Thursday, April 28, 2011

Indianapolis Bar to Abdul: Put Up or Shut Up!

Local pundit, talk radio show host, and licensed Illinois attorney Abdul Hakim-Shabazz has been on the attack, printing every possible rumor he can dig up on county and state Democrats. In his latest post on this topic, he focuses on conflict between the head of the state party and the county party. But he also throws in a bit about Judge Lou Rosenburg, who is the judge hearing one of several cases relating to Secretary of State Charlie White. Shabazz alleges that Rosenberg has been meeting with various Democratic party officials asking what he should do in the White case, which could be serious judicial misconduct.

Earlier today, the Indianapolis Bar Association released this statement responding to Shabazz's claim, basically refuting Shabazz. The best defense against libel and slander is evidence. The question is, does the talk radio host have it and does he have the cajones to present it to the proper authorities?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

County Dems Should Send Coleman a Fruit Basket!

If the Marion County Democrats haven't thanked a certain At-Large City-County Councilman, they should!

Edward Coleman (LP-At Large) has chosen to run for re-election within the district he resides, district 24, rather than run a campaign throughout the entire county. Like most of Marion County's southside, the area is a reliable place for Republicans to get votes. This usually means Democrats don't even bother fielding candidates in council races, just as the Marion County GOP doesn't field candidates in Democrat leaning areas of Pike and Center townships..

District 24 is currently represented by Jack Sandlin, who was appointed to the City-County Council in 2010 to fill a vacancy.

But why is this good for the Democrats? They don't even have a candidate in the field, and likely won't run one.

True, but until now, whoever won the primary in that district would win the general election as well. That is no longer the case. The county GOP will have to spend time, effort, and money in what would normally be a safe district. This will detract from time, money, and effort that could be used to campaign in the handful of competitive districts, the At-Large races, and the mayoral race.

And to the detractors that say that there aren't nearly enough Libertarians to vote for Coleman in that district, I counter that if there's any group that could screw this up, it's the bunch that is currently in charge of the county GOP. If the powers-that-be don't think a candidate is worth supporting, that candidate, no matter how good or qualified, could fall. Carlos May and Michael Jezierski were both slated by the county GOP in their respective 2010 and 2007 primaries, but lost to unslated candidates. In 2007, most of the At-Large GOP candidates were told to fend for themselves, with only Kent Smith getting any significant backing from the party. Smith even appeared in a number of commercials Greg Ballard aired in 2007, though the YouTube account featuring those commercials has since been closed.

So Ed Treacy and Adam Kirsch, have you thanked Mr. Coleman yet? I've heard fruit makes a good basket. Or Easter candy is really cheap.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Guest Post: Medicaid Waivers

As per usual during the ending days of the General Assembly, a bunch of amendments are thrown into the budget (HR 1001) to see what sticks. One of these proposed amendments, Section 139, will change how Medicaid waivers work so that parental income will be a factor when children apply for one.

The following was sent to several members of the state legislature by my mother, Nancy Stone. She works for About Special Kids, a not-for-profit that assists families navigate the mazes that our state and federal government often make families with special needs children go through before they get any type of assistance.

My father, Gordon Gilmer, a long time Indianapolis city-county councilman and I testified many years ago to bring Medicaid Waivers to our state so that children with disabilities would have the support they need to live at home with their families. He witnessed first-hand how devastating serious medical or developmental disability can be to a family, as my son was born with a condition that requires he sleep with a life-supporting ventilator. Lost wages, bankruptcy, parental under or unemployment, inability to pursue other employment (because of insurance), staggering medical debt and divorce are just some of the scenarios middle class, hard-working families face when their child---through no fault of their own, is born with a serious medical or developmental disability. Medicaid Waivers are reserved for the “sickest of the sick”---one must be nursing or group home eligible to qualify for a waiver! I was fortunate that my son never required a Medicaid waiver---but my family learned of those in our state who absolutely NEED these services to survive. Yes, times are tough, but there are other ways to economize without sacrificing Hoosier families. I could support some changes in Medicaid waivers, but the elimination of the parental income disregard is a deal-breaker.

Medicaid Waivers provide a parental income disregard so that hard working, middle class families don’t have to live in poverty to get the medical care and services the child needs to reach their potential. Private insurance does NOT cover, or fully cover, many items and services. HB 1001 would eliminate the parental disregard of income for children under age 19—please strike this wording from the bill and support our tax-paying fellow Hoosier families!

I feel this portion of the bill is short-sighted, and could actually cost the state MORE money in the long run, as some families will be forced to institutionalize their children. My father--a Lincoln Republican, would be disappointed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sam Carson Can't Be Serious?!?!?!?!!?

Apparently, there's a candidate forum at the Pike Township Government Center. Several candidates from both sides of the isle are present, including Samuel Carson Jr. Carson is the son of the late Julia Carson, and the uncle of Congressman André Carson.

I've listened to Sam Carson a few times when I hear him on the radio. And if you aren't listening to hard, he talks a good game.

However, Carson is trying to make his name as an outsider, but he seems to be an outsider that desperately wants to be an insider.

At the Pike Township forum, he name dropped former Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson saying he'd like to put him in charge of the Department of Public Safety. He went on to say he'd want Robert Turner as his Chief of Staff. Turner was the Director of Public Safety for several years, and was appointed to the Airport Board Authority as well.

He then says former Mayor Bart Peterson is a "Democrat on paper".

Bashing Peterson (which, for the record, I'm a fan of) but then appointing two public officials who worked closely with Peterson? It sounds like this guy is trying to have it both ways.

At least my county Dem friends won't have to listen to this nonsense after the primary.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tea Party Asks For Gubment Handout, Misses Irony

Or so reports the Indianapolis Business Journal. According to the IBJ, the Indianapolis Tea Party filed for a waiver so they won't have to pay $15 per meter for the use during their Tax Day rally.

According to the IBJ, non-profits are allowed to apply for this waiver. However, previous recipients seem to be all from non-partisan organizations, and the Department of Public Works notes that the union groups that rallied throughout last month at the state house did not apply for these waivers.

I thought the whole tea party message was about personal responsibility and paying off your debts and all that jazz.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let's fix existing bike lanes before adding more!

Both The Indianapolis Star and Fox 59 WXIN are reporting on several new bike lanes being financed through the Rebuild Indy and Sustain Indy programs, using a mixture of federal, state, and local dollars. Over 30 miles of bike lanes will be added, expanding the existing lanes in some roads and creating new ones on roads that have none.

I ride my bike both as a form of exercise and to get about in downtown Indianapolis, so how bike friendly the roads and trails are is something I experience firsthand. And, at least in downtown Indianapolis, it's a mix bag.

Heading east on Michigan Street is one such example of a bike lane I tend to disregard. It often becomes the go-to place for rubble and debris, especially as I get closer to one of my favorite coffee houses, Mo'Joes. And while a bump here and there, or a sudden, small dip in the road won't throw a motorist out of their seat, it certainly doesn't help cyclists.

The bike lane on Illinois Street is just two thin lines between the traffic and where cars park. And at one point, it ends (not kidding!) and then abruptly begins again.

There are good bike lanes out there. New York Street around the IUPUI campus is a good, wide lane, and it looks like the lane on Keystone is similar.

So can we get some quality assuarance that we'll get usable lanes that don't just throw cyclists to the side of the road with all the debris that piles up? That'd be great.

And for the fiscally conservative among us, maybe a breakdown of how this all costs $32 million?

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Point of Personal Privilege

NBC's The Today Show aired a piece (based on this article from the British tabloid The Daily Mail) on a child in the United Kingdom that is afflicted with a respiratory disorder known as Ondine's Curse. Well, that's at least the cool name for it. The more medically accurate term is congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. The Reader's Digest version of this disease is that it's a rare (only a few hundred known cases) form of sleep apnea. Those with CCHS are commonly on some sort of ventilator when they sleep, though several cases require 24 hour ventilation.

As my friends and family that read this blog know, I'm one of the older "kids" out there with CCHS. I feel lucky and blessed because I'm pretty well off, as far as my health goes. Except for the six month period after I was born, I've only been hospitalized once to get my cardiac pacemaker implanted. I've attended school regularly, gone camping (even without a tent) and have traveled on my own. I know for some of those with CCHS, who require constant adult and/or medical supervision, those aren't realistic possibilities.

And while exposure for this condition is good, I'm not so sure if it's the kind of exposure I like. Some within the CCHS network of families have pointed out that Ondine's Curse is an outdated term, yet it's the term most used in The Today Show clip. The boy featured also suffers from a type of unspecified cancer and bowel problems, and The Today Show clip and The Daily Mail article seem to act as if they're medically unrelated to the CCHS. There are certain types of cancer and bowel infections associated with CCHS, as well as dozens of other diseases, disorders, and learning disabilities. I also noticed the medical doctor featured in the clip spends more time talking about the origin of the name Ondine's Curse rather than the actual disease, though that could be poor planning. Finally, The Daily Mail article quotes the doctor saying he couldn't find any other case with these types of symptoms and the child lived. While I was fortunate enough not to have cancer, there are those with CCHS that have had cancer and survived.

The CCHS Family Network is the second Google search result when looking up congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. While I expect very little from British tabloids, I'd think the Today Show could've done a quick Google search and placed a few phone calls to talk to some experts in the field.

I welcome any of those who have CCHS and their families and friends to post in the comments section below if you have anything to add. I am not an ultimate authority on CCHS, and I'd welcome the expertise.

UPDATE: The following was posted by Mary Vanderlaan, founder and director of The CCHS Family Network, in the CCHS Family Network group on Facebook:

We had known this profile was coming. Kenshin in Japan (who is a film maker) had contacted me b/c he saw something else on this child and had seen it as over-dramatized and misleading. The news article too is not completely factual and highlights characteristics of CCHS without giving context. Nor is he the only child who has had the associated cancer or had to struggle with Hirschsprungs. The family said they were going to be careful to have the media present an accurate pciture of the diagnosis. But, then, the media will have last word and editing rights to draw attention and paper buyers, etc. This is the third time I am aware of that a British media (TV or newspaper) featured a CCHS patient in a provocative way that leaves room for readers to misunderstand, feel irrational sympathy for the child, etc. For the media - they're selling papers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Durham Refuses to Disclose Assets; Ordered to Halfway House

Tim Durham, who is alleged to have bilked investors of $200 million and using the money as his personal bank account, has refused to fully disclose his assets to the authorities. Judge Kennard Foster wasn't pleased, and has ordered Durham to be housed at the Volunteers of America halfway house in downtown Indianapolis. According to WRTV6, Durham will be chipped with a GPS unit and be housed in a work-release facility run by the organization. Durham is required to maintain residence in Indianapolis

Durham has seven days to further disclose his assets to the authorities. If he does that, his living arrangements might be up for further discussion.

This follows up the mystery of what's going on at Durham's former home in Geist, a mansion that is now being foreclosed. It appears that someone has been living if not in the mansion, then at least on the property. Eyewitnesses say they've seen someone set up a tent on the property and have seen vehicles going in and out.

I honestly didn't expect any interesting coverage of Durham from WISH-TV ever since they employed Durham's drinking buddy, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, as a "legal analyst." Wonder what he has to say about all this jazz.

Pres. Obama Palling Around with Rev. Al Sharpton

To no one's surprise, President Barack Obama has announced that he is running for re-election in the 2012 election season. His first major appearance since his re-election announcement will be a speaking engagement with the Reverend Al Sharpton at the convention of the National Action Network, an organization founded by Sharpton.

Sharpton has a long history of controversy, starting with Tawana Brawley case, which is largely accepted to be a hoax (here and here). Sharpton was accused of slander in the aftermath of the case and was successfully sued, but Sharpton refused to pay up. Sharpton's portion was eventually paid by others. Sharpton has also been accused of some pretty shady business and political practices as well.

Maybe it's just me, but I think that the President of the United States should be held to a pretty high standard in who he speaks with and what groups he speaks to. With some liberals trying to play the association game with politicians like Governor Scott Walker and with people like the Koch brothers, I hope they hold the politicians of their party to the same standard.

Additional commentary: Jonathan Turley's legal blog.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Humor: Blogging Must Run in the Family

My sister and I don't have a lot in common. Sure, we like some of the same music and share some other interests. She was into theater and participated in Comedy Sportz in high school, while I was the quiet kid who played video games with friends. She's an art major, and I'm a former journalism major. She has, at times, openly mocked me being a "blogger", and I've mocked her for likely becoming a crazy cat lady (sans cats, because she's allergic).

But I have to say, I really like her blog. It's titled Waffel Haus. It's basically about her life, both current and when she (we?) were growing up. But I'm not writing this because I want my mostly political readers to really get to know my family, but I honest to goodness think she's got a talent in writing, and it's different than the pseudo-journalist style that I take in my writing. She's got a flow-of-consciousness thing going on, and (At least I think so) can make the most mundane task or person sound interesting.

So if you want to read a blog about the life of an egotistical, self-deprecating, self-centered (yep, same person) college student, go read her blog. Her posts about her quest on a dating site (Digital Love) and her thoughts on the upper class (A Guide t the Finer Things) are some of my favorites.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Defense of Rebecca Black Part II

Last week, I sacrificed any hipster music cred I ever had in defending Rebecca Black. Black is the singer of the odd hit "Friday", and her music video for the song has become one of the most viewed (and hated) videos on YouTube.

But besides the intense hatred, Black's song has spawned thousands of remixes and cover versions of varying quality. But on Friday (April Fool's Day), Jimmy Fallon performed the best version with American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, along with Fallon's house band, The Roots.