Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Where's Mitch Daniels?

The one Republican uniquely positioned to comment on admitting Syrian refugees to the United States (in general) and the State of Indiana (in particular) has been most uncharacteristically quiet.

As the grandson of a Syrian immigrant, his opinion would have unique weight in this debate.

The former Indiana Governor also has been honored by the Arab-American Institute with the 2011 Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Laffer Curve ... Really?

This Indianapolis Observer was startled to see a column in the latest Indianapolis Business Journal touting the Laffer Curve as the preferable guiding principle in taxation strategies: "The Laffer Curve teaches that trying to soak the rich through high tax rats can backfire...." Really?

Where have Cecil Bohanon and Bill Styring been since Reaganomics burst onto the scene?

Here's one contrary view: "So the Laffer curve says tax cuts for the rich? This isn't going to be funny": "Laffer was an associate of the Reagan administration, which had a staged cut in the marginal higher rate of personal income tax from 70% to 28%. The effect on the budget deficit was also striking. Reagan doubled it to $155 billion and tripled government debt to more than $2trillion."

"The Laffer curve relies on the twin assumptions that the rich create the output in an economy and that they need incentives to choose idleness over work. But there is little evidence to support these hypotheses."

And, a more recent example: "The Laffer Curve has Flatlined"" "Govs. Brownback [Kansas] and Walker [Wisconsin] killed [the Laffer Curve] simply by implementing the theory and proving its lack of success."

And, another view: "The New Laffer Curve Logic and the Lack of Evidence for it" "After being shown again and again that tax cuts don't increase revenues, those who make the Laffer curve argument stopped making the claim...."

Maybe it's time for the IBJ to hire some reality-based columnists!

Monday, November 23, 2015

(Partial) Trash Slide

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works reports that residential and heavy trash, curbside recycling and leaf collection will operate on a slide schedule this week in observance of Thanksgiving Day.

Residential trash, heavy trash, leaf collection and curbside recycling services will not be available on Thursday, 26 November. Instead, Thursday routes will run Friday, 27 November, and Friday routes will be picked up Saturday, 28 November. All services will return to normal schedules beginning next Monday, 30 November.

Now through 4 December, residents may leave up to 40 bags of leaves (in regular trash bags or paper yard waste bags) for collection on their regular trash day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bad Start, Hogsett

This Indianapolis Observer wishes to remind the new mayor that one of the reasons he won is the continuing rage against the myriad questionable decisions of Greg Ballard. Brewer had promised Ballard's "third term", and it didn't fly.

Therefore, agreeing to "continue Ballard's legacy" isn't a viable option.

According to, Hogsett "even praised two of the programs — the Vision Fleet electric car contract and BlueIndy car-sharing service — that Democrats on the Indianapolis City-County Council have spent the last year fighting.

“'From a conceptual standpoint, BlueIndy, Vision Fleet, I think are great ideas,' Hogsett said. 'The biggest criticisms haven’t been necessarily on the merits but rather the way the decisions were made.'"

Ummmm, no. There's more to the controversies than just the backroom dealing -- egregious as that is.

Guess we'll have to wait and see if Indy voted for Ballard 2.0 in the guise of somebody who should know better.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Suit Filed Against Blue Indy

According to Advance Indiana, Marion County Auditor Julie Voorhies has filed a lawsuit against Blue Indy, LLC, the City of Indianapolis and Regions Bank to block payment of $6 million in Indy tax dollars to Blue Indy.

Now, this should be interesting given all the questions about this deal (from the lack of bids to the absence of UL certification for the charging stations...and more).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What's Pence Up to Now?

"Whatever one’s position on abortion, the use of tax dollars to support 'clinics' that offer no medical services — clinics that exist solely to lie to women in order to convince them to forego both abortion and contraception – is immoral."

Yes folks: our tone-deaf governor has inked a contract with Real Alternatives, which provides NO medical services, spending OUR TAX DOLLARS to promote a political agenda.

As the IBJ reported: "Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday that he will expand Indiana’s affiliation with a not-for-profit organization that counsels pregnant women against abortion and pushes abstinence as the only method of birth control."

Sheila Kennedy laments (that was her quote at the beginning of this post), you can't make this stuff up..

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

That "Craft Rye" Whiskey is From Where?

This is an old story, but still timely.

"Dozens of new brands are packaging whiskey bought in bulk from Indiana," writes Eric Felten in The Daily Beast.

Just can't trust those distillers...even if they're Hoosiers.

Read about the scam here: "Your ‘Craft’ Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana".

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Indiana in the News Again

"When Planned Parenthood leaves town, bad things follow. Ask the county in Indiana that drove out its clinic, which happened to be the only place in the area that offered H.I.V. testing. That was in 2013; in March the governor announced a “public health emergency” due to the spike in H.I.V. cases."

From "The Fight for Unplanned Parenthood" by Gail Collins in The New York Times

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Keep Saving 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!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Trash Slide this Week

Yep: trash collection will be a day late this week because of the Labor Day holiday.

There's no notice about it on the city's Department of Public Works Trash Collection website, FWIW.

Hmmm. Maybe all the problems with the roll out of the ill-starred Blue Indy initiative made them overlook this essential city service?

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."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Trash Slide This Week

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works would like to remind residents that in observance of Memorial Day there will be no regular trash or heavy trash pick-up today (25 May 2015).

All trash collection services will operate one day behind on a slide schedule. Trash routes will be collected as follows:

• Monday trash collections will be collected Tuesday.
• Tuesday trash collections will be collected Wednesday.
• Wednesday trash collections will be collected Thursday.
• Thursday trash collections will be collected Friday
• Friday trash collections will be collected Saturday.

All trash collection services will return to normal next Monday (1 June, 2015).

Friday, May 22, 2015

At Least the Weather is Good This Weekend

Let's see: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is littered in car parts from crashes, and Indiana's reputation is still in tatters over Governor Pence's signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Here's a bit of commentary from a PR professional out East: "Governor Mike Pence continues to draw negative attention, not just for this divisive law but for cutting back food stamps and justifying that with comments about 'ennobling' the poor. The governor then did what many people in crisis situations do - go into major denial. Pence declared the controversy over, and hired Porter Novelli to clean up the mess at taxpayer expense."

Ain't God good to Indiana?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Four Crashes ... and Counting

Disaster looms at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" has indeed become spectacular as car after car "helicopters" down the track with the new aerodynamic bodywork kits, maiming four drivers so far.

"Caution Flag: The Indy 500 is turning into a car-flipping debacle" is just one of the reports of what's happening out at the IMS.

As Ben Smith reports, "The problem, unbelievably, is that no one thought to test the speedway aero kit on an actual speedway before, you know, actually coming to a speedway."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Linda Vaughn and the "500"

This is why The Indianapolis Star needs local, seasoned reporters:
"Linda Vaughn and Me: a coming-of-age story" by third-generation Indy resident Will Higgins remains the best feature on the 500-Mile Race.

Miss Hurst Golden Shifter is as indelible an icon of May as Jim Nabors ever was.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pence Does Something Right

"Late this afternoon, Governor Mike Pence vetoed Senate Bill 369 which would have allowed government agencies to charge as much as $20 an hour for public records searches," reports Paul K. Ogden.

Bloggers, including your Indianapolis Observer, are relieved.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pence is Toast

"Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) has seen a significant drop in his approval rating since signing a widely criticized 'religious freedom' law, with one longtime political observer in the state saying the fall is historic for a governor."

Well, no kidding.

The problem is that he listened to the "Tea Party" faction of the GOP-dominated legislature, which thinks the world hasn't changed since the 1950s.

Unfortunately, his boneheaded actions reflect on the rest of us Hoosiers -- and (according to the poll cited) "Fifty-nine percent of respondents in the new poll said the "religious freedom" law was unnecessary, compared to just 30 percent who thought it was needed."

At the next election, throw the bums out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let the Team Owner Pay for the Stadium

Everybody with a stake in the soccer stadium discussion needs to read this article by Neil deMause on Field of Schemes.

Although he's writing about the wrangling over funding a soccer stadium in Minneapolis, his assessment speaks to the same wrangling over funding of a soccer stadium in Indianapolis.

Check out "Star Tribune nails trees, misses forest in Minnesota United stadium coverage" (and note that the newspaper has a direct interest in the funding discussion).

(Speaking of which, check out this: "U-T San Diego columnist: I was fired for not being “positive” enough about stadium deals", on the same online publication.)

This Indianapolis Observer is definitely a soccer fan, but not if taxpayers are going to be footing the bill for the team's stadium (thus enriching the owners -- as we're doing for basketball, football and now auto racing in Indianapolis).

Fix the potholes already. Replace the dead trees in the median of 38th Street. Upgrade city parks. Get new (non-electric) cars for IMPD. There are plenty of priority items that need funding more than yet another spectator sport.

Monday, April 13, 2015

RFRA Tarnished Indiana's Image

According to the Huffington Post, ""The state of Indiana has hired a global public relations firm to help rebuild its image in the wake of national criticism that state politicians were hostile to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which leads the state's efforts to attract and retain businesses, has retained Porter Novelli for an undisclosed sum. The firm's task is to brand Indiana 'as a welcoming place to live, visit and do business'."

Good luck with that.

Monday, April 6, 2015

IMA Seems to Have a Death Wish

This Indianapolis Observer remembers a time -- not that long ago -- when the Indianapolis Museum of Art reversed its longstanding policy of free admission and started charging $7 per head. (That would be in 2006.)

Visitor numbers dropped so precipitously that the admission charge was rescinded the following year, and free admission returned (albeit with a $5 charge for parking.

Well, folks, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it -- except this time the admission charge will be an eye-popping $18 to visit the IMA, starting tomorrow.

Good luck with that.

You can read more about it here: Indianapolis Museum of Art to start charging admission starting April 7 and here: Museum of Art admission jumping from free to $18.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Eye" Salutes "Eight@8"

"Occasionally Eight@8 wanders into the realm of 'editorial'.... This is one of those times.

"Dear Gov. Mike Pence and Republican state leaders: Whether fair or not, you and the state you represent now are widely associated with bigotry. Big business, one of your key constituents, won’t stand for it. The NCAA, which is hosting the biggest media event since the Super Bowl in Indy this weekend, won’t stand for it. Your biggest universities won’t stand for it. The Republican mayor of your capital city won’t stand for it. Everyone with an ax to grind against Indiana now has nothing to lose by jumping into the scrum. The ship has sailed, guys. We know you’re working feverishly on some additional language that will make it clear the measure can’t be used to discriminate against gay people. That seems like the path of least resistance, doesn’t it? Let’s do that. You might be concerned about saving as much face as possible, both with Democrats who suggested this two weeks ago and your supporters who at least BELIEVED that RFRA allowed them to become conscientious objectors against gay rights. You might want to try the Band-Aid approach. A big burst of mea culpa, and then we can all lose ourselves in the Final Four. Because if this doesn’t get fixed, IndyStar’s Gregg Doyel reports, we might not see another Final Four for a while."

This Indianapolis Observer salutes The Indianapolis Business Journal.

Monday, March 30, 2015

No Hoosier Hospitality for "Not Our Kind, Dear"

One of the excuses for the recently passed and signed Indiana RFRA is it's "just like" all the others, including the federal.

Aside from the "if everyone were leaping off the cliff, would you follow" idiocy of that justification, it isn't true.

"The Indiana RFRA departs from ... the federal RFRA—on which many other state laws are modeled. How? Indiana’s RFRA expressly provides that a person can assert a 'claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding'.”

You can read more here: "Indiana’s New Law Allows Discrimination. That Was the Point."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pence Digs In

"Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) refused to say on Sunday whether it should be illegal under state law to discriminate against gays and lesbians."

This Indianapolis Observer is aghast that the guv is doubling down on a bad bet.

Read more here: "Mike Pence Dodges Questions On Anti-Gay Discrimination In Indiana".

Hoosier Hospitality is officially defunct.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Honest to Goodness Indiana...

where it's always 1816.

Yes, we might as well update our tourism slogan, as Gov. Pence has shot an arrow through the heart of Hoosier Hospitality.

Conventions and meetings are being cancelled, expansion plans scrubbed and Indiana placed on the "no go" list.

"The measure, which Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed into law Thursday, allows any individual or corporation to cite religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party."

No matter what its proponents may say, this bill is cast as "anti-LGBT", which places Indiana squarely in the antediluvian camp.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Indiana: Home of the Stupid

Thanks, Gov. Pence, for making Indiana the laughingstock of the nation, once again.

The pullout of the best and brightest has begin:
Salesforce CEO Cancels Company Events In Indiana After Passage of Anti-Gay Law

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Religious Freedom" or License to Discriminate?

This Indianapolis Observer is confused.

Gov. Pence says he wants to grow Indiana businesses yet he's "anxious to sign" a really stupid piece of bigoted legislation opposed by every major employer in the state.

Conventions are threatening to pull out already, and who knows how many companies will decide to set up shop in a more welcoming environment!

But, you go ahead, Gov. Pence. Sign the "Religious Freedom" bill. It'll kill your presidential aspirations for sure.

Monday, March 2, 2015

." Until the people rise up and revolt..."

"The United States is no better than Russia where the government is operated for the exclusive benefit of wealthy oligarchs. The masses are nothing but mere slaves to the 1%, billionaire class of elitists who own virtually every elected public official who exercises any significant control over government tax dollars," writes Gary Welsh.

What's his target this time?

"Three Of Four Hoosier Billionaires Are State's Largest Welfare Recipients"

This Indianapolis Observer seems to recall that William Cook tapped the public trough for the West Baden hotel renovation, but the memories are hazy.

Other than that, Gary's spot-on, as usual. A good read with much food for thought as Indy votes tonight to hand more millions to a local business.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guess Who Wants City Money This Time?

Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels hopes to receive a $9.1 million loan from the city of Indianapolis to help it pay for a $55 million redevelopment of Old City Hall, reports

Word gets around fast that Indy's a soft touch for downtown development cash, eh?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yep: No Trash Pickup Again Today

Due to extreme cold the City's Department of Public Works is cancelling residential trash, heavy trash and curbside recycling collection for today, 23 February. Residents affected by the cancellations will receive double collection on their next scheduled collection day.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kudos to John Green

Adoped Hoosier (and best-selling author) John Green does the right thing when he discovers a popular quote attributed to him actually came from a fan.

Read about it here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

No Trash Pickup, Again

According to the Mayor's Office, Indy's Department of Public Works is cancelling residential trash, heavy trash and curbside recycling collection tomorrow (19 February) due to extreme cold. This cancellation applies to all DPW trash routes and all trash routes serviced by contracted trash collectors.

The City will make a determination on Thursday as to whether affected residents will have trash picked up a slide schedule or will receive double pickup next week.

This Indianapolis Observer, who has just spent a week in Quebec, Canada, wonders why "extreme cold" stops trash pickup in Indianapolis when it proceeds on schedule in the frozen North (which is much colder and snowier than Indy). What's the problem here?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yet Another Shooting

This Indianapolis observer is astounded at Tim Swarens' response to the shooting of a 9-year-old on an Indianapolis street.

"Buy Girl Scout cookies," he advises in The Indianapolis Star.

OK, so buying Girl Scout cookies is always a good thing (this writer has been addicted to Thin Mints for years), but, seriously?

Does one have to point out the obvious? Violence won't be reduced by increased cookie sales.

Purdue Fish Fry in Indy

If you want to attend Saturday's Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry, you'd better hurry.

Tickets are available only by advance sale.

It starts at 11:20 a.m. in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 East 38th Street, Indianapolis. Dr. W. Dwight Armstrong, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation, will present the keynote address.

Sponsored by the Agricultural Alumni Association, this is an alumni gathering and networking event for Purdue agriculture friends and family; industry leaders also attend.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Indiana Guv Kills Propaganda Outlet

The headline at the Daily Beast this afternoon says it all: "Indiana Guv Kills Propaganda Outlet."

No more plans to provide content for local media. Now, if only local media would up their game....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pence's Putin Moment

It surprised this Indianapolis Observer how quickly Gov. Pence walked back his decision to set up a government owned and operated news source, JustIN, as content supplier for Hoosier media. The ridicule from commentators across the country continues to roll in, however.

It's really sad that the poor excuses for journalists we have left in the state no longer perform their watchdog function. (Can anyone imagine what Harrison Ullman would have done with this ham-handed attempt to manage the news?)

One uncharitable thought: Pence leaked the JustIN trial balloon as cover for his backtrack on expanding Medicaid for low-income Hoosiers. He wanted to redirect conservative Republican gaze from his healthcare coverage decision.

Nothing to see here. Move along, folks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Indiana's Incipient Pravda

The Atlantic has now weighed in on Pence's new propaganda machine:

"Should politicians be in the news business? Sure, Pence needs to be able to communicate what the state is doing, but communication and reporting are different matters. It's unclear what the cost of the project will be to taxpayers, though the Star says the combined salaries of its employees will be about $100,000. More importantly, it's an obvious threat to the notion of a free press. State-sponsored journalism is generally the province of authoritarian states—think Pravda or Xinhua. If the government is pushing out information with newspaper-style coverage that looks like the standard press but is actually government ventriloquism, will readers be able to tell the difference?" writes David A. Graham.

"There's every reason to believe that government propaganda presented under the guise of reporting could fool readers just as easily [as hoaxes on the internet]. It would be even more pernicious if Indiana press outlets opted to run pre-written news stories alongside standard reportage, giving the state a chance to co-opt the free press' authority."

And, from The Daily Beast:
"Q: When does the conservative governor of a majority-Republican state start to resemble an old-line Communist apparatchik?
A: When he uses taxpayer money to fund government-approved “journalism” to compete with privately-owned, independent news outlets." Advertorials

This Indianapolis Observer is speechless at the report that Gov. Mike Pence is using taxpayer dollars to fund a state office to write and distribute "news releases" -- "a state-run news organization that will offer pre-written articles to smaller news outlets, as well as break stories about his administration."

How can this be considered ethical behavior by a governor? How is this different from writing, printing and distributing campaign materials on state time?

Will they be labeled as "advertorials", for they fit the definition. We the People are paying to promote Pence's presidential bid (or, at the very least, his re-election campaign).

Comments came quickly, including this pointed jab: "the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press."

What legitimate news organization would publish such obviously slanted "news"? Oh, wait. I forgot about Gannett.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fiddling While Rome Burns

"The Indianapolis City-County Council doesn't have money to fix potholes that line city streets in your neighborhoods, build and replace broken sidewalks and install street lights or perform any number of other basic city services, but it has money in its pockets to burn on...Angie's List."

Thus begins a post on Advance Indiana today.

This Indianapolis Observer never ceases to be amazed at the ability of Indy residents to focus on the inessential (deflategate comes to mind) while the essential languishes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ready for Trash "Slide"?

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works would like to remind residents that in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day there will be no regular trash or heavy trash pick-up Monday (19 January). All trash collection services will operate one day behind on a slide schedule. This means trash routes will be collected as follows:

Monday trash collections will be collected Tuesday.
Tuesday trash collections will be collected Wednesday.
Wednesday trash collections will be collected Thursday.
Thursday trash collections will be collected Friday.
Friday trash collections will be collected Saturday.

All trash collection services will return to normal 26 January.

That is, unless something changes....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Trash Pickup? Who knows!

Indygov's trash collection website is still talking 'bout the first week in January.

Who knows when we'll have trash pickup -- or what'll be picked up in "double collection" (if that ever happens).

This Indianapolis Observer thinks that the trash pickup folks are the same ones who are responsible for snow removal (which also hasn't happened in this part of Indy). (Yes, that was a bit of snark.)

UPDATE: Oh -- and, next week is the holiday-induced "trash slide". Yep. No Monday pickup on 19 January, so everybody's pickup is pushed back a day.

Except this Indianapolis Observer's trash from LAST Wednesday (14 January) has yet to be picked up. It's been sitting at the curb since Tuesday night (13 January).

UPDATE 2: This Indianapolis Observer's trash was picked up about 6 p.m. Friday (16 January). Whew!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Still No Trash Collection in Indy

Sub zero temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills caused the City to cancel trash and recycling collection on Wednesday, January 7, Thursday, January 8, and Friday, January 9. Residents who normally have trash collected on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday will not have collection this week. Instead, residents affected by the cancellations will have double collection next week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


"The Department of Public Works will suspend trash collection on Wednesday, January 7 and will evaluate weather conditions to determine when trash collection may resume safely."

Thus sayeth the Mayor's Office.

Monday, January 5, 2015

"Just Hit the Damn Deer" has an interesting commentary on deer/car road collisions.

"White-tailed deer are the deadliest animals in North America. Every year an estimated 1.25 million deer-vehicle crashes result in about 150 human fatalities, more than 10,000 injuries, and insurance payouts approaching $4 billion," writes Al Cambronne.

"We now have about 30 million deer in the United States—100 times more than a century ago. Having all those deer has consequences—for us, the landscape, and the deer themselves."

Your Indianapolis Observer has had a collision with a deer near Eagle Creek Park. Which brings up a question: how many deer died during the recent cull? Probably not nearly enough.