Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Illinois Casinos Could Dampen Indiana Tax Revenues

Illinois  is desperate for cash, and it's turning to gambling to close its huge budget gap. The Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation that would allow 5 new casinos, including a new casino for Chicago, two casinos for the Chicago suburbs and two downstate casinos for Rockford and Danville. The state anticipates raising $1.5 billion in upfront licensing fees and another $500 million annually in additional gaming revenues. Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a casino for the City of Chicago his top legislative priority. Gov. Pat Quick supports a Chicago casino but expressed disapproval of the expansion of casinos to other areas of the state.

Indiana, like Illinois, has become increasingly dependent on gaming revenues generated from riverboat casinos. Indiana's casinos in northwest Indiana draw many visitors from neighboring Illinois, but those casinos have been hurt by new casinos in neighboring Michigan. Two years ago, Ohio approved casinos for its major cities, including Cincinnati, which is scheduled to open next year. A new casino on the Illinois-Indiana state line in Danville could draw even more gaming revenues away from Indiana. Indiana has 11 riverboats casinos and 2 racinos (slots only) at horse race tracks in Anderson and Shelbyville. Both racinos have been struggling financially. The Indiana Live racino in Shelbyville recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Was Up With The Traffic Control For The Indy 500?

In the last 20 years, I've never had a worse experience trying to get to the Indianapolis 500 as I experienced this year. Every year, I take the same route, 16th Street west to the track. My group left four hours before the race and spent two and a half hours in stalled traffic extending all the way to Downtown. In the past, the same route has taken only 30 to 45 minutes. It took 2 hours simply to get from Downtown to the old Victory Field. The problem was quite apparent. There were only two westbound lanes made available the entire route, while the other lanes were freed up for the escorted traffic. Further, the traffic flow was interrupted by cross traffic that is normally blocked on race day. I've always been impressed at how well Indianapolis handles a large volume of traffic on race day, but this year was an exception. When the race ended, the east bound traffic heading back Downtown was one way all lanes and it took only 10 minutes to travel. I'm still trying to figure out why the City would have changed a procedure that has worked so well in the past.

On a brighter note, the centennial running of the race was the first in many years that the stands looked full. Attendance was definitely way up this year over recent years. There was actually a brisk market for ticket scalping outside the track this year. The security upon entering the track was so lax, nobody even asked to check our tickets. If they were visible, you were directed straight through the entrance. The stubs on our tickets to enter the track and enter the stands were both still in place after the race because nobody ever asked for them. They weren't even checking carry-in coolers and bags this year at the entrance gates. I don't know if people were deliberately conserving on their spending this year, but despite the large crowds, there was no wait in line for food or drinks. And the typically long lines to the bathroom were short this year. That probably had more to do with the hot weather. People were sweating the water out of their system.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Daniels Thinks He Could Have Beaten Obama

I don't quite know what to make of Gov. Mitch Daniels' suggestion that he could have beaten Barack Obama if he had chosen to run for president:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has taken himself out of the running for president, but he says he believes he could have defeated President Barack Obama for a second term.

“Yes, I think so,” Daniels said when asked whether he could have beaten Obama on ABC’s “This Week.” “I mean no one can know.”

Daniels said that his decision to not run was based on his family’s desire for privacy and security, which he said would inevitably have been lost in a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

“We've got young women, three of them that have been married not too long,” Daniels said. “They're looking forward to building lives, starting families and this was just a - a disruption that - that they were very, very leery of. And who wouldn't understand that?”
I was returning home from the Indianapolis 500 when this news item came over the car radio. Everyone in the car immediately erupted in laughter. Hey, if he thought he could have won, he would have run. He spent months teasing us all about making a run and then turned tail as soon as he saw that the national media was going to scrutinize his record in a way the local news media has declined to do. The family privacy rationale is getting a little old. That issue was there from day one. Why bother raising people's hope you were going to make a run if you were going to let women who have played no part in your political career to date make the decision for you?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nordstrom's Departure From Circle Centre Mall A Big Blow To Indy's Downtown

A key anchor store for Indianapolis' Circle Centre Mall announced today it would be closing its store on July 31. Nordstrom claims sales at its Circle Centre mall plummeted nearly 50% after the upscale store chain was lured by Simon Property Group to open up another store at its Fashion Mall at Keystone Crossing. From the IBJ:

Sales have fallen by roughly half since the Keystone Crossing store opened, a decline company officials did not anticipate, Nordstrom said.

“That really surprised us,” he said. “We have multiple stores in many markets.”

In addition, he said the downtown store is in need of a remodel, and the company wasn’t prepared to invest the money in it given the disappointing sales. The lease for the 210,000-square-foot store, which opened in 1995, is up for renewal this year.

Having a second Indianapolis Nordstrom was such a big concern for the mall developers back in the 1990s that they extracted an unusual concession from the company: that it would wait at least five years before opening another Indianapolis-area store.

The city originally enticed Nordstrom to open in the $319 million mall by offering a new building and tenant improvements at no upfront cost to the retailer. How much Nordstrom pays in rent is not spelled out in publicly available documents.

The downtown store opened well in terms of sales but couldn’t sustain momentum. Sales peaked in 1997, said Nordstrom, noting that convention visitors who shop at Circle Centre aren't picking up enough of the slack for downtown residents and workers.

The Keystone Crossing store is performing much better, Nordstrom said.

“Given the mass of retail in that Keystone/Castleton area, there’s just a lot more retail there,” he said. “We do better when there’s a lot of retail around us.”

Nordstrom said the downtown store’s closing is an isolated decision and not part of any larger plan to shut other locations.

“It’s very rare for us to close a store,” he said.
The story mentions the upfront incentives offered to Nordstrom to lure it to open a store in the new mall back in the 1990s. It has long been rumored that, as part of that deal, Nordstrom, paid no rent for its anchor store; rather, it paid its share of maintenance fees only. When word leaked out last year that Nordstrom may not renew its lease at the mall, Deputy Mayor Mike Huber said the City would do whatever it took to keep Nordstrom in the mall.

This is a devastating blow to Downtown Indianapolis as it prepares to host the Super Bowl next year. The City is spending about $12 million on improvements to Georgia Street adjacent to Nordstrom as a major pedestrian thoroughfare for out-of-town visitors. Visitors will be greeted by a boarded up storefront instead of one of the nation's top fashion stores. Many local people who frequently visited Circle Centre Mall have stopped visiting it because of the growing number of teen-age gang members that loiter in and around the mall. It has become the site of frequent shootings and criminal activity during the summer months, particularly during Black Expo's Summer Celebration. It's incredible how city leaders have allowed this one annual event to completely tarnish the image of downtown after so much money has been invested to make downtown a thriving and livable place from its dark days before Circle Centre Mall was built with taxpayers' money.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John Edwards A Victim Of Obama Dirty Tricks?

When rumors first surfaced about John Edwards' alleged extra-marital relationship during the 2008 campaign, most observers suspected the campaign of Hillary Clinton was responsible for the stories that surfaced in the gossip magazine, National Enquirer. When the allegations first surfaced, it was John Edward and not Barack Obama who posed the greatest challenge to Clinton. Many had expected Edwards to win the Iowa caucus, which would give him a bounce going into the nation's first presidential primary, New Hampshire. The tabloid story surfaced and Obama wound up edging out Edwards for a victory in Iowa. The rest is history.

Today, the Obama Justice Department has given the go ahead to federal prosecutors to bring criminal charges against Edwards for misusing campaign funds to cover up his affair and love child with Rielle Hunter, who had served as a media adviser to his presidential campaign. The key witness against Edwards is former campaign aide, Andrew Young, who pretended to be the father of Edwards' love child with Hunter and helped Edwards cover up the affair. Young also claims to have a videotape and pictures of Edwards having sex with Hunter, which Young used to secure a book and film deal. Edwards is suing Young to prevent the release of the pictures and videotape. What I found interesting in this story is a report by the New York Times that Young's agent is none other than Ari Emanuel, who is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former White House Chief of Staff and newly-elected mayor of Chicago. Ari Gold's ruthless character in the hit TV show, Entourage, is based on Ari Emanuel, and Ari has been very helpful in political fundraising activities in Hollywood for both Obama and Emanuel. A coincidence? I think not. These Chicago goons are pure evil and will destroy anyone who gets in the way of their political ambitions.

The story broken by the National Enquirer led to Edwards' political downfall. It could not have come at a worse time, as his wife was dying from breast cancer. Elizabeth died last December, leaving behind the couple's two youngest children for Edwards to raise alone. The Justice Department could offer a plea agreement with Edwards according to the Times, but "federal investigators might want to press the case to send a message to other candidates that the misuse of campaign funds is a serious crime and that it should not be dismissed," the Times says. During the 2008 presidential campaign, there was widespread evidence of the Obama campaign illegally raising millions of dollars from foreigners. The FEC reportedly is looking at the complaints that have been filed by public interest groups, but it remains doubtful anyone will be held to account for potentially massive campaign finance fraud by the 2008 Obama campaign. It's quite interesting that the Obama Justice Department is being so aggressive against Edwards, who has already been destroyed, while ignoring questions about not only the President's campaign finance irregularities, but additional questions about whether he has misrepresented his natural born citizenship status to gain control of the highest office in the land.

I also find it interesting that a Democratic-run Justice Department is so interested in pursuing criminal charges against Edwards, who doesn't even hold office, when the Democrats clamored during the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton that it was unfair to seek his removal for the obstruction of justice and perjury crimes he committed while trying to cover up his extramarital relations. It just goes to show how unevenly the laws of our land are enforced depending on whose ox is getting gored. While the Omedia seems more than happy to look into the private lives of anyone else seeking the presidency, including the New York Times reporter's recent visit to Boone County recently to rummage through Mitch Daniels' old divorce records, they aren't the least bit concerned about learning of Obama's alleged extramarital relations with other men. It's accepted vetting when it's anyone else. Ask any questions about Obama and you're just a racist. At least in the case of Edwards, nobody died. Obama's goons had Larry Sinclair illegally arrested and someone executed Donald Young for simply talking, even if the media wasn't interested in their stories.  

Dr. John McGoff To Seek Rematch Against Dan Burton

Indiana's 5th District U.S. Rep. Dan Burton can count on a tough primary battle once again in his newly-drawn district. Former Marion Co. Coroner Dr. John McGoff is announcing his candidacy for the 2012 primary race today. This will be the third attempt for McGoff. Will the third time be the charm? It took Mike Pence three attempts before he won his 6th District seat, and State Treasurer Richard Mourdock lost a congressional and statewide race before he finally won his state office. The new district includes more of Marion County where McGoff ran strong in his two previous bids, and it has shed some of the northern rural counties where Burton ran very strong. Burton also has a demonstrated weakness of support in Hamilton County, which is where the largest chunk of Republican primary votes will be cast. McGoff captured 45% of the primary vote in 2008 in a small field of candidates, and Burton has been held to less than 50% of the vote in the last two primaries. Burton won the 2010 primary race with a strong field of five candidates with only 29% of the vote. The second-place finisher from the 2010 race, Luke Messer, is running this time in the open 6th District. Here's McGoff's announcement statement:

Dr. John McGoff will announce his candidacy for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District seat on Wednesday. He is challenging Dan Burton who has held the seat since 1983. McGoff, an emergency physician in Indianapolis and brigadier general in the Air Guard, is making his third run at the incumbent Congressman.

“When I first ran in 2008, I knew it would take more than one election cycle to defeat an incumbent Congressman,” McGoff reports. “Despite being outspent almost five to one, I surprised many people by getting 45% of the votes. I knew that the voters wanted a change. They never had an alternative to Burton. In 2010, with five other candidates in the race the anti-incumbent vote was split. But when all the votes were counted, seven out of ten people voted against Burton. It’s clear that voters are dissatisfied with his leadership.”

The 5th District demographics are different this time around because of redistricting. Several of the northern counties, including Huntington, Wabash, and Miami, which were Burton strongholds during the last two primaries have been sliced out of the newly formed 5th District.

“We like the dynamics of the 2012 primary. Marion and Hamilton counties still make up the bulk of the 5th District,” McGoff points out, “In both 2008 and 2010 our campaign did extremely well in these counties. During this primary we plan on building on our previous success.”

“Our country is going through one of the most difficult times in its history and we are still a long way from being out of trouble,” McGoff says. “Jobs have not returned to central Indiana. Families are still struggling. Just when we think we have turned a corner, we experience another setback. Today, it’s ridiculously high gas prices. Our economy is so fragile that we need leaders in Washington with fresh ideas that produce results.”

“In 2008, I made the decision to run because I didn’t believe that my daughter would have the same opportunities for a bright future as I had,” McGoff remembers. “Today, she’s a teenager and I’m even more worried for her future. With my family’s support, I’m entering the 2012 primary so that the 5th District voters will have a choice; a candidate who is highly qualified and has no political obligations to the Washington elite.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Barry's Awkward Moment With The Queen

President Barack Obama had a bit of a misstep when he tried to toast Queen Elizabeth II while the orchestra was playing the British national anthem. He paused after raising his glass and saying the words, ""To her Majesty the Queen," prompting the orchestra to begin playing the national anthem, "God Save the Queen." His miscue reminded me of the scene from Naked Gun where Leslie Nielsen's character, Lt. Frank Drebin, had quite an awkward situation with Queen Elizabeth II's character at a formal dinner. Earlier today, Obama tried to get cute when he signed the guest book while visiting Westminster Abbey by using the English style of dating his entry. Unfortunately, his mind was stuck in 2008. He signed it "24 May 2008." I can only imagine how the media would have played these miscues if George W. Bush was the person making them, including the President's limo getting stuck after bottoming out. That would have been the lead for the evening news, "President's trip abroad bottoms out."

U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of FSSA Workers In "Large-Scale Theft"

Just two day after announcing he would not be seeking the Republican presidential nomination, the Daniels' administration has been rocked by an announcement today by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett of employees of his embattled Family & Social Services Administration being indicted on charges of a "large-scale theft." Hogsett has scheduled a press conference at 1:30 p.m. to announce the charges. Gov. Mitch Daniels is telling State House reporters his administration uncovered the wrongdoing and "turned over the miscreants" to federal authorities for prosecution. More to come.


Three former employees of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration face federal theft charges, accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from federal programs administered by the agency.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said Tuesday that the workers -- Robert Edwards, Timberly Snyder and Adina Lopez -- were involved in "large-scale theft."

The indictment alleges that Edwards, Snyder and Lopez created dozens of EBT cards, taking a total of $191,103.89 from food stamp funds and money used to provide temporary assistance for needy families, among other funding programs.

The thefts occurred from December 2008 through April 2010, Hogsett said.

Authorities said Edwards, Snyder and Lopez generated fraudulent benefit cards in the names of more than 100 people, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported

The cards were used to get money from ATMs and were used to buy various items, authorities said, and some of the cards were sold to third parties.

The thefts were discovered by state officials, but the investigation was turned over to federal authorities because the case involved federal funds.

"Anyone who steals from Hoosier taxpayers will be held strictly accountable by this office. This is particularly so when it is theft by public employees, people who have violated our trust," Hogsett said.

Edwards, Snyder and Lopez each face a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 fine.
This is "large-scale theft?" What about the nearly half billion dollars wasted to put money in the pockets of private contractors in a failed effort to privatize the state's welfare delivery system? I guess "large-scale theft" is in the eyes of the beholder. Wake us up, Joe, when your office decides to tackle real public corruption in this state.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mourdock Has The Support Of A Majority Of State Committee

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock previously announced he had the support of Indiana's National Republican Committeeman and Committeewoman, James Bopp and Dee Dee Benkie, respectively, and 75% of the county chairs. Today he announced that he has secured the support of 10 of the 18 members who make up the state party's central committee. Mourdock's campaign says several of the remaining committee members have a policy of not making endorsements in contested primaries or have chosen to remain neutral in the race. “I know we are still roughly a year away from the 2012 Primary Election, but I am pleased about the continued momentum that our campaign is gaining across Indiana and the direction we are heading,” Mourdock said.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and State GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb are going to find themselves walking a tightrope in next year's Senate primary race. Daniels owes his political career in large part to his mentor, Sen. Lugar. Now that he has decided against a White House bid, he will be spending a lot more time in the state and will be much closer to the primary race as it unfolds. Holcomb won the state GOP position on the strength of his impressive work managing Daniels' successful statewide gubernatorial campaigns. His heart is no doubt with Lugar, but he will have to remain neutral to avoid problems managing the state party with a majority of his committee now backing Mourdock.

Mourdock's biggest challenge appears to be in the fundraising department. Lugar has amassed a large war chest going into next year's race, while Mourdock is far behind him and has a long way to go to raise sufficient money to afford a statewide media campaign. The coming months will reveal whether the large grassroots support Mourdock is building for his uphill campaign will translate into fundraising success. Mourdock won't have to match Lugar's fundraising numbers, but he will have to do better than he has to date to be competitive. Both Lugar and Mourdock should find raising money easier without a Daniels presidential campaign competing for limited dollars among the same pool of big contributors.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ex-Wife Blamed Marriage Break-Up On Cheri Daniels Helping To Torpedo Mitch's Presidential Bid

Real Clear Politics' Erin McPike reveals that the ex-wife of the California doctor who Cheri Daniels hooked up with after leaving Mitch Daniels the first time approached reporters and blamed her for the break-up of her marriage, describing her as uncaring and vengeful. She further speculated that Daniels and Cheri only reunited years later to bolster his planned gubernatorial bid. Fears of damaging disclosures from their marital past may have played the key role in Daniels' decision not to run for president at the urging of Cheri:

She [Cheri] had reason to be nervous. RealClearPolitics was approached by the ex-wife of the doctor with whom Mrs. Daniels fled to California. The other couple was married at the time, and the woman said in a phone interview that the move "blindsided" her.

While she said she's over the breakup of her marriage, in an email she characterized Cheri Daniels as "vengeful."

The doctor's ex-wife continued: "What I will say is they remarried for political reasons. She didn't care what she did to her children or mine in 1994. And she doesn't care about what she does now. Look up 'narcissist.' I really question her character, and her motives."

The woman, who asked that her name not be used in order to protect her privacy, said she is a conservative and thought Daniels would make an excellent president. She even said she would vote for him. At the same time, she made it clear that she blames Cheri Daniels for breaking up her own family, and she speculated that the Danielses got back together at Mitch Daniels' urging because of his political ambitions -- such as his gubernatorial run.
An unlikely source--Daniels' divorce lawyer--apparently was telling Washington insiders that the particulars of the divorce were "messy" enough to prove problematic for a presidential bid:

She's not the only person who warned that details of the split are not the kind of biographical background a presidential candidate likes to deal with during a campaign roll-out. Daniels' own divorce lawyer has privately hinted to some Washington insiders that the particulars of the break-up were so messy that it would indeed be a problem if the two-term governor ran for president.

(The governor came to his wife's defense in a statement he released late Saturday to the Indianapolis Star. He said “the notion that Cheri ever did or would ‘abandon’ her girls or parental duty is the reverse of the truth and absurd to anyone who knows her, as I do, to be the best mother any daughter ever had.”

(He further explained that when he and Cheri parted, “the court agreed with my view that our daughters’ best interests would be served by their staying in Indiana. Cheri and I were granted joint custody. Within a short time, she purchased a residence just a few minutes from our house. Until we remarried, we shared custody fully, the girls dividing their time between the two houses.”)
I don't know who Daniels' divorce lawyer was, but I would be infuriated to learn that he was discussing the details of their divorce with others, which would seem to be a violation of the attorney-client privilege, particularly since those matters have been closely guarded and certainly not recounted by local news media outlets in Indianapolis, which could have gained access to the records at the time of their divorce. The old court files have likely been highly sanitized, if they even exist anymore.

Daniels Passes On White House Bid

Gov. Mitch Daniels has surprised and disappointed those urging him to seek the 2012 GOP nomination for president. Instead of announcing his intention to run this week as expected, he sent out an e-mai early this morning to his friends and supporters saying the opposite:

I hope this reaches you before the public news does. If so, please respect my confidence for the short time until I can make it known to all.

The counsel and encouragement I received from important citizens like you caused me to think very deeply about becoming a national candidate. In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry. If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached.

Many thanks for your help and input during this period of reflection. Please stay in touch if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our Republic.
His hometown newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, received the news shortly before today's news deadline, which you can read here. With him out of the race for president, I suspect attention will now turn to him as a popular running mate choice for the 2012 GOP nominee.

UPDATE: WRTV's Kevin Rader just interviewed Sen. Richard Lugar live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lugar told Rader he was surprised by Daniels' decision not to run. He indicated he spoke to Daniels yesterday before he made the announcement public, but he declined to say what Daniels discussed with him about his decision. Daniels cut his teeth in politics working for Lugar first when Lugar was Indianapolis mayor and later when he became a U.S. Senator.

Daniels' announcement also hints that the media may have been digging through his old divorce records. At least he felt compelled to release this additional statement about his wife Cheri's demonstrated instability:

It is important to correct some factually incorrect accounts about the time when our family was divided. When Cheri and I parted, the court agreed with my view that our daughters’ best interests would be served by their staying in Indiana. Cheri and I were granted joint custody. Within a short time, she purchased a residence just a few minutes from our house. Until we remarried, we shared custody fully, the girls dividing their time between the two homes.

The notion that Cheri ever did or would “abandon” her girls or parental duty is the reverse of the truth and absurd to anyone who knows her, as I do, to be the best mother any daughter ever had.
I'm not sure how that tracks with numerous, unchallenged past accounts of Cheri moving to California to live with her second husband after the couple divorced before later remarrying. This passage from a story in today's Chicago Tribune is indicative of the scrutiny his marriage was likely to receive if he ran for president:

But as he talked about a candidacy, he always pointed back to his family as the primary issue that would hold him back.

His wife, Cheri, filed for divorce in 1993 and moved to California to remarry, leaving him to raise their four daughters in Indiana. She later divorced, and she and Daniels reconciled and remarried in 1997.

Mrs. Daniels had never taken much of a public role in her husband's political career.

So it raised eyebrows when she was chosen as the keynote speaker at a major Indiana fundraiser earlier in May.

Both husband and wife were said to be pleased with the reception they got, and advisers suggested that the outcome could encourage Daniels to run for president. Even so, Republicans in Washington and Indiana with ties to Daniels put the odds at 50-50.
A post at the Redstate blog, which has been generally skeptical of a Daniels' bid adds:

Since the standard operating procedure of the media these days is to dismantle every aspect of a candidate’s past (except with the notable exception of then-candidate Barack Obama), I’m sure Daniels and his family were anticipating the media microscope.
Yeah, I think it's safe to conclude Cheri wasn't quite ready for prime time and probably never will be. As I noted recently, the "Cheri issue" wasn't going to go away.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Politico Tackles Pardon Issues Facing GOP Presidential Candidates

Politico's Maggie Haberman is thinking shades of Willie Horton as she examines whether the potential GOP presidential candidates have any pardon-related issues that helped sink the 1988 presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. Willie Horton was a violent sex offender who raped and murdered a woman while out on a weekend furlough from prison while Dukakis was governor. Then-Sen. Al Gore first raised the issue when Dukakis was seeking the Democratic nomination and he was campaigning against him for the nomination. An independent group supporting George H.W. Bush ran TV ads in the fall election highlighting the case and the controversial furlough program as evidence Dukakis was soft on crime.

Former Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee was viewed as the GOP candidate with the most exposure on the issue because of the large number of pardons and sentence reductions he meted out largely based on religious conversions inmates claimed they had undergone while serving in prison for their crimes. Huckabee has opted against another presidential run so the issue with him is moot.

According to Haberman's story, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has an embarrassing case of a statutory rape convict he pardoned who later stood accused of repeatedly molesting another girl. He also had a well-publicized case where a repeat sex offender was released early from prison who later murdered a young college student. Pawlenty took responsibility for both cases and sought tougher sentences for sex offenders.

Gov. Mitt Romney can boast that he never pardoned a single prisoner while serving as Massachusetts governor. He does, however, have a case of a violent criminal offender sprung from prison early by his parole board who later killed a police officer.

Haberman's research on Gov. Mitch Daniels is pretty weak. She completely overlooked the botched case of Thomas Hardy, a repeat offender who was mistakenly released from jail due to errors made by state correction officials and wound up killing Indianapolis Officer David Moore execution style after Moore pulled Hardy over for a traffic stop. There was also a recent case of a rapist being released from prison due to another error by corrections officials who raped a woman in a restroom at a pharmacy within days of his mistaken release. Here's what Haberman wrote on Daniels:

Like Romney, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who’s been circumspect about whether he’ll run, has also used his pardon pen sparingly. Since taking office in 2005, according to his official website, he’s issued just over 40 pardons and clemencies.

Almost all of them were for people who’d committed relatively minor offenses, and who’d gone on to change their ways. A large handful of those pardons were for minor drug offenders, while just one was a clemency for a death row murderer who had been deemed insane since his trial over a decade ago.

He’s issued none since 2008. The only obvious problems he could face are with the pardoned drug offenders – which opponents could use to remind people of Daniels’ own bust in college for pot possession – and a pardon of union official Steve Quick, an ally of former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, for a small crime almost 30 years earlier.
Haberman's description of Quick's crime as "a small crime almost 30 years earlier" is laughable. Quick and another man held up a woman and her boyfriend at gunpoint in a parking lot outside an eatery near the downtown area. The woman wound up shot in the chest, although it was Quick's accomplice who pulled the trigger. Quick and his brother had also been arrested and charged with murdering a man outside a liquor store within a year of committing the armed robbery case, but those charges were later dropped due to an evidentiary problem. I discuss Quick's pardon in detail in this post from earlier this year.

Jon Huntsman, a former Utah governor, seems to be in the clear because as governor he had no pardon or sentence reducing powers. Those powers were exercised by a parole board made up of his appointees, but there doesn't seem to be any big issues during his term as governor.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman never served as a governor, but as an elected official she did urge President George W. Bush to pardon a campaign contributor who had a conviction for money laundering. The contributor later was charged on new charges of money laundering, which proved embarrassing to Bachman, who withdrew her letter of support upon learning of the new charges.

How Many Democrats Voted In Wisconsin Election While On Vacation?

Last month, Wisconsin's April 5 municipal elections featured a hotly-contested statewide race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court between incumbent Justice David Prosser and his Democratic challenger, Joanne Kloppenburg. Democrats and unions turned the election into a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker's legislative efforts to rein in public employees collective bargaining rights as a way of bringing state spending under control. Liberal activists from all over the country besieged the State House in Madison for days while a group of Democratic lawmakers fled to Illinois to shut down the legislative process to block Walker's legislative agenda. At first, it appeared Kloppenburg narrowly defeated Prosser by a couple hundred votes, but a tabulation error swung the results more than 7,000 votes in Prosser's favor. That prompted a recount, which confirmed Prosser's win this week. It now look like some of those out-of-state activists may have illegally registered to vote in the Wisconsin election.

Tommy Schrader is a perennial Democratic candidate in Allen County. In February, he filed for an at-large Fort Wayne city council race for the May 2 Democratic primary in Indiana. Schrader finished third out five candidates in the primary, winning one of three Democratic spots for the general election. There was only one problem. Schrader took a short vacation to Wisconsin during the primary election where he registered and cast a vote in the Wisconsin April 5 municipal election. Now the Allen County Democrats want Schrader bounced from the ballot for failing to maintain a residence in Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Benjamin Lanka explains Shrader's short vacation to Wisconsin:

Schrader is a perennial candidate and said he took a vacation to Wisconsin during the campaign season this year because he did not expect to win. He finished third in a five-way Democratic race for Fort Wayne City Council at large, securing one of the party’s three nominations.

He told the election board, however, that he registered to vote in Green Bay and participated in that city’s municipal election. These revelations prompted the board to determine he did not meet local residency requirements.
The Allen County Election Board voted unanimously to remove Schrader from the November election ballot for failing to meet the residency requirement, but the Democrats have also filed a lawsuit in the circuit court to have him deemed ineligible and to permit the fourth place finisher in the primary, George Guido, to be added to the November election ballot. Unbelievably, Schrader tells Lanka he plans to appeal the election board's ruling.

One might wonder how a Fort Wayne resident who was candidate for office this year could have taken a short vacation to Green Bay, Wisconsin and been able to register and vote there. The answer lies in a state law that allows persons to register to vote the same day as an election in Wisconsin. The state is one of nine states in the country that allow voters to register and vote on the same day as the election. Republicans have long criticized the law, arguing that it creates chaos on election day when election officials are tasked not only with administering the election but also registering new voters. Republicans also contend the law makes voter fraud much easier. As many as 10% to 15% of the votes cast in Wisconsin are done so by voters who register on election day. That amounted to 406,000 votes in the 2008 presidential election.

The Republican-controlled legislature this year considered doing away with the same-day registration law, but it opted instead for a voter ID law similar to Indiana's law that requires voters to present a government-issued photo ID in order to cast a vote. Perhaps Tommy Schrader will become Exhibit A for why same-day registration is not such a good idea. Hopefully, Allen Co. election authorities have already or will notify Wisconsin officials to investigate Schrader for voter fraud. It also makes you wonder just how many Democratic activists from outside Wisconsin took advantage of the same-day registration law in April's election. Wisconsin saw a record voter turnout this year, 33%, for what is normally low turnout in the state's spring municipal election.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Wise Adult Gives The Child A History Lesson

The American people should be completely ashamed that the President of the United States forwarded a plan this week that, if implemented, would assure the destruction of Israel. Yes, Obama thinks Israel should narrow itself to pre-1967 borders when it was as little as nine miles wide and constantly at war with its surrounding enemies. It would also require Israel to give up some of the most holy of religious sites for Jews and Christians that were plundered and desecrated the last time they were in the hands of Muslims. Fortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a sense of history of which President Obama is either completely ignorant or intentionally ignoring. In the exchange above, Netanyahu is clearly the only adult in this two-way conversation and is speaking directly to the American people pleading for understanding, while President Obama looks on with total enmity.

UPDATE: Indiana's two senators react to the President's speech. Sen. Dan Coats' comments clearly express disapproval:

“The president’s comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were unwelcome and unprecedented. All agree the two sides in this extensive conflict must work toward a settlement that brings security and stability to the region. All agree that such a task is a complex and difficult undertaking. Unfortunately, the president’s remarks pushed the goal line further away.”

Sen. Richard Lugar, who is regarded for his stength in foreign affairs, offered this muddled reaction:

"The president of the United States has given a worldwide speech," Lugar told 6News' Tanya Spencer. "That brings a certain inflammation to the argument in a hurry."

"Prime Minister Netanyahu takes very strong exception, as do most Israeli leaders. So this means that we've not made a great deal of headway during this week," Lugar said.

Lugar said he hopes that negotiations for peace in the Middle East are now more possible than ever. With new governments in Egypt and Tunisia, he said that part of the world is a brand new ballgame.
Yeah, new governments that are decidedly more anti-American, anti-Israeli and Muslim extemist in orientation. That makes for a great new ballgame. Lugar told WRTV he would not fault President Obama for his remarks suggesting Israel should return to its 1967 borders. No surprise there.

Is There A Gold Card With Indy's Parking Meter Deal?

The City of Los Angeles awarded a contract to ACS, the same company that received a 50-year lease to run the City of Indianapolis' parking meter assets, to process parking violations. City residents are now up in arms after learning the company has a Gold Card program for the privileged elite that allows them to resolve any parking fine disputes they might have unlike ordinary citizens. The LA Times reports on how the privileged are able to get their parking fines dismissed with the use of their Gold Card:

Los Angeles residents are up in arms over the existence of the "Gold Card," a plastic parking bureau card distributed to city offices that includes a special phone number.

The obscure Gold Card Services Desk allowed the mayor and other elected officials to expedite citation reviews.

On the back, the card notes that the holder may have an "urgent need to resolve any parking citation matter which requires special attention." It promises "you will be immediately connected to our Gold Card Specialist."

A report released Thursday by City Controller Wendy Greuel found that about 1,000 Los Angeles city parking citations were dismissed over a two-year period -- some without justification -- as part of the Gold Card operation.

The program was started about 20 years ago to permit officials and their staff to expedite constituents’ appeals of parking tickets and possibly have fines reduced or eliminated.

"I wish they did let us know about it," said Donny Legans, 55, who arrived at the city's parking enforcement office Thursday to pay an $88 ticket. "The system is so unfair. Sometimes the meters aren't even working and they give us tickets."

Most of those interviewed said they were angry about the program's existence -- and will be even more upset if it turns out that elected officials used the program to get special treatment for themselves and their friends.

John Torres arrived at the parking enforcement office in a fury. He said he got his ticket after the enforcement officer accused him of spending 90 minutes at a meter in the 1400 block of West Washington Boulevard.

Torres said he put money in the meter, and had been there for 10 minutes. Since being cited, his fine doubled from $75 to $150 because he had been away on business and didn't have the opportunity to pay it immediately.

Torres, who was surprised to hear about the "Gold Card Desk," said he'd like access to the program himself so he could contest his fine.
The Gold Card, by the way, has the ACS emblem emblazoned in bold letters in the upper right-hand corner. Under the contract signed last year, an ACS press release said the company collected $9.5 million annually in parking fines for the city. ACS boasts that it is the largest processor of parking violations in the nation, collecting $818 million for nearly 15 million parking violations. ACS has a reputation for winning coveted contracts to manage government operations through a well-connected team of political deal-makers the company engages throughout the country. The City of Indianapolis came under fire a few years ago for the practice of passing out parking placards to government employees, officials and well-connected persons that allowed thousands to park for free at metered spaces without being cited for a parking violation.

Daniels Struck In The Head By Door At The Gym

Gov. Mitch Daniels had some bad luck while finishing up his regular workout at the gym today. As the governor was leaving his daily workout at the National Institute for Fitness and Sports, he was struck in the forehead by a door, causing a cut that required 16 stitches. Indiana State Police, who provide protection for the governor, took Daniels to Methodist Hospital where he was treated for his injury before returning home to rest. I'm guessing he didn't have the long wait the rest of us typically encounter when we show up at the hospital with similar types of emergencies. No word on whether the person who swung open the door was a Democrat or Republican.

Zoeller Asks For Rehearing On Barnes v. State

Attorney General Greg Zoeller at first seemed supportive of the Indiana Supreme Court's 3-2 decision in Barnes v. State abrogating the long-recognized common law rule, bolstered by the 4th Amendment, that a person had a right to reasonably resist an unlawful entry into their home by police. In the wake of the unprecedented nationwide criticism of the decision, Zoeller is now singing a different tune. He will support the defendant's counsel's petition for a rehearing of the case in hope of narrowing the court's ruling and avoiding an appeal of the controversial decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. From the AP:

Indiana's attorney general says he supports asking the state Supreme Court to revisit its recent ruling that found people don't have the right to resist police officers who enter their homes illegally.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Friday that a rehearing in the case would "allow for a more narrow ruling that would continue to recognize the individual right of reasonable resistance to unlawful entry."

Last week's state Supreme Court decision upholding an Evansville man's convictions for battery on a police officer and resisting law enforcement outraged some Indiana residents and lawmakers.

Although his office represents the prosecution in criminal appeals, Zoeller says he'll support a rehearing in this "unusual case" if the Evansville man asks for one. The defendant has until June 13 to seek a rehearing.
I predict the Supreme Court will grant a rehearing in the case, and I would not be at all surprised to see at least one of the justices, Chief Justice Randall Shepard, to join the two dissenting judges, Justices Dickson and Rucker, in refashioning a narrower ruling. Justice Shepard had been absent from the court for a few weeks prior to the decision's release due to a pinched nerve.

The decision has become a political headache for Mitch Daniels' potential presidential bid because the justice who authored the controversial opinion, Steven David, is his first and only choice to sit on the high court. The choice of David had already drawn criticism from some corners because of his views opposing the U.S. military's handling of Gitmo detainees where he had been assigned to represent enemy combatants accused of plotting terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its soldiers as a JAG officer.

Supreme Court Denies White's Request To Halt Recount Commission Proceeding

A Recount Commission hearing on the Indiana Democratic Party's petition challenging the eligibility of Secretary of State Charlie White will proceed after the Indiana Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction of an appeal of Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg's order directing the Commission to hear the petition and denied a motion by White and the Commission to stay the proceedings in an order released by the Supreme Court today. The Court reasoned that a "final order" has not been made in the matter to make it ripe for appeal. You can read the order here.

Today's ruling is a big blow to White, who had sought to stay the proceedings until his criminal case has been resolved. White's attorneys are concerned about him being required to provide potentially incriminating testimony in the Commission proceeding that will touch on the same matters pending in a criminal proceeding against him. Although the Commission is Republican-controlled, they are put in an untenable position of adhering to an interpretation of the statutory eligibility requirements made by Judge Rosenberg at odds with its own interpretation of the statutory requirements. Judge Rosenberg agreed with Democrats that the statute not only requires a person to be registered to vote in order to be a candidate for Secretary of State, but also to be legally registered to vote in the correct precinct. Democrats contend White voted in a precinct in which he no longer resided prior to being nominated by the Republican Party at last year's state convention.

The law is being interpreted as a hammer against White, while a decision back in the 1980s liberally interpreted Indiana's election law to allow Evan Bayh to vote in Indiana and run for governor despite overwhelming evidence he had moved his residence to Washington, D.C., where he worked for a D.C. law firm, thereby failing to have maintained residence in the state for at least 5 years prior to running as required by the state's constitution. Bayh continued voting in Indiana during his absence from the state based on his intent to maintain his permanent residence here. Bayh, who like White served as the state's top elections officer as Secretary of State, never faced criminal charges for doing worse than what White has been accused of doing. Bayh even took a deduction on his tax return for his move to Washington. Republicans contested his eligibility to run in two separate proceedings before the state's Recount Commission and a circuit court judge. The trial court found in Bayh's favor, and the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's ruling that Bayh was eligible to run for governor.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Commissioner Who Took Free Flight From DLZ: "I Goofed"

A Porter County Commissioner who accepted a free plane ride from DLZ for herself and her husband to a Republican state fundraising dinner in Indianapolis featuring First Lady Cheri Daniels as the speaker is now admitting she made a mistake and will reimburse the politically-connected engineering/consulting firm for the cost of the trip. From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Porter County Commissioner Nancy Adams said she intends to reimburse the DLZ engineering firm for a flight she accepted last week to a Republican dinner in Indianapolis.

"I goofed, and I'm sorry," Adams said.

Adams confirmed for The Times earlier this week that she and her husband accepted the free flight May 12 with the intention it would save her time over driving and not interfere with several county-related meetings she had that day and Friday.

She said she thought she was avoiding any problems by paying for her own tickets to the dinner. She said Wednesday that DLZ had yet to provide her with a dollar amount for her share of the flight.

Adams said she was unaware the county personnel policy manual prohibits elected officials from accepting and donors from offering any gift, favor, service or entertainment under circumstances in which it can be reasonably inferred the gift would influence special consideration by the official.

She said it would be helpful if newly elected officials like herself were provided early on with these types of guidelines.
Adams is complaining that she wasn't provided guidance "early on" about accepting gifts from county countractors? It would be nice if elected officials had the common sense not to accept freebies from government contractors without having to be told. The Northwest Indiana Times pointed out that DLZ received the largest individual share of consulting fees from Porter County last year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Omedia Finds Arnold Love Child's Birth Certificate In A New York Minute

Barack Obama waited four years to release a long-form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii, even if it proves on its face he was not a natural born citizen because it confirms his father was not a U.S. citizen, which made him a dual citizen. No, dual citizens are not natural born citizens, but we won't waste your time on that since the Omedia has declared the U.S. Constitution means something no federal court has ever said it means. To the point of this post, only a day after America learned former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a love child with a domestic worker who worked in his home more than a decade ago, the media has obtained the long-form birth certificate for the child. No, Arnold is not listed as the father.

TMZ has obtained a copy of the birth certificate of the boy Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered . . . and he's not listed as the father on the birth certificate.
As TMZ reported, Mildred "Patty" Baena--who worked as a housekeeper/assistant for Arnold and Maria--is the mother.

Baena used a different last name on the birth certificate--Pena.

The boy was born on October 2, 1997, which now makes him 13. He was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, California.
A copy of the birth certificate can be viewed here. Assuming the document is authentic, it shows that even vital records are not necessarily truthful documents when the persons furnishing the information lie to the official registrars of vital records. The child was born within a week of one of Arnold's children to Maria. Schwarzenegger's own admissions prove the man is a total fraud and liar who should be trusted by nobody. Photos of the boy show him to be the spitting image of Arnold. It is inconveivable that his mother could have shared a household all this time with the Schwarzeneggers without anyone noticing the uncanny resemblance. Arnold and Maria even hosted a baby shower at which they lavished expensive gifts on the new-born boy. Arnold's oldest son, Patrick, has already changed his name on Twitter to Shriver. Can't say that I blame him.

It's disappointing the Omedia is not as interested in the true story of little Barry's nativity as they are in the nativity of Arnold's love child. The Omedia finds no significance to the fact that nobody has been able to locate an official record of a marriage certificate ever being issued to Barack Obama, Sr. and Stanley Ann Dunham in Maui, Hawaii where their marriage allegedly occurred, that no evidence exists that the couple ever lived together as husband and wife, and that Barack Obama, Sr. signed and filed documents with U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Services to extend his student visa before being booted out of the country by the government at the request of Harvard that failed to even mention he had a son in Honolulu, Hawaii who bore his name, while naming his son Roy with his wife back in Kenya. And no, Barry looks nothing like his reputed father. There are documents in Indonesia, however, identifying him as the son of an Indonesian citizen, Lolo Soetoro, and as a citizen of Indonesia whose name was "Barry Soetoro." Lolo is the only man with whom Dunham definitively lived as husband and wife. More importantly, the Omedia could care less that the document posted on the official White House website and represented as Obama's true long-form birth certificate is a total fraud and has been proven such by numerous document experts who have examined it. Even the federal government conceded in a report published years ago that producing forged and phony birth and marriage documents in the United States is a piece of cake and is commonly accomplished.

Consider the irony. You've learned more about the nativity of Arnold's love child in a 24-hour period than you you've learned over the last four years about the man you elected as your president. Pretty scary, huh?

Roeser On Daniels: A "Wimp" and "Weenie Runt Of The Litter"

A veteran Illinois conservative radio talk show host on WLS-AM and blogger has some harsh words for a potential Mitch Daniels presidential bid. Thomas Roeser is particularly peeved by two big mistakes Daniels made this past week: publicly punting a decision on whether to run to his on-again, off-again wife given her "demonstrated instability"; and suggesting Condi Rice would make a good choice for his V.P. Roeser suggests a political spouse has never decided whether one runs for president and by publicly putting the ball into her court the way he has makes him "a sad joke of the GOP candidates" and the "weenie runt of the litter":

I think it’s a joke and makes a laughingstock out of Daniels who on a number of fronts…budgetary expertise, excellent governor…is a well-qualified candidate. The proper way would be for the couple quietly to make that decision up or down and then either go for it or no. Throwing the ball to Cherie in public to make the decision for Mitch makes Mitch a sad joke of the GOP candidates—the weenie runt of the litter.

As we all know, Cherie left him and their daughters for another man, divorcing Mitch and marrying an old flame because she despised Mitch’s chosen vocation of politics…and then did a reverse switch, divorcing him and returning to Mitch. Do they think this device…leave it to Cherie… will insulate her from another switcheroo when the press heat comes on? Looks a lot like it. But with her already demonstrated instability I’m not so sure. This stupid p. r. device should disqualify him from election if anything does. This smacks of Dick Lugar, his topmost adviser.
Roeser is also upset at Daniels' upfront decision to assume all of the baggage of the Bush foreign policy by telling a group of college students over drinks that he thinks Condi Rice would make a good running mate for him:

Daniels made the suggestion carelessly over cocktails with some college kids after Cherie spoke to a Republican audience. Smart, huh? Earlier he had been quoted as saying he did not feel qualified at this point to debate Obama on foreign policy. Smart, huh? What a laugh after all the goof-ups Obama has made! Now he evidently wants an architect of the George W. Bush foreign policy to be considered for veep! Thus from the outset the negatives of that policy will be used against him and the cameras will switch continually to Condi to defend it. Thus one woman decides whether Mitch will run—not Mitch—and another woman will be asked all the big foreign-defense policy questions—a vehemently pro-abort woman at that…..with Mitch presumably left to drive his motorcycle alone down the highways.

The Bush tie-in has already been glaring….Laura calling up Cherie to steady her nerves….the big media serving a trumpet fanfare that here is the truly super-duper candidate…with smoothly the George W. and Poppy rolodexes clicking into place. That’ll mean we face a return to Wilsonianism…our mission being to lead those nations involved in the Arabian Spring to democracy—no how much blood and treasure it takes.

And why Condi? Does he remotely think that Condi Rice is going to lead him to a treasure-trove of black votes when blacks already have a president? God, I hope not. But “My Man Mitch,” as “W” calls him has made all by his own-self the most spectacular screw-ups any pre-announced presidential candidate has done…with a laudable pro-life record, he announced it would be off his table if he were to run—thus sacrificing an army of social conservative volunteers.

He then angled back and signed the Planned Parenthood state funding ban which didn’t allay social conservatives but proved he was trying to be cute. Anyhow, he vitiated much of the so-called “moderate” vote he had gained previously which had made him so exciting to big secular media. Then he booted his big decision…whether or not to run…to his wife. Finally denying himself a free hand postulating a foreign policy at odds with Obama’s…a great natural advantage…he hoists the white flag by suggesting the point-person in the Bush foreign policy be his veep.

What we have here, friends, is a wimp who has proven he isn’t worthy of serious consideration for the presidency because all by himself he has blown it.
Working in Daniels' favor is the equal skepticism with which Roeser views Mitt Romney's candidacy. Romney is a "brilliant salesman" who is "too damned pragmatic" Roeser says.

Former City-County Council President Government Witness In Plowman Bribery Case

Advance Indiana has learned that the government intends to call former City-County Council President Bob Cochrum as a witness in the bribery case it has brought against former high-ranking IMPD Officer and City-County Councilor, Lincoln Plowman. Plowman has been accused of accepting a bribe from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for aiding the agent in obtaining a variance for a strip club that was to be located in downtown Indianapolis. Earlier reports made no mention of attempts by Plowman to gain support for locating the business in question other than a downtown location.

Plowman's trial was set to begin on Monday until it was delayed because of the unavailability of a key government witness, an FBI agent, due to an unexpected illness of a family member. Cochrum's testimony supposedly relates to a request Plowman had made of Cochrum to support a zoning variance for a business that would be located in Cochrum's district. A press release from the Justice Department last September following Plowman's indictment read:

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that between Aug. 11, 2009, and Dec. 22, 2009, while a member of the City-County Council, Plowman solicited an undercover FBI agent to pay $5,000 in cash and to make a $1,000 campaign contribution for Plowman’s benefit. In exchange for the payments, Plowman allegedly would use his official actions and influence to facilitate the opening of a strip club in Indianapolis. According to the indictment, Plowman was a member of the Metropolitan Development Committee of the City-County Council. He was also a major with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Plowman faces a maximum penalty on the extortion charge of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He faces a maximum penalty on the bribery charge of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Indiana.

An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Richard C. Pilger of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe H. Vaughn. The case is being investigated by the FBI.
Court filings show that the court granted the government's motion for an order in limine to offer evidence of a consensual recording of a conversation with Plowman, an undercover FBI agent and a cooperating individual, as well instructions of the potential penalties against Plowman in the event of an indictment. Plowman intends to offer evidence of government misconduct, and the court granted the government's motion to limit testimony in that regard. Several sealed motions made by the government were taken under advisement by the court. Advance Indiana has learned that the government also intends to call other individuals who served on the Board of Zoning Appeals during the period in question. One BZA member, Brad Klopfenstein, has publicly acknowledged Plowman discussed a potential case with him. Klopfenstein also served as Plowman's campaign manager. It is uncertain when a new trial date will be scheduled.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Legislative Response To Barnes v. State

State Sen. Mike Young (R) tells WRTV News he plans to introduce legislation to overturn the controversial 3-2 Indiana Supreme Court decision in Barnes v. State. That's the decision that abrogated the long-followed common law rule in Indiana that a homeowner had a right to reasonably resist an unlawful entry of a police officer into his home. Young says his legislation will create a statutory right consistent with the common law rule tossed out by our state's Supreme Court last week.

Public reaction to the decision has been negative from people of all political perspectives. Indiana State Police are investigating threatening e-mails and phone calls the Supreme Court says it received in the aftermath of its decision. According to a police spokesman, most of the threats have been directed at police.

UPDATE: An observant reader sends this story about a person gaining unlawful entry to your home by posing as a police officer:

Worcester police said two mask-wearing intruders burst into a house on Randall Street around 8:30 Friday morning.

“They heard loud knocking,” said Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst of the Worcester Police Department. “Before they knew it, there were two people entering the kitchen. They were yelling that they were the police and to get on the ground. They ordered two occupants on the ground - one had a gun - and held the two on the ground at gunpoint while the other person ransacked the home. They were there for a few minutes and they both ended up fleeing the home without taking anything of value.”

Police said the intruders were not wearing uniforms or badges, however they said one of them did have on a reflective vest.

One woman, who didn't want to be identified, said she was inside the home during the invasion. She said it was a terrifying experience. Neighbors said they too were rattled by the experience. Police said they are concerned about their safety as well.

Police added that there were two similar home invasions in Worcester in November when the intruders claimed to be police.

Authorities said that is a disturbing trend.

“It increases the risk for our officers that conduct legitimate raids into homes. The people that are being raided might feel that this could be a fake raid and this could be robbing them instead and they might feel to retaliate,” said Hazelhurst.

Police said they are still investigating to determine a motive and whether the invasions are connected.

“That’s really very scary,” said Cecila Adu-Gyamfi, a neighbor. “Because it’s a very quiet neighborhood.”

“I’m shocked,” said Ted Treinor. “This is a fairly quiet neighborhood. A lot of older people live on this street. Like I said it’s fairly quiet.”
Lest we forget the recent arrest of an Indianapolis police officer for robbing illegal immigrants after pulling them over for alleged traffic violations. Illegal immigrants are particularly vulnerable to unlawful enty into their homes by police, real or fake, because they are less likely to report the crime.

Or consider this story about sneak and peek searches being carried out increasingly by federal law enforcement officials:

A special type of government search warrant that allows authorities to search homes without informing the owner for months is becoming more common, Target 7 has learned.

Imagine someone walking through your neighborhood, coming into your home and rifling through your intimate belongings.

“(They) search through your home, your dresser drawers, your computer files,” Peter Simonson, with ACLU New Mexico, said.

These search warrants don’t involve knocking on doors or any type of warning at all. Delayed-notice search warrants, or "sneak-and-peek" warrants, allow federal agents to enter your home without telling you they’ve been there until months later.

The warrants have always been around, but their use has spiked since the revamped Patriot Act in 2005. The number of delayed-notice search warrants spiked nationally from nearly 700 in fiscal year 2007 to close to 2,000 in 2009.

Upwards of 200 approved during that same three-year stretch came out of the 10th Circuit Court, which covers a handful of states including New Mexico. The majority of those delayed search warrants aren’t even for terrorism-related cases. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s figures, the majority of the warrants are for drug cases.

“While billed as an anti-terror tool, (a sneak-and-peek warrant) had no requirements on it that it precluded it from being used in standard criminal investigations,” Simonson said.

The warrants are so secret that the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s Office wouldn’t go on record with Target 7 about them.

The ACLU said it expects delayed-notice warrant numbers to keep growing each year as long as certain parts of the Patriot Act remain on the books.

Omedia's Anderson Cooper To Serve As Grand Marshal Of 500 Festival Parade

The Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee announced today that CNN's host of "Anderson Cooper 360" will serve as Grand Marshal for this year's 500 Festival Parade. Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, best known for her tight jeans brand of the 1970s. Cooper is decidely left-leaning and a certified member of the Omedia. I'm not sure what appeal he has to Indianapolis 500 fans. The former Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren model's news show posted its worst ratings ever last year. You could probably fit the number of viewers who watch his show in the Indianapolis market into a small bar on Massachusetts Avenue given his show's bottom-dwelling ratings in the cable news market. The openly gay New York-based newscaster lives in a converted firehouse in Greenwich Village and has a boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani, a bar owner in the East Village. Will Benjamin accompany him? Will he share his horror stories of being attacked by the Religion of Peace revolutionaries during his recent reporting in Egypt? Yeah, making him the Grand Marshal of the parade makes about as much sense as asking Donald Trump to drive the pace car, eh? I'm betting Dennis Ryerson won't be publishing a front-page, above-the-fold editorial column in the Star attacking Cooper as a clown undeserving of the honor. He'll probably ask to be his personal escort.

Cillizza: Daniels Winning By Waiting

Despite being a short, balding and not particularly attractive candidate, Chris Cillizza blogs at The Fix that he thinks Mitch Daniels is winning the Republican presidential nomination by playing the waiting game and appearing hard to get.

At first glance, Mitch Daniels is not someone who engenders political swooning. Shortish, balding and a self-described policy wonk, the Indiana governor is not who you would picture if asked to describe a presidential candidate from central casting.

And yet, Daniels has become the hottest thing in Republican political circles of late by doing one simple thing: waiting.

Daniels has, for months now, been publicly mulling a presidential candidacy. And, as he has remained on the fence, almost everyone else in the race has jumped off of it — leaving a field that many GOP voters and strategists believe is wanting.

That sentiment has turned Daniels into the man of the moment as, in recent weeks, he has been publicly praised far and wide by prominent Republicans.

During an appearance on the “Today” show last week, House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) offered some unprompted praise of Daniels — calling him a “person with a track record of reform in his state, the kind of reforms we need in Washington, D.C.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie echoed that sentiment in a recent radio interview saying of Daniels that “he’s certainly somebody who I have enormous respect for and would give real consideration to supporting.”

(Reports that Christie — and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — had offered their support if Daniels runs are untrue, according to informed sources in both camps.)

And, on Monday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who looked at running himself in 2012, said that Daniels would be “an extremely good candidate”. (On Tuesday, Henry Barbour, the governor’s nephew, tweeted: “No idea if Mitch Daniels is running, but this wide open field needs another truth teller with a record like his.”

Daniels is being courted behind the scenes as well. Last week, a number of major GOP donors came to a Republican Governors Association policy conference at the Indiana governor’s mansion with many of the attendees urging Daniels to make the race.

“I think it is smart,” said GOP strategist Mike Murphy of Daniels’ waiting game strategy. “Why have the burn rate with no voter attention?”

Under Murphy’s logic, Daniels’ hard-to-get approach to the race not only turns him into a hot commodity for those looking for a fresh face to get behind but also saves him from raising and spending money on a bid before anyone even in early voting states is paying much attention.

While the Daniels’ buzz continues to grow — witness the “Run Mitch Run” signs being waved at last week’s Indiana Republican fundraising dinner — recent electoral history suggests that simply being the last major candidate to enter the race is no guarantee of success in the nomination fight.

Both retired Gen. Wesley Clark (D) and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson were late entrants into the 2004 and 2008 nomination fights respectively.

But, in both cases, their best day as a candidate was their first one; neither man proved to be a particularly compelling and their campaigns wound up fizzling out.

And, now that the race has begun in earnest it becomes more difficult for Daniels to remain on the sidelines for much longer. The clearest evidence of why waiting might not work much longer? Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s monster $10 million one-day haul, a sum that some of his rivals could struggle to equal in the entire three-month quarter.

Daniels’ wait and see strategy has served him well to this point. But the day is rapidly approaching when he needs to make up his mind or run the risk of jumping the political shark.
It must be sort of like the attraction bad boy Puck has to fat girl Lauren on Glee. Just kidding.

Too Bad It's Too Late For Total Recall Of The Terminator

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger waited until after he left office to tell his wife, Maria Shriver, that he fathered a love child with a member of the couple's domestic staff more than a decade ago, which helps explain why Maria is now divorcing him.

 "After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger told the Times in a statement that also was sent to The Associated Press early Tuesday. "I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.

"I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time," the statement concluded. "While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not."
Had this man told the truth about his love child when he fathered it, his marriage would have ended and he would have never been elected California governor in the special election after Gov. Gray Davies was recalled seven years ago. Shriver provided cover for Schwarzenegger when he came under attack for his womanizing ways as a candidate ala Hillary Clinton. He ran as a fiscal conservative but instead bankrupted the state with higher spending and higher taxes. Will he fess up to doing gay for pay with wealthy European businessmen before he immigrated to this country next?

Monday, May 16, 2011

DLZ And Its Pay To Play Ways Strike Again

In my various reports on "Pay To Play Is The Ballard Way", I've noted one of the largest Ballard contributors has been a minority-owned engineering/consulting firm, DLZ. This is the same firm that federal investigators in Illinois subpoenaed in its ongoing investigation of Pay To Play corruption in Illinois. The firm lavishes campaign contributions to politicians all over the state of Indiana. Last week, the firm flew Porter Co. Commissioner Nancy Adams (R) and her husband to the state GOP dinner to hear First Lady Cheri Daniels speak. The Northwest Indiana Times Bob Kasarda reports on the free plane ride for the county commissioner:

The engineering firm of DLZ flew newly elected Porter County Commissioner Nancy Adams and her husband to a Republican dinner last week in Indianapolis.

Adams said she and her husband paid for their own tickets to the dinner, but did not reimburse the company for the flight, which also included a mayoral candidate from Mishawaka.

Adams said the flight, gifted by the top paid consultant of Porter County government last year, will in no way influence her decision making.

She said she opted to take the company up on the offer because the Thursday flight was much quicker than driving, which allowed her to attend county-related meetings both that day and Friday. She also felt it was important to attend the event to get to know others downstate, who she will need to rely on to get things done on behalf of the county.

DLZ Indiana President Brian Glaze did not return calls for comment.

The county personnel policy manual prohibits elected officials from accepting and donors from offering any gift, favor, service or entertainment under circumstances in which it can be reasonably inferred the gift would influence special consideration by the official.

Adams took office at the start of this year and thus was not part of the decision making that resulted in DLZ receiving the largest individual share of consulting funds last year from the county at $616,499.

Adams said she and the other two commissioners have made a point to share county work with many consulting firms.

She referred to the $20 million drainage project, where $680,000 in planning and engineering work was recently awarded to four area firms. DLZ was selected as the program manager and to take on a large amount of the work.

Cheri Daniels, wife of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, was the featured speaker at last week's GOP fundraising dinner in question.

Barnes v. State: Echoes of Fred Sanders?

The Indiana Supreme Court's 3-2 decision in Barnes v. State abrogating a long-standing common law rule that citizens have the right to reasonably resist an unlawful entry into their home by police continues to gain national attention. Fellow blogger Jeff Cox, however, focuses on a real-life Indiana case involving Indianapolis police and a warrantless intrusion into a man's home that left one police officer dead and the homeowner nearly beaten to death. Cox, who considers himself  "second to no one in being tough on crime," sees a frightening parallel in the Barnes decision with the case of Fred Sanders. Here are the facts Cox recites from another blog entry:

In 1988, a Catholic high school teacher, Fred Sanders, didn't always get along with his neighbors. They would often call the police with some sort of complaint, and each time, the complaint would be shown invalid. But it was a kind of harassment he experienced. One time, they called about a dog making racket and so the police, a group of them, came and addressed him while he was outside.

There was a discussion, and already, they were shown to be aggressive. They were already being physically abusive to him. He didn't like it, so he went back to his home, and locked the door. The police didn't like his attitude, so they demanded entry. He asked if he were under arrest or if there were a warrant. The answer to both was no. He told them to go away. They didn't. Instead, when he knew they were going to break down his door, he ran upstairs to get a shotgun. They broke in, and ran up after him. When they saw him with the gun, they started to run -- he, however, was not convinced and was afraid, after being physically assaulted. So he shot out, and hit one of the officers -- killing him! [Note: this officer was Patrolman Matt Faber -- JC.]

He gave himself up.

The other police handcuffed him and basically beat him up -- very very bad. Nearly to death. His eye was out of its socket it was so bad (and never fully healed). He is put on trial for murder, and afraid of the consequence (with a lawyer not helping, and his mother, dying, and afraid he will be put to death, telling him to take pleas) pleads guilty ( I think to manslaughter). But then others hear of the case, and think he was railroaded (should have been legitimate defense of his home/life), and that the police officers, when on trial, lied and were protecting each other as they avoided much of the evidence of what happened. He gets a new lawyer (who also recruited my dad, a law professor, as co-counsel) [Editor's note: The law professor is the late Henry Karlson of IU School of Law--Indianapolis]. The new lawyer can't do much with the conviction. So he launches a suit and criminal charges against the police.
Professor Henry Karlson often recounted this case to his law students. I recall Professor Karlson telling me how angry the police were that he had gotten involved in Fred Sanders' case, the threatening phone calls he received and how he learned that someone had illegally wiretapped his telephone while he was working on the case. Here's a factual summary of what happened in the civil case, which was Sanders' only recourse for justice:

On August 4, 1988, numerous IPD officers, after illegally forcing their way into the home of Fred Sanders and arresting him, savagely beat Sanders after he was handcuffed and subdued, causing Sanders serious bodily injury. The police department covered-up the use of excessive force by the officers in the case. IPD Officer Robert Ward was identified by civilians as one officer who engaged in the beating, and he was later convicted of battery. The federal jury who heard the Sanders case returned a verdict for $1.5 million for Sanders and against the Police and the City of Indianapolis. This sent a powerful message to the police that the community would no longer tolerate such abusive behavior towards Hoosier's as the Defendants' in that case had exercise with impunity against Sanders. Judge Sarah Evans Barker, in one of the more heinous acts of usurpation of citizens' power committed from a federal court bench, reduced this jury award to a mere $77,000.00, thereby condemning Sander's attorney to retry the case no less than three more times on narrower grounds than the first trial court victory.

Dan Coats Can See Dead Bin Laden Photos But We Can't

Sen. Dan Coats is part of the privileged elite who has spent his entire adult life living and working inside the Washington beltway. He decided he had the right to view the alleged photos of the now-deceased Osama bin Laden but the American people have no right to view them because to share them with the public would only incite more Muslim terrorist attacks:

Sen. Dan Coats, who on today viewed the photos taken of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by Navy SEALs, said President Barack Obama was right not to release the photos publicly.

“They’re graphic,” said Coats, a member of the Senate intelligence committee. “And because of the graphic nature of them, I can see better now why the president decided not to release those photos for fear that it would incite groups in the Middle East as well as elsewhere.”

Obama told CBS’s “60 Minutes’ earlier this month that releasing the photos would create ”some national security risk“ and that he didn’t want them used as a propaganda tool or an incitement to additional violence.

”Americans and people around the world are glad that he’s gone,“ Obama said of bin Laden. ”But we don’t need to spike the football.“

Coats said he had been concerned that not releasing the photos would give fodder to conspiracy theorists who would insist bin Laden was still alive. But the Indiana Republican said that has not happened and that keeping the photos private was the right decision.

”They’re there, and that along with the cumulative body of evidence that we’ve been given over the past couple of weeks adds the last box to be checked in terms of verification on his death,“ Coats said.
Sure, we can watch Americans falling to their death live on TV from the burning World Trade Centers, see the videos of the massacres at Mumbai, Spain and London or the beheading of Daniel Pearl at the hands of Muslim terrorists, but it's expecting too much to allow the American people the opportunity to view the proof for themselves that the man we spent more than $1 trillion dollars fighting the past decade, bankrupting our country in the process, is truly dead. Yeah, I'm sure Coats saw photos of a dead bin Laden. I'm just not convinced they aren't photos that are nearly a decade old.  Dr Steve Pieczenik, a counter-terrorism expert under three Secretaries of State and four U.S. presidents who worked on psy-op projects, says U.S. intelligence knew bin Laden died within a year following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and withheld the evidence from the American people to gain support for a two-front war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. The CIA has a long history of fabricating evidence to suit its ends. The American people have every reason to be skeptical. I'm certainly not going to take the word of a career beltway insider like Dan Coats on something like this. The more story-telling I hear from our government explaining how the capture and execution of bin Laden went down, the more convinced I am that we're not being told the entire truth. I'll take Pieczenik's word until I'm convinced otherwise.

Trump Wisely Passes On White House Bid

If there had ever been any time in his life when he needed to think about himself rather than his country, this was the time. Donald Trump wisely announced he won't be seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. From ABC News:

After a roller-coaster flirtation with a presidential bid, Donald Trump bowed out of the 2012 contest in true Trump fashion on Monday, saying that while he would not be a candidate this year, if he had run, he would have been able to win the primary and the general election.

"I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election," Trump said in a statement on Monday. "I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."

Trump, who had contemplated running for president in years past, seemed poised take the plunge this year. He even had a tentative date set for a campaign announcement: May 25 in the atrium of Trump Tower in New York City.

According to Trump aides, the real estate mogul and reality television mogul had even settled on campaign consultants to help steer his potential presidential bid. Trump had already made two visits to New Hampshire within the last month and had a series of events planned in that state and in Iowa over the next few weeks.

"This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country," Trump said in the statement. "I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly."
ABC goes on to speculate in their online story that the lucrative contract Trump had with NBC for his "Apprentice" TV show had more to do with his decision to forego a presidential bid than anything else. The fact of the matter was Trump realized the Omedia was digging into every financial transaction he had ever made, Obama-friendly attorneys were readying lawsuits against his real estate ventures and every other aspect of his personal life was being looked at by Obama's opposition research operation in Chicago and Omedia loyalists. In short, Donald Trump would have been professionally destroyed and facing personal bankruptcy if he had challenged Obama. His departure from the race means there is no Republican candidate in the field who will hit the phony Obama narrative head on, which is precisely what the Obama campaign and Omedia set out to accomplish when Trump dared to raise the questions everyone else is too afraid to address that deeply troubles a large segment of the American electorate.

John Gregg's Gubernatorial Campaign Swingin Into Action

Former House Speaker John Gregg (D) kicks off the announcement he has filed an exploratory campaign to seek the 2012 Democratic nomination for Indiana governor with the release of this video. A relaxed Gregg is sitting on a front porch swing with a glass of iced tea with lemon next to him and the Indiana flag blowing in the breeze behind him. The short pep talk is obviously geared towards stereotypical Hoosier values. His home is in "Sandburn", not Sandborn. He derides "Warshington", not Washington. And he's been "travelin", not traveling the state. The only things missing are the fresh-baked apple pie and the sound of country music star John Anderson singing his 1983 hit song, "Swingin," in the background.

No Such Thing As Free Speech Rights In Chicago

As Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was leaving City Hall for the last time on Friday, a protagonist yelled at him, "Fuck the mayor." Yep, that will get you arrested in Chicago, particularly when a police officer gets hit by a bus while chasing after you to make an arrest. From the Sun-Times:

A Chicago Police officer was struck by a CTA bus while chasing a man who allegedly swore at Mayor Daley as he was leaving City Hall Friday for the last time as mayor.

About 4:45 p.m. Friday, as a crowd gathered to watch Daley say goodbye to City Hall, Janusz Kopycinski, 30, allegedly yelled “F - - - the mayor,’’ police said.

Kopycinski ran, followed by police officers. As he was being arrested, a male officer was grazed by a moving CTA bus, police said.

The officer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Kopycinski, of the 6500 block of West Wellington, was charged with three counts of resisting arrest, two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of reckless conduct. He was arrested in 2007 for battery to police.
Here's a good example of why there should be limits on police officers making warrantless arrests and entries into people's homes. Mayor Daley may not have liked what Kopycinski thought of him, but his police department had no valid reason for making an arrest based on his spoken words alone. Daley, by the way, is being provided permanent protection by the Chicago Police Department. Incoming Mayor Rahm Emanuel has assigned several police officers to protect the former mayor, who lives in a gated community, on a 24 x 7 basis at Daley's request. Daley will also be drawing a pension from taxpayers of $184,000 a year. He earned $216,000 a year as Chicago's mayor.  Behold, King Daley.