By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Carmel

1. Our bad movie (the sequel)

Here are your Friday power lunch talking points: After she read the July 20 HPI Daily Wire, Democratic 5th CD nominee Christina Hale texted, “Your report today reads like it’s from an alternative universe or a bad movie.” Unfortunately the bad news sequel continues here at the end of July. Today’s HPI Daily Wire headlines: “IU Health warns of COVID spike after Indy 500”; “Unprecedented collapse of U.S. economy”; “Trump suggests delaying U.S. election”; “’Strongman Trump’ becomes a heckler at his own government”; “Republicans rebuke Trump on election delay”; “US Postal Service experiencing backlogs”; “30 million Americans lose rescue benefits”; “Indy health officials limit class sizes to 50%”. Folks, these are precursor headlines to a historic realignment from the failed Trump/Pence populist experiment.

For months President Trump and Vice President Pence have called into doubt the veracity of the coming election, suggesting widespread voting fraud surrounding mail-in ballots, when virtually none exist. President Trump's tweeted suggestion on Thursday that the November election be delayed was another pathetic assertion of this ruse, and it finally drew widespread rebuke from his Republican allies. That this bizarre Trump suggestion came on the day of U.S. Rep. John Lewis's funeral, with eulogies from Presidents Bush43, Clinton and Obama, underscored this nation's legacy of a peaceful transfer of power. 

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said her caucus is in position to take Republican Houseseats from Alaska, Montana and … Indiana’s 5th CD where Hale faces Republican State Sen. Victoria Spartz.

2. Mutz, Davis to push vote by mail

Former Lt. Govs. John Mutz (R) and Kathy Davis (D) will advocate for expanded vote by mail at a Zoom press conference at 2 p.m. today. It comes two days after Gov. Eric Holcomb resisted extending to the November election widespread mail-in balloting that 500,000 Hoosiers used in the delayed June 2 election. Asked why he is not going that route for November with COVID-19 increasing in the state and a potential lack of poll workers, Holcomb said Wednesday, "When we delayed an election to June 2, a full month from the time we were contemplating, we didn't know how long we were sheltering in place, staying at home, hunkering down. Now Hoosiers can go out; now Hoosiers can vote almost a month in advance from that final in-person Election Day voting, and there are various options when you can't vote in person over a month-long period. You have those options as well."

3. Obama on ‘founding father’ Lewis

Former President Obama was one of three former presidents (along with Bush43 and Clinton) to eulogize the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis. “We’re born with instructions to form a more perfect union,” Obama said. “Explicit in those words is the idea that we’re imperfect. That what gives each new generation purpose is to take up the unfinished work of the last and carry it further than any might have thought possible. America was built by John Lewises. He as much as anyone in our history brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideas. And someday when we do finish that long journey toward freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America. America was built by John Lewises.”

4. Remembering the USS Indianapolis

The new USS Indianapolis, commissioned at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor last year in the first commissioning of a U.S. Navy ship in Indiana history, laid a wreath at sea to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its predecessor, which was sunk in the Philippine Sea in the closing days of World War II (Pete, NWI Times). The U.S. Navy also placed a wreath at the USS Indianapolis Memorial on the canal in downtown Indianapolis. Its sinking is considered to be the deadliest naval disaster in American history. The Portland-class heavy cruiser, which completed a top-secret mission to deliver the first nuclear weapon ever used in combat, was struck by two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine a few minutes past midnight on July 30. Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the handful of surviving crew members.

5. COVID updates

Indiana’s new COVID cases spiked again to 970 on Thursday, a 54% increase over Wednesday. Two school staffers tested positive at Peru, a student tested positive on the first day of classes at Greenfield. The Michigan City Council is pondering extending beach closures to neighboring Sheridan Beach; Mishawaka and Penn-Harris-Madison schools have opted for an on-line format; 40% of Fort Wayne students have opted for on-line classes. Gov. Holcomb officially extended stage 4.5 through Aug. 27.

Have a great weekend, folks. It’s The Atomic!