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 www.ustornadoes.com 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 saying...to 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.