Thursday, November 26, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

For your entertainment, here's the annual pardoning of the TOTUS.  "Turkey of the United States"

Indy Democrat is confirming that after seeing this, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the Republican candidates have pledged to get tough on turkeys and never pardon another one.  Mike Huckabee even said he will kill the turkey and eat it in front of the press if he's elected President.

Or maybe not...anyway, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pence Sued, Defied on Same Day Over Refugee Refusal

Governor Mike Pence
It was a bad Monday for Governor Mike Pence.

First of all Exodus International announced that it would continue to settle refugees from all over the world in Indiana...including Syria.  Then, later in the day, the ACLU announced that it was filing suit against Governor Pence in federal court for attempting to block Syrian refugees at the state's border.

Pence had no official comment, but you can't think for a minute that he's happy with either challenge of his authoritah especially after he thought he had put it to bed with his poorly-received op-ed.

I stand with the ACLU and Exodus on this case.  These Syrian refugees are running from the people we fear and should not be feared by us.  They go through an exhaustive process and deserve better from a Governor who's more interested in politics than actually helping the refugees. I'm glad someone is holding him accountable.

As we've also seen, neither the Indiana Democratic Party nor John Gregg, the presumed nominee for Governor on the Democratic side, seem too interested in holding Governor Pence's feet to the fire on this issue or, most-importantly, standing up for the immigrants who deserve better all around.

Monday, November 23, 2015

JohnnyStir Show Returns to

If you follow me or Indiana Talks on social media, you know this already, but I'm returning to the internet airwaves on December 7 with a brand new iteration of the JohnnyStir Show on

My first run of the show aired from February 18, 2013 through July 28, 2014 on Monday Nights from 9-10 on Indiana Talks.  I decided to end the show on back in July of 2014 to concentrate on my candidacy for City-County Council here in Indianapolis.  I didn't think I could do my job as a teacher, run a political campaign, plan a talk show, and continue to blog effectively.  Something would have suffered.

Gary Snyder, the founder of Indiana Talks, told me when I left the show that it was just a hiatus, and that I would have a spot on his network in the future if I wanted one.  I told him that I appreciated that, but I really didn't expect to take him up on it.

Over the past few weeks and with the campaign over, I got to thinking about what I could do to make a difference.  This blog is one thing.  As I've said many times to people, when I started blogging, it was to simply scratch an itch as a writer.  I never intended this blog to have a readership of thousands and millions over time.  It was simply a way for me to write what I wanted to write about.

There have been times that I've lost my "mojo" here on the blog, and I've always come back fired up and more ready to bring the best political commentary, opinion, and analysis from left of center to my readers.  Sometimes, I've been able to bring my personal life into this blog, and you've welcomed it.  I appreciate that.

I want to bring the same thing you see and read here back to Indiana Talks, but I also want to add some journalism and radio.  You see, those things are a part of me, too.  With the 2016 Presidential Election coming up, I have a feeling it's going to be a great year.

So, without making this post much longer, I'm back.  I'm hoping I'm back for good.  I don't know what might stop me unless Gary tells me to go fly a kite or I get another jones to run for office again.

I hope you'll give us a listen when we come back on Mondays from 8-9 p.m. on the Indiana Talks network.  For a full programming schedule, visit the website at

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hilarious Saturday Night Skit Takes on Politics at Thanksgiving Dinner

This past weekend, Matthew McConaughey was the host of Saturday Night Live, and the musical guest was Adele.

Most of the episode was disappointing with the exception of Adele's performances, but a hilarious skit involving Adele's hit single "Hello" and political discussion over the Thanksgiving dinner table made it one of the most memorable episodes in years.

In the skit, a family is having Thanksgiving Dinner.  As often happens at Thanksgiving, the conversation turns to politics, religion, and controversy and things degenerate.  The little girl in the skit runs to the radio and starts Adele's CD.  The rest...well, you just need to see.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hollande Opens French Borders to Refugees, Why Doesn't Indiana?

French President
Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande announced that his country would continue to take refugees from the Middle East even after the awful terrorist attacks last Friday in Paris.

Hollande's announcement came as France, Belgium, and other authorities across Europe continue to investigate the attacks and track down those responsible for planning them.

In short, things have barely calmed down, but Hollande still had a moment to announce his country would continue to do the right thing and accept those who have lost so much.

On this side of the pond, governors from several U.S. states as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other mostly Republican leaders called for a moratorium on accepting refugees for fear that some of them might be radical Islamists bent on attacking our country.  This despite the exhaustive vetting process that the refugees must go through to be accepted and placed in the U.S.  Mike Pence, Joe Donnelly, Dan Coats, Jackie Walorski, and other Hoosier movers and shakers subscribed to this fearful response rather than to open our arms in hospitality to those that have already lost so much.

Even Hollande, whose country has barely rested since Friday, would seem to find this response quizzical.  As quoted by the Guardian, Hollande said, "Some people have tried to draw a connection between the movement of refugees from the Middle East and the terrorist threat. This link exists because people from Iraq and Syria live in areas controlled by Islamic State and are killed by those who attack us."

Governor Pence, please call your office.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One Must Infer Gregg Agrees with Pence Policy on Syrian Immigrants

John Gregg
John Gregg couldn’t even be bothered to comment on Mike Pence’s decision to build a metaphorical fence around Indiana for Syrian refugees.

Gregg instead left it to his own campaign to comment via a statement. As reported by the Indianapolis Star, the Gregg statement reads:

“Like everyone else, John Gregg was outraged by the barbaric events in Paris over the weekend and he feels strongly that every Hoosier should feel safe in their homes, at work and at school. We trust that Mike Pence made this decision based on information he’s received as governor from both state and federal intelligence sources and didn’t do this as a knee jerk reaction motivated by politics.”

It’s political gobbledygook.

The right answer is Syrian immigrants are vetted in an intensive process, and there is absolutely no reason to stop the program. A phone call could have cleared that up. Pence doesn't care about that. He cares about politics and rather than educate the public on the truth, he took the easy way out. John Gregg let him, and one must infer...agrees with him.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear anyone running for Indiana Governor wants to take the right side on this political hot potato, incumbent or challenger.

How disappointing.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pence Policy on Syrian Refugees Defies Hoosier Values

Syrian Refugees
Photo Courtesy of
Imagine for a second everything you know had been taken away.  Your home is gone.  Your job is gone.  You are lucky to still have your family around you, but even some of them have been killed in violence.  You have to move out of your home land because things are so bad there. 

Your feet are tired from moving from refugee camp to refugee camp.  Your back hurts from carrying your children and your belongings.  You pray every night for a peace that just doesn't seem to come.  You've been running for your life for so long that you don't even know what that means anymore.

Word comes that you have been accepted as a refugee into the United States.  You will be going to a place called Indiana far away from the reach of Bashar Assad and the horrors of ISIS.  It's a new life, and you can make a new start.  Then, the Governor of that U.S. state slams the door in your face in fear and tells you that because of the terror attacks in Paris that you are not welcome.  You are confused, bewildered, hurt, and angry.

Mike Pence did just that to Syrian refugees by slamming the door and suspending the resettling program here until the feds can vouch for the safety of Hoosiers.  

Thing is, Indiana is already the home of thousands of refugees from all over the world.  These individuals have come in seeking a new start from horrible situations across the globe, and Hoosiers have opened their arms to these people with warmth and hospitality.  

Governor Pence's decision to close shop shows a severe lack of understanding and empathy and just is not up to the kinds of Hoosier values I've always been taught.  It embarrasses me, frankly.

I understand I may be in the minority here, but I believe in the greater good in people.  I also believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt especially when these Syrians are fleeing that endless civil war there between the forces of Assad and ISIS.  It's a lose-lose no matter who wins that one.  On one hand, you have a brutal dictator with a cult of personality built around him, and, on the other hand, you have radicalized Islamists that persecute other Muslims for their differing beliefs.  

I put my faith in the organizations that are resettling these people as well as the variety of intelligence agencies we have at work every day in the United States.  When they do their jobs, we are safe.  

Governor Pence, please reverse your policy.  It's a symbolic one anyway.  Be a Hoosier and let's show these people the love they need to resettle and restart a life.  Let's show them how Americans act out of love and not out of fear.

Last Week's Terrorist Attacks Leave Questions in Wake

Since the news broke on Friday night, I have been struggling to deal with all of the news out of Paris, and I don't even have a direct connection to it.

At first, I was worried about a friend who had been in Paris last week.  Turns out, he had left the City of Lights the evening before the attacks and was safely back home.  Once I found that out, it gave me a great sense of relief.

For the many families of the victims and the victims of the Beirut attack the day before the Paris attack, there is no relief coming...only grief.  They have questions, and there are few answers. When it comes to losing someone in a terrorist attack, there just is no sense to it.

My mother passed away on Christmas in her bed at the age of 73.  She was warm and snug under her blanket, and she looked so peaceful.  My father died at the age of 69 surrounded by his family.  He took his last breath in our presence.

On Friday in Paris, ISIS radicals conducted coordinated attacks against civilians.  The people that died on Friday are dead because they went out to eat.  They are dead because they went to a concert or a soccer match or happened to be nearby a suicide bomber. It makes no sense.

It's also scary because there's no way to bomb our way out of this, either.  We can't go bomb a country and call it a day.  The terrorists don't put death in the same context that we do.  Living and dying don't mean the same things to a radical.  When that radical is a religious radical, it just makes the entire situation that much more perplexing and frightening.

We have to redouble our efforts in intelligence to keep us safe.  We have to target the ability of terrorists to coordinate these attacks and continue to prevent attacks where we can.  As a society, we have to continue to fight hate with love.  It's cliche, sure, but it's the only thing we know that can keep us.  We must drive out evil in the world with force when necessary.  We certainly must be there to support our friends and allies as well.

France is on its way to recovery, and I have no doubt that Paris will be back...stronger and better than before.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank You Veterans

Today is Veterans Day, and it's a day to reflect on the sacrifices that so many have made and continue to make to protect our country and our way of life.

Thank you so much for all you do to our veterans.  I cannot express fully how I feel that someone I don't even know would lay or did lay his or her life down for me so that I can continue to be free.

Thank YOU

It's been a week since Election Day, and I've had time to reflect.

First of all, while I learned a lot as a candidate, I'm very content to be back to blogging.  Political analysis is my thing.  I'm glad to be back to doing it again.

My election loss to Jason Holliday hurt, but I'm proud of my run.  I know I exceeded both my expectations and those of the Marion County Democratic Party, so I feel very appreciative of all the voters that gave me a look and voted my way.  We received 1,760 votes and 38.24 percent of the vote.  I'm extremely pleased with that showing.

I also appreciate all of those that volunteered for the campaign, made phone calls on my behalf, gave me great advice, passed out literature, knocked doors, donated, or supported my candidacy.  You have no idea what that means to me.

On a personal note, I enjoyed the role as a candidate because it gave me a chance to talk to people about their neighborhoods and their needs.  I learned a ton about my community, and I know that will make me a better advocate for this city and its citizens.  I'm not stopping my involvement in politics, and, given the right conditions, I might run again for office.  It won't be in 2016 though.

So, congratulations to all my friends that won.  I'm proud of all my friends that didn't win but gave a good fight.  Thank you for putting your name on the ballot.  It was a pleasure to have my name alongside of all of yours.

I'm of course very proud of my friend Joe Hogsett.  Here's to a great four years for our city and our community with you as the leader, Joe.  I know you'll be the best Mayor we've had, and the bar has been set high

I am going to take a few days off from the blog.  I'll be back in a few days or as news breaks.