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Friday, August 01, 2014
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Then-U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (left), a member of the 911 Commission, grills CIA Director George Tenet.
Then-U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (left), a member of the 911 Commission, grills CIA Director George Tenet.
Friday, August 01, 2014 11:51 AM
By JACK COLWELL
South Bend Tribune


SOUTH BEND - Tim Roemer, the former congressman from South Bend who served on the 9/11 Commission, looks back at changes in the 10 years since the commission report and finds Congress itself unchanged and jeopardizing national security. The bipartisan commission last week issued an update on the 10th anniversary of its landmark report on intelligence failures leading up to the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Committee members now warn that the threat of terrorism has “entered a new and dangerous phase,” with proliferation of terrorist groups around the globe and danger of cyber attacks to disrupt the entire nation. While most recommendations of the commission to improve intelligence and preparedness were implemented in the past decade, there is one notable exception, Congress itself, and Roemer participated in a panel discussion of what he calls this “glaring, embarrassing failure.”

In a telephone interview after his presentation, Roemer said the commission in 2004 found there were 88 committees and subcommittees in Congress claiming oversight for various functions of the Department of Homeland Security, resulting in overlapping, time-wasting and efficiency-disrupting hearings and demands for lengthy reports. The commission recommended that Congress change that. And it did. Roemer said Congress unfortunately changed the number of committees and subcommittees with Homeland Security oversight to 92.
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – We live in an era of eroding faith in government while we face an array of intractable problems. U.S. Rep. Todd Young entered Congress as part of the 2010 Tea Party wave that was fueled by a distrust in a growing federal government. Yet the Bloomington Republican finds realities on the ground he believes should be addressed by public and private enterprises. He regularly interacts with what he calls “at-risk populations” facing access to health care issues that stoke up things like Indiana’s Russian-like infant mortality rate. “I care about these people,” he said. “I see them every day. It is sad to see so many failed efforts. I went to Washington to innovate, not just move deck chairs around.” In June, Young and Maryland Democrat U.S. Rep. John Delaney introduced H.R. 4885, the Social Impact Bond Act. The two representatives described the legislation that would establish desired outcomes to pressing social challenges that, if achieved, would improve lives and save government money. Young said that he is “engaged with Paul Ryan’s budget committee staff” on the legislation and expects a hearing in Ways & Means this fall. Colorado Democrat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett and Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch are preparing a companion bill.
     
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS - Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association both report the current fiscal crunch for public colleges and universities will not go away. Indiana, like all other states, claims more students need certification or degrees beyond high school. However, states are hard pressed to increase funding for post-secondary institutions from community colleges to research-based universities. Part of this pressure comes from the concurrent demands for increased state spending for Medicaid, prisons and other public services. Another part is rooted in the reluctance of legislators and voters to raise taxes. Increased enrollment, with little growth (if any) in state support, leads to higher tuition for students and their families. Parents and students then complain about the high sticker prices on education. To cover these expenses, students and families have borrowed large sums of money over the years. 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads strewn about the room. It was clear that an FSB agent stopped in to get a better handle on who this American journalist might actually be. Since last Thursday, when it appears that Ukrainian separatists working with the Russian military shot down Malaysian Air Flight 17 killing 298 people, the entire civilized world now has a greater appreciation of the nature of Putin. On the Sunday morning talk shows, U.S. Rep. Peter King described him as a “Mafia guy” and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, the term “thug” was common-place.

     
  • By SHAW FRIEDMAN
    LaPORTE  – What’s the matter with Kansas? It’s a Laffer all right, but it’s no laughing matter. That’s right. Arthur Laffer, former Reagan advisor and tax cut champion who was invited in to speak at Gov. Pence’s recent closed door “Tax Competitiveness and Simplification” Conference in July is still peddling (for a hefty speaking fee) the same discredited trickle-down, supply-side tax-cut nonsense that helped tank the economy under the Bush administration. His latest disaster was urging Kansas’ Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to enact the largest tax cuts in percentage terms in one year that the state has ever enacted.  Same old bromides coming from the same old, tired advisors who have wrongly advised those in government for years.  It’s the same witch doctor stuff that the Indiana Chamber of Commerce tried to peddle this last session of the legislature when they sought to completely eliminate the business personal property tax and claim that once again magically such tax cuts would pay for themselves with increased business activity and new revenues. 
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Brooks fights EPA farm water regulation
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks takes to the House floor and asks the EPA to withdraw a farmland water regulation.
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  • Wide open process for next Indiana chief justice
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI Statehouse Bureau


    INDIANAPOLIS – State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post. Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named. A seven-member panel of lawyers and lay people will meet at the Statehouse on Aug. 6 to select the court’s next leader. Unlike Dickson’s selection two years ago, when other justices unanimously supported their long-serving colleague, there may be a four-way contest for his successor. The panel’s decision will come after public sessions in which each justice has 20 minutes to talk about the qualities they think important in the chief’s job – and, if they want, to make a pitch for themselves.
     
  • HPI Analysis: Midterm wave election not materializing
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The 2014 election cycle conventional wisdom went something like this: With Obamacare so utterly unpopular, with President Obama’s approval numbers mired in the low 40th percentile, and the historical second mid-term quicksand for the president’s party creating a conspicuous obstacle down ballot, this had the potential to be a “wave election.” For Hoosiers expecting waves, I would recommend the Michigan City lighthouse as a cold front passes through. As far as the November ballot is concerned, this has the look and feel of a status quo election both in Indiana and across the nation. “I don’t think this is much of a wave year,” said Mike Gentry, who heads the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee. “There is nothing driving interest at the top of the ticket. We don’t have anything to ramp up turnout.”
      
     
  • Flight 17 atrocity and turning points for President Putin
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Putin regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads strewn about the room. It was clear that an FSB agent stopped in to get a better handle on who this American journalist might actually be. There had been a peaceful transfer of power between President Boris Yeltsin to Putin seven years prior, capping the decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union that few predicted. Putin had won a subsequent election, though he controlled state media and international observers had determined it rigged. Russian people could now travel more freely to the West, and Russian hockey players populated the NHL without having to go through the rigors of defection.
     

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  • Pence critical of illegal child immigrant placement in states
    “Spiriting people around the country and not informing state governments and local officials about their placement or long term placement with private individuals or with institutions is not the answer. What we ought to be doing is humanely processing these children and families and returning them to their home countries, reuniting them with their families. That’s right for them, and also it’s frankly the best way we can send a signal south of our border that we intend to uphold the laws of this country.” - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, in a Fox News interview in which he was critical of the Obama administration’s placement of illegal child immigrants. 
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Should Pence run?

Do you believe Gov. Mike Pence will seek reelection in 2016 or run for president?


 

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