Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pence Being Sued by ACLU Over Immigration!

The Indiana ACLU is suing Governor Mike Pence over his denial of service to Syrian refugees. The ACLU's suit on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, the nonprofit that had planned to help the Syrian family of three resettle in Indiana, argues that Pence’s decision to bar Syrian refugees violated the Constitution, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration. Judy Rabinovitz, deputy legal director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, said, “This lawsuit is calling out Governor Pence on his unconstitutional bluff. He does not have the power to pick and choose between which lawfully admitted refugees he is willing to accept. Singling out Syrian refugees for exclusion from Indiana is not only ethically wrong, it is unconstitutional. Period.” Once again, Pence is turning our state into a national laughingstock. Read the complete Washington Post story here; USA Today's story is here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Reality Check: How Much of a Threat Are Syrian Refugees?

Here's some data from a researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute that might help undermine the political hyperbole about Syrian refugees.

"Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States, and none was successfully carried out. That is one terrorism-planning conviction for every 286,543 refugees that have been admitted. To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014."

"In 2015, the United States has accepted only 1,682 Syrian refugees, or 0.042 percent of the 4,045,650 registered Syrian refugees. Only one out of every 2,405 Syrian refugees in a camp was resettled in the United States in 2015. . . .Few ISIS soldiers or other terrorists are going to spend at least three years in a refugee camp for a 0.042 percent chance of entering the United States when almost any other option to do so is easier, cheaper, and quicker."

"This situation may be different in Europe, where 681,713 Syrian asylum seekers have sought refuge since the beginning of their civil war in 2011. So far, one of them may have participated in the Paris terrorist attack, and that is far from clear."

Some are arguing for keeping Syrians in refugee camps indefinitely. Bad idea: "Allowing the current UNHCR refugee camp situation to grow and fester for years can only produce more radicalization and terrorism. A more expansive refugee policy with adequate security checks that resettles large numbers in safe countries can drain the swamp of potential future terrorists and decrease that risk."

You can read Alex Nowrasteh's entire article here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Washington Post Columnist Calls Pence's Refugee Position "Cowardice"

As with RFRA, Mike Pence's decision to to block Syrian refugees from coming to Indiana is having an unfortunate effect on Indiana's reputation as a welcoming environment. In a Washington Post editorial columnist RIchard Cohen argues that his position is one of cowardice. He notes that Pence's action has alredy resulted in one Syrian family being scheduled to settle in Indiana being sent to Connecticut.
The Syrian families who have lost their homes, their relatives, often their children and always their jobs, will now lose a bit more of their lives, not to mention their naive belief that the United States is a welcoming country. Mike Pence is here to say we are not. He gets the first — but certainly not last — Profile in Cowardice Award. Believe me, he has earned it.
You can read Cohen's column here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pence Instructs State Agencies Not to Process Syrian Refugees into Indiana

In response to the ISIS killings in Paris, Indiana governor Mike Pence, like nearly all the other Repblican governors, has said Indiana will not accept refugees from Syria and instructed all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees until the state receives assurance from the federal government that “proper security measures” are in place. House Democratic minority leader Scott Pelath observed that Pence's action was "the governor just sticking his chest out, wanting to take over a national issue or get a little piece of it." He suggested that the governors "wanted to be able to put out a press release that they were being tough on ISIS."

In the past three years 12 Syrian refugees have settled in Indiana. It is also worth keeping in mind that governors do not have the authority to restrict where refugees settle--that is a federal matter.

Read more about Pence's stance here and here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day Message from Joe Donnelly

From a senator who truly cares about veterans and works every day to improve their lives.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Congratulations to Tippecanoe County Democrat Candidates

Congratulations to all the Tippecanoe County Democrats who won races in the municipal elections. In Lafayette these include Tony Roswarski, Lafayette Mayor; Cindy Murray, Lafayette City Clerk; Lon Heide, Nancy Nargi, and Kevin Klinker, Lafayette City Council At-Large Representatives; Ron Campbell, Lafayette City Council, District 2; Perry Brown, District 3; Lauren Ahlersmeyer, District 4; Melissa Weast-Williamson, District 5; Bob Downing, District 6. In West Lafayette Democratic City Council incumbents all won: Peter Bunder, District 2; Nick DeBoer, District 1; and Gerald Thomas, At-Large. Newly elected Democrats are David Sanders, At-Large; and Larry Leverenz, District 4. Sana Booker was elected as WL City Clerk, and Lori Stein-Sabol was re-elected WL City Judge.

Dems Win Indiana Mayor Races

In addition to Lafayette's Tony Roswarski, who won re-election with over 80 percent of the vote, other Democrats won significant mayoral races across the state. In the state's bigggest mayoral prize, Joe Hogsett won in Indianapolis with 62 percent, and brought a Democratic city/county council with him. Thomas Henry won a third term in Fort Wayne with 57 percent. In Gary Karen Freeman-Wilson won a second term against five candidates with 71 percent. John Hamilton won in Bloomington with 77 percent. And rising star Pete Buttigieg was re-elected in South Bend with 80 percent of the vote. Greencastle has a new Democratic mayor, Bill Dory, who won with 57 percent. Thomas Broderick Jr. won in Anderson, and Greg Goodnight won a third term in Kokomo. Gabe Greer defeated a three-term incumbent in Peru.

Read more here and here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Here are the list of vote centers for tomorrow's Municipal Election.  
Polls are open from 6am-6pm on Tuesday, November 3 and you may vote at any of these locations.  Need a ride?  Call 586-7380
Battle Ground Fire Station - 112 North Street
Dayton Town Hall - 721 Walnut Street
St. Lawrence Church Social Hall  -  1916 Meharry Street
Lafayette City Hall  -  20 N 6th Street
Jenks Rest Senior Center  -  1915 Scott Street
Lafayette Fire Station #5  -  750 N Creasy Lane
4-H Fairgrounds Home Ec Building  -  1010 Teal Road
Eagles Lodge  -  3208 S 18th Street
Evangelical Covenant Church  -  3600 S 9th Street
The Outpost Catering  -  2501 Old US Hwy 231 South
Purdue Memorial Union - 101 N Grant Street
Morton Community Center - 22 N Chauncey Ave
Federated Christian Church - 2400 Sycamore Lane
Burtsfield Gymnasium - 1800 N Salisbury Street
WL Parks Building-Kalberer - 1101 Kalberer Road

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pence Agrees with Ritz on Suspending Test-Based Teacher Evaluations

Mike Pence, a hard-right ideologue, seems to be seeking re-election by convincing voters he's not a hard-right ideologue. Remember his sudden interest in investing some of the rainy day fund into road infrastructure after the Wildcat Creek bridge fiasco snarled traffic for weeks? Now he's making "reasonable guy" noises by agreeing (for once) with Superintendent Glenda Ritz that teachers should not be judged on this year's flawed ISTEP scores, a position she has been arguing for months. But this is a one-and-done for Pence; he'll be right back at punishing teachers and warring with Ritz before you know it.

Last year, with re-election still distant, Pence wrote in an open letter to education Secretary Arne Duncan, “Indiana will not go backwards when it comes to measuring performance in our schools on my watch. We do not support a pause in accountability as it relates to delivering A to F grades to schools, determining intervention strategies in under-performing schools, or teacher evaluations that reflect classroom performance.” That's the real ideologue.

Read more about Pence's change of heart on teacher evaluations here.

J&C "Comparison" of Lafayette Mayoral Candidates

You can read the Journal and Courier's comparison of Mayor Tony Roswarski and Republican challenger William Reed Jr here. However, there really isn't a comparison to be had there. For example . . .
Question: What makes you the best person for the office?

Roswarski: Thirty-two years of experience and leadership as a police officer, active community member, city councilman and your mayor. Together, we have created a strong business environment with a strong global reputation, fiscal responsibility, initiated important infrastructure projects, provide outstanding city services, and invest in quality of life initiatives.

Reed: I feel I am best for the office of mayor because of my great communication skills with the public, and I know what they need and want.

See what we mean?