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Friday, September 30, 2022
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  • ANDERSON – Maybe the politicians talking about the border crisis ought to meet Albeleis Arteaga. He traveled for nearly two months with his wife and 4-month-old child just to get to the United States. “If I had any money right now, I wouldn’t be out here putting my family through this,” the 29-year-old told reporter Uriel J. García of The Texas Tribune. “My head throbs not knowing what to do next or how to get out of here.” Arteaga is among thousands of Venezuelans pouring across the southern border. He, his wife and child arrived in El Paso, a Texas border community that is already overwhelmed. Many of the migrants are returned to Mexico under an emergency health order known as Title 42, but that’s not an option for Venezuelans. They’re on a list of nationalities Mexico won’t accept, and they can’t be sent back to Venezuela because the United States severed diplomatic ties with that country in 2019. So, the immigrants wind up in shelters – or on the street.
  • ANDERSON – At first glance, Lindsey Graham’s abortion bill almost seems reasonable. The measure calls for a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, but it provides exceptions for pregnancies brought about by rape or incest and for situations in which the mother’s life is in danger. How you react to such a measure might depend on where you live. Indiana, for example, now bans nearly all abortions. Under a law that took effect Thursday, the state allows the procedure during the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy brought about through rape or incest. It allows a woman up to 20 weeks to end a pregnancy under conditions that threaten her life. Pro-choice Hoosiers might well support a measure that would ease those restrictions, but Graham’s bill doesn’t do that. The South Carolina senator’s proposal would not affect the more stringent laws already on the books in states across the country, but it would impose restrictions in states where no such limits now exist.
  • ANDERSON – Six out of 10 Republicans in a recent survey say they don’t think former President Donald J. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement represents a majority of the party. That same Reuters/Ipsos survey found 58% of respondents saying the former president’s movement is threatening our nation’s democratic foundations. That number included one in four Republicans. Those are the people President Joseph R. Biden should be trying to reach. In his recent speech at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Biden insisted he was speaking not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as an American. “And I believe it is my duty – my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful,” he said. The truth, he said, is that Donald Trump’s most loyal followers do not respect the Constitution. “They do not believe in the rule of law,” Biden said. “They do not recognize the will of the people.”
  • ANDERSON – In 1985, Rotary International launched an effort to eradicate polio. Three years later, when the effort became a global initiative, the disease was paralyzing more than 1,000 children every single day. Thanks to the efforts of more than 20 million volunteers, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized, and the wild poliovirus now circulates in only two countries. Through October of 2020, Rotary International had contributed more than $2.1 billion to the effort, and it has committed to raising an additional $50 million every year. I’ve been a member of Rotary clubs in four cities over the course of the last 25 years, and like most Rotarians, I’m proud of what the organization has accomplished. The global incidence of polio has dropped by 99%. And yet, the fight to protect our children from this disease continues, even in the United States. Right here in Indiana, fewer than six in 10 children under the age of 3 have gotten the usual vaccinations aimed at preventing such diseases as polio, measles, hepatitis and chickenpox.
  • ANDERSON – Indiana’s recent abortion debate is an example of what happens with gerrymandering. Moderation gets lost, and partisan extremes become the order of the day. In districts where one party holds a decided advantage, the other party quickly becomes irrelevant. Candidates come to realize the election is effectively over in the primary, and they begin to move further from the center, focusing only on the party’s base. We wind up with more and more legislators representing the extremes, legislators who have no interest in compromise. You can’t really blame these folks. They’re just doing what their constituents elected them to do. The people you really need to blame are the party leaders. Guys like Rodric Bray, the Senate president pro tem, and Todd Houston, the speaker of the House. They’re the ones who should be leading their caucuses away from the fringe, somewhere closer to that middle ground where most Hoosiers find themselves. Sending a message to those guys won’t be easy, though. Bray isn’t up for election this year, and Houston is unopposed. Maybe we should take aim instead at Gov. Eric Holcomb, the guy who signed the abortion bill before most of us even knew it had landed on his desk. Sending him a message might also be difficult. He’s a lame duck who might never face the voters again.
  • ANDERSON – During a debate in the Indiana House of Representatives, John Jacob repeatedly accused his fellow lawmakers of condoning murder. Jacob, a Republican from Indianapolis, exhorted his colleagues to stand up for the unborn. “I am pleading with you,” he said. You could hear the anguish in his voice as he repeated his argument: Life begins at fertilization. Abortion ends that life. Abortion is murder. House Speaker Todd Huston reminded Jacob not to question the motives of his colleagues, but Jacob wouldn’t bend. “There is a right and a wrong, Mr. Speaker,” he said. “Murder is wrong.” It’s worth noting that Jacob’s theory on when life begins isn’t supported by science. In an essay for the Guttmacher Institute, public policy expert Rachel Benson Gold noted that theologians and philosophers had been debating the question for centuries. Does life begin when the infant draws that first breath or sometime sooner? It’s a debate, she wrote, that might never be settled. “However, on the separate but closely related question of when a woman is considered pregnant,” she wrote, “the medical community has long been clear: Pregnancy is established when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the wall of a woman’s uterus.”
  • ANDERSON – During an interview with Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, CNN’s Brianna Keilar played remarks from Arkansas Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton. “I will confess that I did not watch that hearing,” Cotton said, “and I have not watched any of the hearings, so I’ve not seen any of them, out of the context that I see a snippet here or there on the news.” Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the committee conducting those hearings, didn’t hold back. “Yeah, let me tell you how he’s thinking,” Kinzinger said. “He thinks it’s cool to be in front of the base and be like, ‘I’m not even watching the hearing, guys. I’m too cool to watch the hearings, but I already have my mind made up.’ Frankly, that probably works in the base.” Kinzinger should know. He and fellow Republican Liz Cheney have played lead roles in documenting former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn results of the 2020 election. What price Trump might pay for his actions is unclear, but it’s entirely possible both Kinzinger and Cheney will soon be out of office. Kinzinger didn’t seek reelection, and Cheney is facing a stiff challenge in Wyoming’s Republican primary.
  • ANDERSON – It’s tempting at a time like this to offer a crash course in biology to the Indiana General Assembly. These lawmakers, the vast majority of them men, are about to wade into what until now has been a conversation between a woman and her physician. Perhaps we should tell these guys a bit more about how pregnancy works. Do they know, for example, that a woman can never really be one week pregnant? Physicians track a pregnancy from the first day of the woman’s most recent period, which means that in that first week, a woman’s body is not yet ready to become pregnant. It does not have an egg in position to be fertilized. That point comes in week two when ovulation begins and a sperm can find its way to an egg waiting in a woman’s fallopian tube. If a sperm manages to penetrate the layers of an egg, the result will be a new cell called a zygote. This process can take up to 24 hours. The zygote then divides into two cells, which divide into four cells, which divide into more and more cells as the zygote becomes a blastocyst and moves down the fallopian tube before entering the uterus three to four days after fertilization.
  • ANDERSON – Some folks feel pretty strongly about the Biden administration’s plan to help those who find themselves drowning in student debt. Take this post from a Facebook user named Brandon Gill. “Some 18-year-olds took out huge loans to party for four years and get worthless degrees,” it says. “Many of my high school friends took out responsible loans to buy welders and work trucks and went straight to work. My blue collar friends should not be forced to pay irresponsible people’s debt.” A message shared by Occupy Democrats offers a different perspective. “My wife and I paid off two graduate degrees AND we paid for our son’s degree,” it says. “Every last penny. If Biden forgives student loans, I’m going to CHEER. I come from a generation when we actually WANTED our kids to have it better than we did.” Reports indicate the U.S. Department of Education is considering a plan that would forgive up to $10,000 in debt for those making as much as $150,000 a year.
  • ANDERSON - Late last year, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux wrote an article for the website FiveThirtyEight titled “What Americans really think about abortion.” The answer, she discovered, is not much. “Given the longstanding, intractable division on abortion, one might think that Americans hold murky views because they’re actively, even painfully, wrestling with the matter,” she wrote. “But that’s not what I found when I dug into the issue. The truth is that many Americans just don’t like talking or thinking about abortion.” That might soon change. The U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to overturn a 49-year-old precedent in Roe vs. Wade, and at least some voters are mad about it. Listening to the noise, you might get the idea that America is split down the middle. The reality is significantly more complicated. The folks who care deeply about this issue make up less than half of the U.S. population.
  • ANDERSON – Did you ever wonder what would happen if a loyal Fox News viewer suddenly started watching CNN? Well, two political science professors decided to find out. Joshua Kalla of Yale University and David Broockman of the University of California at Berkeley lined up a sample of 763 Fox News viewers for their study. They randomly chose 304 of these individuals and paid them $15 an hour to watch CNN. They made sure their participants were actually watching through a series of quizzes, and they measured the opinions of both groups in three waves of surveys. Those watching CNN were six percentage points less likely to believe then-candidate Joe Biden supported eliminating all funding for the police. They were seven percentage points more likely to support voting by mail and nine percentage points less likely to agree that mail-in voting would generate widespread fraud. The experiment took place in the late summer of 2020, smack dab in the middle of a presidential election. “I think the real key finding here from our perspective is we find that partisan media is hiding information from voters,” Broockman said during an appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
  • ANDERSON – The commentator Michael Kinsley invented the term in 1984 in a column about presidential candidate Walter Mondale: “The dictionary defines ‘gaffe’ as a social error or faux pas, …” Kinsley wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “A ‘gaffe’ is the opposite of a ‘lie’: It’s when a politician tells the truth.” Kinsley called it the “political gaffe.” Others have labeled it the “Kinsley gaffe.” Perhaps it should be known as the Biden gaffe. After all, Joe Biden once referred to himself as a human gaffe machine. At any rate, the latest example came in an off-the-cuff remark about Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president was delivering a speech in Warsaw, Poland, just hours after he had met with Ukrainian refugees. “A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty,” he said. “Brutality will never grind down their will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. For free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”
  • ANDERSON – My dad once accused me of trying to wean my car off of gasoline. I had again run out of gas while trying to stretch that last bit of fuel a little farther. I still press my luck occasionally. Just the other day, I coasted into a gas station with the gauge registering just above empty. I had seen the price going up, of course, but the total was still a shock. I had grown accustomed to a full tank of gas setting me back less than $40, but the price on this particular day was nearly $60. And that was before the price of a gallon went above $4. I’m not alone in complaining. If you’ve spent any time on social media lately, you’ve no doubt seen lots of people lamenting the price of gas. Some blame Joe Biden. They point out that the United States was energy independent under the leadership of Donald J. Trump only to lose that distinction after Biden took office. Those folks might want to check out the headline on Robert Rapier’s recent article for Forbes. “Surprise!” it says. “The U.S. Is Still Energy Independent.”
  • ANDERSON – Republicans disagree over the right way to win back control of the U.S. Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the election should be about the party now in control, the Democrats. His approach is reflected in a message on the website of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “STOP NANCY PELOSI AND CHUCK SCHUMER!” it reads. “Can we count on YOU to help stop them from destroying our country?” Rick Scott, chair of that committee, has a different approach. He wants to talk about his 11-point plan to rescue America. “This is not the time to be timid,” he told the Conservative Political Action Committee. “This is the time to be bold. Our nation’s future can be bright, but we need a plan to take this country back. I warn you before you read it, though. This plan is not for the faint of heart. It will trigger a lot of the people. Based on how Democrats are attacking me this week, I’d say we’ve hit the bullseye.”
  • ANDERSON – While other networks were covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Fox News host Laura Ingraham was interviewing Donald J. Trump. The conversation took a wrong turn when the former president apparently misunderstood Ingraham’s announcement that Russia had launched an invasion. “It’s a very sad thing, but you know what’s also very dangerous is you told me about the amphibious attack by Americans,” he told Ingraham. “You shouldn’t be saying that because you and everybody else shouldn’t know about it. They should do that secretly, not be doing that through the great Laura Ingraham. They should be doing that secretly. Nobody should know that, Laura.” Ingraham moved quickly to clear up the confusion. “That was the Russians,” she said. “No, no, no, no, no, that would be news.” As the interview continued, Ingraham suggested Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, had been weak in his response to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I think you’re exactly right,” Trump said. “I think that’s what happened. He was going to be satisfied with a peace, and now he sees the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity of this administration, and, as an American, I’m angry about it, and I’m saddened by it.”
  • ANDERSON – Some of us might like to see Joe Rogan stripped of his podcast and left with no place to spread all of those conspiracy theories. We cheer when Neil Young says it’s either him or Rogan. We offer high fives when more musicians line up to join the fight. Rogan, after all, is spreading lies. He should be silenced. Maybe we ought to rethink. In an essay for the Daily Beast, philosophy instructor Ben Burgis of Georgia State University suggests progressives shouldn’t be so comfortable with the idea of a private business such as Spotify denying a guy like Rogan a platform. Burgis rejects the suggestion that private businesses should have every right to limit free speech. He also rejects the common refrain that free speech protections shouldn’t apply to misinformation. He insists it’s not that simple.
  • ANDERSON - Forty-two years after its initial release, the hardback version of Art Spiegelman's book “Maus” is sold out on Amazon. Nothing makes a book more appealing, it seems, than to have someone say it’s off limits. That someone, in this case, was a school board in McMinn County, Tennessee. The book, the first and only graphic novel ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, features Spiegelman as a young man coaxing his aging father into sharing his experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust. The book is illustrated with cartoons. Jews are depicted as mice. Nazis are cats. During an appearance on CNN, Spiegelman said he was struggling to understand the decision to remove his book from an eighth-grade language arts curriculum. “I moved past total bafflement to try to be tolerant of people who may possibly not be Nazis,” he said. “Maybe.” School board members insisted they didn’t object to students learning about the Holocaust. They just didn't like those eight curse words and that one instance of “nakedness.” The “nakedness” the board was concerned about is a drawing illustrating the suicide of Spiegelman’s mother. He described it as a “tiny image” showing his mother in a bath after she had cut her wrists. And, again, she is depicted in the book as a mouse.
  • ANDERSON – The subject line of the email telegraphed what was coming. “It’s a hoax!!!” it said. The writer didn’t hide his lack of credentials. “Listen, I’m no doctor or expert or the like,” he wrote, “but, BUT, I’ve read five books on this medical corruption in western civilization and two on masks. Masks are not at all safe. Period!” My reader was doing his own research. He was in the process of reading a sixth book, this one by vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “The title sez it all: ‘The Real Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,’” he wrote. “WOW!!! Read it!!!” I was tempted to ask how many books this fellow thought Fauci had read during his long career in public health, but I decided it would be a wasted effort. I’m sure we could have gone back and forth discussing the man’s so-called experts. He mentioned Dr. Robert Malone, who claims to be the inventor of the mRNA vaccine, and Kary Mullis, a Nobel Prize winner and developer of the test used to determine whether a patient has contracted COVID-19.
  • ANDERSON — A lot of Democrats are mad at Joe Manchin these days. Less than a week before Christmas, Manchin appeared on Fox News to reveal his opposition to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better initiative. “If I can’t go home and explain it to the people in West Virginia, I cannot vote for it,” he said, “and I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation, I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.” The news drew angry reactions from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Minnesota accused Manchin of moving the goal post. “He has never negotiated in good faith,” she said, “and he is obstructing the president’s agenda.” The reality, though, is that the president’s agenda isn’t all that popular in West Virginia. Donald Trump trounced Joe Biden there with almost 70% of the vote. That leaves progressives with little leverage in this fight. In fact, making folks like Pressley mad might make Manchin more popular in his home state, not less.
  • ANDERSON – In a recent speech, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy chastised President Joe Biden for failing to deliver on his promise to get the pandemic under control. “I took President Biden at his word,” he said. “I took him at his word when he said he was going to get COVID under control. Unfortunately, more people have died this year than last year under COVID.” McCarthy didn’t mention, of course, that it has been mostly members of his own party standing in the way of delivering on that promise. A survey in mid-September found that 90% of adults identifying themselves as Democrats had been vaccinated compared to 58% of adults identifying as Republicans. This divide has caused Republican politicians across the country to engage in a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, many call on constituents to follow public health recommendations and get vaccinated. On the other hand, some of these same politicians actively fight administration efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
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  • Morales denies sexual harassment allegations; Wells comments
    "As a husband and father, I understand sexual harassment is deplorable and can leave devastating scars. The claims being made against me are false and I unequivocally deny all of them. The women, who will not reveal their identity, cannot corroborate their stories. They have neither documentation nor sources to substantiate their defaming comments. The falsities stem from 15 years ago and were not brought forward until now. The timing is clearly politically motivated, especially considering one of the women mentions that she is now volunteering for my opponent's campaign. The claims were printed in a publication that uses a disclaimer stating, 'This is a compiliation of pure gossip, rumor and blatant innuendo'. I am appalled to be included in this publication (and) I was not provided an opportunity to respond to these falsehoods before they were printed." Republican Secretary of State nominee Diego Morales, responding to allegations published by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz at IndyPolitics. Democrat nominee Destiny Wells said in a statement: "Diego Morales' victims need to be heard and believed. It takes tremendous courage in coming forward, and the last thing I want is for their personal sacrifice to be for naught. While this race has been focused on safeguarding our right to vote, we too must safeguard a woman's right to exist in the workplace free of sexual harassment and assault. For weeks we have seen mounting evidence that Diego will say and do anything to get what he wants — as Hoosiers, I know this is not in line with our values — we have had enough."
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