Monday, October 31, 2011

How to Use Your Ballot

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of the election guide I'm preparing for my readers. I have invited both the Kennedy and Ballard camp to make their case in a guest posting on this blog. I've also sat down with several City-County Council candidates, and am sending out e-mail surveys for others. But first, I contacted the Marion County Clerk's Office, which is currently run by Beth White, a Democrat.

I asked the Clerk's office several scenarios and how to properly fill out a ballot in each scenario. To appear completely unbiased, they use stuff like "the Purple Party" or what have you.

Each entry in this election guide will be tagged with "Election Guide". I'll also start a Page (on the right hand side of this blog) that will link to all Election Guide entries.

Remember, you need to bring your photo ID to vote in Indiana. For additional information on voting, visit Indiana Voters or contact the Clerk's office.

1. How can someone only vote for one political party's candidates?
The simplest way to cast a vote for one party's candidates is to use the straight party device. A voter would darken the oval next to political party's name, which means a vote will be cast for every candidate on the ballot for that particular party. (Do not darken the party emblem or underline the party name, which occasionally happens and does not capture the person's vote.) There is no need to darken the oval next to the candidates if you are using the straight party device and only want to support candidates of one particular party. However, a voter can choose to skip the straight party device and darken ovals next to every candidate of the same party.

2. How can someone vote in races and spread their vote across several political candidates/parties?
Instead of using the straight party device, the voter would darken the oval next to the individual candidates they are supporting regardless of party affiliation. Another option is to 'scratch.' This means a voter would use the straight party device but also cast a vote for a different party in one or more races. For example, Vicky Voter is supporting all of the Orange Party candidates except in the dogcatcher race. She wants to vote for Yellow Party's candidate. Vicky could darken the oval on the Orange Party's straight party device and then darken the oval next to the Yellow Party's dogcatcher candidate. The machine will read the ballot as a vote for every Orange Party candidate except for the dogcatcher race where the Yellow Party candidate gets her vote. Her other option would be to skip the straight party device and simply darken the ovals next to each individual candidate she is supporting.

3. Can a "straight ticket" voter vote in a race if their party isn't running a candidate in it? If so, how?
Yes. Let's say the Blue Party has candidates in all but the dogcatcher's race. Only the Orange and Yellow parties have dogcatcher candidates. A voter can darken the oval next to the Blue Party's straight party option and then select either the Orange or Yellow party's candidate for dogcatcher. The machine will read this ballot as a vote for every Blue Party candidate except in the dogcatcher's race where either the Orange or Yellow party candidate the voter selected will receive the vote.

4. It's my understanding that there is at least one write-in candidate in at least one of the races this year. What is the process of voting for a write-in candidate if the voter chooses to do so?
To vote for a write-in candidate, a voter darkens the oval next to the write-in option and writes in the candidate's name on the line provided. Only those candidates that have declared themselves to be a write-in candidate (or another declared candidate for that office) will have their votes counted. The official list of write-in candidates should be made available at theclerk's table on Election Day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Indianapolis Monthly Must Read

There is an excellent article within Indianapolis Monthly that focuses on the three LGBT candidates running for the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council this November. Zach Adamson has been running since 2009, made it through the county Democrat party's slating and the primary, and will be running At-Large. Tood Woodmansee and Jackie Butler were appointed by Democrat County Chairman Ed Treacy after the primary to run in council district 23 and 5, respectively. Ironically, Butler is running against Ginny Cain, one of the most anti-LGBT voices currently seated on the council.

While the overall point of the article is to show how far the LGBT community has come in Indianapolis (indeed, Indiana will be one of only a handful of states with an elected LGBT politician), it really is a great biography piece for Zach Adamson. He's a Democrat's democrat, but this guy isn't beholden to anyone. He'd be a great asset to a legislative body which is in desperate need of the type of experience and character Adamson brings to the table.

Tomorrow, I tackle some endorsements I've been reading over. Here's a preview: When you write about your endorsement process and say "all the candidates suck", you don't have to endorse someone. Just skip that district and move onto the next.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LiteBox Roundup!

Long story short: Our elected officials, including Governor Mitch Daniels and Mayor Greg Ballard, are jumping up and down about some guy's company who doesn't have a prototype, has almost no business experience, and is a huge unknown.

Digging through the Internet, I looked up this guy's "Promote My Song" venture, supposedly at I found a Facebook page...and that's about it. For a website that's supposedly been around since 2008, it isn't in the Internet Archives.

Check out the excellent reporting from the following:

So a CITY OFFICIAL lied to a reporter about who he is and claimed that his boss was the businessman seeking tax breaks?

Man, these guys sure are crack negotiators.

Will Tully Talk About Actual Negative Campaigning?

I apologize in advance for the weird formatting at the end. I have no idea what happened.

The Indianapolis Star
's political columnist Matthew Tully has once again written a column lamenting about all the horrible negative campaigning coming from the Melina Kennedy campaign. Maybe it's just me, but I don't count talking about your opponent's record and actions as "negative". I know Tully thinks that Deputy Mayor Michael Huber is practically the Second Coming, and I like Huber as well. But come on, the Kennedy camp are raising what they believe to be valid points. Instead of just casually dismissing the criticism with a "Come on, he's a good guy! Trust me!", maybe Tully should explain why the criticism is without merit?

Or maybe he could investigate into some ACTUAL negative campaigning, such as what is being done by the state Democratic party on behalf of the Kostas Poulakidas council campaign? It's no secret that Poulakidas, with the help of his campaign chairman Kip Tew, has been a very successful fundraiser. So if I was someone who say, had a job at some type of media organization, and had the time and resources that a media organization would bring to the table, here are the questions I would be asking:

  • Has Poulakidas, the county Democrats, or the state Democrats made a public statement on the negative campaigning? If not, try to get one.
  • Why are the state Democrats involving themselves this deeply in a district council race? Yes, I'm aware that it's pretty common for the state parties to pay for mailers or commercials, but this seems like an unusual level of involvement.
  • Has there been any transfer of funds from one campaign/political party arm to another to cover the cost of these direct mail negative pieces? After all, direct mail isn't cheap, especially if you want it to arrive on a certain day.

On another note, where in the world has Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle C. Walker been in on this? Christine Scales, Poulakidas' opponent in November's election, posted about the negative attack on her Facebook page on October 21. And still we've heard nothing from Walker to defend his party's candidate. And to the people active in the county GOP, I should remind you that Walker is drawing a salary as chairman. Bang for your buck, right?

Eric Holcomb, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, easily does Walker's job , and does it quite well. In a press release, he ties the negative campaigning of Democrats in the Indianapolis council race into recent federal indictments on voter fraud:

Today, Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb demanded to know who was behind a mailer sent to residents of Indianapolis’ 4th City-County Council District in the form of a postcard from Florida purported to be from Republican Councillor Christine Scales. The postcard included a note that looked like Scales had written it herself meant to confuse and mislead voters in her district. Following the news that hundreds of signatures on nominating petitions were forged in St. Joseph County in 2008, this is yet another documented episode of Indiana Democrats caught forging the signatures and writing of individuals for their own political gain.

“You’d think the Indiana Democrat Party had learned its lesson that forgery is a crime. Obviously not,” said Chairman Holcomb. “It seems Indiana Democrats’ forgery operation has expanded to campaign mailers. So now we need to know: who’s accountable for this latest stunt? Did Chairman Dan Parker sign off on this deceptive and fraudulent mail piece?”

Holcomb added, “We have yet another example of why it’s time for the Indiana Democrat Party to clean house. Their belief that the ends justify the means is just plain wrong. In the Indiana Democrat Party’s Culture of Corruption, defrauding and misleading Hoosiers voters is the name of the game. The buck has got to stop with someone, but who?” — Indiana Republican Party

If I was Republican right now within Marion County, I'd consider having a serious talk with Chairman Holcomb about the need to clean house within the Marion County GOP leadership.

UPDATE: Over on Ruth Holladay's blog, I noted how the Star will often dismiss stories it doesn't
want to report on by either condensing it into a portion of their gossip column, Behind Closed
Doors or with Tully casually dismissing it in one of his columns. Maybe this tweet is a preview
of his next column?

Sometimes Herman Cain Has Got To Be Kidding Part III

This is Part II in my ongoing series where I post a video from the Internet because, once again, my candidate profile piece isn't finished. I wish someone would've told me how hard it is to take 30 minute conversations and transfer it into a well written, accurate piece that profiles a candidate's qualifications and the issues. I especially wish someone else would've told me before I scheduled three more interviews with candidates for later in the week.

Herman Cain, he's the pizza guy running for President. This is an official commercial from his campaign. I am not joking, not even a little. And believe it or not, it isn't even the worst video on his YouTube channel.

All board the Cain Train!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Hope Broad Ripple Likes Having Another Bank!

It looks like the proposed parking garage in Broad Ripple is undergoing some changes. According to the Urban Indy blog (and some of their readers' comments), a drive-through is going to be put in. A second entry (but not exit) is looking to be coming from the Westfield part of the property.

Some readers seem to be saying that the parking for bikes within the structure, as well as an electric/hybrid car charging station, seems to be missing compared to the original plan.

Chris Corr claims that the zoning variance being sought is specifically for a bank.

I think Joe's comment sums things up nicely:

I am not so sure I see the electric care station or interior bike parking anymore……”tenant space 3″ is significantly smaller due to the crappy drive thru and it’s business as usual in the Indianapolis development world. I guess we shouldn’t gripe too much, for the simple cost of millions of tax payer dollars and a prime commercial spot in one of our most popular districts we are getting better bike parking……or not. We are getting better pedestrian connectivity……..or not. We are getting alternative fuel vehicle progression….or not. We are getting place based design and an active street level retail……..not so much. Wait! What are we getting? Can we put millions into a streetcar line instead?

Full disclosure: I am not an urban planner and can barely read a map, so I'm taking my friends at Urban Indy at their word. Feel free to correct me if I've misstated anything.

My Appearance on Civil Discourse Now

No new post today. The Benjamin Hunter profile is taking a bit longer to put together than I had anticipated. In the mean time, I was invited to Paul Ogden's and Mark Small's Internet TV show to talk up my council candidacy. If you are a council candidate and would like to appear on their show, Civil Discourse Now, contact Paul Ogden at

The videos are embedded below.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Tale of Two Yard Signs

I drove around Indianapolis quite a bit this past weekend and yard signs are everywhere! I guess the municipal political season is upon us. The areas where I was really able to slow down and observe were Broad Ripple, district 4, a bit of downtown, and the Irvington area.

So I took away two observations from the massive amount of yard signs. Of course, these are unscientific and I didn't drive around the entire council district, but it's interesting to think about.

It's no secret that the race between Councilor Christine Scales (R) and Kostas Poulakidas (D) is going to be competitive in district 4. The district leaned Democrat when Scales won in 2007, and that's even more true now. But Scales has a pretty energetic base, or at least a good yard sign distributor. I saw tons of both candidates' yard signs. Often, I'd see Scales on one side of the street, Poulakidas on the other, and then with the next set of neighbors, it'd switch up. It'll be a close race.

Another observation was something I had to slow down a bit to really notice. Most people only seem to have one or two yard signs. That usually means the party's mayoral candidate and the council district candidate. If it's in an area that isn't competitive for the minority party in that district, you might see a mayoral sign and an At-Large council candidate sign instead of the district candidate. It's pretty rare to see a yard sport something like the mayoral candidate, the district council candidate, and all four At-Large council candidates for an individual party.

But what I started noticing is that, in yards that had three or more yard signs, Mayor Greg Ballard's (R) yard sign was often anchored by a GOP council candidate and Zach Adamson . The catch? Adamson is a Democrat running for an At-Large council seat.

Just some food for thought for your Monday morning.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Democrat Party Goes Negative Against Councilor Christine Scales

Christine Scales (R-District 4) is one of the few independent voices on the council who spends time from voters within and outside of her district investigating issues, finding answers and getting results. After several weeks of being stonewalled by the Mayor Greg Ballard administration, she was able to keep Ladder 21 at IFD Station 21, which falls within her district. She voted against the parking meter scam and against the re-confirmation of Director of Public Safety Frank "Call me Doctor" Straub, which represent two major initiatives of the Ballard administration. Her independent streak has not always sat well with the power brokers that control the two major parties in this state, and the powers-that-be are taking notice and are doing all they can to end her political career.

Voters within her district received a negative mail piece that's dressed up as a postcard from Naples, Florida. The front of the card shows off an expensive condo community and implies that it's owned by Scales. On the inside, the following text reads:

Hi! You probably haven't heard of me, but I'm your City-County Councilor! Florida has been great so that's why I haven't had time to spend on the crime, unemployment, flooding and drainage problems and abandoned properties throughout the city! Give me your vote and I'll sent you another postcard in 4 years when I need it again!


Does she really represent us?
The mailer indicates that the Indiana Democratic Party paid for it. This is a common practice where a state/county political party, or some type of committee aside from the candidate, will pay for negative campaigning so the candidate won't tarnish their name. I can only guess that the Democrats are targeting Scales with this because their internal polling shows that their candidates, council candidate Kostas Poulakidas and mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy, are losing in that area of Indianapolis.

The claims that Scales neglects her council duties and district is a complete fantasy and I won't spend time further debunking them, but this mailer isn't the first time this meme has come up. William Diehl, a Democratic blogger, says the same thing in this post and tries to insinuate that Scales is against working men and women who run for political office. When I bought up that the real concern with Poulakidas is that his occupation as a partner at the law firm Krieg DeVault LLP will bring a list of conflict of interests as long as my arm, he shut down the comments section and deleted my post.

I have no doubt that Poulakidas, who specializes in economic development and municipal finance representation in his law firm, is extremely qualified to be on the council. But lawyers and others who work within and/or for municipal and state government should be held to a high standard so that they aren't voting in favor of their self-interests. And all too often, the simple act of abstaining from a vote doesn't happen from those within both of the major political parties.

Hat tip to Gary Welsh for the description of the mailer.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Call to Council Candidates

Each election cycle, I try to meet with the candidates and give them a platform on this blog so that my readers can be fully informed if they choose to go to the polls. Even though I have my own political leanings and beliefs, everyone will get a fair shake because I believe the primary purpose of this blog is to inform.

If I haven't already reached out to you, please feel free to drop me a line at I'm trying to get as many scheduled this weekend as possible. In-person interviews are preferred, but I understand that in some cases, a phone or e-mail interview might be necessary since Election Day is close.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Amos Brown: Where Is The Independent Polling for Mayoral Race?

In his column this week in The Indianapolis Recorder, Amos Brown briefly touches on the state of polling in the Indianapolis 2011 mayoral race. Or rather, the lack thereof:

Finally, if Channel 13 wanted to do a great public service, they could take some of those millions they used to spend airing Oprah and use it to conduct a serious, extensive poll on the mayor's race. How can you be Indy's News Leader when you can't even conduct a poll in the most important mayor's race in years?

Brown makes a great point. The election for the next mayor of Indianapolis, as well as the City-County Council, is less than 30 days away and there has been absolutely no polling done by any independent agency.

Channel 13 isn't the only one not doing any polling. The Indianapolis Star hasn't released any polling either, though Star journalist Jon Murray has commented on his Twitter account that he believes they will do it at some point.

Has this ever happened before? 30 days before an election and no scientific, non-partisan polling is released?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Matt Tully Wants Straub to Continue as Public Safety Director

The Indianapolis Star's political columnist Matthew Tully put out an interesting tweet today. He's lamenting the fact that he wishes the Mayor's office could be "bipartisan." He wishes that, if Democrat Melina Kennedy beats Republican Mayor Greg Ballard in November, she'd keep a few key figures in place that he likes. Specifically, he points to deputy mayor Michael Huber and director of the Department of Public Safety Frank Straub.

Huber, who I've talked with several times, is a good public servant. I won't doubt that (though I will vigorously disagree with several of the projects he was charged with carrying out). But what does Tully love about Straub? What does Straub specifically bring to the table that, without him, wouldn't occur?

Was it the political move to promise a shake up of command staff after November's election (even though Straub has no actual power to hire or fire anyone within IMPD)? Is that what Tully loves so much, the politicizing of the inner operations of our police department?

Maybe Tully loves how Straub hires his buddies for cushy jobs while IMPD district offices have, at times, not been able to stock supplies such as toilet paper and pens?

Or how bout a guy who blabs about ongoing investigations, sometimes on the radio, that could compromise the integrity of criminal investigations?

I could go on. I mean, there's a lot more. A whole lot more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Latest GOP Debate and Power Rangers: THERE'S A CONNECTION!

I feel like a crazy Glenn Beck/Alex Jones conspiracy theorist, but I've found something. Look! It's just so obvious!


Eugene White Refers to Special Needs Students as "Crippled" and "Crazy"

Eugene White, the superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, was a guest on Denny Smith's radio program on 93.1 WIBC-FM on Monday. In the last few minutes of the hour long interview, White starts talking about some of the challenges public schools face:

"You've got to understand. We are public schools. What does that mean? We take everybody that come through the door, whether they are blind, crippled, crazy..."

Maybe White's son can take some of that $13,000 pay raise that his father gave to him and get his dad into some continuing education classes. Or Eugene can take some of the money from his latest pay raise and pay for it himself. We can start with a seminar on how to effectively communicate and talk about children who have special needs.
Here's a freebie: Just like African-Americans don't like being referred to as "negro", children with special needs don't like being referred to as "cripple" or "crazy". Those are, at best, antiquated terms. And at worst, they're derogatory.

Hat tip to Paul Ogden who originally posted about it here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Register to vote! Deadline is TODAY!

The deadline to register and be eligible for the various municipal elections being held throughout the state of Indiana is Tuesday, October 11. All things voting are run at the Indiana Voters site, run by the Indiana Secretary of State.

At Indiana Voters, you can

  • Register to vote
  • Confirm your registration
  • Update your registration
  • See a sample ballot for your specific area
  • And a lot more.

As of yesterday, early in-person voting is held at the Marion County Clerk's office. You can find directions and hours at the clerk's website here. If you choose to vote early at the Clerk's office, you can use the Delaware street entrance of the City-County Building to bypass security.

Jon Easter at Indy Democrat has more details on early voting here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lawrence O'Donnell Is A Complete Hack: The Herman Cain Interview

It's not a surprise that many notable GOP politicians, particularly during election cycles, avoid partisan shows that go against their ideology. Democrats will avoid the evening shows on Fox News, and Republicans won't go on MSNBC's prime-time programming. So it was with great interest I watched when GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain went on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show. Sure, it wasn't going to be an easy interview, but it might be fun, right?

Much of the interview focuses on Cain's newly released book, This is Herman Cain! In the portion of the interview that I embedded in this blog, O'Donnell questions why Cain wasn't an active participant in the 1960s civil rights movement even. Cain's book says that he was in high school at the time and didn't participate in the movement. O'Donnell points out that he was attending the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta from 1963-1967.

Personally, I cringed at this point in the interview. I was expecting O'Donnell to distort Cain's book so he could make some good television, but I certainly didn't think he'd sink so low so much as to accuse Cain of being a coward.

I think some of us have a distorted view of social movements in our society, that they were always largely popular and it was just those in power that weren't hearing popular opinion. But in the case of the 1960s civil rights movement (and other social movements) it was always a small portion of Americans who were actively participating in it.

And I can't see where O'Donnell's moral outrage comes from. To be a racial minority in the south in the 1950s and 1960s, to make a public stand like participating in a sit-in or a bus boycott, could result in an arrest, injury, or even death. I certainly can't blame Cain, or any of the other thousands of African-Americans, who chose to keep their heads down and focus on their education or employment.

It's also a false argument that the only way one can work towards civil rights and equality is by participating in social demonstrations and push for political accomplishments. And it's not even an argument that only originated in the 1960s. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, both prominent African-American figures in the Reconstruction era, had similar competing philosophies. Washington believed education and cooperation with supportive whites would be the best road to achieving civil rights for African-Americans, whereas Du Bois believed that political victories would lead to victories in the area of civil rights.

O'Donnell tried to backtrack specifically on these comments he made about Cain, but one of his guests the following night pointed out something interesting. It seems to be fairly common to ask African-American politicians where they were during the 1960s civil rights movement, but it isn't so much a question for white politicians who are of a similar age. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's because both Republicans and Democrats of that era have more than a few skeletons to hide.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Audio now available from my appearance on Afternoons with Amos

You can hear my interview here. I was joined by fellow Libertarian candidate Jason Sipes, running in District 13, and INDEPENDENT candidate Jeramy Townsley, running in District 9. Townsley's name will actually appear on the ballot. Not as a write-in candidate, but on the ballot. He gathered several hundred signatures to do so, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

It was quite an experience. Outside of being featured in local news stories, having a media appearance was a new experience to me.

And to all my friends, family, and readers who took time out of their day to listen to it live, thank you. It means a lot to me that you took time out of your day to listen to my interview live on the radio.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Republicans: We Must Stop HIM aka Romney

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Liberal television host Rachel Maddow had an excellent segment the other night analyzing former Governor Mitt Romney's somewhat rocky relationship with others in the Republican party.

Back in 2007, the incumbent President of the United States, George W. Bush, was term limited. Vice President Dick Cheney said he had no interest in running for President. It was the first time in a very long time that both parties had an open slot in the presidential nominating process. Maddow played a clip from a debate hosted by ABC News. ABC set it up so that the Democrats had their debate first, and then they had the Republicans come out on stage and switched spots. She noted that most of the candidates were shacking hands and making small chat, but Mitt Romney just kind of stood there. No one talking to him. No one shaking his hand.

She then ran through several news reports, as well as segments from the book Game Change that documented the 2008 election, about the open disdain many GOP presidential candidates and their staffers had for Romney. Maddow often emphasized that they wouldn't even refer to Romney by name, but would say something like "We must beat HIM" or "We can't allow HIM to win."

I've found it interesting that despite the open (or thinly veiled) disdain some Republicans have expressed, Romney seems to have a consistent amount of support. He's generally in the mid-teens at the absolute worst, and mid 20s at best. Most of the other candidates seem to have bubbles that eventually burst, or just perpetually stay below 5%.

It'll be interesting to see if, since several primaries may be moving up much earlier than usual, if any of the lower-tier candidates will drop out, and see where their support goes. I'm sure Romney would love it if former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson or former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman would drop out since their supporters would likely go to him, whereas Herman Cain or Rick Perry would really like it if Newt Gingrich or Michelle Bachmann would drop out so that their base would expand and become a bit more stable.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'll be on Afternoons with Amos Today at 2pm

As part of the ongoing election cycle, I'll be appearing during the second hour of Amos Brown's program Afternoons with Amos. Brown's show is heard on 1310WTLC-AM. You can also listen online here. Brown also typically posts show segments on his page here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why the Establishment Hoosier Blogs Kind of Suck

I've noticed something ever since I started reading the local and regional blogs back in the summer of 2009. The establishment blogs, those that officially or all-but-officially represent the viewpoints of the Marion County or Indiana state Republican or Democratic parties, respectively, often fail at establishing themselves in various ways. Often, they're little more than a place to publish press releases for the party leaders and/or elected officials or to get talking points out in the open.

Let's look at Capitol & Washington, the spiritual successor of the Frugal Hoosiers blog. Every single post on the front page has comments published by spammers, and apparently that's not been noticed. And that's on a blog with several contributors. And at times, there have been several day gaps in posting. While blogs don't have to have content every single day, it helps to establish a pattern and provide some predictability to readers. Otherwise, habits can be dropped.

But these are relatively minor.But that led me to think about all the establishment partisan blogs in Indiana, and how their content stacks up against blogs run by individuals

And one of the areas C&W lacks is original content outside of opinions. While the perception of bloggers is that we're just assholes who copy and paste news articles and give our opinions about current events, the fact is we often are among the media that cover local and regional news. Often, bloggers report on the same events as mainstream media. Sometimes, bloggers have sources that allow us to publish additional information not published in mainstream media accounts. And on a more rare occasion, bloggers can completely break a story. It's rare, especially for those of us who write a blog in our free time without pay, but it does happen.

Of the three establishment Republican blogs that I read (Hoosier Access, C&W, and an anonymous blog which I'll address later), sometimes they're completely silent on what mainstream local media and other blogs report on. If you only read these blogs for news, you'd never know that Lincoln Plowman, a former Republican City-County Council member and former officer within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, was tried and convicted in federal court on charges of accepting a bribe and extortion. While I wouldn't expect the blogs to try to defend Plowman, some type of effort to publicly distance themselves from Plowman would have been interesting to read. Maybe they could point to an elected public official and talk about their high ethical standards to demonstrate that Plowman's low ethics aren't part of the mainstream GOP.

Not saying I'd believe that post, but hey, it'd be interesting to read.

Another establishment Republican blog, written anonymously, hasn't had a new post since August 23. Several comments that consist purely of spam advertisers have been left starting on August 28 and haven't been removed. When a website, not just blogs, but any website, goes several weeks without updates to at least remove spam comments, it's an indication that the site is "dead" and not worth visiting. In the case of this specific establishment Republican blog, it doesn't surprise me. This anonymous blog could only be the Marion County GOP attack dog for so long. And their "breaks" from blogging have been much longer than C&W. After a while, readers are just going to stop checking in for updates.

And in writing this post, I tried to make this a bi-partisan trashing. But uh....I really can't think of an establishment statewide Democrat blog that could counter Hoosier Access or Capital & Washington. At one point, Blue Indiana was the place to go. But it went down for several months in 2011 and after a relaunch, it's been pretty quiet.

There is one establishment blog that, while not updated often nowadays, does break the mold in terms of content. Terry Burns, who is heavily involved in both Marion County and state politics with the Democratic party, runs the Indianapolis Times blog. On several occasions, he has posted exclusive news and has talked about what goes in the back room caucus meetings of Republican elected officials. When major pieces of legislation are being debated on the Indianapolis City-County Council, he's posted about who is thinking of being a "no" or "yes" vote, and he's often accurate in his predictions. Outside of Abdul Hakim-Shabazz's Indiana Barrister blog (whose blog I don't consider "establishment" because he often does have original journalism even though some of his personal views fall into the GOP establishment), the Times has one of the most lively comments section as well. So kudos to Mr. Burns.

So state Democrats and Marion County Republicans, you might want to step up your efforts, huh? Competition is good for business, and I'd love to have some.