Saturday, May 31, 2008

Costas Subject of 1999 Class-Action Suit

Via Angry White Boy:

U.S. District Northern Indiana

Date filed: 08/25/1999 Civil Docket for Case # 2:99-cv-00346

Flisiak -V- Check Protections Service et. al.
for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Act

We could not get my hands on the actual complaint, I’m working on it


Check Protections Systems, Inc
McKee Group Inc
Credit Bureau of LaPorte
Costas Norman Clement
H. Jonathon Costas
Phillip A Norman
James L Clement

Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, against the defendants.

We’ll have more in a bit.


Guess there will be more on this soon.

Better now than hearing it from Jen Wagner on the last week of October.

Seven Days and Counting...

Jon Costas continues to refuse to denounce the shameful tactics of some of his supporters.

Of course, it now appears that he has been engaging in his own shameful tactics, at least when it comes to who to put on his endorsement list.

Costas Endorsements See More Shrinkage

Rumor has it that Seymour Mayor and state delegate Craig Luedeman is on Costas’ list and never endorsed him.

For those of you keeping count, that's four endorsements Costas has claimed that were never actually endorsements at all:

1. A member of the GOP state committee (later identified by Brian Howey as Sam Frain).

2. A state representative (Cindy Noe).

3. A county chairman from Clay County (Sharon Koehler; who had endorsed Zoeller publicly the day before).

4. The mayor of Seymour (Craig Luedeman).

What's more, in Luedeman's case, rumor has it that he only spoke to Jon Costas personally, and specifically told him that he would have to receive more information on his candidacy before he could make any endorsement at all.

How this translated into being listed on the Costas endorsement list is very curious.

Just how much endorsement inflation is there on the Costas side?

If the deflation is any indicator, quite a lot.

If Jon Costas cannot have meticulous accuracy in listing his endorsements, and must instead list individuals that clearly and repeatedly indicate no intention to endorse him, then one must also ask how such behavior would transfer over into how he would run the attorney general's office.

Fudged statements or affidavits certainly wouldn't fly in any court of law, after all.

Update (06-01-2008): Mayor Luedeman has affirmed his endorsement of Costas, dispelling rumors to the contrary (the other erroneous endorsements remain correct), but I have been informed this evening of yet another apparent endorsement error on the Costas list (though it's too late at this point to really blog about it).

Why Greg Zoeller (Micah Clark Edition)

In his own words:

Greg Zoeller is the only candidate considered who has a proven track record within in the attorney general’s office. He has managed nearly 140 attorneys and various legal cases to such an extent that he could fill the shoes of Steve Carter even today without a hitch.

Short and sweet.

Micah Clark is the head of the American Family Association.

More on Fiscal Conservatives in AG Race

Interesting factoid that was sent to me:

In the seven and a half years as Attorney General, Steve Carter has never sought an increase in the OAG general fund budget. The figures noted by the state budget agency reflect the a state employee salary increase as provided by the legislature. Steve Carter has managed to work within the budget he inheritated in 2001.

Sort of makes Greg Zoeller's fiscal conservative credentials seem all that much more impressive compared to Jon Costas, no?

Costas to Commute If AG?

From Angry White Boy:

I was just told that John Costas plans to play attorney general (if he wins) by computing from Valparaiso?

With a 14 and 17 year-old in high school, his band and his law practice maybe that’s his plan.

Anyone form the Costas campaign care to answer this?

No answer yet from the Costas people.

Should be a simple enough question to answer...

Obamassiah Flip-Flopping on Iraq Surge?

Hat tip: Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard's blog.

Washington Post Attacks Obamassiah for Playing Politics with Veterans Bill (like Baron)

From the Washington Post:

“THERE ARE many issues that lend themselves to partisan posturing, but giving our veterans the chance to go to college should not be one of them.” So pronounced the Democrats’ likely presidential nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, on the floor of the Senate last week. This was a lovely sentiment, marred only by the fact that it came seconds after Mr. Obama’s own partisan posturing. Mr. Obama duly hailed his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, as a war hero, then launched a one-two punch, linking Mr. McCain to an unpopular president and painting him as stingy toward those who served their country.

Referring to Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama said, “I cannot understand why he would line up behind the president in his opposition to this GI Bill [or] why he believes it is too generous to our veterans.” … That does not mean that the measure is perfect or that the concerns expressed by the Pentagon and other critics, including Mr. McCain, should be brushed off as illegitimate or insensitive to veterans.

The Pentagon argues that the measure would harm the military by providing too large an incentive for people to leave. The projected increase in departures would be offset by an increase in recruitment among those attracted by the new, improved benefit; however, that does not account for the loss of experience and added training costs. Mr. McCain and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) have proposed an alternative that concentrates on giving those who remain in the service added educational benefits, including the ability to transfer their benefits to family members; the measure would also boost benefits for veterans.

Baron and the Obamassiah are reading from the same playbook, it seems.

Howey: "Today's Grads Walk Into Apocalypse"


Must have been a bad week for the worshippers of the Obamassiah.

Alternate Energy

Throwing Gasoline on a Fire

Friday, May 30, 2008

Costas' Incredible Shrinking Endorsement List

Jon Costas sure can rack up the endorsements.

It's easy to do when you have the Governor's people calling far and wide, making people offers that they can't refuse.

So many endorsements, in fact, that it seems that Mr. Costas is counting people as having endorsed him that have never actually done so.

And they can't be very happy at his "mistake."

On Wednesday morning, the Costas campaign sent out an email listing legislators that had endorsed their candidate.

Present on this list was Cindy Noe, Republican state representative from Indianapolis.

On Thursday afternoon, the Costas campaign sent out an email listing legislators that had endorsed their candidate.

Cindy Noe, as you can clearly see, had been removed from the list.

What changed in the intervening day?

Did she take back her endorsement?

The Costas campaign did not issue a statement of retraction explaining why Noe was removed.

You could perhaps count this as a mere campaign mistake, but rumor has it that this is not the only Costas endorsement that was never actually given.

Apparently, there is a member of the Republican state committee that Jon Costas' campaign has touted as an endorsement recent campaign emails and press releases.

The problem is that this member of the state committee never endorsed Costas.

In fact, this committee person apparently personally pledged and promised neutrality to both candidates, a promise that this person took very seriously and intended to keep.

Costas has since listed this member of the state committee in campaign releases, despite never having actually received their endorsement.

In fact, Costas himself (and Zoeller also) were explicitly told that this person would not be endorsing anyone.

So it would seem that Cindy Noe was not the first person to be listed as endorsing Jon Costas on by his campaign, but without having ever actually endorsed him.

One such instance is a mistake. Two such instances seems to clearly be something more. Eagerness? Deliberate padding? Incorrect assumptions? Who knows.

We will soon see if the Costas campaign will send out a formal retraction, or if they will just "George Orwell" the endorsement away, as they did with Cindy Noe, now that they have been caught (twice) with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

Side Note: I have heard (and not from a campaign) that at least three county chairs (and perhaps more) that have publicly endorsed Jon Costas have expressed private reservations (perhaps due to the circumstances that led to their endorsements) and are intending on actually voting for Greg Zoeller, and may be encouraging their delegates to do likewise (or at least making no effort among their delegates to help Costas).

Since it's a private ballot, there would be no way to tell if such individuals held to pledges to the Governor and his team of thuggish strong arms; there would also be no way to tell if their statements of antipathy for Costas and quiet inclination toward Zoeller are true or not.

I believe the sources that told me this, but there is precious little way to verify such things given the very nature of the convention ballot itself.

Baron Hill Criticized for Trying to Turn Memorial Day Service into Political Rally

Baron Hill on the AttackGiven all of this AG race stuff, I bet you thought I'd forgotten about Indiana's slimiest member of Congress.

I haven't, but Baron saw fit to remind us all of why he's a double-talking weasel.

From WTHR:

Baron Hill criticized over Memorial Day comments

Jasper - U.S. Rep. Baron Hill's comments to a Memorial Day ceremony in southern Indiana's Dubois County have upset members of a veterans group who feel they were too political.

Hill, a Democrat, told the Dubois County Veterans Council's Memorial Day ceremony that President Bush planned to veto a GI Bill approved by Congress. He encouraged the crowd to ask the president to let the bill become law.

"I don't want to make this political, but the president has said that he is going to veto this bill. For the life of me I don't understand why," Hill said in his speech. "And I hope that you'll take the time, in honor of our veterans, to write to the president of the United States and ask him to change his mind."

Ken Schuetter, secretary of the veteran's council, said he was infuriated by Hill's comments at the program in the city about 40 miles northeast of Evansville.

"It was not a political event. He made it political," Schuetter said.

Schuetter said Hill's staff asked for him to speak at the ceremony and that the group was considering a ban on politicians speaking at its events.

Leave it to Baron to drag politics into Memorial Day, again.

Last year, he commemorated Memorial Day by taking a taxpayer-funded junket to Portugal and writing an op-ed about global warming.

This year, he decided to invite himself to speak to a group of veterans on Memorial Day (presumably to talk about the armed services, veterans, sacrifice, and so forth), and he decided to give a political stump speech about political issues after they agreed to have him.

This is sort of like somebody inviting yourself to your Super Bowl Party, and then insisting on watching figure skating instead of the big game once they are on your couch (only that Memorial Day is a lot more important than Super Bowl Sunday, but I digress; the analogy is imperfect).

The thing is, there was a time when Baron Hill (and Lee Hamilton before him) could have gone anywhere in the 9th District, to any event, and said anything they wanted.

Those at such events, the organizations hosting them, and the press covering them would have given any amount of improper politicking a pass, because they (while conservatives) were Democrats and thus willing to cut Baron (a fellow Democrat) some slack.

Ever since Baron endorsed Barack Obama, however, the conservative Democrats in the 9th District (and most Democrats in the 9th District are conservative Democrats) do not seem willing to go on overlooking such appalling behavior.

Welcome to your new world, Baron.

It's one that you brought on yourself.

If I didn't know better (and Baron hadn't invited himself to come), I would say that he had been lured into a trap by his fellow Democrats.

Oh, and who can forget Baron's refusal to see off Indiana's largest National Guard deployment (he was busy on a taxpayer-funded junket to Pacific islands, Vietnam, and Australia), and his later use of the troops for a campaign photo-op on the same day that he announced his bid for reelection.

What a guy!

Why Greg Zoeller (Steve Carter Edition)

In his own words:

I am writing to endorse Greg Zoeller as the 2008 Attorney General Nominee that you will select in your role as a delegate to the Republican state convention. It also seems like the right time for me to thank you for having chosen me as your nominee at past conventions.

I trust you to use your best judgment to select the best qualified candidates to put before the voters in November. I don’t believe in strong-arm tactics or using an endorsement to pressure you, as someone entrusted with the honor and duty of serving as a state convention delegate. I trust your conscience will lead you to a good decision for all.

If you review the qualifications of Greg Zoeller to be Indiana’s Attorney General, I think you will find they are exceptional. Things like keeping telemarketers from violating your privacy, returning record amounts of unclaimed property, fighting public corruption and vote fraud in Lake County, and creating an independent Conner Prairie are successes that occurred with Greg Zoeller’s leadership in the Attorney General’s office. We have a strong record and it’s one that Greg, as Indiana’s Chief Deputy Attorney General, can run on in November. He knows the office from top to bottom and can run it well from the very first day in office.

He has served the entire state, not just as Indiana’s Chief Deputy Attorney General, but also as leader of Vice-President Quayle’s U.S. Senate office here in Indiana. With your help, I know he can continue to do that as your next Indiana Attorney General.

Greg Zoeller is a person who you can trust to serve with integrity.

Steve Carter is Indiana's current Attorney General.

Evansville's Mayor Whiny Declines to Join JLT on Altar of Political Self-Sacrifice

No big surprise here:

Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel made it official today: He's not running for lieutenant governor.

"There has been a great deal of speculation regarding Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel's future," stated a news release from the mayor's office. "Many in the media and political circles have asked whether Mayor Weinzapfel will run as lieutennant governor with (Democratic gubernatorial nominee) Jill Long Thompson.

"Mayor Weinzapfel is flattered to be thought of in such high regard, but he does not want to be considered for lieutenant governor."

Given that JLT needs to bring the Evan Bayh clique into the fold, Mayor Whiny was an unlikely choice to begin with.

How better to win over Birch's Boy and his allies than by giving your LG spot to someone that endorsed Barack Obama?

Whiny, for his part, didn't want to take one for the team, so he bowed out early.

Just What Is "Elder Law" Anyway?

Angry White Boy has the answer:

Former Speaker Brian Bosma pointed out he was Costas:

"As an attorney focusing on elder law and an elected official, Jon is highly qualified to serve as Indiana ’s consumer protection watchdog," Bosma said in a statement.

Bosma apparently doesn’t know what Elder Law is all about. In general, the majority of the work that Elder Law attorneys carry out is the shelter of assets through trust work. This allows families to arrange if a family member goes into a nursing home they will qualify for Medicaid. Basically this is a practice of sheltering assets of the wealthy so that if they need long term care the cost is shifted to the tax payer. That experience must have paid off well, considering how Costas has become a pro at expanding and shifting TIF districts in Valparaiso.

Is someone who has made a career of shifting cost from the wealthy to the back of the taxpayers a good candidate to represent the state as Attorney General?

So devising clever legal ways of sheltering the fortunes of rich old people so that their children can inherit everything and not pay the death tax is a qualification to be attorney general?

Jon Costas doesn't seem to have any experience in criminal law, prosecutions, appellate cases, governmental civil litigation, or any of the other duties and tasks of the AG's office.

Photographing well, running triathlons, and sheltering the money of rich old people may qualify you to be mayor of Valparaiso, but it doesn't give you the necessary experience to be Attorney General of the State of Indiana.

Linda Pence is going to eat this guy alive if he's picked at the convention.

Accidental Masterpiece

Hat tip: The new and improved Josh in the Box.

Is Barack Obama the Messiah?

An interesting blog that compiles photos of the Obamassiah with a halo around his head, or in other positions of religious symbolism and iconography.

Rocket Scientists They Are Not

“Nothing is easier, or more emotionally satisfying, than blaming high prices on those who charge them, rather than on those who cause them.”
Thomas Sowell

The Chessmaster

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Five Days and Counting...

The world is watching, and Indiana Republicans are waiting, Mr. Costas.

And yet you are still silent.

Will you, in a public statement, denounce the tactics of some of your supporters?

Not on the phone to a delegate (where you can tell one delegate what they want to hear, and tell the next delegate the opposite, because it is what they want to hear).

In a public statement.

Will you call upon Dave Miller, the fired Marion County volunteer sacked by one of your supporters without cause, to be reinstated?

Will you insist that the threatening of county chairs and elected officials with phrases such as "keeping score" end?

Will you ask that delegates forced to sign a loyalty oath be released from that pledge and allowed to vote their conscience?

What say you, Jon Costas?

Why Greg Zoeller (Carl Brizzi Edition)

In his own words:

The office of Indiana Attorney General needs a leader who has been in the trenches fighting everyday to protect Hoosiers. That is why I’m supporting Chief Deputy Attorney General Greg Zoeller during the Republican State Convention.

Over the past seven years, Greg has been a tireless advocate for Hoosier families. He helped fight the nightly invasion of telemarketers by implementing one of the strongest Do-Not-Call lists in the country. Greg then aggressively pursued telemarketers who violated the Do-Not-Call list and returned almost $800,000 to Hoosier taxpayers.

Greg also keeps our families safe from dangerous criminals. The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for representing Indiana whenever a criminal attempts to appeal their conviction. I, along with every prosecutor in the state, rely on the Attorney General’s Office to keep the convicted murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars. When one of these predators attempts to appeal his conviction, I’m comforted knowing Greg’s team wins over 93% of the time.

I’ve been friends with Greg for over 10 years. I’ve seen first hand how deeply he cares about protecting Hoosiers from sexual predators, telemarketers, and those who prey on innocent consumers. No candidate - Republican or Democrat - has the experience Greg has.

Carl Brizzi is currently the Marion County Prosecutor.

Lugar Rejects Obamassiah, Praises McCain; Brian Howey Cries Himself to Sleep


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

McCain to Obamassiah: You'll Meet with Iran but not General David Petraeus?


That's got to leave a mark on his Holiness.

Why Greg Zoeller (John McGauley Edition)

In his own words:

In recent years I have had the opportunity to work with the Attorney General’s Office, where Greg Zoeller serves as Chief Deputy, on difficult consumer protection issues. Most recently, the Attorney General’s Office helped my office bring to light questionable business practices that were costing Allen County property owners thousands of dollars. Thanks in large part to intervention by the Attorney General’s Office, that company in question no longer preys upon unsuspecting citizens in this community.

My personal experience illustrates just one of the many ways in which the Attorney General’s Office has stepped outside of its “traditional” role to go to bat for consumers across our state. Greg Zoeller’s drive to get more out of government is a big reason why the Attorney General’s Office has been able to do that.

As Chief Deputy Attorney General, Greg has been instrumental in delivering victories for Hoosiers such as the Indiana “No-Call” list that has rid us of never-ending phone solicitations. He was a leader in the establishment of an identity theft unit to combat a rising tide of crime that threatens the financial well-being of innocent people.

Greg has also been a leader in delivering efficiencies and consolidation in the Attorney General’s Office, reducing the number of lawyers the state employs. As a certified mediator, Greg has also been instrumental in negotiating settlements that have cleaned up not-for-profit entities, including the Schwab Foundation here in Fort Wayne, benefiting Hoosiers everywhere.

His work has set a new standard for what the people of Indiana should expect from their government. I think it is safe to say that all of us expect officeholders to do everything in their power to make life better in our communities.

John McGauley is currently the Allen County Recorder.

McCain Edges Obamassiah in Electoral Vote

Bob Novak does the state-by-state breakdowns and finds a narrow advantage for John McCain.

The Arizona senator beats the Obamassiah, 270 to 268.

Among his notable predictions is the relative softness of Indiana (a much lengthier write-up than he devotes to many of the other states:

Indiana (11): Indiana has been solid Republican turf in recent presidential contests, with Bush wins of 16 and 21 points in his two runs here. But this year McCain will need to work hard to keep this state in the GOP column.

Obama’s first advantage is Lake County, which includes the cities of Gary and East Chicago as well as some liberal suburbs. This is Obama’s home turf and the second-most populous county in the state. Indianapolis has a high black population, while Bloomington’s liberal university population could generate enthusiasm (although only 28,000 people voted in Monroe County in the Democratic primary).

McCain lacks the down-home appeal that made Christian Midwestern voters so drawn to Bush, adding to Obama’s hopes. Democrats, of course, picked up three congressional seats in Indiana in 2006. However, Democrats have gained here with socially conservative candidates. With Obama and governor candidate Jill Long Thompson atop the Democratic column, Indiana Republicans should have a rebound year in 2008. Leaning Republican.

A rebound year if the Governor's people don't completely destroy the party in their drive to get their chosen one for relatively minor down-ticket office.

There Will Be No Oil

Melty the Polar Bear: Only YOU Can Cause 4.5 Billion Years of Planetary Climate Change

Heck of a Book Deal, Scotty

The World Is Watching, Mr. Costas

Last week, I blogged about the loyalty oath being required of appointed delegates in Marion County.

I have also blogged about the firing by Marion County GOP chairman Tom John of a long-time party volunteer for criticizing such tactics (when said volunteer wasn't even in the United States to make such criticisms as claimed).

And I have blogged about a meeting of Marion County GOP leaders where Tom John and Jon Costas' campaign manager laid down the law, saying that the Governor said that "any county or delegate who did not cooperate would be punished."

I have even named names and pointed out that most of Marion County's 103 appointed delegates are either members of the Mitch campaign, staffers for the Governor, lobbyists, or their spouses.

Since then, Jon Costas told convention delegate (and fellow blogger) Brian Jessen that the "strong-arming needs to stop," despite (unbelievably) denying any knowledge that it was going on in the first place.

Yesterday, Tom John even admitted what he was doing.

I'll now join the calls of others.

What say you, Jon Costas?

Will you, in a public statement, denounce these tactics?

Not on the phone to a delegate (where you can tell one delegate what they want to hear, and tell the next delegate the opposite, because it is what they want to hear).

In a public statement.

Will you call upon Dave Miller, the fired Marion County volunteer sacked by one of your supporters without cause, to be reinstated?

Will you insist that the threatening of county chairs and elected officials with phrases such as "keeping score" end?

Will you ask that delegates forced to sign a loyalty oath be released from that pledge and allowed to vote their conscience?

Again, what say you, Jon Costas?

The world (or at least the state) is watching.

Why Greg Zoeller (Mitch Harper Edition)

In his own words:

I have known Greg Zoeller for over twenty years and I believe his experience and sensitivity to the concerns of regular Hoosiers merit his selection to succeed Attorney General Steve Carter.

Greg Zoeller has an understanding of the entire state which stems from his work on behalf of former Vice-President Dan Quayle during Mr. Quayle's service as United States Senator and from Greg's service as Chief Deputy Attorney General.

During my term as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives I served two years as Chairman of the House Labor Committee. I well remember the conversation Greg and I had regarding the approach that Dan Quayle took to his duties as Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Labor. I formed an opinion then that Greg Zoeller took public policy seriously, had a keen grasp of the larger context of individual pieces of legislation and that he had a sincere appreciation of the effect that federal and state policy had on the everyday lives of citizens.

That opinion has not diminished over the years.

Mitch Harper is currently a member of the Fort Wayne City Council, is a former state legislator, and runs one of the top blogs in Indiana, Fort Wayne Observed.

Obamassiah Refuses to Visit Iraq with McCain

Via Hot Air:

Even more amusing than Maverick’s savviness in forcing this choice on him is [pro-Obama blog] TPM straining to spin it as some sort of manifestation of principle — a standard Obama reaction whenever he weasels out of some tough decision...

He won’t do it because he’s afraid of what he might hear, which goes back to a point I’ve been making ever since the Jamil Hussein saga: The left would have you believe Iraq hawks can’t admit that any aspect of the war might be going badly, but the opposite has always been more nearly true.

For purposes of the Narrative, it’s doves who can’t admit that any aspect of the war might be going better, as if to acknowledge that the surge has helped to improve security or that the Iraqi army is performing better than expected lately or that plenty of Shiites are tired of Sadr’s crap would be to validate neoconservatism or somehow tacitly rubber-stamp an invasion of Iran.

So how about it, Barry? Break the mold. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of grim news in the briefings too to help take the sting out of the reports of progress.

Exit question: How on earth did we arrive at an election scenario where the hawk is trying to bait the dove into talking about Iraq?

You want the truth?

Barack Obama can't handle the truth.

He's afraid to go to Iraq, because he's afraid it might not fit with his cherished illusions about the war.

That, and he's probably afraid that it would be dirty and there would be no cheering crowds of mindless drones chanting his name.

Why Greg Zoeller (John McGoff Edition)

In his own words:

Why am I backing Greg Zoeller for Attorney General?

I have known him for nearly fifteen years both personally and professionally. In my two terms as Marion County Coroner and as a member of the Indiana State Medical Association, I have had occasion to seek counsel and advice from him in the AG’s office on multiple occasions.

He has always been readily approachable, fair, and astute at trying to resolve the issues we brought to him. He has a diverse legal background with experience in private practice, strong business acumen as former President of the World Trade Center and vast political experience, including serving as the Assistant to the Vice President of the United States.

But quite simply, Greg has the most experience in the AG’s office of the two candidates, as he currently serves as chief deputy and is the liaison to the National Association of Attorneys General. He is dedicated to his family and the State of Indiana and would be the ideal GOP candidate for Attorney General this fall.

John McGoff recently ran in the Republican primary for the 5th District Congressional seat, has been Marion County Coroner, and was a statewide convention candidate.

Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman: Indiana's Most Underestimated Politician

From Kurt Luidhardt at Prosper Group Think:

It’s clear to me that Skillman is the most underestimated politician in Indiana. Dem blabbermouth Jen Wagner calls her the Lite Guv and there are more than a few Republicans putting together operations for 2012- disregarding Skillman’s intentions to run (or not).

But every time I sit and talk with her I get the strong sense that of anyone in the Guv’s administration, she is the one with a finger on the pulse of the state. She’s got years of experience on a number of levels as a local elected official, State Senator, and now as LG. In addition, she’s not caught up in the Indianapolis-first mentality of so many of our party’s leadership (a key quality considering current controversy). Skillman also has worked hard to build relationships with local Republican officials from across the state. It’s been evident as I travel.

Last week’s interview also indicated that she is fully in command at #2, understanding and advocating for the Governor’s agenda more eloquently than I have heard it from anyone but the Governor himself. She rattled off a series of statistics too quickly for me to get them down, covered the highlights of term #1 and expected priorities for term #2.

Sitting down with bloggers is also a challenging task in that you just don’t know what you’ll be asked or told. When challenged on the Guv’s social conservative credentials by Hoosier Access, she responded eloquently. Indy Conservative Hardball’s Brian Jessen related detailed information about Lake County. I complained about school spending in my home county. Not only was she aware of each situation, she was able to answer as if she was expecting each one.

I threw at her the million dollar question: “Do you want Mitch’s job in 2012?” She also answered that one with believability- something you just don’t get very often from a politician. “I really don’t know. Five years from now seems like an eternity. You just don’t know what will be happening. But I’m not intimidated by it.”

We’ll see. Skillman’s a valuable part of the Governor’s team- probably more than even Mitch’s people understand. She’s not to be underestimated.

Day 444

For those of you that might not get the reference, the Iranian hostage crisis lasted 444 days.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tom John Admits, but Spins, on Firings

From Indiana Barrister:

On the Republican side, Chairman Tom John tells me there are some differing opinions with regards to the race for Attorney General. According to John, Marion County will back Costas with a solid majority, but there have been those Republicans backing Zoeller, the most notable is Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Some pundits are accusing John of playing hardball by forcing delegates to sign oaths that they would support Costas and retaliating against those who don’t get on board. John says his job as County Chairman is to back the Governor’s pick, but anyone who has lost a party position, as of late, has been more about competency than politics.

Interesting that he spins on loyalty oaths, strong-arming, and reprisal firings, but doesn't deny that he fired anyone, eh?

There's no denying the Indianapolis Way.

The Fiscal Conservative AG Candidate?

Recently, I made an observation that winning an election in Valparaiso does not provide support to an electability argument when it comes to running for a statewide office.

This observation is met with a response from Costas supporters about the budgets and employee counts for the city of Valpo and the Costas family business, which has nothing to do with the original observation about electability.

Apples and oranges?

I'd also be quick to note that managing a couple hundred city employees or a couple hundred employees at grocery stores might, just might, be somewhat different than managing a couple hundred lawyers.

Just maybe.

But, since the Costas supporters put the budget numbers on the table, let's look at that $25 million comparison a bit more closely, shall we?

In the EIGHT years Steve Carter has held the title of Attorney General (and Greg Zoeller was his #2), the budget of the AG's office has gone up by 54.8%, or about 6.85% per year.

It went from $16,175,770 in the 2001 biennial budget to $25,048,528 in the 2007 biennial budget. Not bad for shop that is filled with high-priced attorneys that could make loads more (and see far greater annual salary increases) in the private sector.

In the FOUR years John Costas has held the title of Mayor of Valparaiso, the budget of the city has gone up by 43.0%, or about 10.75% per year.

The Valpo city budget went from $17,677,825.00 (page 100, PDF warning) in the 2004 budget (the first over which Costas would have a say, being first elected in 2003) up to $25,285,669 (PDF warning) in the budget passed in 2007.

This means that, on a per-year comparison, Jon Costas increased spending in Valparaiso some 57% more per year than spending went up in the AG's office.

And Mr. Costas is supposed to be the more fiscally conservative candidate?

I'm sorry, but the facts just don't support that.

UPDATE: Apparently, because Mr. Costas decided to expand Valpo by annexing nearby subdivisions (apparently without a matching expansion in city services by hiring more city employees), this 10.75% per-year growth in spending is "justified" according to his supporters.

And when it comes to the electability argument, the geographical talking point being put forward by Costas and the Governor (that we simply must have a candidate from northern Indiana, and a candidate from southern Indiana won't do) is far more insulting (and I've been told as much by delegates) than the simple factual and common-sense observation that running for statewide office is a lot different than being elected mayor of a small city.

Geography Troublesome for the Obamassiah

Last week, the Obamassiah was campaigning in Sunrise, Florida.

Unfortunately, he referred to it several times in his speech there as Sunshine.

The week before that, he was campaigning in Sioux Falls and referred to it as Sioux City.

Before that, he explained away Hillary Clinton's crushing victory in Kentucky by saying that Kentucky (which borders the Obamassiah's home state of Illinois) is actually closer to Arkansas (which it is not and does not even border).

And before that, he said at a campaign event that he had been campaigning in 57 states.

If such mistakes had been made by a Republican, the media would have already manufactured a narrative about how bumbling, poorly-spoken, just plain dumb, and unready to be president Barack Obama is.

Time to Do the Snoopy Dance

Good grief!

From Indiana Blog Net News' ratings this week of Indiana political blogs:

A big thanks to all of the Hoosierpundit readers out there that have made this the #1 blog in Indiana for the first time ever.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

No Greater Love...

Memorial Day

Thank You

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Something different to post for Memorial Day...

As I've said before, I don't make it to the movie theater very often, but I love summer blockbusters.

Certain movies (particularly ones with big-budget special effects, dazzling action sequences, and humongous explosions) are just meant to be seen in movie theaters.

Other films can be truly great (of late "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" come to mind), but they're as great on my television screen as they might be on the silver screen, so I tend to wait to see them until I can buy them on DVD.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is one of those movies that you just have to see on the big screen, so I ventured to the movie theater on Saturday afternoon, settled down with a big thing of popcorn and a Diet Coke so large that I knew I'd be running for the bathroom as soon as the credits appeared, and waited for the John Williams score to play.

The first hour and a half or so of the movie does not disappoint. It's 1957 and Indiana Jones is older, but Harrison Ford has lost nothing in the intervening years in his return to the role. The new characters (with the exception of Cate Blanchett) add to the story and are fairly seamlessly integrated early on. The interplay between Harrison Ford and the motorcycle-riding character of Shia LaBeouf is entertaining.

From the initial action sequence, set in the infamous government warehouse (complete with a brief cameo by the Ark of the Covenant), to the motorcycle chase across a 1950s college campus, evoke well some of the earlier traditions of the series. The gratuitous references to McCarthyism are matched by other period remarks (like "I Like Ike").

The villains are communists instead of Nazis, and Cate Blanchett's character is disappointing as some sort of KGB psychic obsessed with finding ancient crystal skulls in order to engage in mind control that will enable the communists to take over the world.

The objective isn't much more far-fetched than wanting to use a golden box, five rocks, or a carpenter's cup to take over the world, so the extent of the ambition is at least forgivable. But Blanchett's character just doesn't make it work in the way that René Belloq, Colonel Dietrich, Colonel Vogel, and Walter Donovan did in the earlier films. Maybe it's the psychic angle, or the perhaps the swordplay. But it just doesn't work.

The movie works well, the pacing is good, and the characters and the story carry themselves until our heroes find themselves in the jungle trying to escape from the communists. This significant action sequence involves a sword-fight by two people atop two racing jeeps (something that has no believable parallel in prior Indiana Jones films), a character swinging from vines like Tarzan (which could have just been left out entirely), and a trip over three Niagara-Falls-sized waterfalls in an amphibious truck (which is probably a nod to the escape from the crashing plane in a rubber boat seen in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). It would have been a satisfying sequence without those three things, yet they were included anyway.

The climax of the movie (which I won't spoil for you) is more science fiction than the "traditional" mysticism of the previous Indy movies, and that was somewhat disappointing. The ending is ultimately very satisfying in the sense of wrapping up the film, but I don't think that it holds true to the established Indy mythos of searching for (and seeing the manifestations of) mystical (and usually religious) artifacts.

With a few exceptions (the Tarzan sequence, for example) the film is very true to the usual style of the Indiana Jones films (and their action sequences). It is not heavy on special effects like the Star Wars prequels (and when they are present they are not overly obtrusive).

It's a popcorn film, and you'd leave disappointed if you went into it expecting Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or even There Will Be Blood. If you expect a popcorn film, you'll leave pleased and entertained.

It's well worth the price of admission, and a worthy addition to the Indiana Jones franchise.

I give it three and a half out of five stars.

For comparison, I'd give Raiders of the Lost Ark five out of five, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom two and a half out of five, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade four out of five.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Certain Disingenuous Criticism of McCain's Medical Record Disclosure

Doug Masson doesn't find John McCain's recent disclosure of his personal medical records to be satisfactory:

Rather than providing access to his medical information, John McCain provided select medical documentation under tightly controlled circumstances: seven out of 71 years, three hours, invited journalists only, no copies.

Either provide the information or don’t. McCain’s approach seems worse than simply refusing.

The "seven out of 71 years" criticism is highly disingenuous, as McCain disclosed the prior 64 years of his medical history already during his 2000 presidential campaign.

It's also hard to call McCain's disclosure "tightly controlled" given the broad spectrum of journalists that were present and able to both view the records and question the Senator's doctors.

Additionally, the NYT's criticism of the fact that not all of that question period was used sounds an awful lot like a way to spin as badly as possible the fact that the question session ended early because they were no further questions left to be asked.

Moreover, the disclosure McCain provided was similar to that which his campaign put forward during that 2000 presidential campaign, only this time McCain allowed more journalists to view his records and gave them a longer period of time to do so.

As Hot Air notes, the New York Times editorialized very favorably about McCain's disclosure of his medical records in that 2000 campaign:

Mr. McCain’s disclosure should not set off a browbeating of other candidates to match him detail for detail. But it does outline a common-sense approach. Presidential health, like presidential character, is an important public concern. Voters have a right to look at anything that relates to ability to serve, including major health issues in a candidate’s life. Journalists have a corresponding duty to be responsibly curious about these matters. Mr. McCain’s particular way of releasing information need not become an exact requirement for other candidates, but it ought to prompt them toward a corresponding openness appropriate to their own histories and candidacies.

The intervening eight years--and McCain actually getting the nomination--seem to have changed their minds. Can't imagine why.

Criticisms of McCain's disclosure of his medical history, which is more open than it was eight years ago, are highly partisan and supremely hypocritical in light of how some of the same critics now were bubbling over with praise then.

"Electability" Apparently Doesn't Mean Actually Winning Elections

At least according to the Costas-supporting Porter County Politics:

Jon Costas, Mitch Daniels, and John McCain are electable. I worry greatly that Greg Zoeller, Dan Quayle, Eric Miller and Newt Gingrich all find themselves in the position of being strong conservative minds that can't get elected.

Lost in the liberal smear of Dan Quayle, and Newt Gingrich's resignation in the wake of the 1998 elections, are the fact that both were very electable.

Newt Gingrich brought the Republicans into the majority in Congress for the first time in forty years, and his Contract with America remains the gold standard for an agenda of conservative change and a campaign of ideas.

Dan Quayle was only twenty-nine when he defeated an eight-term Democrat incumbent to become a member of Congress. He was reelected two years later with the largest margin ever seen in northeastern Indiana (at least to that point).

When Quayle ran for the Senate, he was the youngest person from Indiana ever to do so, and he defeated a three-term incumbent (Birch Bayh) who was such a legendary fixture in Indiana politics that the last name of Bayh was enough to put his son into the State House as governor. When Quayle was reelected six years later, it was by the largest margin ever seen in Indiana to that point. Quayle, of course, went on to become Vice President (in another pretty one-sided election in 1988) and became a favorite target for attacks by the media.

So you'll pardon me if I disagree with the notion that folks like Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle weren't electable. It's hard to not be electable when you keep, you know, winning elections.

It's also hard to make an argument about somebody like Costas being electable when they've only been elected mayor of a city of 28,000 (sorry, Valpo, but it's true), and governed so liberally that the Democrats didn't bother to run a candidate of their own the next go around.

The Democrats Lied about the War

What else is new?

But hearing it from the mouth of one of their own, well, that's something...

Hat tip: Blue Grass, Red State.

This Week's Behind Closed Doors

It seems that firing the innocent and strong-arming convention delegates are not Tom John's only skills.

Add not knowing which precinct he lives in to that list.

Oops! His bad

In the matter of who is to blame in Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John's loss in the May 6 primary as a precinct committeeman, it's now clear John has only himself to blame.

He had tried to point the finger at Marion County Clerk Beth White, saying she had printed his name under the wrong precinct on ballots.

But White's office was readily able to produce paperwork to the contrary.

As it turns out, John submitted his candidacy declaration Feb. 22 for the 2nd Precinct in the 7th Ward, where he resides and has been committeeman for years. Problem is, his precinct number changed to the 3rd when the county cut the number of precincts from 917 to 590 late last year.

"It clearly was my mistake," John said. "My precinct number changed, and I didn't check. But isn't it their job to check those forms? Otherwise, I could run for any spot regardless of where I live."

Well, not exactly.

Clerk's office employees point out the Election Code doesn't allow them to challenge someone's form.

The bottom line? John will appoint himself to the 3rd Precinct spot because no one ran for it.

There's also this (unrelated but entertaining) blurb about Senator John Waterman:

If nothing else, Waterman would bring a distinct look to the governor's race.

A former sheriff, Waterman is known around the Statehouse for his Western-style suits, which he usually matches with a pair of cowboy boots. He's particularly known for a camouflage number he sports from his seat in the back row of the Senate.

The NEW Democratic Map

Of course, it's missing the 9 other states that the Obamassiah says are also in the Union.

Foreign Policy for Dummies

Saturday, May 24, 2008

AG Race: More on the Indianapolis Way

You never know what you can find associated with the Governor and his people when you go looking at what they have put up on Facebook. Things like the logo here show up in their Facebook profiles.


On Thursday night, I blogged about Tom John's firing of Dave Miller, a Marion County GOP township chairman that was quoted in the Howey Report as complaining about John's strong-arming of delegates and demand for a pro-Costas loyalty oath for appointed delegates.

Readers will note that all of these reports have since been corroborated by recent editions of Indiana Legislative Insight and the Howey report.

After further inquiry, rumor has it (and Hoosierpundit sources have also told me) that Tom John's efforts to pack the GOP state convention and rig the vote for Jon Costas, the Governor's man, are much more extensive than previously indicated.

According to Hoosierpundit sources, Tom John held a meeting of the Marion County township chairs about a week and a half ago. The meeting was called on very short notice, so not all of the townships were able to attend; those that were not present were apparently notified of the meeting's happenings via other means.

Present at this meeting, sources say, were Jay Cahill (Costas' campaign manager), Tom John (Marion County GOP chair), Andy Harris (Wayne township chair), David Holt (Pike township chair), Lincoln Plowman (Franklin township vice / assistant chair), Kay Spear (Perry township vice / assistant chair), Helmut Brugman (Washington township vice / assistant chair), and Rob Green (the executive director of the Marion County GOP), among others.

The meeting took place on very short notice, and not all of the townships were able to have representatives present.

Sources say that it was at this meeting that Tom John laid down the law to his township party officials with regard to the appointment of delegates to the state convention. There were to be no delegate appointments without the person that wanted to be a delegate first signing a form indicating that they would vote at the convention for Jon Costas.

I am told that they had difficulty getting people to sign the required loyalty oath, and soon substituted it for requiring them to sign a card from the Costas campaign saying that they were endorsing or volunteering for Jon Costas. However, this too was met with resistance from those interested in being delegates, and very few party regulars that normally populate the ranks of the Marion County GOP convention delegation were willing to go along with it. Most of these individuals were accordingly not appointed as delegates.

Sources say that, following the demand for a loyalty oath, Mr. Cahill addressed the meeting. He informed them in no uncertain terms that Jon Costas was the Governor's choice for attorney general. Cahill then told the meeting that Mitch Daniels said that "any county or delegate who did not cooperate would be punished."

Tom John nodded approvingly as Cahill said this.

Regardless, the quotation shows the extent to which Tom John, the Costas campaign, and the Governor are increasingly willing to go in order to ensure that the GOP state convention rubber stamps Mitch Daniels' hand-picked nominee for attorney general. They are now relying upon Indianapolis and Tom John to force their chosen one through the convention.

With the intervention of the likes of Carl Brizzi, and more recently John McGoff, on the side of Zoeller, lining up the delegates from the various townships is apparently proving difficult. I also suspect that the township party officials did not react well to being given such blunt and authoritarian orders.

Sources say that the loyalty oath did not go over well, and word of it leaked quickly from potential delegates to blogs such as this one (and later to Howey and Legislative Insight). Potential delegates resisted it, and Tom John soon had to look to new places to be able to fill Marion County's delegate slate.

Unable to find sufficient party regulars willing to sign a draconian loyalty oath as demanded by the Indianapolis establishment, sources say that John began appointing members of the Daniels administration, staffers for the Governor's campaign, and their spouses (!!!) in order to fill the delegate slate.

Of Marion County's 103 appointed delegates, I am told by sources that somewhere between a majority and two-thirds of those open slots were filled by individuals from these categories.

Hoosierpundit sources in Marion County indicate, for example, that Eric Holcomb (Mitch's campaign manager) is on the list of delegate appointees, along with Janet Amos (Holcomb's girlfriend). Jason and Sharon Barclay, former My Man Mitch employees (the former now being with Barnes & Thornburg), were also appointed as delegates.

Sources say that other appointments include Bill Bock (the treasurer of the Costas campaign), Betsy Burdick (the Governor's deputy chief of staff), Danielle Chrysler (a Daniels staffer) and her husband Mike, Katherine Densborn (the head of the Hoosier Lottery) and her husband Donald, Justin Garrett (an employee of the state committee), Bob Grand (the chief of Barnes & Thornburg, where Costas used to work), Doug Huntsinger (an employee of the governor), Mark Massa (the Governor's general counsel), Cam Savage (the communications flunky for the Governor's campaign), Matt Tusing (Rokita's chief of staff) and his wife Kristin, and Ellen Whitt (a staffer in the Governor's office) and her husband Bob (also a Daniels staffer).

The list of appointees is apparently chock full of current and former "Mitchies", whether for his office or for his campaign. All of these individuals are beholden to the Governor. For that reason alone, their votes can be brought in line far better than a mere loyalty oath.

It wasn't enough for Tom John, it seems, to demand that his county's appointed delegates sign a loyalty oath. He filled his appointment list with Mitch loyalists guaranteed to to the Governor's bidding no matter what (lest they join the various county chairs and other delegates in being "punished").

This is the Indianapolis Way.

It's now also the Mitch Way.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Smartest Obamassiah Supporter Yet


Waterman Forms Exploratory Committee

From the Courier-Journal:

Republican state Sen. John Waterman of Shelburn has formed an exploratory committee to consider running for governor as an independent this year.

Waterman said there are many disgruntled Hoosiers. He said he believes he's more in touch with common people than Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels or Democratic nominee Jill Long Thompson.

Waterman was the Sullivan County sheriff from 1986 to 1994, the year he was first elected to the state Senate.

He will have to gather at least 33,000 petition signatures and turn them into the secretary of state's office by June 30 to get on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Burton & McGoff (Both!) for Zoeller

It turns out that politics can indeed make strange bedfellows.

Both Congressman Dan Burton and his primary challenger, Dr. John McGoff, are supporting Greg Zoeller in the Republican attorney general race.

Who would have thought it possible? Two and a half weeks ago they going at each other with both barrels.

Now, they're both supporting and working for the election of Greg Zoeller at the Indiana GOP convention.

Talk about broad support. It's hard to find a better example than that.

Meet Jon Costas, Political Chameleon

Who can forget the resounding endorsement that Mitch Daniels gave to Jon Costas:

Mayor Costas is a proven vote-getter and progressive leader of one of the best cities in our state.

Yessir. You heard it from the Mitch's mouth.

Jon Costas is a "progressive leader." It's why Mitch endorsed him.

Quite progressive, in fact.

He enacted perhaps the most stringent smoking ban in the state of Indiana as mayor of Valparaiso, and his supporters have compared his photo-friendly "propaganda" qualities (their words, not mine) to Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Now, however, Costas is touting himself in a series of new big-bucks videos (available here) as a rock-ribbed conservative.

It takes some big ones to reinvent yourself in politics. It takes bigger ones still to reinvent yourself from a "progressive leader" to a conservative in the span of a week and a half.

As for the video production itself? What can I say?

Costas photographs well, he loves puppies, he runs triathlons, and he has the fireplace at his house going in late May.

I don't know anyone that uses their fireplace in late May, but I digress.

They also tout Costas' religious credentials and depict him as a devout social conservative, an interesting thing since he started his candidacy by repeatedly describing himself as progressive (in the Hoosier Access conference call and elsewhere), and Mitch Daniels called him a "progressive leader." He also won't take a firm position on hate crimes legislation.

Costas, of course, doesn't have a monopoly on social conservative credentials, and the endorsement of a tiny handful of Republican state legislators does not make it otherwise (particularly with Costas' record).

Greg Zoeller is a devout Catholic (and I'm fortunately quite certain that the Costas campaign's recent evangelical emphasis wouldn't have anything to do with hoping to engender a soft undercurrent of anti-Catholic bigotry). Zoeller is the father of three, has done mission work in Bangladesh, and is a room "mother" at Christ the King Catholic School.

Costas' campaign can attempt to play some sort of religious card or social conservative card (and needs to after social conservative leader Micah Clark essentially condemned the strong-arm tactics being used by his supporters), but Zoeller has an unquestioned and longstanding social conservative background of his own.

The fact, however, that Zoeller has not attempted to emphasize his faith for political advantage (despite it clearly having a deep impact upon his life and his actions), I think speaks volumes about the Costas campaign and those behind it. I think that it also says a lot about the upstanding character and Christian humility of Greg Zoeller.

Though perhaps not Jon Costas himself; he's as pure as new-fallen snow, you know.

And, gosh, Jon Costas just photographs so well.

Let's not forget that the Governor's endorsement "is like throwing gasoline on a fire for your campaign."

Sort of like this:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

AG Race Update: Marion County's Long Knives Come Out, Plunge Deep

Every once in a while, your humble correspondent gets mentioned in the august pages of the Howey report. Sometimes, folks that have extra money to waste on the Howey report will send me the articles where I am mentioned or quoted (since Brian Howey apparently likes to quote me but never informs me when he is doing so).

I usually print them out and line the bottom of my bird cage with them, but I digress. (But don't stop sending them to me; Tweety's cage frequently needs new paperwork.)

This was one of the weeks where I got mentioned (squaring off, by virtue of Howey's copy and pasting, with Mitch campaign communications director Cam Savage):

Meanwhile, the conservative blogs are in full chatter. Hoosier Pundit, for example, had this post: "Unfortunately for Mr. Costas, the AG post is one where experience counts for a lot, and leadership less so. What will Costas lead on? The brave charge to outsource legal work to the Indy law firms (like Barnes & Thornburg, from which he formerly hailed)? The value of experience in such a post is immeasurable. To quote the endorsement, it matters. Greg Zoeller, to be blunt, has that experience. He has it in spades and then some. I’d ask for Costas supporters to please dispense with the whole ‘Zoeller is dividing the party’ talking point. In this entire process, no one has been more divisive or more abrasive or more thuggish than the supporters and advocates of Jon Costas (particularly from the governor’s campaign, Marion County, and state party). The comments of his supporters at Hoosier Access and elsewhere have not exactly broken new ground in winning friends and influencing people."

Cam Savage, communications director for Gov. Daniels, defended the governor’s position. "I would simply say there was a reason that folks weren’t excited about a contested race for attorney general. It’s important that every part of the state be represented."

The usual geography canard, because people go into the voting booth and just won't vote for the Governor unless the attorney general comes from a different area of the map than everyone else.

But it gets better. The Howey article clipped for me includes this delightful bit, upon which I followed up today:

In one of the wildest political conventions, Republican nominee Linley Pearson almost bolted his own ticket in a convention floor row over whether Dave Miller would become the attorney general nominee. The convention, instead, chose Timothy Bookwalter, who campaigned with a campaign cutout of Pam Carter (who is African-American). Pearson lost in a landslide to Gov. Evan Bayh. Earlier this week at the Perry Township Republican Club, that very same Dave Miller complained to attendees... that Republican delegates were being strong-armed into voting for Jon Costas by Tom John and the governor’s campaign.

Hoosierpundit sources tell me that Tom John was so furious with Dave Miller over this indirect "quotation" that Miller (seen here on YouTube endorsing Dan Burton last year) has been sacked as Perry Township Republican Chairman.

The kicker, however, is that word of the firing has already spread far and wide, but Miller himself does not yet even know.

Dave Miller, sources tell me, has not even been in Indianapolis this week. He has been out of the country, in Costa Rica no less. He will return from abroad to learn that he has been fired from a position he has held for years because Brian Howey attributed a quote to him that he was not even in the United States to say.

There was no Perry Township meeting "earlier this week," apparently, and my sources say that Dave Miller was not even in the country to attend if one had been held.

Yet Tom John, furious at the mention of his underhanded "loyalty oath" tactics in the Howey report, has fired him anyway.

How dare anyone be upset that he is requiring loyalty oaths among appointed delegates?

And who cares if the reporting is right, or if it is impossible for it to be true; line him up in front of the wall for the firing squad anyway.

That's the Indianapolis Way.

That's the Marion County Way.

That's the Mitch Way.

More Thoughts on Waterman

Dalton, at Porter County Politics, opines on my recent observations about Senator Waterman's potential conservative independent bid for governor.

The Waterman Candidacy (?) from The Hoosierpundit Scott, who I've disagreed with all week about his shots at Costas, shows that he represents those who are really more anti-Mitch, not necessarily anti-Costas. They feel he didn't act conservative enough in his first four years (privatizing the toll road and capping property taxes wasn't enough) and want him to get a message from a more conservative independant. I think the Eric Miller types are involved in this too. Oh well, the more the merrier.

One of the things that frequently happens in blogging is that observations about reality get taken as opinions.

I certainly don't consider myself to be anti-Mitch, though I disagree with some of the less conservative policies he has implemented (taxes and social issues, primarily). My car sports what is probably the only "My Man Mitch" bumper sticker in the whole of Harrison County (and probably a good number of the neighboring counties too). It has been there since the summer of 2004 and I've never once thought of removing it.

These days, aside from the rear of my own car, the only green and white political bumper stickers I see in southern Indiana proclaim "Ditch Mitch" or "Not My Man." Embarrassingly (and here is a good example of Daniels' problem), you can find those very bumper stickers on cars with other Republican or conservative bumper stickers, just as you also see them on cars with Democratic bumper stickers.

This all being said, the Governor's troubles with his party's base (at least outside of the Indy media market, and particularly down south) is something that is never mentioned in public (and I am told that folks with his campaign are furious at me for posting about it). But simply pretending it doesn't exist or not talking about it does not mean that it is not there, and the Governor and his campaign are going to have to address these problems for him to win in November.

So long as they ignore the situation or dismiss it as irrelevant (or, though various actions, make it much worse), they are never going to get it fixed, and I'd hope that they do so soon.

Federal Appeals Court: Paper Money Discriminates Against the Blind


A divided D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 that paper money discriminates against the blind in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson. The ruling upheld a controversial trial court ruling in November 2006 that paper money discriminates because it lacks features that the blind can use to easily distinguish between different denominations, such as bumps or different sizes or shapes.

Sarah Waldeck observed that that ruling was judicial overreaching, for two reasons. First, the Rehabilitation Act and other disabled-rights laws only guarantee the disabled meaningful access to services and transactions, not perfectly equal access, and the blind have such access, through use of credit and debit cards and other payment options and innovations, which reduce the risk that merchants will defraud unknowing blind people. Second, most of the burden of redesigning the bills (indeed, an undue burden) would fall not on the Treasury Department but on merchants, vending machine operators, and other third parties.

The National Federation of the Blind, the best-known advocacy group for the blind, also opposed that ruling, fearing that it will reinforce stereotypes employers have of blind people being unable to function in society or perform everyday tasks. The government cited counterfeiting and other concerns that make redesigning paper money risky and costly.

So what now?

Money that's different sizes? That will be great for ATM and vending machines.

Money with raised bumps for the blind to read? They'll get worn out and worn off.

What logical remedy is there, let alone the practicality and cost of implementing a given remedy?

The Carter Syndrome

Malkin: The Many Gaffes of the Obamassiah

From National Review:

Barack Gaffes
The Obama machine.
By Michelle Malkin

All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of “potatoe.” The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bush’s questions about new scanner technology at a grocers’ convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.

But what about Barack Obama? The guy’s a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

* Last May, he claimed that tornadoes in Kansas killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

* Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

* Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, S.D., audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you, Sioux City. ... I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.”

* Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

* Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Ala., he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement: “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”

Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was “speaking metaphorically about the civil-rights movement as a whole.”

* Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by homing in on a lack of translators: “We only have a certain number of them, and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan.” The real reason it’s “harder for us to use them” in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.

* Over the weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multibillion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear-waste cleanup: “Here’s something that you will rarely hear from a politician, and that is that I’m not familiar with the Hanford, uuuuhh, site, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on there. (Applause.) Now, having said that, I promise you I’ll learn about it by the time I leave here on the ride back to the airport.”

I assume on that ride, a staffer reminded him that he’s voted on at least one defense-authorization bill that addressed the “costs, schedules, and technical issues” dealing with the nation’s most contaminated nuclear-waste site.

* Last March, the Chicago Tribune reported this little-noticed nugget about a fake autobiographical detail in Obama’s Dreams from My Father: “Then, there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.”

* And in perhaps the most seriously troubling set of gaffes of them all, Obama told a Portland crowd over the weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us” — cluelessly arguing that “tiny countries” with small defense budgets can’t do us harm — and then promptly flip-flopped the next day, claiming, “I’ve made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.”

Barack Obama — promoted by the Left and the media as an all-knowing, articulate, transcendent Messiah — is a walking, talking gaffe machine. How many more passes does he get? How many more can we afford?

Do we really want Jimmy Carter's second term?

Daily AG Race Update

From Indy's Conservative Hardball:

According to Howey's Ticker and confirmed by Jim Banks (Zoeller's Campaign Manager), Congressman Dan Burton has come out today and endorsed Greg Zoeller for Attorney General.

Burton joins Congressman Mark Souder, who endorsed Zoeller earlier this week.

And just to clarify:

State Representative Woody Burton went in the other direction, endorsing Jon Costas...

Boy, this AG thing is turning out to be a good race to watch.

Fort Wayne News has the text of the email that went out from Micah Clark denouncing the threats, loyalty oaths, and strong-arm tactics of the Costas camp:

Is it a Political Convention or a Coronation Ceremony?

The decision of Attorney General Steve Carter not to seek another term is creating an interesting battle for one of the most important political offices in the state. The AG nominees are picked by the political parties at their state conventions, just like the Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction rather than through our primary election in May.

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas is the son of a respected former State Senator. Costas is a popular mayor having twice been elected to that office. Although I do not know him very well, I have friends who are working closely with the Mayor. I have a very favorable opinion of him based upon our recent conversations.

The other candidate is Deputy Attorney General Greg Zoeller who has worked as Steve Carter’s right hand for close to eight years and has political experience going back to the staff of US Senators Dan Quayle and Dan Coats. I have known Greg for over a decade, first working with him when he was with George Witwer, the Republican Lt. Governor nominee running with Steve Goldsmith. I have also worked with Greg on some key issues in his role in the Attorney General’s office on a zoning law challenge and issues such as the Ten Commandments and opening prayers at the capitol.

Numerous political insiders are publicly reporting some very unfortunate intimidation tactics being used on behalf of Mayor Costas and Governor Daniels who has endorsed Costas. I do not believe that these two leaders are directly responsible, but rumors and reports of strong-arm tactics from a few overzealous administration and Republican party staff members before the June 2nd convention are very disturbing.

Here is how Howey Politics Indiana described this problem: “Several Republican county chairs have complained to HPI about the strong armed campaign tactics used by Gov. Daniels’ re-election campaign on behalf of Costas.” The influential newsletter, Indiana Legislative Insight, reports that some county chairmen are requiring “loyalty pledges” in order for Republican supporters to become delegates. These ostensibly would require them to vote for Costas if the rumors of strong-arm tactics being used against county chairs are as true as even I am now hearing.

In fact, pressure tactics by a few staffers to make this a referendum for the Governor or to view support for Greg Zoeller as insubordination apparently angered Whitley County GOP chairman Jim Banks so much that he went from being neutral, to volunteering to be Zoeller’s campaign manager during the convention.

There is good reason for delegates and county chairmen to be upset. (Whether there is a significant backlash remains to be seen.) There is nothing wrong with endorsements or honest campaigning behind the scenes, which is what both Zoeller and Costas personally seem to be doing. However, “loyalty oaths” and threats of “keeping score” are totally uncalled for, and do not belong in what should be a fair contest and a friendly competition among Republicans.

Incidentally, if I were hearing of similar rough tactics by a few staff members under Attorney General Carter portraying a failure to support their boss’ choice of Zoeller as insubordination, I’d report on that too! I haven’t heard of any such reports.

If anyone on this e-mail list is a GOP delegate or is considering asking their county chair to be appointed as a delegate, my advice is to ignore any undue pressure. You may want to avoid committing to any specific candidate beforehand. After all, this is supposed to be a convention election, not a prearranged coronation ceremony. These convention selections don’t happen all that often and there are two talented individuals running. Why not wait until you hear each candidate’s convention speech, and observe his floor demonstrations? Enjoy all the fun parts of the convention process and make your decision about who would be the best Attorney General when it is most appropriate based upon your own convictions.

Micah Clark
Executive Director
American Family Association of Indiana

In the AG's race, I think that Greg Zoeller’s lifetime of experience speaks for itself. Jon Costas may photograph well and I’m sure that he loves puppies and is a great “progressive” mayor. But he simply lacks the necessary experience, and experience matters when it comes to the AG’s office.

I thought seriously for a long time about endorsing Jon Costas (and if you knew about the environment in Harrison County, that statement would be much more meaningful still). He’s a nice guy and the geography thing was superficially compelling (until you realize that Zoeller’s experience just matters much more).

I’ve spoken with Jon Costas twice. I’ve never come away disappointed, though I have also never been awed or impressed. Zoeller, meanwhile, has always impressed me with his depth of knowledge and experience.

As much as Zoeller’s experience, however, I have been swayed by the behavior of Mr. Costas’ supporters. Whether it has been in loyalty oaths for appointed delegates in Marion County, the thuggish behavior of Daniels’ people in “keeping score,” the circumstances surrounding Costas’ “early” entry into the race, or attacks Costas supporters have made when facts about these things were merely noted in routine informational (rather than advocacy) blogging, the behavior of those who support Jon Costas is troubling to me.

Such behavior is just wrongheaded and divisive, in the very least. It turned me away, and I suspect that I will not be alone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Waterman Candidacy (?)

Probably not so much a question mark anymore; word I hear is that he is serious and he is running.

And with a bit of help from grassroots conservative email and mailing lists, to say nothing of angry and disaffected Republican base voters, he'll have no trouble getting the necessary signatures (and those lists will yield him enough money to be a serious spoiler).

Kurt Luidhardt doesn't think so:

Mitch Daniels is a great Governor. Despite suggesting some things I would rather not see happen, I think he should be resoundingly re-elected.

Daniels is a good governor, but if you had told me in the fall of 2004 that the winner of the election was going to raise the sales tax, hike taxes on cigarettes, enact new government health care and education programs, expand gambling, and ignore social conservative issues, I would have told you that Joe Kernan won the election.

Despite what the Dems want you to believe, Waterman is not a major (and maybe not even a minor) challenge to the Governor- even as an independent candidate for Governor. I find that opposition to the Guv (where it exists) is strong among certain people due to the toll road or Daylight Savings Time. Waterman just gives people two places to go instead of one. In addition, he'll never have enough money to garner more than a small percentage of the vote.

This is sadly misinformed. In this area, there is deep and abiding opposition to the Governor, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the toll road or Daylight Savings Time.

Get outside of the mile square, and better yet outside of the Indy media market, and you find a world and a political environment that is very different from the one that most Indianapolis pundits and politicos dwell in; it might as well be an entirely different state.

Can Waterman win? Almost certainly not.

Will he give angry Republicans and conservatives an alternative that they did not have before? Yes.

Will that alternative harm Mitch Daniels' reelection prospects? Yes; potentially fatally. See more below.

Even if Waterman was a strong challenger, Jill Long Thompson will have a hard time winning enough votes in Southern Indiana and other rural counties. Keep in mind, when the Dems win Indiana it's not with a candidate who looks more like San Francisco then Jasper. People like Congressmen Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly that vote pro-life frequently and support gun rights. In this case, the Dems went with a candidate that will make Andre Carson look Conservative.

What is saving Mitch Daniels is that conservatives (and base Republicans) that are unhappy or even angry with him have nowhere to go. He didn't have a primary challenger, and has been able for four years to take his party and its base for granted (and that doesn't leave many of them happy).

But the moment that those that are upset with Mitch have somewhere to go, a good proportion of them are going to leave him in a heartbeat.

They won't leave the GOP in droves sufficient to make Waterman the next governor of the state of Indiana, but enough of them will leave it to put Jill Long Thompson in the big office at the State House.

And Mitch will have done it all to himself.