A free thinker in the Heartland...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

So... many... Hamsters

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

There's more than corn, in Indiana!

Video from the rollercoaster Hoosier Hurricane at Indiana Beach on beautiful Lake Shafer in Monticello.

A good opinion

I agree with Mr. Orourke. From the South Bend Tribune:

Over the Memorial Day weekend our governor, Mitch Daniels, published an op-ed piece in The New York Times, titled, "For Whom the Road Tolls." It was a revealing exercise of authorship on Daniels' part -- even though when a politician publishes anything one wonders which member of his or her staff actually wrote the thing. But I'm willing to believe it was Daniels' work alone, because of its tone, which seemed entirely genuine: smug, contemptuous of the folk he has to govern, happy to be talking to the swells on the East Coast, his people.

I've always been amused by Daniels' invented campaign persona -- decked out as one of the hicks, wearing wool, plaid or flannel and some ridiculous hat, looking like some character out of a "Saturday Night Live" skit poking fun at Canadians, usually accompanied by many shots of his RV rolling through the Indiana hills. Mitch Daniels, man of the people, not, as he proudly puts first in the Times bio, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget for Bush in 2001 and 2002, before admitting he is governor of Indiana.

Now that the former Eli Lilly executive has put most of the state on Eastern Standard Time's daylight-saving time (Eli Lilly time!), and Hoosier parents experience the fun of trying to put their children to bed while it's still light out, Daniels gets to boast to the readers of The New York Times how he was able to privatize the Toll Road despite the misguided objections of more than half of his fellow citizens: "public sentiment" ran "almost two to one against the deal," Daniels wrote. He goes on to say, "... the animosity in Indiana was as genuinely grassroots as it gets. Many Hoosiers convinced themselves either that our proposal borrowed from the future, or that it gave away a part of America to 'foreigners.'æ"

But Mitch showed the benighted the way, while not taking too much offense at the mob's obtuseness: "Their hearts were in the right place, but not their logic." Daniels extols the wonders of privatization: "The economic case is ironclad: Indiana has scored a multibillion-dollar financial gain." He does admit, humbly, that he should have done more to educate the uneducated: "As governor, I should have done much more than I did to walk Indiana through, in advance, both the business case and the realities of today's global economic competition."

Oh, well, the burdens of leadership are great, especially when the grassroots are so starved of knowledge, the sort that the governor possesses in such abundance. When Daniels was still a run-of-the-mill corporate executive, first as head of the libertarian Hudson Institute and then a V.P. at Lilly, he and his buddy Steve Goldsmith, the former mayor of Indianapolis, were the state's biggest cheerleaders for privatization. Goldsmith did manage to privatize the city zoo, though he lost his race for governor because of the mess it all made.

But what is "ironclad" is that the Toll Road takeover is a triumph of ideology over economics. The money behind the Spanish-Australian consortium Cintra-Macquarie's purchase came from some of the same capital sources as a lot of American capital: from workers' pension funds, in this case the Australians. But Daniels wouldn't let the Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund buy the Toll Road -- however sound a deal it would be. It would still involve government and the people as owner if he had.

Privatizers see profit, whereas the public sees taxes. Not raising the tolls on the Toll Road, as Daniels talks about in his op-ed piece, came about "because it was run by politicians, who are rarely businesslike and deathly afraid to annoy anyone."

Now, Daniels is certainly businesslike and not afraid to annoy people, so why didn't he have the courage to present a sensible schedule of toll increases? Well, not because he is a politician, but because he is an evangelizer for privatization.

As Daniels notes in his Times piece, "As clear as the business case was, politics intruded; in fact, Indiana very nearly tore up its equivalent of a Powerball check. ..." It's an apt comparison, echoing the casino capitalism Daniels is so proud of. Some make good bets, others make bad ones. The short term brings big money to Indiana, but not just to the state. As in the stock market era of irrational exuberance, those who are in on the IPO, the beginning of things, profit mightily. There are large transaction profits to be spread around to the financiers who arrange the deal, all friends of the governor, or soon-to-be friends of the governor. This sort of casino capitalism has winners and losers. And Daniels was certainly a winner in 2001 when he sold his $1.45 million in Indiana Power & Light Company stock just before the stock tanked.

The business case that is so ironclad is the same one that has seen the salaries of CEOs balloon so obscenely over the last decade. Many copy it. In fact, Daniels couldn't have railroaded through the privatizing of the Toll Road if Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley hadn't sold off the Skyway to the same foreign capital consortium. If a toll road is a public good, an example of public wealth, the responsibility for it remains with the people. When public goods become the source of private wealth the nature of society changes. It's a change Daniels desires. In the old days plutocrats like Andrew Carnegie used to give the public libraries, museums and other benefits; these days the transfer goes the other way: The rich sell what the people own for their personal benefit and that of their friends.

Mitch Daniels is hardly the man of the people he styles himself to be. He looks out for the few and considers the rest buffoons to be buffaloed. As he has done -- though he shouldn't have preened about it so much in the New York Times. Look out when he wants to take over the Senate seat Richard Lugar must someday vacate.

I know I shouldn't post the whole thing, but it is good!

Where you DON'T want to bank

Having your bank robbed is bad enough, but twice in two weeks? From the South Bend Tribune:

A southside bank was robbed for the second time in two weeks Tuesday afternoon.

A man and woman entered Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, 2102 Ireland Road about 12:23 p.m. and demanded money, according to police.

The pair fled east from the bank after taking an undisclosed amount of money. It was unclear if they were in a vehicle, police said.

South Bend Police continue to look for the two suspects.

I can't believe they got away. I live in small town northern Indiana, and every so often you hear about a bank robbery in a "one stoplight" town around having robbers get away, but in South Bend? They must have been quick!

Good News

Honda is going to build a factory here in Indiana! From the Indianapolis Star:

Japanese automaker Honda today will announce it has chosen a Greensburg site for a car assembly plant that would employ 1,500 workers and could launch an economic boom in the state's hard-pressed southeastern corner.

Honda will reveal the plant's location this morning at a news conference in Greensburg, according to a source familiar with the deal who asked not be identified. The source wasn't authorized to discuss the matter.
Honda's plant might double in size soon after its 2008 opening, analysts say, as the automaker pours on capacity to meet high consumer demand at a time when the Detroit automakers are cutting more than 75,000 U.S. jobs in total.

Rather than pick up autoworkers stranded by Detroit, analysts say Honda apparently chose Indiana over the Honda stronghold of Ohio in part to tap into the tens of thousands of fresh industrial recruits eager for a shot at factory work.

Good news for Indiana. We could use those jobs.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Darfur in local news

It is nice seeing news about Darfur in smaller newspapers, not that the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is small... but you know what I mean. Check out The News-Sentinel:

She wasn’t born there, but her heart aches for the country.

Like most of us, Rehab Dahab, 14, an incoming eighth-grader at Northwood Middle School, is aware of the atrocities committed in Darfur, a western region in the African country of Sudan.

The millions displaced and the thousands murdered in a bloody war between the government-supported Arab military and rebel armies have dominated media reports for months.

Dahab is a native of Chad, an African country now home to many Darfurian refugees. She has cried over the images of headless bodies and mothers’ faces strained with agony over the loss of children.

“I just can’t turn my face and think the genocide will disappear,” she said. “Their lives depend on our actions.”

The more it is in the paper, the more likely it is that our government will make it more of a priority.

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Helping" the Poor

Watch, as before your eyes 800,000 Hoosiers might lose health-care coverage! From the Indianapolis Star:

About 800,000 low-income Hoosiers will soon be asked to prove they are United States citizens or face losing their Medicaid health-care coverage.

The requirement, which takes effect nationwide Saturday, is an attempt to keep illegal immigrants from receiving federal and state health assistance for the poor and disabled.

Critics say it will do more to hurt poor citizens than to keep noncitizens from receiving benefits.

To continue receiving Medicaid benefits, recipients must present a passport, an original birth certificate or other documentation -- paperwork that many elderly, poor, homeless and mentally ill simply don't have or might have trouble obtaining quickly enough to avoid disruption in medical care, critics say.

"They're really not correcting a problem in doing this," because there is no proof that undocumented immigrants are illegally receiving Medicaid, said Nancy Jewell, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, an advocacy group.
Advocates for the poor also noted that many older black Americans were not born in hospitals and might never have received a birth certificate. In addition, disaster victims could have difficulty recovering lost paperwork. And children removed from abusive homes might not have readily available proof of citizenship.

"If you're removing children from their parents, it's hard to stop and say, 'Oh, by the way, do you have a birth certificate to help us get Medicaid for them?' " said Cathleen Graham, executive director of IARCCA, an Association of Children and Family Services. "For kids who are abandoned, it's really going to be a problem."

Our govenment loves the poor. As Stephen Colbert said, "Using Jesus' name in a speech = Small Government. Doing what Jesus taught = big government."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Straight talk from Senator Richard Lugar

Sure he is a republican... nobody is perfect. Sen. Lugar warns of preemptive strike on North Korea... from CBS News:

A leading Republican senator suggested Sunday that the Bush administration should talk directly with North Korea as concerns grow over a possible test launch of a missile that could reach the United States.

On CBS' Face The Nation, Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should not attack the missile while it is on the ground, before it is fired, as some have urged.

"It would be advisable to bring about a much greater degree of diplomacy, and this may involve direct talks between the United States and North Korea," he told Bob Schieffer.

North Korea long has wanted direct meetings with the U.S. Washington, however, has refused, insisting it will only meet the North Koreas in the context of six-nation international talks aimed at ridding the communist country of its nuclear weapons program.

Lugar, R-Ind., said he respected those talks, which are stalled now, but "nevertheless, with regard to a missile that might have a range of the United States, that becomes a very specific United States-North Korean issue."

"We're going to have to come to a point where we find at least an agenda to talk with North Korea about, and I think we are moving toward that," Lugar said on CBS.

It is a shame that the progress made with North Korea under the Clinton administration wasn't continued with the Bush administration.

Lazy Sunday...

It is Sunday Sunday Sunday... so lazy me is going to post a video of Lazy Muncie, where my brother and his wife live. Go Ball State!

What a shocker, Bush wants more power!

Bush seems to want Congress to give him the power to line-item veto... from the South Bend Tribune,

President Bush is pushing Congress to give him more authority to slice and dice the budget, an idea that's popular with conservatives who think the White House needs more muscle to restrict federal spending.

"Under the current system, many lawmakers are able to insert funding for pet projects into large spending bills," Bush said in his Saturday radio address.

Bush says this leaves lawmakers with two bad options: They can vote against an entire bill even though it contains worthwhile spending, or they can vote for a bill even though it includes money for special-interest projects.

"The president is left with the same dilemma - either he has to veto the entire bill, or sign the bill and approve the unnecessary spending," Bush said, adding that governors in 43 states have line-item veto authority.
Democrats generally oppose the measure. And not all Republicans are excited about the idea, although some embrace it as a way to demonstrate election-year resolve to rein in federal spending.

Lawmakers from both parties who have reservations about the line-item veto contend it shifts too much power to the president, allowing him to try to cut projects proposed by his political enemies, or to use the threat of cutting projects in exchange for favorable votes on legislation the White House desires.
Who would really trust Bush with that power?  If you do, would you trust a Democrat with the same power?  It gives the president too much power, and right now we have an administration run amok from "drunk with power" syndrome.  Congress needs to grow some balls and rein in the abuses of power that the administration is already making, not make him more of a king.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Voter Registration Cleanup

Be sure to check your mail for a voter registration card! From the Indianapolis Star:

Every Indiana voter soon will get greetings in the mail from the state.

Secretary of State Todd Rokita, the state's chief elections officer, said his office soon will be sending out 4.3 million postcards -- the first step toward purging inaccuracies from Indiana's voter registration lists. He was not more specific on the timing.

Rokita said the cleanup will cost nearly $2 million, but he expects that as many as 1 million names will be removed from the voter lists as people who have moved or died are identified.

Republicans and Democrats have bickered over how to clean the voter lists. An agreement reached late Thursday with the U.S. Department of Justice cleared the way for the mailing.

People do not need to respond to the cards, Rokita said.

If the card is returned to the state as undeliverable, a second notice -- along with a postage-paid response card -- will be sent; unlike the first card, it can be forwarded to a new address.

After that mailing, anyone who doesn't respond will be placed on an "inactive" voter list. Voters casting a ballot during the next two years will remain a registered voter. If they don't vote, they'll be purged from the lists and have to register again to vote.

It seems this is popular in Republican states to "clean out" voter registries, but there always seems to be problems down the road of people being off the lists when they try to vote. Just look at Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004. Not to mention that we now need ID's when we do go to the polls. Riddle me this though, they haven't addressed any abuses of the absentee voters... I know of one guy who was proud that in the last election he voted absentee for Bush in Florida while he was voting here ALSO for Bush. Two votes! Not to mention the use of voting machines with no paper trail... and what is up with that anyway? Why no backups?

Sometime we will have to really address voting problems... hopefully sooner rather than later.

I <3 Internet Video


Trying out a new gadget... does it work?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Man Dies In Police Custody

From the Indianapolis Star:

Indianapolis police homicide detectives are investigating why a suspect died after officers subdued him with chemical spray and a Taser.

Joseph Stockdale, 26, stopped breathing and was rushed to Wishard Memorial Hospital where he died at 9:09 p.m. Wednesday, IPD Major Lloyd Crowe said.
Officers Matthew Churchman and Greg Milburn arrested Stockdale after they were called to a home in the 2900 block North Colorado Ave. on a domestic disturbance about 7:30 p.m.

“When the officers advised Joseph he was under arrest and attempted to place him in handcuffs, he became very combative,” Crowe said in a written statement. “A violent struggle started inside the residence, then moved outside to the front yard. At one point Mr. Stockdale, using a ceramic statue as a weapon, began swinging it in an attempt to strike the officers.”

The officers used chemical spray and a Taser to force Stockdale to comply and put him in handcuffs, Crowe said.

Police called for medics, who treated Stockdale for scrapes and chemical burns then left.

Stockdale stopped breathing while he and police waited for a transport van, Crowe said.

The Marion county coroner’s office has not yet determined the cause of death. An autopsy and toxicology tests are pending, police said.

I know the tazer is a safer way to take suspects in, but I have always been fearful of overuse or abuse by officers. I have seen footage on COPS where cops shock suspects more times than needed, and that is with awareness of being recorded by television! I am all for our police officers (my dad was a cop), but there are some cops that do overreact. The case is being investigated, and if there is any wrongdoing I hope it strengthens our police.

Joe Donnelly for Congress!

If you are in the fighting 2nd district of Indiana, vote for Joe Donnelly for Congress!

Half Truth about DST

Oh the Indystar made a huge stinky pile with this piece The Outlook on DST: Bright.

Hoosiers have seen the light, and many of us actually like it.

Fans of daylight-saving time have a double reason to celebrate today -- the first day of summer and 15 hours between sunrise and sunset.

As noted in the comments of that article, God gave us 15 hours of sunlight, not DST.

The sun will set today at 9:16 p.m. and will continue to set at 9 p.m. or later through
the end of July.

Two and a half months after DST went into effect in Central Indiana, Hoosiers seem to like the evening light -- although pockets of resistance remain.

Pockets of resistance?? They are called parents and people who like to sleep!

Who's unhappy? Parents of small kids, who have a hard time convincing their children it's nighttime when the sun's still high in the sky.

I wonder why???

Drive-ins' gloomy view starting to look sunnier

Drive-in movie theater owners who opposed the time-change legislation say attendance actually has increased. But there are differing opinions on why.

"We've just been fortunate this year with a bunch of great movies," said Steve Wilson, who owns Holiday Drive-in in Mitchell, about 80 miles south of Indianapolis. "Fortunately, we have a real dedicated audience that will come no matter what."

The first show at many drive-ins has been pushed back to about 9:45 p.m., with second shows starting as late as 12:30 a.m.

Oh this gloating is too much... it is a proven FACT that these later days will kill off some drive ins, and according to the comments to the article one drive in has already shut its doors. I love drive ins and have made it a point to go, but look how late the double features start! The movies don't end till 1AM... how many families are going to do that consistantly?

Golf courses and other businesses are seeing green

Meanwhile, golf courses are reaping their expected rewards. The Legends of Indiana Golf
Course in Franklin, for example, reported that business was up 7 percent as Hoosiers take advantage of later tee times.

Jeremy Johnson, 27, Indianapolis, said he recently teed off at 6:45 p.m. at Legends and played 18 holes before night fell.

Oh thank GOODNESS the golfers get an extra hour at night... how many families golf together??? Do you take your kids to the range with you??? NO!

Experts say the longer days come with pitfalls.
"It is difficult to get to sleep when it is so light and that can be a problem for kids who need a lot of sleep but also for adults," said Dr. Hany Haddad, co-director of the Community Health Network's Sleep/Wake Disorders Center in Indianapolis.

Haddad said humans have a biological clock that is set in part by darkness and light. With DST's later sunsets, sleep may be delayed.

"We hate it," said Melanie Inch, 35, the mother of 6-year-old Frankie and a worker at a Southside day-care center. "Everybody's complaining.

"It's too light out; you can't put the kids to bed. They think they should be out playing. They're restless, too much energy."

Phil and Jill Eichacker, the parents of Sam, 4, and Benjamin, 2, said they have figured out a system to beat the clock. They delayed the boys' naptime from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., and take them out later.

The family has already gone to an Indianapolis Indians game, a movie and taken bike rides -- all after 7 p.m.

Oh yea, parents are just WHINY! Hey they could do stuff after 7pm BEFORE DST... they just couldn't do it till 10 at night! OMG does this article piss me off.

Mr. Popular

It seems our president is greeted with a protest in Austria. The world just LUVS us...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Major Moves moves ahead

There are no more roadblocks to stop the leasing of the toll road, and the editors of the Indianapolis Star are happy.

The state Supreme Court made it clear Tuesday in a unanimous decision: Opponents didn't make a strong case for advancing a lawsuit to halt Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves plan to lease the Indiana Toll Road. The justices affirmed a St. Joseph County judge's decision to thwart the suit aimed at killing the long-term lease deal with a foreign consortium.

Since Major Moves opponents admit they can't post a $1.9 billion bond, the suit has little chance to proceed. They had contended that the $3.8 billion agreement, due to be finalized June 30, was unconstitutional. The state high court recognized the need to act quickly, but deliberately, on the case.

The opponents were simply trying to extend a debate over Major Moves -- and the direction of Indiana's economic future -- that they had lost earlier this year in the Statehouse. The plaintiffs' loss, however, is a gain for the 6.2 million citizens of Indiana. Proceeds from the 75-year Toll Road lease can now be poured into upgrading aging road infrastructure.

Daniels recently announced that the state will invest $12 billion in roads during the next decade -- four times the amount it currently spends. The lease will help make the extra funding and more jobs possible. And this in turn means Indiana's economy can move forward.

75 years, the lease will be over long after we are either gone or OLD. I still don't understand why the lease has to be a lifetime... because the company meets its buyoff in like 33 years, which leaves what, 42 years of profit? Don't quote me on that though...

White Sox!!!

 The White Sox ran up 20 runs in one game!!!  Check it out this Fox Sports article:

Missouri native Joe Crede had a busy day reading text messages from friends and family back home. They were joking with him, telling him who they'd be rooting for: 'Go Cardinals!'

Crede's response came once the game started.

He homered twice and was the catalyst for an 11-run, 12-hit third inning Tuesday night to lead the Chicago White Sox to their biggest offensive output in 10 years and a 20-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

"It was something I don't think I've ever been a part of," Crede said after getting four of the White Sox's 24 hits. "Everybody was able to have quality at-bats and it showed. ... Once a few guys start getting hits here and there, everybody followed suit."

Crede started the third with a double and he and A.J. Pierzynski homered in the big outburst, an inning that featured seven straight hits off Mark Mulder.

"When you throw that bull I was throwing up there, it's not going to get it done," Mulder said. "Just a whole bunch of pitches over the middle of the plate. They were swinging at all of them and hitting all of them."

Starting with Crede's leadoff double, the White Sox sent 16 batters to the plate in their biggest inning of the season en route to a victory that put them 20 games over .500.

Chicago tacked on six more runs in the sixth, Crede hit his second homer in the seventh and the White Sox finished with season highs in runs and hits.

It was the first time since May 15, 1996, against Milwaukee that the White Sox had scored 20 runs in a game. Chicago's 24 hits was its most since it had 24 versus Seattle on August 9, 2000.

Bush Impersonator

 This guy does a great Terry Bradshaw too!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Iran or North Korea?

Seems if we want to go to war, we could choose...

First about Iran, from the Indianapolis Star:

President Bush told Iran on Monday that nations worldwide won't back down from their demand that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment.

"Iran's leaders have a clear choice. We hope they will accept our offer and voluntarily suspend these activities so we can work out an agreement that will bring Iran real benefits," Bush said a day before leaving for Vienna, Austria, where he will talk with European Union officials who are leading efforts to resolve the nuclear dispute.

If Iran's leaders reject the offer, they will face action before the U.N. Security Council and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions, Bush said during a commencement speech at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Then there is North Korea... again from the Indianapolis Star:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned North Korea on Monday it will face consequences if it test-fires a missile thought to be powerful enough to reach the West Coast of the United States.

"It would be a very serious matter and, indeed, a provocative act should North Korea decide to launch that missile," Rice said amid indications that the North Koreans could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at any moment.

The senior U.S. diplomat said the United States would talk to other nations about action should the North go ahead, and "I can assure everyone that it would be taken with utmost seriousness."

Don't you love world politics?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Darth Vader vs. Japanese Police

Oh this is funny...

Download Internet Video

So you see a funny video on YouTube, and you want to download it. How? Well Cnet shows a way you can:

Two services run by two people in Australia are giving people new ways to access and use video content from sites like YouTube and Google Video, and copyright holders may well find themselves up in arms about it.

Known as Peekvid and Keepvid, the sister services are designed, respectively, to aggregate and index copyrighted YouTube content, and allow users to rip content from YouTube, Google Video and other services to their hard drives.

Thus, though YouTube prohibits anyone except legitimate rights holders--such as NBC Universal, EMI Records and many others--from uploading copyrighted content to its site, such content does get posted illegally, and these sister services make it possible to easily view, and download, a wide variety of such content. A recent survey turned up clips including World Cup highlights, Beatles and 2Pac Shakur music videos, episodes of "Seinfeld," an episode of "Lost" and dozens of other TV shows and music videos.

"None of the videos on Peekvid are hosted by us," Joshua, one of two people in western Australia who run the service and sister site Keepvid, said in an instant message interview. "We do not condone uploading of copyright(ed) material by illegitimate copyright holders. Peekvid is simply a more organized index of some of YouTube's videos."

I love kitten videos as much as the next guy, but I dunno if I want to download any. But hey, just so you know if you were so inclined.

More Choices Is Good

I am pro-choice... because I am not going to tell women what to do with their own bodies. Choice is good, and in Indianapolis there is going to be a Planned Parenthood side by side with an adoption agency. From the Indianapolis Star:

An abortion clinic will share space with an adoption agency at a new location, a first for Indianapolis and a highly unusual collaboration anywhere in the United States.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana closed its Eastside clinic near 21st Street and Ritter Avenue on Saturday, relocating to 86th Street and Georgetown Road on the Northwestside in a building previously used for unrelated medical purposes.

Beginning in July, a counselor from Independent Adoption Centers, which arranges open adoptions and has operated in Indiana for about 11 years, will be at the clinic two or three days a week, probably on days when abortions are not being performed.

Executives from the agencies said the arrangement benefits both and is expected to be a good fit.
I would like to see this elsewhere around the country... except with the attitudes of the more violent pro-lifers, who wants to chance being firebombed or terrorized?

On The Road Again

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is going on a trip to Japan... again. From the Indianapolis Star:

Daniels and 59 government and business leaders from across the state departed Saturday on the venture. They were expected to arrive in Japan today and return home June 28 after traveling to South Korea.

The decline of Indiana communities such as Marion, hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, is the driving force for this job-trolling tour, on which Daniels will try to persuade companies to locate or expand in Indiana.

His first visit last August, he told reporters before heading to Chicago for the 14-hour flight to Tokyo, confirmed that "the best prospects for new jobs in Indiana are from the businesses that are already here."


Daniels cited a Toyota expansion in Lafayette as among the fruits of the first trip. Democrats, though, have been critical of Daniels' jobs record.

"It took the administration 16 months to develop a jobs plan, and our state has fallen to the back of the national pack in terms of job growth. At the end of the day, Indiana needs jobs, not another honorary shogun," said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker, referring to the title Daniels received on his first trip to Japan.
I am still angry about Daylight Savings... this daylight till 10PM is just weird. If anything, we should be on Central Daylight Saving, but that probably won't be happening anytime soon. Not to mention that lease of the toll road for too many years! I can't wait till he is up for reelection... he is soo popular with us up north.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Remember the 80's?

Wow, this video so takes me back... Ghostbusters!!!

Kitten Kombat '06!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Check this out...

Meet the Press in Hell!

Satan: Absolutely! Look, this is war. We’re fighting an enemy that is determined to utterly destroy us and rule for a thousand years. If these allegations turn out to be true, then we may have a few bad apples in the barrel. But 99.9999% of our troops are doing a great job day after day, under incredibly difficult circumstances. And sometimes, in the stress of the moment, some of them may snap and make bloodwurst out of children. Can any of us honestly say that, given the same circumstances, we wouldn’t do the same thing?

Jesus: Yes! There are clear–

Satan: Well, look who’s casting the first stone.

Jesus: –clear rules of engagement design to prevent this kind of—

Russert: Mr. Christ, let him finish.

Thank you, World-O-Crap. We need the funny.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Do we need election reform?

Check out The Rolling Stone, and see questions about our last election.

Like many Americans, I spent the evening of the 2004 election watching the returns on television and wondering how the exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush -- and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded. Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in ''tinfoil hats,'' while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,''(1) and The New York Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale.''(2)

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America's voting system is a messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and city officials. ''We didn't have one election for president in 2004,'' says Robert Pastor, who directs the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. ''We didn't have fifty elections. We actually had 13,000 elections run by 13,000 independent, quasi-sovereign counties and municipalities.''

But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio's Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

''It was terrible,'' says Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. ''People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct -- it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I'm terribly disheartened.''

Indeed, the extent of the GOP's effort to rig the vote shocked even the most experienced observers of American elections. ''Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen,'' Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling, told me. ''You look at the turnout and votes in individual precincts, compared to the historic patterns in those counties, and you can tell where the discrepancies are. They stand out like a sore thumb.''

I. The Exit Polls
The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd, 2004, was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote counts. Polls in thirty states weren't just off the mark -- they deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error. In all but four states, the discrepancy favored President Bush.(16)

Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent.(17) ''Exit polls are almost never wrong,'' Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ''so reliable,'' he added, ''that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.''(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine -- paid for by the Bush administration -- exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)

But that same month, when exit polls revealed disturbing disparities in the U.S. election, the six media organizations that had commissioned the survey treated its very existence as an embarrassment. Instead of treating the discrepancies as a story meriting investigation, the networks scrubbed the offending results from their Web sites and substituted them with ''corrected'' numbers that had been weighted, retroactively, to match the official vote count. Rather than finding fault with the election results, the mainstream media preferred to dismiss the polls as flawed.(21)

''The people who ran the exit polling, and all those of us who were their clients, recognized that it was deeply flawed,'' says Tom Brokaw, who served as anchor for NBC News during the 2004 election. ''They were really screwed up -- the old models just don't work anymore. I would not go on the air with them again.''

In fact, the exit poll created for the 2004 election was designed to be the most reliable voter survey in history. The six news organizations -- running the ideological gamut from CBS to Fox News -- retained Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International,(22) whose principal, Warren Mitofsky, pioneered the exit poll for CBS in 1967(23) and is widely credited with assuring the credibility of Mexico's elections in 1994.(24) For its nationwide poll, Edison/Mitofsky selected a random subsample of 12,219 voters(25) -- approximately six times larger than those normally used in national polls(26) -- driving the margin of error down to approximately plus or minus one percent.(27)

On the evening of the vote, reporters at each of the major networks were briefed by pollsters at 7:54 p.m. Kerry, they were informed, had an insurmountable lead and would win by a rout: at least 309 electoral votes to Bush's 174, with fifty-five too close to call.(28) In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair went to bed contemplating his relationship with President-elect Kerry.(29)

As the last polling stations closed on the West Coast, exit polls showed Kerry ahead in ten of eleven battleground states -- including commanding leads in Ohio and Florida -- and winning by a million and a half votes nationally. The exit polls even showed Kerry breathing down Bush's neck in supposed GOP strongholds Virginia and North Carolina.(30) Against these numbers, the statistical likelihood of Bush winning was less than one in 450,000.(31) ''Either the exit polls, by and large, are completely wrong,'' a Fox News analyst declared, ''or George Bush loses.''(32)

But as the evening progressed, official tallies began to show implausible disparities -- as much as 9.5 percent -- with the exit polls. In ten of the eleven battleground states, the tallied margins departed from what the polls had predicted. In every case, the shift favored Bush. Based on exit polls, CNN had predicted Kerry defeating Bush in Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percentage points. Instead, election results showed Bush winning the state by 2.5 percent. Bush also tallied 6.5 percent more than the polls had predicted in Pennsylvania, and 4.9 percent more in Florida.(33)

According to Steven F. Freeman, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in research methodology, the odds against all three of those shifts occurring in concert are one in 660,000. ''As much as we can say in sound science that something is impossible,'' he says, ''it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote count in the three critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error.'' (See The Tale of the Exit Polls)

Puzzled by the discrepancies, Freeman laboriously examined the raw polling data released by Edison/Mitofsky in January 2005. ''I'm not even political -- I despise the Democrats,'' he says. ''I'm a survey expert. I got into this because I was mystified about how the exit polls could have been so wrong.'' In his forthcoming book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, Freeman lays out a statistical analysis of the polls that is deeply troubling.

In its official postmortem report issued two months after the election, Edison/Mitofsky was unable to identify any flaw in its methodology -- so the pollsters, in essence, invented one for the electorate. According to Mitofsky, Bush partisans were simply disinclined to talk to exit pollsters on November 2nd(34) -- displaying a heretofore unknown and undocumented aversion that skewed the polls in Kerry's favor by a margin of 6.5 percent nationwide.(35)

Industry peers didn't buy it. John Zogby, one of the nation's leading pollsters, told me that Mitofsky's ''reluctant responder'' hypothesis is ''preposterous.''(36) Even Mitofsky, in his official report, underscored the hollowness of his theory: ''It is difficult to pinpoint precisely the reasons that, in general, Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit polls than Bush voters.''(37)

Now, thanks to careful examination of Mitofsky's own data by Freeman and a team of eight researchers, we can say conclusively that the theory is dead wrong. In fact it was Democrats, not Republicans, who were more disinclined to answer pollsters' questions on Election Day. In Bush strongholds, Freeman and the other researchers found that fifty-six percent of voters completed the exit survey -- compared to only fifty-three percent in Kerry strongholds.(38) ''The data presented to support the claim not only fails to substantiate it,'' observes Freeman, ''but actually contradicts it.''

What's more, Freeman found, the greatest disparities between exit polls and the official vote count came in Republican strongholds. In precincts where Bush received at least eighty percent of the vote, the exit polls were off by an average of ten percent. By contrast, in precincts where Kerry dominated by eighty percent or more, the exit polls were accurate to within three tenths of one percent -- a pattern that suggests Republican election officials stuffed the ballot box in Bush country.(39)

''When you look at the numbers, there is a tremendous amount of data that supports the supposition of election fraud,'' concludes Freeman. ''The discrepancies are higher in battleground states, higher where there were Republican governors, higher in states with greater proportions of African-American communities and higher in states where there were the most Election Day complaints. All these are strong indicators of fraud -- and yet this supposition has been utterly ignored by the press and, oddly, by the Democratic Party.''

The evidence is especially strong in Ohio. In January, a team of mathematicians from the National Election Data Archive, a nonpartisan watchdog group, compared the state's exit polls against the certified vote count in each of the forty-nine precincts polled by Edison/Mitofsky. In twenty-two of those precincts -- nearly half of those polled -- they discovered results that differed widely from the official tally. Once again -- against all odds -- the widespread discrepancies were stacked massively in Bush's favor: In only two of the suspect twenty-two precincts did the disparity benefit Kerry. The wildest discrepancy came from the precinct Mitofsky numbered ''27,'' in order to protect the anonymity of those surveyed. According to the exit poll, Kerry should have received sixty-seven percent of the vote in this precinct. Yet the certified tally gave him only thirty-eight percent. The statistical odds against such a variance are just shy of one in 3 billion.(40)

Such results, according to the archive, provide ''virtually irrefutable evidence of vote miscount.'' The discrepancies, the experts add, ''are consistent with the hypothesis that Kerry would have won Ohio's electoral votes if Ohio's official vote counts had accurately reflected voter intent.''(41) According to Ron Baiman, vice president of the archive and a public policy analyst at Loyola University in Chicago, ''No rigorous statistical explanation'' can explain the ''completely nonrandom'' disparities that almost uniformly benefited Bush. The final results, he adds, are ''completely consistent with election fraud -- specifically vote shifting.''

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