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Sunday, July 21, 2019
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  • There will be a well-funded battle over the marriage amendment. Megan Robertson managed campaigns have always had access to cash, including Rep. Luke Messer’s million dollar campaign in 2012 and a similar effort in 2011 for Mayor Ballard. An HPI Poll conducted by Bellwether Research’s Christine Matthews in April revealed 50% support the amendment, and 46% opposed. The Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll in October 2012 had 48% supporting the amendment and 45% opposed. So this issue will be the prime political battleground in Indiana next year. – Brian A. Howey
  • The Pence media office has a credibility problem. I made an inquiry on the employment fate of legislative director Heather Neal late Monday afternoon, and spokeswoman Christina Denault essentially repeated what Gov. Pence had said:  "As the governor said earlier today in a press scrum following the swearing in, Heather is a valued member of our staff, and we have nothing further to say about her status at this time." The problem is, this was not true. Neal was on her way out to a private strategy firm. Even if that deal hadn’t been consummated at the time of my inquiry, a candid press operation would have followed up with a phone call or an email. The Governor-elect sat in my office a few days prior to his inauguration and pleaded for a “do over” after my request for interviews during the summer and fall of 2012 had been ignored. But the same thing is happening again this year.  Press emails to Kara Brooks of the Pence press office are routed through Denault, which suggests an interesting information control dynamic. Gov. Pence does not appear prepared to candidly discuss issues of the day, some of which have multi-billion dollar consequences for the state and its citizens. Some friendly advice to the governor: As a congressman, you championed media access and shield issues. As a radio and TV talk show host, you thrived on access to lawmakers. As governor, your accessibility has been far below that of your predecessors. You probably should rethink that. – Brian A. Howey
  • It was interesting to hear the take from NBC war correspondent Richard Engel on whether the U.S. should cut off aid to Egypt. It is something the Israelis, the Saudis and other U.S. allies would oppose. Once the aid would be cut off, the U.S. would lose leverage with the Egyptian military. - Brian A. Howey
  • Legislating by "statement" gets you headlines, but it's like having cotton candy for Thanksgiving dinner. Not only is this reflected in the previous three stories (and the very last one of today's Daily Wire), but I hear similar comments from an array of Republican friends, colleagues and acquaintances who continually say things like "the party has left me behind." It was striking how Chairman Reince Priebus 100-page assessment of the 2012 disaster last winter and its recommendations for recovery were largely dismissed by Hoosier GOP lawmakers and leaders. None of them wanted to discuss the report, a few told me they didn't read it, and few have altered policy and political stances. - Brian A. Howey
  • It was a brisk evening out on The Lawn with the Black Crows last night. It reinforced the notion that this summer has been so much nicer than last year’s oven/steam bath. The weather is providing Hoosier farmers wiith bumper crops, which underscores the notion, “Ain’t God been good to Indiana?” – Brian A. Howey
  • Americans want President Obama and Congress to solve problems. The tax code reform pushed by Rep. Todd Young may be the best chance for a solution to come out of Washington that will create jobs across the nation. Yes, it's time for some statesmanship. Haven't seen much of that lately. - Brian A. Howey
  • I'd like to know what Chairman Berry was referring to when he cited "gotcha journalism" in Indiana during the 2012 campaign. Was it Mourdock related? Seems to me most of his problems were self-inflicted. Was he talking about Sen. Lugar's residency issue? Mitt Romney's "47%" at a fundraiser? With candidate Pence, there was no "gotcha" because he and Mourdock largely evaded direct contact with the news media. Just curious. - Brian A. Howey
  • We learn today that Indiana has the fifth highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Is this acceptable? Articles like this underscore the point Howard County Republican Chairman Craig Dunn made in a Howey Politics column earlier this summer, which was we have a vibrant pro life movement in this state with the most political clout its ever had. At what point does this movement invest in the children who were brought out of the womb? Tax cuts are great, but what about the health and well being of Hoosier kids and families? I'd love to hear what Gov. Pence, Indiana Right to Life and the Indiana Family Institute has to say about this story and Dunn's column. The silence is deafening. - Brian A. Howey
  • There's a reason I put the Clarksville sewer rate increase in today's top five stories. Indiana passed on accepting federal funding to separate sanitary and storm sewer systems a generation ago due to an ideological rejection over federal funding. And because of those decisions, today's municipal rate payers are getting slammed with rising sewer fees. The folks in Clarksville must come up with an extra $20 a month now. If you're an Indiana lawmaker, you need to keep this in mind over the next year as the state decides how to handle Medicaid expansion in the emerging Obamacare era. Specifically, by refusing to expand Medicaid, Indiana risks the financial stability of local hospitals as well as the big medical centers which take federal DSH payments. Those will disappear in the coming years. Without a Medicaid expansion, billions of dollars will no longer flow into the Indiana medical system. Better think long and hard about that, folks. - Brian A. Howey
  • The Boston Globe is sold for $70 million, down from $1.1 billion a generation ago. The Washington Post goes for $250 million when a generation ago it was worth billions. Wonder what the slimmer and slimmer mall-bound Indianapolis Star is worth now? - Brian A. Howey
  • The one inevitable aspect of Tony Bennett's fall is that Supt. Glenda Ritz will almost certainly be the last elected Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. The emails coming from the Ritz staff are political payback for hostile legislative Republicans will induce legislation making the superintendent a gubernatorial appointee. This is something I've advocated for a long time- along with an appointed comptroller that would combine the auditor and treasurers office - creating a true executive administration where the buck stops with the Gov. - Brian A. Howey
  • Ed Snowden has entered Russia. It prompts memories of my travels to Russia. A colleague and I decided we'd like to go out into Moscow to check out the nightlife. One of the delegation's two interpreters offered to come along. The Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize winning reporter/editor David Hoffman then nonchalantly pointed out that this particular interpreter had a Chechen accent. We decided to walk to Red Square and the Kremlin on our own. - Brian A. Howey
  • Well, a government shutdown would make for a lot of good copy, from this fall through November 2014. File Rep. Stutzman's desires in that "Be careful what you wish for" file. - Brian A. Howey
  • The education narratives in Indiana are defying conventional wisdom. The angst of former Supt. Tony Bennett and his staff over Christel DeHaan's charter school over an "A" grade not achieved reveals a preconceived notion mindset, the establishment of a facade, as opposed to creating a system that provides an accurate benchmark on student performance. Bennett says DOE was "right" to change the DeHaan grade from a "C" to an "A". This is corrupt thinking and undermines the entire system. And God bless those now 11th grade algebra students at the DeHaan school whose performance has now been magnified in what is an education scandal. As for the ISTEP testing delay, this narrative fell apart when test scores actually went up. So we're keeping those scores! But if they had gone down, there would have been calls for not only this year's results to be scrapped, but, perhaps, the entire system. What does this mindset tell us? - Brian A. Howey
  • I'm looking forward to the Major League Baseball induction next year of Chicago White Sox star Frank Thomas into the baseball Hall of Fame. In the steroid era, the Big Hurt played clean. - Brian A. Howey
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  • Pence vows to return to the moon on 50th anniversary
    "Standing before you today, I am proud to report, at the direction of the president of the United States of America, America will return to the moon within the next five years, and the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts. We’re going back." - Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at Cape Canaveral observing the 50th anniversary of NASA astronaut and Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. Pence is seen here with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who followed Armstrong on to the moon surface on July 20, 1969.
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  • Epstein, Acosta and the perversion of power
    For those of you wondering why Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned Friday despite President Trump's assertion that he is a "great labor secretary," spend 15 minutes to read Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown's "Perversion of Justice: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime." You'll learn that District Attorney Acosta bowed to the demands of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's all-star legal team, cut "an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved." This is about a lurid a tale of crime and power as I've ever read. While this was going on, Epstein's enforcers were tracking down witnesses and journalists, issuing threats.

    Brown writes: "Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes." We are learning that Epstein's circles included dozens if not hundreds of underage girls, recruiters, presidents, princes and the rich and famous.

    Florida State Sen. Lauren Book, asks: “Where is the righteous indignation for these women? Where are the protectors? Who is banging down the doors of the secretary of labor, or the judge or the sheriff’s office in Palm Beach County, demanding justice and demanding the right to be heard?"

    Of course President Trump said of Epstein in 2002, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." Wink-wink. That was three years before Trump's infamous Access Hollywood comment (if you're rich and famous, "you can grab them by their pussy") and five years before Acosta's plea deal with Epstein. It begs the question, What would Mother think?  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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