Wednesday, August 17, 2016

45,000 Hoosiers affected by FSSA errors

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 10:45 AM


By now, the news that Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) doesn't work well isn't news at all.

It's a familiar tale. Mistakes at FSSA pile up to the point where even the governor has to pay attention, then reforms are promised and enacted. Then you hope there's a lengthy period of time before the cycle starts up again.

I am here to tell you that the new descent into chaos has already begun.

An individual I represent has been told by FSSA that he owes the state more than $6,000 in overpaid food stamp benefits over the past four years.

Upon further investigation, it turns out that this was all one big mistake by FSSA, one of those "agency errors" you hear about. Doesn't matter, though. The individual must pay that money back, and since he lives on a fixed income, it will just be taken from his monthly benefits — which means he'll have less money to spend on minor things like food.

Again, this was a mistake made by the state, not this gentleman. He must pay for their screw-up.

And he's lucky, if you can believe that. Many others owe hundreds or even thousands of dollars back to the state under similar circumstances. They only have the money they earn through a limited income to help repay the agency's mistake. If they receive other public benefits, such as Social Security or Social Security Disability, the state has the ability to garnish these wages, no matter how limited.

We've asked the FSSA what it plans to do about this. After several months of dithering, officials told us two things.

First of all, it's the federal government's fault. Unfortunately for FSSA, federal rules do give the state some leeway to act like decent human beings — they could adjust, reduce or forgive the overpayment without any penalties.

Then the state told us that the FSSA has no policy to cover this situation — but don't worry, they'll come up with one by the end of the year.

While they diddle around and conduct a bunch of meetings to figure out the right thing to do, this gentleman will have his monthly benefit reduced from $16 to $6 to cover what is owed.

Once again, the incident I just recited isn't isolated. With more than 900,000 people in Indiana receiving SNAP benefits, it is not an infrequent occurrence to see agency errors put people at risk. Our state's error rate is 5 percent, higher than the national average. That translates to 45,000 Hoosiers affected by FSSA errors.

What should bother everyone is the nagging sense that this agency (or the administration that runs it) doesn't care whether there was an agency error involved. It doesn't matter that these folks live in poverty and need assistance to get food and health care or that they are disabled and need services and support.

You see, those folks who rely upon the social services network to help keep their heads above water don't have powerful lobbyists working for them at the Statehouse, so it gets pretty easy to ignore them or cast them aside or use them as the guinea pigs in some grand experiment to show that the private sector knows how to handle government services the best. The "benefits" of that effort were proven in the state's failed food stamp partnership with IBM, which is costing the taxpayers of Indiana millions of dollars.

As a result, we usually have to wait until things get really awful before the administration decides that the bad PR means they must show they care — for a little while, at least. This is just the current problem I'm dealing with from FSSA; there is repeatedly an issue through one department or another.

But crisis management is not the answer for what ails FSSA. Caring about the agency's mission and doing something about it would be a good place to start.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Olympic Games’ timely reminder

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 11:26 AM

Thank goodness for the Olympics.

If there is an antidote for the toxicity plaguing our political life these days, it has to be the chance to see talented, dedicated and disciplined people from all around the world working, striving and competing every day and every night for two weeks.

In peace.

True, even the Olympic Games aren’t a paradise.

There are still too many examples of flag-waving, too much jingoism on the cheap. The ongoing controversies about doping and other forms of cheating also are discouraging.

And the way female athletes are treated – other than Ryan Lochte, is there a single male athlete who has his hairstyle choice subjected to the kind of comment and criticism women endure on a routine basis? – reminds us just how persistent sexist attitudes are.

Not to mention how damaging.

It’s possible, of course, to dismiss and even disparage the commercialism of the event – the fact that some of the athletes are racing toward a pot of gold at the end of the Olympic rainbow.

This overlooks the fact that most of the athletes – and particularly those in non-marquee sports – aren’t going to see vast wealth as a reward for their many, many hours and years of sweat and pain.

And even those who have punched their meal tickets not just for themselves but for the next several generations of their descendants – Michael Phelps comes to mind – keep returning long after any sense of economic necessity would seem to compel them.

Years ago, I interviewed Janet Evans, one of the greatest female swimmers in Olympic history.

She exploded on the world stage as a teenager. Small of stature, blessed with an effervescent smile and master of a distinctive windmill-like freestyle, she dominated the 1988 Olympic Games, winning gold medals in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle races and the 400-meter individual medley.

That year, when she was only 17, she set world records in three events that lasted for nearly 20 years.

It was also the year she peaked.

When she came back four years later, Evans still was an incredible swimmer, but she’d slowed a bit and the rest of the world was catching up. She won a gold and a silver in Barcelona.

By the time the Atlanta Olympics approached, she was back in the pack, an exceptional swimmer by any human standard other than that of the elite, elite athlete.

That’s when I talked with Evans. We chatted at the natatorium on IUPUI’s campus not long after she’d finished a workout.

I wanted to know what pushed her to keep going long after she’d conquered her sport and accomplished all that any person could want.

Much of the conversation did not flow smoothly.

Evans dismissed my questions with stock answers and clichés. I used the interviewer’s trick of rephrasing what amounted to the same question to ask it again and again.

Finally, she saw that I really wanted to know. She smiled and said that it was true that she didn’t need to prove anything anymore.

“But it’s still fun,” she said. “I love to swim and I love to compete. As long as it’s fun, I’m going to keep doing it.”

Years later, when she was 40, I wasn’t surprised to hear Evans was mounting a comeback and wanted to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. She didn’t make it, but she ended up swimming a lot faster than any 40-year-old has a right to.

Some fires take a long time to burn out.

My favorite moments in the Olympic Games come at the end of an event. The competitors, even those who are fierce rivals, most often exchange handshakes, fist bumps or even hugs.

The ritual is one of good sportsmanship, of course, but good sportsmanship is more than good manners. It’s a reminder of the larger forces at play, the fundamental truth that competition at its deepest level also becomes collaboration.

By pushing each other, we all become better. We could not discover how good we are or can become without being tested by others.

In that way, the individual owes a debt to the community and the community owes a debt to the individual.

That reminder is the reason this year, in particular, the Olympic Games are such a cleansing breath of air.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Problems wait while the argument continues

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 8:30 AM

The Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in New York. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
  • The Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in New York.
Nearly 50 years ago, Robert F. Kennedy had a problem to solve.

The problem’s name was Bedford-Stuyvesant, a poor and troubled area in metropolitan New York.

Kennedy, who was then the Democratic U.S. senator from New York, had been challenged by residents of Bed-Stuy, as it was and is called, to do something other than give speeches about poverty and its effects on people. They also told him they didn’t need any more studies or study commissions. They’d been studied to death, they said.

They needed action.

They needed help.

What RFK came up with was unique, a blending of liberal and conservative approaches that demonstrated why, in his lifetime, much of the New Deal left distrusted him and the Old Guard right despised him.

He got the federal government to invest tax money to improve education, housing and other parts of Bed-Stuy’s infrastructure, which pleased liberals and angered conservatives. But he also pushed for tax incentives to encourage businesses to relocate in the area and emphasized that, over the long haul, having the private sector create jobs in the area would be an even more effective way of combatting poverty than improving schools or housing.

That pleased conservatives and angered liberals.

And he shared the credit for his approach with the other U.S. senator from New York, Jacob Javits, a Republican.

Democrats just loved that.

Kennedy’s solution to the problem, in short, had something in it to tick off just about everyone, supposed allies and presumed opponents alike.

But pleasing them wasn’t his focus. Solving the problem was.

And he didn’t particularly care if the best solution was liberal or conservative, Republican or Democratic.

He just wanted to solve the problem.

It would be nice to say that Kennedy’s approach ended poverty in Bed-Stuy, but it didn’t.

His murder in 1968 stalled much of the project’s momentum. And the deepening divisions in the United States over Vietnam and Watergate made such cooperation between conservatives and liberals and Democrats and Republicans much more difficult, if not impossible.

Still, in Kennedy’s lifetime, his efforts in Bed-Stuy resulted in improvement in the area – and those improvements continued after his death, albeit at a much slower pace.

More important, his approach changed the way we look at contending with persistent poverty in urban areas.

RFK’s approach became the new orthodoxy, the inspiration for anti-poverty initiatives ever since.

It is easy to draw a straight line from what Kennedy did with Bedford-Stuyvesant to the enterprise zone initiatives of the Reagan era to the Promise Zones touted by President Barack Obama to the “holistic” approach to community policing advocated by Indianapolis Police Chief Troy Riggs and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

The moral of this story isn’t difficult to discern.

Robert Kennedy didn’t solve a problem and find a way to help people because he was a liberal or a conservative. He didn’t look in just a Democratic kit or only a Republican box for the tools he needed.

He looked in both until he found the tools best suited for the job before him.

His solution was one that both drew from and challenged the orthodoxies of both parties.

That’s because he kept his focus on the problem – and was willing to entertain the notion that neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on either wisdom or virtue.

Doubtless, there are leaders in America now who are similarly devoted to solving problems and similarly unconstrained by a rigid adherence to orthodoxies, whether partisan or ideological.

But there aren’t many of them in public office these days.

This era of unlimited single-issue, special-interest group spending, gerrymandered legislative districts and punishment for refusing to toe the party line with primary challenges means political leaders who are willing to consider or embrace new approaches soon find themselves out of office.

That’s why, on so many issues – poverty, immigration, abortion, guns, education – we find ourselves trapped in disputes without end. On whatever side we’re on, we Americans seem to care more about winning the argument than solving the problem.

Therein lies the lesson.

Arguments can go on and on and on.

And, while those arguments continue, the problems almost always remain unsolved.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#NUVOpop: All Star Bridget

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 11:08 AM

8/10 All Star Bridget from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Hey everyone! Welcome back!

This week is pretty exciting! There's a new comic celebrating 30 years of Labyrinth and a Yoga Hosers special from Kevin Smith. We also have a new Batman series that's all about the bad guys, bay-bay.

All Star Batman
(W) Scott Snyder (A) Declan Shalvey (A/CA) John Romita, Danny Miki

This new Batman series revolves around the real heroes of Gotham... the villains! This series is all about the villains of Gotham City sticking it to the Bat, and in this first issue, Two Face gives Batman a run for his money. Batman has to get Harvey Dent out of Gotham; however Dent has a few tricks up his sleeves..

Black Monday Murders
(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) Tomm Coker

Jonathan Hickman is back with a new series about how money is power. Schools of magic are actually banks and with the dirty money, you can buy almost anyone. Russian vampires, aristocrats and more seek to keep all of us under their boots.
Deathstroke Rebirth
(W) Christopher Priest (A) Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz

Slade Wilson has done a lot of $#%& and killed a lot of people. As he sinks further into a hell of his own making, a hand reaches out to him. Redemption is in sight but will he help himself before the point of no return?

Jim Henson Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special
(W) Jonathan Case, Cory Godbey, Ted Naifeh, Adrienne
 Ambrose, Adam Smith, Gustavo Duarte (A) Cory Godbey, Kyla Vanderklugt, Gustavo Duarte, Daniel Bayliss

Labyrinth turns 30 this year! In this anthology comic, read new stories from various artists and writers about this strange and magical world from Jim Henson!

(W) Phil Jimenez (A/CA) Phil Jimenez

Lois Lane is the new Superwoman! She has all the powers of Superman.. and the same problem the previous Superman had. Her powers are killing her. Can she find out the secrets of Ultra Woman before it's too late?

That's all for this week. Next week, we have the Supergirl Rebirth hitting stands and Spawn kills everyone next week as well so enjoy life while it lasts.

Here's the full release list if you need it!

I'll see you next week!
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The America our children know

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 9:45 AM


I had a fascinating conversation with a young man about the two national conventions. This college student described the two gatherings in Cleveland and Philadelphia accurately, but viewed through the eyes of someone really paying attention for the first time.

He described the differences between the campaigns as "being like high school." It seems to him that the issues at hand have been reduced to a low-quality popularity contest where the debate among voters is almost exclusively cosmetic and void of substance.

The description he gave of the conventions was generically just like mine: The Republicans seem scared and angry, and the Democrats seem full of hope.

He didn't say who was getting his vote, but he did say who is scarier to him.

I remember my first presidential election. It was then Vice President George H.W. Bush versus then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988. I also remember two things President Bush said during that campaign. The first one was "read my lips, no new taxes." I didn't have any money back then so this bit was no sales pitch directed at me.

But the second one came from his speech at the RNC when he accepted his party's nomination. He said, "There is such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it is soft or insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved? Well I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation."

Whoa. I didn't vote for him. But I see him differently now than I did back then. He didn't need my vote, though that first presidential vote of mine is the only one I have cast that may have been wrong for me.

Things were easier for me and my pals back then. We weren't arguing about what was in the latest email scandal, for an obvious reason. We also weren't pondering whether or not it was ok to admire the "leader" of Russia. In 1988, that treasonous act would have easily disqualified any candidate.

That year, I was a senior in college and wasn't sure how I was going to pay the final bills. President Reagan had inconveniently "reformed" the college financial aid structure during his tenure, and his V.P. suffered the consequences with me when I voted.

Neither candidate scared me though. Neither of them hid from who they were or what Americans should expect from their presidency. Gov. Dukakis proudly acknowledged his membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, and proclaimed he was a "liberal," going on to say it shouldn't be a dirty word.

This is the America I know. I will always compare the politics of today to the politics I first learned. Most of us will. I am not one of those people who miss the good old days very often, but this election season is one of those times.

What will the young people of today miss? They won't think of the first woman nominee or president the way my generation does. An African-American president is already normal to them. And these are things that make today so much better than yesterday.

But unless some things are soundly rejected this year, the normalcy of them could take hold. The Hillary Clinton campaign commercial titled "your children are watching" had a profound effect on me. Not just because it blasts the candidate least suitable to serve, but it puts into perspective what the American public has allowed to become acceptable of a presidential nominee.

To my Republican friends who once knew better than to support the fledgling fascist their party just nominated: Losing this year is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing would be that your guy wins, and that performances like his become status quo. Smart Republicans know this much.

More importantly to me today though is that the young man I mentioned happens to be my son. I am happy he doesn't think the political success of Obama or Clinton is odd. That actually is progress.

I hope his memory of this election is the clear rejection of its tone. And our first time voters need to look back on this election proudly because it was the last election like this, instead of the first.

Son, meet America. You two have plenty to talk about.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Holcomb vs. Gregg: Opening hands reveal so much

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Opening skirmishes in political campaigns often tell stories.

They reveal what the candidates and their campaigns think are their strengths and weaknesses. They show where they plan to hit the other side and where they are afraid to be hit.

The gubernatorial contest between the Republican candidate, Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, and his Democratic rival, former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, is a prime example.

A month ago, this was a much different race.

At that point, Gov. Mike Pence was still the Republican nominee. Gregg’s strategy and message focused on making Pence the issue – particularly the governor’s penchant for involving himself and the state in divisive battles over social issues. Gregg’s campaign ads mentioned Pence’s name and record more than they did Gregg’s.

Pence responded by throwing everything but the refrigerator, countertops and kitchen sink at Gregg. The strategy – one that rarely works – was to try to make the race a referendum on the challenger rather than the incumbent.

But then Donald Trump plucked Pence out of the governor’s race and put him on the GOP’s national ticket – and the Republican State Committee chose Holcomb to replace Pence as the party’s candidate for governor.

Suddenly, there was a new contest – with new rules of engagement.

The opening salvo was instructive.

The Republican Governors Association released an ad attacking Gregg.

The ad focused on two things – Gregg’s support in the past of Hillary Clinton and Clinton’s criticism of the coal industry, which provides a number of jobs in Indiana.

The subtext was clear.

Many businesses and business leaders had been lukewarm at best about Pence’s re-election. The RGA ad was a call for them to come home. And it was an attempt to tie Gregg tightly to Clinton, who has lower approval ratings among Republicans than many communicable diseases.

It is an article of faith among Republicans that their best shot at winning this year is to make this a battle of base votes – to turn this into a low-turnout election decided by only the most partisan and committed voters.

There is logic to that strategy.

Democrats have more voters, but their voters tend to be less determined to show up on Election Day. Republican voters are more disciplined and more dedicated. That’s why the GOP almost inevitably wins big in off-year elections when fewer people overall cast ballots.

The ad was a bugle call for the Republican faithful and a salvo at Gregg’s soft support.

Gregg’s response also was instructive.

In his ad, he sat behind a desk with pictures of Clinton and Trump turned toward the camera. He said the one on his right was “Mrs. Clinton” and the one on his left was “Mr. Trump” and that they were running for president, while he was running for governor.

Gregg said “my opponent” seemed to be confused about that – and then launched into a defense of his support for the coal industry before wrapping up with his own attack on a status quo that is costing Indiana middle-class jobs and lifestyles.

He didn’t mention Holcomb’s name once during the ad but attempted to link the Republican candidate nonetheless to Pence’s record and policies.

There is wisdom, too, to that strategy.

Pence has tremendous name recognition – both good and bad – so mentioning the governor’s name constantly didn’t cost Gregg anything.

Holcomb, on the other hand, is still an unknown quantity to most Hoosiers. He’s going to have to spend a lot of money and time making his name known to voters and Gregg seems determined not to help him do that.

The other piece of Gregg’s ad that was intriguing was the way he distanced himself from the volatile and acidic presidential race. That’s easier for him to do than it is for Holcomb, whose boss is running for vice president.

The bottom line is that Holcomb, like Pence, still wants to try to make this race about Gregg and his record. That likely will be easier for Holcomb to do than it was for Pence, because voters know Gregg better than they do Holcomb.

And Gregg still wants to run against the Pence record, but aims to paint a picture of Holcomb as little more than a faceless stand-in.

Yeah, it’s all about hitting and hurting from here on out.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Democrats, Republicans switch jerseys

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 10:22 PM

Let the battle begin.

This year’s presidential election will be an odd fight — and possibly one of historic proportions. The Democratic and Republican national conventions made clear that a strange kind of inversion has taken place, as if the two parties had swapped uniforms.

I’ve been covering politics for nearly 40 years — and fascinated by the subject for at least a half-century.

During that time, our two major parties’ identities were fixed and unchanging.

The GOP was the party of affirmation — the one that celebrated America’s greatness, that wrapped itself in the flag and presumed that it had a monopoly on taking pride in being an American. The Republican Party was the party that championed opportunity over fairness and argued that all was right in a nation in which the race went to the swiftest, even if others fell behind.

It was no accident that Ronald Reagan, the leader Republicans still celebrate as their guiding star while ignoring much of what he actually stood for and did, famously affirmed that it was “morning in America” and declared this nation “a shining city on a hill,” echoing Puritan John Winthrop and making a case for American exceptionalism in a single phrase.

Democrats were the party of grievance, the ones who spoke for those Americans who found the American Dream to be slipping away from or hovering behind their grasp. They argued for fairness and indicted any system as corrupt that favored some citizens while ignoring or punishing others. They focused not on the doors of opportunity that opened but instead on those that remained closed or even locked, no matter how hard the disenfranchised or dispossessed knocked on them.

Republicans partied whenever the flag unfurled.

Democrats did the victory dance when a barrier — electing the first African-American president — fell.

Yet at this year’s conventions, Democrats were the ones chanting “USA, USA, USA,” praising police officers and the military, touting the institutions that create opportunities for millions of Americans, wrapping themselves in the flag and proclaiming — again and again and again — that America was great, the one indispensable nation in a troubled world.

And it was the Republicans who complained about “rigged” systems, who railed about a political process and culture that shut too many people out, who indicted rather than celebrated America. Donald Trump, the GOP’s new standard-bearer, even said at times that America lacked the moral authority to lecture the rest of the world, an assertion that would have made Reagan shudder with revulsion.

Much of the attention devoted to this year’s presidential election understandably has been focused on its negativity, even nastiness. We have the two most unpopular presidential nominees in American history, two candidates about whom massive numbers of voters have grave doubts. Those two candidates are about to spend hundreds of millions of dollars demeaning each other, which only will add to the already toxic levels of distrust within the political world.

All this nastiness, though, may have obscured the historic forces at work in this election.

It is at times like these — when Democrats rather than Republicans become the party of racial inclusion, when Republicans rather than Democrats become the party asserting international leadership responsibilities — that the course of the country is altered. At moments like these, the way we live, the kinds of national discussions we have and the way we make our decisions as a country is changed, generally for at least a generation.

That makes the stakes very high for the two political parties and the people who lead them.

When the shifts are this fundamental, this history making, one party gains much of the public’s trust and the other loses it. The party that gains that trust will have the opportunity to shape American institutions and culture for years to come.

The party that loses it will have a long hard climb to come back.

I don’t know which party will prevail this year. Moments such as these are like earthquakes — they alter the landscape so much that even experienced guides can lose their way.

All I know is that it’s likely that someone in this race is going to win big.

And someone is going to fall hard.

Let the battle begin.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

#NUVOpop: Animosity

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 9:46 AM

8/3 Suicide Squad! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Hello everyone! Welcome back.

This is an exciting week in comics and just in general as well! The new Suicide Squad movie is being released this week (yeah, yeah, bad reviews, whatever, maybe just check it out for yourself, eh?). DC is also putting out the Harley Quinn Rebirth and Suicide Squad Rebirth (just in the knick of time, huh?). We also have a new story from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, a new Walking Dead, a Torchwood series written by John Barrowman, and Nightwing #2, which makes it the third Nightwing comic to come out this month!

Animosity #1
(W) Marguerite Bennett (A) Rafael de Latorre

It started on a normal day. The birds were chirping; the dogs were barking; animals hunted one another without a single thought. Then, suddenly, they started thinking. They started questioning. And then, they realized what we've done to them all these years. Now they want revenge.
This is a story about a girl and her dog and a trip to San Francisco and all the animals trying to stand in their way.

Evil Ernie Godeater #1
(W) Justin Jordan, Keith Davidsen (A) Colton Worley, Cezar Razek

The Godeater is a threat to Heaven and Hell alike. The Godeater is coming and the fate of everything lies in the hands of... Evil Ernie?? The crazy undead serial killer??
Well either we're all going to be dead VERY soon or maybe, just maybe, Evil Ernie might not be so evil after all?

Kill or Be Killed
(W) Ed Brubaker (A) Sean Phillips

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are teaming up once again to bring you this heartfelt new series. A young man tries to commit suicide one night but miraculously survives. With a new found lust for life, he vows to appreciate the gift that has been given him. But someone has sinister plans for him. Now he's trapped in a deal with a demon; kill one person each month or he will be killed instead.

Lady Killer 2 #1
(W) Joelle Jones (A/CA) Joelle Jones

My favorite hit-man house wife is back in her second series! Her family has moved to Florida and everything is back to normal. Tupperware sales woman by day, the world's deadliest mercenary by night. But someone from her past is on to her. Will she be able to handle this new threat?

Marvel Tsum Tsum #1
(W) Jacob Chabot (A) David Baldeon

What's a Tsum Tsum you ask?? Well, don't ask me because I'm not exactly sure either. They're these tiny little plush figures in the shape of a chubby sausage in the likeness of your favorite Marvel superheroes! And they were on their way to the Collector, but they made a pit stop in the middle of the Marvel universe and they're here to look cute and mess things up... And they already look cute, so...


Suicide Squad Rebirth #1
(W) Rob Williams (A/CA) Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion

Just in time for the movie, wouldn't you say? In Suicide Squad Rebirth, Rick Flag is a disgraced army vet trapped in Guantanamo Bay. However Amanda Waller has better plans for him. Will he accept her offer and be the Suicide Squad's moral compass?

Also! Check out Harley Quinn #1 as she leads her gang against a zombie apocalypse on Coney Island!

Here's the full release list! 

Next week, check out Superwoman #1, All Star Batman #1 and Accused #1, which dives deep into the trial of Hawkeye!

Now check out the latest Suicide Squad trailer because you need to ready yourself.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The GOP's gift to John Gregg

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 1:05 PM


The Indiana Republican State Committee just gave John Gregg, the Democrats’ candidate for governor, a gift.

The gift’s name is Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, whom the committee named the new Republican candidate for governor. Holcomb takes the place on the November ballot that was reserved for Gov. Mike Pence, who is now Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate.

Holcomb prevailed over three other candidates for the nod — U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, (R-Indiana), U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, (R-Indiana), and Indiana Sen. Jim Tomes, (R-Wadesville). Holcomb won in large part because Pence anointed him with an endorsement that stopped just short of slapping a cattle brand on Holcomb’s forehead.

That helps Gregg, whose campaign for governor thus far has consisted of three planks:
  • Vote for me because I’m not Mike Pence.
  • Vote for me because I’m not Mike Pence.
  • Vote for me because, really, I’m not Mike Pence.
Pence’s governorship has been a turbulent one that has both alienated and energized significant pockets of Hoosier voters. Pence’s embrace of divisive social issues — the misnamed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion law, a hasty, mean-spirited and unconstitutional ban on Syrian refugees — has given pause to the state’s business community, embarrassed independent voters and motivated the Democratic base in a way Gregg himself never could have done.

Before Trump plucked Pence out of this predicament, there were persistent whispers that internal polls by both Republicans and Democrats showed Gregg pulling ahead in the race.

Given that Indiana is a Republican-leaning state and the Pence campaign had pounded Gregg steadily with a barrage of negative advertising, that was not good news for the GOP.

Pence’s elevation to the national stage gave Republicans a chance for a do-over. Instead, they chose to double down.

The official statement by the party’s chair, Jeff Cardwell, even gave Pence pride of place and announced Holcomb’s selection almost as an afterthought:

“We are very proud of Gov. Mike Pence, who has been nominated as our party’s vice presidential nominee….

“After the proceedings, I am proud to announce that Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb will be running as the Republican candidate for governor of Indiana. Today, we stand united and give our full support to Eric as we race towards victory in November.”

Gregg’s statement in response could barely contain his glee. He started out by taking a shot at the fact that Holcomb never has been elected to fill a public office by the voters and then proceeded to wrap Pence’s support around the new GOP candidate’s neck like an anchor and chain.

“I want to congratulate Eric Holcomb on this latest political appointment. While there may be a new name on the ballot, the issues remain the same. For too many Hoosier families, wages aren’t keeping up and the good paying jobs we are losing aren’t being replaced. Eric Holcomb wholeheartedly embraced the failed approach that embarrassed our state, cost us jobs and has left the middle class behind. My economic plan sets our state on a new path forward, one that puts jobs and the middle class first,” Gregg’s statement read.

I don’t know Eric Holcomb well, but people I respect have a great deal of admiration for him. They say he is keenly intelligent, hard-working and deeply devoted to this state and its citizens.

All of that may be true, but the fact is that he was the one candidate before the Republican State Committee who didn’t offer the GOP a chance for a fresh start.

Brooks probably was the candidate who would have created the most trouble for Gregg’s campaign. She has solid conservative credentials and the potential to bring moderates and even a few Democrats over to the GOP. At least part of the Democrats’ argument is going to be that the Republican Party is at best indifferent and at worst hostile to women and their interests.

That case would have been harder to make with a woman at the top of the GOP ticket.

But the state Republican Party went another direction.

And that’s why John Gregg has to feel right now that Christmas this year in fact did come in July.
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#NUVOpop: Red Hood and Co.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:43 AM

7/27 Red Hood and Co. from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Welcome back, everyone!

Please, take a break from replaying all the amazing movie trailers from San Diego Comic Con to read some comics. Thank you.

This week in comics, the verdict is out on the murder of Bruce Banner in Civil War 2 #4 and all the heroes are choosing their sides. Adventure Time is releasing a new series full of unique stories from different artists and writers about the land of Ooo! There's also a super cute Frozen comic being released this week, and jump into action with Nightwing and Batgirl this week.

Oh, yeah. There's also Rom starting this week, so that's pretty flipping exciting!


Adventure Time Comics #1

Adventure Time Comics is a new anthology series for everyone's favorite mind trip of a children's show. Featuring new artists and writers for each issue, it introduces new stories straight from the Land of Oo!

This series will feature Katie Cook (My Little Pony), Terry Moore (Strangers In Paradise), Kelly Thompson (Jem and the Hologram) and many more talented artists and writers!

Captain Kid #1
(W) Mark Waid, Tom Peyer (A) Wilfredo Torres

Co-written by Mark Waid, Captain Kid follows the adventures of Chris Vargas. By day, Chris is a middle aged man with health problems and a terrible job. By night, he can transform into Captain Kid, a young superhero with no problems in sight (besides monsters and super villains, but that's no big deal). In this first issue, he encounters a a mysterious woman who seems to know a lot about him.

Mechanism #1
(W) Raffaele Ienco (A) Raffaele Ienco

Mechanism is a story about prototype military robot that is sent to the front line of an alien invasion. When its artificial mind realizes what it truly means to be human and sees how humans acts, will he decide that we simply aren't worth saving?

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
(W) Scott Lobdell (A) Dexter Soy

Life ain't easy when you're Jason Todd. Jason's struggled with being a good guy for years, but a strange encounter with Batman turns him into a full fledged villain. Deciding that he will take down Gotham's crime bosses from the inside, he goes into the sewers to do some investigating. Along the way, he runs into two more outcasts- a disgraced Amazon named Artemis and a terrible experiment gone wrong named Bizarro!

Titans #1
(W) Dan Abnett (A) Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund

The old Teen Titans have reunited! Wally West is back and better than ever! In this first issue, they will be facing an enemy with the power to warp reality to suit their needs. How will the Titans be able to overcome this massive threat?

That's all for this week! Join me next week for Harley Quinn's Rebirth and Walking Dead #157

If you need the full release list, click here!

Also here's the Wonder Woman trailer because you need it.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Gov. Pence, it’s not you, it’s me

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 12:53 AM

For Seinfeld fans, the episode that George Costanza was dumped by one of his girlfriends using the line “it’s not you, it’s me,” was an instant classic. What was classic about it was that George thought he had invented that insincere, blameless reason for why a relationship just wasn’t working out. And now, someone was using it on him.

I feel a little like that with Gov. Mike Pence withdrawing his name from the ballot for reelection. I wanted Indiana voters to send him packing on Election Day, as I have consistently predicted they would. But miraculously, he found a better way to break up with us.

Donald Trump’s latest logic defying move gives me a chance to review why it was time for the Governor and Hoosiers to part ways. In a recent column by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, a Hoosier political pundit, he tells those of us who wanted to “Fire Mike Pence,” to be careful what we ask for. Actually, we should be happy we got it.

Here’s why:

He is responsible for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and all of its related misguided, throwback ramifications. Every time he got a chance to lead through the self-inflicted crisis, he failed. I am confident he would have fought progress here as long as he held office.

As governor, he repeatedly behaved as if he could thumb his nose at the federal government by simply refusing to abide by its clear authority. Not only are his defeats in court on matters like Syrian refugees and abortion expensive legal battles for the state, they are also damaging to the legacy of how government runs. Not liking what the federal government does is perfectly acceptable. Speaking out against it, likewise. Pretending Indiana can pick and choose when it will comply or not, however, is way out of bounds. In the fantasy land of the future, the one where Trump is president, I envision plenty of states and others refusing to obey. How ironic.

He let Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann get away from his administration. Oh how things would be different in Indiana government this week if this massive failing of Gov. Pence had not occurred. The disruptive mess of his winning The Apprentice game show for VP would have been far less deep and our governmental and political processes would both have been far better off as a result. I continue to believe that this parting of ways will turn out to be the most telling example of his inability to lead, and a national campaign might just bring that one back to a boil.

The quick list of the examples of his inability to lead is RFRA, Syrian refugees, abortion, Pre-K funding, Just IN (or Pence’s Pravda), and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. Did I leave anything out? Of course I did, but I’m limited by space.

RELATED: Ten times Pence didn’t make Indiana great again

The most important point to make here though is that there is only one item on that list that the governor backed away from after his mismanagement of them was clear. That was the state based news service, Just IN. He backed away from that brain cramp only after Republican legislative leaders made a public mockery of it.

Republican replacement gubernatorial candidates will be hopeful they can separate from him this fall by pretending they disagreed with him on some or all of these screw ups. But none of them actually did when it mattered. That is telling. Pence’s failings are about his ultra conservative ideology in part, but his inability to lead is the gas he throws on that fire. And all of these new candidates could have led a little on these things already and haven’t. The absence of Pence’s political brothers and sisters speaking up in a timely manner on these items just feels like silent approval to me.

The buzz for Republicans since Pence’s courtship with Trump began a couple of weeks ago centered on the clear opportunity for victory they felt his departure from the governor’s race would create for their party. Democrats preferred to run against Pence, and Republicans are happy they get to replace him.

It was time for Pence and Indiana to break up. So we aren’t sorry that we are getting what we asked for. And after thinking about it for a moment this weekend, the only regret I really have is that we didn’t get to be the ones doing the breaking up.

In this case, Costanza said it wrong, so I will fix it:

Gov. Pence: it’s not us, it’s you.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#NUVOpop: Comicsgirl meets Snotgirl

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 3:32 PM

7/20 Snotgirl from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Hey everyone! Welcome back.

This week we have some new Rebirth titles starting- Batgirl and the Birds of Prey and Hellblazer. Super star writers, Garth Ennis and Bryan Lee O'Malley, are putting out new series as well.

Seriously, it's a beautiful week in comic book land. Stop by and say hi! 

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
(W) Shawna Benson, Julie Benson (A) Claire Roe 

Batgirl and Black Canary are teaming up again! In the latest issues of Batgirl, it was revealed that someone knows that Batgirl was once Oracle- the world's greatest hacker. Now the unknown person is using Oracle's name to spread dangerous information to dangerous criminals. That information has been brought to the attention of Helena Betinelli- AKA Huntress!- and she's out for mafia blood..

Betty and Veronica
(W) Adam Hughes (A) Adam Hughes

The two best frenemies that anyone could ever have are back in their own series! Pop's Choklit Shoppe is being bought out by a popular coffee chain! When Betty and Veronica disagree about the ethics about what's going on, it starts the worst feud ever. Whose side are you on??

** The first issue of Betty and Veronica has about 25 variant covers, so go crazy. 
Black Hammer
(W) Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Dean Ormston

Jeff Lemire is back with a ongoing series. A group of heroes is now semi-retired. They were banished following a major crisis to a timeless town where they can live normal lives. However, as we all know, trouble has a way of finding those with super powers.. 

(W) Jody Houser (A) Pere Perez, Marguerite Sauvage, Colleen Doran

You gotta have a little faith! Valiant is bringing Faith back into a new ongoing series! When she's not posing as a journalist for a popular website, Faith is the superhero known as Zephyr- LA's greatest superhero! Has she met her match when she is ambushed by someone claiming to be her greatest foe yet?

**Can't get enough of Faith? Check her out this week in A&A #5 when she and Archer go on their first date! 

(W) Bryan Lee O'Malley (A) Leslie Hung

Snotgirl is a new series from Bryan Lee O'Malley! Illustrated by Leslie Hung, Snotgirl follows Lottie Person, the world's best fashion blogger. Lottie's life is less than perfect because of her allergies. How can she possibly handle her terrible allergies while trying to be a perfect 20-something year old blogger??

Tales From The Darkside #2
(W) Joe Hill (A/CA) Gabriel Rodriguez

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are reuniting to bring new life into the old series, Tales From the Darkside, which explores the supernatural and all manner of horror stories. In this second issue.. discover what mysteries the black box holds! 

**In case you're unaware, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez created the best comic series ever, Locke & Key. You should DEFINITELY check it out if you haven't. It's a well written horror comic revolving around a series of keys that unlock different powers and abilities. It ended a few years ago, however Hill and Rodriguez are bringing it back in December! 

Well, that's it for this week. Next week, DC's Rebirth will be putting out Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and Titans! Rom will start next week, and Civil War 2 #4 will be hitting stands so we can finally deal with what happened in the last issue!!!

If you need the full release list, click here! I'll see you next week.
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