Thursday, March 29, 2012

Non-political: Congratulations Nancy!

The friends and family that read this blog are likely aware that my mother lost her job in 2011. The not-for-profit she was working for lost out on a grant or two, and unfortunately, her position was eliminated due to the loss of grant money. She has been diligently working in finding new employment, not only by applying for jobs but going to seminars and workshops to help out with resumes, interview tips, and networking opportunities, and even taking temporary work when possible.

Well, her hard work finally paid off. She'll be working with WorkOne as a Retention Specialist. She'll be tracking individuals who receive job training funds to see what the outcomes are of the...well, job training they received. The position is only for the rest of the year, but getting a foot in the door is a huge first step!

To all the friends, family, parishioners (St. Monica represent!), and others who have offered help to my family, I think I can speak on behalf of everyone in my family that we are grateful. And I hope that, someday, I can do my part to somehow repay that debt.

And don't worry, political friends and foes, I've got juicy candidate profiles and Frank "The Good Doctor" Straub hijinks coming up very soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mike Delph Endorses Wayne Seybold for Congress

State Senator Mike Delph, along with fellow Senators Luke Kenley and Jim Buck, have endorsed Wayne Seybold in the contested GOP primary to replace Congressman Dan Burton in Indiana's 5th Congressional district. Several other GOP state senators and representatives signed onto the endorsement but did not attend personally attend the event.

Seybold, the sitting mayor of Marion, Indiana, filed to run for the 5th district after Burton announced his retirement.

This is good news for Seybold because it proves he can get the support of power players in central Indiana GOP politics.

Seybold also recently released his first commercial in this primary season. It is a bit corny, but it is different than the standard "sit in a room and talk about yourself/have others talk about you" commercial that is typical of primary campaigns.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to Derail the Conservative Message: Attack Malia Obama

Malia Obama, the teenaged daughter of President Barack Obama, recently did the unthinkable: She went on a school sponsored trip to Mexico. And like any time an immediate family member of the First Family goes anywhere, Secret Service agents went with her.

And this has sent the Republican and Tea Party Internet Twitpherse (and our very own local right wing nut job*, WIBC talk show host Greg Garrison) into a flaming outrage. About the cost. About the "example" 13 year old Malia is setting, and on and on and on.

Oddly enough, conservative blogger Erick Erickson has taken to Twitter to defend President Obama and his daughter. Erickson notes that, despite the misreporting, she is on a school sponsored field trip and that Mexico is not on a "do not travel" list.

I often see Republican pundits and Presidential candidate surrogates complain about the media playing "gotcha" journalism. But when Republicans are so eager to dive right into this mess themselves (POTUS candidate Rick Santorum said President Obama is setting a "bad example" for letting Malia go on the school trip), they have no one to blame but themselves.

*Just to be clear, Greg Garrison is a nut job who happens to be right wing. He is not a nut job because he is right wing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Increasing Frustration with the Indiana US Senate GOP Primary

If you somehow have been signed up onto either Senator Richard Lugar's or Treasurer's Richard Mourdock's e-mail list (and I say somehow because I never signed up for either) for the US Senate primary in Indiana, then you've likely been inundated with several e-mails every week. Every time these people find some editorial board or some columnist or some blogger or get some endorsement, they go to their computers, fire off an e-mail, and act like its the biggest damn thing in the world.

Stop it. Stop sending them to me. I don't care.

You know what I would like to see in my inbox?

When you're holding a rally or an event. Even if the candidate himself can't be there. In my area.

Preferably in some forum that takes questions.

I'd like to see what you stand for, not what some intellectual blowhard writing for some blog or some newspaper column thinks.

I don't want to hear from your SuperPAC or your surrogates or the mayors or other officials who've endorsed you.

I want you to speak for yourself. I want your people, the people who've felt so passionate enough to volunteer their time that they are working directly for your campaign, to get out there and make their case for their guy.

I want to hear what makes you different, what you agree on. I want to hear about your path to victory in the primary and in the general. I want to hear what you'd like to do in the United States Senate.

I'd like Mr. Mourdock to answer why we should trade a senior Senator (who very well might become the Senate Pro Tempore if the GOP takes a majority of Senate seats in the fall) for a freshman who will not get the best committee assignments.

I want Senator Lugar to tell me how he'll be different from the last GOP Senate Pro Tempore, Ted Stevens (Alaska), whose career ended with a re-election loss, federal indictment and conviction, and was famous for being a big pork spender.

I want you to make your case to the GOP primary voters. And then to the people of Indiana.

And stop sending me these damn e-mails.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Reaction to Public Safety Budget Shortfall

Wasn't the Super Bowl supposed to cause a windfall of tax revenue to come to our city and magical, money manna was going to fall from the sky? Weren't the last four years of budgets so awesomely "honestly balanced" that we'd never have an unforseen gap in funding ever again? If the city wasn't flushed with cash, why are we spending $6 million on the Broad Ripple parking garage (which we get no revenues from)? Why are we giving Eli Lilly a $100 million loan to build a fancy new campus? Why did we give the Super Bowl every single tax break we could possibly give them if we weren't flushed with cash?

Budgets are tight. This is no surprise. But if you listened to the GOP during the 2011 municipal campaign, you'd think that this city was on a safe track and not on the verge of making law enforcement officers buy their own toilet paper.

Monday, March 12, 2012

5th District GOP Forum: Tuesday Night in Lawrence

If you live in the (new) 5th Congressional district, several of the GOP candidates will be gathering in Lawrence Township on Tuesday evening.

You can find details here.

Hope to see some of you there.

Mourdock's Ground Game: Sponsord by FreedomWorks!

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is challenging US Senator Richard Lugar in the GOP primary this May. And as the spring primary gets closer, both sides are getting outside of the campaign offices and phone banking cubical and gearing up for a ground game to motivate voters to get out to the polls.

In my latest contribution to Indy Politics, I traveled up to Westfield to check out a small gathering of activists who are supporting Richard Mourdock's campaign. I wrote up a few paragraphs and interviewed the organizer of the event, which was sponsored by the conservative D.C. based organization FreedomWorks.

Go check it out.

Friday, March 9, 2012

What Has Bipartisanship Gotten Us?

In Matthew Tully's latest column, he complains about the lack of statesmanship and how "hyperpartisans" are destroying the distinguished senior Senator "from" Indiana.

And this set off something in me.

There's no shortage of journalists and media pundits who just drone on and on about how nothing gets done in Washington D.C., that the lack of bipartisanship hurts the legislative process, that no one wants to work across the isle, rinse, lather, repeat.

And I think their complaints are a load of bull.

Because look at what has happened, on the federal level, when they do work together.

The US PATRIOT ACT passed with overwhelming majorities in both the US House and Senate. In fact, the one Senator who voted against it in 2001, Democrat Russ Feingold, is no longer in the Senate.

The initial Afghanistan war was opposed by ONE House member and no Senators. That war has, since then, turned into a quagmire and anti-war, as a political movement, has all but been silenced in the administration of President Barack Obama. In fact, one of the war's harshest critics, Dennis Kucinich, recently lost a primary battle when his district was re-drawn with a fellow Democratic incumbent.

(It is interesting to note that, a year ago, Kucinich was being pushed to challenge President Obama in a primary from the left. But now, sites like DailyKOS and Democratic Underground have waged an all out war of words on Kucinich, criticizing his anti-war votes and making fun of his claim that he once saw an unidentified flying object)

TARP, No Child Left Behind, and the Iraq War Resolution, all of these pieces of legislation that have increased government bureaucracy and wasted billions of dollars, have all had support from both sides of the political isle. At best, we get major supporters of these actions, years later, come out against them. After the money has been spent, lives have been ruined, and the devastating affects have occurred.

So next time someone complains about the lack of bipartisanship, remind them what has happened when the two political establishments do work together.

Oh, and all of these things I named: Lugar voted for every single one of them. Someone should ask Richard Mourdock what his thoughts on these are.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Candidate Interviews Begin Soon!

Over the next several weeks, I'll be interviewing candidates in the two competitive Congressional primaries within central Indiana. Based on these interviews, I'll write candidate profile pieces similar to what I did with Vop Osili and Benjamin Hunter in the 2011 Indianapolis muncipal elections.

The two competitive primaries I'm focusing on are the GOP primaries in both the 5th and 7th Congressional districts. These two Congressional districts are in Marion County. The 5th is a good chunk of the northern portion of the county (And extends further out to Kokomo and Anderson) and the 7th is the rest of Marion County.

If you have questions that you want to ask the candidates, please feel free to contact me Facebook, Twitter, or just leave it in the comments section.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pres. Obama, Contraception, the GOP, and James Blunt

Back in a former life, I used to do concert reviews for local web zine Indianapolis Music Net. And my philosophy for covering live music is that I wanted to focus on the performance of the music rather than the music itself. This would give me the ability to go to a show and analyze the musical act, and even enjoy a show even if I didn't like the specific performer's music or whatever genre they perform.

One concert I attended that I reviewed was James Blunt at Conseco Fieldhouse. Blunt's big hit at the time was a song called "You're Beautiful". It is your typical pop song that I absolutely despise. Sappy, slow, generic, nothing overtly special about it. I went into the show with every single negative expectation, and it was at a venue that often isn't the best for musical acts.

I was absolutely blown away. James Blunt turned out a concert that really made a huge venue with several thousand people in it feel like an intimate, personal performance at The Vogue. His backing band was on top of their game, and Blunt performed with sincerity and passion that you don't often find in pop music filled with synchronized dancing and pre-recorded vocals.

And after I wrote this rave review on a website that was mostly populated by people into rock and roll and metal and hardcore punk, they'd jokingly talk about how I sold out or whatever. But what they didn't understand was I wasn't talking about the music I like, but I was grading the performance.

I take a similar approach to politics. At times, I like to put down my own personal opinion and analyze the situation. So let's take a look at this whole contraception boondoggle.

At the beginning of this whole thing, I was absolutely astounded that it seemed like President Barack Obama was completely unprepared for the backlash that happened, even from friendly media and members of his own party. You saw liberal Catholics like Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Chris Matthews, and Lawrence O'Donnell talk about how, even though they agree with increasing the access to contraception, they understand that those against this are doing so out of their moral teachings and are justified in doing so. GOP pundits and politicians hammered the administration by saying that this is an attack on religious liberty, and even though the vast majority of women practice birth control in some form or another, it really seemed like the GOP was winning this argument.

But then the discussion shifted from religious liberty to the merits of contraception. You had conservative talk show hosts talking about paying people to have sex, and if that's going to happen, then we should get to see sex tapes of it. And talk show hosts were also saying that another method of birth control was to have less sex. You had Rick Santorum's PAC Sugar Daddy, Foster Freeze, joking that birth control used to consist of putting aspirin between a woman's knees. The GOP state legislature in Virginia was going to mandate weird-ass ultrasounds that served no medical purpose other than to make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions. And on top of that, this discussion returned to the focus that every single GOP Presidential candidate (yes, including Ron Paul) supports these ridiculous "personhood" amendments to the US Constitution, which would define that life begins at conception and are even opposed by some pro-life organizations.

Not that President Obama has done much to win the argument. But now the argument has turned back to the GOP, and they've screwed up holding the high ground.

Did anyone else notice how Mr. Moral Majority himself, Mike Huckabee, held a presidential primary forum in a shut down factory? Almost as if he's telling these guys "Hey guys, remember the economy???? It still sucks! Let's talk about that!"

Ugh. I need a drink.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

IN-CD 05: Questioning Susan Brooks' Path to Victory

5th Congressional district candidate Susan Brooks released a huge list of endorsements via her campaign web site earlier today in support of her bid for the GOP nomination But I'm not sure how much she really wants to publicize these endorsements, especially in the cases of the various Indianapolis based politicians.

The 5th congressional district includes more of Marion County now than it did previously, but it still encompasses a large part outside of central Indiana. And as often demonstrated by our state legislature, there is an anti-Indianapolis vibe outside of...well, Indianapolis. It seems that the politicians who try to run for higher offices who make their career in Indianapolis' political culture often fail, such as when Steve Goldsmith failed to carry Marion County during his 1996 gubernatorial campaign.

But the 5th district is tricky in that it does encompass some of Marion County and a good chunk of Hamilton County. While they might not have a lot of the raw number of votes, they do contain a lot of GOP donors. Candidates will have to walk the fine line of being connected enough to raise funds in Marion and Hamilton counties, but still being able to connect with voters who live outside of Indianapolis and Carmel.

So it seems strange to me that Brooks releases this list of endorsement of dozens of Indianapolis based politicians. It isn't like these current and former City-County Councilors have a whole lot of pull. Councilor Ryan Vaughn tried to leapfrog to an open seat in the Indiana Senate in 2009 and failed at convincing his fellow Republicans to vote for him. A handful of them are FORMER councilors (after having lost a re-election bid), and several of them represent(ed) Indianapolis council districts that don't fall within the boundaries if the 5th congressional district.

This is a stark contrast to Brooks' fellow candidate, Dr. John McGoff, who recently declined an invitation to be a part of the "Young Guns" program. The program, sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee, is a sort of a training program for prospective Congressional candidates to help them for the primary and general elections. McGoff is likely hoping this will resonate with 5th district voters to help capture an anti-establishment vote.

That being said, running as an anti-establishment outsider only really works if there's an insider also running. Without an incumbent, I wonder if McGoff, or any of the other candidates, can successfully pin any of the other candidates as ultimate Washington D.C. insiders.