INdiana Systemic Thinking

February 24, 2008

Dems Still Hopeful Bayh Will Be on Ticket

A few months ago, I posted that I thought Senator Evan Bayh made huge political mistake by endorsing Hillary Clinton. My take was/is he wanted the VP slot so bad he would violate a cardinal rule of politics by showing his hand too early. Well, turns the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is now wondering aloud what the consequences of his early endorsement will mean. Sylvia Smith goes way out of her was to rationalize and justify why Bayh should be on an Obama ticket. I’m not going to post any quotes, because the story is so far from being anything close to political reality that it would be a waste of space here.

However, I will use the space to say this. Folks, get over it. Bayh isn’t going to be anywhere near a Presidential ticket. Obama needs someone older…way older than Bayh, and someone who can deliver some hefty electoral college votes from a very swing state. Bayh isn’t the guy. While he may be well known in Indiana, no-one knows who he is outside our borders. Argue with that all you want, but it’s the political truth. Add to it that he has never done anything memorable legislatively, he continues to enrich himself through his wife’s woefully unqualified “employment” as a professional board member, and the fact he has never had a real job, and he will never pass a national vetting.

So, can we please go back to sticking our heads in the sand on Bayh?

Nader to Run Again

The Associated Press just came out with news Ralph Nader will make another attempt at being elected President. You can view the full story here, but this is what he basically said/stands for:

…the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will “shift the power from the few to the many.”

…most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy.

…tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration… [have] left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

[He] criticized Republican candidate John McCain and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton for failing to support full Medicare for all or cracking down on Pentagon waste and a “bloated military budget. He blamed that on corporate lobbyists and special interests, which he said dominate Washington, D.C., and pledged in his third-party campaign to accept donations only from individuals.

February 21, 2008

McClain, Ruppel Running: Ripley Stepping Aside

Two Indiana legislative members announced their intentions to seek re-elections today, while another announced he would not run.

According to the Carroll County Comet,

State Representative Rich McClain (R-Logansport) has announced he will seek re-election to the Indiana House of Representatives in House District 24.

McClain represents of Cass, Carroll, Miami and White Counties.

McClain was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1994 and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Reports,

State Rep. Bill Ruppel, R-North Manchester, announced Wednesday morning he will seek re-election in House District 22.

The district includes all of Wabash County and the eastern and southern portions of Kosciusko County.

Ruppel was elected to the House in 1992. He is the ranking Republican member of the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety committees, and is a member of the Financial Institutions and Environmental Affairs committees.

In another story in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette,

State Rep. Mike Ripley, R-Monroe, announced Wednesday he has decided against seeking re-election in House District 79.

The former Adams County commissioner has served as a member of the Indiana House since 1996.

He is the ranking Republican member of the House Insurance Committee. He also serves on the House Financial Institutions and Labor and Employment committees.

February 17, 2008

Chelsea Clinton: Having It Both Ways

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette carried this Associated Press story about Chelsea Clinton. The purpose of the story was (I guess) to update everyone on what Chelsea is doing for her mother’s campaign.

However, I was a little miffed by the end of the report. Since when is it OK to run around, giving speeches for a candidate, and then refuse to answer questions from the press?

According to the story:

While pressing her mother’s case, she still has refused to talk on-the-record to reporters. She politely smiles when reporters ask questions.In Iowa, she even refused to answer questions from a 9-year-old Scholastic News reporter.

“I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you’re cute,” Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.

She must be doing something right, because the campaign gave a plum assignment this weekend: three days of campaigning in Hawaii, where Democrats hold caucuses Tuesday.

Seems to me the press is treating Chelsea with a little favoritism here.  I mean can you think of anyone, and I mean anyone else who could get away with this.  C’mon Chelsea, if you want to play with the big boys and be taken seriously, your going to have to play by the same rules as everyone else.  Oh, and to the press who continue to gripe about this…  Let me give you a suggestion.  Stop covering her if she won’t take your questions!

February 16, 2008

McCain Coming to Indiana

WTHR has a long story about John McCain coming to Indiana on February 22.  While filled with tons of background information, it is very light on details.  Toward the end they say:

Eyewitness News has confirmed Sen. McCain will visit Indianapolis next Friday. He will participate in some events on the morning of Feb. 22. Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for more details and complete coverage of his visit.

So if your a supporter of the good Senator’s, keep Friday open and watch WTHR.

UPDATE:  Okay, right after I posted this, the Indy Star had some further information.

Jay Kenworthy, communications director for the state GOP, said McCain’s fund-raiser is at 11 a.m. Friday at the Conrad Indianapolis, 50 W. Washington St. Kenworthy isn’t sure what prices will be for the invitation-only event.

Kenworthy said he was not sure who would be able to attend a town hall meeting, if one is scheduled, adding that the Arizona senator’s campaign staff is handling those arrangements.

Rebecca Zepick, who works in media relations for McCain’s campaign, could not confirm McCain will be in Indiana. She said she expected to know more early next week.

“We’re pleased,” said Kenworthy. “He’s the first presidential candidate of this cycle to come through, and everyone expected it to be Hillary (Clinton) or (Barack) Obama.”

The two candidates in the Democratic primary are in a closer race than McCain is in for the Republican primary, Kenworthy noted.

Sue Ellen Reed: On Her Way Out?

Most of the major news outlets, as well as blogs around the state are reporting on comments made by Governor Mitch Daniels that he is apparently supporting candidate Tony Bennett for Indiana School Superintendent.  All this despite Sue Ellen Reed has held the position for four terms and has not made a decision about a fifth.  Here are some links about the comments and what they may possibly mean:

 Taking Down Words

Blue Indiana

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Follow Up: Lennington Gives Up Tax Court

Following up on my posts here and here, the Muncie Star Press is reporting:

Delaware County Circuit Court 5 Judge Wayne Lennington has relinquished jurisdiction over all cases related to tax sales, a week after acknowledging he was the target of a criminal investigation that involves his personal investments.

All five Delaware Circuit Court judges, including Lennington, signed an order Wednesday that transferred tax sale cases to the other four courts, and allowed the re-assignment of criminal cases from Lennington’s court at Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney’s discretion.

Rep. Amos Thomas Files for Re-Election

From the Brazil Times:

…the Parke County native and Brazil resident officially threw his hat into the ring Thursday, as he filed for candidacy as state representative for District 44.

During a phone interview, Thomas, a Republican, told The Brazil Times he only waited to file for re-election because he was still recovering from ongoing health issues. The deadline to file for the upcoming election is Feb. 22.

“The main reason was because I was in the hospital and not really thinking about much except for my recovery,” Thomas said. “I was thinking about this all the time, but to tell you the truth, I had an awful hard time concentrating on anything. I just had too much to do and too short of time.”

He is the fourth person to file for the position. Other candidates include Republican Duane Conover and Democrats Richard Thompson and Nancy Michael.

February 13, 2008

Rep. Hoy will not seek Re-election: Riecken Files

From WTHR:

Rep. Phil Hoy, a Democrat from Evansville, said he wants to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren. Hoy plans to serve out his current term but will not seek re-election in House District 77, which covers downtown Evansville and other areas in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

Then, shortly after the announcement, The Evansville Courier Press reported:

Gail Riecken, former city councilwoman, announced she would seek the position.

Riecken, first took office when she was appointed to fill the remaining city council term of Frank McDonald II when he became Mayor, will enter the race by filing at 4:30 on Wednesday.

February 6, 2008

Big Pharma Hates McCain: and that’s a bad thing why???

There are two ways of determining where a politician stands on healthcare; read their platform statements, and/or follow the money.  If you choose the first, read carefully.  The language is as carefully crafted as your insurance policy, probably because it was written by the same people.  For example, something like “I want to reduce healthcare costs by implementing money saving technology” (which is common to several candidates) translates to:  I want to save insurance companies money by forcing providers of all sizes to spend money on updating computers and software.  So, sometimes following the second path is better.  Look at where a candidate is getting their money.  If it is from insurance and pharmaceutical companies, chances are they hope to make money if the candidate wins.  How do these companies make money?  In the case of insurance, either from charging the consumer more, or getting the provider to take less.  In the case of pharmaceuticals, continued law allowing them to sell overpriced medication in the United States and placing restrictions on generics.

So, how does all this get us to McCain?  Well, the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog has a good post on his relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.  According to the Blog,

McCain opposes Big Pharma on two hotly contested issues: the re-importation of drugs from countries where they cost less and giving Medicare the clout to negotiate drug prices directly. McCain has long stumped for re-importation to save money. And he voted against the expansion of Medicare to include a drug benefit because it didn’t allow direct price negotiations by the government and because the program covers too many people.

His health-care plan also calls for drug companies to reveal prices of their drugs and to develop a straightforward path for the creation of generic biologics, two other ideas that wouldn’t do much for the bottom line of the industry leaders.

So there is the rhetoric.  Now how does that match up with the dollars?  Surprisingly well.  Again, according to the WSJ Health Blog:

The Center for Responsive Politics reports that McCain has received $39,797 in donations from pharmaceutical manufacturers. That puts him behind Obama ($154,710), Clinton ($140,544), Mitt Romney ($103,825), Rudy Giuliani ($91,550) and even Chris Dodd ($68,200)

 If we turn contributions around and see who is giving to McCain, we find:

…The most generous group is the retired, with more than $5 million in donations. And who wants cheap drugs more than the retired? No. 2: Lawyers and law firms, which have given $2.5 million, according to the CRP. (No. 6 on the list are health professionals with $713,952 in contributions.)

So the numbers appear to match the rhetoric, when it comes to pharmaceuticals.  However, the Blogmeister took a look at McCain’s healthcare plan.  It is very nonspecific and difficult to tell what he wants to do overall.  It would be interesting to apply the same analysis as above to his overall healthcare plan.  Still, it seems McCain has popular support for at least half the healthcare problem.  I’d really like to know, in non legal language, what he wants to do about the other half,  insurance companies.

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