Monday, October 31, 2016

Despite the propaganda, Indiana is not thriving

Eye on the Pie

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 9:21 AM

Carroll County, Indiana - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
  • Carroll County, Indiana
‘Tis a dreary day indeed when our senior politicians behave like politicians rather than the wise men they could be. It saddens me to see the short and narrow view extolled over a long and broad perspective on our state’s economy.

To argue that Indiana’s economy is thriving is to ignore reality in favor of blatant partisanship to influence an election.

True, we have enjoyed the bounce back from the depths of the Great Recession.
Where our economy took a greater plunge than the nation, our recovery does look strong. It resembles the temporary, exhilarating upswing of the roller coaster after a heart-stopping fall. But such turmoil leaves many emotionally and fiscally sick in its wake and cannot be considered thriving.

The broadest measure of the economy is Gross Domestic Product. Economists and politicians of all persuasions agree GDP has not grown with the vigor we desire. Those desires are based on our understanding and experience with more ordinary recessions since WWII. This downturn was more like the Great Depression, a financial trauma where conservative fiscal and monetary policy was insufficient to accelerate recovery.

In the downturn (2007 to 2009), U.S. GDP declined at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent; Indiana’s GDP fell at a 3.5 percent annual rate, the sixth hardest-hit state in the nation.

In the first three years of the recovery (2009 to 2012), Indiana had the 12th strongest performance at 2.2 percent (U.S. = 1.8 percent). Thereafter (2012 to 2015), we slipped to 17th place and a 2.0 percent annual growth, while the nation advanced slightly to a 1.9 percent growth rate.

Thriving? Exemplary? Robust? Please, get real.

We have been misled by our political leadership for many years. Democrats, Republicans, it does not make a difference. When convenient, employment figures are used. When advantageous to the incumbent administration, data are cited isolated from time and context. Since what date to what date? And how were other states doing in the same period?

Evidence from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is taken at face value. Does no one look at the face of the IEDC? It is a contorted mask, a creation of the government and private businesses designed to evade public scrutiny. Distinguished appointees, instead of acting in the full light of openness, hide in the shadows behind the “need for confidentiality.”

This is the same dodge used at the county level throughout the state. “We can’t tell you what we are doing; it might cause potential businesses to turn away from us.” “We cannot give you verifiable information; it might infringe on the competitive positions of firms.” “Trust us; we act responsibly on your behalf, whether or not you can judge based on what we tell you.”

As a recent letter in the Indianapolis Star proclaimed, “Hoosiers deserve a factual representation of Indiana’s economy.” Where are they expected to get it when press releases are foisted on the public as economic news and letters to the editor offer a whitewashed truth? Here, but where else?
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Harnessing millennial power at the polls

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 8:26 AM

PEXELS.COM
  • pexels.com

On May 3, 2016, Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders convinced the group with the lowest civic engagement to vote for a progressive and inclusive America. Less than a fifth of Indiana's Democratic Primary voters were under 30. But as Bernie and (for the time being) Mike Pence have exited from Indiana's political sphere, so have the majority of millennial progressives.

What is troubling about young people not paying attention to local elections? On the surface, it may seem like a lost cause. Why waste valuable money and time on such a volatile demographic? It's no surprise that young people historically have lower voting rates than their older cohorts. It makes sense that older generations prioritize voting and make more of an effort to be informed about candidates, especially in a local background where there's a higher chance they know someone running. This is evident if you attend any phone-banking event or canvass.

In an effort to gather more insight, I surveyed a freshman English class at my school. Even if some of them were out of state, they could tell me something about Indiana politics — in the past year and a half Indiana and its governor have made national news countless times, specifically with 2015's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and again in May with a restrictive abortion bill. Our governor's controversial policies were never out of media focus when Trump picked him as his running mate in July.

But no one could correctly tell me who was running for governor, let alone any policies. "Mike Pence, not sure," wrote one person. Another didn't even know that the governor's race was this year. For clarification, Republican Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb and Democrat John Gregg are the gubernatorial candidates this year. Rex Bell is the Libertarian candidate.

Shocking, considering millennials of the past few years have shown they are highly engaged. They care about progressive topics like corporate greed, student debt, racial injustice, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change. Even if they are not voting, the most progressive movements of the past decade are filled with college kids and recent grads. I remember lying on a busy street in the winter with dozens of my friends at a Black Lives Matter student demonstration, a minute for every hour that Michael Brown's body was left on the street. Planned Parenthood has a whole young activist sect of their organization for millennials. College kids regularly lobby D.C. representatives about reproductive rights and better healthcare for lower-class families. Their slogan is "We are the Planned Parenthood Generation."

Think again of the Bernie Sanders movement a few months ago. He came and went out of this election like the political version of Pokemon Go. His anti-establishment rhetoric and unwavering promise of sociopolitical reform made an impact — on Indy college kids and on Hillary Clinton's campaign. Dozens of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers can still be seen on Indianapolis campuses. A line of some 2,000 students wrapped all the way around Purdue's massive recreational center in the frigid April morning to hear the senator speak. Later that day at IU, hundreds of students could not get into the auditorium, standing outside and waiting in the rain to hear the senator from Vermont.

This is a powerful generation. This is the most racially diverse generation America has ever seen. Pew Research Center confirmed in April what we've anticipated for a long time — millennials are now the largest generation, overtaking baby boomers by half a million as of 2015. And if that does not entice Indiana campaigns to make a valid effort to win over this demographic, this will bring it closer to home — the millennial generation makes up over a fourth of Indiana's population.

Yes, 25.9 percent statewide (identical rate nationally). And they're all eligible to cast their vote in November, according to Pew Research Center, who says they will range in age group 18-35 this year.

Older generations are always saying that "children are the future," but rarely do baby boomers and millennials, the parents and children, actually sit down and discuss how best to meet each other's needs. Both can make allowances. Our current state and local elections are still too conservative and devoid of social justice topics for a majority of left-leaning youth. Indiana progressive leaders need to get with the times and not be afraid to be more vocal on social issues.

On the other hand, critics of this "middle-of-the-road" strategy need to understand that Indiana's last gubernatorial election was incredibly close, separated by a measly 3 percent. The pressure to sustain conservative older votes is extreme and sometimes a slippery slope for the more youth-friendly Democratic Party. And young constituents need to be more accountable — take the time to research candidates' platforms and legislative history. Look at who they support and what type of people support them.

We should all have high expectations of our leaders, but do not let them become impossible standards. Ultimately, millennials are powerful cogs in this state's machine. They elected Bernie. They helped turn Indiana a blue state in 2008. If Hoosier campaigns could harness their energy, their ingenuity and their hope (who can deny a youth's propensity for optimism that verges on naiveté?) they would win in a heartbeat.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#NUVOpop: New Comic Book Releases for October 26th, 2016!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 4:40 PM

10/26 New Comic Releases! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.


*EDIT: Sorry I posted this without the video. I've been sick and loopy from the medicine.

Hello everyone! Take a break from crying about the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere to check out some comics! This is a very spooky week! There are many scares to be found within the pages of the comics that are out this week.

There's a Disney Halloween Special, a Halloween special made by the talented Eric Powel that focuses on scary campfire stores, and there are two Evil Dead mini series out this week as well.

From DC's Rebirth, Teen Titans and Batman Beyond are officially starting up. A new Serenity series is starting this week as well!

TOP PICKS
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Bloodshot USA
(W) Jeff Lemire (A) Doug Braithwaite

Project Rising Spirit is America's greatest exporter of classified weapons and they've just out done themselves. They made a virus that's capable of turning people into soldiers. They can destroy a nation from the inside out... and they've just released the virus upon New York City. It's up to Bloodshot to infiltrate New York City and save the city before it destroys itself.

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Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme
(W) Robbie Thompson (A) Javier Rodriguez

When an ancient evil threaten the fabric of reality, Doctor Strange must recruit the help of all the Sorcerers Supreme. Merlin! Wiccan! The Ancient One! And many many more Sorcerers Supreme from the past, present, and future will band together to stop this massive threat. But watch your back, Doctor Strange. Some of these guys aren't looking out for your best interest..

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The Skeptics
(W) Tini Howard (A/CA) Devaki Neogi

It's the 1960's, and Russia and the US are in the middle of the Cold War! Russia has the H-Bomb and youths that are psychically powered. America has.... nothing. Pringles, maybe. Dr. Isobel Santaclara is a very strange woman on a mission. She aims to trick the entire world into thinking that she's found two teens that are psychics as well. She's trained them well and now they will be put to the test.

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Vigilante Southland
(W) Gary Phillips (A) Elena Casagrande

Donny led a comfortable life with his girl friend Dorrie, who was really into politics. One day Dorrie stumbles upon a horrible secret and the next day she's dead. Distraught by the loss of his beloved, Donny decides to carry on her work. Armed with loads of shocking information, he puts on a mask and starts searching for the reason why Dorrie was murdered.

[image-6] Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special
(CA) Jim Lee

Wonder Woman turns 75 this year! Join the celebration by picking up this anthology comic about everyone's favorite Amazon. There are plenty of new stories and fantastic illustrations done by the most talented group of people.

ALSO. If you can't get enough of Wonder Woman, then Wonder Woman #9 is out this week and it features a love story between Diana and Steve Trevor! 


That's all for this week! You may resume crying. Walking Dead #160 comes out next week, as well as a new Catwoman series! There's also Avengers Now and Unworthy Thor beginning next week.

If you need the full release list, click here!

Also, be sure to stop at your local comic shop this Saturday to pick up some FREE Halloween comics!

I will see you next week. 
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The funny thing about guns and American history

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 10:18 AM

american_militia_firing_at_the_british_infantry_from_behind_.jpg
History can be a great teacher.

But we have to be willing to learn the lessons.

It has occurred to me often as we Americans slog our way through this dispiriting presidential campaign in this age of relentless divisiveness that many of our troubles stem from the fact that we don’t understand our own past.

In an exchange I had a few months back with Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour – perhaps the primary advocate in the state for the National Rifle Association and other gun groups – he said that one reason he supported unfettered access to firearms was because of America’s revolutionary history.

He cited the continental militia, in particular. He marveled at what armed citizens had accomplished in hurling back the redcoats to help the fledgling United States of America achieve its independence.

Lucas merely articulated, albeit with more passion and eloquence, the same argument the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre has advanced for years as the historical case for expansive gun ownership.

It’s a seductive notion, this idea that untrained farmers and tradesmen seized their trusty muskets and hurled back the mightiest military force on earth so that a people yearning to be free could thrust off the yoke of tyranny.

Unfortunately, it’s not true.

George Washington deplored the militia’s performance in battle during the Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress despaired over the militia’s ineffectiveness.

Even Samuel Adams, perhaps the most egalitarian of our founders, denigrated the militia:

“Would any man in his senses, who wishes the war may be carried on with vigor, prefer the temporary and expensive drafts of militia to a permanent and well-appointed army?”

If the militia members did not fight effectively in battle, why, then, are they not forgotten?

At least part of the reason is that the militia did perform a role in the war. The militia served as a kind of police force, one that helped to keep slaves from revolting and loyalists to the crown from providing aid to the British troops.

As such, they helped to keep weapons out of the hands of those who might use them against the Continental troops.

In other words, the militia members — who now are touted as the poster boys for the NRA and gun rights — actually were some of the earliest agents of gun control in this country’s history.

That’s what’s known as irony.

The other reason the militia loom large in our national memory is that the militias serve a mythic purpose.

Our national mythology is that our founding represented a new birth of freedom, a restored innocence made possible by a return to an American Eden. In this mythology, we Americans lived once upon a time unfettered by constraints of either government or reality.

The immediate problem of this myth, of course, is that Americans in the 18th century who were not white males did not live in freedom, period.

But another problem is this myth denies the larger reality of this country’s founding. Our founders were practical men. They did not fight a revolution to dispense with government – that was a dream hatched later by anarchists – but to create a country in which the people governed themselves.

It is more romantic to imagine hardy pioneers, muskets in hand, marching through an untouched wilderness to form a country than it is to remember that the true miracle of our founding came from weary men studying by lamplight, reading, writing, arguing, amending, negotiating and compromising their way to form a government like no other.

What they came up with, after starts and stops, was a system that advanced national needs, protected individual rights and created mechanisms for balancing competing interests, even those not anticipated in the 1700s.

It was – and is – a marvel of political engineering.

The famed director John Ford’s last great film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” explored the way we Americans substitute myth for reality. The film’s most famous line is:

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

But when we print the legend — when we forgot our actual history — we conjure up a past that never existed.
And we pine for a future for which we may long but constantly eludes us, like a ghost that vanishes from our grasp into the mist of our imagination as we reach for it.
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Friday, October 21, 2016

The Bayh-Young debate wasn't Lincoln and Douglas

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 11:14 AM

(AP PHOTO/MICHAEL CONROY, POOL)
  • (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, pool)
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas really made things tough for U.S. Senate candidates.

When Lincoln and Douglas debated in 1858, they were arguing about the fate of a nation. They jousted over the meaning of what it means to be an American and advanced arguments that continue to echo across time.

Democrat Evan Bayh, Republican Todd Young and Libertarian Lucy Brenton didn’t quite hit that high standard when they debated Tuesday night in WFYI’s studios in Indianapolis.

Theirs was a lively encounter, but one that is not likely to linger in memory. Each candidate came in with a task and — with varying degrees of success — each did what he or she set out to do.

Brenton’s job, of course, was the simplest. She had to seize her moment in the spotlight, explain who and what Libertarians are and make all of that seem warm and inviting.

She succeeded.

She made a few jokes about being part of a “mom corps,” dropped in a Star Wars reference or two, repeatedly pointed in the other candidates’ direction and said, with a smile on her face, that they were owned by special interests.

Young came out swinging. Every question — climate change, the Middle East, Russian aggression, guns, etc. — seemed to him to be an opportunity to pivot to his talking points.

In fact, it often appeared that Young’s economic development plan centered on the creation of a statewide drinking game. If every Hoosier over the age of 21 lifted a glass each time Young mentioned that he was a Marine, that Bayh voted for Obamacare, that Bayh was a lobbyist or that Bayh was a “D.C. insider,” every brewery, winery and distillery in America would experience full employment.

Bayh’s approach was subtler.

He came into the debate determined to show that he was the adult in the room, the unflappable grown-up who could not be rattled.

When Young smacked him, Bayh shook his head, more with studied regret than in anger, and all but tut-tutted that it wasn’t true.

At times, Young’s inability to rattle Bayh seemed to annoy the Republican. Near the end of the debate, Young shook his finger in Bayh’s direction and accused the Democrat of selling out Hoosiers.

“You took the money and ran,” Young said.

It wasn’t a moment that suggested senatorial dignity — which Bayh pointed out in the press conferences that followed the debate.

There, Bayh delivered a small soliloquy on the rhythms, protocols and courtesies of the U.S. Senate.

“It’s a collegial place,” Bayh said, before adding that people who don’t recognize that aren’t likely to be “productive.”

Then he delivered his body blow.

Referring to Young’s finger-pointing near the debate’s conclusion, Bayh did his patented sorrowful head shake and said:

“He seemed like he was kind of losing it there at the end.”

It was an old pro’s counterpunch.

For his part, Young refused to back down.

In his press conference, Young said he pushed Bayh hard because Hoosiers need to decide “how much character matters.”

He said he didn’t regret speaking of his opponent in harsh terms.

“I don’t apologize for my passion, my conviction,” Young said.

If Bayh and Young played the antagonists in a kind of low-rent Greek drama, Brenton assumed the role of the chorus and offered both wry commentary and comic relief throughout the hour.

At one point, she said both her opponents had gone over “to the dark side.”

Then, right at the end, she stepped out from behind the lectern and said she wanted to put some distance between herself and her two opponents because they were slinging too much mud and she was wearing a white suit.

In her press conference, she was asked about her zingers and she chortled.

“If you can’t have fun in politics,” Brenton chuckled, “you’re not doing it right.”

Maybe that’s the key lesson for the evening.

For all their differences, Lincoln and Douglas liked and respected each other. They hit each other hard, but above the belt.

America was better for it.

I’m not sure we can say the same about Tuesday night’s Senate debate.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Can Keith Cooper ever forgive us?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 10:20 AM

Keith Cooper
  • Keith Cooper

Keith Cooper is becoming a household name around here these days. It’s ironic because all he wants from the State of Indiana is to have his name given back to him.

Cooper is an African-American convicted felon who lives in Chicago. He was released from the Indiana Department of Correction in 2006, after spending nearly 10 years in prison, much of it at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

He wants Gov. Mike Pence to issue a pardon for his conviction for an uncommon reason: he is innocent.

In 1997, Cooper was convicted in Elkhart County of armed robbery and sentenced to 40 years in prison. But by 2005 it had become clear that the evidence used to convict him was no longer credible. The conviction of his alleged accomplice had already been overturned by the Court of Appeals and remanded to Elkhart County for retrial. In the course of pursuing that retrial, the accomplice’s charges were dismissed.

Then Cooper was offered a deal: He could withdraw his petition that sought exoneration of his conviction and, in exchange, could walk out of jail a free man. Otherwise he would have to petition for a new trial himself, remaining incarcerated until its completion.

In 2006, he accepted the deal. He would be able to reunite with his three children immediately, but the felony on his record still stood.

After nine years in prison, life on the outside has had plenty of challenges. One in particular is the felony conviction still follows him everywhere, specifically in the job market. Cooper has been working as a forklift operator since his release from prison, but advancement has been regularly thwarted due to his erroneous “record.”

In 2011, five years after his release from prison, he began his journey to receive a pardon from the governor of Indiana. Many who are minimally aware of this case, like I once was, ignorantly believed that Cooper was just another convict trying to get out of prison. I just happened to read a little further the other day, and now I can’t let the situation rest.

When one seeks a “pardon,” the request is literally for the conviction to be “forgiven.” This would be a unique pardon to grant, since the requestor is technically not asking for forgiveness in the classic sense of the word. There is no admission of guilt, remorse or reform, since Cooper is claiming he is innocent and virtually everyone involved with the case now agrees. The victims, the prosecutor and, to some extent, the court system itself attest to his innocence.

So in this case, it is actually the State of Indiana that needs forgiveness.

All Cooper wants from Indiana is his name cleared and returned to him so that he can move on with his life.

So what is the problem?

First, Gov. Mike Pence, through his staff, decided that there are still some last ditch and burdensome judicial options to exhaust before the governor should act. His office does not want to inappropriately intervene in the business of the judiciary prematurely. That last-ditch effort is a post-conviction application for relief from Elkhart County.

Second, the elected prosecutor in Elkhart County is Curtis Hill, the current Republican nominee for attorney general of Indiana. Hill’s office negotiated the deal to which Cooper agreed for his 2006 release from prison. Hill has not commented on the substance of the pardon request.

I will let you decide the political calculus of the defiant approach to this no-brainer of a request, given these circumstances.

Finally, the Indiana Parole Board submitted a non-binding recommendation for pardon to the governor in March of 2014. It has been collecting dust for more than two and a half years. It is also important to note that Pence appointed the parole board members he is now ignoring.

Democrat gubernatorial nominee John Gregg is on record supporting the pardon.

Republican gubernatorial nominee and current lieutenant governor Eric Holcomb is considering the situation but believes it can be resolved quickly.

The handling of the matter, or more accurately the timid recoiling of Pence from handling it, defines his leadership abilities. Bluntly, he is simply unable to stray from the script when governing. Correcting this error by the state should be something the governor, any governor, should embrace. If righting this wrong is so undesirable for Pence, why does he claim to want to govern at all?

In a week where Pence has spent inordinate time expressing grace and forgiveness for Donald Trump’s lewd and quite possibly criminal behaviors, he is doubling down on Keith Cooper.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that prisoner was you,” is an apt quote offered by the late Lewis Smedes, the famous theologian and Christian professor.

The irony here is that the prisoner today is no longer Cooper. The prisoner is Mike Pence. I don’t expect Pence to ever issue the pardon, since he has effectively run out his own clock by hiding from it.

And it’s an embarrassing mess he is clearly leaving behind. I have faith that in January, our next governor will do the right thing.

What I selfishly want for Keith Cooper is that he can find the strength to follow Smedes’ advice and forgive Indiana for what it has done to him.

I assure you, Mr. Cooper, this is not who we want to be. Please accept our apologies when you ultimately receive the pardon with our sincere hope that your forgiveness of us, and not ours of you, finally sets you free.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Richard Lugar, as usual, talking sense

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 11:26 AM

Richard Lugar
  • Richard Lugar
Minutes after Richard Lugar finished his lecture here at Franklin College, someone in the audience asked him a question.

Is it too late to get you to run for president?

Lugar, 84, chuckled as laughter and applause danced across the room.

“In a word, yes,” the former six-term U.S. senator from Indiana said.

More laughter.

And a few groans of disappointment.

Lugar just had wrapped up an address that combined dispassionate analysis of our current disheartening political climate with an impassioned cry for renewed standards of civility and statesmanship.

He talked about how divided we Americans have become:

“A fascinating Washington Post opinion poll of residents of Virginia, conducted a month ago, found that 60 percent of respondents who planned to vote for Hillary Clinton did not know of a single family member or close friend who planned to vote for Donald Trump. Similarly, 54 percent of Trump voters did not have a family member or close friend who planned to vote for Clinton. This cultural disconnect is all the more notable in that Virginia is considered a purple swing state that can go either direction in a presidential election. So even as the state itself runs close to 50-50 in its voting behavior, the two political camps are deeply segregated.”

After establishing that we now live in a place that more closely resembles a set of warring tribes than it does a functioning nation, Lugar talked about the coarsening of American life and discourse. He said we Americans have come to view each other as hostile combatants rather than fellow citizens.

In doing so, we divorce ourselves not just from a sense of shared belonging to a great nation, but from reality.

“We can debate the cultural and psychological reasons for this, but it is symptomatic of the willingness of Americans to disparage political rivals in terms that are harsher and less connected to the truth than those that are acceptable in other areas of life,” Lugar said.

Lugar said this disconnect has produced a government – and a country – that cannot function.

“The American political system clearly is failing to address obvious problems for which broad based solutions are well understood, such as immigration reform and the viability of entitlement programs. On numerous issues, we are failing even to have a civil conversation,” Lugar said.

If anything, that’s an understatement.

At the time Lugar delivered his lecture, we Americans were in the midst of national arguments about missing emails, demeaning more than half the country’s population and whether one presidential candidate should jail another.

Meanwhile, the middle class is disappearing, more and more of our children are growing up in poverty and we live in a world of increasingly varied dangers.

Lugar called for an old-fashioned solution.

Some people call it statesmanship. Some call it leadership.

He said that candidates for office should make a kind of pledge to themselves:

“I affirm that members of the other party love our country and are people of good will, and I will avoid portraying them as unpatriotic or disloyal.

“I believe that members of the opposing party can contribute to good policy. I will explore opportunities to work with them and will attempt to include them in early deliberations on my initiatives. I recognize that bipartisan support from elected officials broadens public acceptance of new laws and policies and improves the chances that they will be successfully implemented.

“Even as I participate in partisan debates and work on behalf of my party, my first motivation will be a careful reflection on what is good for the country. I will avoid legislative and policy actions that have no purpose other than to score partisan political points.

“Although I will advance arguments consistent with my own political philosophy, I will study issues in depth with an open mind. I will consider multiple points of view and avoid an exclusive reliance on my party’s positions and talking points.

“I will maintain my civility, even when others around me do not. I will measure my words, to avoid inflammatory rhetoric that often is destructive to the political process and national unity.”

Not surprising in this distressed era, is it, that there are people who want Dick Lugar to run for president?


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Monday, October 17, 2016

Business as usual after the election?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:14 AM

IGA.IN.GOV
  • iga.in.gov
The campaigns for governor and 125 seats in the General Assembly are winding down. We’ll be relieved soon from the slurs and insults of competing camps. Commercials will return to products supposed to make us regular again.

The big question of these elections is “Will anything be done by state government to make Indiana more attractive as a place to live and a place to run a business?”

Every candidate told us she/he has a plan. That’s wonderful. But plans don’t do well in our legislature because most Hoosiers believe we don’t have any real problems and they elect people who agree with them.

After all, we already have the Lord’s blessing (“Ain’t God good to Indiana?”). Plus many business publications declare Indiana the winner in promising few quality government services and delivering less.

We’re becoming the North Korea of the Western Hemisphere. Our state government tells us how fine life is here and most of our news media print and broadcast all the good news they can find in self-serving press releases.

However, Indiana is trending down relative to other states. We currently rank as the 16th most populous state, with 6.6 million residents. We gained 136,000 since the Census of 2010 (22nd among the 50 states), which translates to a 2.1 percent increase (32nd) compared to the national growth rate of 4.1 percent.

Natural increase, the excess of births over deaths, accounted for 95 percent of our population growth. You aren’t troubled by meeting strangers in Indiana.

International migration ranked us 20th at 57,000, offset by net domestic out migration of 47,000. Thus, we ended up with only 10,000 new residents. We also lost 3,000 for unknown reasons.

Did you get that? 47,000 more Americans chose to leave Indiana than to move here from elsewhere in the U.S. In a free country, where you can move anywhere, anytime, without a permit from the government, losing population through domestic migration is … at minimum … embarrassing.

To add to our embarrassment, 58 of our 92 counties lost population, during an economic recovery, between 2010 and 2015. And we’re told how well Indiana is doing.

Why are people leaving? There are many reasons, but our state’s economy is one. No, it wasn’t the recession, as some politicians want you to believe.

Between 2005 and 2010, the Indiana economy, measured by Real GDP, grew by 3.3 percent, a shade better than the 2.9 percent increase enjoyed by the nation. Yet, when the recovery got rolling, 2010 to 2015, the U.S. gained 9.5 percent while, Indiana — “the state that works” and “business friendly Indiana” — advanced by only 1.7 percent.

Our share of U.S. GDP fell from 1.91 percent in 2005 to 1.86 percent in 2015. I can hear it now, “What’s the fuss over 0.05 percent?” The answer: “$6.7 billion in foregone output by Hoosier businesses and possibly 66,000 Hoosier jobs in 2015.”

Yes, indeed, somebody’s been drinking strong moonshine while the moonlight's fair along the Wabash.


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Thursday, October 13, 2016

#NUVOpop: Great Lakes Avengers!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 7:17 PM

10/12 Great Lakes Avengers! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.



Hey everyone! Welcome back!

There aren't as many new titles out this week as last week, however there's a lot of cool stuff going on. A new Spider-Man event starts this week, and we get two new super hero titles as well- Solo (former Merc for Money) and Mosaic (the newest Inhuman). There's also a Lost Boys comics, a Warhammer 4000 series and a new Dark Tower: Drawing of Three series as well!


TOP PICKS

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The Clone Conspiracy
(W) Dan Slott (A) Jim Cheung

It's a new Amazing Spider-Man event! The Jackal is back and has figured out the key to eternal life and this means huge and horrible things for the wall crawler. Death is one of the defining points for Spider-Man. But if the Jackal has discovered a way to bring back all of his loved ones, will he still be the same?
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Electric Sublime

(W) W. Maxwell Price (A/CA) Martin Morazzo

After the Mona Lisa is tampered with, the Bureau of Artistic Integrity calls the world's greatest art detective for help. However, he's been in a mental hospital for years because of the insanity that comes with his job. Crime, adventure, mystery, madness and talking mannequins all collide in the Electric Sublime!
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Great Lakes Avengers
(W) Zac Gorman (A/CA) Will Robson

The world's worst Avengers group is back and worse than ever! After gaining the rights to the Avengers name and being reinstated as an official Avengers team, Dr. Val Ventura (AKA the Flatman) starts getting the gang back together. However after a series of deaths and members quitting, the only people that are left are Big Bertha and Doorman? Will they blow their second shot at super hero-dom??

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Mosaic
(W) Geoffrey Thorne (A) Khary Randolph

Mosaic is Marvel's newest Inhuman! Morris Sackett was a professional basketball player and world famous celebrity... until the Terrigen Mists changed everything. His body was destroyed and now he has the ability to jump from person to person, like a ghost. While he's in a person's body, he can control them and the memories they hold. Follow him on his terrifying and strange new adventures! 

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Reborn
(W) Mark Millar (A) Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

Mark Millar explores the after life in his new sci-fi comic epic! Have you ever wondered where we go when we die? Perhaps there is no heaven or hell, instead you go some place else where you are reborn into the best version of yourself. What if instead, we go to a world where we have to fight for survival? 


That's all for this week! Next week, Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye and Infamous Doom both start!

If you need the full release list, click here.

I'll see you next week!
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The financial status of Hoosiers: Not as grand as some say

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 3:50 PM

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Matt Will, an associate professor of finance at the University of Indianapolis, writing in the Indianapolis Star in June, referred to recent trends in disposable per capita income to argue that the Indiana economy is running on all cylinders. As a life-long Hoosier Republican in this our 200th year, I too am very much interested in how Hoosiers have done, especially since the election of 2004 in which we held the Indiana Senate and took the Governor's office, through most of which time we have also held control of the House of Representatives.

Alas, as our great Hoosier philosopher, Abe Martin of Brown County, said, "Figures don't lie, but you can group 'em so they'll answer th' same purpose."

Back in our own locker room, I regret that I am not as impressed with our performance as Professor Will.

Per capita income, based on an average, has been deceptive. In the extreme, if I am making $100 and enjoying pay increases, while four others are just getting by making $20 and without increases, then our average is $36 and increasing. In this extreme example, the median of the five of us, however, is still making $20 and struggling, no matter what the average is doing.

So we should ask how the median Hoosier household is faring.

The answer isn't pretty.

From 2004 until 2015, the latest full year for which data is available, real median household income has risen 1.6 percent in the U.S., but it has fallen 2.1 percent in Indiana. Had income in Indiana at least kept up with the nation, Hoosier working class households might each have nearly $2,000 more to spend on goods and services annually. Figuring in state and local taxes doesn't seem substantially to improve the picture for our after tax income.

While Will did cite median incomes to boast of superior gains from 2008 forward, from the economy's peak in 2007 Indiana's median household income has fallen over 4 percent compared to the nation's drop of 1.6 percent.

Over 50 percent of Indiana's counties have been depopulating, an ominous sign of their decline. Meanwhile, the expanding Indianapolis metropolitan area is netting growth only from its surroundings, not from out of state. In total, our low cost of living should therefore be read as struggling demand for goods and services, especially for housing in our rural counties. Hopelessness and lack of economic opportunity have combined to make Indiana's rural counties among the nation's leading producers and consumers of meth, a cottage industry.

Our great poet, James Whitcomb Riley, in My Ruthers, extolled the Hoosier desire for independence when he wrote: "I tell you what I'd ruther do - ef I only had my ruthers - I'd ruther work when I wanted to than be bossed round by others". So how is entrepreneurialism doing in Indiana?

Poorly.

Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states in business start-ups (the worst of all our surrounding states) and 45th in small business ownership.

Who replaced the Federal government in 2016 as our largest employer, having driven out of business so many local economic mainstays? Walmart.

Our grandparents' generation levied taxes and broke up concentrated wealth so that our parents' generation could graduate from our public universities debt-free; raise families unencumbered; buy homes, goods and services from others; and indeed start businesses themselves to supply those goods and services. But today the percentage of our college graduates carrying student debt has risen from 54 percent in 2004 to 61 percent in 2015, while the debt they carry has sky-rocketed from an average of $19,400 to over $29,200, with many owing far, far more than that. In per capita college graduates, we're 43rd out of 50 states.

Let's face it, my fellow Republicans. In spite of our good intentions, we're not in a position to boast to the rest of the nation how we have succeeded for Indiana. Has reducing taxes, disempowering labor, and reducing public goods and services worked well? It has not. Our bond rating is strong, but most Hoosiers are worse off.

America's leading businesses are those that would not hesitate to change strategy if the times demand it. For Hoosiers and for Hoosier Republicanism, too, change means challenge and necessity, but also opportunity. Embrace it.

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Growing identity crisis leaves the GOP in tatters

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 3:26 PM

WIKIPEDIA.ORG
  • wikipedia.org
Great humorists know the line separating comedy and tragedy is a fine one.

Consider the jest by the immortal Will Rogers. He said once that Democrats form a firing squad by arranging themselves in a circle and then shooting back toward the center.


Substitute the word “Republicans” for “Democrats” and what Rogers meant as a joke becomes prophecy.

The GOP now is in tatters.

USA Today reports that more than a quarter of America’s Republican U.S. senators, governors and members of the U.S. House of Representatives now say they cannot support presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy. Four years ago, only three such Republican officeholders refused to back 2012 nominee Mitt Romney.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has said he no longer will campaign with or support Trump. Trump has reciprocated by referring to Ryan as a disaster as speaker and saying he no longer wants nor would he accept Ryan’s help.

Two Republican senators locked in tough re-election campaigns, John McCain of Arizona and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have renounced their support sand said they no longer can march with Trump. Trump has responded by calling for a purge of party turncoats.

The trigger for this eruption into open warfare was the revelation of a 2005 recording of Trump talking about women in vulgar, misogynist terms and describing actions that constitute sexual assault.

But, long before the release of the conversation, there had been much internal skirmishing and below-the-surface feuding.

A lot – but not all – of the tension can be laid at Trump’s feet.

His campaign to win the nomination had all the subtlety and seductiveness of a hostile takeover. Most presidential candidates understand that pulling a party together after a divisive primary season involves wooing vanquished opponents and assuring their supporters they will be treated with respect.

Trump went at party-building another way.

When he’s in a good mood, he tells other Republicans to kiss his ring. When he’s in a bad mood – which is most of the time – he orders them to smooch lower.

But it would be mistake to say the GOP’s civil war is all Trump’s fault.

Some of the tensions within the party simmered long before Trump began his rise. Social conservatives and business conservatives often haven’t seen eye to eye – and the emergence of the tea party and the alt-right have called into question the very definition of what it means to be a conservative.

Republicans aren’t just fighting over who calls the shots within the party.

They’re battling, tooth-and-nail, fangs-bared, with each other over who they are.

Such internecine strife will make it much harder for Republicans to prevail on Nov. 8. It is tough for candidates to make the case they can govern the country when they can’t even govern their own party.

Democrats, of course, have reacted to all this with glee.

Here in Indiana, they’re already targeting Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Young and congressional candidates Trey Hollingsworth and Susan Brooks, in particular, with messages aimed at forcing those GOP candidates to make a difficult choice.

Embrace Trump and risk offending women voters across the state.

Disavow Trump and alienate The Donald’s still sizable minority of devout supporters.

The passions Trump stirs up are so great that there doubtless are Americans and Hoosiers who see this meltdown of the Republican Party as a good thing.

It isn’t.

American political parties do not function well without credible opposition.

The checks and balances about which we Americans love to boast aren’t written into our constitution. The phrase doesn’t even appear in that august document.

No, the real checks and balances are woven into the fabric of our history and our experience by custom. We use parties to make sure that one faction – one segment of the population – doesn’t have unfettered sway over the entire nation, state or city.

When one party does have unchecked control, bad things happen.

The Republican Party now is tiptoeing on the edge of collapse.

While it can be tempting to see Donald Trump as a clown and the GOP’s wind-milling gyrations to regain balance as the stuff of slapstick, we must remember that fundamental truth.

The line separating comedy and tragedy is a fine one.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

#NUVOpop: CAGE!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 4:01 PM

10/5 CAGE! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.


Hey everyone!

This was a pretty crazy week. There were twenty six new titles out this week. TWENTY. SIX. On average there are about 8-10 new titles out on any given week. It was really hard to choose only five comics to talk about this week.

DC is putting out some really awesome stuff. There's a He-Man/ Thundercats crossover, Midnighter and Apollo are back together, Deadman gets stuck in a mansion, and the newest title from the Young Animal imprint is out as well. Shade the Changing Girl is a mind trip; it's about an alien girl that steals a coat and comes to our planet and hides inside the body of a mean girl. It's intense.

Marvel is doing a soft reboot. After the events of Civil War 2, everything is changed. Teams are divided, X-Men are dying and new heroes are being introduced. The company is bringing back Marvel NOW, which means there are new storylines starting. Champions is about the young heroes of the Marvel universe branching out and forming their own team. There's also Deadpool: Back in Black (Deadpool + alien symbiote; what could go wrong?) and a new Jessica Jones comic.

Weird crossovers seem to be a theme this week. Xena and Ash from the Evil Dead are teaming up this week. Archie and co. are meeting the Ramones, and Kurt Russell gets to meet Kurt Russell in the Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from new York cross over.

We also have a few noir/ mystery titles starting this week, a Betty Boop comic, a new Star Trek comic and the 90's hit called Homies is back to celebrate the wedding of Hollywood and Gata.

I told you there was a lot going on this week.

TOP PICKS.
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Black
(W) Kwanza Osajyefo (A) Jamal Igle

In a world that fears them... black people are the only ones that have super powers! After a boy is gunned down by police officers, he miraculously wakes up completely fine! As he's struggling to figure out what happened to him, he stumbles upon one of the greatest secrets in history.
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Cannibal
(W) Brian Buccellato, Jennifer Young (A) Matias Bergara

The world has been forever changed. People now experience an uncontrollable desire to eat human flesh. There's a town in the Everglades that is safe from all the madness... for now.

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Death of Hawkman
(W) Marc Andreyko (A) Aaron Lopresti

All Adam Strange wants to do is to get back to his love on the planet of Rann, Alanna. But when he's finally able to return to her, he finds the once peaceful planet in turmoil. Alanna has declared war on the planet of Thanagar, which is home to the hero named Hawkman. As Adam Strange tries to solve the mystery of what's happened, he finds an ally in Hawkman.

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Death of X
(W) Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule (A) Aaron Kuder

Taking place 8 months in the past, we finally get to see what caused the fight between the Inhumans and the X-Men. The Terrigen mists that give the Inhumans their powers kill and sterilize the X-Men. A new Inhuman with amazing powers is found in Japan. On Muir Island (a big research facility for the X-Men), Cyclops and his team discover that everyone on the island is dead.. because of the Terrigen Mists.
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Intertwined
(W) Fabrice Sapolsky (A) Fred Pham Chuong

If you're in the mood for a good kung fu noir series, search no more! Taking place in the 70s, it involves many different stories which are all connected. Juan Jin's life has become a lot more complicated. He's on his way to becoming a hero whether he likes it or not! Murder, legacy, gangs and more come together to make Intertwined!

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BONUS

NOW Cage
(W) Genndy Tartakovsky (A) Genndy Tartakovsky

Fans of Luke Cage rejoice! He's got a new book out this week as well. In case you can't get enough of his Netflix show, Marvel is putting out a new series all about Power Man. The series takes place in the 70's and is all about Luke Cage first starting out. The art is wacky and the story is hilarious. Be sure to check it out this weekend!

Also, here's a trailer for Luke Cage in case you're missing out.


That's all for this week! Next week... there's Clone Conspiracy, a new event involving Spider-Man, and a Lost Boys series starts as well!

If you need the full release list click here!

Have a great weekend!
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