Monday, January 27, 2014

Bosma Uses Fuzzy Math to Blame HJR-3 Committee Shift on Another Representative

Photo from
Speaker Bosma apparently doesn't realize how the process of counting works.

We all know what shenanigans he pulled in switching up committees on HJR-3 so that he could get it through committee, even though the original committee he assigned it do didn't have enough votes.  Those shenanigans were all the doings of Bosma.  Sure, there might have been some behind the scenes influence that encouraged him down that path.  When it came down to actually making the committee move, though...yep...that was all Bosma.

And you are going to LOVE how he chose to pass the blame.

It's Not MY Fault...It's HIS fault!!!

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reported late Friday that the Speaker had been busy pointing fingers at another representative as the cause of him being "forced" to change HJR-3's committee assignment.  According to them, Bosma placed the blame on Representative Dan Leonard, another Republican out of Huntington.

Check out this asinine quote they got from the Speaker:

My goal has from the start been to have this come to the floor because as I've said I don't think one person should be making this decision on behalf of all 100 members and that's what we were down to in the Judiciary committee.  One person making the decision and taking away the opportunity for every member here to cast their vote, whether it's yes or no.

You see, Leonard refused to come out and say how he was going to vote on the measure.  Somehow, in Bosma's world of fuzzy math, that means that Leonard was the sole vote on the topic.

You get that?  Bosma said one person shouldn't be making the decision for the entire House.  Leonard was a swing vote, and he hadn't announced his voting intentions.  So Bosma relates that to him being the sole decision maker for the entire Legislature.

Ummmm...that only works if Leonard is a committee of ONE, Mr. Speaker.  The fact you're ignoring is that if he would have voted against the bill, he would have been only one of SEVEN votes against it.  He would hardly be making the decision on his own. Yet, somehow, in Speaker Bosma's little land of make-believe, just because you don't announce your vote somehow makes you the only vote being cast.

The reality is, and we all know it, that Bosma refused to let this bill die as it could have in that committee.  So the Speaker, of his own free will and accord, moved the bill to a committee that he knew it would sail through.

Do you REALLY think we don't know what you did, Mr. Speaker?  Do you REALLY think that we believe that you thought one man was making the decision for everybody?  Guess what?  We don't buy it.

You the Speaker of the House, for cryin' out loud.  Have some accountability.  When you make the call, take the blame for making the call.  Don't try to say this was because of someone else.  You've found a way to make your pathetic move even more shameful.   And that was a hard hurdle to jump.

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Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support, Court Says

An Open Letter to Brian Bosma, cc: The Indiana Republican Establishment

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support, Court Says

In an insane example of government gone wrong, a court has ruled that a sperm donor must pay child support for the for the girl born out of his kindness.

CNN, along with numerous other sources, is reporting that William Marotta has been ordered by a Kansas judge to pay child support after supplying a sperm donation to a lesbian couple seeking to have a child.  Marotta signed away parental rights, and the women were happy to be able to have a child to call their own.

That is, until the couple split up.  Then all the loopholes start popping up.  You see, the couples did not use a physician to perform the insemination.   (How's that work?  Turkey baster?)  That step, which according to Kansas law is not only in place for the purposes of testing for STDs and genetic disorders, but also as evidence that the donor was, in fact, a donor, and not the mother's lover.

Apparently after they split, one of the women somehow became disabled or otherwise unable to work, and applied for aid from the state.  As part of the state's research, they learned that Marotta was the biological father of the child and in turn demand he cough up support money.

Despite the fact the Marotta had no idea that the women were not going to use the services of a physician for the insemination, all documents related to the insemination are considered null and void.  This includes, according to the court, the paper Marotta signed waiving any parental rights and stating he would assume no financial liability for the child.

Marotta told the media that all he did was donate genetic material, nothing more.  He has only met the child, now 4, once.  That meeting was merely in passing as they happened to be in the same place at the same time.

Letter vs. Intent of the Law

I'm pretty sure this judge got it wrong.  Admittedly, I don't know the Kansas laws being used.  But I do know that part of the job of a judge is to interpret the law, especially as to how it may apply to unprecedented cases.  There's no part of me that can believe the law regarding physician involvement in insemination was ever supposed to be interpreted like this.

I think the intent of the participants was clear...the lesbian couple wanted a sperm donor so that they could have a child all their own.  William Marotta only wanted to be a nice guy and help a couple have a baby because they were unable to do so on their own.

I also think the intent of the law, as I've heard it discussed in the media, was clear.  Physician involvement was required for the purposes of genetic testing, sexually transmitted disease testing, and to provide evidence that the donor was in fact a donor and not a lover.

Between the documentation signed by all parties and the testimony they provided, I'm more than positive that such evidence was provided.  So why were the courts so strict on their interpretation of the law?

Is This Whole Thing About Gay Rights?

That's right, boys and girls, boys and boys, girls and girls.  There's a lot of people saying that this whole thing is happening to prove a point
about gay rights in Kansas.  You see, Kansas doesn't allow gay marriage and also doesn't have many laws that are tolerant of homosexual rights.  Since this story involves a gay couple that went out on their own and decided to have a child in a way that circumvented standard protocol (read: being straight), then maybe the powers that be in Kansas want to make a point that such things will not be allowed.

Yep, this whole crazy insane ruling might boil down to the fact that this judge, and who knows who else in Kansas, wanted to be clear that anything beneficial to the gay community will not be allowed in their state.  To hell with personal privacy.  To hell with the validity of contracts signed by people of sound mind and body. If a gay person may benefit, throw it all in the trash.

I'm not as quick as many to write this off as some anti-gay statement.  I acknowledge it's a possibility, but it seems a stretch to make it as an absolute determination at this time.

I don't hesitate, though, to say that the courts got it wrong.  All this guy wanted to do was help.  All these women wanted was a child to say was their own.  To pervert their intentions into some financial liability for Mr. Marotta is sickening.  

Marotta is quoted as saying, "I'm not her parent."  No, you're not, sir.  And it's horrible of the court to suggest so.

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An Open Letter to Brian Bosma, CC: The Indiana Republican Establishment

Thursday, January 23, 2014

An Open Letter to Brian Bosma, CC: The Indiana Republican Establishment

Speaker Bosma -

I hope you are proud of yourself.  Actually, I am quite sure that my hope is unnecessary....I BET you're proud of yourself.  I bet you are gloating to your fellow GOP buddies about you really pulled a good one off.  And to some degree, I guess you did.

But allow me, for a moment, to be frank with you about what you are doing, and what will end up happening because of it.

I understand and accept in your position that when HJR-3 was introduced, it was your duty and responsibility to assign it to committee.   That's your job.  And you did it.

But when you realized that the committee that you assigned it to wasn't going to get the bill through, you had another duty and responsibility: let the committee continue with its assigned duty and allow it to die.  You sent it to the committee, you should accept the outcome from that committee as you would with any other law.

Instead, though, you did something horrible and despicable.  You realized your precious anti-gay amendment was doomed, so you did something unprecedented and yanked it from that committee and had it reassigned to another.  And you chose one not only heavy with Republicans, but Republicans you knew would fall in line and vote as you ordered them to.

And the committee did exactly as you wished.  With barely more than 24 hours notice, they arranged a hearing, heard some testimony, and called a vote before anyone could even review the testimony.  And, just as you anticipated (or demanded), the vote came down right along party lines.  Your Republicans won the vote 9-3.  Now, the bill is off to the full house for them to vote on.

So here's what you've done:  first, you've prolonged the inevitable.  This bill is doomed.  It has little to no chance of clearing the House, and even if it does it is nearly guaranteed to die at the hands of voters.

Second, you are making Indiana a laughing stock.  Across our nation stories are being published reporting on what you are doing.  And they aren't positive ones.  In fact, they are telling tales of what backward, extremist bigots we Hoosiers are.  And I don't like that, because you don't represent us well.

Third, you are destroying the Republican Party.  I'm not a Republican, so I'm not personally hurt by this.  But you ARE a Republican.  And it's YOUR're one of their highest leaders.  And the people of this state, and our country, are looking at the moves you and those like you are making and are abandoning your party at an alarming rate.  The Republican Party is dying, and you are one of the causes.

Fourth, you are driving residents away from the State of Indiana.  You are driving current residents out, and you are driving potential residents to other states.  Good people.  Smart people.  Entrepreneurs.  Business leaders.  White collar and blue collar alike.

History is watching you, Speaker Bosma.  Your legacy is now tainted forever.  Whether or not you are successful, which you will not be, you will be a name that goes down in history as one of the most disgusting and vile people in Indiana history.  In a few generations, your name and the names of those like you will fill textbooks, and those reading them will find you despicable and wonder how a society ever would have elected someone like you to lead us.

It's probably too late to stop history from frowning upon you, Mr. Speaker.  But it's not too late to end this before it goes any further.  Let this bill die.  Don't continue to let this path of yours tarnish the name of our great state or its citizens.


Josh Featherstone

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bill to Eliminate Straight Ticket Voting Introduced

Senator Mike Delph has introduced a bill to eliminate straight ticket voting at the general election ballot box in Indiana.  Straight ticket voting does very little or nothing to support the strength of the voter in Indiana.  Instead, it gives uncanny amounts of support to political parties, since the masses of uneducated voters will often choose to simply pull a straight-party vote rather than taking time to learn about the candidates they are voting for.

Of course, this bill was instantly met with resistance (and by instantly, I mean I've only HEARD that it's going to be SB 35 because the General Assembly doesn't even have information about the bill up on their website as of this typing).  The prevailing attitude among those that are opposed to this legislation is that it tells voters how they can or cannot vote.  Frankly, that is simply wrong.

Fellow blogger Jon Easter, of the Indy Democrat Blog was seen commenting on at least a couple of threads on Facebook regarding this issue.  This comment, in particular, stood out to me:

If I wish to vote straight ticket, then I should have that choice. He assumes that I don't know what I'm voting for when I choose to use the straight ticket choice. I don't use it every time, but, when I do, I know what the heck I'm doing.

 First, even without straight ticket voting available, you, as a voter, still have that choice.  All you have to do is go down through the ballot and vote for those members of the party you choose to support.  Second, I trust Jon Easter to be an educated voter and know "what the heck" he's doing...but frankly, I don't trust most voters to do the same.

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm not saying that voters are stupid or idiots or anything of the sort.  I'm only saying that, for the average voter, many of the small local races don't feel important to them.  Few voters choose to research those races and discover which option they truly support.  And if that voter chooses to vote straight ticket rather than doing that research then they just might vote for someone they don't at all believe in, or quite possibly disagree with wholeheartedly.  

Of course, eliminating straight ticket voting doesn't eliminate that problem outright.  But it may go a long way in beginning to slow it down.  You see, many of those straight ticket voters may not vote in every race that is on the ballot the way they currently are.  They may look down the ballot and say, "you know what, I don't know anything at all about this race or its candidates....I'm gonna take a pass."  Or, they might say, "You know, I know nothing about this race or its candidates.  I'm gonna check them out and try to learn some more before heading to the ballot box."

Either way, we, as voters and citizens, win as a whole.  I think everyone should vote.  I think everyone should make themselves as informed as possible and vote on every race they can.  But I also believe that voting blindly for candidates in races that you neither know, care about, have researched, nor understand does you no favors.  It does no other citizens any favors, either.

Not every voter is Jon Easter.  They don't all live and breathe politics and politicians.  And if they can't even bother to learn more about the offices they are voting for, or the candidates in those races, then I don't think that making them at least scroll down the ballot for their name and/or party identity is really that bad of a thing.

P.S. - Just in case you were wondering, straight ticket voting has been on a very steady downturn over the last few decades.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are only fourteen states that still have straight ticket voting.  Indiana is one of them.  Let's not let this issue turn into another Sunday alcohol sales...let's not become the laughing stock of the nation by being the last state to get it right.

***UPDATE*** While I was typing this post, Jon Easter also posted on Indy Democrat Blog about this topic.  Check out his post "Delph Wants to Spoil Ballot on Straight-Ticket Voting."  Jon has a very high quality blog that is definitely worth a few minutes of your time each day.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Indiana Libertarian Party's Facebook Page Deleted; Facebook Has Few Answers

If you follow the Libertarian Party of Indiana (LPIN) on Facebook, maybe you noticed that they weren't
appearing in your news feed lately.  Maybe you were one of the people interested  enough to try to find their page and look over it, but had no luck doing so.  Well, there's a reason why:  it's gone.

Sometime Friday the LPIN's Facebook page just disappeared.  Upon learning of the missing page, party leadership began looking for answers as to why the page was gone, and who was responsible for its disappearance.  The party reached out to Facebook for answers, hoping the missing page was just a glitch and that could be easily remedied.

Facebook is notorious for being a difficult company for getting direct answers to real people, and this case was no different.  Despite reaching out early to Facebook, it was Monday afternoon before LPIN Chair Dan Drexler was able to speak to a representative about the issue.

Drexler's conversation with Facebook didn't provide many answers, though.  The conversation also, unfortunately, didn't leave much hope for the return of the page.

Facebook informed Drexler that the LPIN page was somehow breached.  Whether breach was defined as an intentional hacking of the page or a virus or some other intrusion was not clear, as there were some specifics that Facebook would not reveal.  When the breach occurred, though, the page was unpublished.

LPIN Chair Dan Drexler
The most somber news from Drexler's conversation with Facebook was that the company doesn't have a magic switch they can throw to turn the page back on.  Apparently, once the LPIN's Facebook page was unpublished, it was gone for good.

Despite the content of the page being lost forever, there is still a small glimmer of hope for the LPIN.  The page was one of the most "Liked" State Libertarian Party Facebook pages in the nation, and had more than five thousand followers.  Facebook indicated they will be working this week to see if there is still any way for those "Likes" to be salvaged and then incorporated into whatever new page the LPIN starts.  Drexler will be speaking with Facebook representatives again later this week to learn what they found.

In the meantime, the LPIN is trying to stay focused on business as usual.  Chairman Drexler was in Newburgh, just East of Evansville, last night for the official affiliation of the Warrick County Libertarian Party.  The Party is also remaining committed this year to the Double the LP campaign, geared towards growing their membership.

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Five Real(?) Impacts of a Government Shutdown

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Five Real(?) Impacts of a Government Shutdown

You want to prove that a government "shutdown" is really a misnomer and that hardly anything that really matters gets affected?  Perhaps you should look around at the major media reports of what is going to happen.

For example, you might want to take a look at this story form Elizabeth Hartfield of ABC News.  She penned this article Saturday, and it seems that she wants to convince you that a government shutdown is a horrible thing to endure. Her tone implies that she believes a shutdown should be avoided at all costs.

But why does she believe that?  Why does she have such a concern about a government shutdown that she would write an article for a major news source titled "Five Real Impacts of a Government Shutdown,"  an article whose title alone seems to imply fear about even considering the idea?  Well, of course, we're lucky enough to have her spell those reasons out to us.  I think you'll find, though, that those reasons might surprise you.

You see, Hartfield goes back to the last real government shutdown, in late 1995 and early 1996, and examined what REALLY happens when the government is shut down.  She points out that she fears the current lawmakers that are considering a shutdown may not really remember the impact of the shutdown that occurred back then.  And, as you might imagine, in order to prove her point, she picks out some of the biggest things that were impacted.

And that's where I find the point that a government "shutdown" isn't really all that bad at all.  Let's take a look at the five things she mentions.

Suspension of Approval of Applications for Small Business Loans

Don't get me wrong here...I love small business.  I believe that small businesses are truly the driving force of America.  But I am not convinced that suspending approval for small business loans for some indefinite, but probably short, time is necessarily all that bad.  In fact, I'm not even sure that it's the government's job at all.  I'm not completely against the idea of these loans, but there's no way you can convince me that a temporary suspension of these loans is going to have have some horrible impact on our country as a whole.

Museums, Monuments and Parks Would Shut Down

So what?  Again, don't get me wrong, museums, monuments, and parks are all great.  I do believe that there is some benefit in our government archiving our history and our arts.  I do believe that there is benefit to having some areas of land set aside for us to be able to enjoy the beauties of nature.  But I also think that if the government is in dire straits, these should be the first things to go.  And considering the reality that any government shutdown is going to be short-lived, no harm done.

Medical Research Interrupted

So this one sounds pretty bad.  But that's just SOUNDS bad.  Truth is, it sounds worse than it is.  It makes it sound like all medical research in the world would come to a screeching halt, and that simply isn't the case.  Plenty of private organizations are doing medical research and plenty of government funded research has already received its money.  You're going to hear plenty of people try to spin this like the cure for cancer will somehow now be lost forever, but that simply isn't the case.

Passport Services Suspended

Well, except in case of emergency.  A passport is good for ten years.  Unless you're a traveler that has procrastinated, then no worries.  This will impact like 0.001% of people.

D.C. Residents, Start Composting

So apparently residents of the District have trash pickup as a government service.  Since Congress must pass the D.C. budget, things like trash service would probably be suspended.  But I'm sure there will probably not
be any shortage of private companies coming to save the day by offering trash pickup to the city.  As a resident of a city that takes care of trash pickup, I wouldn't mind the option to shop for the best service myself.

So Does That Sound So Bad?

Take a second and just look back over that list of five things above.  Try not to chuckle when you do so.  Go ahead...I'll wait.

Now ask yourself, was there anything on that list that really concerns you at all?  I mean, even if you would like to keep the above things going, don't you think it's not going to hurt anything if they are all put on pause for a bit?

And don't forget that this list came from an article that was written to scare you.  It was written to convince you that a government shutdown is unbearable  She says she's afraid you don't remember or weren't around for the last shutdown and went back and did research to remind us of all the bad things that will happen.

But mostly don't forget that, after all that trouble, the above list was all she could come up with when it was time for her to write down the top five reasons a shutdown should scare us.  Yep...that's the five worst things she could find.

I think I can live with that.  How about you?

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Why the Starbucks Gun Carrying Statement Doesn't Bother Me at All, and Why Gun Advocates May be to Blame

Army's "Information Dominance Center" Designed to Look Like the Bridge of The Enterprise

Friday, September 20, 2013

IMPD Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

We are saddened this morning to hear of the death of IMPD Officer Rod Bradway.  Officer Bradway was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the area of 46th St. and I-465.

Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Officer Bradway's family and friends, as well as to the entire IMPD community.

Please stay tuned to your favorite local news source for updates on this story.