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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Friday, July 25, 2014 2:20 PM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads strewn about the room. It was clear that an FSB agent stopped in to get a better handle on who this American journalist might actually be.

Since last Thursday, when it appears that Ukrainian separatists working with the Russian military shot down Malaysian Air Flight 17 killing 298 people, the entire civilized world now has a greater appreciation of the nature of Putin. On the Sunday morning talk shows, U.S. Rep. Peter King described him as a “Mafia guy” and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, the term “thug” was common-place.

The scenes we’ve witnessed at the crash site have been appalling and third world. In the following days, viewers saw imagery of rebels picking through the debris field, removing missile shards, as well as wedding rings and other personal effects. Crumpled bodies were stacked in the summer heat along railroad tracks, and then loaded into refrigerated rail cars. Dutch forensic team members finally given access five days later appeared stunned at the entire fiasco.

Included in this jarring scene were Indiana University graduate student and rower Karlijn Keijzer and 297 other souls (as well as 80 children and infants), including former Kankakee Valley High School exchange student Laurens Van Der Graaff, her travel companion.
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  • By SHAW FRIEDMAN
    LaPORTE  – What’s the matter with Kansas? It’s a Laffer all right, but it’s no laughing matter. That’s right. Arthur Laffer, former Reagan advisor and tax cut champion who was invited in to speak at Gov. Pence’s recent closed door “Tax Competitiveness and Simplification” Conference in July is still peddling (for a hefty speaking fee) the same discredited trickle-down, supply-side tax-cut nonsense that helped tank the economy under the Bush administration. His latest disaster was urging Kansas’ Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to enact the largest tax cuts in percentage terms in one year that the state has ever enacted.  Same old bromides coming from the same old, tired advisors who have wrongly advised those in government for years.  It’s the same witch doctor stuff that the Indiana Chamber of Commerce tried to peddle this last session of the legislature when they sought to completely eliminate the business personal property tax and claim that once again magically such tax cuts would pay for themselves with increased business activity and new revenues. 
  • By DAVE KITCHELL
    LOGANSPORT – Any Hoosier who wanted to walk into an Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch and plunk down a little extra spendable income to reserve a specialty vanity license plate for the last year has had to deal with this reality: You can’t pay the state money to do it. That’s because the vanity plate program has been delayed while state officials sort out the controversy over what might be considered offensive language on the plate. Meanwhile, state coffers have suffered because Hoosiers who want to give the state their money can’t. This story is relevant because it serves as a terrific example of how inept state government can be when it is given a challenge, even one as innocuous as determining what the rules are for spending your money on a state service. 
  • By RICH JAMES
    MERRILLVILLE – Although their numbers have fallen, unions in Northwest Indiana remain a viable force when it comes to electing folks to public office. Politicians – make that largely Democratic candidates – go out of their way to seek the support of unions. And if they win a union endorsement, the fact is proudly displayed on campaign literature prior to primary and general elections. That union label is in large part why there are signs in yards across the region proclaiming “Proud Union Home.” Many times, the signs will refer to the specific union. As a result, the Northwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades, the United Steelworkers of America, Teamsters and other unions remain a viable part of the fabric of Northwest Indiana. 
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND - South Bend’s city council, now a punch line for jokes, is ridiculed as the most quarrelsome council around here since Snyderville days in Roseland. Spending nearly half the year in snappish deliberation over a councilman posting an obscene picture of a naked man and a dog on Facebook will do that to a council’s image. Especially when that flap was only part of the flapping and the result was no resulting resolution. But the South Bend Council is better than Congress. OK, maybe that’s faint praise, like saying a baseball team is better than the Chicago Cubs. But the South Bend Council is much better than Congress. Congress has hurt the nation, rejecting a jobs bill for economic recovery, lowering the nation’s credit rating with deficit default and government closing shenanigans and shattering investor confidence with stalemate on budget, deficit, infrastructure and immigration issues. The council hasn’t hurt the city. Not yet.
        
     
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Brooks fights EPA farm water regulation
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks takes to the House floor and asks the EPA to withdraw a farmland water regulation.
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  • HPI Analysis: Midterm wave election not materializing
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The 2014 election cycle conventional wisdom went something like this: With Obamacare so utterly unpopular, with President Obama’s approval numbers mired in the low 40th percentile, and the historical second mid-term quicksand for the president’s party creating a conspicuous obstacle down ballot, this had the potential to be a “wave election.” For Hoosiers expecting waves, I would recommend the Michigan City lighthouse as a cold front passes through. As far as the November ballot is concerned, this has the look and feel of a status quo election both in Indiana and across the nation. “I don’t think this is much of a wave year,” said Mike Gentry, who heads the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee. “There is nothing driving interest at the top of the ticket. We don’t have anything to ramp up turnout.”
      
     
  • Flight 17 atrocity and turning points for President Putin
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Putin regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads strewn about the room. It was clear that an FSB agent stopped in to get a better handle on who this American journalist might actually be. There had been a peaceful transfer of power between President Boris Yeltsin to Putin seven years prior, capping the decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union that few predicted. Putin had won a subsequent election, though he controlled state media and international observers had determined it rigged. Russian people could now travel more freely to the West, and Russian hockey players populated the NHL without having to go through the rigors of defection.
     
  • Indiana Republicans have big CD, statewide 2Q money leads
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Nationally, Congressional Democrats are out-raising their Republican counterparts, but back home in Indiana, GOP incumbents are walloping their challengers. The same holds true for the Republican statewide nominees, with all three significantly out-raising Democrats. This quarter furthered the storyline we’ve already been watching: Congressional challengers just aren’t raising any cash or getting any traction, while the incumbents continue to haul it in. It appears it’s going to be a quiet November in the Hoosier state. U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski is the big winner for this quarter, bringing in $338K, edging out U.S. Rep. Todd Young’s $334K and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks’ $309K. The trio out-distanced the pack, as the next closest was U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman with $214K.
     

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  • Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas headed to Cooperstown
    “Don’t believe the hype.” - Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas in the early days of his career. Thomas will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Sunday after hitting 521 homers and winning two American League MVPs and a batting title. He did it cleanly in an era which was marred by many of his star competitors who used PEDs. In his case, the "hype" was to be believed. Howey Politics Indiana is proud to be a fan of “The Big Hurt.” 
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Should Pence run?

Do you believe Gov. Mike Pence will seek reelection in 2016 or run for president?


 

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