Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pence, step away from the Syrian refugees

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 12:34 PM


As a younger, less sophisticated man, I was employed as a counselor at the Indiana Boys School. I left that job 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned trying to help my young criminals in that juvenile prison continue to help me in the world of politics today.

Go figure.

One of the most common "teaching moments" a counselor gets is when the child is faced with conflict. Any kind of conflict will do. The challenges and opportunities created by conflict are invaluable to any young person's growth.

The same rules apply to politicians. And the faster a politician learns from the teaching moments given to them, the more successful he or she will ultimately become.

So let's talk about Gov. Mike Pence and the Syrian refugee battle that he is losing in embarrassing fashion. As a counselor, my advice to the governor would be simple — walk away. His refusal to acknowledge that he has lost the fight that he picked is a statement about his character. The American people don't seem to be aware of this fatal flaw, no matter how hard I try to draw attention to it.

To review, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 the terror attacks on Paris occurred. In response, on Monday, Nov. 16, more than 20 governors across our great land attempted to suspend, eliminate or block Syrian refugee programs in their states under the guise of "security." No meaningful suggestions on security have been made by this bunch, though.

Gov. Pence joined the herd of sheep on this one, and as if it were on cue, he did it while a Syrian family was en route to Indiana. As a result of his almost-trademark bad timing, our state was once again the national leader of intolerance and fear.

In the coming days and weeks, we learned that state government had acted outside of its authority on this one. Pence had not vetted the authority of the state program, in the midst of his haste to complain about the federal government's inadequate vetting.

It was obvious early on that he was on the wrong legal side of this situation, and the series of court defeats have been predictable. In December of 2015, even Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin publicly announced his plan that the archdiocese would continue to resettle families here. Exodus Immigration has also continued its work, and more than 170 Syrian families have been settled since this regrettable example of politics began.

You see, the State of Indiana does not get to decide whether refugees are placed here. Not one, but two federal courts have now ruled that way. The ruling this week was a shameful scolding of the state, featuring quotes from 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner like, "You're so out of it!" This comes on the heels of a 36-page order issued by Judge Tanya Pratt in February that read like a drill sergeant speaking to the troops on the first day of boot camp.

Governor, the battle is over. Though I can identify a list of opportunities over the past 10 months where you could have, and should have, walked away from this loser, it is now obviously the end of the road.

And then, I read in horror the statement provided by his spokesperson, Kara Brooks on Thursday following the court's ruling. It read in part:

"The Pence administration will continue to use every legal means available to suspend this program in Indiana unless and until federal officials take steps to ensure the safety and security of our citizens."

Uh, you already tried that.

And you lost, big.


The only legal means you have is to withdraw from the federal program. That of course doesn't "block" resettlement; it simply removes state government from being a part of the resettlement. Judging by recent history, I'm not sure the state's involvement has proven vital anyway. But, other than that, this fight is over.

America, there is a man on the Republican ticket that cannot admit it when he has lost. A man who won't acknowledge when the public disagrees with him. A man who does not respect the authority of the judicial branch of the federal government.

And on this one, it is not Donald Trump. It is Governor Mike Pence.

Excuse the analogy between crime and politics here. Some of the criminals I used to counsel early in my career would look at this column and laugh. Many of them would say that I always taught them to look for the way out of any conflict early so they would know later where it is when they absolutely needed it.

They were a captive audience, so they listened to me even when they didn't want to.

Our governor doesn't want to listen either. Maybe the electorate will.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Bayh and the KKK

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 10:49 AM


The contempt some politicians have for the intelligence of the voters is just breathtaking.

Consider a press release the Indiana Republican Party issued recently. The release castigated the Democratic candidate for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat, former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh, for “allowing” the Ku Klux Klan to hold a rally at the Statehouse.

“When given the chance to show courage as Indiana’s governor and stand up to a hate group that has had a history of domestic terrorism, Evan Bayh took the easy way out to protect his political career. This is another in a long list of examples of Evan Bayh doing what’s best for him, and not what’s best for Hoosiers,” the Indiana Republican Party’s executive director, David Buskill, said in the release.


Keep in mind that the Indiana GOP released this diatribe at the same time that the national Republican Party and its standard-bearer, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, are thumping Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton every hour on the hour for saying half of The Donald’s supporters belonged in “the basket of deplorables.”

Included in that basket were racists.

Such as those who belong to the KKK.

Keep in mind also that current Indiana Gov. Mike Pence – who is also the Republican Party’s vice-presidential nominee – has refused to call members of the KKK and other racists “deplorable.” Pence said that would be indulging in name-calling.

Apparently in the strange atmosphere of this year’s election, it’s wrong to call racism “deplorable” but it’s all right to try to deny racists their constitutional rights.

Some background: I covered Bayh when he was governor. I also covered the KKK rally at the Statehouse.

Bayh and his team didn’t welcome the Klan to the Statehouse. They tried with increasing desperation to try to find a way to deny the KKK the right to rally.

In doing so, they only made the situation worse. The Bayh administration’s attempts to get around the constitution gave the Klan a lot of free publicity.

As a result, what otherwise would have been a relatively small event turned into a huge gathering that drew every crank and crazy in the rust belt and the upper south to the Statehouse steps.

Near the end of the rally, some of the Klan followers turned their rage toward a small group of protestors and newspaper photographers and tried to beat them up. The police battled to restore order. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt – or killed.

Buskill said in the GOP release that other states had tried litigation to deny the Klan the right to rally. That is true.

What the release failed to mention is that those lawsuits did not succeed. If the Bayh administration had gone to court to try to deny those KKK members their First Amendment rights to assemble and to petition government, Indiana would have been throwing good money after bad. The state would have lost the case and then been forced to pay the Klan’s legal fees.

The First Amendment, you see, doesn’t have an asterisk. It doesn’t say that some citizens have the right to assemble and petition government and others — regardless of how noxious their beliefs may be — do not.

(I know a little bit about that. For six years, I was the executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. During that time, we filed several suits defending the Klan’s right to rally and march. We won them all.)

My purpose isn’t to argue on behalf of Evan Bayh or, goodness knows, the KKK. Nor is it really to chide the GOP.

I understand that we are nearing the end of a contentious campaign season in which the stakes are high. Partisans on both sides of the divide are willing to say and do almost anything to win.

I just would point out that one of the measures of our devotion to the freedom that is the bedrock of the American experiment is our willingness to defend the rights of those with whom we disagree.

Or even whose views we, yes, deplore.

To suggest otherwise doesn’t just insult one’s political opponents. It insults the voters.

And it insults the idea of America itself.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016


Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

9/14 Doom Patrol! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Hello, everyone!

It's another beautiful week so I hope you make it to your local comic shop to check out all the cool new comics that are out!

Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol is back and it's being written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. Gerard Way is starting a new DC imprint that will be known as "Young Animal". Similar to Vertigo, Young Animal will focus on comics for mature readers. He will be writing a few new titles under the imprint as well! It's all very exciting news.

Marvel has some more Civil War 2 tie ins out this week as well. We also have a new comic called Hadrian's Wall, which is about the second Cold War... in space!

Action Comics #963
(W) Dan Jurgens (A) Patrick Zircher

So far, the Action Comics series has been insane, to say the least. The Earth Prime Superman is dead. In his wake, Lex Luthor has started to call himself Superman, a new Superwoman has blasted on the scene, China has begun making their very own Superman, and an older Superman has become the protector of Metropolis. However, that isn't even the strangest thing to happen. During a fight with Doomsday, Clark Kent appeared. A normal, non flying Clark Kent. In the latest issue of Action Comics, this Clark Kent will prove once and for all that he is NOT Superman.

Animosity #2
(W) Marguerite Bennett (A) Rafael de Latorre

It is now one year after animals gained the ability to talk and think for themselves. The world may have gone down hill from there. Animals are exacting revenge on humanity for all the cruelty they've endured from us. New York City is all that remains of the US government and military, and now the "Animilitary" is closing in around them. Mean while, Sandor the blood hound and his 10 year old human are just trying to avoid the conflict..
Doom Patrol #1
(W) Gerard Way (A) Nick Derington

The Doom Patrol is back under the new DC Imprint called "Young Animal" and it's being written by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance, Umbrella Academy). Don't expect it to be like Grant Morrison's run of Doom Patrol; it's even weirder. Doom Patrol follows a group of DC's strangest superheroes as they tackle even stranger super villains.

You, uh, just gotta check it out. Thank me later.

Flash #6
(W) Joshua Williamson (A) Carmine Di Giandomenico

Flash's newest super villain, Godspeed, is speeding on to the scene. Flash #5 was his first appearance but now you get to see him go toe to toe with the Flash himself! Godspeed is terrifying. He's worse than Zoom from the Flash TV show (I know it's hard to imagine, but just try okay). Godspeed has been going around, killing speedsters and harvesting their powers for himself so that he can become stronger.. Will the Flash be able to make it out alive this time?

The Forevers #1
(W) Curt Pires (A) Eric Pfeiffer

The Forevers follows a group of five friends who wanted to be super stars. So in order to achieve stardom, they made a pact with a witch. For years they were on top of their game. Nothing could stop them! It's been a few years now and their novelty has worn off. They're not the young stars they once were. When one of them dies, they begin to feel the power of the magic surge again..

Next week, we have a new Aliens series and there's a series from DC about Raven from the Teen Titans!

If you need the full release list, click here!

Have a great day! Read more comics!
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Clinton, Trump and a healthy skepticism

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 2:03 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s wobbly departure from 9/11 commemorative ceremonies is a big deal, but not for the reasons her opponents think.

Her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, and his amen chorus have started a stage-whispering campaign that Clinton’s health is bad and used the occasion to turn up the volume on their complaints.

I’m not inclined to take their word for it, for a couple of reasons.

The first is that – like most of them – I’m not a doctor. And, although I’m aware that the Trump campaign from time to time has enlisted purported doctors to try to make its case, I’m also aware that no credible M.D. will offer either a diagnosis or a prognosis without first examining the patient.

The second reason is Trump’s hands on this question are far from sterile. He apparently dictated his own report of his health and fitness for office to his doctor while he waited in his limo outside the doctor’s office. It’s written with all the detail and complexity of a child’s early reader board book.

Until he shows us his actual medical report, I’m not going to pay much attention to what he has to say about another candidate’s health.

That said, Clinton’s health scare Sunday matters.

That she had been diagnosed by her own doctor as having pneumonia on Friday and did not disclose that diagnosis until Sunday evening – and then only to try to quash a political firestorm – shows she either doesn’t understand or doesn’t accept what a president owes the nation she plans to serve.

This country has a lousy record of making sure the people we entrust with the great power and responsibility of the presidency are healthy enough to meet the demands of the office.

We can go back to the stroke that incapacitated Woodrow Wilson in the months following the conclusion of World War I. Because the president was unable to function, his wife Edith Galt Wilson served as gatekeeper – and, some say, an unelected regent. While the world was emerging from a cataclysm of epic proportions and the United States struggled to find its footing in a world turned upside down, we effectively had no leadership in the White House.

A generation later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for and won re-election in 1944 when every morning he awoke was another day he cheated death. His doctors and his aides concealed the fact that FDR was so ill he barely could function. As the United States neared the end of the greatest war in human history and strove to lead the new world that would emerge, its leader could not stay awake in meetings or even work more than a fraction of a day without collapsing.

John F. Kennedy’s presidency presented a different dilemma. Because JFK suffered from Addison’s disease and endured often crippling back troubles, he relied on a frightening mix of painkillers and other medications to get through his days. The record is clear that Kennedy guided us through the Cuban Missile Crisis while under the influence of some heavy-duty drugs.

And, of course, there is ample evidence that the dementia and diminished capacity that define Alzheimer’s had begun to manifest themselves during the latter days of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. His wife Nancy Reagan and his aides also concealed that information from the public – at a time when America was trying to negotiate the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The issue here isn’t that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump may suffer from one ailment or another from time to time. They are human beings. Human beings are subject to illnesses.

And that’s okay.

But the presidency isn’t an entitlement.

It’s a trust.

We Americans entrust our presidents with awesome power. Part of the deal is that our presidents should – no, must – assure they are physically capable of wielding such power responsibly.

I can understand why Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might not want to share their medical records. Some medical questions are sensitive, even embarrassing.

The best way, though, for both Clinton and Trump to maintain their privacy would have been to stay in private life.

They both chose to run for president.

They’re both asking us to trust them.

Such trust has to be earned.
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Truth in an age of unquestioning belief

Posted By on Sun, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Now we know who the first really big loser in the 2016 presidential campaign is.

Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today Show.

Lauer served as host for a “Commander-in-Chief Forum” with presidential nominees Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Donald Trump, a (for now) Republican.

The reviews of Lauer’s performance have not been kind.

He’s been called a sexist moron, a doormat, a human ashtray and a weasel. And those are the nice ones.

Much of the criticism has focused on the inordinate attention Lauer devoted to Clinton’s emails when she was U.S. secretary of state — let’s linger on questions about how you used your Blackberry and hustle through any discussion of weapons of mass destruction — and the way he failed to challenge one of Trump’s whoppers, his claim that he always opposed the war in Iraq. Lauer’s research for the forum seemed not to have uncovered that there are both video and audio recordings of Trump endorsing the war.

Lauer’s critics complained that he held Clinton to a more challenging standard than he did Trump.

Certainly, that’s the way the Clinton campaign saw it. Within hours of the forum’s broadcast, Clinton was blasting out fundraising appeals with the subject line “Matt Lauer” that claimed Clinton had to run against the media, too.

All by itself, that demonstrates how topsy-turvy things are.

Not all that long ago, it was the Republican Party that held national conventions wrapped in the flag, that were swathed in red, white and blue designs and that featured frequent examples of fist-shaking at the evil mainstream media.

Now, both parties do.

Some of this is just a Matt Lauer problem.

He not only hadn’t done his research before the forum began, but he also hadn’t prepared to deal with Trump, who has learned to manipulate media and journalists with a virtuoso’s skill. Trump owned Lauer, talking over his questions, during the time they shared the stage. If the broadcast had gone on much longer, Lauer likely would have volunteered before they left the air to pick up Trump’s dry cleaning every day.

But most of it is a larger problem for journalists.

Once upon a time, political candidates needed the mainstream media in order to connect with their constituencies. That now is less and less true.

New technologies and emerging media have made it possible for candidates and campaigns to connect with voters without going through traditional news organizations. Political professionals refer to this as being able to reach their audience without having to run things through a filter. By that, they mean they can make claims that aren’t subjected to anything that resembles fact-checking.

This, in turn, conditions audiences — particularly those that are partisan and ideological — to think that any news story that questions, challenges or merely does not conform to their preconceived notions must be unfair.

Not long ago, I received an email signed by a group of outraged Trump supporters. They were upset about a column I had done that discussed Melania Trump’s clumsy plagiarism two-step dance — I wrote my speech myself but I’m going to ask my speechwriter to take the fall for the section lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech — at the Republican National Convention.

They wanted to know why I hadn’t written a column criticizing Vice President Joe Biden’s plagiarism troubles.

When I pointed out that I, along with many other journalists, had written about Biden’s plagiarism when it occurred nearly 30 years ago and that he had been forced to drop out of the presidential race then because of it — probably not the outcome they would like for their candidate — they weren’t mollified.

Their argument was that Trump should be above scrutiny and criticism because he’s a good American.

And others just aren’t.

Journalism in its finest form is a quest for the closest approximation to the truth that human beings can achieve. We journalists are supposed to ask questions, to express skepticism, to challenge authority.

But the premise of both our work and our role is that the truth matters.

In an age in which facts take a back seat to unquestioning belief, journalists are going to have a hard time.

And that hard time is made even more difficult when guys like Matt Lauer just don’t do their jobs.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Rod Serling and the Indiana GOP

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Shelli Yoder and Trey Hollingsworth
  • Shelli Yoder and Trey Hollingsworth

Imagine channel surfing late at night and you accidentally stop on an old black and white TV show. The story is about a woman who has just relocated to southern Indiana in the recent past. She is a Republican, but preparing to vote in Indiana for the first time. She is entering another dimension. It is the year 2016.

In reality, in Indiana’s 9th congressional district, Democrat Shelli Yoder is her only choice. It’s great news for Democrats that in this race, Yoder is unquestionably qualified and capable. Her priorities for the district match the people’s who live there. She wants to create good paying jobs, force government to be fiscally responsible, balance budgets and improve education. And she is predictably Hoosier for the simplest of reasons: she is one.

That seems to be a big deal this year. More so than normal.

But on our black and white TV show, our character planned on registering to vote in her new town, and stay the course as a member of the GOP. No sweat, right? Indiana is a red state, so this shouldn’t be a problem at all. Until this out-of-towner starts to see Republican congressional campaigns colliding with one another.

The camera pans to Rod Serling, who says “you are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. You have just entered The Indiana Republican Zone.”

For the last few weeks, the GOP has been preoccupied with the residency of former U.S. Sen. and Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh. He spent 12 years in the U.S. Senate on Indiana’s behalf from 1999-2011, and the GOP is apparently troubled that he hasn’t “come home” the way they believe he should have.

The TV show’s character seems to agree. After all, shouldn’t her new community be represented in Washington by someone who lives here? Besides, she wanted to vote Republican anyway.

One problem with all that is Bayh is a Hoosier. In D.C., he is thought of as a Hoosier. Those folks out there are likely to geographically compare him to, say, Dan Coats. I write that in hopes of not offending either senator, but to build up to the larger point today.

The GOP is trying to convince the undecided or new voter to vote against Evan Bayh in part because of this residency issue. Simultaneously, the GOP has a congressional nominee in the 9th district who is so not from here, and many are tired of discussing it.

Trey Hollingsworth is that candidate. I have not met him. I doubt I will. I have heard he is a bright young man, and that he talks the talk of conservative, very conservative politics.

Hollingsworth is from Tennessee. I love Tennessee. I have family who live in East Tennessee. And they also have no business running for Congress in Indiana either. Let’s see if any of my family reads my column this week and calls me to complain about that callous remark.

Who knows? Maybe the state GOP is conceding the 9th congressional district to Yoder, the obviously better candidate. Some might say the Democrats are conceding the 3rd district in northeast Indiana to state Sen. Jim Banks, the better candidate there. It happens.

Serling’s lead character on the show needs to know if living here or being from here matters or not. I think it does matter.

Evan Bayh is unquestionably Hoosier. For that matter, so is Todd Young. And it is important for purposes of this discussion to be clear that so is Shelli Yoder.

A voter can’t take issue with Bayh’s most recent sleeping quarters, and vote against him because of it, and then turn around and vote for Trey Hollingsworth. Well, this is America, so yes they can. I would profile a voter who would do such a thing as someone who is almost certain to vote for another candidate who is unfit to serve: Donald Trump. For all of the pollsters having trouble identifying the “Trump voter,” this is certainly one way.

If we apply political principles consistently, the outcomes will serve us well. Those principles will see us through this confusing and chaotic election year.

Over the years, I have had occasion to meet Bayh, Young and Yoder multiple times. I’m from here. As are they. And in the grand scheme of things, Indiana is a very small place.

So come election time, being from Indiana matters. On the TV show, Tennessee would be another dimension.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Strange crusade against Clinton Foundation

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 11:12 AM

Thank goodness the Clinton Foundation didn’t fund or find a cure for cancer.

If the foundation had put an end to that scourge, outraged conservatives likely would demand the death penalty for Bill, Hillary, Chelsea and their extended family.

Certainly that is the response one might guess from the outraged howls of protest emanating with the constancy and continuousness of a ticking clock from the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his surrogates. These GOP stalwarts demand with inquisitorial insistence that the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation be investigated because Hillary Clinton met with donors to the foundations while she was U.S. secretary of state.

This, Trump and his hyena chorus bray, is evidence of gross conflicts of interest and corruption on the part of the Clinton clan.

Well, if there were to be an investigation of the Clinton Foundation, presumably it would start by doing what I just did – combing through the Clinton Foundation’s Internal Revenue Service 990 tax forms and the foundation’s annual report.

If investigators did that, they would find that the members of the Clinton family receive no money from the foundation that bears their name.

In a sane world, that would make charges of personal corruption either absurd or surreal.

But we no longer live in a sane world.

If those investigators delved further into the Clinton Foundation’s tax forms or financial reports, they would find out how the foundation does spend its money.

Among the foundation’s priorities are initiatives aimed at encouraging American school children to eat healthier and exercise more, at improving educational and career opportunities for girls and women both in the United States and around the world, improving health care in developing nations and studying climate change and finding ways to mitigate its effects.

Put more simply, the Clinton Foundation is feeding hungry kids, trying to level the playing field for young girls, providing care for sick people and attempting to preserve the planet.

I have difficulty finding anything on that list that runs contrary to the United States’ best interests.

That makes the conflict-of-interest charges a stretch.

This is particularly true coming from a political party, such as the GOP, that loves to argue that private and philanthropic organizations, like the Clinton Foundation, should solve pressing public problems instead of relying on the government to do the job.

Don’t get me wrong.

There are reasons to criticize the Clintons.

I don’t much care for their devotion to selling themselves to wealthy interests in the form of speeches that bring them six-figure and seven-figure paychecks. The potential for quid-pro-quo understandings or misunderstandings is high there.

But those checks have gone to the Clintons personally – not to the foundation.

In my view, that makes it worse, but a guy such as Trump – who has slapped his name and face on everything but rolls of toilet paper in exchange for a buck – is hardly in a position to criticize the Clintons on those grounds.




I also wish the Clinton Foundation focused more of its attention and resources on correcting the worst sin of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the ill-conceived welfare reform initiative that has trapped millions of Americans in poverty and shattered nearly as many lives.

Here in Indiana alone, more than 20 percent of the state’s children live in poverty. Their hard lives and stunted possibilities can be traced back, at least in part, to Clinton’s welfare reform plan.

Those kids (and their parents and grandparents) could use some help – more than they’re getting now from the Clinton Foundation.

But that’s a discussion of priorities, not ethics.

The fact is the Clinton Foundation is doing good work and helping to make many people’s lives better.

That it has become a target of criticism is a sign that we live now in a world in which down is up, night is day and black is white.

For many conservatives and the most rabidly partisan Republicans, anything associated with the Clintons must be bad because it is associated with the Clintons.

If one of the Clintons endorsed the Sermon on the Mount, some rabid right-wingers immediately would denounce it.

After all, love, mercy and peace can’t be all that great if Bill and Hillary are in favor of them, right?
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mike Pence, shovel in hand

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has one of the toughest, nastiest jobs in politics.

Being the running mate for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has given Pence work similar to that of the guy who trails behind the elephants in the circus with a shovel in his hand, ready to scoop up whatever hits the dirt.

Pence’s most recent example of spade work came after Trump made a hurried visit south of the border to meet with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

After the meeting, Trump said his controversial plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and have Mexico pay for its construction never came up in the conversation.

Peña Nieto disagreed, tweeting in Spanish:

“I repeat what I told him in person: Mr. Trump, Mexico will never pay for the wall.”

Then Trump ratcheted up tensions still more by delivering a speech on immigration in Arizona in which he promised mass deportations of Mexican immigrants and encouraged the crowd to view our neighbors to the south as the enemy. The speech was so incendiary it prompted the bulk of Trump’s few Latino supporters and advisers to resign from his campaign in protest.

In the aftermath, Pence did his amiable best to try to spray air freshener on the fertilizer.

He told CNN it really didn’t matter whether the issue of the wall and who will pay for it came up in the meeting because everyone knew going into the sit-down where the two sides stood on the question. Pence added, with a diplomat’s tact, that any substantive discussions about a possible wall – and who pays for it – would occur as the relationship develops.

Pence’s response obscured the reality that there are only three ways to view the differing accounts of the Trump-Peña Nieto meeting:

1) Trump is lying;

2) Peña Nieto is lying; or

3) Trump just wasn’t paying attention while Peña Nieto talked.

Of the three possibilities, the third – Trump tuned out when Peña Nieto told him something he didn’t want to hear – is the most plausible. During his improbable rise to the Republican presidential nomination, The Donald has demonstrated some remarkable gifts, such as resilience and a matchless talent to manipulate news cycles and public attention.

But an ability to listen to and process information that contradicts one of his prejudices is not among Trump’s gifts.

In The Donald/real-life relationship, Trump expects reality to adapt itself to his needs, not the other way around.

Some people likely will criticize Pence for the shovel work he’s doing to clean up the trail Trump leaves behind, but I’m not among them.

He signed on to be Trump’s running mate and such unseemly tasks often are part of a vice-presidential candidate’s job description. Doing his job and being loyal to the person who hired him shouldn’t be denigrated.

More to the point, Pence doubtless is aware of the strains and stresses Trump’s rise has created within a fraying Republican Party. As Trump’s foray into Mexico demonstrates, personal diplomacy is not in The Donald’s skill set.

So it’s left to Pence to soothe hurt feelings and reassure trembling GOP stalwarts that everything will be all right after Nov. 8.

There is, to be sure, some self-interest involved in Pence’s efforts. Helping Trump and helping the Republican Party won’t hurt Pence’s career, regardless of the outcome in November.

But saying a politician has ambitions is a bit like saying fish like to swim, birds want to fly and humans need air to breathe.

It’s in the nature of the beast.

The fact that Pence is meeting his responsibilities with a yeoman’s dedication doesn’t disguise that it is hard work – and that Pence’s boss isn’t doing much to make the job any easier. Cleaning up after an elephant is difficult enough, but doing it when the pachyderm is determined to zig, zag and bolt without warning makes the task even tougher.

We’re still two months away from Election Day.

That’s a long way for the elephant to travel before the circus leaves town – and a lot of road for Mike Pence to have to trot along, shovel in hand.
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Saturday, September 3, 2016

#NUVOpop: Labor Day Reads

Posted By on Sat, Sep 3, 2016 at 8:03 PM

8/31 Labor Day Reads! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Hey guys!

Sorry about the late post. It's been a crazy week. However, there are a ton of books that you should check out this weekend at your local comic shop! This past Wednesday was sort of a skip week for comics since it's the fifth Wednesday of August. So there are no new Rebirth titles and hardly any new Marvel releases.

But there are still some good ones to pick up and enjoy over this three day weekend (well, three day weekend for SOME of the lucky folks).

Army of Darkness: Ash for President (one shot)
(W) Elliot Serrano (A) Diego Galindo

Why vote for Trump or Hillary when you could vote for Ash instead? After being sent on a mysterious mission per word of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, Ash teams up with a psychic and they go on a grand adventure that eventually has Ash running for president of the United States!
Eden's Fall
(W) Matt Hawkins, Bryan Edward Hill (A) Antonio Rojo

Eden's Fall is a new crossover from Top Cow! It involves three of the company's major titles- Postal, The Tithe, and Think Tank. When an FBI agent follows a serial killer into the town of Eden (a town literally crawling with criminals of all sorts), it sets off a chain of events that might just be the end of Eden.

(W) Patrick Shand (A) Jason Craig

Equilibrium is the sequel comic to the movie that came out in 2002. World War Three has come and gone. But the government is still trying to control everyone. The government is now trying to take away the people's ability to feel. No more emotions. Complete apathy means complete control over the people. However, a very powerful rebellion is brewing...

The Killer Inside Me
(W) Devin Faraci (A) Vic Malhotra

The Killer Inside of Me is a novel from many years ago by Jim Thompson. The novel explored the inner workings of the serial killer's mind (it's like like American Psycho). The story follows a small town sheriff who is the most boring guy ever. Like, it's ridiculous how boring he is. But it's actually just a mask that hides his murderous blood lust.

TMNT Universe
(W) Paul Allor, Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz (A) Damian Couceiro, Kevin Eastman, Bill Sienkiewicz

This is a completely new ongoing series co-written by Kevin Eastman himself! You wanted more turtles so now they're giving you more turtles! (I'm not exactly sure who demanded it but you know who you are, I suppose) In this series, there are new threats and a strange new mutant that's haunting the city.

Saga #37
(W) Brian K. Vaughan (A/) Fiona Staples

The moment we've all been waiting on is here!
The ever popular series, Saga, is back in it's sixth story arc... And this one has been building up since day one. Our narrator, Hazel, is reunited with her family. But nothing is ever simple for this family. There's been a war going on in the background of their adventures and now it's coming to the fore front. Things will never be the same as the family travels to the comet that has been in the middle of this war! This arc is completely self contained, so its a good jumping on point for new readers/ people that only buy the trades.

Next week will be a normal Wednesday. We have a the Cyborg Rebirth, Supergirl and Boo the World's Cutest Dog starting next week.

Seriously look at that face.

See you next week!
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Clintons make Republicans dumb

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Hillary Clinton is sworn into the office of Secretary of State by  Vice President Joe Biden surrounded by her family. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
  • Hillary Clinton is sworn into the office of Secretary of State by Vice President Joe Biden surrounded by her family.
Republicans are about to suffer another attack of stupidity.

An Associated Press story detailing that major donors to the Clinton Foundation managed to secure meetings with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state has sent GOP fire-breathers into overdrive.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump flooded social media with calls for an investigation. Several Republican members of Congress followed The Donald’s lead and issued press releases demanding that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the matter.


These people never learn.

Bill and Hillary Clinton met when they both attended the Yale University School of Law, where they both were top students. They are among the best legal minds of their generation.

That, in part, is the reason why Republican efforts to nail them on legal grounds always fail. The Clintons know where the line is and, with long years of practice, they have become adept at tiptoeing along it.

The attempts to defeat the Clintons through legal investigations also end in disaster because both husband and wife have finely developed instincts for self-preservation. There is no doubt that they love money and the good life, but not nearly as much as they love political power.

Bill Clinton began running for president while he was still in his mother’s womb. Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the nation’s highest office began in the seconds right after her husband took the presidential oath for the first time.

Neither Clinton is likely ever to do something that would end their chances of returning to the White House.

And, again, because they have fought upon this terrain so often before, they know how to turn these attacks to their advantage.

Republicans were convinced 20 years ago they had Bill Clinton skinned and scalped over his dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. By the time the impeachment and subsequent trial in the U.S. Senate had ended, several Republican members of Congress had seen their careers come to an end – and Bill Clinton enjoyed some of the highest public approval numbers of his presidency.

That pattern has repeated itself again and again.

Republicans attack, the Clintons parry and the GOP inevitably ends up sustaining the deepest wounds.

The outcome will be the same this time.

The AP story reveals a pattern of behavior on Hillary Clinton’s part that is unseemly but not illegal. (If it becomes a crime for public officials to open their doors to people of wealth, every member of Congress, every governor and most state legislators soon will find themselves under indictment.)

Using a special prosecutor or some other investigatory means to trickle out details embarrassing to the Clintons also won’t be effective.

Because the Clintons have dominated the nation’s attention for a quarter-century, there are few Americans who haven’t made up their minds about them already. The news that they like to cut ethical corners stopped being a revelation two decades ago.

More evidence won’t change many minds.

What the GOP needs right now is a way to persuade wavering moderate Republicans, distrustful independents and disaffected Democrats to swing their way.

Attacking Clinton won’t do that, but there is a way it could be done.

Long ago, a Republican presidential candidate destroyed his Democratic opponent by asking one simple question during a debate:

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?

The brilliance of Ronald Reagan’s query during his 1980 race against Jimmy Carter was that it shifted the focus back where it always should be in public service – on the lives of the people elected officials are supposed to serve. It also helped make the Republican Party the dominant political force in this country for a generation or more.

The brutal fact is that if a candidate, Republican or Democrat, asked Reagan’s question now, many Americans could not answer yes without lying. Even with the stock market notching record highs and employment numbers setting new standards, the middle class is dissolving and the American standard of living is eroding.

Making this race about those citizens who feel the American Dream slipping from their grasp would be the smart thing to do.

Instead, the GOP wants to make this race about Hillary Clinton.

Attacks of stupidity are costly – sometimes more than others.

This is likely to be one of the “more” times.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

#NUVOpop: Generation Zero

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:24 PM

8/24 Generation Zero! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another stellar week of comic related goodness!

This week.. we have an origin story for Ulysses- the Inhuman that started all this Civil War 2 nonsense. There's also a new Atomic Robo series, a new Godzilla series and the Duck Avenger #0! Valiant is releasing some cool stuff this week as well; we have a new series about a group of super powered teens and the Valiant Universe Handbook which is your guide to everything Valiant related!

Blue Beetle Rebirth
(W) Keith Giffen (A) Scott Kolins

Jaime Reyes wakes up one day in the middle of the desert with no knowledge of the past few years. When he makes his way home, he finds out that the government is hot on his trail! They want to learn more about Jaime and the scarab that gives him his power! When all seems lost, Kord Industries swoops in and protects Jaime and his family... but why?

Civil War 2 Ulysses
(W) Al Ewing (A) Jefte Palo

In this prequel to Civil War 2, we learn more about Ulysses- the man that started all of this. In Civil War #0, we first met Ulysses at college and he was a normal student... until the Terrigen Mists swept on to campus. Now, he can predict the future, sort of. Learn about how he came to join the Inhumans!

Generation Zero
(W) Fred Van Lente (A) Francis Portela

Valiant's newest superhero comic! The psiots were a group of kids that were raised to be killers and nothing more. Now they are on the run and help people who are in need! Don't worry about trying to get a hold of them; they will contact you!

(W) Simon Oliver (A/CA) Moritat

Constantine is back and London barely survived his arrival! However Constantine is in a load of trouble. Swamp Thing is calling in a favor, Mercury won't leave him be and something wicked this way comes... for Constantine! 

Lake of Fire
(W) Nathan Fairbairn (A) Matt Smith

Lake of Fire takes place in 1200 AD during the Crusades. An alien vessel crash lands on Earth and starts hunting humans! The only thing that stands between humanity and our demise is a group of crusaders!

That's all for this week! Next week SAGA IS BACK SO EVERYONE REJOICE. And it's an epic new story arc. One that's been building up since the first issue. So get ready!

If you need the full release list, click here! 

I'll see you next week!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mike Pence, the political world’s Rocky Balboa

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 11:55 AM

The man is nothing if not resilient.

Just a few weeks ago, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was on the endangered species list. An embattled governor with a long list of enemies — many of them with “Pence Must Go” and “Fire Pence” yard signs decorating their lawns — he was locked in a desperate struggle for re-election.

Pence’s campaign had thrown a massive amount of money and negative advertising at his Democratic opponent, John Gregg, without moving Gregg’s poll numbers down while the Republican incumbent’s numbers continued a slow slide.

Pence was in trouble.

Knowledgeable observers, including staunch Republicans, predicted that the governor’s political career would be over if he lost to Gregg.

Then Pence landed on the Republican national ticket as GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate.

Now, just a month or so after the death watch on his ambitions was being conducted in earnest, Pence now has The Wall Street Journal — the voice of conservative orthodoxy and the Republican ruling class for a century — editorializing that Trump should step aside and let the vice-presidential nominee carry the flag for the GOP.

Then there’s Pence calling heavy hitters in the Republican Party — the Bush family, Ohio Gov. John Kasich — urging everyone to come together to defeat the Democrats.

And there’s Pence adroitly walking back Trump’s most extreme statements, providing cover for — and collecting political IOUs from — Republican U.S. Senate, House and state candidates all over the country in the process.

In doing so, Pence is back on the footing with which he feels the most familiar. He’s the voice of soft-spoken conservatism, the one who advances his arguments without raising his voice, the Republican who somehow manages to keep a foot in each one of the party’s warring camps.

There are those who dismiss Pence’s emergence on the national scene as a voice of relative reason as situational. He looks sane, they argue, only because he’s being compared with Trump, whose impulse control is only marginally better than Charlie Sheen’s.

There is some truth to that perception, but it’s not the whole truth.

Pence’s improbable rise to national prominence is at least in part attributable to his willingness to allow people to underestimate him. He’s always been more than happy to let people think he’s not that smart nor that capable nor that tough.

His troubles at the Statehouse made it easier for him to encourage people to sell him short.

Pence never was comfortable or a good fit as governor. State and local issues bored him. Even after he took the oath of office as Indiana’s chief executive, he dragged the conversation (and the state’s attention) back to national issues — shaking his fist at the White House over Obamacare, attempting to establish an Indiana foreign policy by banning Syrian refugees, etc.

Leaving the governor’s race has unleashed Pence to follow his instincts.

Those instincts have led him back from defeat before.

The conventional wisdom is that Pence’s career will end if Trump goes down to the kind of spectacular defeat polls suggest is coming. A debacle of that magnitude, that reasoning contends, will taint everyone associated with it, especially Pence.

I’m not so sure.

At the very least, he’s going to come out of this race with many people in the Republican Party thinking of him as a guy who took one for the team. A lot of those down-ticket GOP candidates are going to know what he did to help make their races easier.

Some of them may even remember that four years from now.

And, again assuming the polls are right and Hillary Clinton wins the presidency Nov. 8, if Pence doesn’t want to challenge an incumbent in 2020, there’s another opportunity closer to home.

Hoosier Democrat Joe Donnelly’s U.S. Senate seat will be on the ballot in 2018.

I can’t think of another Republican — with the exception of former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has made it clear he’s done with politics — who is better positioned than Pence to challenge Donnelly. A seat in the Senate would give Pence the chance to engage on the national and international issues that interest him.

There are a lot of Hoosiers who thought that, because Mike Pence was down, he also was out for the count.

They were mistaken.

The man can take a punch.
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