Thursday, December 15, 2005

inside indiana politics

i'm a bit behind on all this—if you're already reading hoosier blogs like advance indiana or the ones on my blogroll (and i should add advance indiana to my blogroll) then you've already heard most of this—but with the holidays coming up i might not have as much time to blog, so let's get some content up while we can, eh?

the HRO (prop 622, which would among other things protect people in indianapolis from discrimination based on sexual orientation/identity) passed out of committee the other day, on a 5-3 party-line vote. word is that the meeting was long, crowded, and vocal. tons of people came in to testify, with the HRO supporters outnumbering the opposition, which resorted to the usual irrational hate and fear arguments.

totally by chance, i was watching a recorded program on tivo, and after it ended i was left watching fox 59. fox 59 news did a brief report on the HRO's passage, and i just happened to see a clip of steph mineart on tv testifying. (steph and i work for the same parent company, in the same building.) but my favorite quote comes from this indy star piece:

David Matthias, who said he was a business owner and landlord from Warren Township, said if the proposal fails, he will fire all his heterosexual employees and evict all his heterosexual tenants. He pointed out that the ordinance would protect heterosexuals, as well.

"Why would I do it?" he asked council members. "Because I can. Only you can stop me by voting for this proposal."

heh. of course, this is right, and reports that the HRO would "protect gays and lesbians" are inaccurate. the HRO would protect everyone from sexual-orientation-based disrimination, although heterosexuals are never discriminated against in this way. but they could be, and they would not be protected unless the HRO passes. still, some people don't get it, and some councillors have reportedly started receiving threatening emails and letters.

and speaking of threats, indiana house speaker brian bosma has decided to appeal the recent decision that would ban sectarian prayer from the statehouse.

b-boz's arguments are still disingenuous; he tries to frame it as though prayer was banned or his first amendment rights have been trampled, neither of which are actually true:

While the state fights the ruling, Bosma said, "we will find a way to have prayer within the (judge's) order in one fashion or another."

of course, the judge said it was perfetly fine to "have prayer", so long as it isn't overtly sectarian, doesn't proselytize, and doesn't mention jesus etc by name. so this is a line of bull from bosma; hardly surprising since b-boz has been breaking up rails of bull for us to snort for a long time now.

then there's this quote, which almost every blogger seems to mention:

"I've taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of this state and the United States 11 times, 10 as an elected official and one as a lawyer," Bosma said. "Direct defiance of a federal judge's order I don't think would be a respectful means of an elected official showing that we are a nation of laws and not of men."

i'm mildly (and pleasantly) surprised that bosma figured out this fact, which i had pointed out in my previous post on the topic.

not that b-boz has been reading my blog or anything. i'm quite certain he hasn't. state officials, especially republicans, have other priorities than reading this meager blog. now, city officials, on the other hand...

yes, last week's nuvo article about miss ann and her appearance on abdul in the morning last friday attracted a lot of attention to the miss ann story, including some people with the city of indianapolis. people on city computers started poring through miss ann's website on friday, and chances are pretty high that they at least stopped by here too. hi there, city flacks!

it also attracted a swarm of new commenters to the miss ann posts. this one in particular now holds the record of "most-commented-on entry" on the blog, currently at 17 comments (though i wrote 7 of those). that got a little hairy, as a few commenters insisted that the area where miss ann lives is "undesirable", which i had a bit of a problem with considering that i live in that area and grew up there as well. i was a bit confused by it all, since if you were standing in front of miss ann's house looking at the neighborhood you would probably think it was a pretty damn nice area. what these commenters really had a problem with is the poor people who live a few blocks away; i tried to explain the intricacies of MKNA politics and demographics, but they weren't having it. (and i suspect what they really had a problem with is the fact that those poor people nearby are predominantly black.) but that discussion died down a couple days ago.

and the story even attracted at least one troll, who started polluting the comments with silly nonsense and some distasteful comments. see the last comments on the previously mentioned post for some examples. i will not feed the troll by linking to or rebutting any of his comments. i was strongly tempted to delete one particular comment that even hurt my feelings (it wasn't on a miss ann thread; that's the only hint i'm giving), and was even tempted to turn on comment moderation for a while, but i have done neither and currently have no intention to. trolls come with traffic, and i'll just deal with it. but i still reserve the right to delete comment spam, and even offensive comments if i feel it necessary.

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