A free thinker in the Heartland...

Monday, July 31, 2006

Gone fishing....

Sorry not feeling so hot. I hope to return soon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monopoly with a Debit Card

This is too funny... from the South Bend Tribune:

If you're passing Go and want to collect $200, better bring a debit card. A British version of the classic Monopoly board game released this week substitutes a Visa-imprinted debit card for the stacks of yellow, blue and purple play money long hoarded by children worldwide.

Cheating just got a little tougher.

"We started looking at what Monopoly would look like if we designed it today," said Chris Weatherhead, a Britain-based spokesman for Hasbro Inc., which makes the best-selling board game. "We noticed consumers are using debit cards, carrying around cash a lot less."
In the new British version of Monopoly Here & Now, players type amounts into a palm-sized scanner and swipe their debit cards to seal the deal.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fun Weekend...

I shall return... had a fun weekend and have to recover.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Puppy Vlogging Friday

If I am anything, it is an equal opportunity exploiter of teh cuteness... here are cute puppies.

Friday Cat Vlogging


I know this has been around these internet tubes, but hey it is still funny.


Who doesn't like dancing cartoon animals?

Oil from the sea

Can we get oil from plankton? Seems a spanish company thinks so. From Yahoo News/Reuters:

A Spanish company claimed on Thursday to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel.

Vehicle tests are some time away because the company, Bio Fuel Systems, has not yet tried refining the dark green coloured crude oil phytoplankton turn into, a spokesman said.

Bio Fuel Systems is a wholly Spanish firm, formed this year in eastern Spain after three years of research by scientists and engineers connected with the University of Alicante.

"Bio Fuel Systems has developed a process that converts energy, based on three elements: solar energy, photosynthesis and an electromagnetic field," it said in a press dossier.

Sounds fishy.

GET IT, FISHY! It's punny!

Chocola is getting desperate?

I see Chris is throwing everything and anything to see if it sticks to Joe Donnelly. From the South Bend Tribune:

A video allegedly portraying military caskets being returned from foreign battlefields, shown earlier this month on a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Web site, has prompted U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola, R-Bristol, to attack Democratic rival Joe Donnelly.

Meanwhile, the DCCC is airing a new radio ad attacking the incumbent 2nd District congressman.

"I find it reprehensible that the DCCC would raise campaign money by exploiting the ultimate sacrifices of our brave men and women," Chocola said in a statement.

As Joe points out, said video is not on any websites anymore, and if it were he wouldn't support it... but that won't stop Chocola.

Donnelly subsequently issued a statement in which he said that, "As far as I know, this ad is no longer on the committee's Web site, and I would not have supported it. I have always supported and stood with our troops and I always will."

On Tuesday, Chocola sent out a follow-up statement criticizing the DCCC and quoting an article in a Washington, D.C., newspaper, The Hill, which said in a Tuesday story that Donnelly defended the ad before it was removed, saying it was "appropriate and important." The story used those words but did not have them in quotation marks.

Donnelly spokeswoman Katie Nee said the paper talked to her, not Donnelly, and that she made the remarks without consulting him.

"Joe has been consistent all along in saying that neither party should use that imagery in political ads," she said.

Nee was quoted in the story as saying, "Joe's not in favor of cutting and running, but he feels it is appropriate to see what sacrifices we have made."

How bout we point out how much free time Chocola has for his golf game?

Golf Digest has finally answered a question that’s vexed the congressional-lobbying complex for years: Who’s the best golfer in Congress?

Turns out it’s Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.). The second-term lawmaker sports a tidy 0.5 handicap. (Simply defined, a player’s handicap reveals how many strokes he’s expected to shoot over par in a round.)

Chocola says modestly, “I play boring golf. I don’t hit it far, but I hit it straight. I just plod along.”

Jeez Chris, where ever do you find the time to play golf while working for us?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Feeling the summer heat

So how hot is it? Well in New York, some places of employment are volunteering to shut down to ease the strain on the power grid. From the Commissar, we see this has hit him directly.

They closed Citigroup’s building in Long Island City and people are leaving Citigroup Center here in Manhattan too, although they haven’t closed this building yet. On my boss’s instruction, I am going home.

So how do we fix our power needs? More coal burning plants? More nuclear plants? Do we have everyone start putting solar panels on their roofs?

I wouldn't mind seeing more nuclear plants, but nuclear scares people so.

And while you are at the Commissar's... check out his Show Trials. Tell him Mark sent ya. :)

Intermission Time

They actually play some of this at my drive-in... this is too funny!

Drive In Movie

Lets all go see a Movie!

One of the great things about Indiana is that we still have Drive-In movie theatres. With our return to daylight saving, some drive-ins are closing down for good... so lets go back to make some memories while we can. And maybe if we keep going, they won't close down after all!


My favorite drive in is Tri-Way Drive-In just north of Plymouth, Indiana. It has three screens, double features on all screens, lots of parking, and a concession stand that has anything and everything! You can tune into the movie with your FM radio, and just enjoy the movie in the comfort of your car... heck we spend a lot on our cars so why not enjoy them? I also love Dusk-to-Dawn movie shows! In case you never heard of a Dusk-to-Dawn, it is a movie night where four films are shown, so movies play from dusk all the way to dawn. I have great memories as a kid going to these and trying to stay up to watch all the movies. Tri-Way used to have 2 of them a year, but now they have one at the end of summer. Well one is better than none. There are more drive-ins around our state, and I know more to my south, west, east and northeast. If you are in Indiana and want to know where your closest drive in is, check the list here and here. If you don't live in Indiana, you can check on your state here and here.

So common, lets all go to a Movie!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Any Marines in the house?

My dad was a marine, and I am soo showing him this video...

I am mean that way. This was by Navy guys... wonder if there is a revenge video out there?

Today's Video

To quote a comment left for this video... "wow someone has way too much free time."

Donnelly leading in early poll

Joe Donnelly has a 10 point lead over Chris Chocola in a recent poll taken by the Donnelly campaign. From the South Bend Tribune:

The poll, which was taken for the Donnelly campaign on July 10-13 by Cooper & Secrest Associates, a national polling firm based in Alexandria, Va., asked 504 likely election voters whether they would vote for Donnelly or Chocola if the election were held today.

The result: Forty-eight percent said they would vote for Donnelly, 38 percent said they would vote for Chocola and 14 percent said they were undecided. The margin for error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

According to the Cooper & Secrest release, the poll also showed Chocola with a 34 percent positive job performance rating and a 60 percent negative rating.

Now before popping the corks on the champagne... lets remember this is one poll and there is a LOT of time between now and November... and we have yet to see all the negative attack ads run. It is going to get alot worse before it gets better so lets keep on fighting and Vote for Joe in November!!!

Sick SOB

I can't believe this... some asshole killed a kitten? From the South Bend Tribune:

When Dennis Witte's neighbor appeared at his doorstep last week, reportedly carrying the head of Witte's 5-week-old kitten, Witte was in total disbelief.

"He took the kitten and cut its head off with a knife," Witte said in a phone interview Tuesday. "He brought the head to my apartment and showed it to me. ... She was a defenseless animal."

Police found the kitten's body in a trash can outside Witte's apartment in the 500 block of East Street. They could not find the weapon allegedly used to kill the kitten, but Witte believes a knife similar to a machete was used to behead his long-haired calico kitten, which he appropriately had named Two-face for her two-toned appearance.

Why did the guy do it? He had a "reason"...

But somehow Two-face allegedy found her way inside the neighbor's apartment and defecated next to his motorcycle, which prompted the neighbor to kill the cat, Witte said.

Oh what a sick, sick, sick, evil guy. What do you think the punishment should be for this? I myself believe he needs to be introduced to a hot poker in the arse... but I am sure we can come up with more creative punishments.

UPDATE: The SOB has been charged with with a felony.

The Elkhart man accused of beheading his neighbor's kitten turned himself into police.

Michael Pifer was arrested Wednesday morning.

Police say he admits taking his neighbor's cat and cutting its head off.

Police say Pifer told them the cat kept coming in his home and he just, "snapped."

Pifer is charged with a class D felony count of animal cruelty.

And actually, it gets worse... you won't believe this.

Neighbors say he killed the kitten and put its head in his freezer.

When police came knocking, they say he had no hesitation turning over the evidence and telling them why he did what he did.
Witte says, "He was laughing and he had the kitten’s head in his left hand and then the big ole' knife that he used. He said the kitten pooped on the floor by his motorcycle."

Gilbert witnessed, "He had the cat's body in his hand by the tail with his head gone, he was bragging about what he had done and he thought it was funny."

Then neighbors say Pifer threw the body in a trash can and put the kittens head in his freezer, behind the door of his apartment, where the sign in the window reads: "Warning I don't call 911."

What is the penelty for that felony? From the above source: [the felony] could put him behind bars for up to three years as well as receiving a steep fine of $10,000.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hot Hot Hot...

As Shakespeare's Sister points out, it is Hot Hot Hot...

Is Bayh the best candidate?

I want to repost the entire post by Bill Earl about how Sen. Evan Bayh is our best canidate for President in '08. YOu can find the entire article here.

"...A recent state poll showed him trailing far behind other potential Democratic contenders..."


So says the AP today in their review of Senator Bayh's speech.

And just WHO are these "other potential Democratic contenders" that the Senator is "trailing far behind" according to AP?

Are THESE who they mean?

> Kerry. We already ran him. He lost. Americans didn't like him or Mrs. Heinz. Too aloof, patrician, dour. "Swiss" cheese on a Philly cheesesteak.

> Edwards. We already ran him, too. He lost. No executive experience. None.

> Warner. No foreign policy/national security experience. None.

> Hillary? Won only ONCE in NY, a blue state, whereas Bayh has won FIVE TIMES in a red state. No comparison.

> Biden. No executive experience. None. The Kinnock speech. Plagerism allegations. Yesterday's papers.

> Clark. Silent when Michael Moore blantantly misspoke about military "titles." Never won an election. Not even for dogcatcher.

> Vilsack. No foreign policy/national security experience. None.

> Richardson. Golden resume, but recent comments regarding eyebrow-raising behaviors around his staff, and unearthed facts about his baseball "career" are not positives.

> Gore. Didn't even win his own state in 2000. Should have done better WITHOUT FLORIDA. Our "creator" of the Internet has a lot of old baggage that they'll bring up all over again.

> Feingold. Another divorce. A one-issue candidate. As much as America SHOULD BE ready to elect a Jew POTUS, are we REALLY? Nationwide? Especially with Israel in the news every night?

So, AP, are THOSE the names Bayh is so far behind?

Just WHAT negatives can you say about Evan Bayh?

I'll answer my own question.

The answer is NONE.

But we CAN say that he has never lost a election, and has won FIVE TIMES IN A ROW in Indiana.

I do not like the spin AP put on Bayh today, seeming to dismiss him as way behind the others as if he has no chance, and therefore why pay attention to someone so "far behind" according to AP.

Well, here's "news" to AP.

Evan Bayh is going to WIN.

Then eat your words AP.


I link, therefore I am...

You know, to have proper perspective you really need a view that is opposite of yours. I myself like to visit The Commissar.

He will tell brute honesty... so check him out.

By popular demand

Here is a funny video... WARNING! For Mature Audiences ONLY!!

or to see a viking beat up somebody click here.

In today's video...

Bush is caught talking candidly on a microphone.

How to Lie...

What article prompted this editorial? From the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette:

At first blush, it might seem that Gov. Mitch Daniels’ new administration is doing a great job steering Indiana’s public purchasing dollars to companies in the state.

A recent “Buy Indiana” report tracking state expenditures on goods and services from July 1, 2005, to June 19, 2006, shows that 81 percent of the dollars are going to Indiana entities.

That is if you consider the University of Cincinnati and the University of Utah to be from Indiana.

Wanna read the rest of it?

The state’s report does – qualifying them as Indiana companies under the “principal place of business” designation.

Or at least it did until a recent analysis by The Journal Gazette identified the errors.

Those payments were small – $4,000 and $41,000 respectively – but represent cause for concern with the rest of the data as several other flaws in calculating the numbers make the overall percentage suspect.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration what some call an inflated definition of an Indiana business.

Before the 2004 governor’s race, many had never considered where the state’s procurement dollars were going. But then-candidate Daniels made it a key plank of his campaign. At the time, according to published reports, the Democratic administration reported at least 15 percent of the professional services and 40 percent of the goods bought were from out-of-state companies.

Daniels conducted news conferences and aired critical TV ads. He also took a swipe during a debate about the state’s purchase of rock salt from Illinois and Michigan.

(The state, ironically, signed a purchase agreement running August 2005 through this month for $1.3 million in rock salt from a Kansas-based company.)

Daniels promised to get the purchasing number to 90 percent with help from a price preference for Indiana firms bidding on state contracts.

The Journal Gazette examined a public purchasing database provided by the Indiana Department of Administration that contained more than 31,000 payments to various entities during the past fiscal year.

The total dollars flowing out were more than $2.1 billion with 81.1 percent, or $1.7 billion, labeled as going to Indiana vendors.

Not all of the payments are specific to a contract because items that are less than $25,000 can be bought through a purchase order. In fact, of the 24,321 Indiana vendor payments, more than 21,000 were less than $25,000.

“I’m pleased with the overall improvement but you’re right, there’s still individual things we trip over that we want to change,” Daniels said. “Many of the examples that caught my eye originally have been corrected.”

For instance, he touted the fact the state recently began buying Indiana-based Dixie Chopper lawn mowers.

Word games

Department of Administration Commissioner Carrie Henderson, whose agency is in charge of state procurement, said the original definition of an Indiana business included having its principal place of business here, paying a majority of its payroll to Hoosiers and employing Indiana residents as a majority of its workforce.

In 2005, Daniels and a Republican-dominated legislature added two other definitions – a business that makes significant capital investments in Indiana or has a substantial positive economic effect on Indiana. Specifically, that means a minimum $5 million capital investment or being designated among the top 500 companies in terms of number of employees or taxes paid in Indiana.

“The category was expanded a little bit to include larger employers that weren’t necessarily headquartered here but who had really meaningful investment in this state and employed a lot of people and … contributed to the economy in ways that were important,” Henderson said.

The change has caused some consternation – partly because it makes it difficult to compare old stats against new stats. It has also made it possible for major national and international companies that are headquartered elsewhere to receive the benefit of being an Indiana company.

Some examples include Wal-Mart, Aramark Correctional Services and General Revenue Corp.

Aramark, based in Philadelphia, reaped $21 million in the past year after gaining a major Department of Correction contract to provide food to prisons. Of the company’s 240,000 employees in 20 countries, 2,855 are in Indiana.

It qualifies as an Indiana company because it is a top 500 company.

Cincinnati-based General Revenue Corp., meanwhile, took home $13 million for administering the state’s tax amnesty program. Again, it qualified because it is a top 500 company.

Preferential treatment

So what benefits do companies receive in the procurement process if they are deemed Indiana businesses?

If the commodity or good is acquired through a straight bidding process, which is basically a price competition, an Indiana company automatically gets between 1 percent and 5 percent of its bid price lopped off for scoring purposes.

The percentage goes down as the contracts get larger.

For more complex service arrangements, officials use a Request for Proposal process. Henderson said each bid is scored on a 100-point basis.

A quarter of those points relate to the Buy Indiana program, including whether the bidder counts as an Indiana company.

“We truly are an Indiana company and a lot of our competitors come from out of state,” said Geoffrey Buck, CEO of InteCare Inc. of Indianapolis. “They do all kind of things to make themselves look like an Indiana company.”

And, he noted, they end up getting the same preferences as Indiana firms.

InteCare received $34.7 million from the state since July 2005. Buck said almost all of the money passed through the non-profit organization to community mental health centers and other mental health and addiction providers to pay for services.

He appreciates the state work but acknowledged it is hard for his group to compete.

Local perspective

At least two local business owners say the Buy Indiana initiative is paying off – both for their companies and for other in-state businesses.

Kathy Carrier, owner of Briljent LLC, said Indiana is “by far” the firm’s biggest client, accounting for about one-third of its revenue. Fort Wayne-based Briljent provides services in the areas of technical writing and documentation, curriculum design, learning assessments, hiring and training.

Briljent employs more than 60 people and expects to be at more than 70 by the end of July.

Among the firm’s contracts are an agreement to translate a Web site into Spanish and provide a full-time technical staff person to the Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction; a contract to map the processes in the Attorney General’s accounting and human resources areas and identify opportunities for automation; an agreement to assist with the basic actuarial analysis for property and casualty insurance rates for the Department of Insurance; and a contract to deliver cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other training to health care workers across the state for the Department of Correction.

The firm is the primary company on two contracts and a subcontractor on 38 more.

“The Buy Indiana program has really changed the landscape for the better,” Carrier said.

Some of those winning bidders are based out of state, and Carrier doesn’t have a problem with the five criteria state officials have developed to allow companies to be granted “Indiana business” status.

“I know (the Indiana Department of Administration) to be very, very careful and thoughtful and pro-business and pro-Indiana,” she said. “And they’ve been very helpful.”

Tom Borne, company president for the Asher Agency, a Fort Wayne-based advertising firm, has handled numerous state contracts over the years. The company is busily working on marketing for the Indiana State Fair, which begins Aug. 9.

In September, the state put all media buying under one umbrella. Asher won that $10 million-to-$12 million contract, which has been renewed, Borne said. The agency also won a contract to work on the Department of Revenue’s tax amnesty program.

Borne says the Daniels administration has done a good job of selecting in-state companies for contracts.

“I truly am impressed that this administration is looking for results. They’re not looking at whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat,” he said. “I admire the governor for living up to what he says.”

Questionable records

The reliability of the state’s data is a problem, though.

One major issue relates to a large part of the Indiana vendor list categorized as “ZIP code.” It accounts for $461 million – or 27 percent – of the Indiana vendor total.

Department of Administration Deputy Commissioner Kevin Ober said these companies have not yet self-certified. For new contracts, administration staff verifies their status as Indiana companies before an award.

But most of the dollars tracked in the database relate to previously existing contracts. When the new Indiana definitions were put in last year a note was sent to all vendors asking them to self-certify as Indiana companies if they qualified.

Those who failed to do so fell automatically into the ZIP code category, which essentially means their checks go to Indiana addresses.

The Department of Administration has a team slowly going through those to make sure they are indeed Indiana companies. In fact, when the new reporting methodology was started last October, companies recognized by ZIP code constituted half of the Indiana calculation.

In the meantime, the $461 million is still counted toward the administration’s Indiana number.

To confuse things further, two of the top 10 vendors are quasi-state agencies themselves – the State Office Building Commission and the Indiana Transportation Finance Authority, which has now been folded into the Indiana Finance Authority.

They are charged with handling some of the state’s major building and road construction projects, and the payments represent dollars paid by state agencies for services performed by the entities.

Their combined $186 million in payments count toward the Indiana vendor list because the entities exist solely in Indianapolis. The problem is they are known legally as “bodies corporate and politic,” and the Department of Administration’s report does not track their spending.

That means taxpayers don’t know whether that $186 million went to Hoosier firms to do the work or provide the services.

Another oddity is that some companies are counted on both the in-state and out-of-state vendor lists. For example, Walsh Construction Co. of Illinois ranks ninth on the Indiana vendor list, bringing in $27 million since July 2005.

But it also reaped an additional $20 million of taxpayer money as an out-of-state company.

Department of Administration officials said Walsh is a national company with a regional office in LaPorte that did not self-certify. As a result, the spending is classified depending on the two different addresses where the state has sent payments.

Secure in the statistics

Despite the confusion, Henderson is confident in the numbers.

“We think it is an accurate number, and we’ve been doing a lot of certification and audit to get us a lot of comfort. Plus the front end of the process is much improved, so I think the integrity of the number is good,” she said. “We’ve really committed to making sure that the numbers we have are real.”

A former Fort Wayne mayor, State Rep. Win Moses Jr., a Democrat, said he definitely cares where Indiana’s tax dollars go and is glad Daniels has made it an administration priority.

“I say this as a mayor who tried to buy locally because it makes a big difference in the vitality of your community,” he said. “The money ripples through the economy and people can buy homes.”

As a practical matter, he considers a vendor to be an Indiana company if the employees are living in the state and getting the money from the contract – something Daniels has stressed.

During the campaign, Daniels said “a storefront marketing operation is not enough; hire Hoosiers so the tax dollars recirculate here.”

But Moses does note that the definition shifted over time in a partisan move.

“It says more about the politics about the governor than any difference for Hoosiers,” he said. “The definitions don’t make common sense and they have been used in an apple-and-orange description, but as long as Hoosiers are working and the bulk of the dollars are staying in Indiana, I’m happy.”

State Rep. Randy Borror – a Fort Wayne Republican, former colleague of Daniels’ and the man who carried the governor’s controversial Toll Road lease legislation – thinks “they are doing as well as any other administration has done with more sensitivity to it.”

He noted there is a fine line between protecting a state’s economy and creating an un-level playing field. As a free-market enthusiast he believes competition will ultimately solve the issue.

That’s why he’s not enamored of the state preference given in contract scoring.

“Anytime we try to manipulate the market we find problems,” Borror said. “I believe the market over time will treat those companies fairly if they have a proper product price and a good product.”

Daniels said the state won’t – and shouldn’t – ever reach 100 percent.

“There will be some (contracts) where there just isn’t a given good or service available in the state and there will be some where to protect the taxpayer interest there’s just too big a savings available elsewhere,” Daniels said. “So we set 90 percent as our goal and I don’t know if that’s attainable, but we’ve gotten two-thirds of the way there.”

How to change figures? Just Lie...

I find the editorials in the Indy Star funny... even when they try to come down hard on Republicans and Daniels, they do it saying they are sorry the whole time...

For instance, this editorial from the Indy Star:

When is an Indiana company really an Indiana company? The best answer, from a practical standpoint, is "When it's putting its money in Hoosier pockets."

On that basis, the Daniels administration is right to trumpet its progress in directing state dollars to in-state businesses. But to use a time-honored saying of the marketplace, officials should have added "caveat emptor" to their "Buy Indiana" report. Let the taxpayers beware of an apples-and-oranges comparison.

The governor's office is able to boast that slightly over 81 percent of goods and services were bought in-state last fiscal year, a substantial increase over the generally agreed upon percentage beforehand. During the 2004 election campaign, Gov. Mitch Daniels pledged to lift the figure to 90 percent.

Ok you got the "Daniels is great" part out of the way, how about addressing the problem you refered to in your title?

The Republican regime might appear to be leaving its Democratic predecessor in the dust. But, as an analysis by the Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne shows, "in-state" can have rather broad application. To cite just a few examples, the University of Cincinnati, Philadelphia-based Aramark and Arkansas-based Wal-Mart qualify.

It used to be that a business was certifiably Hoosier if it had its headquarters here, paid most of its wages to Indiana residents or employed Hoosiers as a majority of its work force.

Last year, the GOP-led Indiana General Assembly extended the label to any enterprise that invests at least $5 million in the state or ranks among the top 500 in terms of workers or taxes.

Presto! Eighty-one percent.

Note to self, must read Fort Wayne papers more often. Ok... so with this bit of news... time to yell "liar liar pants on fire" at Daniels and company!!!

That's not to disparage the progress the administration has made on behalf of Indiana businesses, directly and indirectly. Lots of Hoosier-headquartered employers, present and future, will be glad to call Honda and Toyota family. And we must remember, it is government's mission, in buying paper clips or luring factories, to make the best deal for the taxpayers regardless of the impact on specific enterprises, job-seekers or towns.

DANG... you came soo close. You were right there, before caving in... Come on, say it with me... LIAR. It is ok... LIAR! When people are untrue about things they say, that makes them a LIAR. Jeez. Oh well, that is what you get with the Indy Star Editorial page.

And now, in Bayh news...

From the Indianapolis Star:

Sen. Evan Bayh promised Monday to make the middle class a centerpiece of his presidential campaign if he decides to seek the White House in 2008.

"If the president will not speak for our middle class, I will. And if Democrats want to lead this nation, we must," the Indiana Democrat said in a speech delivered both in Washington and Iowa, the state that traditionally kicks off the presidential nominating process.

"We may consider ourselves the party of the middle class," he said, "but too many middle-class Americans no longer consider us their party."

His proposals to change that would address health-care costs, retirement accounts, buying fuel-efficient vehicles and paying for a college education.

Personally, I think Bayh is our best candidate for president in '08, but hey that is just me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Wingnuts... With an emphasis on the "nuts"...

Whilst reading the Indy Star, I read a little editorial called "On brink of war -- again." Nice little piece, it seemed alright... it called for diplomacy in the middle east...

Again, the Middle East is on the brink of war. And if all-out war does break out, the U.S. will likely again be smack dab in the middle. After media attention shifted somewhat away from the Middle East as the U.S. and several other nations upped the ante against North Korea in an effort to halt development of nuclear weapons, the tensions in Israel again boiled over.

With Israel battling Hezbollah guerrillas from Lebanon and crossing its southern border, along with Palestinian aggression from Gaza, the possibility of peace becomes bleaker every hour. How will the U.S. respond if its strongest ally in the Middle East declares war, severely heightening tensions in the region? I hope President BushÂ’s newfound respect for diplomacy will win out over the prospect of yet another war.

Sitting in Indiana, the state that has somehow supposedly become AmericaÂ’s No. 1 terror target, I can only hope that cooler heads prevail. While it may be a little late to mend diplomacy fences after years of bullish foreign policy eroded relationships with other countries, I suppose it would be better late than never.

Not bad. I wouldn't say it is leaning politically right or left, and diplomacy isn't a bad idea. Now editorials in this section of the paper are submitted by high school or college kids, so I wouldn't go fisking anything written there... because what if it is a 16 year old? Well it doesn't stop other people...

So Zach, how do you respond when some one say, robs you on the street of your wallet? Do you "negotiate"? Do you fight back or do you use "diplomacy'? And if they don't want to act civililized (why should they, they are thieves) what do you do? Offer them something else? If someone sneaks into your house time and time again and threatens your safety and well-being, at what point do you fight back? Ever? Or do you continually act like the namby pamby pushover? Have you ever heard of game theory? It states that the players are trying to get as much as they can for their efforts. The opponents are not both good guys trying to be fair. If one is perceived by the other as a sissy, the other is going to take advantage of him. I hope to God that you are not contemplating a career in politics. That you have the right to vote is frightening enough.

Well... ok someone is angry... but more won't do it.

Once again ol' "Traitor Zach" uses the terrorist assaults on Israel as a chance to to take a swipe at Bush. "Bullying foreign policy" he says.

It's amazing the terrorist apologists that not only roam the blogs here, but are actual columnists.
Note how Zach calls Hezebollah "guerillas", but not terrorists. I guess targeting Israeli civilians with rockets is a "guerilla act". I assume Zach believes that the 911 terrorists were also "guerillas".

What a shame the Indy Star continues to give the pro-terrorist folks an "official role" to spew anti-Israel and anti-US propaganda.


Anyway, I guess my question is how is all out war going to help? Really, if we "shock and awe" our way into Syria, Iran, and heck even North Korea... What do we do next? Do we try setting up "new" democracies like with Iraq... and look how that is turning out for us. I love how some just want a couple nukes dropped on the region... yea like THAT won't bother other nations. Is this idea of war more that you can make them submit by killing enough people, or destroying enough of their infrastructure? How would one know they were killing the terrorists, when "they all look alike?"

Now mind you, I assumed invading said countries would be quick and easy... I really doubt that would be possible. Plus what sides would Russia, China, and the rest of the world take?


Crossposted to Loaded Mouth.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stem Cell Research

I am all for stem cell research... but it seems Bush is going to veto any bills that come his way. From the Indy Star:

Congress and the Bush administration are heading toward their first veto fight as the Senate prepares for a vote that would lift the administration's limits on federally funded research on human embryos.

If the embryonic stem cell bill becomes law, it will be because Republicans like Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar join most Democrats in voting for it.

Lugar, unlike many Republicans, supports stem cell research to potentially find cures for debilitating and incurable diseases. But Lugar believes there should be some safeguards, according to his spokesman, and hasn't decided how he will vote Tuesday.

Come on Lugar, you would be THE MAN if you vote for it.

The rest of Indiana's congressional delegation has split along party lines. Democrats Sen. Evan Bayh, Rep. Julia Carson and Rep. Pete Visclosky support federally funded stem cell research. The state's seven GOP House members oppose it.
The bill, which already has passed the House and enjoys broad support in national polls, would give medical researchers access to surplus frozen embryos from fertility clinics, donated by couples who no longer need them.

Abortion showdown in Miss.

From the South Bend Tribune:

Hundreds of abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters squared off in a contentious rally Saturday with both sides proclaiming Mississippi a new key battleground state in the fight over Roe v. Wade.

The National Organization for Women and other abortion rights groups gathered at a park in downtown Jackson across from the governor's mansion, vowing to counter an eight-day rally by the national anti-abortion group, Operation Save America.

Operation Save America is holding rallies across Jackson in an effort to force the closure of Mississippi's only abortion clinic - a move NOW and abortion rights advocates say would chip away at Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortions.

A bomb threat halted the rally, leading to angry exchanges between the groups. The Jackson Police Department cleared the park and blew up a package found by a bomb squad. Officers would not say what the package contained.

A bomb threat? I won't assume what side did that, but why are there people crazy enough to terrorize that way here?

Anyway, Mississippi only has one clinic in the entire state?

Fort Wayne saving on gas?

It seems that Allen County made a great decision... from the South Bend Tribune:

Allen County officials who opted last year to purchase gasoline at a fixed price say the county is now saving more than $3,000 a week amid rising gas prices.

For the year to date, based on an average weekly purchase of 6,154 gallons of unleaded gasoline, the northern Indiana county's savings total $19,763 thanks to the payoff on its gamble.
They opted for a fixed price, even though on Nov. 16 — when the price was locked-in — gas was actually cheaper on the open market.

The county's per-gallon price is $1.8843, plus an 18-cent-per-gallon road tax. Allen County, as a unit of government, doesn't pay state sales or federal excise taxes other consumers pay.

From January until the end of March, the market price remained below the county's fixed price.

Since then, however, prices have risen, and could go up even higher this summer due to growing unrest in the Middle East.

Something tells me my county didn't do the same thing. Will we see Four Dollar gas by the end of summer?

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Video War... HO! Go Axis of the Really Annoying!

Total Recall'n

I had this video originally from another site, but it would automatically play. Whenever I opened my page. THAT IS ANNOYING (and hey, I should know.)

(late)Friday Cat Vloging

Did you catch that? Cat Vloging, not Cat Blogging. What is vloging? This!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A rumble can be heard...

What is that sound... blasts? Something is up... I feel a video war coming....


How many presidents can you name?

Do Americans want Dems in Power?

It seems so, according to a poll from the South Bend Tribune:

Republicans are in jeopardy of losing their grip on Congress in November. With less than four months to the midterm elections, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that Americans by an almost 3-to-1 margin hold the GOP-controlled Congress in low regard and profess a desire to see Democrats wrest control after a dozen years of Republican rule.

Further complicating the GOP outlook to turn things around is a solid percentage of liberals, moderates and even conservatives who say they'll vote Democratic. The party out of power also holds the edge among persuadable voters, a prospect that doesn't bode well for the Republicans.

The election ultimately will be decided in 435 House districts and 33 Senate contests, in which incumbents typically hold the upper hand. But the survey underscored the difficulty Republicans face in trying to persuade a skeptical public to return them to Washington.

Well what this means is that we can't be lazy but keep working to get our local canidates elected. I don't care much for polls, the end results are all that is important. That said, I predict the closer to election time, the more attack ads will be on tv, print, internet, and radio. Incumbents are reelected 98% of the time, so the road ahead isn't going to be easy at all.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fight on!

Oh no, it is Falco talkin' all... foreign!

Fighting Vids

It seems Sadly, No! is still attacking blogs with their vile videos... this needless agression cannot stand. Time to fire back!

UPDATE: It seems Roxanne has fired some big bombs at Sadly, No!... Will this war ever end???

UPDATE II: Oh Sadly, No! is going down quickly... Marita hits them with a monk... and comment bombs are flying left and right at Sadly, No!

The "official" Snakes on a Plane Music Video...

Oh you know you wanna watch it. You know you do. It might have Samual L. Jackson saying his opinion of the reptiles on that aviation vehicle.

How not to get traffic to your blog

Some people are all about the numbers with this blogging thing... they want TRAFFIC! So how does one get traffic? I dunno, I get like 5 people a day. I do know how not to get traffic... and let me show you two examples.

First... you can't be a crazy evil troll who threatens kids. If her goal was to get traffic though... mission accomplished.

Second... you can't be stupid. Yet again, if it was your goal to get a lot of traffic, bullseye.

Class, dismissed.

Posting with ease...

So you have a blogger website, and you want posting to be easy. But that blogger dashboard is... well it sucks. Big time. Then when you go to update, you either get a quick upload, or a slow, slow death. Are you asking yourself, "Is there a better way?"

Well there is! Firefox is a heck of a browser, and with the Performancing add-on, you can post at anytime, from any webpage... quickly and easily. I use it all the time now, and have had few problems with it. So if you want to try something new, give it a shot.

This endorsement was brought to you by the Letter B and the Number 6.

Another sequel... but I still want to see it

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Indiana, back in black?

We have a budget surplus in Indiana... but. From the Indianapolis Star:

For the first time in three years, Indiana has a surplus in its primary checking account, but Gov. Mitch Daniels warned against anyone planning a spending spree.
Still, Daniels said the surplus of more than $370 million in the state's general fund -- achieved through spending restraint and some greater-than-expected growth in tax revenues -- does give the state some flexibility heading into next year's budget-writing session.

I know what you are thinking, this is because of the toll road lease... well that money isn't included according to the article. But we are not in the black yet though...

There is a big asterisk.

Indiana owes schools, local governments and universities $622 million in payments that had been delayed in 2002 to help the state make ends meet. Schools received $156 million of that in January, and Daniels said he "well might" announce today, as he travels to several Indiana cities, that more of the delayed payments will be repaid.

"We are in this unexpectedly stronger position. Being so far ahead of schedule does give us new flexibility, and we are looking at it this very day," he said.

What do the Democrats say?

Democrats countered that the budget was balanced on the backs of property taxpayers.

Daniels called that "bogus," noting that property taxes have dropped this year. House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, cited city after city where property taxes have instead soared and said the big hit is coming next year.

The 2005 budget, Bauer said, paid for education increases by pushing the costs off the state and onto property taxes. That budget also capped money the state sends to local government for property tax relief.

Lawmakers this year tried to ease that burden by passing a one-year increase of the homestead credit. But that is gone next year.
Bauer said that if there is any flexibility in next year's budget, "Job One is property tax relief, absolutely."

Steve Johnson, a former Republican state senator who is head of the nonpartisan Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, agrees property taxes are expected to rise next year. He said the budget passed in 2005 did contribute because it "effectively flat-lined education, so any increase essentially came through property taxes."

But, Johnson said, the Daniels administration and the legislature deserve credit for reining in spending during tough times.
Johnson said he's concerned about next year. The budget was based on a forecast of 5.3 percent economic growth -- a figure that caused him to laugh when he was asked if that was too optimistic.

"My first thought is that it's a wish and a prayer," he said.

I know property taxes here went UP. I will survey some fellow hoosiers in my area and get a better feeling on it. The "wish and a prayer" comment though left me wondering about the numbers though...

Indiana has the most terror targets

Homeland Security is feeling the heat for naming Indiana as the state with the most targets for terror. From the New York Times:

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

I don't know how to take this... New York is a big target, but the report is right that we do have a lot of outdoor places with little security... we are Indiana of course.

Here is the graph of the states, rank in risk, and number of terror sites:

One thing I did not like about the article was the joke at the end... why is it other states like to act like we are stupid?

One business owner who learned from a reporter that a company named Amish Country Popcorn was on the list was at first puzzled. The businessman, Brian Lehman, said he owned the only operation in the country with that name.

“I am out in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Lehman, whose business in Berne, Ind., has five employees and grows and distributes popcorn. “We are nothing but a bunch of Amish buggies and tractors out here. No one would care.”

But on second thought, he came up with an explanation: “Maybe because popcorn explodes?”

Har har har. As I last recall, we only get back about .80 cents of every federal tax dollar that goes to Washington DC. I am all for getting back what we pay in, why should other states get our tax dollars?


So do you see all the cool kids using collapsable/expandable posts? Do you want to do that too with your Blogger site? Then check out A Walk In The Clouds.

While working on the Tsunami Help blog, we needed a way to show/hide posts on the blog. This functionality had to address criteria that were unique ‘cos of the nature and magnitude of that blog. Existing bloggerhacks didn’t exactly solve the problem either. Here’s why they did not work for us, and the JavaScript-based solution ultimately written to solve the problem. If you are not interested in the long story of the issues we dealt with, you can skip past it and move to the solution directly. Of course reading the story will guarantee you some brownie points which might come in handy if you expect me to answer questions about this code, in the future :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Daily Show

Just for the sake of posting a video, here is an interview from one of my favorite tv shows of Sarah Vowell... who is one of the rarest breeds, a funny historian.

Go Indiana Dems!

What are the democrats doing in Indy? From the South Bend Tribune:

Senate Democrats on Monday proposed an array of political reforms that they said would enhance government openness and accountability, including an independent commission to set legislative pay and benefits.

The Democrats said the compensation commission would eliminate the inherent conflict that lawmakers face when they set their own compensation package.

Lawmakers' base pay is $11,600 per year, but per diems and expenses push the average compensation package to about $45,000, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.

"We need to step back and step out of that (process)," Senate Minority Leader Richard Young, D-Milltown, said.

There is more... I didn't want to copy the whole thing. I like the idea of lawmakers stepping back from pay decisions... Congress could take a page from that with voting a pay raise for themselves in 9 of the last 10 years. I like the ideas in this article, and wonder what else they got planned?

Not a good use of a Bible

This is just... well you read it. From the Indianapolis Star:

A jail inmate pleaded guilty to charges that he asked his wife to smuggle cocaine to him inside two Bibles.

Anthony W. Duckworth, 32, pleaded guilty Monday in a Huntington County court to two counts of trafficking with an inmate. His wife, Amy M. Duckworth, 28, pleaded guilty to the same charges on June 19.

On March 10, Jail Commander Steve McIntyre intercepted one Bible that was to have gone to Anthony Duckworth’s cellmate, Joshua Gidley. McIntyre opened the ends of the spine, which had been glued shut, and found a plastic bag containing about 2 grams of cocaine, he said.

According to police reports, guards could not remember who had delivered the Bible to the jail in the city about 20 miles southwest of Fort Wayne. But on March 27, Sgt. Paul Douglas found a similar Bible with a lump in the spine and discovered two plastic bags inside. One contained cocaine and the other contained a substance later identified as tobacco.

Bar-code stickers led authorities to a Wal-Mart, where they found a Bible had been bought with a credit card. The receipt was signed by Amy Duckworth and a surveillance video showed her making the purchase, police said.

Investigators said she later admitted buying the Bibles but said someone else supplied the cocaine and that she enlisted two other people to deliver them to the jail, where her husband planned to sell the drugs.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tough on DUI's

There was an editorial in the Indianapolis Star about submitting to a breathalyzer test...

Our position: Willingness to submit to sobriety testing should be a prerequisite for driving.

A proposal to withhold plea agreements from drunken driving suspects who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test addresses the right problem. But it's the wrong remedy.

Melina Kennedy, Democratic candidate for Marion County prosecutor, has proposed the tougher policy. She notes that some motorists stopped on suspicion of drunken driving believe there is a tactical advantage in refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer and later pleading to a lesser charge. They reason that without test results, prosecutors are more willing to plea bargain.

Daniel Hodgkins, former head of the state advisory board of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told Star reporter Richard Walton that he supports Kennedy's proposal. He cited the case of Nancy Irsay, widow of former Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay who recently pleaded guilty to reckless driving in exchange for a prosecutor's agreement to drop a drunken driving charge against her.

Irsay refused blood-alcohol and field sobriety tests when she was arrested after traveling at nearly twice the speed limit through the intersection of 38th and Illinois streets in July 2003. Although a police report said she had an odor of alcohol on her breath, her eyes were bloodshot and her balance was unsteady, Irsay denied being drunk. She had a long list of witnesses prepared to testify she had little to drink at an event she attended earlier that night.

It's questionable how much Irsay benefited from refusing sobriety tests. Her refusal resulted in a mandatory one-year suspension of her driver's license, and the reckless driving charge cost her a $1,000 fine. A typical penalty for a first-time drunken driving offense is a 30-day license suspension and a $500 fine.

Motorists charged with drunken driving also can be convicted on the basis of a police officer's testimony or on video evidence from a patrol car's camera. Many trial judges view refusal to submit to sobriety tests as tantamount to an admission of guilt.

Furthermore, prosecutors shouldn't be deprived of the tool of plea-bargaining. In some cases -- and Irsay's may have been one -- there is contradictory evidence that often invites plea-bargaining regardless of Breathalyzer results.

Instead, a willingness to submit to sobriety testing should be a condition of holding a driver's license in Indiana.

In other words, refuse a Breathalyzer test and surrender your license indefinitely. And if you're driving drunk without a license, go directly to jail.

I have a unique view on this subject... I have had a DUI. I fully complied once pulled over... and the officer was nice to me. Looking back it was one of the worst mistakes I have ever made (I can't say the worst... you don't know how prone to big mistakes I am.)

Anyway, I still dunno if making the laws stricter will still mean equality down the road. Look, the poor can't afford good lawyers, so when they go to court... lets just say the representation isn't substantial. Now the Irsays of the world will pay top dollar to fight fight fight... so they will always get lighter sentences. That is the system... you get what you pay for. Representation wise, to speak.

There was a case where a lawyer in Wabash was found asleep at the wheel drunk, because he stopped for a train and just passed out there, who also argued his way down to a "reckless driving" charge. Why? Cause he invested his own time... and of course he has friends in the area.

So sure, strengthen the law... but please don't use the Irsays as the reason. The end results won't effect them.

Bayh in '08

From the Indianapolis Star:

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, fresh off testing the presidential political waters in Iowa, laid out for supporters on Sunday why he thinks he would make a good president.

The two-term Democrat believes his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee would help him come up with a "national security policy that's tough, but also is smart" and said his two terms as governor taught him "to actually implement things, make them work."
Speaking to about 85 party activists who spent three days learning how to help political candidates while the senator was in Iowa raising his visibility, Bayh said the nation needs someone with his kind of experience to be president "because the Oval Office is really not the right place for on-the-job training."

Bayh, a moderate Democrat who views himself as someone who can attract independents and Republicans, said his central theme would be to try to bring the country back together. He said the nation is more divided than at any time since the Vietnam War because the Bush administration has focused on dividing people.

"I just don't think we're going to get where we need to go as deeply polarized as we are," he said. "I do think I can be more of a force for reconciliation and I think that's vitally important to our country right now."

Bayh, whose father, Birch, was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976, said it's time for everyone in America to begin working together.

"In the long run, what's good for our neighbors and our communities and our country is also good for us. We have to expand people's definitions about what's good," he said.

Asked by one of the participants about what separates him from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bayh declined to answer, saying he wants to focus on his own message.

"It's really about what you're for, where you want to lead, what you stand for, what you hope to do," he said.

He urged those who attended the three-day Camp Bayh, who took part in sessions such as how to be a better candidate, developing campaign messages, fundraising and phone banking, to return home and get others involved.
"We have to convince them that they can make a difference," he said.

Bayh, as he has repeatedly in the past, said he is still deciding whether to run. He said whether he can raise enough money to be a viable candidate will be part of the decision, but not the primary factor. He said he likely will make a decision over Thanksgiving.
"This is a pretty profound decision and I just need some time to sit and reflect," he said.

After his 15-minute speech and 20 minutes of questions and answers, he told reporters he's not worried about the fact he's not widely known outside of Indiana and has low name recognition. He pointed out that four years ago at this time, Sen. Joe Lieberman was the leading candidate, former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt was second and not many people outside North Carolina knew who John Edwards was.

"John Edwards was 1 or 2 percent in the polls, about where I am now, and he obviously competed very well. So things can change," he said. "I feel optimistic. It is a David vs. Goliath situation in some respects. But as I recall, David did OK."

More Good News!

I always loved chocolate. From the Indianapolis Star:

Nestle USA announced today that it has selected Anderson for a new $359 million factory and distribution center.

The 880,000 square-foot facility will occupy 190 acres and churn out Nesquik Ready-to-Drink and Nestle Coffee-Mate Liquid products.
Nestle says it will hire nearly 300 hourly and salaried employees. Construction will begin later this year, with an anticipated opening in spring 2008.

Earlier news reports indicated the plant likely would come to Anderson.

I love covering good news... so you won't likely hear about the plant closings that are happening from me. They are out there too, but I like to be positive.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Something I didn't know

What else is our state finding difficult to pay? Pensions, it seems. From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Hoosier cities and towns with police and fire departments have a $3.3 billion problem – a problem no one knows how to solve.

Every unit of local government that hired police or firefighters before 1977 already owes millions of dollars under an old pension plan to their retirees, and the amount they owe will double in less than three years when the state stops paying its share of the expense.

County sheriff’s deputies are covered by other pension plans and are not affected. But the city of Fort Wayne will owe an estimated $241 million.

The plan was required by state law, but the state pays only half the cost. And even that cost-sharing is scheduled to end Jan. 1, 2009, leaving almost every local government in the state in the lurch.

“It’s an overwhelming problem for municipalities statewide,” said Andrea Johnson, deputy director of Indiana Cities and Towns, the state municipal lobby. “Without state relief, it’s devastating to municipal budgets.”

A good article to read. I don't have any answers, but I also didn't know how big of a problem it was becoming.

That's a big treasure chest

That Pirate movie is doing pretty well at the box office! From the Indianapolis Star:

Johnny Depp's boozy, woozy buccaneer Jack Sparrow has plundered the box office, with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" taking in a record $132 million in its first three days, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Disney's swashbuckling sequel sailed past the previous all-time best debut, 2002's "Spider-Man," which took in $114.8 million in its first weekend.

"Dead Man's Chest" also did nearly three times the business of its predecessor, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," which took in $46.6 million over opening weekend in 2003.

The sequel surpassed that total in its first day alone, taking in $55.5 million Friday to beat the previous single-day record of $50 million, set last year by "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith." With $44.7 million on Saturday, "Dead Man's Chest" also became the first movie to top $100 million in just two days.

I haven't seen it, but I want to. Superman Returns is being called a flop for not making 100 million in 5 days (and what is the deal? they will make more in DVD sales anyway). It has been a good movie summer so far.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Ever get that feeling that no one is paying attention to you? Like you are invisible or something. I hate that feeling.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Guess what I am watching this weekend?

I hope to watch it at one of our great Drive In movie theatres too!

This is cool!

Check out this site where you can see pictures of Indiana from the air! From the South Bend Tribune:

A new interactive Web site featuring high-resolution aerial photographs of Indiana allows users to zoom in on roads, lakes, fields — and even cars in driveways.

Indiana University and the Indiana Geological Survey host the site — www.indianamap.org — which includes information that can be used by planners, businesses and anyone who wants to see an aerial picture of their neighborhood. The site also includes transportation, elevation and water information.

"This is basically a one-stop location to be able to find these types of geographical data," said Rick Hill, assistant director for technical services with the Indiana Geological Survey.

Just a warning, I couldn't get it to work in either Firefox or IE. It keeps saying it is loading, then after a few minutes you get a little white box. The site might be acting up from all the extra traffic, my guess.

Hopefully you didn't have to go to the BMV this week

I saw the local BMV was closed for the holiday, and then read online that they were doing a computer upgrade over the holiday break. Like any computer upgrade, there are bound to be problems. From the Indianapolis Star:

All Santiago Morales wanted was a copy of his title for his '98 Firebird so he could sell it.

So he went to the nearest Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch Wednesday.

"I waited in line for 20 minutes, and they announced that everybody had to pay cash," the Southside resident said. "I didn't have cash."
He returned to the Virginia Avenue location the next day.

"I had cash, but they said the system was down," he said.

Morales wasn't the only customer turned away from the BMV this week. Two days after the bureau reopened its branches statewide after upgrading its computer system, it still was experiencing numerous glitches.

I am sure everything will be fixed quickly, but I am glad I didn't have to go there this week!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat: Five Questions with Joe Donnelly

Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat: Five Questions with Joe Donnelly

Check out this post! I am all for Joe this fall! Some highlights:

1. Why do you want to be a Congressman?

I want to be a Congressman because we need change in Washington. I will be an independent voice who will represent the people of the 2nd district - not the wealthy oil and pharmaceutical companies that have bought our Congress and are running our country. We need leaders who will stand up for good jobs, a better prescription drug plan for our seniors, and a real energy plan that will work to drive down skyrocketing gas prices.

Senator Bayh Video

This is sort of a test... lately I have been posting to the blog by Firefox add-on and not through blogger. It has worked fine (and quicker than blogger), but I haven't tried to post video yet. The leadup to the Iraq war were strange times, so I don't hold it against him for voting to give Bush the power to go to war... hindsight, you know?


Ever wonder if your feeds are working right? I am trying to check them out, but who knows... they might just be pretty buttons.

Bad Day

Some days you don't wanna go to work... well some gas station employees in South Bend feel the same. From the South Bend Tribune:

Carmen Pittman, manager of McClure Oil on Edison Road, said her gas station usually gets robbed about twice a year.

On Tuesday, it was robbed twice in one day.

The store was robbed at gunpoint early in the morning and then again late at night, according to police reports. Both robbers left the store with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The same clerk was working in the store during the robberies.

Good news for the unlucky employee is that:

"He's a very dependable employee," she said. "I feel bad for him. But he gets to go on vacation next weekend, so that will be good for him."

Oil prices are... well you know

Guess what is up... again... from the Indianapolis Star:

Oil prices soared to a record above $75 a barrel Wednesday, propelled by geopolitical tensions and a rally in gasoline that analysts said could send average U.S. pump prices past $3 a gallon by the weekend.
Light sweet crude for August delivery briefly surged to $75.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before easing back to $75.20, an increase of $1.27. Gasoline futures jumped by more than 6 cents to $2.284 a gallon. The last time front-month oil futures settled above $75 was April 21. The previous intraday high, also set April 21, was $75.35.

Oil prices are roughly 26 percent higher than they were a year ago but still below all-time inflation-adjusted highs of around $90.

I love how they always throw in that last part, that somehow knowing that the prices are not at "all time record" highs should help. I myself would love a hybrid car, not to be all environmental but to not be such a slave to oil. Cars that get 60 miles to the gallon sound great with prices like this.

Good News

Some fellow Hoosiers are awarded for being heros. From the Indianapolis Star:

Three Hoosiers are among the 15 newest recipients of the Carnegie Medal for Heroism, announced today in Pittsburgh.

Stephen M. Foster, 45, Indianapolis, twice entered the burning home Indianapolis home of Robert Leech, 92, and Hilda Frazier, 79 and pulled out the husband and wife on Dec. 26, 2004. Leech was treated for smoke inhalation and Frazier for burns. She died two days later.

David W. Bragg, 48, and Jerry L. Hale, 50, of Parker City dragged Timothy Hammer from railroad tracks on July 7, 2005, in Parker City, seconds before a train struck and destroyed his wheelchair. The wheelchair had become stuck in the track as Hale attempted to cross. Hammer sustained a broken leg and Bragg a minor elbow injury.

Hammer, of Cheyenne, Wyo., who was visiting family in the town about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis, fell out of his wheelchair and could not drag himself from the path of the oncoming train. Hale and Bragg grabbed him by his arms and pulled him away from the tracks just seconds before the train sped past, crushing the empty wheelchair.

These three are heros, and it is nice that they are getting recognition.

Gun Permits for Life?

There is nothing wrong with owning a gun, but I always feel uneasy about people who carry the guns around with them. Before they had to renew their license every 4 years, now they can get a permit for life. From the Indianapolis Star:

Indiana is the first state in the nation to offer residents lifetime handgun permits under a new law that went into effect this month -- a move hailed by Second Amendment supporters and blasted by gun-control advocates.

The law, which also increases the cost of obtaining or renewing a four-year license, went on the books Saturday. The change is expected to bring in more money to the state and the Indiana State Police.

State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell announced details of House Enrolled Act 1176 at a news conference Wednesday, saying the law will streamline the process to get a permit for law-abiding gun owners. His agency oversees the issuance of permits.

Residents do not need a permit to buy handguns or other firearms but must have one to carry or transport a pistol. State Police officials said Indiana has about 288,000 active handgun permits. Permits are good for four years, but now gun owners have the option of obtaining a lifetime permit instead.

I agree with this part of the article...

"I would presume the state legislature is going to do the same with driver's licenses and business licenses, because there is no reason anybody should have to go through the hassle of being checked out every four years," he said.

I don't get this at all. We renew licenses all the time for all sorts of things, and I think something as potentially dangerous as carrying a handgun should also have to go through the "hassle" of renewing a license. I still can't wrap my mind around that we are the FIRST state to do something like this... I mean with Daylight Saving we were supposed to fit in with everyone but now it is ok to be the lone state?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blogger acting up...

I updated my voter registation post below, but can't get it updated. Oh well... later. If this makes it through, just know it is incomplete. Back to the show!

Voter Registration

Today I got that little postcard from the voter registration cleanup. If you don't get one, you will need to register to vote. If you do get one, just double check your registration by going to www.indianavoters.com.

Remember when voting you will need to show picture ID. You can still cast a provisional ballot, and show an ID to your county clerk in 6 days and have your vote count. And according to WISH tv in march '05:

Under the bill, a voter without an ID would be able to cast a provisional ballot, but in order for it to count, the voter would have to show ID at the county clerk's office within six days or sign a statement expressing religious objections to a photograph.

Anyway, what about IDs for the poor? I heard somewhere that they could get discounted photo IDs but can't find anything.

For more photo ID information check out the Indiana House Democrats tips for voting. I didn't know that you have to show ID to the county clerk if you vote absentee, unless you meet certain criteria for an exemption.

I dunno if there are reduced fees for the poor for a state ID, according to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles:

Obtaining a state-issued identification card
The BMV offers identification cards for Indiana residents who do not drive. The identification card looks similar to a standard driver license except that it is clearly marked as a non-driver identification card at the top of the document. To obtain a non-driver identification card, the applicant must meet the requirements for proof of identity and date of birth from the current acceptable ID list. View our ID List to determine whether you have sufficient documentation.

Persons of any age may obtain a non-driver identification card. However, the BMV offers a reduced fee for senior or disabled applicants.

Wait, I finally found something about it (wasn't easy... wonder why?)... from our very own House Democrats:

A valid Indiana driver's license is an appropriate form of identification. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) offers identification cards for Indiana residents who do not drive. If you do not have a state driver's license or identification card, Senate Bill 483 (which passed in 2006 and is now law) allows you to obtain a state ID card free of charge.

The funny thing... can't find it on the BMV homepage. I will keep looking.

Remember to vote, and help others vote. It isn't a democrat or republican thing to want people to vote, but it seems the republicans want less to vote, not more.

Anyway, more photo ID info is at photoID.in.gov.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Have you checked out Lefty Blogs yet?

They have added me to their blogroll of Indiana, YEA! Thank you! More Indiana blogging goodness on the way!

Happy Fourth of July

This video cracks me up.