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Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Peter Abdul Rahman Kassig (top) traded swords for ploughshares in Syria; LaPorte businessman Jeff Ake (lower left) sought to provide clean water for Iraqis; and Dr. Kent Brantly is an Indianapolis native who battled ebola in West Africa.
Peter Abdul Rahman Kassig (top) traded swords for ploughshares in Syria; LaPorte businessman Jeff Ake (lower left) sought to provide clean water for Iraqis; and Dr. Kent Brantly is an Indianapolis native who battled ebola in West Africa.
Friday, November 21, 2014 9:44 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS – The question from TIME magazine to Peter Kassig in 2012 was simple: Where do you see yourself in five years? He responded, “I believe that if you are passionate about something and you put the necessary effort into making it work that it is ultimately up to you how long you can keep it viable. The work speaks for itself to some extent I think. I certainly plan on continuing to try and serve those who are in need for as long as I live.”

We all recognize the irony of the response. Peter Kassig, the North Central High School grad who attended Butler University and Hanover College, who served with the Army Rangers in Iraq, then went on to found the Special Emergency Response and Assistance humanitarian organization, could only continue his mission for another 18 months. We know he was captured by Syrian rogues in a terrible civil war, then handed over to the emerging Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as it began to perpetrate terror and inhumanity by medieval methods. He converted to Islam and took the name Abdul Rahman.

On Sunday, as many of us prepared to watch NFL football, we were confronted with our worst fears, the ISIS beheading of Kassig. And it wasn’t just Kassig. The ghastly video showed unmasked ISIS henchmen using serrated blades to saw through the necks of other captive soldiers. While the atrocities still fall far short of those of the Nazis, Soviets and Khmer Rogue, the potential is almost incomprehensible in a civilized context.

Yet, there’s something to celebrate here. Hoosiers tend to extrapolate on our willingness to enter the battlefields, armed and equipped. We sent the most men per capita into the Civil War, and Indiana blood flowed from Gettysburg to Bastogne, from Iwo Jima to Hamburger Hill, Khe Sanh to Fallujah and Marjah. We gave the nation Ernie Pyle, the journalist who described the horror and humanity of war at the cost of his own life. And then there are Hoosiers like Kassig, and Dr. Kent Brantly who went to West Africa to fight ebola, and LaPorte businessman Jeff Ake, who journeyed to Iraq in 2005 to bring clean drinking water to what he believed would be a rebuilding nation, was kidnapped and never seen again. We like to name highways after lawmakers and cast statues of our fighters, but Kassig and Ake represent something conspicuously noble.
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  • By RICH JAMES
    MERRILLVILLE – Just when the state’s beleaguered Democrats needed a lift, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce delivered. When the chamber announced this week that its legislative priority will be making the superintendent of public instruction an appointed rather than elected position, Democrats were aghast. While they likely won’t admit it, Democrats also were smiling. The Republican-dominated chamber had just given Democrats a solid campaign issue for 2016 when Hoosiers will pick a new governor and all 100 members of the House. But the chamber proposal put Republican lawmakers in a precarious position. The question is whether Republicans want to anger Hoosier voters or the state chamber. Neither is a good proposition. Republicans are still seething over the ouster of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett by Democrat Glenda Ritz in 2012. 
  • By MICHAEL HICKS
    MUNCIE – Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a well-regarded health economist who created a micro-simulation model used for health care policy. It should come as no surprise that many economics professors are called upon to help with the development of public policy. After all, despite its elegance and rigor, economics is a practical discipline and economic models offer a great deal of insight into almost any policy. The process typically involves using a mathematical model to better understand the effects of a proposed policy proposal. One example of such a model is a micro-simulation. These are often used to explain the effects of a tax change on different groups such as households of different ages, sizes and incomes.  Over the years, I have done a fair bit of this myself, including work for three Democratic and four Republican state governors. In no instance was I asked to help hide an effect of the law or to deceive voters. That brings us to the sad case of Professor Jonathan Gruber. 
  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – Imagine your college alma mater losing 600 games in a row and keeping the coach.  Imagine it raining for 18,250 days in a row and not going out to buy an umbrella.  Imagine a thief breaking into your home every night for 50 years and not buying a burglar alarm or a gun.  Imagine going to the same dry cleaner every day for 50 years and being told that your laundry would be done tomorrow. Unless your alma mater is Indiana University, it’s hard to imagine any of these things.  And yet, in another amazing string of metaphors, these things pale in comparison to our attitudes about the 50-year-old war on poverty. It’s time to hoist the white flag, lay down our weapons and begin making the long hike back to Baghdad.  We have irretrievably lost the war on poverty and it’s time to admit it and start all over.  We have met the enemy and he is us!  We have consistently dropped nukes on ourselves in our quest to win the unwinnable war and have jeopardized the economic futures of our children and grandchildren in the process. 
  • By MARK SCHOEFF JR.
    WASHINGTON – Following a decisive victory in the mid-term elections, congressional Republicans have to make a decision about the approach they’ll take with their new Senate control and their strengthened House majority. They can either use their power to govern or they can spend their time confronting President Barack Obama. One of their newly elected leaders, Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th CD, said the party should look to Indiana for guidance, where the GOP has occupied the governor’s mansion since 2004 and has increased its control of the state House and Senate to super majorities. “What we need more of in Washington is what we’ve seen in Indiana,” said Messer, who last week was elected chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. “Republicans have proven that they’re a party that can govern in Indiana. They’re a party that is principled and delivers results. If what we do in Washington is follow the Indiana roadmap, we’ll be just fine.” 
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President Obama's immigration address
President Obama announces his immigration executive order on Nov. 20 in this address to the nation.
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  • Horse Race: 2015 mayoral races taking shape across Indiana
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Murray Clark will not seek the Republican Indianapolis mayoral nomination, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan won’t seek a fourth term and South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg announced his reelection. These were three developments as 2015 Indiana mayoral races began heating up this past week. Kruzan told WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor” program on Tuesday, “When I thought about it, I realized only one other mayor has served more years than I have and there’s a reason for that. You have a short shelf life for being mayor and for me, it’s been 30 years in elected politics. I’ve just been blessed by this community.”  Clark, the nephew of former Indianapolis Mayor Alex Clark, said in a statement Tuesday morning, “When Greg Ballard announced, to the disappointment of many including me, his decision not to seek a third term, my wife Janet and I began to consider whether I should run for mayor of Indianapolis.”
     
  • Analysis: The coming education legislative session
    By MATTHEW BUTLER
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – After both the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Preview and Organization Day earlier this week, all indications suggest public education will be overwhelmingly the topic of debate and compromise for this upcoming budgetary session. “I would like to see this is as an education session,” Senate President David Long told the media Tuesday. “There’s no more critical strategic investment for us this session of the General Assembly than K-12 education and K-12 education funding,” Speaker Brian Bosma said during his opening address. The school funding formula is on the table as are school corporation consolidation and, indeed, the very future of the state superintendent of public instruction remaining an elected office. It’s unlikely these issues will be resolved along tidy party-line votes. It gives this session the potential, in spite of two Republican super majorities, to be more contentious (and exciting) than observers might otherwise predict.
     
  • Hoosier Survey finds jobs, crime, education top priorities
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI Statehouse Bureau

        
    INDIANAPOLIS -- Jobs, crime and schools are the top concerns of Hoosiers, and they top the priorities that Hoosiers want lawmakers to focus on during the next legislative session. Three of four people surveyed for the annual Hoosier Survey said job creation is the most important task of the General Assembly when it convenes in January.  That comes even as Indiana’s unemployment rate, at 5.7 percent, continues to drop below the national average. “Jobs always end up on the top of the list,” said Ball State University political scientist Ray Scheele, who helped design the poll. “The economy is still the highest priority in the minds of Hoosiers.”
     
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  • Zoeller castigates Congress, President on immigration
    “It is beyond frustrating both that Congress has thus far failed to exercise its authority to reform immigration policy and that the President has apparently exceeded his authority by declining to enforce certain laws, in an area where states are prohibited from acting. Inaction by the federal legislative branch does not justify the federal executive branch overstepping its bounds. Two wrongs don’t make a right.” - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, reacting to President Obama’s executive order on immigration and the abject failure of Congress to do its job. Zoeller and Gov. Mike Pence are pondering legal action in the wake of President Obama's decision to seek the order on Thursday (see video below).
     
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Supt

Should Indiana's superintendent of public instruction be elected, or appointed by the governor?


 

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