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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 
good old caller ID...
so the caller who push-polled me last night didn't block his number from my caller ID, which is how i knew that the call came from miami. i went ahead and searched for the whole number, which led me to a company called sun surveys. this is definitely the company that called me; their contact number is the one that showed up on my caller ID.

i haven't had any luck so far tracking down this nebulous "AP research" company that called my parents (and others). the name is just too hard to filter: i'm getting lots of hits about the associated press and advanced placement exams, and not much of use. it might be a lot easier with a telephone number, but my parents don't have caller ID.

if you caught my previous update, my currest theory is that two different campaigns are doing push polling: carolene mays is behind the AP research calls and orentlicher is behind the sun surveys calls. (in other words, of the four frontrunners, the two that are behind are now doing push-polling.) i could be wrong, and they could all be coming from the same place, but i doubt it.

Monday, April 28, 2008 
push polling in the 7th
i got called for two telephone polls today on my cell phone.

the first call was a local number and the caller identified herself as being with the orentlicher campaign. she asked how likely i was to vote and whom i planned to vote for. when she heard that my answer wasn't david o, she asked if i was still listening to other candidates and suggested i check

about an hour later i got a call from the 305 area code (i later looked it up: miami). the caller had a foreign accent that i took to be latin (though perhaps i came up with this later when i saw it was miami) and identified himself as being with an opinion survey. first he asked whether i had a positive or negative opinion on various democratic figures (7th district front-runners mays, myers, carson, & orentlicher). then my choice for president and whether i was fully committed to that candidate or just leaning. then my choice for 7th district and level of commitment.

then he read me some messages (paraphrased):
  • david orentlicher will stand up to special interests and won't take their money.
  • andré carson takes special interest money.
  • woody myers is self-financing his campaign.

there was no message about carolene mays, whom i'd already said i had a negative opinion of. he asked how likely these were to change my vote (they weren't), and just to be sure he again asked whom i'd vote for in the 7th, then finally asked my age and race, and reminded me this was just an "opinion survey".

the second call seemed like a textbook push poll. and perhaps i'm just cynical, but my first thought was that maybe my answers to the first call prompted the second.

then i went out for a bit, before i could blog about the calls, and when i got back i had an upset email from my mother claiming that she'd also received a push poll this evening. this pollster identified herself as being from "AP research for Indiana" and tried to pass on a negative message about woody myers failing to get health care passed in washington. this caller was also heavily accented, though they guessed her to be from somewhere like india.

the details are different enough that i can't be positive the two push polls were related. then again, the fact that they all came tonight is awfully suspicious. at any rate, at least one campaign is doing push-polling, and the obvious culprit would seem to be the orentlicher campaign.

update: apparently vox populi got a push poll from AP research back in march. at that time, AP research fed him negative messages about orentlicher and carson. it seems unlikely that there would be two AP researches or that the group would switch sides, which suggests that the carolene mays campaign is behind the AP research calls.

that doesn't explain why the call i received would feed me positive messages about david o. i can't see the mays campaign doing that. the logical conclusion would seem to be that both mays and orentlicher are now doing push polling.

voter ID appeal rejected
the supreme court has rejected the ACLU's appeal of indiana's voter ID law. the court ruled 6-3 against the ACLU, but there was no true majority opinion—three justices loved the law, three thought it sucked, and the other three didn't feel the ACLU had presented enough evidence of actual disenfranchisement to justify overturning it.

the end result is that the law will remain in effect during this year's elections, but because there was no majority opinion, it's still vulnerable to appeal... provided the plaintiffs come up with better evidence next time.

for analysis see doug and scotusblog.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 

big sale on coke powder
so that's where people get it from...

but seriously, considering i took this photo at the same place as this one, i suspect this was the work of culture-jamming vandals rather than chance or an honest mistake.

the time for robots is now
virago's father & grandmother drove into town yesterday,* and grandma decided she wanted to check out that building with the dinosaurs bursting out of it, which she remembered from her last visit: the children's museum. mind you, there were no children among us, but i hadn't been there in more than 10 years and the rest of the group had never been before, so off we went.

we didn't make it further than the second floor, but there were some great exhibits, the coolest of which was definitely the robots + us exhibit. unfortunately, we didn't discover the exhibit until right before it was due to end: tomorrow is the last day. on the bright side, two new cool-looking exhibits open up: one called comic book heroes and another about animation.

* they drove in from springfield, IL and arrived an hour and a half late. why? because they didn't know that indiana is now on a different time zone than illinois in the summer. going to DST was supposed to permanently answer the question of "what time is it in indiana?" but only made it more difficult. then again, what do i know? i'm just a redneck.

i knew there had to be cake!
candidate tony zirkle attending a bday party for hitler is the gift that keeps on giving. it's all over the national blogs now; i just spotted a post on atrios, which led me to think progress, which led to the news-dispatch from michigan city... ah, the tangled interwebs:

At the event, Hitler's birthday was observed with a cake with a photo of Hitler and the words "Seig Heil."

to think that people doubted there would be cake. it can't be a birthday party without cake, and that goes for hitler as much as anyone else. i knew all along, but couldn't have hoped for a more adorable image than a sheet cake with a photo of hitler and the words "seig heil" lovingly applied in frosting. that is so precious!

Friday, April 25, 2008 
shorter matt tully
shorter matt tully: my hero mitch daniels got in trouble because of something some stupid blogger wrote (dumb bloggers), so i'm going to pretend what the blogger wrote was inaccurate, even though it wasn't.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 
shorter new york times
shorter new york times: hoosiers are a bunch of hillbillies, rednecks, rubes, hicks, yokels, and hayseeds.


update: oops, i left off "ignorant, corn-fed, xenophobic, small-town luddites" and probably a couple other things. i guess that's why it's called "shorter".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 
a quick teaser
here's a taste of the cover art for mash smarter not harder. (it's either going to be this or one of these two color variations; probably whichever goes best with the rest of the artwork.)

there will be no advance singles or preview mp3s. to find out what it sounds like, you'll have to wait until the EP comes out and download it (for free) like everyone else. however, you shouldn't have to wait much longer: target date is may 1st.

zirkle: nazis less evil than porn
the south bend tribune follows up on the story of tony zirkle attending hitler's birthday party. thomas quotes the funniest part of the article, where zirkle tries to explain that the reason he hates jews is because they're to blame for the existence of pornography, not because he's racist or anything. so instead, i'll focus on the bottom of the article:

Riley, the Republican chairman, [...] said, "To see him standing in front of that flag and in front of that monster (Hitler) kindled deep emotions within me."

He said the Republican Party does not accept Zirkle as a member. He said he plans to take steps to make sure Zirkle is not admitted to Republican events or otherwise allowed to associate with the party.

"Nazism, socialism and fascism are polar opposites of what the Republican Party stands for," Riley said.

i don't know about that last sentence, but good for riley and the republicans for condemning zirkle in the strongest language possible.

The party has been consistent in condemning Zirkle's philosophy of racial intolerance, he added.

Zirkle worried that his message will be misunderstood and people will attack him. The point he was making, he said, is that pornography is evil

as are jews...

and is undermining society in many ways,

...again, like jews...

from health care to social relations to family life.

To punctuate his message, he shredded an original copy Monday of Penthouse magazine from September 1969.

i'm tickled by the image of him "punctuating his message" by shredding vintage porn. i'm having visions of him at a debate with a stack o' nudie mags, tossing another magazine on the shredder for emphasis whenever he makes a salient point. it could be a hell of a rhetorical device. sadly, they generally don't allow props at congressional debates.

Monday, April 21, 2008 
guess who went to hitler's birthday party?
you might not have known that yesterday, april 20, was hitler's birthday. but tony zirkle, republican candidate for indiana's 2nd district, knew. he even attended a birthday party for hitler yesterday, held by a neo-nazi group in chicago. hoosier access has the scoop, along with photos of zirkle at the gathering, standing betwixt two swastikas and in front of a portrait of the fuhrer. (my favorite part is the adorable "happy 119th birthday" banner on the table. i bet they had cake and punch, too.)

zirkle attracted attention last month for suggesting that segregation might be a good idea, and before that for shredding a vintage issue of playboy, advocating the return of the guillotine, and more. but while he's always been entertainingly out-there, the fact that he would openly speak to—and let himself be photographed with—neo-nazis takes his candidacy to an entirely new level. after this, i'll be surprised if the indiana GOP doesn't force him to drop out of the race.

Sunday, April 20, 2008 
mindwar and message-force multipliers
yet another story from the "this ought to be shocking, but under the bush administration, it's not even surprising" file: remember all those "independent" military analysts that used to be all over the tv (back when the media was still regularly covering the war)? it turns out the pentagon had a lot of them in the tank. this is a long story, but here's a taste:

In interviews, participants described a powerfully seductive environment — the uniformed escorts to Mr. Rumsfeld’s private conference room, the best government china laid out, the embossed name cards, the blizzard of PowerPoints, the solicitations of advice and counsel, the appeals to duty and country, the warm thank you notes from the secretary himself.

"Oh, you have no idea," Mr. Allard said, describing the effect. "You're back. They listen to you. They listen to what you say on TV." It was, he said, "psyops on steroids" — a nuanced exercise in influence through flattery and proximity. "It's not like it's, 'We'll pay you $500 to get our story out,'" he said. "It's more subtle."

The access came with a condition. Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.


"I saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south," General Vallely, one of the Fox analysts on the trip, recalled in an interview with The Times.

The Pentagon, though, need not have worried.

"You can't believe the progress," General Vallely told Alan Colmes of Fox News upon his return. He predicted the insurgency would be "down to a few numbers" within months.


Mr. Bevelacqua, then a Fox analyst, was among those invited to a briefing in early 2003 about Iraq's purported stockpiles of illicit weapons. He recalled asking the briefer whether the United States had "smoking gun" proof.

"'We don't have any hard evidence,'" Mr. Bevelacqua recalled the briefer replying. He said he and other analysts were alarmed by this concession. "We are looking at ourselves saying, 'What are we doing?'"

Another analyst, Robert L. Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who works in the Pentagon for a military contractor, attended the same briefing and recalled feeling "very disappointed" after being shown satellite photographs purporting to show bunkers associated with a hidden weapons program. Mr. Maginnis said he concluded that the analysts were being "manipulated" to convey a false sense of certainty about the evidence of the weapons. Yet he and Mr. Bevelacqua and the other analysts who attended the briefing did not share any misgivings with the American public.

Saturday, April 19, 2008 
i hope you paid your gas bill on time...
because if not, you may be in trouble:

A computer server containing Social Security numbers and other personal information of 700,000 people was stolen last month from a Southside debt-collection bureau in what appears to be the largest computer security breach in Indiana history.

The information includes customer-billing records for about 100 Indiana businesses, including Citizens Gas & Coke, St. Vincent Health system and Methodist Medical Group.

The exposed data was limited to past-due billing information that had been turned over for debt collection to the Central Collection Bureau, the agency announced today. Other customers, whose accounts were in good standing, were not affected.

it's bad enough if your bill has been sent to collections, without having to worry about your identity being stolen. of course, the irony is that if your name is on that server, then you probably don't have much credit for any identity thieves to steal.

Friday, April 18, 2008 
speed racer
i'm a bit torn on this one.

everything i've seen suggests that the speed racer movie will be total eye candy—a real visual feast. and that's no surprise, considering it's the new film by the wachowski brothers, who gave us the matrix.

for example, see this io9 post about the stunning design work: there are some amazing screenshots. and the latest full-length trailer makes the movie look pretty exciting.

on the other hand, the original speed racer series was at times one of the cheesiest, campiest things ever shown on television. and the tv commercials for the movie make clear that it includes some of this cheese: the characters spritle and chim-chim feature prominently in some of the ads (fortunately, chim-chim doesn't appear at all in the latest trailer, so hopefully their role is small).

so what am i to do? i still haven't seen last year's transformers movie because i knew in advance that while the special effects would be mind-blowing, the movie itself would simply blow. after all, i've been burned before—i saw what dreams may come in the theatre.

so there's a possibility that speed racer will totally suck. furthermore, the design work and effects look so awesome that it might be worth seeing in the theatre even if it does. then again, it might not. in fact, if done properly, it could be great.

so i'm torn. i'm thinking i probably will see it in the theatres, though if it gets a lot of bad reviews that might dissuade me. but i don't know who i'll go see it with, since virago hasn't shown much interest. hell, if it comes to the theatre nearest me, maybe i'll go alone and walk there. it might be a movie about race car drivers, but there's no need to waste gas going to see it when we have near-record gas prices.

as if i didn't have enough trouble sleeping...
wednesday night, an f-16 pilot flying over kokomo screwed up and caused a sonic boom. or at least, that's the official explanation for the loud explosive sound residents heard, along with the weird flashes of light that had dozens calling in reports of a UFO.

perhaps coincidentally, the next day i posted an image of a UFO.

then this morning, we were awakened by a loud noise:

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake that appeared to rival the strongest recorded in the region rocked people up to 450 miles away from the southern Illinois epicenter early today, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a powerful Midwest temblor.

The quake traveled the length of Indiana, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

the quake hit at 5:37 a.m. indiana time. i've felt worse—maybe not a bigger earthquake, but one that was closer, so it shook me harder—but i don't think i've ever been awoken by seismic activity before. it wasn't a lot of fun—usually i don't get rudely awakened until at least 6:30.

update: i think i just felt a small aftershock, at 11:15 a.m.

Thursday, April 17, 2008 
bad taste springs eternal
I Want To Believe The Hype

spring 2008 is an exciting time for bad taste music exchange!

march saw the release of wack cylinders. then april 1 brought new, freely downloadable releases by baconhanger and unszene. and then yesterday was the official release of hexadecimate, the new cd by dr. butcher m.d. (which you can stream from the site).

that's four new releases in less than six weeks. could it be possible that we might still have more coming? yes! in fact, early may will bring another new free download from stAllio! this new stAllio! EP is the one you've been waiting for. you could say my entire musical career has been building up to this one. i'm not quite ready to say much more, but it's called mash smarter not harder.

image note: i actually created this graphic a couple weeks ago and left it sitting on my hard drive, but now that the title of the x-files movie has been announced, i figured i should post it.

shorter ipopa
i normally like the ipopa blog, but jesus...

shorter ipopa: the problem with kids these days is we don't beat 'em enough.

bonus silliness:

Every generation gives the crotchety old man speech about 'these kids today,' but it's actually true now.

no, the main difference is that now you're the crotchety old man.

and super extra bonus points for making me feel ancient by using an EPMD lyric for the title of his crotchety old man post. just think... in 20 years, the condescending "kids these days" posts will be named after lyrics by lil wayne and flo rida.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 
a miracle discovery

this onion video hit a bit close to home for me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 
another day, another sloppy story
the indy star has a story up about campaign finances in the indiana governor's race. if you haven't been following the race, you'll be forgiven if your head explodes when you read paragraph three:

Daniels, who is unopposed, has raised more than three times the amount of his two challengers combined.

of course, daniels is unopposed in the primary, but two democrats and probably some others are vying to run against him in the fall.

hopefully, the story will be updated—along with PDFs of the latest campaign finance reports for wonks to geek out over—and this error might disappear when it is, but you can never really tell.

Friday, April 11, 2008 
star ed board: ballard's promise a "rookie error"
remember yesterday when i was craving some critical analysis of the mayor's state-of-the-city speech? well, it's not perfect, but here's the indy star ed board:

Mayor Greg Ballard this week, in raising the possibility of repealing last year's increase in the local option income tax, promised more than he likely can deliver in the foreseeable future.

Ballard, delivering the State of the City address on only his 100th day in office, did hedge the promise, making it contingent upon the General Assembly approving the Kernan-Shepard commission's recommendations for local government consolidation.

Ballard is certainly correct in supporting the commission's proposals, which include eliminating township governments and cutting by thousands the number of elected officials. The panel's recommendations offer taxpayers throughout the state their best hope for halting and even reversing rapid increases in local government spending.

But state legislators haven't rushed to embrace the bulk of the recommendations. If and when the proposals are approved, the reforms will take time to implement, and savings will take even longer to materialize.

in other words, mayor ballard went up there and promised to do something that he knows he won't be able to do for years, if ever. not bright. of course, he painted himself into a corner will all those impossible-to-achieve campaign promises. here's how the editorial concludes:

Floating the tax repeal promise, no matter how it was hedged, was, however, a rookie error. If the budget numbers someday make the tax cut possible, then, by all means, make the move. But even the mayor admits the city isn't there yet, and may not be anytime soon.

This was one applause line that could haunt the city, and the mayor, for years to come.

i was hoping for more—this only criticizes one statement, and pretty much ignores the rest of the speech (and the mayor's other mistakes)—but it's something. maybe the ed board wanted to make up for yesterday's misleading headline.

you wouldn't like me when i'm angry
republican will statom has quite the temper:

Statom, a Republican appointee in the county's voter registration office, believed Wednesday's meeting of the county election board -- called by its president, Phil Nichols -- violated an Indiana law that requires 48 hours prior notice for most public meetings.

Statom, who was back working Thursday, said he found it "absolutely unconscionable" that the newspaper hadn't challenged the legality of the meeting instead of reporting, in a Wednesday front-page article, that Nichols had called an "emergency meeting" over his concerns that voter-registration applications might not be processed in a timely manner.

why, that's outrageous! that totally explains his reaction:

Witnesses said Wednesday's altercation occurred after the meeting, when Werner, interviewing a Barack Obama supporter in the hallway, responded to an insult from Statom by telling the registration worker to "shut up."

Authorities said Statom passed by the reporter, then turned and shoved Werner into a wall. In an ensuing struggle, both men fell to the floor, with Statom allegedly trying to choke the reporter. The Republican appointee also punched Barry Welsh, a Democratic congressional candidate trying to break up the fight, in the eye.

it's a natural reaction, when confronted with bad news, to want to attack the messenger. will statom did that literally. though you might wonder, if he was so pissed about the emergency meeting being called, why attack the reporter and give barry welsh a black eye? if he wanted to beat someone up, it would've made more sense to assault election board president phil nichols... you know, the guy who actually called the meeting.

and yes, as you might have noticed above, statom was back at work the next day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 
blogger v blogger
i have a confession: even after all the shit i've written about gary welsh, he's never sent me a personal email. i figure he doesn't think i'm worth responding to. i know i've pissed him off before, but even when complaining about me on his blog, he's avoided mentioning my name.

others aren't so lucky. gary has become notorious for sending over-the-top emails full of histrionics when he's angered, which happens frequently. (the man doesn't respond well to criticism, despite what he may say.) yesterday, he sent one to bil browning, even taking it to the next level by threatening to sue bil. bil's response is to tell him to fuck off:

You see Gary, everyone is tired of your irate screeds that you send out willy nilly. This isn't the first time I've had one of your inane notes land in my inbox. In fact, this isn't the tenth or twentieth time. I've come to expect them and usually just junk them for the trash they are. You've even e-mailed some of our other Bilerico contributors based on posts on their blogs.

Do you remember sending Mike Rogers of PageOneQ repeated e-mails screaming that he was stealing your content since his national news roundup didn't link to you but linked the Indianapolis Star stories instead? After all, you're the only blogger smart enough to find a story published both online and in a daily newspaper for the 12th largest city in the US! It got you banned from ever being linked on the popular LGBT aggregator blog for sending threatening and hateful e-mails to the site's owner.

How about e-mailing Pam Spaulding when she didn't write a post for Pam's House Blend about Aaron Hall's murder the way you thought it should be written? Perhaps that ego was also at work when you sent her suggestions on how to write her content better. Her traffic and influence far outweighs yours; maybe she could give you tips on how to make allies in the blogosphere. How was your success rate with this hateful rant?

You've sent e-mails to's mailing list members - both privately and on the list. Your "friends" forward copies of your e-mails around as "OMG look how crazy he's gotten now!" jokes. Remember when you threatened to publish embarrassing tidbits from my youth if I didn't change my stance on whether or not Aaron Hall's murder was a hate crime? How about all of the times local officials refused to return your phone calls, the mainstream media has ignored you or the local activists have snubbed you?

You have a history now, Gary. You talk trash and then get offended if someone calls you on it or describes you in a manner you don't like. If you don't like how you're being treated by activists, media, politicians and blogs, perhaps the wise course of action would be to change your modus operandi.

i don't write about gary as much as i used to because it just got old; it got to the point where i felt bad for him, like i was picking on him just because he was so horrifically wrong on so many issues.

but those were simpler days. then mayor ballard took office, and gary's dreams of greg the supermayor were shattered by the depressing reality of ballard the bumbler. then came the special election. gary's behavior grew worse than ever, as he became deeply emotionally invested in jon elrod—and was devastated by elrod's inevitable loss. in the days that followed, his tone grew so dark and bitter that i honestly worried for his safety.

but he seems to have moved on, and is back to his old hijinks. only now, his new favorite target is barack obama—he'll post any attack on obama, no matter how absurd. which leaves him in the bizarre position of sometimes defending hillary clinton. i never thought i'd see that happen, as back in the day, there was nobody he hated more than the clintons. i guess you've got to have priorities.

update: as you might've guessed, gary has a particularly whiny post on his blog about the subject. naturally, he does not link to bil's post so that his readers can see what he's bitching about, nor does he bother to acknowledge that he threatened to sue bil, which seems like the whole point to me.

ballard: a man of words
man, do i miss the accidental mayor blog. last night, mayor ballard gave his first state-of-the-city address, yet i'm having a hard time finding any quality analysis of the speech. the indystar article has a highly misleading headline—the mayor's suggestion that he would repeal the income tax increase was smothered under a mountain of ifs. this advance indiana post is a good start, but doesn't go far enough—it's only about the COIT increase. abdul's posts are little more than a blogospheric blowjob, as is typical whenever abdul writes about the new mayor. and jason at x-tra rant probably won't have anything on the speech, because he's already written his two blog posts this week.

so where's a guy have to go to get a good critical analysis of the mayor's speech? i suppose i could do it myself, but i was hoping to spend most of the day working on my next musical project.

anyway, while writing about mayor ballard, i feel obliged to mention this: here is an article in the star's business section about a firm called author solutions. author solutions is a self-publishing company, also called a vanity press. when a traditional publisher puts out your book, they pay you for the right to do so... and if you sell a bunch, they pay you more. with a vanity publisher, you pay them... and if you sell a bunch, you get your investment back, maybe even make a profit.

there are advantages to working this way: as an author, you can make decent money if you sell a modest number of books. so these publishers do put out some good stuff. but, because any tom, dick, or weirdo with a thousand bucks to burn can get his book published, they also put out a lot of crap—think song-poems.

with that in mind, read this quote from the star story on author solutions:

"There's not much of an appetite among mainstream publishers. They deal with known people and agents," Andy Tate said.

But "known" authors increasingly are shunning traditional deals in favor of self-publishing. Author Solutions has published books by Sen. Richard Lugar, Mayor Greg Ballard, comedian Rita Rudner and others.

that's right, the mayor's book, the ballard rules: small unit leadership, was published by author house, a subsidiary of author solutions. not that there's anything wrong with that—i'm sure he's made his money back and then some.

but here's the thing: greg ballard wasn't a "known" author when he published the book! on the contrary, back in 2005, nobody knew who the guy was. he didn't run for mayor, and thus become famous, until two full years later! portraying him as a "known" author who chose to "shun" traditional publishers isn't merely false, it's downright backward. the man ran a training program for middle managers; he was no rita rudner.

Sunday, April 06, 2008 
tully needs to read tully
indy star political columnist matt tully gets a lot of heat for being lazy. this criticism isn't always fair—tully is capable of good journalism, as in his investigative pieces about the phoenix apartments last year—but there is some truth to it.

for example, take today's column. it's a hit piece against democratic gubernatorial candidate jim schellinger. there's nothing wrong with that, per se, but he makes some puzzling claims—one in particular left me staring at my monitor, mouth agape.

the gyst of his column is that schellinger isn't doing as well as hoped, and his primary competitor, jill long thompson, is doing better than expected. fair enough; it might even be true. but check out his first bit of evidence:

Moreover, after promising a positive campaign, Schellinger recently went negative. That smelled of desperation. On the other hand, Long Thompson's campaign, on a tighter budget, has been free of such drama.

nasty, nasty jim schellinger dared to go negative! not so for the long thompson campaign—no drama there! unfortunately, not only is this incorrect, but its falsity is demonstrated by a column tully himself wrote four months ago. here is that column in the google cache (it's been removed from for being too old):

With the first two goals eliminated, state Democrats now hope to avoid a nasty primary battle. Events of this past week, however, suggest that, too, might not happen.

Behind the scenes, the two campaigns until recently had engaged in a few skirmishes. Nothing too serious. Just a little dig here and there, most of which went unnoticed. But this past week, the digs got deeper, and the fighting went public.

It all started when Thompson began tying Schellinger to higher property taxes, which, as you know, are about as popular these days as the New England Patriots in these parts. Her reasoning: Schellinger's architecture firm has made a bundle on property-tax-financed school construction projects.

emphasis mine. long thompson has been negative campaigning since december. and tully even complained about it in his column at the time! but today, tully whines because schellinger "recently" went negative, and claims jill long thompson's campaign has been "free of such drama".

i'm undecided between the two candidates—as with the presidential primary, i'll be happy to vote for either of them in the general election—but if you're going to pick one over the other, you should do so based on facts and not misinformation.

such shoddy work is lazy in the extreme. not only did tully apparently do no research for his column this week, but he doesn't remember that he wrote about the same topic—and said the opposite—just four months back.

tully would be well-served by reading his own column from time to time. he might be surprised by what he learns.

p.s. if you were hoping for an eventual return of political junkie, tully's blog, which has been "on vacation" since july, 2007, you can stop holding your breath. all the broken image links at the top of the page suggest the blog will never come back. blogging regularly is hard work, after all.

Saturday, April 05, 2008 
kids first now fifth, and other IGWT casualties
indiana bloggers have been complaining about those pesky "in god we trust" license plates since they came out last year. it's not just that they're a blatant, unconstitutional government endorsement of christianity. the biggest problem with the plates is that they were distributed at no extra charge. this means that not only does the state lose money on each IGWT plate it sells, since the IGWT plates are more expensive to produce, but that other specialty plates were unfairly impacted, effectively taking money away from local nonprofits.

a year later, the sales numbers are in, and the IBJ crunches the numbers. the indianapolis colts were big winners in 2007, seeing a 131% increase in plate sales thanks to their super bowl win. area nonprofits didn't fare so well. the following IBJ chart pretty much says it all:

thanks in large part to the 1.5 million IGWT plates sold last year, 47% fewer environment plates were sold. that means that the state environmental trust that benefits from those plates received 47% less money from license plate fees in 2007.

similarly, indiana kids first saw a 57% decrease in license plate revenue, the education trust got hit with a 56% decrease, and hoosier safety gets a 51% decrease. IU and purdue saw 38% and 27% decreases, respectively. only the mighty marketing machine at riley hospital escaped relatively unscathed, with only an 11% decrease.

while other factors were likely involved in these sales decreases, the #1 factor is undeniably the rollout of the IGWT plates. a million and a half people switched to those plates, and the result is millions of dollars less going to indiana nonprofits. all so that christians can drive around with a government endorsement of their religion tacked onto their cars, without even having to pay a few bucks extra for it.

Friday, April 04, 2008 
big announcement: you are invited

it's true: virago & i are going to get married on friday, october 17. we're not that interested in a big church wedding or all the traditional trappings. instead, that night, we're having a show at therapy nightclub in downtown indianapolis, and we've invited midwest breakcore legend doormouse to play.

this promises to be a very special night for us, so won't you help us celebrate? coming soon, i'll be selling $10 advance tickets online via paypal (or cash if you can track me down in person).

stay tuned to and for more details.

stop the madness!
the indy star site has gotten a lot of flak in the past—from this blog in particular—for insufficient moderation of its comments. recently, the star adopted a new design that brings user comments right onto the same page as the news article.

many have wondered how the new setup would fare in warding off hate speech and the other filth that used to run rampant—the new system requires commenters to register, which some speculated would keep out some of the worst offenders. today, we get our first major test: another story about foot baths at the airport!

so how does it fare? well, things don't seem to be any better. not only are the comments still brimming with offensive muslim-hate, but i had no trouble finding this racial slur—it was the second comment on the story:

stop the madness, indeed! note the timestamp: 6 a.m. i'm writing this at 9:30 and the comment is still there. in fact, i clicked that report abuse link at least 20 minutes ago and the comment's still up. how long does it take to get hate speech deleted from

but my favorite part is that five people recommended the comment. five people saw the words "towel heads" and thought, yeah, i agree with that! click!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 
new backgrounds!
i got some mixed reviews for the previous backgrounds, so i've replaced them with some newer ones. i'll probably change them every couple months.

click refresh to see them all!

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