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Sunday, October 22, 2017
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Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:47 AM

NASHVILLE, Ind. – In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre where 58 people were killed and about 550 people were injured, I surveyed all the “thoughts and prayers” reaction from our public servants and waited to write an analysis.

Why? Because the “thoughts and prayers” reaction seemed so thoroughly trite and hollow. Since the Columbine High School massacre, as a journalist I’ve written columns with the predictable gamut of emotions: Sorrow, outrage, denial, guilt, acceptance. But even the personal wrath and this question – “What happened to the Constitution’s preamble that strives for ‘domestic tranquility’” – now seems platitudinous. 

As in waning empires, the dangerous reaction is one of resignation and that’s where we seem to be today.

There were predictable quotes, like this one from 28-year-old Russell Bleck, who observed, “People would run one way and then you’d hit a dead end; it was just a kill box. You were kind of getting led down like cattle would to a slaughterhouse. I saw bodies everywhere. The guy was just spraying the crowd.”

There seemed to be some change of perception. The fact that this assault was aimed at a country music crowd was different. Many country fans are ardent 2nd Amendment supporters, so much so that the NRA has an “NRA Country” component to its website. Being on the wrong end of a rigged up automatic weapon changes perspectives. Caleb Keeter, who plays with the Josh Abbott Band, observed, “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life. Until the events of night, I cannot express how wrong I was.” Singer Jake Owen, who was standing about 50 feet away from country star Jason Aldean during the assault, said, “We put on concerts to take people away from the day-to-day life, to bring them to a happy place and this isn’t by any means what’s supposed to happen at these things.” 

The country music fan stereotype begged to be shattered, and star Roseanne Cash stepped up, writing in the New York Times, “It is no longer enough to separate yourself quietly. The laws the NRA would pass are a threat to you, your fans, and to the concerts and festivals we enjoy. I know you’ll be bullied for speaking out. This is how they operate. Not everyone will like you for taking a stand. Let it roll off your back. Some people may burn your records or ask for refunds for tickets to your concerts. Whatever. Find the strength of moral conviction, even if it comes with a price tag, which it will. Don’t let them bully you into silence. That’s where their power lies – in the silence of rational voices and in the apathy of those who can speak truth to power.”

And there were predictable reactions to journalists who did speak out. State Rep. Jim Lucas announced he would author a bill to license journalists, reasoning that “If you’re OK licensing my 2nd Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your 1st Amendment right?” 
  • REP. YOUNG TO POST $1M FOR QUARTER: Just days before he makes a presumptive Republican U.S. Senate bid official, U.S. Rep. Todd Young scorched the fundraising circuit, preparing to post $1,024,908 for the second quarter (Howey, Howey Politics Indiana).


    HARRISON QUALIFIES FOR INDY MAYORAL BALLOT: Rev. Charles Harrison is now prepared to throw an interesting wrench into the Indianapolis mayoral race (Howey Politics Indiana). Allies of the United Methodist pastor filed more than 6,600 signatures to gain ballot access as an independent last week. Sources with the Marion County Voter Registration have confirmed 3,200 signatures, with another 150 pages yet to be counted, meaning Harrison qualifies for ballot access.


    DAILY WIRE RESENT DUE TO TECHNICAL GLITCH: We are resending today’s HPI Daily Wire due to technical glitches. We apologize for the inconvenience.


    SANDERS SURGE WORRIES CLINTON CAMPAIGN: The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing garnered by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation’s first nominating contest there (New York Times).


    INDIANA TEACHER POOL DRYING UP; ‘POLITICIANS’ BLAMED: School leaders in south-central Indiana are reporting that the number of applicants they get for teaching positions has declined in recent years (Ladwig, Greensburg Daily News). They blame primarily state funding constraints, which depress teacher wages, and a blame-the-teachers mentality of politicians and the media, which is pushing teachers out of the profession and prompting fewer high school grads to consider teaching an attractive career. Budd said that the number of applicants has declined especially for math, sciences and foreign languages. “It has become a real struggle,” Budd said. “The pool of applicants is definitely dried up.”


    TEACHING LICENSES DOWN 88%: Annual state data reveal that the number of teaching licenses the state issues has fallen a whopping 88 percent in the last six years (Greensburg Daily News). According to the Indiana Department of Education, the state issued in the 2007/08 school year about 7,500 teaching licenses. In 2013/14, the most recent year for which data were available, the state issued just 934 licenses.


    GM REBUFFS FIAT/CHRYSLER MERGER: John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, isn’t giving up on forging a partnership with General Motors Co. , despite being rebuffed by his Detroit rival twice in the past four years (Wall Street Journal).


    ZODY WANTS DETAILS ON CANCELED PORTER-NOVELLI CONTRACT: Indiana Democrats have sent the Republican Pence administration a formal request to release documents showing what the state got for its money when it hired a New York public relations firm to deal with the damage inflicted by a new religious objections law (Associated Press). Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said Monday that he wants Gov. Mike Pence's office to release contracts, messages and emails related to the agreement with Porter Novelli.


    HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Hoosier taxpayers paid $365,000 to the New York PR firm Porter Novelli to repair the state’s post RFRA damage. We ought to be able to see what we paid for. Remember, Public Servants (this includes you, IEDC), you work for us, the taxpayers. - Brian A. Howey



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  • Gen. Kelly describes when a U.S. soldier dies
    “Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud. They’re packed in ice, typically at the air head, and then they’re flown to — usually Europe, where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base, where Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service. The casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member. Most of you as Americans don’t know them. There’s nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate but required.” - White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, describing what happens when a United States soldier dies on the battlefield. His comments came after President Trump criticized his predecessors for not calling bereaved military families and came under fire for a conversation with the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month.
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  • Hoosier deficit hawks turning into doves
    For years, no, make that decades, we’ve heard Hoosier Republicans from Mike Pence to Luke Messer and Todd Rokita decry the national debt and budget deficits. We’ve gone from a balanced budget when President Clinton left office in 2001 to a deficit of over $1 trillion when President George W. Bush left office in 2009. That’s deficits with a T rather than a B.

    On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget plan that will add $1.5 trillion in new debt over the next decade. There was nary a peep of criticism from the entire Indiana Republican delegation. So all these years, the deficit hawk stuff was just BS. Back in 2012, Rokita traveled with a power point presentation on the evils of deficits. "The debt hole is too great now that you can't just grow your way out," Rokita told the NWI Times. 

    In 2016, Pence explained, “I think the fact that under this past administration was of which Clinton was a part, we've almost doubled the national debt is atrocious. Indiana has balanced budgets. We cut taxes, we've made record investments in education and in infrastructure, and I still finish my term with $2 billion in the bank.”

    Last March, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham asked Vice President Pence, "Have you gone from a deficit hawk to a deficit dove?" Pence responded, "No, not in the least. Let me say the President's full budget will be out in a few weeks. The budget outline that was sent to Capitol Hill earlier this week is deficit neutral."

    This is where the “alternative facts” come into play and all the hawks become doves, charging up the federal credit card for the kids and grandkids to grapple with. - Brian A. Howey, publisher.
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