Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Toothless Watchdogs

"What happens when reporters, editors and their news organizations defer at every turn to the preferences of power? Short answer: Rot accumulates. Flaccid work becomes the norm. A slow, daily accretion of bad judgments, or refusals to judge independently, produces a weak institution that no longer understands its responsibilities, to say nothing of fulfilling them."

It's from a national story, but -- yes, that describes The Indianapolis Star these days.

Infrastructure problems pile up (streetlights anyone?) and the homicide rate soars, but Indy keeps shoveling millions at the Pacers, the Colts, Blue Indy -- the list goes on.

Having no watchdogs impacts all of us.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Street Closed? Nobody's Responsible.

This Indianapolis Observer has had a close up and personal look at the pass-the-buck nature of city services this month.

Ever since the mega-storm July 13, her street has been completely blocked by either (or both) downed trees and power lines.

It's now 10 days later: neighbors cut up and moved the tree blocking the street in one direction -- but despite promises, the city has not picked up the piles and piles of resulting storm debris in and along the roadway.

Power lines brought down on the road by the storm have been racheted up by IPL (and power restored), but Comcast wires still completely block the right-of-way because (IPL reports) of a broken guy wire.

There are no "road closed" signs alerting motorists to the blocked street, so they continue to do turnarounds on our lawns and driveways when they unexpectedly come up to the "caution" tape and orange cones (put up by some unknown entity) that are hidden around a curve.

Trash hasn't been picked up in a week (although the recycling truck had no problems with its collection). A written notice penned by the Department of Public Works and taped to my unemptied garbage can today says that's "due to power lines hanging down".

IPL says they're not power lines, but Comcast lines -- and IPL has called Comcast repeatedly since July 14.

So, what are Indy residents supposed to do when their street is blocked and neither storm debris nor trash is collected in a timely manner?

The Mayor's Action Center says "not my job".

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Hip-Hop Is Becoming the Oldies

And, with that provocative title, The New York Times delves into format changes on Indianapolis radio stations.

(Who knew Manhattan would be interested in what tunes are played on Indy radio!)

"One person at the Beat [93.9 FM] told [the reporter] that the station’s ideal listener is a woman between 35 and 44 who is a homeowner and her family’s decision maker. As of now, around 50 percent of the Beat’s audience is white, 45 percent is black and 4 percent is Hispanic (just 10 percent of Indianapolis is Hispanic)."

You can read the whole magazine feature online.

Your Indianapolis Observer is heading for her radio to take a listen.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cities and Their Sports Stadia

"American cities are shelling out big money for new sports stadiums -- and John Oliver has one question: Why?

"Sports teams are wealthy businesses with wealthy owners and they still get our help," Oliver said on HBO's "Last Week Tonight" Sunday.

John Oliver Shows How Dumb It Is For Cities To Finance Sports Stadiums.

But, this is Indianapolis. It's how we roll.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Poking Fun at RFRA

It's hard to know where to begin on this topic -- that Indiana expended so much energy (and taxpayer money) on promoting intolerance with the whole Religious Freedom Restoration Act brouhaha or that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department expended so much energy (and taxpayer money) on keeping a bunch of folks from lighting up at the Church of Cannabis.

Yes, The New York Times is making fun of Indiana once again. This time with coverage of A Church of Cannabis Tests Limits of Religious Law in Indiana. With the homicide rate (and police-action shootings) on the rise, where were our police officers? Surrounding an Eastside church.

"Lt. Richard Riddle of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police declined to say exactly how many officers were at the church, but there were officers outside, posted on nearby corners, behind the church, and riding in pairs on bicycles," reports the NYT

A peaceful assemblage of citizens (at which no arrests were made) required such a large contingent of Indianapolis' Finest? Really?

The Church of Cannabis is, of course, but one unintended consequence of RFRA. The Indiana Civil Liberties Union has now filed suit to contend that not allowing sex offenders to attend churches with attached schools is an undue burden on religious rights under the RFRA.

What's next?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Medicine Bottles For Malawi

"Anyone on prescription medicines finds themselves a bit uncomfortable when throwing away so many empty medicine bottles. It is obvious our landfills do not need these plastic containers! There is enough trash going into the landfills already," notes the Malawi Project.

"Save up a group of your containers.... Place them in boiling water until you are able to easily remove the labels, and the glue. Then box or bag them and send them to the Malawi Project."

Why? "It will help families in a third world country keep their medicines clean, out of reach of small children, and safe while they are being used."

Malawi Project Inc.
3314 Van Tassel Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240

This is such an easy thing to do -- and the charity sponsoring it is right here in Indy!

Your Indianapolis Observer is going to start saving those medicine bottles right now.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Law of Unintended Consequences

File under "didn't you see this coming?"

Indiana’s First Church of Pot hoves into view.

"Hoosiers, get your Hookahs," writes Jay Michaelson in The Daily Beast.

"In the latest Unintended Consequence of the 'Religious Freedom' laws now sweeping the country, an Indiana church today was granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. But not just any church: The First Church of Cannabis, which proposes to exploit Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to smoke pot at its services."