Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Tippecanoe County Democratic Party!! May you and your families have a blessed holiday season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Ideologue and the Realist

Here's how a rigid ideologue responds to the calamity in Newtown: “This is not about access to guns. This is about access to schools. We need to stay focused on making sure our kids in school are secure.” The speaker is Indiana Governor-Elect Mike Pence, who also says he supports the rights of law-abiding Hoosiers to keep and bear arms and will continue to "defend that right,” according to reporting in the Indy Star. Is Pence's the response Pence is offering to stunned Hoosiers to continue to let maniacs continue buy assault weapons at gun shows without a background check and then post armed guards at grade schools to keep the kids safe from those same maniacs? Does anyone feel better now?

The Governor-Elect is regarded as a skilled politician, but he could certainly take a lesson from fellow gun-rights advocate, Senator Joe Donnelly: "You know, I'm a Dad too. My kids are a little older now, but I think of when they were 6 and 7 years old, and I think we have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again." While Donnelly didn't commit to supporting any specific legislation, he did indicate an openness fueled by Newtown: "We're going to begin that discussion over in the Senate side very soon, and I'll be a part of that discussion." Whether Donnelly eventually votes for anything like universal background checks for guns purchases or bans on automatic weapons and gun clips over 10 bullets remains to be seen, but at least he sounds like a reasonable man trying to absorb what has happened in our country. Read more about Donnelly's response to Newtown on CNN here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

President's Speech at Newtown Interfaith Vigil

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President's Statement on Newtown Shooting

An emotional President Obama responds on Friday to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and calls for action to prevent further such incidents "regardless of the politics."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Republican Sore Loser: Richard Mourdock

Republicans seem to be developing a real taste for sour grapes. Now Richard Mourdock's campaign crew is publicly complaining of his treatment at the hands of "the liberal media." Here's what Mourdock Finance Director Ashlee Walls wrote in an email soliciting funds to cover campaign costs:
"In our case, we found our campaign caught in the liberal media crosshairs. Never has Indiana seen a more obvious example of media bias by reporters more interested in defeating conservatives than reporting the news. We fought back and invested heavily in a last-minute push to combat the slew of false accusations Democrats and the liberal media churned up to distract voters."
Stating the obvious, Jason Linkins observes in the Huffington Post that "Mourdock wasn't undone by a 'false accusation,' he was undone by words that he said out loud at a public, televised debate, that reporters were watching."

Tim Swarens in the Indy Star is even harsher on Mourdock: "Let's be blunt: That is such complete nonsense that only someone as out-of-touch with reality as Mourdock could believe it." Swarens points out that Mourdock other conservatives fared well in Indiana:
"Mourdock didn't lose because the news media selectively targeted him for persecution out of all of the conservatives on the ballot in Indiana this year. On the same day that they chose Donnelly over Mourdock, Hoosier voters also elected conservative Mike Pence as governor, chose conservatives to represent seven of Indiana's nine districts in the U.S. House, and handed conservative Republicans supermajorities in the Indiana House and Senate. Mitt Romney won Indiana in what amounted to an uncontested walk."
Swarens concludes "Richard Mourdock was a weak candidate. And Indiana voters were smart enough to figure that out on their own, 'liberal media' notwithstanding."

Daniels Says Business Not Comfortable with Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment

Governor Daniels indicated on Wednesday that some business leaders are telling him that a constitutional ban on gay marriage would inhibit their ability to recruit top candidates. "I've heard from a number of them, as recently as this morning," Daniels said.

The governor also indicated that businesses were uncomfortable with the amendment's strictures on any legal recognition of gay relationships, including benefits. "They wouldn't want their ability to offer benefits and that sort of thing limited. That they think it's fair, and they think it's important — at least in the case of some of their employees," Daniels observed. The governor would not weigh in on this issue directly as he is "transitioning out" of the political arena.

(We can't help but wonder why existing statutes wouldn't be as concerning to businesses as a constitutional amendment. And were their concerns not voiced as the legislature passed statutes against gay marriage or were they ignored?)

Read more about the governor's comments here.

Indiana Republican Legislative Bloopers

Indianapolis Star columnist Dan Carpenter did a nice piece on the recent stumbles of Indiana Republican legislators that attracted the kind of attention a state doesn't want. Included among his "gems" are Rep. Bob Morris's crusade against the Girl Scouts; making a man who does not believe in evolution chair of the Senate committee on education; and Senator Dennis Cruise's legislative attempts to inject creationism into Indiana science classrooms.

Carpenter notes others, and with Republican supermajorities in both legislative bodies and a more ideological incoming governor, the blooper reel is bound to continue. (Seriously, does our state need the spectacle of a constitutional amendment to forever ban gay marriages?) He concludes, "Regardless of ideology, we deserve better." You can read Carpenter's column here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

54% of Hoosiers Oppose Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment

With the General Assembly poised to take up a superfluous constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana, a new Ball State/WISH survey shows that 54 percent of Hoosiers oppose the amendment and only 38 percent favor it. It also shows that 45 percent of Hoosiers favor allowing gay couples to marry and 45 percent oppose them. And 55 percent favor civil unions with 37 opposed. Maybe Indiana is no longer the close-minded state that Governor-elect Pence and Speaker Bosma thought it was. Read more here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

J&C Editorial Blast's Kruse's "Academic Freedom" Proposal

Editors at the J&C have blasted Sen. Kruse's proposed defense of ignorance legislation that would require teachers to offer "research" evidence to support any classroom point that is challenged by a student. They conclude: "Indiana schools don’t need this sort of 'academic freedom.' And Indiana doesn’t need another reason to look like the backwater hinterlands." Amen to that. You can see the entire editorial here.

Two Thirds of Hoosiers Don't Want Pence's Tax cut

A new survey show that 64 percent of Hoosiers would prefer to have the money that Governor-elect Mike Pence has promised them as a tax break reinvested in our state, especially for education and worker training. Legislative leaders are already skeptical about another tax cut. Last month House Speaker Brian Bosma said,“Any tax cut has to be sustainable. Not just in a two year budget period but sustainable in the long haul.” Here's the story from WISH reporter Jim Shella.

Donnelley Visits Lafayette Mental Health Agency

Senator-elect Joe Donnelly stopped in Lafayette on Sunday morning to visit a local mental health agency. Here's coverage from WLFI.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kruse "Truth in Education" Bill Gives Students Classroom Filibuster

Some Indiana Republicans are not only anti-teacher, they appear to be anti-knowledge. After their attempt to insert the religious doctrine creationism into Hoosier science classes failed last year, they have replaced it with a new way to perpetuate ignorance. Senator Dennis Kruse has proposed a "truth in education" bill which he explains as follows: “If a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true.” Aside from being completely unenforceable, it provides any enterprising seventh grader with the means to filibuster the educational process for his entire class: "I don't believe that leaves are green because of chlorophyll; please prove it. I don't believe water is made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, etc." Has Senator Kruse never been in a classroom?

Kruse is upfront about this bill being a substitute for his failed creationism bill. His new bill “will be a totally different approach. It won’t mention religion. It won’t mention creation. It will just basically try to establish truth in our public schools.” In reality it would allow a few ideological diehards or dedicated ignoramuses to block the conveyance of truth in Indiana's classrooms and to sink Indiana further into the educational backwaters. Surely such nonsense will not receive serious consideration in our legislature. Surely.

Monday, December 3, 2012

J&C Takes Daniels to Task on Ritz Election Comments

Today the Journal and Courier took Governor Mitch Daniels to task for his comments last week suggesting that there had been illegal activity by teachers in their fight to defeat State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. Here's the ending of the their op-ed:
Last week’s comment was one wild swing from the governor — even if it’s true and he’s ready to prove it. (And ready to take the counter punches.) Right or wrong, teachers showed in November that they know how to handle themselves when they feel threatened. Calling their actions illegal is a good way to rile them again.

Not a smart move for a guy who said he was ready to set partisan politics aside and take the reins at Purdue.
You can read the whole editorial here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Daniels Suggests Illegal Activities in Ritz Campaign

The Indianapolis Star reports that Gov. Mitch Daniels has suggested that Glenda Ritz's defeat of Tony Bennett was not entirely on the up-and-up. on Wednesday he said the following at a meeting of Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education: "If you're a fan of anything-goes politics, it was a creative use of illegal -- but still creative use -- of public resources. We got emails sent out on school time by people who were supposed to be teaching someone at the time, all about Tony Bennett. We have parents who went to back to school night to find out how little Jebbie is doing and instead they got a diatribe about the upcoming election."

Gov. Daniels saw Ritz's election as a reactionary spasm against Bennett's "progressive" reforms of public education: "Despite the great progress that's been made in states like ours, the forces of reaction never quit. The last twitch of the dinosaur's tail can still kill you and that's what happened." The democratic notion that an election represents the people's judgment on a candidate or a set of policies seems beyond conception here. Is it a genetic characteristic of Republicans that they lack the gracious loser gene?

Read the Star's story here.