Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hate and Job Losses

The push to codify intolerance in Indiana's Constitution continues. As most probably know, the General Assembly doesn't have time to be bothered with more pressing issues of Indiana including our State's massive job losses. Instead Indiana's legislative body continues its drive to present to Hoosier voters a Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriages. No matter that Indiana already has defined marriage in our state by statute, we apparently need to make a constitutional amendment before one of those crazy activist judges gets their hand on this pressing issue. From my calculation, twenty-six other states have also approved a similar amendment to their state constitution.

Some of Indiana's largest corporations have joined to denounce this amendment. Eli Lilly, Cummins, Well-Point, Dow Argo Sciences and Emmis Communication all have made their position clear. Accordingly these companies have said that this amendment would hinder its ability to attract talent by demonstrating this state is one of intolerance.

I find the placement of discrimination in our state constitution very disturbing. The state constitution was created to guarantee rights to our citizens. Why would we wish to alienate a significant portion of our citizens who contribute to our state in multiple ways?

I also don't see why everyone is so concerned about prohibiting two consenting adults the right to make their lives together. Is it for children? Every study I have seen has found no negative psychological effect on children by being raised by a homosexual couple. I would also gather that a child would do much better in a loving environment of a committed homosexual couple than in a screwed up relationship between a man and a woman. I guess it is for the protection of marriage. I know it has been said before but heterosexual couples have put enough holes in the sanctity of marriage. I don't think a fifty percent success rate is anything of which to be proud.

Make no mistake. If this amendment passes and becomes part of the Indiana Constitution its life will be relatively short lived. Our children's children will look at the amendment the same way that my generation looks at the Dred Scot case or the poll tax. They will end this shameful period of our State's history.

In other news, an Indiana teacher was suspended and may ultimately be fired for printing a article in its school newspaper. In Woodburn Indiana, a teacher failed to get approved a story in the school newspaper about tolerance for homosexuals. As a result she may lose her job and almost half of the student reporters have quit in protest.

There is no question that the law is on the side of the school on this one. Here the teacher had to follow the policies of the school. One of those policies is to get approval of the stories from the principal before its publication. Her failure to do so will likely mean she will be looking for another job. That being said, if the story had been something less than a hot button topic I doubt it would have even been a problem for the school.

But again I don't think that is the big issue. What message is the school sending to that district's students. Don't stand up for what you believe in? Be hateful of those different than you? Shy away from controversial topics? I don't think many companies are looking for yellow bellied hate mongers as new hires. Maybe that is part of the reason Indiana's economy is struggling. Who would want to grow a company here when we are grooming kids who are completely inept with dealing with the realities of the working world?

Back to the amendment, there is a silver lining to everything. Before an amendment can become part of our constitution, it has to be approved by a majority of Hoosier voters. Voters striking down this amendment would send a strong message to the clowns at the General Assembly that it is time to deal with the real pressing issues that affect our state. It would send an even stronger message to the rest of the country that Indiana is the type of welcoming environment in which they would want to do business.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Market

The Star noted today that the City Market will re-open in its revamped form on June 15th. The Market has been open in one form or another for 100 years. The center of the Market closed at the first of the year for its refurnishing.

The new plan involves taking the Market back to its roots, so to speak. Instead of simply being a quick service lunch spot it will feature fresh produce and meats. The Star noted that it will have the following new tenants: Moody Meats, Ruby's Sweet Treasures, Abbott Candy, Corks Marketplace, and Welch's Florists. The majority of the quick service lunch spots will return. Notably the Barking Dog Cafe, a popular spot for its New England Clam Chowder, will not return.

I meet the Market's new plans with a little skepticism. For one the Market has changed its ideas several times in the last few years. A couple of years ago the leadership at the Market decided that it would open a culinary school. In doing so it ended its lease with Muggins, a popular grease pit on second floor of the East wing. There wasn't a better hamburger or tenderloin than at Muggins, and its departure left a void for those who needed their grease fix. The culinary school never came to pass and the space sat empty until recently when the current tenants were moved to the second floor during the renovation. Second, the Market tried this theory before when it required its tenants to have a side retail space. The Market went so far as ending its relationship with one Chinese restaurant in favor of another that would commit to the idea. At my count four places got on board with the idea. Today none have the retail space as they did previously.

I believe that the Market is well positioned for growth. Residential development is growing downtown and the MSA spot will eventually be developed. That should provide more foot traffic to the Market then it currently has. But for the Market to truly pull people to the East side of downtown it will need a uniqueness not found of late. Most of the lunch food at the Market is of the type easily obtained on other sides of downtown. I don't see many compelling reasons for folks expect those who work on the East side of downtown to visit the Market. The new tenants will help in that regard but people can get those products on their way home to the burbs.

I think there are other ideas the Market should consider for new tenants. I would love to see a co-op between the Indiana wineries set up shop at the Market. Or perhaps a co-op between the Indiana microbreweries would work. Both would show off some of the uniqueness of our State and would be the type of attractions sought out by visitors to the city. I have also never found it difficult to find good red meat in any of the grocery stores in the city. Fresh seafood is an exception. If the Market had a seafood shop again I think I would be more apt to purchase from it then a butcher. A bakery would also be welcome. The Market would be well served in signing up either Chez Jean or Scholar's Inn, both local, to set up shop there. Neither would would need to bake the bread at the Market as both have local facilities to do so.

Most great cities seem to have a great Market. I sincerely hope that the city's investment pays off and that the City Market becomes the kind of place you want to take friends when they visit our city.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Indianapolis Sports Roundup

The Indiana Pacers came out of no where last night and put up one of their best shooting performances of the year against the Miami Heat. Miami, who had won 10 of their last 11, were lit up last night by the Pacers having been defeated 95-70. At one point the Pacers had the Heat down 39-9. The Pacers are now in the 8th spot of the playoffs for the Eastern Conference. My opinion has always been if you aren't good enough to win the whole thing then making the playoffs is pointless. The Pacers are definitely not good enough to win the championship and sadly by making the playoffs will automatically forfeit their first round draft pick to Atlanta via the Al Harrington trade.

The Pacers are making the right move by playing Shawne Williams. Larry Bird received a lot of flack for taking him last year in the first round. He has looked like the player that Bird had faith in the few times I have seen him. If this season is a wash you might as well give your young guys some experience.

The exodus from the World Champion Indianapolis Colts continues. I can understand letting Dominic Rhodes, Nick Harper, and Brandon Stokley hit the open market. I just can't understand letting Cato June go. This is now the fourth linebacker after Marcus Washington, Mike Peterson, and David Thornton, that the Colts have groomed and then let walk. It also happens to be the weakest position for the Colts. Expect them to address it with their first pick in the draft. However I have seen some mock drafts that have the Colts picking up a wide receiver with the last pick in the first round. The Colts are just crazy enough to do it, I fear.

With a very much improved Houston and Tennessee next year might be the first time it is not a given that the Colts will win the AFC South.

Last night Indianapolis' Butler Bulldogs played their heart out but came up short against a more talented Florida squad. Early on it looked as though the Bulldogs were going to pull it out. However the referees made sure that didn't happen. The refs called every possible small foul on the Dogs while letting the Gators run wild. The Gators got to the foul line 28 times, Butler 13. They certainly have nothing to be ashamed about. When the defending national champions punched, Butler punched back. Congrats to them and to both IU and Purdue who played really hard and gave their opponents a run for their money in the tournament.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tony Dungy: "'I embrace' same-sex marriage ban"

"I appreciate the stance they're taking, and I embrace that stance," Dungy said. Local and national gay-rights organizations had criticized Dungy for accepting the invitation to appear at the banquet. The institute, affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been one of the leading supporters of the marriage amendment. "IFI is saying what the Lord says," Dungy said. "You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I'm on the Lord's side."

Indianapolis Star

Bil Browning of Bilerico was quoted in the Indianapolis Star article, "It is unfortunate that coach Dungy has chosen to align himself with the Indiana Family Institute," he said. "The Colts were supported this season by all of their fans -- gay and straight."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Houses Cheaper Than Cars in Detroit


The U.S. auto industry is in dire straits, and thousands of auto workers have lost their jobs. The Detroit housing market has hit rock bottom.

Now, I probably have a controversial stand upon the U.S. auto industry. I know that the suffering auto worker is not to blame, but the U.S. automobile manufactures are at fault. They produced some of the biggest pieces of junk in the 1980s and early 1990s. They thought that Americans would buy their cars because they were Made in the USA. Guess what, they were wrong. During this time, Americans began to buy Japanese vehicles because they were better quality, lasted longer, and drove better than American vehicles. Now, U.S. automakers want to make better quality vehicles, but they cannot afford to make better vehicles. The U.S. automakers have dug themselves into a deep hole, and I hope that they can pull themselves out of it. Our country's economic well-being is tied to the automobile industry, and we need them to succeed.

These views do not reflect the opinion of Torpor Indy himself, but the opinion of freelance contributor, Brick.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Random Thoughts Friday

As you noticed by the post below, my upset picks for the NCAA tournament didn't quite come through. My bracket is looking a little shaky right now. I look like a genius for picking VCU over Duke. As for my having Long Beach State in the Sweet Sixteen......

I can't believe what a big deal St. Patrick's Day has become. It seems in the last few years it has become a much more celebrated holiday. Tomorrow all my friends want to go to the Rathskeller for the Patty's Day party. I don't know how a German bar has become the place in Indy to feel Irish for the day. I will tell you the Rathskeller does put on a killer Cinco de Mayo party.

My father was complaining today that St. Patrick's Day has become over commercialized like every other holiday. He said when he was a kid St. Patrick's Day was the day you wore green and got pinched if you didn't and that was it. I like St. Patrick's Day better now.

I received a CD today I ordered off amazon: Mental Floss for the Globe by Urban Dance Squad. "Deeper Shade of Soul" is one of the greatest songs of the nineties.

The most minor surprise of the week: Hollywood is making a movie version of Anna Nicole Smith's life.

The Pacers try to end their 11 game losing streak tomorrow against Atlanta. If they don't end up with one of the ten worst records in the NBA, the Hawks get the Pacers' draft pick due to the Al Harrington trade. The Pacers already traded their second round pick. With the team so close to the salary cap, it is going to be painful for awhile.

Have a good night.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's Tournament Time!

You only have a few hours left to fill out your office bracket for the NCAA tournament. To aid in your ultimate victory, Torpor is providing the following first round upsets based on nothing more than gut fleeing and fancy:

1.) Georgia Tech (10) over UNLV (7)

2.) Villanova (9) over Kentucky (8)

3.) VCU (11) over Duke (6)

4.) Gonzaga (10) over Indiana (7)

5.) George Washington (11) over Vanderbilt (6)

6.) Long Beach State (12) over Tennessee (5)

Everything else should proceed according to the seeds. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Delta Zeta

As Torpor noted on Monday, DePauw University severed ties with the Delta Zeta sorority on Monday. Back in December the national organization for Delta Zeta changed several of its DePauw members' status from active to alumna. Out of the 32 girls at the house, approximately 2/3 were ordered to move out of the house by the end of January. Apparently the girls of DZ were given the notice approximately two weeks before finals in the first semester of this year.

The story first broke in the New York Times about two weeks ago. The Times noted each girl underwent a membership review with the national organization. The membership review was a individual interview with the each sister at the DePauw DZ house. Each were encouraged to look their best and approach it similar to a job interview. At the conclusion of the membership review, the majority of its members were ordered to move out of the house. The article also noted that those girls ordered to move from the house were overweight or not considered attractive. The story has spread like wildfire with all Indianapolis media along with CNN, People magazine, Newsweek, and Good Morning America reporting on the story.

After the announcement Delta Zeta made its retort in regards to the DePauw house. Its position is the University asked it to undertake the membership review after it denied it the chance to reorganize.

The story hit close to home for me. I graduated from DePauw and waited tables at the Delta Zeta sorority while I attended there.

The thing that immediately struck me is how this story has received such national attention. The year before I attended DePauw, a national organization shut down a sorority. After I left DePauw another national organization shut down another sorority. Both times it was for reasons similar to the actions of the Delta Zeta nationals and neither time garnered a story from any media of any sort. Talking to several other people about this story I found each had their own recollection about a fraternity or sorority getting the boot by nationals at their respective schools, some for reasons ostensibly as the reasons given by Delta Zeta.

The University made the right move. I can't condone DZ's actions. Their justification for giving most members the boot doesn't make logical sense. Rush is held at DePauw in February. How can you judge if someone is committed to recruitment if you don't give them a chance to prove it? Their justification is, for lack of better words, pure bullshit. Plus giving the girls notice a few weeks before finals is simply classless. To DZ's credit, they have apologized for this.

It is easy to turn this story into a commentary on how outdated the Greek system is. However if anything, the Greek system is anything but. The world is a cruel and superficial place. If anything we are judged, fairly or unfairly, for multitude of reasons. Because of their exclusivity all social organizations are by nature superficial. That includes your local Jaycees or the Greek system.

I was Greek at DePauw. The question remains do the virtues of the Greek system trump situations such as this when they occur. My belief is the virtues of the Greek system do overwhelmingly overcome its sins. There are very few organizations, save church, that allow leadership opportunities as social organizations such as the Greek system. But more importantly where else at such a young age do you get the opportunity to learn to work with other people, many very different from yourself, on common goals for the benefit of the whole? Perhaps sports but not everyone has the talent nor the desire to participate at the collegiate level. But regardless these experiences are invaluable in preparing a person for the realities of the working world.

My experience at DZ showed me a group of girls committed to the goals of the sorority. I never doubted that the girls were committed to the betterment of the house and their sisterhood. I never once thought to myself "are these girls committed to recruitment". I saw nothing there indicative of the concerns by the national organization. Although my time there was a few years ago, I doubt that aspect of the sorority has changed.

It's too bad the DZ nationals never had lunch with their sisters. Maybe they would have seen the same.

Welcome to Indiana

From the Indystar's website:

Should Indiana school districts add sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination and equal opportunity hiring policies?

No: 53%

Yes: 47%

Total Votes: 1234

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Monday Miscellany

In recent months, Jamal Tinsley has been involved in an altercation outside of a strip club where shots were fired and also charged with a felony after alleging beating up a nightclub manager. I don't believe he missed a game due to either incident. Yesterday, he was suspended one game for "conduct detrimental to the team". If he wasn't suspended before, one has to wonder what he did this time to merit a suspension.

Depauw makes the right move and severs ties with Delta Zeta. The national chapter had removed several members from the sorority earlier this year. The former members claim they were removed because of their appearance.

And finally,

Israeli diplomat recalled after found naked and drunk.

Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after he was found drunk and naked apart from bondage gear. Reports say he was able to identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth.

A foreign ministry official described Ambassador Tzuriel Refael's behaviour as an unprecedented embarrassment.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Local Blogger Appears on O'Reilly Factor

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, a local lawyer and media figure appeared on the O'Reilly factor this week. Abdul is also contributor to the Indiana Barrister Blog and runs the Indiana Blog Review. The Youtube clip of his appearance is here.

H/T Masson

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Indiana's own: Congressman Steve Buyer in the News

Please read this post on Americablog which quotes this Indianapolis Star article where former Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Steve Buyer says that the Democrats are politicizing the Walter Reed scandal. He claims he visited Walter Reed Veteran's Hospital and did not notice anything but "gung ho soldiers".

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

RIP, Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard died today at age 77. I don't suppose everyone has a favorite living philosopher, but I am just the nerd to have had one. Baudrillard's prevailing theory was that representation and simulation have become more important than reality.

The Matrix trilogy included references to his book Simulacra and Simulation although Baudrillard claimed the Wachowskis misunderstood his work. He was probably most famous for saying the first Gulf War "did not take place" as it was a media event and not a war.

Baudrillard was often dismissed by many in the field of philosophy, but this was before a world where every move of Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith's corpse are reported in the headlines. Now, perhaps Baudrillard will finally get his due.

As my friend said today when he called to report his passing: "Baudrillard has died or did he?".

New Take On The Jesus Fish

I was driving to work today, and I saw this take on the Jesus Fish. I must get one of these for my car. I have seen the Darwin Fish, but this one is awesome. Here is a website with several different variations:

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Country Music Is Still Bush's Strongest Supporter

Word to the wise: Do not piss off county music and insult our president. The Dixie Chicks won five Grammy Awards this year, but the Academy of Country Music did not nominate them for a single award. The comments by the Dixie Chick lead singer occurred in 2003, and the direct quote is "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Four years have past, but country music cannot forgive and forget.

Many celebrities have made worse statements about the president, yet fans continue to go to the celebrities' movies and buy their music. The Academy of Country Music has put pressure on country music stations to boycott the Dixie Chick's albums and refuse to play their music. Even Republic Congressmen have turned against President Bush over the last four years, but country music remains in strong support of him. I hope the Dixie Chicks are invited to play the Democratic National Convention.

Ann Coulter's website is losing ad revenue

H/T Americablog

At least three major companies want their ads pulled from Ann Coulter's Web site, following customer complaints about the right-wing commentator referring to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot."

Verizon, Sallie Mae and Georgia-based NetBank each said they didn't know their ads were on until they received the complaints.


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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Sitemeter Fun, Volume V

Torporindy is the number google search result for "Buy Marijuana Indianapolis".

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Embarrassing songs in your ipod, Volume I

I am somewhat of a music snob or at least I like to think that I am. Of course, there is always someone out there who fancies him or herself to be more hip and I am sure that they'd sneer at my music collection. Anyway, I am loading more and more CDs in my ipod and I come across this Matchbox 20 CD that my wife claims was a free selection from Columbia House. I'd believe her, but if you peruse her CD selection you'll find Phil Collins nestled between Rod Stewart and Heart. Anyway, I hate that band with a passion, but I decided that I really love this one song by them and I debated whether or not to put on my ipod. It's called "Real World" and some of the lyrics at the end of the song make me laugh in a good way. I held an internal debate and decided 'what the hell', so I put it on, so there it is my most embarrassing song on my ipod. I am sure others could find fault with a host of other songs in my itunes library, but in my opinion it's the one of which I am most ashamed.

What's the most embarrassing song on your ipod?

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Ann Coulter is a Horseface Homophobe

Several months ago, Michelle Malkin linked to me because I had the audacity to suggest Ann Coulter looked like a horse. She does. She's also a homophobic bigot. Here she is calling John Edwards a "faggot".

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Why? Because I like it.

Jeff Wall -- A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai)


Friday, March 2, 2007

The Land of Opportunity

It was reported last week that the income gap in the United States is the worst that it has been in the past 32 years. The US has the most unequal income distribution of all of the developed nations in the world. To put it in perspective there is less income disparity between the rich and poor in India than in the United States.

A large reason for the disparity is that corporations have managed to circumvent traditional compensation through wages by distributing income through profits.

Consider the philosophy of two unions just after the turn of the 20th century:

The American Federation of Labor sought "a fair days wage for a day's work".

While the International Workers of the World sought "to abolish the wage system" in that the workers created the wealth, so they should reap the profits.

Well, the wage system if not stagnant is at least dying in this country, but definitely not in the manner that the IWW had hoped. The 1990s were allegedly the great technology boom in the United States, but even so wages did not grow for workers when adjusted for inflation. On the other hand, corporate profits rose 93% and CEO pay rose 571%. This has happened largely because since 1947 Congress has passed laws to strengthen corporate profits and weaken the union movement in this country. Consider that " the portion of federal revenue derived from corporate income tax has decreased from 33% in the 1950s to 11.9% in 2005, reaching a low of 7.4% in 2003. Eighty-two of our largest corporations paid no tax in at least one of the first three years of the Bush administration."

The lack of quality wages and a viable workers' movement resulting in high levels of poverty have had a profound effect as United States has the highest poverty or near-poverty levels for children, individual adults and familiesamong thirty-one developed nations. Only Mexico and Russia spend less of a percentage of their gross domestic product on social welfare programs than the United States. This is probably why the US is dead last among developed nations in children's health.

Hopefully, these factors will be on people's minds when they go to vote in 2008 rather than worrying about terrorists.

Edit: As an addendum to this post, please read ManfromMiddletown's post on Kos. He writes about the Employee Free Choice Act and its hope for an effect on unions in this country. A fact about Indiana: In 1964, 40 percent of workers here were in unions and today it is only 12.5 %.

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

New Blog

Jason of Foursquare 266 has started a new blog called Circle and Squares, which describes itself as:

A blog dedicated to discussion about architecture, landscape architecture, public art, urban planning, historic preservation, design...really, the built environment, in general. The intent is to provide news and ideas...and constructive criticism, when required.


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