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Friday, June 27, 2008 
shorter matt tully
shorter matt tully: how do i love mayor greg ballard? let me count the ways:

10. he's lousy at public speaking.
9. his panhandling plan won't work, but it's something.
8. he flip-flopped on the super bowl and arts funding, which is good because his old position was stupid.
7. he's been really lucky so far. i mean, really lucky.
6. he didn't do too good a job at fixing potholes.
5. i think his chinatown idea is great.
4. did i mention how lucky he's been?
3. he hasn't messed up! (other than #10, #9, #8, #6, #5, and #2.)
2. actually, he hasn't done much at all, except for...
1. he's in charge of the police department now. see, that's something!

matt tully xoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 
shorter gary welsh
shorter gary welsh: barack obama has only himself to blame for the fact that people like me keep printing outlandish smears against him.

shorter mitch daniels
shorter mitch daniels: a vote for the incumbent is a vote for change! war is peace! ignorance is strength! freedom is slavery!

Monday, June 23, 2008 
city councillor arrested, right-wingers rejoice
last night, councilwoman doris minton-mcneill got arrested. if you piece together the news reports, here's what happened: she called the police about someone she didn't like in her home. by the time the police showed up, the man she'd called about had left. after talking to the cops for a minute, she tried to run into her house, apparently bumping into a cop and knocking her over.

that's why she was arrested: for bumping into a cop. surely not her best day, but hardly a high crime, either. of course, from the way republicans like tom john are reacting, you'd think she'd murdered someone.

i knew gary welsh would be all over this—a black democrat getting arrested is his bread and butter. sure enough, not only does he have a post about it, but he takes it to the next level, claiming that minton-mcneill pissed herself in the back on the squad car—exactly the kind of classy detail i expect from him. (when called out for his tactlessness, he responded with more tactless allegations. compare this to his reaction when news or eric dickerson's arrest got out: gary threw a fit that lasted two full months about how it the allegations were untrue and it was all a democrat dirty trick.)

so there you have it. a politician bumps into a cop accidentally, and within hours, people are online howling about how she pissed on herself. from now on, right-wingers will insist it's a fact that she pissed on herself, regardless that this "fact" has not appeared in any reputable media source, only as an uncredited claim in a smear merchant's blog.

update: the police report alleges that she willfully pushed the cop out of her way.

2nd update: an eyewitness claims that she didn't push the police officer, and that furthermore "the officers wouldn't listen to Minton-McNeill's requests for help [...] or look for the man" who minton-mcneill had called them about.

RIP george carlin

george carlin, a comedy legend, has passed away of heart disease. he was 71.

carlin's "filthy words" routine was the subject of a landmark first amendment case, FCC v pacifica that i studied in college in my first amendment law class.

Friday, June 20, 2008 
google street view glitches disappear

last year, google introduced their street view feature, and i spent a few days virtually wandering the streets of san francisco, looking for bizarre glitches.

google street view is essentially a street-level view of the city, achieved by driving a customized van with funky cameras on its roof throughout the city streets. the cameras on those first san francisco vans were vulnerable to two types of glitches. there were solarization errors, where the images were corrupted by too-bright sunlight. and there were stitching errors, because the panoramic images were "stitched" together from multiple camera lenses, and things didn't always match up.

since then, a lot more cities have been indexed into street view (including indy), and the tech has improved. the new cameras are truly panoramic, so there are no stitching errors, and they're not as sensitive to bright light, so solarization glitches are minimized. the street view of indianapolis, for example, has occasional glitches, but most of the major ones are mapping errors, where the data from the camera doesn't match up to the maps quite right.

now, i see that google has apparently re-indexed san francisco with newer cameras. all the glitches that i'd so carefully collected are gone; only the screenshots on flickr remain. overall, this is good news, because street view becomes dated quickly. (remember when gas was only $3.25/gallon?) but it's a bit of a shame, because some of those glitches were fantastically surreal—and suitably psychedelic, considering the location.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 
tail between legs, elrod slinks back to indiana house

i'd heard the rumors, ever since ipopa first floated them, but never thought it would be true. yet it is: jon elrod is dropping out of the congressional race for indiana's 7th district and retreating back to the seat in the indiana house that he had abandoned.

state law forbids candidates from simultaneously running for state and federal office, so elrod had chosen to give up his indiana seat for a shot at the big time. carolene mays and david orentlicher made the same gamble in the democratic primary and lost. but no other republican had chosen to run for indiana house 97, elrod's old/current seat, leaving a vacancy on the ballot for him to slip back into.

however, the voters of his district will surely remember his opportunism, come november. they'll think, "jon elrod doesn't care about representing our district. this is just a stepping stone to him. he's only here because he knew he couldn't defeat andré carson." and they'll be correct.

there's no undo button in politics. you can't just reload an old saved game if you make a poor decision. he might've had a good chance of reelection if he'd simply stayed put. now, i suspect his chances aren't as good.

this been a hell of a week for republican congressional candidates. first word gets out about eric dickerson's bankruptcy, and now this. and unlike the dickerson story, this one will be a lot harder for republicans to ignore.

now, locals republicans need to find another sucker to run against carson... and they don't have much time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 
AP wants bloggers to pay for block quotes
this is another one of those topics where i have nothing to add to the conversation; i can only point out to my readers that the conversation exists. from boingboing:

In the name of "defin[ing] clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt" the Associated Press is now selling "quotation licenses" that allow bloggers, journallers, and people who forward quotations from articles to co-workers to quote their articles. The licenses start at $12.50 for quotations of 5-25 words. The licensing system exhorts you to snitch on people who publish without paying the blood-money, offering up to $1 million in reward money (they also think that "fair use" -- the right to copy without permission -- means "Contact the owner of the work to be sure you are covered under fair use.").

It gets better! If you pay to quote the AP, but you offend the AP in so doing, the AP "reserves the right to terminate this Agreement at any time if Publisher or its agents finds Your use of the licensed Content to be offensive and/or damaging to Publisher's reputation."

a lot of bloggers are announcing a formal boycott of AP stories: they will no longer link to or quote from AP stories, and will instead find alternate news sources to promote. i'm on board with that, but i won't go quite so far.

as a general rule, i won't link to or quote from AP stories—unless the point of the quote is to criticize the AP or its coverage. in other words, i'll no longer be quoting the AP as a news source; i'll quote AP only as an object of derision, at least until they atone for this assault on fair use rights.

Monday, June 16, 2008 
all of this has happened before...
one of the things that's so sad about gary welsh's anti-obama schtick is that it's so unoriginal. roy edroso has his number:

If you missed the one on Michelle Obama, now might be a good time to have a look, as conservatives are complaining that the "Whitey" Tape story is being pinned on them unfairly. Of course Larry Johnson got that ball rolling, and the smarter conservatives refused to fall for it. So instead of telling us that the story was true, they told us it was believable, given the towering evil of Mrs. Obama. It's an old blogosphere trick, but not so well known that it doesn't bear pointing out.

that's pretty much the ultimate "shorter gary welsh", condensed to its essence. but roy wasn't writing about gary; i'd be surprised if he'd ever even heard of gary or his blog.

far from being an intrepid journalist as gary pretends, his "reporting" on obama is nothing more than an echo of something much larger. there are thousands just like him throughout the country, repeating the same smears and smug self-justifications, and they're largely interchangeable.

not only is gary's obama blogging credulous, over-the-top, sleazy, and slanderous, but it's boring. it's been done before, on a thousand other blogs. at least when gary writes about indiana politics, even when he's at his worst, there's a fair chance that i haven't heard it before. his obama blogging is just banal.

in the early days of this blog, i wrote far more about national politics. these days i generally don't, other than the occasional short post to note major events. i just feel redundant; there are so many blogs out there discussing national politics that i rarely feel i have anything new to add. i'm an artist and the blog is just one of my projects; i don't have time to compete at that level. most of my posts now are about indiana politics because it's easier to be relevant in the much-smaller pool of indiana blogs.

in contrast, gary's blog is called "advance indiana"! what do larry sinclair or michelle obama have to do with advancing indiana, or for that matter, "re-affirming our state's constitutional principles"? gary's obama rants aren't even on-topic!

eric dickerson files bankruptcy
some marion county republicans were disappointed when eric dickerson, who had run against julia carson for congress in 2006, opted not to get into the race again this year. the IBJ reports on a possible reason: dickerson is bankrupt:

Former car dealer and congressional candidate Eric Dickerson has filed for personal bankruptcy after three failed businesses left him saddled with more than $1 million in debt. Dickerson says he is virtually broke save for a $101,000 inheritance he is set to receive from the estate of his late mother. He claims only a few assets, including $10 in cash, 7 cents in a Chase Bank checking account, 25 cents in a Fidelity Investments account, two late-model Chevy trucks worth about $3,000, and a horse, pony and four chickens worth $250. He lives with his girlfriend on a 5-acre spread in Sheridan.

Most of Dickerson’s debts are connected to businesses he formerly owned—a Buick dealership on North Keystone Avenue in Indianapolis, a collision-repair center in Westfield and a Maggie Moo's ice cream shop in Circle Centre mall.

Friday, June 13, 2008 

old-schoolers will remember roslyn bakery. the bakery chain, with its distinctive (and distinctively-shaped) signs, was an indianapolis institution. their buttermilk jumbles were perhaps my sister's favorite cookie growing up.

at the end of the '90s, the whole chain shut down suddenly after the main bakery downtown failed two health inspections in a row. (i'm fuzzy on the details, but i know it involved copious numbers of rats.) the brand was eventually relaunched and sold in local supermarkets, but the many roslyn stores remained shuttered, until they were bought or leased by new clients.

most of the new tenants didn't have cash to tear down those funny-shaped signs, at least not right away. so it was fascinating to watch as new upstart businesses simply slapped their names on the existing signs, appropriating the roslyn trademark shape in the name of 21st century beepers or panda express. for years i daydreamed about driving around town and photographing all the former roslyn signs that had been rebranded... but i waited too long. most have since been removed. (if anyone has any old photos of roslyn signs, either rebranded or in their original form, please send 'em my way.)

this sign, downtown, at the former panda express, is one of the few remaining roslyn signs i know of. the photo is by robin jerstad of the IBJ. as you can see, panda express is now gone, and now the location is becoming a dunkin donuts. you can still see the words "panda express" on the sign, but now a dunkin logo has been slapped on it, too. i suspect that sooner or later, dunkin will tear down this sign and put up a more rectangular one, so i'm glad i came across this photo while the sign's still up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 
shorter gary welsh
shorter gary welsh: i know barack obama is corrupt, because i'm from illinois and everyone from illinois is corrupt. and if you don't believe that obama had coked-up gay sex with an ex-felon in the back of a limousine, then you're probably a dope-smokin' hippie like ruth holladay (who i hate).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 
ACLU sues city over mistreatment of panhandlers
here's an unsurprising development:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit today against the city over what its attorneys see as a too-aggressive crackdown on the homeless in Downtown Indianapolis.

The suit, filed on behalf of four men, says Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers have hassled them even though they weren't breaking state panhandling laws. Two men who were holding cups but not speaking were told by officers they couldn't solicit contributions, the suit says.

Two others who were not soliciting -- but appeared homeless -- have been forced multiple times to produce identification and wait while officers conducted records checks, the lawsuit says.

Such treatment violates the U.S. Constitution's protections of free speech and against unreasonable searches, argues the suit, filed this morning in U.S. District Court. It seeks class-action status and has four homeless men named as plaintiffs: Richard Dellantonio, Douglas Ayres, Ryan McClellan and Richard Byrd.

unsurprising because, as i've written before, it's clear from the mayor's own comments that the city crackdown on panhandlers is born not out of human compassion, but out of disgust and loathing. mayor ballard wants to get rid of those filthy panhandlers, and if that means strong-arming and hassling them, so be it.

beyond satire
after melyssa/miss ann dropped by in the comments of my previous post (at least i think it was her); i decided to stop by her blog, the hoosiers for fair taxation blog. at least i think it's still her blog—she made a big deal earlier this year about her growing political disillusionment and stated that she was going to pass the blog on to a successor, but i don't think that's happened yet.

i stop by HFFT every once in a while for a chuckle, but i was utterly unprepared for what i found there today. this is the current top post at that blog, in its entirety, with links from the original:

FoxNews reports rumor that government will unleash weapons on convention protestors

Big thanks to Sean Shepard who alerted us to this disturbing news article on FoxNews. Obviously a serious rumor is circulating that the government intends to unleash a dibilitating sound frequency on activists and citizens exercising their first amendment rights during the democratic convention in Denver this summer. The sound causes people to involuntarily defecate.

Now contrast that with the Marines and their training exercises happening here in Marion county. The conservative Indiana Minority Report suggests that the government is preparing to install martial law and is practicing in Indiana. Could it be that they will impose martial law and use force to silence property tax protestors?

some bloggers are easy to parodize, but this... i couldn't write a parody of this if i tried. where would i even begin?

Monday, June 09, 2008 
does gary welsh kill puppies?
reliable sources tell me that blogger gary welsh, of advance indiana, loves killing puppies. in particular, my sources inform me that his favorite method of killing them is by drowning.

when gary was recently confronted about these rumors, he notably refused to deny the allegations and instead attacked the messenger, simply for trying to get to the bottom of this serious story about whether he is a puppy murderer.

the fact that he refuses to deny the charges pretty much proves that they're true. after all, what does he have to gain by leaving such shocking charges unanswered? if the charges were in fact false, i'm sure he would have no problem making an emphatic denial.

when will the mainstream media start reporting on this important story of a puppykiller in our midst?

hoosier political report
a few months back, jennifer wagner, one of the state's most prominent and popular bloggers, quit blogging to go work for the jim schellinger campaign. we all know how that turned out: schellinger was defeated in the primary by jill long thompson.

now jen is back with a new blog, hoosier political report. the new site has been active for a couple weeks—thus other blogger announced its arrival long ago—so let's check in and see how things are going there.

hoosier political report essentially replaces the old taking down words blog, with a focus on statewide politics and the governor's race. as usual, jen's commentary and analysis are incisive and insightful. so fans of TDW will definitely find things to like here. but HPR has lots more than what TDW had, so let's look at the new features.

one feature is a daily news update, with a roundup of links to political stories from throughout the state. as someone who is too lazy to check all the major indiana papers—i often just check the indy star and move on—this is a great feature. you can also sign up to receive it as a daily email, which sounds awfully convenient.

another new feature of HPR is other bloggers: HPR is apparently a group blog, and in particular jen promises bipartisan commentary. i'm a bit skeptical there: it seems that the most popular and most successful blogs tend to have a common viewpoint, be it center-left, far-right, hipster, or what have you. i can't think of many quality blogs that successfully blend viewpoints from the right and left, the occasional guest post aside. then again, it could work, and the presence of the other side could help keep everyone more honest. i guess we'll see how that pans out.

a couple of the new posters have already joined up. chris faulkner is an admitted republican, but his two posts so far are pretty good, with nothing objectionable. likewise, i don't know scott downes's political affiliation (i suspect democrat), but his posts so far are perfectly fine.

on the other hand, i'm unimpressed, to put it lightly, by the introductory post by average white male obamican. the whole schtick for this persona is apparently that he can't decide between obama and mccain. seems like an obvious choice to me: a vote for mccain is a vote to continue the horrific policies of george bush (including... no, especially the occupation of iraq), and a vote for obama is a vote to stop the madness. i don't understand why i should care about the opinions of someone who claims he won't know who he's voting for "until I pull the lever", nor what value such musings are supposed to add to the conversation. (never mind the annoying pundit habit of imagining yourself and your beliefs to be "average" or "typical". you can't make yourself into everyman by editorial fiat, unless you legally change your name to "every man" as one of my friends did.)

those are just the bloggers who've posted already. looking at the category listing in the sidebar, i see one more name that troubles me: joshua claybourn. longtime readers may remember that my last attempt to engage claybourn didn't go so well. it all goes back to claybourn's involvement in a 2006 political scandal that came to be known as the "facebook scandal".

as you may recall, claybourn was a supporter of then-rep john hostettler, who was in a contentious race against brad ellsworth. a commenter at in the agora—a group blog shared by claybourn and a few others—noted that ellsworth's daughter, then a 19-year-old IU student, had photos on her facebook page that suggested she engaged in underage drinking. claybourn, on acquiring this dirt on ellsworth, promptly passed it on to the evansville courier & press, and then feighned surprise when the story turned up in the newspaper.

that's where i came in. i posted some uncomfortable questions in the comments at ITA, and not only were my comments deleted, but i was banned from commenting altogether. (eventually my commenting rights were reinstated, but the whole thing left enough of a bad taste in my mouth that i haven't much interest in reading or commenting at that site since.) i don't think he ever did give a satisfactory answer to my question. and on top of that, he repeatedly and substantially edited his post without a disclaimer noting that it had been edited, and at the time the site had a "no caching" policy that made tracking down the original content difficult. (though i believe i was eventually able to piece it together.)

now, in the end it all turned out okay: i got a link from atrios, claybourn won the coveted "wanker of the day" award, and ellsworth got elected despite such republican dirty tricks. but still... jen wagner herself wrote more than once about claybourn's role in the facebook scandal, so i'm a bit puzzled why she would want him on her new blog.

then again, that was two years ago, so i thought i should check in on ITA and see if josh has changed. what did i find? sexist attacks on hillary clinton. the repeated suggestion that there's no difference between gay marriage and incest or polygamy. a huffy post about those crazy artists these days, in which he fell for a hoax and then denied that it was a hoax after this was pointed out to him. and that's just since april. here's hoping his contributions to HPR will be minimal.

overall, i must recommend HPR, both for its daily link update and for quality analysis of indiana politics. but i'm concerned about the attempt at bipartisanship, if it means giving a larger platform to the likes of josh claybourn. time will tell how this strategy works.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 
obama ftw
last night, barack obama won enough delegates to effectively wrap up the democratic nomination. now we go about healing the rifts of the primary.

clinton supporters are understandably upset. their candidate was treated like trash by the misogynist media, which has had it out for all things clinton since the '90s. despite all that, hillary ran a hard-fought campaign and almost pulled it off. like atrios, i'm inclined to believe that if hillary hadn't voted for the iraq war, she would've been a shoo-in. same goes for kerry: he probably could've won if not for that iraq authorization vote...

as for obama's chances in november, i'm pretty sure he has it on lock. but i understand why some clinton supporters are concerned. let's face it, after the atrocities of the bush administration, the democrats should be able to run ficus and get a landslide victory. so the fact that mccain is even polling in the double digits is hard for some to understand. but remember that all those polls were taken while the democratic primary was ongoing. while emotions are still high now, and some clinton supporters claim they won't or can't vote for obama, i'm confident that most of them will come around eventually. they just need time to heal.

Monday, June 02, 2008 
wedding show advance tickets now available!

also, just added: Sir. Vixx!

advance tickets now available for $10 each! go to to get your tickets, or just paypal $10 per ticket to

(don't forget to include your name and mailing address)

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