Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lonely Life for Presidents

Obama in Alaska
President Barack Obama continued his tour of Alaska yesterday.  White House Official Photographer Pete Souza snapped this beautiful pic of the Chief Executive floating through the Kenai Fords National Park.

The pose is contemplative for the President, and it got me to thinking what he might be thinking about as he looked over the vast Alaskan wilderness.  Sometimes when I'm in that situation, I begin to think about where I stand in this world or what my place is.  I'm sure Presidents must do that to every so often.

Regardless of who you are or how much you are hated by others, I'm sure that the President has to be keenly aware of who they are at any given moment.  The job is, by nature, political, but there are only a handful of people that are as well-known and maybe even fewer that are as powerful as the President of the United States.  It's a lot of pressure having the weight of the world on one's shoulders.

It's a pressure one only feels alone.  Only those who have sat in that chair in the Oval Office can understand what the feeling is like with all that pressure.  It's a very exclusive club.

That's why I love the Souza picture.  You can see the pressure on the Presidentnly 's face and almost feel it in the tenseness of his arms.  This man is in a place where he should be relaxed, but he looks anything but.  I'm sure it's the nature of the job that runs down the best of them.

Sometime shortly after noon on January 20, 2017, President Obama will watch as his successor is sworn in.  Sometime after that, he will board a helicopter and leave Washington behind for Honolulu or Chicago or where ever he plans to settle.  Finally the weight of the job can leave him because it will belong to the next person.

The President will only be 56 when he flies away from Washington on that January 20.  He will be young enough to continue to work or old enough to retire if he chooses.

Whatever the course our President takes in the future, I want to thank him for what he's done for my rights.  People like me could not marry the ones we loved and because the President evolved on the issue, I think many people did too.

Still that picture to me is stunningly stoic and memorable.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Davis Puts Self Over Constituents in Kentucky

Running for office takes a lot of time, effort, and, if you win, a lot of sacrifice.
 
When you raise your hand and take your Oath of Office, you are making a solemn promise to defend the United States Constitution and the constitution of the state or commonwealth whose people you serve.
 
In Kentucky, one public official has blatantly and wantonly decided to disregard her Oath of Office. For that, she should resign. 

As a true public official, one should know that the job is about those you serve, and it’s not about you.  Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis doesn’t seem to understand this. Despite being ordered to issue marriage licenses to couples in accordance with federal law, Davis still refuses to issue same gender couples marriage licenses. She’s doing so because she says it violates her own moral view of what’s wrong and what’s right by her religion.

Her religion, however, isn’t the determining factor here. Again, she raised her hand and took an oath. Kim Davis’ religious views should be secondary to doing her job as the Clerk of Rowan County. The Clerk of Rowan County has been ordered by the Supreme Court of the United States to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Still, she defies the court’s order.

It's one person (Kim Davis) putting her rights over and ahead of everyone else, and it’s wrong.  The fact that she's a fellow Democrat makes it even more shameful.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hogsett to Take on Child Exploitation

In his fifth ad, just released last week, Joe Hogsett's back in the courtroom talking about fighting crime.  This time it's child exploitation.

Hogsett says as U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted cases of child exploitation, and, as Mayor of Indianapolis, he proposes creating an IMPD unit to take on the specialized nature of the crime.

The ad then changes to show viewers how they can avoid their children becoming victims of child exploitation and offers a way parents can go to Hogsett's website to find out more information about the issue.

It's another strong ad from the Hogsett campaign.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Tully Piece Reveals Depth of Sugar's Interest in Gubernatorial Run

Tom Sugar
Photo from completecollege.org
John Gregg just elbowed out Glenda Ritz and Karen Tallian in the race for Governor. Will he also have to elbow out Tom Sugar, a friend and longtime aide of Evan Bayh's?

The Indianapolis Star had written an article on Sugar possibly running back on August 7.  A couple of days later, the Star’s Matt Tully sat down with Sugar, and it sounds like he might be settling in on a run. Sugar also sat down with WRTV last weekend.

Sugar has been pushing a major plan to end gerrymandering in Indiana and make the playing field more level for voters, but he also clearly has ideas on other parts of state government, too.  He's a senior Vice President for Complete College America, so education must be close to his heart.  

Tully’s piece is here.  The August 7 piece is here.

Why would Sugar consider a run now that John Gregg has just removed the other candidates from the field?  The answer is...why not?  There are some Democrats out there who, for whatever reason, don't like John Gregg as the nominee. If Sugar can shore up enough support, raise enough money, and make a good case, he can certainly challenge Gregg.

What Democrats don't need is just another Evan Bayh clone.  The Indiana Democratic Party has spent the last four or five years trying to find the next Evan Bayh.  We are in the situation that we are because so far we have not found that 

To his credit, Gregg has shored up a lot of support out there. He’s gotten some serious support from labor groups and party insiders. With that said, Gregg’s the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. With the cash he's raised, he's a very serious frontrunner, and that has to figure in to anyone that's running's mind.  

Gregg's become a much stronger candidate in this cycle.  Just last week, he was in all corners of the state continuing to raise money and let people know that he's not just the guy with the two first names and a mustache.  Gregg's already running a general election campaign.

Friday, August 28, 2015

No Post Today

My schedule caught up with me.  I was so tired last night that I came home and fell fast asleep.

That means that I did not get anything up on the blog.  I apologize.  

See you Monday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ramos vs. Trump; This One Might Stick

Jorge Ramos
Donald Trump may have finally gone a step too far by tossing Jorge Ramos of Univision out of a news conference because he didn’t like his questions.

Granted, Ramos was allowed to return and ask Trump about immigration policy, but tossing Ramos is the equivalent of tossing Lester Holt from NBC out. Ramos is a well-respected and well-known journalist especially in the Latino and Hispanic community.

Can you imagine if during the next Presidential News Conference that Barack Obama tossed Major Garrett of CBS News out because he didn’t like the question he was asked. That’s something that could have happened just last month. Obama had a bit of a standoff with Garrett over the way he asked a question about American hostages being a part of the negotiations for Iran nuclear disarmament. I thought Garrett’s phrasing may have been off, but it was a legitimate question and one a respected journalist like Garrett had every right to ask.
The President was visibly angered by the question, and he let Garrett know that he didn’t like the question, but he answered it. It’s the dance a future President must go through with the news media. The news media can be your best friends when you want them to cover something, but they can also make your time in the White House extremely uncomfortable.  You can’t lose your temper and toss someone from a news conference simply because you disagree with their line of questioning. 

As the LA Times points out, Ramos is certainly not the member of the media to mess with.  Snarky Trumpism send offs like “Go back to Univision,” are neither welcome nor appreciated. Ramos is a serious journalist and has earned that respect.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Last Week Tonight Takes on RFRA, LGBT Rights Fight

John Oliver has carved out a unique place among the comedy show genre with his HBO show.

His show, Last Week Tonight, has placed itself somewhere between the Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and an investigative news show.  The last few weeks, he's really been hitting it out of the park.

Take for example this offering from his latest show.  In it, he takes up the cause for LGBT rights and argues that the federal government should write it into code.  It's really an excellent segment that takes up the cause for LGBT rights and against things like RFRA.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bullets Fly in Indy Leaving Behind Few Answers

Indianapolis had a bad weekend.

Several shootings have left questions that the next Mayor will have to answer, and those answers are just not very clear.

How do you strike a balance between the Second Amendment and the proliferation of legal guns in our city?  What is the first step in solving a crime issue that only seems to be getting worse?  These questions will confound our city leaders.

To me, it's unacceptable to have innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of violence.  That's what happened in at least one case this weekend.  Some in our city pretend on one hand that the violence is ok because it's just criminals killing criminals.  In the very next sentence, they will say that violence is not ok and that we need to take extreme measures to stop it.

You can't have a city with a wild west mentality, but you also can't have Tombstone where Wyatt Earp takes all the guns.  So, we're stuck in the middle.

Ten Point Coalition leader and local Pastor Charles Harrison believes it's time in Indianapolis to try new policing methods such as stop and frisk.  That makes many concerned about the Fourth Amendment implications as well as the possibility that stop and frisk can be used to profile.  Plus, I just don't know if IMPD has the staff to pull off stop and frisk operations.

That's not the answer, in my opinion.  I still think the answer lies in going to every youth center, school, school function, neighborhood, street corner, park, and anywhere else in the city and spreading the message that solving differences with a firearm just isn't a smart thing.  Once you shoot at someone, those bullets don't come back, and they can devastate lives.

Some don't care about the consequences, and, for them, we need to keep getting them off the streets and hopefully keeping them behind bars.  Maybe it is time to explore reasonably tougher sentencing for gun crimes.

The thing is that we need a crime fighter who is ready to declare war on illegal guns in our streets.  So far, we haven't heard much from Chuck Brewer.  The next Mayor will need to have credibility on this issue, and that's Joe Hogsett.

Monday, August 24, 2015

In Memoriam: Justin Wilson (1978-2015)

Justin Wilson, 1978-2015

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died on Monday in a hospital in Pennsylvania.  He suffered injuries on Sunday at the Pocono 500 after he was struck by crash debris from another car.

Wilson's loss is particularly hard to take.  A part-time driver in 2015, Wilson was set for a full-time ride again with Andretti Autosport in 2016.  He was really a great race car driver that often took equipment other folks could do little with and brought it home safely and in a far better position than anyone thought possible.

He was known for his height (6'5") and his big smile.  He always seemed to have a positive outlook on life and in racing even though his talents often went unappreciated by owners looking for drivers with deeper pockets.  He was deep on talent, and it was about to pay off with a solid ride for 2016.

Wilson won seven Champ Car/IndyCar races, and he scored one point in Formula One competition.  On August 2, he came home second in the race at Mid Ohio Motorsports Park.  It was just his fifth start of the IndyCar season.  In 2013, for the chronically under funded Dale Coyne Racing Team, Wilson drove home fifth at the Indianapolis 500, his best finish in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

I did not know Justin, but I will always remember him for his class and his excellence.  People that knew him seem to universally have liked him and respected him.  He leaves behind two young daughters, a wife, his parents, and his brother, Stefan, who also is a race car driver.

Whenever a driver passes, I'm always reminded of the words of the great broadcaster Sid Collins who eulogized fallen driver Eddie Sachs who died at the start of the 1964 Indianapolis 500.  Before the race restarted, Collins's over-the-air eulogy included the following passage:

"We are all speeding toward death at the rate of 60 minutes every hour, the only difference is we don’t know how to speed faster and Eddie Sachs did. So since death has a thousand or more doors, Eddie Sachs exits this earth in a race car. Knowing Eddie I assume that’s the way he would have wanted it. Byron said 'who the God’s love die young.'"

Like Eddie Sachs, Justin Wilson was 37.  Godspeed to our racing friend.

Dickerson Joins Hill in Battle for U.S. Senate Democratic Nomination

John Dickerson
Photo from Facebook
If you haven't heard, Baron Hill has picked up an opponent for the Democratic nomination for Senate.

Back on August 15, John Dickerson, the recently retired Executive Director for the Arc of Indiana, threw his hat in the ring promising a bi-partisan approach to Indiana's problems.

I don't know Dickerson, but there are many people in my circles that do.  They seem extremely excited and much more fired up about Dickerson's campaign than the campaign of Hill.

Hill's advantages are some of Dickerson's disadvantages.  Where Hill has an established record, name recognition and supporter base to call on, Dickerson is starting from scratch. That could be an advantage for Dickerson, too.  He doesn't carry the Congressional record nor baggage of Hill.

Again, I was struck by the enthusiasm I saw from my friends on Dickerson's campaign.  One of those friends is news maker herself, Kathy Davis.  The former Lieutenant Governor made headlines when she resigned from Joe Donnelly's campaign as his treasurer over his Planned Parenthood vote.  Davis was present at Dickerson's announcement signaling that she must be ok with his views.

On the GOP side, Congressmen Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young are in the race with former Mitch Daniels staffer and Indiana Republican Party Chair Eric Holcomb.  The Indiana Senate's favorite tweeter, Mike Delph, is also thinking about joining the race.