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Sunday, December 17, 2017
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  • INDIANAPOLIS – Gorgeous women trying to make it big in Hollywood. The casting couch. Men abusing their power and position. The fact that so many assaults have happened to women (and some men) that are familiar to us through their fame and celebrity leaves many nonplussed. Others have been compelled to tell their personal stories of assault and victimization. In Indiana, no one should be surprised. Here, even our littlest kids face sexual assault and rape every day, and we are not doing nearly enough to help. In fact, the problem is getting worse and worse. We must stop describing these problems and get to work on preventing them. If you need convincing, just count up the cases of sexually-transmitted diseases of all kinds in kids aged zero to five being treated at urgent care clinics and emergency rooms across our state. Children may not know how to report these crimes, yet sometimes they bear the evidence in horrible and life-altering ways. Here in Indiana, we should know better. These kids aren’t famous. They are our neighbors and relatives, friends of our own children; people we talk to every day, and wave to at the bus stop. One in six girls in Indiana is raped or sexually assaulted by the time they leave high school here. One in five faces assault on our college campuses.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – Several years ago I was attending a meeting of Asia-Pacific community leaders in Melaka, Malaysia. People had gathered there from all over the region, including South Korea and Guam, but also Taiwan, and even Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Australia, Tahiti and a number of other countries. Together, we witnessed the reporting on the tsunami that hit Japan, including the terrifying images of coastal cities completely devastated, homes, personal property and loved ones sucked out to sea, never to be heard from again. And if that was not enough, the struggle of the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima, all while our friends and colleagues from Japan could only watch the reports with us, unable to communicate with family back home. The kinship that these people from all over the region felt for one another was palpable and as heartwarming as it could be under the circumstances and uncertainty. People understood that they all faced that common enemy, Mother Nature, and that she could wreak havoc any place, any time, and that many of these nations were particularly vulnerable. Today, there may be a run on Ambien in the Pacific Rim. This escalation of rhetoric and posturing regarding North Korean aggression is unprecedented, and our regional military exposure is more vulnerable than in the past 30 or more years. President Trump’s toughguy talk to Pyonyang sounds awfully similar to his colleague from the Philippines, President Dutarte, and what the Asia Times describes as his “shock and awe diplomacy.”
  • INDIANAPOLIS – So what happens if and when Indiana loses another congressional seat? It is not impossible.  In fact, it’s probably going to happen, so get ready. That said, if I had a nickel for everybody who wants to talk to me about chessboarding out Indiana politics over the coming eight years, I’d be replacing some of my tired old campaign shoes with Louboutins. Well, maybe. I would at least flirt with some. Still, what people don’t seem to be considering yet is that Hoosier opportunities to serve in our U.S. Congress may very well be shrinking, and pretty soon as our population continues to decline relative to other states. It is not a stretch to consider that by 2022, Indiana could be sending one fewer congressional delegate to Washington. Recent history tells a similar story, and it is worth refreshing our memory. Indiana’s 11th Congressional District was eliminated as a result of the 1980 census.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party hasn’t felt like much of a party lately.  More like a support group meeting, or an amateur cage match.  We have a lingering case of loseritis, and it has negatively impacted our collective self-esteem. We need to remember that we are the party of fun, of cool, a party of people who are motivated about the well-being of others. How many of us have moved on from rolling our eyes to smashing our screens when we receive those doom and gloom overly urgent political fundraising emails? It is time to reconnect to our identity, and the promise we can bring to Hoosiers around the state.  We are the party that appreciates everybody, no matter your gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, whatever.  People, we like all of you!  And we think it is important to stand up to bullies who don’t.  We also get things done. In fact, Democratic leadership is thriving in our cities and towns around Indiana.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – People from the beginning of recorded time have noted that human intercourse, sex, can feel really good. It usually doesn’t cost anything, and people have been doing it for years, in fact, this is how we have populated the planet. It is going to continue to happen, even when circumstances are less than ideal. Yet our attitudes toward it can be very impractical and public policy can actually bring harm. In Indiana, sexual education can only be taught in public school through the lens of abstinence. Abstinence only for disease prevention. Abstinence only for pregnancy prevention.  While well-intentioned, this strategy leaves out a great deal of necessary information, like how to protect yourself from or get help after violent encounters in an age-appropriate way. These good intentions, intentions presumed to cut back on promiscuity, lead to all kinds of problems.  
        
  • INDIANAPOLIS – Democrats may not like what I am about to say, but we need to hear it.  Clearly women have woken up and donned their pussy hats, protesting, meeting, marching and learning how to more effectively influence good public policy in our state. Invigorated participation in politics is a very good thing, particularly here in Indiana where we have such traditionally low voter turnout.  That said, although the Democrat Party is supposed to be the party of inclusion, I have to express sincere appreciation for our Indiana Republicans in this regard. They just get it better than we do. Even though most members of my party (and others) may hold issue with the opposition’s approach to a number of issues that resonate mostly with females, we all have to admire the opportunity that the Indiana Republican Party has afforded women in our state.  This does not happen by accident.  Yes, women Democrats may have invigorated interest and participation, but we have no organized program to help women learn how to channel their interest and energy in this regard as effectively as possible.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – There has been a great deal of controversy and legislation to address voter fraud here in Indiana and now nationally in the recent and very recent past. In fact, since 2005, Indiana has had one of the most stringent voter ID laws in the country. Long before the issue of fraud was raised in the recent national election, here Indiana we’ve attempted to legislate even more prescriptive law, even though as U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the Supreme Court’s majority that held up the law’s constitutionality in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, said that “the record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history.” OK. We all get that the American political landscape since then has changed significantly, and we struggle to understand how and why.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – I just have to thank Donald Trump from the bottom of my heart. When winning presidential candidates talk about “bleeding from the whatever,” and grabbing p*****s, women sit up and take notice. They listen, too, when that same candidate’s empowered daughter talks about increasing access for parents to quality daycare options.  Understandably pundits and the public continue to gape, agog and astounded by this past election, glued to the continuous news cycle that is our incoming president.   For me, I am grateful for one very important thing. Donald Trump accomplished what our first female candidate for president from a major party could not. He inspired women from both sides of the aisle to engage in the political process.  During the election cycle, I regret that we invested so much attention in the fact of Hillary Clinton’s gender rather than to issues that truly resonate with women.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s get excited about our upcoming 201st year of Indiana statehood. We are a good place to do business because of the comparatively lower costs to employee our people and power our factories. We are leaders in the ever increasingly important areas of agriculture and life sciences. Our institutions of higher education and medicine are some of the world’s best. And the elections are over! What a relief for all of us. It is time now to set aside the inclination toward competition. It is time to work together, all of us, to resolve those lingering issues that negate our advantages and keep all of our people from sharing in our successes: Addiction. Low Wages. Hunger. Sexual violence. Illiteracy.  Poor health. Civil rights. The reality is this:  Too many of our citizens live lives with problems not a lot different than people in developing and yes, even war-torn, nations. We like to think of ourselves as living in a happy and wholesome place, and Indiana certainly has the potential for greatness. But we won’t achieve greatness unless we tackle our very complicated and serious challenges. Consider that Indiana is one of the most obese states in the nation. We have had a surging suicide rate. Nearly 10 percent of the babies born here are born opiate-addicted. Our infant mortality rate is shameful; among African-Americans, it is the worst in the nation. By so many measures, the fabric of family has frayed for too many in Indiana.

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  • Bonaventura resigns from Dept. of Child Services
    “I am grateful to Director Bonaventura for her service at the Department of Child Services over the past five years. She has demonstrated unwavering commitment to keeping Hoosier children safe and has led this important state agency in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic that has impacted so many families.” - Gov. Eric Holcomb, reacting to the resignation of Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura on Friday.
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  • Trump continues attacks on FBI
    President Trump continued his war with the FBI on Friday, days after he described the agency as in “tatters” on Twitter. It’s leading to speculation that Trump and allies on Capitol Hill are waging war on the agency as a precursor to discrediting the Mueller investigation and possibly dismissing the former FBI director. “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” Trump said before heading to the FBI Academy at Quantico. “It’s a very sad thing to watch.”

    Trump suggested the public has a “level of anger” at the FBI and labeled recent text messages from agents on the Mueller investigation as “disgraceful.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller fired an agent from the probe last summer after learning of disparaging tweets of Trump and support for Hillary Clinton. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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