A party in need of a leader
The Indiana Democratic Party is not a political entity which deserves any great respect. Nor is it a force to be reckoned with in the Legislature.
With the exception of Rep. Joe Donnelly’s robust victory over Republican Richard Mourdock in the U.S. Senate race, not much good happened for Hoosier Democrats in the last election. Keep in mind that Glenda Ritz, who defeated incumbent Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, was a Republican who changed parties to seek the office of schools chief.
The end result is a state government controlled almost entirely by Republicans, who now have super majorities in both houses of the General Assembly.
The Democrats have no particular individuals around which to rally, which will make it tough to rebuild a vibrant and relevant state party. But we are impressed with new Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, a 60-year-old Anderson attorney, whose job it will be to lead the loyal opposition and ensure that all Hoosier voices are being heard on issues big and small.
Lanane, who was featured recently in a story by CNHI Statehouse reporter Maureen Hayden, seems to be taking a constructive approach. He’s not primed for daily combat, but is willing to stand his ground. His advice to his Democrat colleagues: “Keep your chin up and stay in the fight.”
While his role is certainly limited under current state Senate configuration, it is an important role nonetheless. We urge him to follow his own advice.
Halt! Police! Drop that camera!
It was an appropriate end to an incredibly stupid law.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld a lower court ruling that found Illinois’ anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers in the line of duty.
As the law was being practiced, prosecutors could file charges and seek convictions against people recording police activity. The law even set a maximum prison term of 15 years! Ridiculous.
Also worth noting is that the public has the ACLU to thank for challenging and eventually defeating this usage of the law.
The ACLU argued that the right to record police is vital to guard against abuse. Of course it is. The people of Illinois, and elsewhere, are fortunate that the courts agreed.
Cheers, jeers and tears
• Cheers to Terre Haute’s Noon Optimist Club for its continued efforts to clothe needy kids. The Clothe-A-Child program is in its 78th year and seeks to raise $45,000 in its current fund drive.
• Cheers to Keirra Porter, the 15-year-old Terre Haute sophomore hurdler, for her invitation to compete next summer in the Down Under International games in Australia. She’s now attempting to raise money for the trip, and we wish her well.
• Jeers to Republican U.S. Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham for their relentless efforts to besmirch U.N Ambassador Susan Rice for her early briefings to Sunday talk shows on the attacks on our Embassy in Libya. If they would spend their time and effort on more important issues, perhaps Congress could someday resolve real problems.
• Tears for Cecil Tilford, the colorful storeowner whose strong support of a local neighborhood led to him being referred to as the unofficial “mayor of Twelve Points.” Tilford, who operated a variety store on Lafayette Avenue for decades, died last week at age 87.
Reader poll results
Recently, the Reader Poll at Tribstar.com asked:
How do you expect your spending to measure up to last year’s Christmas shopping season?
Results: 237 votes were cast.
• Will spend more — 23 votes, 9.7 percent
• Will spend less — 138 votes, 58.23 percent
• Will spend about the same — 76 votes, 32.07 percent
New online reader poll
What is the best way for Congress to avoid sending the federal government off the “Fiscal Cliff'”?
To vote, visit www.tribstar.com.
A party in need of a leader
RONN MOTT: Troubled history in that place called Iraq
People are dying, again, in Iraq. And, again, people other than Iraqis will ultimately make the decision about what happens to this ancient land.
Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’
It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.
- Readers’ Forum: July 11, 2014
RONN MOTT: That Old Man River
I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.
EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing
It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.
READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014
• Herb Faire a great success
• Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’
• Thanks for stirring fireworks show
EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible
The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.
Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014
• Don’t eliminate our six-day mail
• Zamperini death stirs memories
RONN MOTT: Black Dog
We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.
Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014
• T-S ignores common decency
• Lighten up on Donald Sterling
• Time to reject Dems in Congress
• Fueling the EPA
MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations
Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”
Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014
• The moral issue is major issue
Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion
Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.
Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014
• Coats ignoring climate science
• Do those mustache posters exist?
• Utility rate freeze took determination
• What perversion is next in line?
• Opinions vary, but voters will decide
• This preaching must stop — now
• Golf fundraiser a huge success
Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.
Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations
The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.
RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson
During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.
EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.
- Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014
RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country
The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.
GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.
Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014
• Over the top on immigration
FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.
Editorial: Texting law serves safety
July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.
- Readers’ Forum: July 2, 2014
RONN MOTT: Cats
Looking at the situation as a whole, the adopted cats, plus one, seem to be doing OK. The boys, Magic and Mellow, like to roam occasionally, which causes some consternation when they are gone for a long time.
LIZ CIANCONE: Oldtime fans will never give up on the Cubbies
My Best Friend claims to be the world’s oldest living Cubs fan. I am willing to take him at his word, but surely there is some long-lived fan out there in the right field bleachers who would dispute his claim.
Readers’ Forum: July 1, 2014
• Defying the laws of God
• Correcting the written record
• Hands of $$ from Redevelopment
• Celebrity visit for celebration
Flashpoint: New Healthy Indiana Plan our best option
Some state-run health care exchanges — the brainchild of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — have gotten off to a rocky start, to the point that they are turning to the federal government to pick up the pieces. Indiana’s decision to try to expand the already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) in lieu of an exchange seems a more prudent choice every day.
- More Opinion Headlines
- RONN MOTT: Troubled history in that place called Iraq