empirical data, and we don't have any answers on what this would do," said Rep. Randy Borror, R-Fort Wayne. "Hoosier taxpayers are frustrated with us, and I can see why."

If this is the Democrats' proposal for property tax reform, then The Hair needs to reach up under his rug and pull out a new trick.

This one isn't going to cut the mustard.

I took five minutes with Google and with a calculator, and was able to find monumental deficiencies in their "small change" in the proposed property tax legislation.

Yes, there will be math.

Be brave.

There aren't many numbers, and they pass by quickly.

There are about six million people in Indiana.

The median (or roughly average) per capita income in Indiana is about $32,000 or so.

If, as the Democrats propose, every homeowner was taxed at 1% of their income, then the most that would be generated would be about $1.92 billion.

Of course, not every Hoosier owns a home, so this amount is actually going to be considerably less.

In 2005, property taxes generated about $6 billion for the state of Indiana.

This means that the Democratic plan would create a $4 billion budget shortfall out of the box.

Only one billion of that (using the Daniels estimate of new tax revenue) would be made up by the sales tax increase.

Where is the other three billion dollars that is missing going to come from?

Presumably, since the Democrats have put forward no other plan, they intend for it to be made up by cuts in local budgets.

Can your community afford to have its budget cut in half?

Make no mistake about it, that is what Pat Bauer and Bill Crawford "drew up on a cocktail napkin" (no doubt while tipsy at some lavish party put on by some lobbyist).

House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he was "uncertain what they're attempting to do. I understand this was written on the back of a cocktail napkin in the last 72 hours."

Moreover, Indiana's income tax is done at a flat rate of 3.4% across the board.

Increasing income taxes by 1% is giving every Hoosier homeowner a tax increase of about 30% compared to what they were paying before in income taxes.

Of course, it's not quite this simple.

It's probably a good deal worse; a study is clearly going to be necessary to determine all of the consequences (unintended and otherwise) stemming from so radical a transformation of the existing property tax reform proposals.

But if I can figure out in five minutes with Google and a calculator that it is this bad, why couldn't The Hair and Balding Bill?

Maybe they were too intoxicated.

But wait!

There's more!

Not only do they look to create a 50% funding shortfall, not only are they creating a 30% income tax hike on homeowners, but they are also going to include a massive amnesty loophole for certain architects that draw up those expensive designer schools *cough* Jim Schellinger *cough*.

That's what this is:

Crawford excluded all existing debt from the tax caps, which he said would create less of a revenue loss for school districts and municipalities.

Where, exactly, do you think most of the debt for school corporations comes from?

That's right, from bond issues for school construction.

Of late, in Indiana, that often means a "designer school" with some nifty art deco or modern look and an indoor swimming pool.

Simple Math Shatters Liberal Dreams

The blogger formerly known as Angry White Boy pithily observes:

Another hatchet job by the Dumbocrats. In the end, they’ll be the ones that will be embarrassed. Wanker and Thomas didn’t do their homework plain and simple, and now they are stuck with this story.

Jay Kenworthy, Communications Director of the Indiana Republican Party went to the Elections Division this morning at 7:45 (and waited outside until they opened at 8:30) to be sure he was the first to count the signatures. McCain has 531 in the 4th Congressional District, according to his count. That pretty much mirrors the county reports with one exception. Marion County claims 58 signatures, when in reality, there are 60 (they missed one signature, and their addition was wrong on the final tally).

Confirmed by Advance Indiana.

I'm afraid that I'm inclined to believe Gary Welsh over the screeching of the so-called communications director of the Indiana Democratic Party and a college student who must be majoring in accounting or political science at Indiana University in order to be that poor at basic math.

Super Bribes for Super Delegates

There have been some stories of late about cash from Obama and Clinton flowing to uncommitted so-called super delegates.

Here is a list, and here are the Hoosiers (and one neighboring savage from the wilds of Kentucky):

Baron Hill
$15,000 total
$2,500 Clinton
$12,500 Obama

Brad Ellsworth
$10,000 total
$0 Clinton
$10,000 Obama

Joe Donnelly
$7,500 total
$0 Clinton
$7,500 Obama

John Yarmuth
$6,000 total
$0 Clinton
$6,000 Obama

Only Yarmuth has committed; he endorsed Obama.

All of the rest have not declared for anyone at present.

Despite all the talk of Evan Bayh lining the state party apparatus up behind Hillary Clinton, Obama seems to be sharing the wealth a bit more than she is.

Given that he gave her husand $12,500, it's no wonder that Baron's wife likes wearing an Obama shirt when abroad on an official (supposedly non-political) trip.

Talk about paid advertising.

More of Michelle


What would be better than the Democrats nominating Hillary Clinton?

The Democrats nominating a pair of pompous self-absorbed ivory-tower-dwelling lefty academic windbags, that's what.

Michelle Obama Speaks


Remember how John Kerry's wife wouldn't shut up?

Yeah, this might be more than a tad bit worse than that for the golden boy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dems Set for Gubernatorial Primary, Jill Long Thompson Ruins Dan Parker's Day

From WIBC:

It's official: Democrats will have a primary battle to choose their nominee to face Governor Mitch Daniels.

CSO SchenkelShultz CEO Jim Schellinger and former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson each met Tuesday's deadline to turn in 500 petition signatures from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts. Once the count is verified, they'll be on the ballot.

Earlier, some Schellinger backers declared Thompson should drop out. But polls show both running a competitive race against Daniels.

Schellinger says a contested primary won't change his focus. He says he's visited all 92 counties since announcing his candicacy last spring, and will continue to travel the state.

Thompson says the primary duel may help the eventual nominee by focusing attention on the race sooner.

Like Thompson, Schellinger is blasting Daniels' property-tax relief plan, complaining a sales-tax hike would hit low-income Hoosiers harder, and charging the plan has pitted state and local government against each other. He says he'd bring all stakeholders together to agree on a solution.

Thompson has been jabbing Schellinger as part of the problem, saying that his architectural firm "made a living off property taxes" by designing school construction projects, at times lobbying school boards to approve the price tags.

Schellinger predicts Indiana hasn't heard the last of Daylight Saving Time as a campaign issue. Schellinger says the issue of changing the clocks is settled now, but says many voters remain angry about the legislative battle that made the switch a reality.

Daniels is unopposed for the Republican nomination. A Bedford firefighter who had said he would run never filed his signatures, and has endorsed Daniels instead.

Looks like she made it after all.

Get your popcorn, folks.

It's going to be a rumble to remember, because Jill Long Thompson has never seen a primary she won't go negative in and the Bayh clique is going to fight tooth and nail to hold on to its control of the state Democratic Party.

Oh, and that Bedford firefighter that bowed out against Daniels?

It looks like (page 5, PDF warning) he's going to run in the primary against 4th District Republican Congressman Steve Buyer instead.

Mother of Fallen Navy SEAL Killed in Iraq Rips Berkeley City Council

“What Freedom Means to Me”

Sometimes the youngest say it best.

From the Seymour Tribune:

Freedom is very important in my life. It gives me the right to believe things that I want to believe, and be able to do the things that I like to do.

Freedom also gives me, and everyone else in the United States, the right to have our own opinions, and the right to live freely. So, as you can see, freedom is very important in my life, and I’m sure a lot of other peoples’ lives, too. So if the people in the Army hadn’t fought for us, and been so brave and kept going whenever things got tough, we wouldn’t have the freedom that we have today.

We all should be very thankful because we have freedom that other people might not have.

Freedom will always be an important thing to have, and people get it by being brave and hopeful, and by helping each other out. So, really, to me freedom means trusting in each other, and for fighting for what you believe in. No one should ever take their freedom for granted, because it’s something that people had to fight for to get, and we should all respect the fact that we have freedom.

~

Kaylee McDonald is a student at Seymour Middle School. This is her winning essay from this year’s Jackson County Sertoma Freedom Essay Contest on “What Freedom Means to Me.”

The Obasm Defined

From the Urban Dictionary:

1. obasm

The pleasure that a liberal-leaning journalist gets when writing a fawning story about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). An "obasm" is a story so gushy and so fluffy, bereft of objectivity, that one imagines having to clean up after the writer with a mop and bucket.

"Did you see the obasm the local newspaper had on the front page today? They're not even pretending to be objective anymore."

Brian Howey's picture should be there, as he has been having one ever since he went to Illinois and took that one same picture of Obama that he has been reusing over, and over, and over, and over again whenever he feels that a reporter on Indiana politics should opine on a national race.

Lefty Nutroots Scared about Losing House; Baron "In Grave Danger" of Losing Seat

From MyDD:

Democrats in danger of losing the House

OK, I am not going to talk about Presidential candidates here because I know it will just lead to another useless arguement. Instead, I want to turn to another issue of great importance that people in the liberal blogosphere are not paying nearly enough attention to. That is the battle for control of the House. This new Rasmussen poll shows Democrats clinging to a bare 44%-40% lead in the generic Congressional ballot.

This small lead is all the more frightening due to the fact that this is the type of lead Democrats had in the 2004 election when they came out with only 202 House seats(Republicans had 232). Democrats on these sites seem to be taking control of the House for granted. If a Democrat is elected President, they are not only going to need to hold the House to get anything meaningful passed, but will also have to pick up an additional 15-20 seats.

Our majority is held because of certain Democrats' ability to win Republicans leaning seats in the 2006 election. These people cannot afford to have any higher Republican turnout or a sag in Democratic turnout if they are going to hold onto their seats. What is even worse for Democrats is that a new poll says that Americans are blaming Congress for the economic troubles more than Bush.

I really believe that we could lose the House in 2008 if we are focusing too much on the Presidential race. Right now I can name several Democratic incumbents in grave danger of losing their seats. They are:

Jerry McNerney(CA-11)
Tim Mahoney(FL-16)
Jim Marshall(GA-08)
John Yarmuth(KY-03)
Nancy Boyda(KS-02)
Tim Walz(MN-01)
Carol Shea-Porter(NH-01)
Kirsten Gillibrand(NY-20)
Melissa Bean(IL-08)
Harry Mitchell(AZ-05)
Gabby Giffords(AZ-08)
Nick Lampson(TX-22)
Ciro Rodriguez(TX-23)
Steve Kagen(WI-08)
Jason Altmire(PA-04)
Chris Carney(PA-10)
Paul Kanjorski(PA-11)
Baron Hill(IN-09)

Right there is about 20 seats that we could lose in 2008. That would essentially wipe out our majority in the House.

While I'm nowhere near as optimistic as they seem to be scared, polling does indicate that the ground is moving and the political landscape is changing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Baron Announces Reelect Bid, Poses for Campaign Photos with Troops He Voted to Send to War But Now Refuses to Fund

As long expected, complete with the use of American soldiers as props in a campaign photo op.

From WISH TV:

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Baron Hill wants to keep his seat in Congress. Monday morning he filed for re-election.

Hill currently serves southern Indiana. He went to the Secretary of State's office on Monday to file the proper paperwork.

Hill and former Congressman Mike Sodrel have clashed for the 9th district house seat three times so far and Hill expects another strong challenge.

"You know one of the things that I want to do is elevate the level of discourse in this so it's not so nasty as it was the last time. And I'm going to be reaching out to my opponents so that we conduct ourselves in a better fashion," said Rep. Baron Hill.

Hill is now heading to Georgia to visit with Indiana national guard members who will head to Iraq soon.

How about Baron starts by conducting himself in a better fashion?

He can begin by not using Hoosier National Guard members as a backdrop for his reelection bid, particularly when he has a demonstrated history of not caring one bit about them.

I also find it hard to believe that Baron Hill wants to elevate the level of discourse in the 9th District and prevent things from being nasty.

After all, he proclaimed on television last time that "negative ads work."

Take a look for yourself:



EDIT: I have heard from Hoosiers soldiers deployed to Georgia that they have met the enemy, err, Baron, and they were not impressed. He apparently spent the whole time walking around talking with a group of officers.

Bedford Man Drops Daniels Primary Challenge; JLT's Campaign Still in Question

It looks like La Ron Keith's declared primary challenge to Mitch Daniels, the only such bid on the radar, is not to be after all.

From the Associated Press:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A retired firefighter from Bedford has dropped his bid to run for governor as a Republican.

La Ron Keith announced in September that he would run, but issued a release Monday saying that he was in an automobile accident this past summer that resulted in injuries making it difficult to walk.

He said he had planned on getting necessary signatures to get on the ballot, but the pain suffered in the wreck prevented him from doing so. He said he has decided to support Gov. Mitch Daniels.

I have not heard of anyone else gathering signatures on the Republican side for a bid, so it's probably safe to say that Daniels will be unopposed.

The only question, when it comes to the gubernatorial primary, is whether Jill Long Thompson will get enough signatures by today at noon to be on the ballot.

As of yesterday, Fort Wayne News was reporting that she still needed an estimated some 470 signatures across the state in order to qualify to run.

On Valentine's Day, last week, Howey noted that she still needed almost a thousand signatures, so her people have made up half of that gap over the weekend.

Given that level of progress, it is probably premature to assume that she will have insufficient signatures in time (though I wouldn't rule it out).

Schellinger, it has been reported, still needs "hundreds" of signatures in the 8th District.

He will probably have little difficulty getting them.

It is my understanding that Schellinger requested assistance from the various county parties in obtaining sufficient signatures for his campaign.

Jill Long Thompson apparently made no such request (or if she did, it was not made to people in counties down this way).

That's probably very symbolic of the central failing of her campaign thus far; she has run not merely against the establishment in Indianapolis, but run against everyone by effectively not engaging in outreach to many county parties that might otherwise be receptive.

Paul Robertson to Have GOP Challenger

A candidacy was already announced back in December at the Harrison County GOP's Christmas party, but a filing is now listed on the Secretary of State's website (PDF warning), so it's official.

Democrat State Representative Paul Robertson will be challenged in November, probably by Floyds Knobs businessman Tim Hunt.

In a year in which voters overwhelmingly want change and are in a historic anti-incumbent mood, how will they react to a guy that's been in office since 1978?

McCain to Visit Indiana (Maybe)

From the Courier-Journal:

McCain may make visit to Indianapolis

Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is expected to visit Indianapolis Friday for a campaign fundraiser, a state Republican Party official said.

Jay Kenworthy, the communications director for the state Republican Party, said that McCain's invitation-only fundraiser will be 11 a.m. Friday at the Conrad Indianapolis.

However, Rebecca Zepick, a media representative for McCain's campaign, could not yet confirm an Indiana visit.

As nice as it is that presidential candidates visit Indiana from time to time to raise money and so forth, it would be nice if they--just once in a blue moon--went to places outside of just Indianapolis when they came.

Fun with News Aggregators, Part XVI

Mike Sodrel speaks at a ceremony honoring a gentleman from Madison for serving 75 straight years in the Boy Scouts:

A "crown jewel" of Madison was honored for 75 years of continuous membership in the Boy Scouts of America on Sunday.

E. Perin Scott, 87, was presented with a 75-year certificate for membership in the Boy Scouts along with the Boy Scouts' Distinguished Citizen Award. Scott joined the scouts in 1932. Also, city Clerk-Treasurer Dave Adams read a proclamation making the week of Feb. 10 E. Perin Scott Week in Madison.

Letters from scouts that Scott mentored over the years were also read at the ceremony, including one from Hawaii. A letter from Rep. Dave Cheatham was also read. One letter referred to Scott as "Perin Scout." "He's been scouting longer than most people have been alive," one letter read.

Former Mayor Al Huntington said Scott was "tremendous" to him during his 13-year tenure as mayor.

"He was always positive. Always upbeat. Always saying, 'You can do it,'" Huntington said. "He is one of the most effective leaders Madison has ever had."

Former Louisville Mayor Dave Armstrong, who was raised in Madison, presented Scott with the 75-year certificate.

At the end of the accolades, Scott took the podium.

"Geez," he said, smiling out at the audience. "I'd like to thank everyone for what they said."

Scott said he cherished his time involved in scouts, first as a scout, then as a scout leader.

"I got more out of it, I know, than the kids," he said.

"It's so much more than I think I've earned," Scott said about his awards, after the ceremony. "I'll continue to do everything I can to help scouting."

The event was also a fundraiser for local Boy Scouts, who will celebrate the organization's 100-year anniversary in 2010. Some speakers emphasized the importance of the money in helping "scouts in peril."

Former U.S. Rep. and current Republican candidate Mike Sodrel, who also spoke at the ceremony, decried recent ACLU lawsuits against the Boy Scouts.

"People say the Boy Scouts are not up to date with contemporary America. (They want to) take God out of scouting. Take morality out of scouting. That's not what the founders had in mind," Sodrel said.

Sodrel said the U.S. government should, like the Boy Scouts, be run according to Judeo-Christian values. Sodrel cited the aluminum cap on top of the Washington Monument which reads, in Latin, "Praise be to God."

"Until we bring God back to the public sphere, we're going to keep having these problems," Sodrel said.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rhetoric So Airy You've Heard It Before: Obama Plagiarizes Speech Segments

"Just words" folks, just words...

Words first spoken by somebody else, now-Massachusetts-Governor Deval Patrick, in 2006:



And now by Barack Obama, last week:



Hat tip: Not Larry Sabato (cited because I am not a plagiarist)

Baron Hill to Announce Reelection Today, Use Hoosier Troops for Campaign Photo Op

Congressman Baron HillFrom Baron's campaign website:

Congressman Baron Hill will file for reelection and travel to all parts of the Ninth Congressional District next week. As legally required, he will first file in Indianapolis on Monday morning, February 18, 2008, before departing to Fort Stewart, Georgia to visit with the soldiers of Indiana's 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He will be traveling with Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard.

First, Baron refused to see the National Guard off; he was too busy on a taxpayer-funded vacation to Pacific islands, Vietnam, and Australia.

Then his plane had "mechanical trouble" when he wanted to visit them.

Then he tried to cover for not going by having a statement put into the Congressional Record, where nobody will ever read it (except on this blog).

And now, now he's going to use the Hoosier National Guard as a political prop for a campaign photo opportunity right after he announces his reelection bid.

There are snakes that are not this low.

And you just have to love his little (and I mean little) list of reasons why he should be reelected.

"I want the people of Southern Indiana to know just how serious I am about returning to Congress and continuing the progress we have made," Hill said. "2006 was the year of change, and I, like most Americans, know there is still much work to be done. My colleagues in Congress and I have laid the foundation to move this country in a new direction.

Yes, folks, a new direction paved with more earmarks for the clients of his former employer than ever before!

But don't worry, he voted for that GOP proposal to eliminate earmarks entirely, so he was for earmarks before he was against them.

And since the GOP proposal was defeated by the pork-loving House Democrats, Baron will be for earmarks again soon anyway, especially earmarks that enrich his cronies and other folks with close ties to him.

But, change takes time, and I am asking the residents of Southern Indiana to stick with me

Yeah, stick him back in the unemployment line, where he belongs.

There's a change that the residents of Southern Indiana need.

We need a representative in Congress that is honest and can work for meaningful change, not someone who spews out change because it's the political focus group buzzword of the moment.

as I work to enact real and lasting legislation that protects Hoosier families,

Just like Baron and his buddies skipped out of Washington without voting to extend the government's ability to put listen in on the telephone calls of terrorists, all to pander to the trial lawyer lobby.

Or how about when Baron got all confused about what has actually been happening in Iraq?

Or when he said he would no longer vote to fund the war?

Or how about his "yes, no, maybe" position changing on health care for children?

Or about how we should be revealing our hand to the enemy?

Protecting Hoosier families my rear.

The only thing Baron Hill is interested in protecting are his lobbyist buddies and his own cushy political career.

preserves Hoosier values

By voting to continue giving Federal dollars to Planned Parenthood?

Or by voting to allow Federal dollars to be used to fund abortions overseas?

and promotes a stronger economy."

Like when nearly 900 people in Bloomington (his closest thing to a political base) lost their jobs and Baron did nothing?

Or how about when he said he wanted to increase taxes on tobacco and fast food?

All Baron Hill is interested in is saying whatever is necessary to get elected, then doing whatever he wants once we send him back.

Don't believe me?

Hear it from his own mouth:



It's the same old, same old from Baron.

There is no low he will not stoop to.

And using the Indiana National Guard as a mere prop for a political campaign photo opportunity, particularly in the wake of not caring a lick about the troops for so long, is disgusting.

He should be ashamed of himself.

A Tale of Two Different Worlds

Nancy Pelosi really is on a different planet from the rest of us:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq “is a failure,” adding that President Bush’s troop surge has “not produced the desired effect.”

“The purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “They have not done that.”

Al Qaeda's own communications seem to disagree:

Abu-Tariq, al-Qaeda leader

“There were almost 600 fighters in our sector before the tribes changed course 360 degrees . . . Many of our fighters quit and some of them joined the deserters . . . As a result of that the number of fighters dropped down to 20 or less.”

“We were mistreated, cheated and betrayed by some of our brothers who used to be part of the Jihadi movement, therefore we must not have mercy on those traitors until they come back to the right side or get eliminated completely.”

Unnamed emir, Anbar province

“The Islamic State of Iraq [al-Qaeda] is faced with an extraordinary crisis, especially in al-Anbar province. Al-Qaeda’s expulsion from Anbar created weakness and psychological defeat. This also created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight.

“The morale of the fighters went down and they wanted to be transferred to administrative positions rather than be fighters. There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organisation.”

Democrat Judge Blanton Gives Baron Pass for 2006 Campaign Robocalls

From Attorney General Steve Carter (via the Indiana Law Blog):

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter will appeal a ruling issued this week in Harrison Circuit Court that dismisses a lawsuit to enforce Indiana’s Automated Dialing Law against American Family Voices (AFV).

“Until all appeals are resolved, companies make political robo-calls at their peril,” Carter said. “We will continue to enforce the law to protect citizens from unwanted and illegal practices.”

Carter filed a lawsuit in September, 2006 against AFV and had sought an injunction after receiving complaints about automated calls being made by the organization that did not provide the required live operator to obtain the recipient’s permission to play the pre-recorded message. AFV is one of nine companies the state has filed suit against or reached a court-ordered agreement with for alleged violations of federal or state statutes regulating automated and pre-recorded calls since 2004.

Special Judge Blanton (Orange Circuit Court) issued a ruling from the bench today ordering the dismissal of the case against AFV stating that the automated dialing statute was limited to commercial calls. The attorney general has argued that the statute is broader and applies to both commercial and political calls such as those made by AFV. A final written order is expected to be forthcoming.

Blanton is a Democrat partisan (one of few in Orange County, admittedly); his wife replaced Jerry Denbo in the state legislature.

Ignore all of the rulings (some of them by higher courts) to the contrary; Democrats look out for Democrats, and Baron found a judge willing to give him an amnesty--however absurdly justified--for doing the same exact sorts of things that Hill's campaign cried foul about Republicans doing.

The Hair: Hoosiers Must Make Sacrifices So that Government Can Prosper & Lobbyists Can Be Pleased

From the Courier-Journal comes this delightful example of typical liberal thinking:

INDIANAPOLIS -- House Speaker Pat Bauer warned yesterday that the slowing economy could mean that the state can't afford to fully implement Gov. Mitch Daniels' property-tax-reduction plan in 2009.

Bauer said that because tax receipts have not met projections in five of the last six months, legislators might have to delay moving some education costs now funded with property taxes to the state budget. That's a shift that the governor believes is essential to controlling the long-term growth of homeowners' bills.

"We're looking to see where we are," said Bauer, D-South Bend. "It looked like it was possible three or four months ago. But when you're losing revenue … it's only being realistic" to reconsider.

It's not a matter of what the state can or cannot afford.

It's a matter of what the state is going to do to help people that can't afford to pay their property taxes and still keep their homes.

Hoosier families and retirees have to live within their means.

Their government, at all levels, should have to do the same.

There is no logic in taxing people out of their homes and then turning around and putting them on welfare or in public housing or homeless shelters.

Here's a perfect example:

Films and other media productions will be eligible for new tax breaks under a law that legislators have voted to put into effect despite a veto last year by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The Senate voted today and the House voted earlier this year to override the veto, with supporters saying the tax breaks will help Indiana bring movie projects to the state and bolster the film industry that already exists.

Daniels vetoed the legislation because he believed it could cost the state $30 million annually, an amount the governor told lawmakers “is simply too high, especially when much of these subsidies would not lead to a single new job or purchase in our state.”

Daniels, in a statement today on the override, said in part, “I can’t imagine what they were thinking.”

How much better would the state's finances be without wasting money on idiotic film incentives?

How much more property tax relief could be provided without that spending?

Granted, there might be some upset lobbyists, but tough cookies.

There are a lot more homeowners than there are lobbyists.

The legislature had better wake up to that.

He'll Be Hated Soon Enough

Eric Schansberg links to an interesting piece about why conservatives don't dislike Obama.

The operative word missing there is "yet"; conservatives did not develop a visceral dislike for Bill Clinton until after he got into office in 1992 after they had split their vote between a moderate war hero and a third party zillionaire.

Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought it might.

Obama, when you can actually penetrate the frothy cloud of vapid nothingness he spews from the teleprompter screens, is the most liberal member of the Senate.

He's much more than a down-the-line liberal Democrat; he's the nutroots' dream come true, a Howard Dean, a radical of their same stripe that they are convinced can be elected.

Down the line, Obama is everything that the "right nation" hates, and then some.

He favors higher taxes (he said as much in a debate), more government intervention in the economy (just look at his so-called health care plan), greater regulation (ditto), a "negotiate while running away" foreign policy (his desire to sit down with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and to withdraw immediately from Iraq), more gun control (hidden deep in his state senate voting record are a list of votes that will make any NRA member see red), liberal social values (you'll never get him to talk about them save in empty rhetorical terms, though), and he's a pencil-necked ivory tower academic of the sort actively despised by the "angry white man" that has had little interaction with the real world--let alone the conservative parts of it or even a genuinely competitive election--in his charmed life.

American conservatives and Republicans will come to hate Barack Obama (and his loony lefty wife), probably more than they ever hated Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The only question is whether, assuming he gets the Democratic nomination, they will come to that realization in time to get over their angst over John McCain and before the election in November.

Another One Bites the Dust


Until September 11, Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh had killed more Americans than any other terrorist.

And now, though you probably didn't see a peep about it in the media, somebody killed him.

With a car bomb, ironically enough.

Can you say Mossad?

Sure, I knew you could.

Watching for Talent

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mike Sodrel Has a New Website


Very snazzy.

Baron to (Try to) Visit Troops Monday

From a press release on his website:

Congressman Baron Hill will travel to Fort Stewart, Georgia, on Monday to visit with the soldiers of Indiana’s 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team before they are deployed to Iraq. Hill will travel from Indianapolis to Fort Stewart with Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard.

I've already discussed at length Baron's staggering insult to the Hoosier National Guard by preferring a taxpayer-funded vacation junket to the Pacific, Vietnam, and Australia over seeing them off from Indianapolis along with numerous dignitaries of note from both parties.

I wonder how much time these soldiers will have to take off from their training to stand at attention for Mr. Hill and General Umbarger to review them, all because Baron couldn't be bothered to postpone his vacation to honor them along with everyone else.

Baron Hill wouldn't delay leaving for his vacation to bid them farewell, but Indiana's finest are going to be forced to drop everything and delay training that very well for them could be the difference between life and death, just so that Baron can have a photo op to cover for his earlier insult.

Debate Will Give Grandson Carson Another Opportunity to Run & Hide

From WTHR:

The two major party candidates in the March special election will face each other on live television on February 24th.

Democrat Andre Carson and Republican Jon Elrod have both agreed to appear that Sunday morning at 9:30 am on a special edition of Indiana Insiders.

The candidates for the 7th district congressional seat will answer questions about why they should go to Washington.

Someone should take odds on Grandson Carson running away from this one too.

Or maybe, like Baron Hill in 2006, he can insist on appearing on the show during that time slot, but in a separate segment so that neither will appear on the show at the same time.

And let me just extend kudos to WTHR for not including the Libertarian candidate, who has no chance to win anyway and just takes up valuable debating time better spent by the two main candidates engaging each other directly (or in their own segments, depending).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Want Some Pull-Tabs with That?


Just as notions of approving casino gambling seem to be "on life support" in Kentucky, the General Assembly in Indianapolis seems determined to blow the doors off any semblance of limiting gambling in Indiana with idiotic and stupid measures such as pull-tabs.

Why don't we just let bars have slot machines, too?

And maybe let them run blackjack games also.

Heck, we can be like Nevada, with slots in the airports, slots in the rest areas on the highways, slots in fast food places, and slots everywhere else.

Not only is this sort of thing a massive expansion of gambling, it is effectively the granting of a market exclusivity and anti-competition measure.

All of this is so that a company that prints pull tabs (apparently the only one in Indiana) can be guaranteed 25% of the new market that will be generated.

Hidden within this bill is a provision (Article 36, Chapter 5, Section 5, Subsection C) that requires that a set percentage of all pull-tabs sold in Indiana be also printed by companies based in Indiana:

a distributor must obtain at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the type II gambling games purchased by the distributor from a manufacturer that is domiciled in Indiana.

This measure was crafted by lobbyists for the primary benefit one of the only companies (if not the only company) based Indiana that actually prints pull-tabs.

This legislation will be a staggering windfall for them, as it will give them a ready market close at hand composed of a guaranteed proportion of sales for the entire state.

That's insane.

The Hair's House Floor Schedule Not Keeping Legislators Sufficiently Busy

From the Indy Star comes yet more evidence that Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer is not keeping a busy schedule for this short session of the General Assembly.

State Rep. Jon Elrod, the Republican nominee in the upcoming 7th Congressional District race, was caught on video by state Democrats writing campaign letters while on the floor of the House.

Elrod today apologized for the incidents, calling them “really poor judgment on my part” and said it would never happen again.

There are few ethical rules for legislators, and no law or regulation appears to bar Elrod from signing political letters at his House desk.

Elrod, running against Democrat Andre Carson, said he was simply “multi-tasking” by signing thank-you letters to volunteers and contributors to his congressional campaign.

With an agenda packed chock full of the people's business, and with hordes of angry overtaxed voters just waiting to their their hands on ballots, you would think that he could keep legislators sufficiently busy that they wouldn't be bored while on the House floor and forced to resort to multitasking and doing other things.

Of course, nobody should be surprised that Dan Parker and his pack of lazy bums would point the finger at Jon Elrod to cover for The Hair's clear deficiencies as Speaker.

Heck, they even hit two birds with one stone, since it also redirects media attention away from Andre "I'm Julia's grandson, so vote for me" Carson running away from a debate with Elrod.

Don't Worry, I'm Sure They Didn't Inhale...

I've been busy with real life considerations over the past couple of days (and the weather hasn't been all that great here to boot), so Sir Hailstone of the Digital Farmers Blog seems to have scooped me on an interesting story about a Democratic candidate for mayor being arrested for having forty pounds of pot in their house.

That's a lot of dope.

The story got play in the Louisville Courier-Journal:

A former political candidate in New Albany and her husband are charged with dealing in marijuana and possessing more than 10 pounds of it, both felonies.

Yvonne R. Kersey, 53, and Frank C. Lucchese, 59, were arrested Monday, police said yesterday. The couple also were charged with maintaining a common nuisance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said that they found "an indoor marijuana growing operation" in the basement of the couple's home and that officers recovered more than 35 pounds of marijuana.

Kersey, who was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for New Albany mayor in 2003, posted a $2,500 cash bond and had been released from the Floyd County Jail by yesterday afternoon.

The story was reprinted the next day in the Indianapolis Star.

The headlines and top paragraphs for both stories made note that Kersey was a former Democratic candidate for mayor.

Interestingly, the New Albany Tribune--a newspaper frequently accustomed to covering up for crooks and liars seeking and holding public office (like Doug England), it must be said--made absolutely no mention of Kersey's candidacy in its article.

Granted, the crooks and liars whose exploits are typically under-reported by the News & Tribune (the New Albany paper is produced alongside the neighboring Jeffersonville paper, the Evening News) tend to actually get elected (like Doug England did).

Kersey only got 68 votes in her candidacy for mayor of New Albany in 2003.

Trouble on the Right Wing

They Love the Silky Phony Now

Monday, February 11, 2008

Miller Says No? Not So Fast...

From the Indy Star:

He's not running this year

Gov. Eric Miller?

Well, probably not this year.

Miller, founder of the conservative activist group Advance America, roiled the political waters a bit at a recent rally to push for the repeal of property taxes.

Miller, who ran for the Republican nomination for governor in 2004 against Mitch Daniels, told the crowd at the rally that he's "going to stay in the game."

That prompted a couple of people to yell "Governor Miller!"

Miller, though, said last week that "it is not my intention to run for governor at this time."

Asked if that meant it might be his intention at some other time, such as before the Feb. 22 noon deadline to enter the race this year or in 2012, Miller said his "primary focus" is the repeal of property taxes.

Many people, he said, have encouraged him to get into the race.

But, he added, "it is my intention at this time to focus on the repeal of property taxes. So at this time, I'm not running for governor."

The filing deadline for running in the Republican primary is indeed February 22 at noon.

But if Miller decides to run as an independent, as sometime rumored, the filing deadline is much later in the year.

Whenever he is asked, Miller never gives a Sherman statement ("if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve"; the definitive no to candidate speculation since it was first uttered in the 1880s).

He instead says the same sort of well-parsed line.

In December, he told Brian Howey, "With regards to the governor's race, that is not my intention to run at this time."

In the above Star piece, you see the same careful phrasing, "So at this time, I'm not running for governor."

Eric Miller, say whatever else you will about him, is an articulate fellow.

He knows what he is saying, and what he is saying is distinctly not a Sherman statement.

He is leaving the door open for some reason.

Deadlines tend to preclude a filing in the Republican primary, and it is exceedingly unlikely that the General Assembly will have done anything about property taxes by February 22.

But yet Miller clearly leaves the door open whenever he is asked, and refuses to close it.

Why?

A Sherman statement about a gubernatorial campaign this year would probably not preclude him down the line.

Given the fast-approaching filing deadline and the pace of the General Assembly to actually pass something on property taxes, the only way Miller could run would be as an independent.

Let's see him parse the answer to a question about that.