Saturday, December 31, 2005

Senator: Keep molesters on 'short leash'

An Indiana state senator, contending pedophiles cannot be cured, is calling for legislation requiring that child molesters released from prison be monitored by satellite for the rest of their lives.

Under Sen. Brent E. Steele's bill, offenders would be required to regularly report to authorities and wear a Global Positioning System device. GPS uses a network of satellites to track an individual's whereabouts


Now, this will be controversial, but am I the only one who thinks we go a little too far with sex offenders? Sex offender registries? GPS tracking? lifelong monitoring? I do not think I have to say that I abhor sexual abuse, but sex offenders are still required to register even after they have served their sentences and completed their parole. There have been several occasions where individuals have been harassed after their neighbors found out they were on the sex offender registry. A few years ago, some concerned Hamilton County residents found out a sex offender lived in their neighborhood and harassed to try to force him to move. He ended up committing suicide. I am not against a sex registry, per se, but I think there should be limitations as to how long one must register and there should be some privacy guarantees. As for boneheaded lawmakers like Brent Steele, the issue is either political posturing or paranoia, but the reality is that it is invasive and a waste of money.

Post hate mail below.

Update: Advance Indiana reports Indiana Sex Offenders Become Identity Theft Victims

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Great News

As 11 am Air Raid and Hoosiers Ate My Brain report, the southside Key Cinema has changed back to arthouse films. It is expected they will screen the films that Landmark Theater will not dare show.

In theocratic news...

Brian Bosma, you have been warned. Judge David Hamilton denied the request to amend his ruling on prayer in the statehouse. He also issued this warning:

"If the speaker or those offering prayers seek to evade the injunction through indirect but well understood expressions of specifically Christian beliefs, the audience, the public, and the court will be able to see what is happening. In that unlikely event, the court will be able to take appropriate measures to enforce" the injunction.

Bosma has said that, if necessary, he will take his fight against Hamilton's ban on sectarian prayer to the Supreme Court.


Update: See Masson's post on this as well.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ISU Pans Law School Plans

I do not know of anyone who thought this was a good idea other than the ISU administration. I wonder if they actually studied the need for a law school before they announced it to the public. This action made the administration appear ill-prepared, desperate and out of touch. I know ISU has struggled with declining enrollment while two of the schools that it started (Ball State and University of Southern Indiana) have prospered at its expense. As I mentioned before, this state has urgent employment needs that ISU could address by expanding of some of their programs. Perhaps they will return with another plan.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — An attorney and former member of the state’s higher education commission has told Indiana State University administrators that he believes they should not pursue a proposal to start a new law school.


Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I went to ISU as an undergrad and I am an attorney.

Update: Deliberate Chaos reports on this story as well. He also gives Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for the number of lawyers in each Indiana metro area.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Interesting headline

Iraqis must improve care of prisoners, U.S. says

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The U.S. military will not hand over jails or individual detainees to Iraqi authorities until they demonstrate higher standards of care, an American official said Sunday, two weeks after the discovery of 120 abused Iraqi prisoners.

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said detention facilities in Iraq will be transferred over time to Iraqi officials but they must first show that the rights of detainees are safeguarded and that international law on the treatment of prisoners is being followed.


You know when the US tells you that you need to take care of your prisoners better...

You may have a problem.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

HAPPY XMAS (War Is Over)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

George Orwell Project

The Oakland Tribune has a plan:

(W)e're asking for your help: Mail us or drop off your tattered copies of "1984." When we get 537 of them, we'll send them to every member of the House of Representatives and Senate and to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Feel free to inscribe the book with a note, reminding these fine people that we Americans take the threat to our liberties seriously. Remind Congress that it makes no sense to fight a war for democracy in a foreign land while allowing our democratic principles to erode at home.

Big Brother is watching

It took 21 years longer than expected, but the future has finally arrived.
And we don't like it. Not one bit.

We are fighting a war with no end to create a peace with no defined victory.

We occupy a foreign land that doesn't want us, while at home our civil liberties are discounted.

We are told that it's better not to know what our government is doing in our name, for security purposes. Meanwhile, our government is becoming omnipresent, spying on us whenever it deems it necessary.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

George Orwell was right after all.

In 1949, Orwell penned "1984," a dark, futuristic satire in which the totalitarian government used indoctrination, propaganda and fear to enforce order and conformity. His "Big Brother" — the face of this all-knowing regime — was never wrong, and to make sure of it, history was constantly being rewritten.

Orwell wrote his book as a cautionary tale to underscore the insidious danger of slowly eroded individual liberties. His Thought Police may not yet be on the march, but it's not hyperbole to point out the eerie parallels with today's America.

In America today, Big Brother is watching.

He's watching because President Bush told him to. Shortly after 9/11, Bush secretly authorized warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens making or receiving international calls and e-mails.

When it comes to fighting terror, Bush is totalitarian — remember, you're either with us or against us. Trust me to get it right, he says. Debate on the law is not only not needed, it's evil.

"An open debate about the law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.'" Bush said recently. "The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

More at the link

Thanks to Prairie Angel for pointing this out.

Friday, December 23, 2005

News of the day

Torpor Indy gets a little bit of culture

IndySalsero has been added to the list of local blogs.

Former Senator Tom Daschle and Charles Krauthammer editorials

Power We Didn't Grant

By Tom Daschle

In the face of mounting questions about news stories saying that President Bush approved a program to wiretap American citizens without getting warrants, the White House argues that Congress granted it authority for such surveillance in the 2001 legislation authorizing the use of force against al Qaeda. On Tuesday, Vice President Cheney said the president "was granted authority by the Congress to use all means necessary to take on the terrorists, and that's what we've done."

As Senate majority leader at the time, I helped negotiate that law with the White House counsel's office over two harried days. I can state categorically that the subject of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens never came up. I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps. I am also confident that the 98 senators who voted in favor of authorization of force against al Qaeda did not believe that they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance.

The Post

Meanwhile, the always curmudgeonly Charles Krauthammer speaks of "impeachment nonsense". I am certain he saw right through the Republicans motives when they impeached former President Clinton. Krauthammer calls 2005, the "Year of the demagogues". The chutzpah of right wing pundits never ceases to amaze. Post 9/11, the Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld triumvirate have done nothing but appeal to the emotions (and dare I say prejudices) of the American people in order to pursue their war against Saddam Hussein and the religious right engaged in demagoguery in order to win the 2004 election. There is nothing wrong in asking the President to be accountable for lying to the American people, deceiving Congress and spying on American citizens. All options should be on the table throughout this investigation.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hoist on his own petard

This information can be found on and there are audio files of this all over the web. George Bush on wiretaps in 2004:

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution

Ebay is so amazing

Yeah, the guy who used "capitalism cannot be reformed" as his avatar has ads on his blog. I know, I know. Anyway, sometimes they amuse me. Today's favorite ad is:

At eBay you can find practically anything, even human rights.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Debunking the so called War on Christmas

More distractions from the crazy right wing.

Have a Holly, Jolly Holiday

Conservatives, Others Angry Over Removals of Word 'Christmas'

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in considering the ongoing war on Christmas, let us begin with the evidence that Mathew Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel, calls "Exhibit A."

Said prosecutorial evidence is tiny Ridgeway Elementary School in Ridgeway, Wis. Youngsters are set to perform a play in which the lyrics to "Silent Night," which celebrates the Christ child's birth, have been changed to "Cold in the Night," which do not. The charge, leveled by both Staver's group and the American Family Association, is that this school rewrote a sacred song to erase Christ from Christmas.

Washington Post

Tuesday roundup

Nobody has really claimed Indianapolis was on the cutting edge. Last night, we joined the over 150 cities in this country who already had civil rights protection based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Unigov came to life as well as the police merger was passed. It took over 35 years for us to show that Unigov was actually more than an attempt to suppress the black vote.

Also, Masson lists 13 pardons by Mitch Daniels.

Reverent and Free posts a good letter to editor of the Warsaw newspaper.

Lemming has a Merry Christmas incident.

The Catholic Packer Fan (shhh, don't mention the game) finds one of Indiana's greatest tourist attractions

And Finally, Merry Christmas from Chewbacca!

Monday, December 19, 2005

"Maverick" Senator

Russ Feingold spoke on the Today show this morning. The title below his name was "maverick Senator". Albert Gonzalez was given equal time. Why didn't the screen read "controversial Attorney General"? After all, this guy once provided a rationale for torture.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Mother, should I trust the President?

The hits just keep on coming. US citizens detained without due process, torture, secret prisons, wars based upon lies--what is next? This seems a lot more substantial than a two bit land deal and a blow job.

Bush says he relied on his inherent power as President to eavesdrop on US citizens. I like Senator Russ Feingold's response: "If that's true, he doesn't need the Patriot Act because he can just make it up as he goes along. I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for."

Here are two the latest articles from the Washington Post on the eavesdropping revelation.

President Acknowledges Approving Secretive Eavesdropping
Bush Also Urges Congress to Extend Patriot Act

President Bush today acknowledged that he had secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international communications of Americans and other domestic residents with known links to al Qaeda.

The controversial order has been approved by legal authorities in his administration, Bush said, and he added that members of Congress had been notified of it more than a dozen times.

Washington Post

On Hill, Anger and Calls for Hearings Greet News of Stateside Surveillance

Congressional leaders of both parties called for hearings and issued condemnations yesterday in the wake of reports that President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to spy on hundreds of U.S. citizens and other residents without court-approved warrants.

Bush declined to discuss the domestic eavesdropping program in a television interview, but he joined his aides in saying that the government acted lawfully and did not intrude on citizens' rights.

Washington Post

Friday, December 16, 2005

A few of the 25 worst political quotes of the year

Dailykos links to the 25 dumbest political quotes of the year. Here are of my favorites:

23) "Get some devastation in the back." --Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to a staff photographer as he posed for a photo op while visiting tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka, Jan. 6, 2005

21) "I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work." --Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress, Feb. 16, 2005

9) "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

6) "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --President Bush, to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

2) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" --House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gifts for the Student spending his/her year abroad.

"Wake me up at Earl’s Court"

"Anywhere but Brixton"

are some of the stickers you can post on your body before you pass out drunk on London’s Underground system.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

China, Cuba, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, and The United States of America

The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way.

George W. Bush, Speech to UN General Assembly, September 21, 2004

The United States finds itself in the company of perennial human rights violators on the list for highest number of imprisoned journalists. The US is sixth on the list and is currently tied with Myanmar. After Abu Ghraib, secret CIA prisons, and other torture allegations, I am not even really sure if the US stands out as an anomaly on that list.

Link to Story at Charlotte Observor

Monday, December 12, 2005

Executive Pay

Executive pay ratio around the world relative to worker pay.

Germany 12 to 1
Japan 11 to 1
France 12 to 1
Italy 20 to 1
Canada 20 to 1
South Africa 21 to 1
Great Britain 22 to 1
Hong Kong 41 to 1
Mexico 47 to 1
In the USA an executive makes 475 times the average worker's salary.

This is why the bottom 80 percent of the nation's household control only 17% of the nation's wealth.

Source PBS

Why do we allow this to happen in an age where 45 million workers are without health insurance and rising health insurance costs eat up our paychecks? Meanwhile, companies are going bankrupt and workers are losing their pensions while CEOs continue to receive bonuses. Delphi made news for proposing 90 million dollars in bonuses for its executives while in bankruptcy while seeking a 60 percent pay cut for its workers.

Another Indiana company, Kimball Industries is doing the same. Daniel Lee of the Indianapolis Star writes about how Kimball's stock has declined 29 percent over the last year. From fiscal year 2003 to 2005, the top 5 executives at Kimball's compensation has grown 88 percent. What can we do to stop this trend? I am open for suggestions.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another state law school?

ISU may add law school

Indiana State University is considering establishing a law school, which would make it the third public law school in Indiana.

In the article, ISU President Lloyd Benjamin says “there is a fairly significant unmet need in Indiana of students who desire to go to law school but who are not admitted because of a lack of capacity." However, the state commissioner for higher education, Stan Jones, remarks “I've not been aware that we need more lawyers in the state."

Stan Jones is right. There is a severe shortage of nurses and pharmacists all over the country, but it is just the opposite for lawyers. There are too many lawyers and not enough good jobs. The lack of capacity is not the issue. If some students are not admitted to law school it is because they did not qualify with their grades or admission scores. I understand Indiana State is looking for a way to grow, but there are other professions where the need is urgent such as those in the healthcare industry. Instead, Indiana State should investigate the need for a pharmacy program or expand what it offers in nursing.

Other bloggers who have commented on this story: Indiana Parley, Opening Arguments and Indiana Barrister

Update: Indianapolis Star: Law School Proposal could may raise objections

Friday, December 9, 2005

Support Equal Rights

I saw this at Indygirl's blog

"I'm not sure if you are on the Indy Pride Inc. mailing list, but we need help with the proposal adding sexual orientation to the city anti discrimination policy. I just spoke with Councilor Gibson. Currently call volumes are high - and running AGAINST us. 60-40. We need everyone to take two minutes out of your day to call and support Prop 622. Ron is an important vote on this issue. We could become 1st class citizens of Indianapolis - IF YOU HELP NOW. 327-4241 Call now, please." -- Bill Browning

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Indiana--The Mississippi of North?

Report: Indiana Worst In Midwest On Human Rights

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana has the fewest human rights protections and treats its prison inmates the worst of eight Midwestern states, a Chicago-based advocacy group said in a report Thursday that also gave Indiana the lowest overall grade.


Indiana has long been called "The Mississippi of the North" and this study seems to back a lot of that up. The Hoosier state performed miserably in other quality of life categories as well. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

In the category of formal human rights protections, Indiana's grade suffered because it does not uphold rights based on seven areas: citizenship status, sexual orientation, marital status, families with children, military status, criminal justice experience, and source of income. Each of the other seven states extend protections in one or more of those areas.

A woman in Indiana earns only 67 cents for every $1 earned by a man, and a black earns only 75 cents for every $1 earned by a white, the report's authors concluded.

Also, 4.3 percent of the people in Indiana lived in deep poverty -- in households that earn less than half of federal poverty levels -- and 3.4 percent of households went hungry because they could not afford food, the report said.

Nobel Laureate rips Bush, Blair

I doubt you will hear much of this speech in the US media. Harold Pinter, the English playwright who won the Nobel Prize for Literature declared Bush and Blair should be tried as war criminals. Pinter was hospitalized with cancer, but left his hospital bed to tape his speech for broadcast at the award ceremony given last night. The full text can be found here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

New blogger in Indianapolis

There is a new Indianapolis blogger. He is not a permanent resident, instead he is here on assignment from His boss has told him he must stay in Indianapolis to cover the Colts and the city until/if we lose.

His name is Adam Schefter and his blog can be read here. He normally likes our city and looks forward to Shapiro's and Mikado, but not at this time of the year when it is so damn cold.

Bush upsets conservative base with "holiday card"

'Holiday Cards Ring Hollow for Some on Bushes' List

What's missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."

Washington Post

I am really tired of this debate over the Christmas/holiday season. Christians do not own this season and should not be offended by those who prefer to use the secular or ecumenical term "holiday season". On the other hand, what is the harm in using the term "Christmas tree"? It is what it is.

Edit: The Terre Haute Tribune Star receives flak for use of "Xmas"

Monday, December 5, 2005

Jesus and Gary Varvel

Indiana Politico has a good analysis of Gary Varvel's blog entry on the legislative prayer issue and the commentary found therein. Gary Varvel is not a good political cartoonist. He is not funny nor is he clever. I am not saying this because I do not agree with his politics or worldview. I have found some conservative commentators to be funny or insightful even when I disagree, but Varvel is a hack.

Anyway, if you look at through the commentary, you'll see well-reasoned and diplomatic comment by Belicove and another from the hack author of this very blog.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Indiana University-Indianapolis Law School Professor Caught in Lie

William C. Bradford claimed he was an Army veteran who won a silver star during Desert Storm. He argued his military background and support for the war caused leftist professors to vote against his tenure. Indianapolis Star columnist Ruth Holladay gave him an outlet to tell his story in a column which appeared in June. He made national headlines as many conservative commentators took up his cause. He even appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" show. As it turns out, he was not in Desert Storm, never served as an active soldier in the army, and never received a silver star. To her credit, Ruth Holladay admits her error of allowing her column to relay Bradford's lies. I doubt Bill O'Reilly or the other conservative pundits who defended Bradford will do the same.

Bradford resigned his position.

Indianapolis Star

Update: Here is the original column by Holladay. I think Professors Mitchell and Roisman are owed an apology.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Senators Obama and Lugar write in the Washington Post

First, there was the Nunn-Lugar bill to stop nuclear proliferation. Now, Senators Lugar and Obama announce a bill to stop the proliferation of conventional weapons by establishing "cooperative relationships with willing countries".

Hopefully, we will do our part as well limit the arms dealing that we do.

Junkyard Dogs of War

By Richard G. Lugar and Barack Obama

At a sprawling, run-down industrial complex in Donetsk, Ukraine, weeds grow along a rusty rail spur that winds among World War II-era warehouses and factories. Little security is evident, and the facility looks like a giant junkyard.

In a way, it is -- except the "junk" consists of thousands of tons of live military munitions. When we went there last summer, we saw mortar rounds, land mines and artillery shells of all sizes stacked in huge piles and strewn carelessly about.

Sold on the black market, these conventional weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists or militant extremists anywhere in the world. Donetsk is only one of several ill-secured stockpiles of conventional weapons in Ukraine, a major dumping ground for weapons, and there are perhaps scores more in dozens of countries around the world.

Washington Post

All right, sickos

I know you're out there. A week ago I posted a newslink about how the reports of gang rapes and other mayhem in post-Katrina New Orleans were false. Ever since then, I have received a lot of traffic due to the search term "gang rape". Now, I could give some the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they entered the search term as part of a research project. However, when the term includes "girls gone wild" that argument loses traction.

Oh, by the way, "sex with horses" people. I know you're out there too.

From the WTF file

Congress to look into 'deeply flawed' BCS system

HOUSTON -- Calling the Bowl Championship Series "deeply flawed," the chairman of a congressional committee has called a hearing on the controversial system used to determine college football's national champion.


Hey, I have an idea. Why doesn't Congress look into another 'deeply flawed' system--healthcare?

Friday, December 2, 2005

Freedom is on the march

U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press

Troops write articles presented as news reports.

WASHINGTON — As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

LA Times

Washington Post

There is something uniquely American about this practice. We are not directly controlling the Iraqi newspapers like some governments would. Instead, we are paying them to spread our propaganda. Whatever the method it is not freedom. The outcome is still government control over the media. It is not excusable that we are using the yankee dollar instead of sheer force to achieve our objective.

Update: Washington Post Military Says It Paid Iraq Papers for News

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Indiana Hoosiers

Marco Killingsworth looked like a NBA veteran last night at Assembly Hall. This even held true at the free throw line where he most resembled Shaquille O'Neal. This was the only flaw in his game as he dominated the national defensive player of the year Shelden Williams. Yes, IU lost but it is only going to better this season when DJ White returns and AJ Ratliff are fully healed. The future looks bright as a top prospect watched the game and was impressed. I have never been a Mike Davis detractor. I think he is a genuinely good guy and a great recruiter. I think there are better game coaches out there, but that is fine as long as you surround yourself with good assistants, which I think he has done. I believe some fans who are calling for his head are going to have to wait. It is going to be hard to fire him after IU wins the Big 10 this year.
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