Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Trump Calls Using Eminent Domain to Take Private Property for Developers a "Wonderful Thing"

Donald Trump
The Hill reports on Fox News' Brett Baier's interview of Donald Trump and the real estate mogul's continued support of government taking private property to aid developers like himself:
"Eminent domain, when  it comes to jobs, roads, the public good, I think it's a wonderful thing," Trump told Fox News' Bret Baier. 
“You're not taking property. … You're paying a fortune for that property,” he said of the process, adding that homeowners can be paid “four, five, six, ten times” their property’s value. 
Trump, a real estate mogul, noted that he’s dealt with eminent domain a lot in building developments in New York City. He said the idea that people are forced to sell homes they don’t really want to give up is a myth. 
"Most of the time,  they just want money,” the businessman said. “These people can go buy a house now that's five times bigger and in a better location."
At least Trump, for once, is consistent.  He is continuing to support the expansive use of eminent domain, for government to use its power of condemnation to aid real estate developers, like himself. 

Of course, with eminent domain the only thing the property owner is entitled to is fair market value.  Trump is not being honest when he says homeowner is going to receive several times over the value of the property if the property is taken via eminent domain.
Let's not forget the time when a widow refused to sell her house in Atlantic City to Trump for parking for limousines at his casino.  Trump had local government officials try to take it via eminent domain.  The woman prevailed in court.
At the very least, we should demand that our presidential candidates have a respect for private property rights.  Clearly Trump does not.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

NBC Poll Shows Clinton Losing Badly to Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire

Iowa and New Hampshire are the first two states up in the presidential nomination sweepstakes. Conveniently they are also general election bellwether states.  NBC today released a poll showing
how Hillary Clinton, and her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders match up against some Republican prospective nominees.

IOWA:  Republican Donald Trump is shown as beating Clinton by 7% in the Hawkeye State.  But Jeb Bush is ahead of Clinton by 10% and Carly Fiorina is ahead of the former Secretary of State by 14%.

Matched up against Sanders in Iowa, Trump loses by 5%.  Meanwhile Bush leads the Vermont Senator by 2% and Fiorina edges out Sanders by 3%.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  Trump is losing to Clinton by 3% in the Granite State. But Bush is ahead of Clinton by 7% in the state and Fiorina ahead by 8%.

Against Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Trump trails by 10%.  Fiorina loses to Sanders by 2% and Bush is even.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Disastrous Chuck Brewer for Indy Mayor Campaign

With the calendar reading October 5th, the Indianapolis mayoral election is less than a month away.  Republican Chuck Brewer is taking on Democrat Joe Hogsett.  The former U.S. Attorney has not even broken a sweat thus far, running a series of positive commercials, along with a few which touch on no brainer issues such as the need to address the abandoned housing problem in the city.

Meanwhile, Brewer has taken the nonsensical approach of running for the Ballard third term, offering
Chuck Brewer
not but enthusiastic approval for every corporate welfare and tax/fee increase Ballard has ever pushed, policies that have alienated so many Indy conservatives.  But it wasn't enough for Ballard to regularly alienate fiscal conservatives, this year he also alienated social conservatives as well by publicly attacking Governor Pence for his efforts to protect religious freedom.  Ballard even went so far as to appear as Grand Marshall of the Indy Pride parade.  Yet Brewer could do nothing more than gush approval at Ballard's shot at social conservatives in his own party.

Campaign Politics 101 says you solidify your (conservative) Republican base and then reach out for Independents and soft Democrats.  Brewer has done none of that.  Although Ballard barely won re-election in 2011 against a lackluster Democratic candidate, Brewer thought he could simply promise a Ballard third term and get the same result.  In the face of continuing demographic changes in the county, which benefit the Democrats, and in light of Ballard continuing the reckless corporate welfare spending and (higher) taxes policies during his second term, that 50% plus majority Brewer is seeking will never happen.

Brewer is a political neophyte who undoubtedly believes GOP party leaders actually support his election.  Before tossing his hat into the ring, Brewer should have talked to other Republican countywide counties who have been used in recent years to assure the establishment wing of the local Republican Party controls the nomination process, even if that means abandoning the candidate shortly after the primary.

Brewer should have been able to count on his campaign manager to put together a strategy that could win the Election. However, instead of picking someone with political skills that was open to a strategy not tied to Ballard, Brewer selected Ballard adviser Jen Hallowell to manage his campaign. 

Hallowell consulted Ballard during his tenure, usually receiving a $10,000 monthly payment even during years when Ballard was not on the ballot.   Hallowell, who regularly appears on WRTV's Indianapolis This Week and is the wife of Republican Marion County Chairman Kyle Walker, does not appear to have a keen grasp of political strategy, to say the least.

If Brewer's failures were isolated, that would be one thing.  But mayoral candidates, not council candidates, drive turnout.  Republican turnout is critical to the success of scores of GOP council candidates who are in marginal districts. 

When the council map was drawn, Republican operative David Brooks was operating under the assumption he needed a 15-10 GOP advantage due to the four at-large councilors who would undoubtedly be Democrats.  While the at-large positions were eliminated by the legislature, the 15 Republican majority council districts that remain were drawn with incredibly close baselines.  After the 2014 election (an election similar to a municipal in terms of turnout), only 13 of those original districts remain with Republican majority baselines.  Seven more Republican districts have majority baselines of 55% or less, while the Democrats only have one competitive district to defend.  If Republicans fail to come to the polls on November 3rd, the Democrats could easily end up with a majority on the council of 16-9 or 17-8.

That Chuck Brewer is going to be soundly defeated is not the disaster. The disaster is that he could take down many Republican council candidates with him in the process.  His foolish Ballard third term strategy is going to have severe consequences for the Marion County Republican Party.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

New National Poll Shows Carson Leading Trump

Investors Business Daily reports on its own poll released on Saturday:
Donald Trump has boasted that he's "leading every poll and in most cases big." Not anymore. The latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows him in second place, seven points behind Ben Carson.
The nationwide survey found that 24% of Republicans back Carson, compared with 17% who say they support Trump.
Marco Rubio came in third with 11% and Carly Fiorina fourth at 9%. Jeb Bush, once considered a prohibitive favorite, ranked fifth with just 8% support, which was a point lower than those who say they are still undecided.
The IBD/TIPP Poll has a proven track record for accuracy, based on its performance in the past three presidential elections. In a comparison of the final results of various pollsters for the 2004 and 2008 elections, IBD/TIPP was the most accurate. And the New
Dr. Ben Carson
York Times concluded
that IBD/TIPP was the most accurate among 23 polls over the three weeks leading up to the 2012 election.
Other polls show Trump's support slipping in recent weeks. The Real Clear Politics average of six national polls shows him falling from 30.5% in mid-September to 23.3% by the end of the month. That average does not include the IBD/TIPP findings.
The IBD poll appears to be a bit of an outlier, understating Trump's support while overstate Carson's.  While most polls show Trump's support falling off earlier highs, they still show Trump in the mid to lower 20% range and still leading the pack.   This view is confirmed with a Pew Research poll released on Friday that shows Trump leading with 25% and Carson second with 16%. 

Nonetheless, it does appear that support among Trump has topped out at around 25%.  The problem for the New York businessman is that he is few Republicans' second choice.  As others candidates drop out, their supporters are likely to go to Trump's remaining opponents.

It's interesting that while Democrats like to call Republicans, and the Tea Party, in particular, racist it is African-American Ben Carson who is a favorite.  Even in the heart of the Old Confederacy, Louisiana, Carson is popular, leading Trump 23% to 19% in yet another recent poll.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Congress Poised to Stop "Play for Patriotism" Program that Benefited the Indianapolis Colts

Too many conservatives, in a zeal to show they are for a strong military, want to give the Department of Defense a blank check.  But as a government entity DOD can waste money with the best of them.  In a story published yesterday, Sports Illustrated reports that Congress is close to putting a halt to DOD's "Pay for Patriotism" program:
Congress is preparing to approve a bill that would ban promotions saluting U.S. troops at taxpayer expense during sporting events, Jonathan Salant of reports.
Funding would be cut from promotions like the New York Jets’ “hometown heroes” salute, in which one or two soldiers are featured on the stadium screen during a game and fans are implored to thank the soldiers for their service. The Jets received $377,000 between 2011 and 2014 from the Department of Defense and the Jersey Guard in compensation for this promotion and other advertising, reported.    
In that four-year span, 14 NFL teams received $5.4 million from the Department of Defense for similar contracts involving promotions, which have been dubbed “pay for patriotism.”
“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told in May. “You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they‘re doing it because they’re compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”
The legislation, which awaits final approval from both the House and Senate, is paired with a report that calls on the NFL and other sports leagues to consider donating the money they have received from these deals to charity.
According to, the Indianapolis Colts received the fourth highest amount of NFL teams, collecting $620,000 from 2011 through 2014 for putting on patriotic programs during games.

See also:

May 11, 2015 Sports Illustrated article "NFL teams gross millions in tax dollars for military salutes during games"

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll Shows Trump Trailing by Double Digits Against Clinton, Sanders and Biden

Donald Trump
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday shows how incredibly weak Republican Donald Trump would as a general election candidate.

The national poll of registered voters has a number of head-to-head matchups.  Facing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump trails by 10%.  Vermont Senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders beats Trump by 16% in the poll, while, Vice President leads Trump by 21%.

The poll shows Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush doing much better than Trump as GOP nominee.  Fiorina and Carson best Clinton by 1%, while Bush trails Clinton by 1%.  When those same candidates are matched up against Biden, the Vice President leads ranges from 6% to 8%.

The non-Trump GOP candidates are not matched up against Sanders in the poll.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fox News Favorability Poll Reveals Stark Contrasts Among Support of Candidates

A recent favorability/unfavorability poll by Fox News reveals some very interesting results. The poll breaks down the views of registered voters toward the two major party candidates, a measure most reflecting the turnout in a general election.

Among, Republicans the most popular candidate with male voters is Ben Carson with a +21 favorability/unfavorability rating.  Donald Trump is next with +17.  The most unpopular candidates with men are Chris Christie -23, while Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz both check in at -14.

The Republican candidates most popular with women are Carly Fiorina with +8, and Rubio +7.  The
most unpopular GOP candidate with women is Trump at -31 and Bush -17. 

The most popular Republican candidate among white voters is African-American Ben Carson with +27 followed by Trump at +16.  White voters dislike Bush the most at -17 followed by Chris Christie -15.

Fiorina rates as the most popular Republican among black voters at +10 with Rubio second at +7.  The most unpopular GOP candidate among black voters is Trump at -57 with the next being Bush at -35.

The poll also looked at Tea Party support. Ted Cruz ranked first in that category with a +59 followed closely by Carson at +58.  Trump, whose candidacy many reporters simply assume is being fueled by the Tea Party, ranked fifth in Tea Party support at 39%, also behind Rubio at +47, who was third, and Fiorina at +40, who finished fourth.

The favorability/unfavorability polling information on the Democratic side was equally as interesting.  With men, Hillary Clinton has a -29 while Sanders is a -6.  Surprisingly, Clinton is a -8 with women while Sanders is a +3.

Among white voters, Clinton is a -34 while Sanders is a +5.  Clinton's edge appears confined to black voters with which she scored a +55 and Sanders a +8.  The poll also looked at Joe Biden's popularity. Biden finished better than Hillary Clinton in every major category, including his being slightly more popular with black voters (+59) than Clinton.

Friday, September 25, 2015

More Extreme Weather from Anthropogenic Global Warming? Evidence Proves Otherwise

On Thursday, Pope Francis appeared before Congress urging the legislators to take action on a number of fronts, including "climate change," i.e. anthropogenic global warming.   In June, Pope Francis released an Encyclical discussing a number of issues, theological and political, which included this statement:
A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing
warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.
Pope Francis
If you read the statement closely you will see "and, it would appear" inserted before the declaration there has been "an increase of extreme weather events."   It would have been easy to leave out the "and, it would appear."  Undoubtedly the reason to include that qualifier, which doesn't attach to any other assertion in the statement, is a recognition that there is no solid evidence to support the claim of increased extreme weather.  When it comes to this claim, alarmists inevitably resort to anecdotes in lieu of statistical information.  And for good reason - statistical information doesn't show an increase in extreme weather.


First up is CNSNews reporting on the continued hurricane drought:
Category 3 or above, have struck the continental U.S. in a record-breaking 119 months, according to hurricane data kept by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division (HRC) dating back to 1851.
Last year, President Obama warned that hurricanes will become “more common and more devastating” because of climate change.
But Obama is now the longest serving president (since the 1851 start of NOAA's data) not to see a major hurricane strike the U.S. during his time in office. He is also the first president since Benjamin Harrison was in office 122 years ago to have no major hurricane strike during his term.
The previous record was an eight-year span during the 1860's in which no major hurricanes struck the U.S.
The current  hurricane drought is “a rare event” that is “unprecedented in the historical record,” according to Timothy Hall, a hurricane researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Hall also said there is only a 39 percent chance that the current hurricane drought will end next year.

A study by Thomas R. Knutson,  a research meteorologist at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, found no increase in hurricane activity over the past 100 years.  The study, titled "\"Global Warming and Hurricanes: An Overview of Current Research Results," was written in 2008 and updated on November 28, 2012.  It sought to answer the question "Has Global Warming Affected Atlantic Hurricane Activity?"  

To his credit, Knutson, a fervent supporter of anthropogenic global warming theory, reported honestly on what he found: "the historical tropical storm count record does not provide compelling
evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming induced long-term increase." 

Not to his credit, Knutson completely ignored his own exhaustive study to make a conclusory statement reasserting his hypothesis proven wrong by his own study:
"climate warming will cause hurricanes in the coming century to be more intense globally and to have higher rainfall rates than present-day hurricanes. In my view, there are better than even odds that the numbers of very intense (category 4 and 5) hurricanes will increase by a substantial fraction in some basins, while it is likely that the annual number of tropical storms globally will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged."
Knutson undoubtedly knows how the media operates.  If reporters stumble across his study, they could well report his conclusory statement instead of the results of the study proving that conclusory statement is wrong.


The website reports on tornadoes that hit the United States.  Earlier this week, the website reported on the almost complete lack of tornadoes in 2015:
The 2015 tornado year might best be described as confused. It hasn’t been a full-time dud. The most active period brought a lot of tornadoes, and it came about when it should have.
However, like recent years, the oddities tend to outweigh normalcy. This year, one prominent story is the lack of big-time tornadoes. The one and only EF4+, those rated violent on the tornado scale, occurred way back in April.
Such tallies threaten a tie for the least number of violent tornadoes on record. And if you add in the much more numerous but still quite intense EF3 tornadoes, we find the story of 2015’s  powerful tornado drought is an even deeper one.
As the year got going it seemed it was ready to continue the quiet streak we’ve seen since 2012 in particular.
The summer tornado season is rarely terribly impressive, but this one was not memorable in the least. Tornado numbers relative to average again grew further apart after coming together in April-June.
Throughout the ups and downs, there has been one great lacking: intense to violent tornadoes. As of publication, only 12 verified EF3 tornadoes have touched down and only one verified EF4 has occurred. This is as low as it gets.
Pope Francis urges action on "climate change" to address more extreme weather that isn't happening.  Ironically the people who are hurt the most by measures to combat carbon emissions, measures which would lead to much higher energy costs, are the very poor that Pope says he is speaking out to help.

See also: 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, Alarmists Continue to Use Weather as Proof of Anthropogenic Global Warming

Monday, September 15, 2014, Tornadoes and the Myth of an Increase in Extreme Weather

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Mythbuster: Hurricanes and Tornadoes are Not Increasing in Number or Frequency

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Approves GOD Area Code for Indianapolis

Fox 59 reports:
Central Indiana residents are going to have to press an additional three numbers to make telephone calls a year from now.
The Indiana Office of Consumer Counselor says the Utility Regulatory Commission has approved a 463 area code that will overlay the existing 317 area code in the Indianapolis area. The 463 area code spells “IND” on a telephone keypad....
Uh, 463 also spells out "GOD" on the keypad.  I'm sure it was a coincidence but a funny coincidence at that.

The article notes that starting on September 17, 2016, all local calls made within the 317 area code will require the dialing of all 10 digits.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fact Checkers Get Facts Wrong On Fiorina's Planned Parenthood Comment

During the second televised debate, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina challenged President Obama and Hillary Clinton to find time in their schedule to watch the Planned Parenthood videos:
Anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto
Carly Fiorina
this bill, shame on us.” 
This comment sent abortion advocates and Planned Parenthood defenders scurrying to "fact checkers" who gleefully labeled the comment a "lie." Many mainstream media outlets bought into the fact checkers' claims that Fiorina was lying about the videos and reported it.  Of course, none of those reporters seemed to want to actually watch the video themselves to see if Fiorina's statement was false.

Writers for Slate, Vox and other liberal publications even went so far as to declare that no such video exists. In echoing Planned Parenthood’s talking points claiming, Fusion claimed:
To be clear, Fiorina, like the other Republicans attacking Planned Parenthood, doesn’t have her facts straight. None of the videos have anyone talking about “harvesting” brains. The supposedly macabre video she’s talking about was highly, selectively edited by right-wing activists.  (Emphasis supplied.)
No technician talked about harvesting brains?  Wanna bet?  In fact, in the video below the technician (start at 5:38) talks about being told to cut open a fetus' face to extract the brain.  The Federalist describes: 
In the video in question , a technician is talking about harvesting the brain of an alive, fully formed fetus. While she tells her story, there is footage of another baby of roughly the same gestational age as the one whose brain she harvested. This baby is seen still kicking and its heart still beating.
While it is obviously not the same baby as the one she harvested the brain of [and Fiorina never said otherwise], the footage helps viewers to understand what a 19-week old baby looks like when hearing the testimony of an ex-employee who harvested brains from babies of the same age. Illustrating stories with appropriate images is a common journalistic technique, one used by all media outlets.

When confronted with the video, Planned Parenthood defenders backtrack and say the image was that of a stillborn baby, a claim that apparently goes back to hhe Hill, which made this claim in a story in August.

As noted by the Federalist, the stillborn claim is false:
...The video shows  two different babies, neither of whom are stillborn. One was an image of Fretz, who was not a stillborn baby, but was born born prematurely at 19 weeks and died in his parents arms. This image of Fretz appeared during the 8:59 minute mark of the video, where he appears to be wrapped in a blanket and have a clip on his umbilical chord to keep it from getting infected.
Earlier in the video, around the 5:56 mark, there is footage of another baby boy around the same gestational age as Fretz who is not stillborn either, but a baby who survived an abortion and was left in a metal bowl to die. In the footage, he kicks his legs and twitches his arms during the final moments of his life, and a pair of forceps lays beside him. The footage was provided by The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, a pro-life organization headquartered in Lake Forrest, California.   
The Hill’s claim is inaccurate, as neither of these babies were stillborn. Both were born alive and died outside of the womb. One was a survivor of an abortion who was left to die of exposure in a metal bowl at the abortion clinic, while the other was born to a mother who wanted him, and died in her arms.

The baby seen  in the footage at the 5:56 mark was indeed taken from inside an abortion clinic, according to the owner of the footage. Gregg Cunningham, executive director of The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, the organization that obtained the footage and provided it to CMP, said in a statement to The Federalist:
“The video clip we provided to CMP depicted an intact delivery abortion. It was filmed at an abortion clinic. It was not a miscarriage. Mothers don’t go to abortion clinics to miscarry. Had this case been a miscarriage, the mother would have presented at a hospital and her baby would have been rushed to an Isolette for appropriate neonatal care — not abandoned to writhe and eventually expire in a cold, stainless steel specimen vessel. As regards the organizational affiliation of the abortion facility in which this termination was performed, our access agreements forbid the disclosure of any information which might tend to identify the relevant clinics or personnel with whom we work. Preserving confidentiality is vital to future clinic access. I can, however, assure you that the footage in question is not anomalous. It is representative of the frequent outcomes of many late term intact delivery terminations performed at clinics of all organizational affiliations.”
The mainstream media has refused to show the Planned Parenthood footage, but when given the opportunity to show a pro-life person "lied" about the clinic's practices, the media jumped at the opportunity, gleefully reporting the findings of "fact checkers" while not actually checking the facts themselves.  Is it too much to ask that reporters actually watch the Planned Parenthood videos if they're going to report that a presidential candidate is lying about those videos?  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New CNN Poll Shows Rise of Fiorina, Rubio and Decline of Trump, Carson and Walker

A new CNN poll released today and conducted post-debate shows substantial movement among several Republican candidates compared to a CNN poll conducted just 11 days earlier.  Donald Trump's support dropped 8% while Ben Carson's numbers fell off by 5%.  Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina's poll numbers climbed 13% while Sen. Marco Rubio's support jumped 8%

Carly Fiorina
It appears to me that the field is sorting itself out.  Commentators talk about two groups, outsiders and establishment, but I think there is more likely three groups:  outsiders, establishment and outsiders who have been inside (still working on a better term).  In the outsider group, I'd put Trump Fiorina and Carson.   Bush, Christie, Kasich, Walker, Graham and Pataki are pretty firmly part of the GOP establishment.  While my outsider/insider group is made up of Rubio, Cruz, Huckabee, Paul, Santorum and Jindal.

My guess is the GOP field will eventually winnow itself down to three candidates, one from each of the respective camps.  I'm betting right now on Fiorina, Rubio and Bush.  I think someone like Rubio could satisfy the establishment and outsiders enough to be the nominee.   But he may well need to put a Fiorina type on the candidate to satisfy the outsider anti-Establishment wing of the Republican Party.

As far as Donald Trump goes, I think people expected his balloon to pop in a sudden drop in the polls.  It appears more likely it is going to be a slow deflation.

I expect Scott Walker to soon pull the plug on his candidacy as well as former New York Governor George Pataki.

The new CNN poll shows the top candidates to be:

Trump 24%
Fiorina 15%
Carson 14%
Rubio 11%
Bush 9%
Cruz 6%
Huckabee 6%
Paul 4%
Christie 3%
Kasich 2%
Santorum 1%
Walker 0%
Jindal 0%
Graham 0%

In the previous CNN poll the top candidates looked like this:

Trump 32%
Carson 19%
Bush 9%
Cruz 7%
Huckabee 5%
Walker 5%
Rubio 3%
Paul 3%
Fiorina 2%
Kasich 2%
Christie 2%
Jindal 0%
Graham 0%

Note:  Polling results are rounded off so if a candidate is at 0% that means the candidate had less than 1/2 of 1% of support in the poll.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Scientists Encourage President Obama to Prosecute Global Warming Critics Using RICO

I am presently reading a book called "The Silencing" by Fox News contributor Kirsten Parker.  A self-professed liberal Democrat who worked for President Bill Clinton, Parker writes about how liberals have taken to employing various methods to silence the speech of conservatives.

While these assaults on conservative free speech are most common on college campuses, the Daily Caller reports on an outrageous suggestion by twenty climate scientists that the criminal law be used to go after critics who dare challenge their anthropogenic global warming theory:
The science on global warming is settled, so settled that 20 climate scientists are asking President Barack Obama to prosecute people who disagree with them on the science behind man-made global warming.
Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”
RICO was a law designed to take down organized crime syndicates, but scientists now want it to be used against scientists, activists and organizations that voice their disagreement with the so-called “consensus” on global warming. The scientists repeated claims made by environmentalists that groups, especially those with ties to fossil fuels, have engaged in a misinformation campaign to confuse the public on global warming
But these riled up academics  aren’t the first to suggest using RICO to go after global warming skeptics. The idea was first put forward by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who argued using RICO was effective at taking down the tobacco industry.
... Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers began an investigation into scientists who disagreed with the White House’s stance on global warming. Many of these skeptical scientists were often cited by those critical of regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva went after universities employing these researchers, which resulted in one expert being forced to get out of the field of climate research altogether.
“I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,” Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his blog.
“Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,” Pielke wrote. “He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony – which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views).”
As Parker notes in "The Silencing":
The illiberal left...believes that people who express ideological, philosophical, or political views that don't line up with their preferences should be completely silenced.  Instead of using persuasion and rhetoric to make a positive case for their causes and views, they work to delegitimize the person making the argument through character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics.  These are the self-appointed overlords--activists, university administrators. journalists, and politicians--who have determined what views are acceptable to express.  So, shut up --or else.
While power of government is used to go after disfavored political speech in other countries, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, should be united in agreeing these practices have no place in this country which cherishes a tradition of free speech as a bulwark against political tyranny.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

News Analysis Shows Trump Dominates CNN Republican Nomination Coverage

A study of CNN's news coverage shows how "The Donald" has dominated:

Last night, one debate viewer remarked that the other Republicans need to talk about the issues and not about Donald Trump.  They are...CNN and the other news outlets are just not covering those candidates.  Does anyone doubt that Jeb Bush's 11.75% coverage were of his remarks he made about Trump?   That's the only way candidates can get the media to report on what they're say something about Trump.

Silly me, but I still think news outlets still have some civic responsibility to inform the public, not just be about putting Trump on the air 24/7 because that gets ratings.  How is a Rand Paul, for example, going to get his libertarian Republican message out when CNN gives him a platform of two minutes of coverage over that period while "The Donald" gets 580 minutes.

In a not unrelated story, CNN charged advertisers over 40 times its normal rate for commercials run during the Republican debate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Not Ben? Poll Shows Carson Closing Gap on Trump

Dr. Ben Carson, the new face
of the Republican Party?
A new CBS/NY Times poll shows that New York businessman Donald Trump's rise in the polls appears to have stalled while physician Dr. Ben Carson has drawn within the margin of error of Trump's lead.  The poll shows Trump with 27% support of Republican primary voters while Carson is second at 23%.  The next candidates were all single digits, with Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio leading the second group each with 6%.

Other recent national polls had shown Trump's support among Republicans creeping above 30%.  Also, this is the first poll in nearly six weeks showing Trump's lead at less than double digits.  While it's difficult to compare polls from different pollsters given that different methodologies are often used, it should be noted that another CBS poll in early August showed Trump ahead of Carson 24-6.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was second in that poll at 10%.

I am skeptical of nominating a presidential candidate who doesn't have political experience.  To be successful in politics requires a special set of skills that is not necessarily required in other fields.  But there is a lot to be said about having the calm, conservative demeanor of Dr. Ben Carson as the face of the Republican Party.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, is the Don Rickles of the GOP.  He insults anyone who crosses his path, women generally on their looks and men on the size of their bank accounts.  His speech are bombastic diatribes, devoid of substance.  His sudden shift from liberal to conservative positions should cause concern among anti-Establishment folks who wants an authentic leader who will actually do what he says.  Donald Trump is no better than a snake oil salesman.  My apologies to snake oil salesmen everywhere.

It appears that the GOP establishment is not wanted in this election.  Let's just hope the anti-Establishment folks pick the right anti-Establishment candidate.  I don't know if that person is named Ben or Carly, but I do know one thing.  That candidate's name is not Donald Trump.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CBS Poll Shows Stunning Double Figure Lead for Sanders in Iowa, New Hampshire

A CBS poll released on Sunday reveals how tenuous former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's grasp is on the Democrat nomination.  The poll shows Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders up 10% on Clinton in Iowa (43-33) and an astonishing 22 points in New Hampshire (52-30).  It would appear that Hillary Clinton's declining poll numbers are tied to a loss of support among women.

When people talk about Vice President Joe Biden entering the race, they almost always discuss his taking on Clinton.   I think a more likely scenario is that Biden is drafted to replace a damaged Clinton as the Democratic establishment candidate.  Of course that envisions Clinton would do what is best for the Democratic Party by stepping aside for a stronger candidate.  That would seem contrary to Hillary Clinton's nature.

Meanwhile things are just as wacky on the Republican side.   According to the CBS poll, Dr. Ben Carson now trails Donald Trump by just four points in Iowa (29-25), but Trump leads second place Carson 40%-12% in New Hampshire.

Establishment favorite former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has just 3% in Iowa placing him eighth, in a tie with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.  Bush is doing better in New Hampshire.   His 6% puts him in a tie with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Donald Trump Thinks Carly Fiorina is Too Ugly to be President

CNN Money reports on Trump's latest insult directed toward a woman, this time fellow presidential candidate Carly Fiorina:
Carly Fiorina
When [Rolling Stone] magazine's cover story came out on Wednesday, the most-talked-about passage was a Trump comment about rival Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.  
According to writer Paul Solotaroff, he was sitting with Trump watching a newscast when a video clip zoomed in on Fiorina.
"Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" Trump said to Solotaroff. "Can you imagine that, the face of our next president."
Trump added, "I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?"
Solotaroff continued his cover story (headlined "Taking Trump Seriously") by saying:
"And there, in a nutshell, is Trump's blessing and his curse: He can't seem to quit while he's ahead. The instincts that carried him out to a lead and have kept him far above the captious field are the same ones that landed him in ugly stews with ex-wives, business partners, networks, supermodels and many, many other famous women."
On CNN's New Day this morning, Trump unbelievably claims he wasn't talking about Fiorina's physical appearance, he was talking about her "persona."  Yeah, sure he was.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Ben Carson had called out Trump for his phony claim to be a regular churchgoing Christian.  Trump had lied about that, and was called out on it not just by Carson, but by the minister whose church he falsely claimed to attend on a regular basis.

It is long past time for Republicans to kick this liberal, lying, misogynist blowhard to the curb.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Judicial Slating Dealt Death Blow by As Marion County Electoral Scheme Held to be Unconstitutional

Today the Seventh Circuit released an opinion upholding the federal district court's opinion that Marion County's judicial election scheme for Marion County violates the Constitution by affording voters no real say in the election of those judges.

For those of you unaware, the way it works in Marion County is that if there are 16 judicial slots to fill in a local judicial election (there are two such elections every six years), the Republicans nominate eight and the Democrats pick eight.  In the general election,
all the Republican and Democratic candidates are elected.

What is not getting a lot of coverage is how this electoral system has tied in with Marion County judicial slating.  A Judicial Qualifications Commission opinion over 20 years ago found that requiring candidates to pay a slating fee for a judicial endorsement is a violation of the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct.   That opinion was reaffirmed just a few years ago.  Nonetheless, the local parties continue to extract slating fees of approximately $25,000 apiece for attorneys wanting to run for judicial office.  Needless to say, judicial slating fees are a significant source of income for county political parties.

In recent years, candidates who don't receive their respective party's chairman do not even bother going through slating. With 85% or more of those voting at slating appointed by the county chairman, it is easy to rig the process for the chairman's preferred candidates.  No candidate who has chosen to not pay the slating fee has ever been slated.  Because of the huge institutional advantages afforded those who are slated, it is rare that a non-slated candidate can win a primary.  While most judicial candidates I've talked to despise paying the slating fee, they know if they refuse, their Marion County judicial career will almost certainly be over.

If Marion County judicial candidates could lose the election, would they still pay a $25,000 slating fee?  Unlikely.

In response to the ruling, the legislature could adopt an at-large system for electing Marion County judges.  Given how Democrats dominate Marion County that scheme would likely produce a county bench entirely made up of Democrats.  The Republican dominated legislature is unlikely to pick that option.   Another electoral option would be to draw legislative districts.  However, since Marion County has 32 Superior Court judges, that would be a cumbersome process and inevitably result in a lot more Democrats than Republicans elected. 

A non-electoral option is that the legislature forms a body similar to the Judicial Qualifications Commission to examine and screen candidates for appointment.  Or the Commission could actually make the appointments.  While reformers, including Common Cause which brought the aforementioned lawsuit, would tout this option as removing or reducing politics from the process of selecting judges, my experience is that the Commission selection process actually can be extremely political.  Politics behind closed doors, without public scrutiny of deals being cut and alliances being formed, can be the worst type of politics.

Another option that would continue with the 50-50 split would be to allow the Governor to pick the judges with the requirement that no more than half of the candidates be of one party.   This is similar to the current statutory scheme for filling vacancies on the bench.  The Governor selects the judge but the attorney must be of the same party of the person leaving the bench.    This statutory scheme would be slightly different (and probably has to be in order for it to pass constitutional muster) in that the current GOP Governor would have the option of appointing half Republicans then also appoint a slew of independents and Libertarians, as well as Democrats, to make up the other half.  That's probably not going to happen, however.

Regardless of which option the legislature picks, the decision has dealt a death blow to Marion County judicial slating. Let's hope it stays dead.

See other Ogden on Politics articles on slating:

Friday, October 10, 2014, Federal Court Strikes Down How Judges are Elected in Marion County; Is Judicial Slating the Next to Fall?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Indianapolis Bar Association Prepares to Trash Unslated Candidates; Critical Comments on Judicial Surveys Subject Attorneys to Discipline

Friday, January 4, 2013, Slating and the Selection of Marion County Judges by County Chairmen: It is Time for the General Assembly to Reform the System

Tuesday, September 4, 2012, The Indiana Lawyer Documents Slating Payments Made by Marion County Judicial Candidates; Indianapolis Bar Association Joins Chorus Calling for Reform

Thursday, May 17, 2012, New Chief Justice "Concurs" with Governor Daniels that Marion County's Judicial Slating System is a "Travesty"

Friday, May 4, 2012, Did Marion County Slated Candidates Violate Code of Judicial Conduct by Paying $12,000 for Endorsement?; Judicial Qualifications Commission Updates Its 1992 Opinion on Paying Slating Fees

Monday, April 2, 2012,  Breaking the Marion County Judicial Slating System

Advance Indiana has also covered the subject.  Below is one such article:

Saturday, May 05, 2012,  Star Condemns Judicial Slating, No Endorsements

Monday, September 7, 2015

NBC Poll Shows Vice President Joe Biden Significantly Stronger General Election Candidate Than Hillary Clinton

A poll released on Sunday reveals the increasingly difficult road likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has to the White House.

The poll commissioned by NBC/Marist College, focused on Trump/Bush matchups with Clinton in early caucus/primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, which also happen to be competitive, but
Vice President Joe Biden
Democratic leaning states.

In Iowa, Trump leads Clinton by 5% while Bush leads by 11%.  Republicans have not won Iowa since 2004.

In New Hampshire, Clinton leads Trump by 1% but is trailing Bush by 5%. Republicans have not won the Granite State since 2000.

Unfortunately, the poll didn't look at other matchups.  It would have been nice to see how Republican candidates like brain surgeon Ben Carson or Texas Senator Ted Cruz fared against Clinton.

The poll also shows, on the Democratic side, Clinton leading Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders 38-27 in Iowa but trailing 41-32 to Sanders in New Hampshire.

The poll also looked at Biden v. Trump/Bush matchups, finding the Vice President leads Donald Trump by 4% in Iowa and 9% in New Hampshire.  Bush, however, leads Biden by 2% in Iowa and 1% in New Hampshire.

In short, comparing Biden's appeal to Clinton's, when squared off against Republican candidates

Biden v. Trump (Iowa)  positive 9% swing
Biden v. Trump (New Hampshire) 8% swing
Biden v. Bush (Iowa) positive 9% swing
Biden v. Bush (New Hampshire) positive 4% swing

As a Republican, I've been saying Joe Biden would be a much tougher general election candidate than Hillary Clinton.  I think this polling confirms that.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Conservative/Libertarian Institute Addresses Need for Criminal Justice Reform in Indiana

There has probably been no bigger change in the Republican Party during the last 15 years than the GOP's move away from a "law and order" tough on crime to embrace criminal justice reform, including support reduced sentences for non-violent offenders and second chances for felons. Republicans are even leading the charge on reforming and ending civil forfeiture.   Below is a press release I recently received from the Charles Koch Institute discussing a seminar at which criminal justice reform was discussed.

Experts weigh in on how to transform Indiana’s criminal
justice challenges into opportunities for second chances

Charles Koch Institute event tackles criminal justice reform in the Hoosier State 
Reforming Indiana’s criminal justice system to better ensure the prioritization of rehabilitation, human dignity, and public safety was the focus of a forum hosted by the Charles Koch Institute in Indianapolis today. “Indiana’s Justice Agenda: Second Chances in the Hoosier State,” featuring Gov. Mike Pence, looked at the impact of recent criminal justice legislation and discussed possible reforms.  
“While recent reforms to the state’s criminal justice system have been encouraging, there is more work that needs to be done, as the prison population is still too high,” said Vikrant Reddy, a senior fellow on criminal justice and policing reform at the Charles Koch Institute. “Far too many children have a parent behind bars, often resulting in broken families, instability, and a lifetime of reduced opportunity. The good news is that policymakers in Indiana have demonstrated that they care about this issue, with people on both sides of the aisle working towards change.”  
As in many states, Indiana's prison population has swelled for years, and a large number of people have been incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. Much of this can be attributed to the commonly used “tough on crime approach” of recent decades. Between 2000 and 2010, the state prison population increased 47 percent, diminishing opportunity and well-being for people throughout Indiana. Tragically, one out of every nine children in Indiana has an incarcerated parent. The statistics have leaders throughout the state considering different approaches that focus on rehabilitating nonviolent offenders while also ensuring that public safety is not compromised.  
During his keynote speech, Gov. Pence stated, "To really confront the challenges we face in criminal justice we need [...] an all of the above approach to end the cycle of recidivism."  
Today’s event brought leaders from different perspectives together not only to address Indiana’s criminal justice challenges but to commit to working together on potential solutions.  
“The Charles Koch Institute is pleased to have played a role in fostering a productive discussion that we hope can lead to meaningful change for the people of Indiana,” said Reddy. “We believe that sound criminal justice policy holds people accountable, but it also provides second chances for those who have paid their debt.”  
This forum is one of a series of nationwide events that examines the impact of the criminal justice system on offenders, their families, and communities and how reform can improve overall well-being and opportunity.  
The Charles Koch Institute is a non-profit educational organization, with more than 2,500 alumni of its programs, focused on the importance of free societies and how they increase well-being for the overwhelming majority of people. Through sound research, education, and robust discussion, CKI aims to advance understanding of what it means to flourish and how to enhance people’s ability to lead better lives.
Besides Governor Pence as keynote speaker, panelists at the event were Deborah Daniels, former state and federal prosecutor, Lauren Galik, director of criminal justice reform, Reason Foundation, Troy Riggs, Director of public safety outreach for IUPUI and former public safety director for the City of Indianapolis, and Colette Tvedt, director of indigent defense training and reform for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Anti-Establishment Conservatives Need to Wake Up and Realize Donald Trump is No Conservative

If there are 17 Republican candidates running for the White House (I lost count), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would rank about 16th among my favorites.  However Bush does the GOP a service by outing Donald Trump (my 17th choice) for the liberal he is.  In a commercial released yesterday, Bush uses Trump's own words to reveal the New York businessman:
Donald Trump
  • Supports partial birth abortion and refers to himself as "very pro choice"
  • Believes in universal health care ("an entitlement from birth") and supports a single payer system
  • Supports "raising substantially" taxes on higher income people
  • Praises the talents of Hillary Clinton
  • Says he really likes the Clintons a lot
  • Has "no idea" why he is a Republican
Bush left out that Trump:
  • Supports government taking private property and giving it to business (the infamous Kelo decision).  He had his government friends attempt to seize an elderly woman's property which he wanted for limousine parking for his casino.
  • Apparently supports government's metadata collection of Americans' phone records without any sort of probable cause or reasonable suspicion
  • Donated to candidate Hillary Clinton, including for her 2008 presidential run. 
  • Won't agree to support the Republican nominee...if it is not him.
  • Didn't re-register as a Republican until April 2012.  Trump spent most of the 2000s as a registered Democrat.

Trump supporters will argue that his views, like Ronald Reagan's, changed.  But Reagan's views evolved over a period of time, when he was a young man.  Reagan had a long track record of conservative views before he ran for President.  Trump's views changed in his 60s, only on the threshold of running for the Republican nomination.  You'd have to be a fool to believe the conversion is real.

I get that Trump appeals to my Tea Party friends because the Establishment dislikes him so much.  I too want an anti-Establishment nominee.  (There are plenty of anti-Establishment CONSERVATIVE choices I might note.)  We certainly don't need to go down the road of Romney, McCain or another Bush ever again.  But that doesn't mean we conservative, anti-Establishment Republicans should completely throw away our values and instead embrace a liberal candidate better suited to run as a Democrat.  It's time to sober up and kick faux-conservative Donald Trump to the Republican curb.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Republicans Lose Abortion Issue if Public Debate is About Rape and Incest Exceptions

I ran across an article written by Jeff Greenfield a few days ago titled "How the GOP Loses the Abortion Debate."   I read it expecting to vehemently disagree with Greenfield and instead found myself concurring with his thoughts.

The premise of the article is that the Democrats are out of step with majority opinion on pressing abortion on demand for six if not nine months, paid for with public dollars no less but that Republicans let them off the hook when they demand an absolutist position on abortion to secure the nomination:
But this year , that distancing [from an absolutist position that does not include the rape and incest exceptions] may not come cost free. In the March “SEC primaries,” eight Southern states will cast their votes, and candidates will face a GOP electorate where a significant majority declare themselves “born-again” Christians. Back in 2012, Santorum won 11 primaries, running as a social conservative opposed to virtually all abortions. For
those Republicans with more nuanced positions—Jeb Bush, John Kasich—this could be a major problem. But for those embracing the “no exceptions” approach, what aids them in Dixie in March could be fatal nationwide in November.   
What about the Democrats? Their platform has embraced the essentials of the “pro-choice” position for the better part of four decades. (Back in 1992, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was barred from even addressing the Democratic convention to argue for a pro-life position.) But up until 2012, it framed the issue the way Bill Clinton had: that abortion should be “safe, legal—and rare.” 
In Charlotte, that last caveat  was erased. As it now stands, the platform simply asserts that “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” 
Read literally, this would permit abortions—paid for with public funds if necessary—for any abortion at any time for any reason. This is a view that the great majority of Americans reject. 
In another time, a Republican candidate with a position like the one George W. Bush held might find some room to press the Democrat—OK, let’s assume it’s Clinton—on her views. “I disagree with my party’s platform, I favor exceptions,” this theoretical candidate could say. “Do you agree with your party that abortion should be permitted at any time for any reason? You’ve called those Planned Parenthood videos ‘disturbing.’ I find them disturbing too, for the casual way they deal with what you’ve called ‘potential human life.’” 
But with the Republicans more and more embracing the most rigid possible position on the pro-life side of the divide, the more it will relieve the Democratic nominee of the need to defend the absolutist posture on her side.
Greenfield is exactly right on how the politics and media coverage will play out.   Historically the GOP has gained a lot politically because of its pro-life position.  In recent years though that has become more problematic as Republican presidential candidates have been forced to eliminate the rape/incest exceptions from their pro-life positions at the demand of an increasingly hard-line GOP electorate.  That results in the media, urged by Democratic opponents, focusing on those exceptions deflecting focus from the very unpopular and out of the mainstream support of abortion on demand at any time, for any reason, position of the Democratic Party.

I understand the unborn child is a child regardless of how the baby originates.  Got it.  But it is also terribly important to me that we Republicans win the abortion issue.  Only 1% of abortions are due to rape or incest.  ONE PERCENT.    Do we really want to completely throw away winning the abortion issue over 1%?    Please, my fellow pro-life Republicans, let's not be that foolish.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Easy Way to Stop the Mass Shootings - Stop Giving the Shooters Publicity

Several years ago, Major League baseball struggled with the problem of fans running onto the field. MLB leaders eventually solved the problem.  How did they do it?  More security?  Harsh prosecutions of the offenders?  None of the above.  They got the networks to agree to stop broadcasting people leaving the stands and running across the field.  The theory was that the people were doing it for publicity and that if you don't give them the publicity they won't do it.

What motivates every mass shooter?  Publicity.  They do it because they want themselves and what they did featured prominently on CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC and the regular networks.  The shooters want to be the news for that day and often for the several days that follow.  The TV networks dutifully comply in giving the shooters what they want.

You cut off the publicity, at least the TV coverage, and the acts stop.   I know the government can't mandate that the TV networks not publicize these shootings, but those networks are certainly free to do so on their own.  Granted it would be difficult for the cable networks to not cover a shooting, but they need to acknowledge their own role in giving the shooters the very publicity that feeds the next act.

More gun restrictions won't make one bit of difference.  Any of the shooters determined to get the publicity will easily get a gun, illegally if they have to.  But you take away the publicity and the shootings will stop.  Guaranteed.

Hillary Clinton's Support in Iowa Plummets While Carson Moves Up to Challenge Trump

Sen. Bernie Sanders
In a Des Moines Register poll released this weekend, Hillary Clinton is shown with a narrow 37%-30% lead over Vermont Senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders.  More importantly than the closeness of the Iowa contest is the dramatic drop in Clinton's support in the state.  In late May, a Des Moines polls had Clinton with 57% support.  In that same poll, Sanders polled at 16%.  While Sanders claims that his supporters are not anti-Clinton, polling suggests otherwise.

On the Republican side, the Summer of Trump continues with the New York businessman scoring 23% in the Des Moines Register poll.  Soft-spoken physician, and favorite of many in the Tea Party, Ben Carson has moved up to challenge Trump at 18%.  All other candidates are in the single digits, including notably former Iowa leader Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (8%) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (6%).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bloated Voter Rolls Propel Indiana to Third Highest Registration Rate in the Country

Indiana has 92% of its citizens registered to vote, the third highest state registration rate in the country according to a press release issued on Thursday by the election fraud watchdog True the Vote.  Indiana trails only Michigan (95%) and Kentucky (93%) in registration.

True the Vote found 136 counties in the United States with over 100% registration.  Using a slightly different methodology, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found 141.   In a press release issued this week by the PILF, those 11 Indiana counties are identified as Crawford (112%), Scott (107%), Franklin (106%), Brown (104%), Tipton (104%), Union (103%), Orange (103%), Dearborn (102%), Newton (102%), Warrick (101%), and Clark (101%).  The "bad county" list can be found here.  PILF is threatening litigation if the rolls are not cleaned up.

I went ahead and did the registration statistics for Indiana's five biggest counties (plus 200,000 in population) which don't appear on the list:  Marion (92.6%), Lake (95.0%), Allen (96.7%), Hamilton (97.3%) and St. Joseph (99.4%). 

Undoubtedly opponents will counter by attacking the messengers as being politically biased, these statistics are based on publicly available data.  All you do is need is the registrations for those counties, then divide it by the census figures for the adult age 18 year old population in the county.  That will give you the registration rate.  I'd welcome anyone disputing the numbers to actually take the time to pull up the data and do the math.

Whenever I hear complaints of Indiana's supposed low turnout rate usually accompanied with claims of electoral barriers erected by evil Republicans, I've pointed to Indiana's bloated registration rolls as the real reason that the Hoosier turnout rate appears low.  If you instead measure turnout by using Indiana's adult age population as the denominator, the state's turnout has remained remarkably steady and fairly average compared to other states.  Contrary to claims by opponents, real turnout (measure by adult population not inflated registration figures) has not dropped since Indiana enacted the voter ID law.

It used to be that Hoosier voters would be automatically removed from the voter registration lists in if they don't vote at least once in a four year period. Anyone who has worked the polls and handled voter registration will tell you if someone hasn't voted at that location for four years it is almost certain that the person is dead or has moved.   Unfortunately the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter Law) banned states from doing automatic purges of voters for non-voting.  Now to remove someone from the voter registration rolls is a very expensive and process.   As a result, voter registrations have soared.  In Indiana, before the Motor Voter law, we had a 69% voter registration rate.  Now it is 92%.

Congress could do states a favor and allow them to go back to automatic purges for non-voting.

See also: 

Monday, June 8, 2015, Hillary Clinton Proposes Worthless Voting Measures to Appease Democratic Partisans

Monday, February 23, 2015, Analysis Shows Indiana's Declining Voter Turnout Due Not to Restrictions But To Inflated Voter Registration Rolls

Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Indiana's Restrictions on Voters Worse than 1965 Alabama? It's Not Even Close

Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Turnout Figures Since Indiana Adopted Photo ID Requirement Does Not Show "Voter Suppression" as Claimed by Democrats

Saturday, June 2, 2012, 90% of Hoosier Adults are Registered to Vote

Tuesday, October 7, 2008, Vote Early & Often? -- 105% of Indianapolis Residents Now Registered to Vote

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Embarrassing Email Leak Exposes Indy Star Publisher's Plans to Use Newspaper to Advocate for LGBT Agenda

Thomas Rose, writing for Breitbart news, breaks an embarrassing breach of journalistic ethics by Indianapolis Star Publisher Karen Ferguson Fuson:
Breitbart News has exclusively obtained an email sent by the President and Publisher of the Indianapolis Star. It invites “community leaders” to help plan and coordinate an aggressive, highly orchestrated campaign to “persuade” the Indiana state legislature to adopt sweeping special protections for Indiana’s gay, lesbian and transgender communities.   
Karen Ferguson Fuson,
Publisher & President, Indy Star
The email, sent personally by Karen Ferguson Fuson, President and Publisher of the Star, was sent early this morning to an undisclosed list of business and media elites, together with gay rights activists. It pulls no punches in its scope or its goals. The email, in its unedited entirety reads as follows:
Dear Friends:  
The IndyStar is preparing this fall to launch an ambitious and aggressive Editorial Board campaign designed to persuade the governor and state lawmakers to expand Indiana’s civil rights law to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. 
We would like to privately brief you on our plans for the campaign, to explain ways in which you and your organization can partner with us, to answer your questions, and to hear your thoughts and possible concerns. Please join us for a meeting with community leaders on September 22, from 8:00 – 9:30 am at our offices, 130 S. Meridian St.  
We believe that it is critical for all of us to work together to drive this important change and to further the recovery from damage done to our state by the RFRA controversy.
Please join us as we prepare to continue this vital conversation about the future of Indiana. To RSVP, email [redacted]. 
Karen Ferguson Fuson,  
Group President, Gannett Domestic Publishing,  
President & Publisher, IndyStar
In reporting on RFRA this Spring, the Star continuously repeated the "license to discriminate" line of the law's opponents on its news pages, spreading the misinformation that RFRA was about denying service to the LGBT community and not about protecting religious freedom.  This was done despite a 22 year history of the national government and 30 states having RFRAs (by statute or judicial decision) in which RFRA had never once been used to overturn the application of an anti-discrimination law.   Now that RFRA passed, the Star's agenda has turned to attacking supposed damage to the state by RFRA, repeated as fact in the newspaper's pages without a shred of evidence in support of the claim.  In the email, Ferguson Fuson repeats claim as a rallying point to push for LGBT rights.

In the Society of Professional Journalists position paper on political involvement by journalists, the SPJ states that its members are to "remain free of associations that may compromise integrity or damage credibility."  Ferguson Fuson shreds this ethical standard;  her email not only suggests association to promote a political agenda, she expressly says she will help organize support for LGBT protections in the state's civil rights law and will use the resources of the newspaper to promote the group's agenda. 

Ferguson Fuson shreds any semblance of journalistic ethics by expressly using her role as President and Publisher of the Indianapolis Star to organize and lend assistance to one side of a public policy issue that the Star regularly reports on.  That she doesn't leave the issue on the State's editorial pages is evidenced by her newspaper's extremely biased reporting on the RFRA and LGBT issues.  It is further evidenced by the Star's refusal to report critically on taxpayer subsidies for the Indiana Pacers.  Ferguson Fuson divorced her husband and married Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson after relocating to Indianapolis.

Monica Boyer of Not on My Watch first brought the story to my attention.  She offers these tips at the conclusion of her article.
  1. Immediately drop your subscription to the Indy Star. Without readers, they have no advertisers. The number to call is 317-444-4000. Tell them you’ve decided to find other sources of news and their service is no longer needed. Not another dime to the Indy Star.
  2. It’s time to cut off the funding. Send us a list of their advertisers. ‪#‎cutoffthefunding‬ It’s time to see who is paying for this kind of bullying.
  3. Call your lawmaker. Tell them to get tough skin and prepare to do the right thing when they head to Indianapolis. Tell you will stand by them in support if they stand up for Religious Freedom. Tell them you will pray, call, email and whatever it takes. Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity laws are DANGEROUS to Religious freedom.  Several lawmakers have already said special rights for certain groups are more important than the First Amendment. It’s time to let them know we are watching.
  4. Become a Citizen Journalist. Make the Indy Star irrelevant by reporting the news yourself. It’s time to up our game and play offense instead of defense. Learn Social Media!!! If we got off the bench and into the game, they wouldn’t be able to bully our lawmakers like this. It’s easy, and it takes just minutes a day. It’s time to become citizen journalists and activate our social media skills. Email me if you are interested in setting up a class in your area.
  5. Pray for your Lawmaker. He/she will be going into a spiritual battle unlike many of them have seen. Call your prayer groups and churches and surround them with prayer.  It is NOT easy standing in this cesspool of anger and manipulation. Pray for them.
Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana also has an excellent article on the subject.