Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ballard Claims Credit for Mayoral Charter Schools, State Ed Reform

The Indianapolis Star's political columnist Matthew Tully pens a column that goes over the thoughts mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy (D) has on education and what needs to be done. Tully's thoughts basically boil down to that Kennedy is taking a flimsy position at best, but at least it's better than Mayor Greg Ballard's position on education in Marion County, which appears to be non-existent.

Tully talks about an e-mail he received from the campaign arm of Ballard that spins education reforms passed at the state level (championed by Governor Mitch Daniels) and the mayoral charter school's office started by Mayor Bart Peterson, Ballard's predecessor, as accomplishments of Ballard. This false belief is reflected on Megan Roberton's Twitter account. Robertson is Ballard's campaign manager.

Now, maybe Tully is completely wrong. Maybe Ballard was lobbying the General Assembly for education reform. But I don't remember that being reported by any media accounts, and I can't find any records that indicate Ballard sent lobbyists to support these efforts.

So Ballard supporters, let's see these records. What exact actions did Mayor Ballard take in lobbying the General Assembly for any of the educational reforms that were considered in the 2011 session?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Minnesota Governor Symbolically Vetoes Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently vetoed a proposed amendment to the Minnesota state constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Even though Dayton, like many state governors, doesn't have any influence on what amendments are proposed to state constitutions, he received this proposed amendment in the form of a bill through a clerical error. And since his duty as governor requires him to either sign or veto all bills that come to his desk, he vetoed it as a symbolic gesture in support of marriage equality.

In a letter explaining his veto, he called the proposed amendment "divisive" and "un-American." He also makes a clear distinction between religious marriage, which is defined by each individual religion, and a civil marriage, which is defined by the appropriate body of government.

The proposed amendment will likely appear on the November 2012 general election ballot. Marriage equality supporters have already started talking that this very well could be the first state to vote down a marriage definition amendment. The cynic in me doubts that, when even fairly liberal states such as California and Maine have passed similar measures, but I can always hope for the best.

My Thoughts on the Future of Circle Center

With the announcement that Nordstrom, the Circle Center Mall's anchor store, will soon shut it's doors, rampant speculation has taken place on both why it closed and what will take it's place. Everything from the crime in the area, to the sluggish state of the economy, has been suggested. My friends over at Urban Indy hit it a bit closer to the mark, that Nordstrom is just not attractive to the downtown residents and out-of-town guests that frequent Circle Center, but it's a comment in their comments section that really hits a home run.

The fact is, the shopping mall, as a concept is outdated. Only one enclosed mall has been built in the United States since 2006. The entire concept of malls that have either shut down, or lost their anchor store and will be shut down, has even spawned it's own term, a dead mall, and has an entire website dedicated to it. Add in that rowdy teenagers seem to be a permanent feature at Circle Center, and it makes it less of a destination for the average consumer, especially in the evening hours and summer months.
I think, unless the concept of the mall is revisited, Circle Center is doomed to become a dead mall. Not in the next few, but maybe 10-15.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4th Amendment Rally at the Statehouse

In response to the Indiana Supreme Court ruling that effectively re-writes the 4th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, a group of citizens have organized a protest, mostly via Facebook.

I talked to one of the organizers about a potential conflict, a police procession honoring a fallen officer. Apparently, it's on the other side of the State House, and the two events shouldn't interfere with one another.

The organizer of the event told me they have a permit from 12 noon until 2pm, though they'd like to keep it going until 6 so those who have to work can still attend.

If you can stop by, you should. It's 12 noon till 2pm Wednesday, downtown at the State House. It's between the two job fairs I'm attending, and I'll likely be there on my bike.

Check the Facebook event for further details.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Point of Personal Privlige III: Ain't Too Proud to Beg

As many of my close friends and family know, I've been searching for work for a while now. I'm currently employed, but I barely get enough hours to even just pay my monthly expenses, and certainly not enough to save or anything fancy like that. I'm going back to school in the fall, and I find that I work best when I'm busy. Having a full time job or two part-time jobs would help keep me busy while having enough time to commit to academics.

I've applied to several dozen jobs (possibly over a hundred, though I honestly have lost count) over the past few months, and I've only had one interview. At that one interview, I was told I was one of ten candidates being considered for the position. Over 450 people submitted an application for what would be an entry level, $10 an hour wage full time position. I can only imagine similar circumstances surrounded the other employers I put an application into. And with hundreds of applicants, I doubt all of them even get read.

So, to my readers, if you know anyone who is hiring, please e-mail me at And if YOU'RE hiring (even if it's just an odd job rather than consistent employment), I have a resumé to send and plenty of time for an interview. I'm a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, have reliable transportation, attended college for a while, and have been employed consistently since my freshman year of high school. I'm very proficient with technology and am a quick study.

The only real limitation I have is that I'm not fit for heavy physical labor. I can lift a heavy package or two, but I can't consistently lift heavy packages/bags/boxes/whatever above 50 pounds.

So yeah, if you've got a job for me (have I mentioned I make house calls for computer issues???) or know someone who might be hiring, e-mail me at, or drop me a line via Facebook or Twitter. And if you don't know anyone who is hiring, post this blog entry on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.

Anyway you can help is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some Site Statistics

Welcome, new readers.

While digging through my SiteMeter statistics, I found some interesting results.

A lot of my hits throughout the weekend and up until today came from a handful of Google search terms concerning the Indiana Supreme Court.

My previous blog entry, Indiana Supreme Court: 4th Amendment Doesn't Apply, is the third search result for the search "indiana supreme court 4th amendment" and #4 if you change "4th" to "fourth". One of the search results above it is the Northwest Indiana Times article that was linked to on Matt Drudge's Drudge Report site, along with a couple of other frequently linked blog posts on the subject.

It seems that, since the Supreme Court decision started being noticed over the weekend and many of the pundits who'd normally talk up a storm were off radio and/or television, people turned to the blogs and other alternate media for information on this court decision.

The hits weren't limited to geographic regions either. In the past handful of days, I've had IPs from Maine to California and several places in between, and even a handful of European IP addresses popping up.

Those in the traditional media will eventually learn they can't let their best and brightest, reporter, pundit, or other, off for the weekend. If they do, it'll only further seal their fate as a dying form.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Indiana Supreme Court: 4th Amendment Doesn't Apply

The Indiana Supreme Court recently issued a 3-2 ruling stating that citizens do not have a choice to resist an unlawful search by government agents. The basis for this decision seems to rely on that, in modern times, there are other ways to fight an unlawful search of one's property, such as the court system or a police ethics board and so on.

For those interested in reading a more legal analysis, you should read the following blog posts:

Welsh points out that this decision is authored by Governor Mitch Daniels' only state Supreme Court appointment, Justice Steven David. I think this speaks volumes of how people like David and Governor Daniels' think.

This is a great example of the "Fuck You, I Got Mine" type of thinking. People like David think that, since they are lawyers, they have complete faith in the court system. Or people like Daniels who, since they are wealthy and have a team of lawyers, a court case won't really bother them. But to the average citizen who don't have thousands of dollars lying around to fight a civil or criminal case, it leaves them with very few options.

It's my understanding that, already, there are several court cases in both the national Supreme Court and the state level that support various types of warrantless searches, such as when in pursuit of a suspect or other types of emergencies.

The media in this state, and possible the nation, should be hounding Daniels throughout the weekend to get his thoughts on this.

On another note, it seems Daniels is trying to piss off every Republican base possible. Social conservatives and certain blowhards are still pissy about his "truce" comments regarding social issues, and now civil libertarians will look at this decision, written by Daniels' appointee, and will think twice before chanting My Man Mitch.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Re-Post: Pet Peeve II: Cyclists and iPods

I'm sure my readers who come here for political news and commentary are disappointed that I've basically turned this blog into a LiveJournal where I whine about personal crap that no one cares about. But I am working on some juicy tidbits, and hopefully some of those stories will come together soon.

As I've mentioned before, I bike around the city as my primary form of exercise, and sometimes also as a mode of transportation. And some cyclists do some things that get on my nerve to no end.

I can not, for the life of me, figure out why some cyclists think listening to music via their smartphone or iPod or what have you is a good idea. Cycling requires you to be completely aware of your surroundings. You need to know what's going on in front of you, and have a good idea of what to expect from behind you and from your sides as well.

I also think, as cyclists, we have more of a burden to practice safe standards, especially on multi-use trails such as the Monon Trail and the Cultural Trail. They aren't just for our safety, but for the safety of joggers and walkers. And if a crash does happen, it's likely the person that is hit by a bike that will get hurt the most, rather than the person on the bike.

I'm really not much of a fan of joggers listening to music either, but they aren't likely to be passing people, and when they do, they don't need the space that a cyclist does. They really only need to be concerned about what's in front of them.

Seriously, politics in this state is B-O-R-I-N-G! We need a scandal, stat!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pet Peeve: Cyclists, Joggers, and Canines

It's been pretty quiet since the primary election was held (and even THAT was pretty quiet), so I'd thought I'd take time to rant and rave about a pet peeve of mine.

I try to get out and ride my bike a few times a week, and lately I've fallen back into love with the Monon Trail. It's a short distance from where I start my bike ride downtown, and the distance between Broad Ripple and downtown is almost the perfect distance for me to stop and rest for a bit. And on top of that, the southern portion of the Monon is really not used all that often, so I get to set my own pace until I get into the Broad Ripple area.

But once I get into the Broad Ripple area, I see groups of other Trail users as well. And one group that sticks out is the joggers and bikers who are with their dogs.

This irritates me because, I believe, it isn't responsible pet ownership.

Don't get me wrong, our canine friends need exercise. They love going for walks and playing fetch and chasing squirrels and all that jazz. But their bodies aren't built like ours. Most dogs can't go for several miles at the same pace of a person on a bicycle or a jogger. They'll wear out quickly.

With cycling, I think it's also a bit dangerous for the owner of the dog as well. The dog won't be able to make room for other people who might want to pass the dog and the owner. This could be a recipe for disaster, or at least irritation from fellow users of the Monon. And heaven forbid if the dog sees a squirrel or rabbit or cat, and the owner loses control.

So fellow canine owners, exercise some responsibility when you're out with your dogs. You've got to set the pace of the walk, but it has to be a pace that the dog can handle, and it really should be a walk unless you're only jogging a short distance.

What say you all?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Election Predictions???

So what are your thoughts on the elections being held today?

From media reports I heard earlier in the morning, the townships holding school related referendums are having a higher turnout. I know I got a few e-mails from local Tea Party groups promoting action specifically because of these referendums. One of the e-mails pointed out that people can go and vote only for the public question without having to also vote in a partisan primary.

In the race between Ron Gibson, Melina Kennedy, and Sam Carson for the spot to compete with Mayor Greg Ballard in the fall for Mayor of Indianapolis, I think Kennedy is going to win with 65% of the vote. Ron Gibson and Sam Carson will split the rest of it evenly. I might give Gibson a few more points just because his campaign seems a bit more credible than Carson's. Carson has clearly never run for public office before, and it shows every time I hear him speak.

Kennedy: 65%
Gibson: 20%
Carson: 15%

There are very few contested primaries in the council districts, so I believe the slate for both the county Dems and the GOP will easily win. The same can be said of the At-Large GOP candidates as well. Even though the new GOP At-Large candidates lack any type of name recognition, the non-slated challenger is considered a joke in Indianapolis politics. Sure, her name recognition might be high, but it's high for the wrong reasons.

The Democrats' At-Large slated candidates benefit from a very strong slate. However, I think Leroy Robinson is a bit of a weak link. I don't think his bio matches up against the other slated candidates Zach Adamson, John Barth, and incumbent Joanne Sanders, or even that of the unslated Pat Andrews. I've also heard complaints from local Democrats that support for Robinson isn't as solid as it is for the others. Adamson and Barth have been campaigning since 2010 and have earned the trust of local Democrats, whereas support for Robinson seems to mainly come from being a slated candidate rather than any actual earned trust. If Sherron Franklin or Andrews make it through the primary, it'll likely be because Robinson does not.

My final prediction is that Adamson, Andrews, Barth, and Sanders make it through the primary on the D side. Then the county Democrats will have to sit down and decide what to do with an unslated candidate making it through the primary. Will they brush her off, much like the county GOP did to Barbara Malone back in 2007? Or will they support her like uh...well, I can't think of an unslated candidate in recent memory actually receiving party support in the general election.

What are your thoughts? Your predictions?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Go Vote??? Meh.

Tomorrow, the municipal primaries for the county Dems and county GOP will be held. Normally, on election day, I encourage people to go vote. But this isn't quite an election. It's party business.

On top of it being party business, a good chunk of the nominees are pretty much already determined. Most of the City-County Council districts won't face a primary challenger, and a handful might not even face a challenger in the general election outside of a third party or write-in candidate.

So what will you see tomorrow, if you go to the polls? You can take a sneak peak at a ballot by going to Indiana Voters and type in some information to locate your ballot.

A couple of townships are also having referendums as well. Those are printed on a separate ballot, so if you live in a section of town that is having a referendum, you'll need to ask specifically for that ballot, regardless of if you do or don't partake in a partisan primary election.

Best of luck to all the candidates tomorrow. Then the real fun begins.