Hammer: Ahmadinejad's hard truths



Mitch Daniels first ran for governor in 2004, he adopted a slogan of "My Man

Mitch" in order to build a folksy, homespun, plain ole Hoosier image

despite the fact he'd spent his entire adult life working for corporate and

conservative interests.


the time, many of us suggested that "That Bitch Mitch" was a more

appropriate nickname, considering he had, quite literally, operated as a

professional bitch for more than 20 years.


me for my indelicacy, but "bitch" is the only appropriate word to describe his

professional career. Daniels was Richard Lugar's gofer for several years and

then became Ronald Reagan's bitch when the Gipper needed legal cover for

swindling local communities out of funds they deserved.


a period of time at the Hudson Institute, a finishing school for right-wingers

with ambitions of becoming even bigger bitches to corporate interests, he

became a head bitch at Lilly during a time when the pharmaceutical giant was on

its way to some costly legal settlements.


those qualifications, he became governor, where's he's turned the table and

made us all his bitches. We've gotten less and less from government while

paying more and more. He's mortgaged the financial future of the state so that

wealthy homeowners can avoid paying their fair share of property taxes.


he wants to run for president and make all Americans his bitch. It's time for

all right-thinking Hoosiers to bombard him with letters urging him not to run.

You've hurt us enough. You have your money. Now please go home, Mr. Governor,

at the end of your term. You can become Ambassador to Jamaica under the next

Republican president. Please don't run.


Free Flo!


find myself worried more and more these days about the fate of Flo, the TV

spokeswoman for Progressive Insurance. I'm so worried that I think an

investigation by law enforcement may be necessary 
When she first

started showing up in ads a few years ago, she was just another irritating

presence on TV. But since you can't watch an episode of Pawn Stars or Intervention without seeing her three or four

times, I began noticing things about Flo.


an online saleswoman, quoting insurance prices. But she never gets to leave her

desk. And she's seemingly trapped within the confines of Progressive's web

site. Her presence raises more questions than it answers.


did she get there? Was she abducted and then, Patty Hearst-style, begin to

identify with her captors, even praising them? Is that why she's so abnormally

perky? Is she stuck permanently in cyberspace, unable to leave the antiseptic

white room in which she's imprisoned?


many other people has Progressive kidnapped, digitized and forced to work

nonstop as salespeople? Will we be next?


ongoing adventures of Flo in captivity deserve the full attention of us all.

Perhaps someday she will be freed from her shackles and will be able to explain

the curious circumstances that made her a cyberslave.


then, any ideas on freeing this poor digital slave should be passed along to

the Cyber Crimes unit of the FBI.


if you can see this: Help is on the way!


A few words with Beatriz


woman approached me the other day at the bus stop at Ohio and Meridian, selling

bags of microwave popcorn. I wasn't buying -- I don't like the stuff -- and

neither was anyone else. After several attempts, she sat down on the bench next

to me and started talking.


name was Beatriz and she was born in Peru 55 years ago, she said. Taking off

her shoes to rub her tired feet, she talked about her job at a downtown hotel

and how exhausting her job was.


even harder now," she said. "They want to cut our hours and pay us even less."

Her children, all American citizens, had all graduated from college or were

about to graduate. Beatriz herself had never managed to get American

citizenship and she said she was worried about it.


Reagan, he always made me feel afraid with the way he talked," she told me.

"Mr. Clinton didn't seem to care. Mr. Bush, he is from Texas and knows about

immigration, so I thought he would help me, but he didn't."


asked her what she would do. "Mr. Obama, I know he wants to do the right thing.

He has so many enemies. I hope he cares enough to fight them. My children, they

tell me not to worry. 'Mama,' they say, 'things will be all right. Obama will

find a way.' And I hope they right. But I keep working harder and I keep

getting more afraid."


told her I would pray for her. I climbed on the bus, wondering how many more

people like Beatriz live in our city, frightened about the future.



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