Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new t-shirt design: belt printed circuit board

my latest obsession is the t-shirt site i'd seen the site before, but only recently learned how it works: users submit shirt designs, other users vote on them, and highly-voted designs are eligible to be printed and sold. if your design is printed, you get a nice chunk of change and maybe some prizes, too.

i have a design up for voting now called belt printed circuit board. the name says it all: it looks like a printed circuit board, and it's a belt print, meaning the pattern completely covers the shirt. check it out, and if you like it, please sign up and vote.

My Submission

the scale goes from 0–5, with 5 being the highest. and if you'd buy one of these shirts if it got printed, be sure to click the "i'd buy it" button, since those count toward the total vote.

dear blogger

dear blogger:

thank you for finally letting me post to my blog after four or five days. however, i still hate you.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

black "recycle your record collection" shirts growing scarce

while they aren't selling as quickly as i'd like, orders continue to trickle in for "recycle your record collection" shirts:

i'm now running out of inventory of black shirts. i only have one large black shirt left! beyond that, i only have two black XL shirts left, and no more than five of any other size available in black. (purple shirts remain relatively unpopular, though i don't have a lot of mediums.)

so if you've always wanted a black "recycle your record collection" shirt but never bought one, or your old one is worn out and needs to be replaced, order now before it's too late! once they sell out, they will never be reprinted, and you'll have to convince someone to sell you theirs.

p.s. more t-shirt–related news coming soon.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

dear indy star ed board

dear indy star ed board:

as nice as it might be if the city put a new park in the old market square arena location... i have to wonder, where have you people been living the past year?

apparently the ed board has forgotten that our current mayor thinks parks are a "drain" on the city budget, and put into action a plan to sell off the city's parks. yes, the mayor was eventually embarrassed into postponing that plan, but the fact remains: the mayor thinks parks are a drain, not a benefit.

in other words, there is absolutely no chance that this administration will put a park in the MSA lot. the mayor might decide to build a chinatown there, but there surely won't be a park there while ballard is in office.

thanks anyway, indy star ed board, but you should try reading your own newspaper. if you did, you would've known all this months ago. of course, perhaps you're all distracted by how gannett is dismantling the paper.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

indy star zen: christmas edition

man, really outdid itself for christmas eve, posting three christmas-related empty stories in a row. here's the best of the three:

merry christmas, happy holidays, and all that stuff.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

it pays to have friends in high places

shorter mitch daniels: because the economy is so bad, all public employees should voluntarily go without pay increases this year. that goes for everyone except my buddy mitch roob, who deserves a $20,000 promotion.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

indy star zen: marvin meter edition

indy star zen:

recently i've seen a number of seemingly empty stories on where the headline is a link to something else. i haven't been posting those because, hey, at least there's a link to some content. but if you're looking at their feed and want to check out their marvin meter, you're out of luck.

Monday, December 15, 2008

now the truth comes out

i found an interesting revelation buried in this indy star article:

Indiana stands to reap hundreds of millions of dollars under the economic stimulus package Congress is expected to consider for states and could see its share go even higher if Gov. Mitch Daniels gets his way.

The money, state officials say, would help Indiana offset investment losses in its Major Moves road-building fund and could accelerate the timetable of big projects such as the extension of I-69 from Indianapolis to Evansville.

okay, so mitch is trying to get more money for indiana. nothing special there. the major moves fund doesn't have as much money as it should—that was entirely predictable, and anyway, we already knew that. let's read on (emphasis mine).

Although just how much any state might get is up in the air, Daniels and Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., hope to persuade Congress to rethink its traditional approach to parceling out federal transportation dollars.

Those dollars typically have been distributed under a formula that has returned just 92 cents to Indiana for every $1 in federal gas taxes that Hoosiers send to Washington. Some states get more than they send.

Daniels and Bayh are urging Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to distribute the stimulus money based on a state's economic health.

wha-what? but i thought indiana was an island of growth! that's what the governor kept telling us all year. if we distribute transportation money based on the state's economic health, then surely indiana's share of the money would go way down, right? if not be reduced to zero, because things are so f'in' awesome here, right?

alas, no. as it turns out, we aren't doing so hot here in indiana. governor daniels has surely known this all along, but hey, he had an election to win. now that he's won, he can stop pretending.

Friday, December 12, 2008

shorter mitch daniels

shorter mitch daniels: remember that stuff i said during the campaign about how indiana was an "island of growth" and "on an economic hot streak"? well, forget it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the public-safety mayor strikes again!

if you were concerned that last week's post defending the mayor's decision to buy camry hybrids was a harbinger of change, you needn't have worried. ballard and the gang are right back to making the same old bad decisions.

Police shifted four anti-crime cameras from rough neighborhoods to the Monon Trail in response to muggings there, despite promising the devices wouldn't be taken from higher-crime areas.

Just last week, a man was killed and two others were wounded in a barrage of gunfire near one of the intersections -- at 46th Street and Arlington Avenue -- where one of the cameras had been removed.

there were a few muggings on the monon this year, so i understand installing cameras there. but the administration promised back in october that it wouldn't remove cameras from higher-crime neighborhoods in order to move them to the trail.

how does the administration respond to complaints that it broke yet another promise? with linguistics:

"We have to make choices," [Public Safety Director Scott Newman] said. "This is not a high-crime neighborhood. It's a neighborhood with challenges."

oh, well in that case, carry on! the neighborhood will just have to work a bit harder to overcome its challenges—challenges like barrages of gunfire. no biggie.

another day, another broken promise from the ballard administration. the main difference this time is that this wasn't a campaign promise foolishly made by a candidate who didn't know any better—this promise was made just two months ago.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

RIP girl, 1996–2008

a few days ago, we learned that girl, virago's cat for 12 years (as well as mine for the past 2–3), had terminal cancer.

her health had been deteriorating gradually for a while—we'd taken her to the vet three or four times in the past several months for various things that we'd thought were unrelated, but in hindsight were probably all symptoms of the greater illness. she'd always been an intensely willful cat, one who despised going to the vet and was thus quite difficult to treat, so it was probably inevitable that we'd be unable to diagnose her cancer until it was advanced.

we brought her home for a couple days after her diagnosis, but by that point she couldn't walk more than a few paces and we had to give her pain medication every 8 hours, which she hated. the drugs kept her relatively comfortable, but it was clear she would never get better, only progressively worse, so last night we took her to the vet's office one last time to be put to sleep.

now there's a hole in our lives—i can hardly look around the apartment without seeing a spot where she used to she used to hang out. but the hardest part of the grieving process was probably this past weekend, when we knew what was coming but couldn't do anything to help her. now that she's gone it's kind of a relief, because i know she won't have to suffer anymore (nor will my wife).

girl lived a productive life for a cat, and was even memorialized in a few lolcats, one of which was featured on the wikipedia entry for lolcat for more than a year (until it was removed in june by someone who didn't understand wikipedia's copyright policies). she may be gone now, but she lives on in our hearts... and on flickr, where her photos will continue to bring joy to others.

goodbye, girl. you will be missed.

next caturday

Friday, December 05, 2008

local chevy dealer to mayor: bail me out!

given the choice between buying a mediocre product, a small proportion of which was made locally, and spending a bit more to buy a superior product that was assembled a couple hundred miles away, i know what i'd choose: the quality product. some people disagree—and that's fine, except when they take on a tone of moral superiority about it.

yes, hold on to your hats, folks—i'm defending mayor greg ballard here.

ballard recently followed through on his campaign promise to replace some of the city's police cars with hybrids. he chose to buy camrys, but he's been getting flak from some (including some who should know better) for not buying chevy malibus instead.

the malibu hybrid was introduced in 2008. its gas mileage isn't much better than a standard gas-powered car. it's cheap. some of its parts are made in indy and nearby bedford. in contrast, the camry is more expensive, but gets much better gas mileage—so, when you factor in the gas savings over the next few years, the camry is actually a better investment. toyota is a japanese company, but the actual cars are made in our neighboring state to the south, kentucky.

seems like a simple decision to me: pick the better car with better mileage. but some are complaining quite vocally. the local chevy dealer whose bid lost out has been crying to the media about it—apparently he believed that he deserved to win the bid, just because his cars' sticker price was lower.

most offensive of all is the union rep who seemingly tries to blame the city for pending layoffs at his plant. i'm generally a union supporter, but dude, the city's order of 85 cars would not have been enough business to prevent layoffs at your plant. the economy is in the tank, and while japanese companies were planning for the future by designing hybrids, american companies kept pumping out SUVs. as a result, japanese hybrids are simply better. maybe that'll change in a few years as american hybrids catch up, but for now, them's the breaks, and nothing mayor ballard does will change that.

the concept of buying locally is that you can often get fresher, higher-quality products from local businesses rather than having stuff shipped in from afar (which is both expensive and bad for the environment). and if the camrys were being shipped in from japan, perhaps it would make sense in this case. but pretending that a chevy malibu is a "local product" simply because a few of its parts were made here (and then shipped out of state to be assembled) is a stretch. and even if it were truly local, the mayor is under no obligation to buy an inferior product simply because it's local. otherwise, the police might as well buy cheap, homemade guns and handcuffs, too. because, hell, they're locally made, right?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

indy star zen: flat broke edition

last one for today:

not just too broke for gifts... too broke for comments!

indy star zen: obscenity edition

as if to prove my point, this turned up in my feed reader mere hours after i published my previous post.

indy star zen: gay marriage edition

if you use a feedreader and are subscribed to any of the feeds (particularly the "top stories" feed), you've probably noticed an increasing number of stories like this popping up recently:

just a headline, with no story... yet posted on the site and to the feeds, for all to see. i call these indy star zen—kind of like haiku, but without the syllabic restrictions. who needs an actual story when the headline gives you a vague sense of what happened?

sometimes these zen "stories" are humorously poignant. other times they're depressing. and sometimes they're just frustratingly uninformative.

what's particularly odd in this case is that the article is online... right here at and the links on the front page of point to the correct place... just not the feed.

perhaps this kind of thing is inevitable considering the star is going through yet another round of layoffs. but it's happening so often now that it's moved from being funny to being simply pathetic.

Friday, November 28, 2008

fair and balanced no more!

shorter gary welsh: fox news used to be the only truly "fair and balanced" news outlet, but now even they are in the tank for obama. unlike them, i'm not going to stop posting paranoid delusions just because the election's over.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

it's time to play good idea, bad idea

good idea: scaling down your inauguration.

according to an associated press story (which i read courtesy of ibj, but which i won't link to because i'm still boycotting the AP), governor mitch daniels is going to have a seriously scaled-down inauguration this year. four years ago, he was inaugurated at the pepsi coliseum at the state fairgrounds. this year, he's just going to do it in front of his office.

why? because the economy is a mess. despite his campaign blather about indiana's "economic hot streak" and how indiana is an "island of growth", daniels knows the economy is in the tank and doesn't want to be seen as gauche or out of touch with the average hoosier's hardships. he's already been in office four years; he doesn't need another fancy inauguration party. score this as another PR success for governor daniels. i disagree with the man on most issues, but he's a savvy politician.

bad idea: taking your wife along on taxpayer-funded junkets.

Mayor Greg Ballard, his wife and several of his administration's economic advisers will travel at taxpayer expense to Japan and China for 10 days, starting this weekend, to drum up investment and trade opportunities for Indianapolis.

The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee is paying for the trip, using $30,000 it received in an economic development grant from the city.

i'm not going to criticize ballard for going to asia—it's allegedly a business trip, so that's fine. the "chinatown" jokes are so obvious that they make themselves, so i don't need to make one. but when bart peterson went on junkets like this, he got private funding. and he sure didn't take his wife along at taxpayer expense in the middle of a recession.

greg ballard is the man who wanted to eliminate the city's arts budget, and try to get the community to put up private funding instead... but he can't even get private funding for his own junkets!

but that's not even the most embarrassing part:

Ballard said he chose to bring his wife, Winnie, a native of the Philippines, because she is Asian and because "the husband-wife dynamic is the normal way to do business there."

Some Democratic City-County Council members said they were upset they hadn't been notified the mayor was going away. At least one questioned whether bringing his wife and a security officer made sense during tough economic times.

winnie ballard has no place going on that trip. she doesn't have a job in the administration, and as jen points out, the idea that it's the asian way to take your wife to business meetings is laughable. if she wants to tag along on the trip, fine, but make her pay her own way. don't make the taxpayers foot the bill.

ballard was supposed to be the pro-taxpayer mayor. at least that was the story he tried to tell us. and he keeps telling us how fiscally conservative he is compared to those evil, incompetent democrats who used to be in charge. but when it comes down to it, he has no trouble finding $30 grand in the budget so he and his wife can do some sightseeing and eat some fancy dinners on the taxpayer's dime.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

bmv reverses license plate policy

good news! getting an "in god we trust" vanity license plate that reads MARS or BAAL just got a lot easier:

Indiana is ending a short-lived policy which had barred God from being used on personalized license plates.

this is great, if for no other reason than because the policy was an unconstitutional prior restraint.

Today, Stiver said the BMV is returning to the original policy, in which a committee of BMV employees decides whether to grant personalized license plates based solely on whether they are obscene or would violate community standards of decency. He called it a matter of using "common sense."

Letters will be sent to some 60 motorists who had requested plates with messages similar to Ferris's offering them the chance of obtaining them now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

RIP MC breed

mc breed has passed away. the name might not sound familiar to you, but hip hop fans will surely recognize this dope beat (which i sampled on mash smarter not harder):

dear dr pepper

dear dr pepper: if you're going to do a dumb promotional gimmick where you offer everyone in the country a free product if they go to your website on a certain day and sign up for a coupon, make sure your damn site can handle the traffic! was essentially hosed all day yesterday. i first went to the site around noon but was never able to register for my free soda. this was a massive PR FAIL.

now dr pepper is saying they've extended their offer until 6pm today due to "consumer demand", which is a euphemism for "our website was broken all day."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

in which god do you trust?

if you're in the market for a new indiana license plate, why not try to get one of the following vanity plates? they might try to turn you down, citing their new policy regarding references to deities, but i've included excuses you can use to try to convince them otherwise.

in god we trust:mars
excuse: "deity? no, i just love the planet mars!"
note: you can also try the greek name, ares, but they might assume you're talking about your zodiac sign.

in god we trust:loki
excuse: "i'm a really laid-back, low-key kind of person."
note: a particularly ironic god to place your trust in.

in god we trust:pan
excuse: "i work for le creuset. we make pots and pans."

in god we trust:thor
excuse: "he's the hero of my favorite comic book."

in god we trust:zeus
excuse: "it's a computer program and/or software company."

in god we trust:hera
excuse: "she's the cylon hybrid baby in battlestar galactica!"
note: for the ladies.

in god we trust:gaia
excuse: "i'm, like, super into the environment."

in god we trust:nike
excuse: honestly, you won't need one, because people will just assume it's a reference to athletic shoes.

in god we trust:baal
excuse: this is a tough one. if your bmv rep doesn't know their old testament, you might be able to tell them it's an acronym or something.

in god we trust:eros
excuse: you're on your own with this one. good luck getting this accepted.

Friday, November 21, 2008

in god we trust, except when we don't

the indy star ed board chimes in regarding the "be gods" license plate fiasco:

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles rejected Ferris' application to reserve the plate this year under a new policy that bans any references to religion. While the agency, in the face of protests and litigation, backed off on her case and those of a few others who got in ahead of the change, the policy will stand.

That's a peculiar position for an agency that has issued about 2 million "In God We Trust" license plates to Hoosiers in recent years, a policy the state has successfully defended in court.

Despite that obvious inconsistency, Indiana officials now appear headed to court to defend their denial of individual expression of faith. The Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty advocacy organization representing Ferris, plans to continue with the lawsuit. The state should end the matter -- by dropping the policy.

this isn't exactly a new story—i've been writing about it since tuesday—but they make their editorial marginally relevant by adding in one new fact at the end: that the lawsuit against the bmv will continue, despite the agency's attempt to appease.

the policy deserves to be challenged, for it frankly makes no sense that the bmv will give you a license plate for free that says "in god we trust", but won't let you add your own god-themed message even if you pay them. so i'm pleasantly surprised that the lawsuit won't be dropped—but i won't be completely satisfied until either the IGWT plates go away or i'm allowed to get a NO GOD vanity plate (not that i'd actually get one; i just want the option), or an "in god we trust plate" where the number is NOT ME.

from there, the star's editorial makes a left turn to talk briefly about southport's charles lynch. for more background on that case, i give you doug masson:

First, we have a guy in Southport refusing to act in an orderly fashion at a City Council meeting as a way to protest the lack of prayer to open City Council meetings. By way of protest, he started praying out loud during a moment of silence; he was asked to be quiet; he started talking louder; he was asked to leave; he refused; he was escorted out; he grabbed a chair. He was arrested. Let's be clear, he was not arrested for praying. Had he prayed silently or been quiet when asked or left when asked, there would have been no arrest. It was his insistence on disrupting the meeting that led to his arrest.

lynch deliberately made an ass of himself in a decidedly unchristianlike manner, and was rightfully arrested for it. but don't expect the star ed board to chastise him for it: these are the same people who made no presidential endorsement this year because they just couldn't bring themselves to endorse a black democrat for president. here's what they had to say about lynch:

Lynch's behavior was clearly unacceptable -- according to a police report, he disrupted the meeting and then resisted an officer's efforts to remove him from the meeting room. But the fact that Southport officials have allowed this issue to fester for nearly a year and rise to such a level of contention indicates a failure of leadership on all sides.

yes, according to the star ed board, it's the fault of the southport city council that charles lynch decided to disrupt their meeting. after all, they're the ones who made him angry by eliminating ostentatious prayer from their meetings. and it was their failure of leadership that allowed the issue to fester by... well, i'm not sure what they were supposed to have done. (probably they shouldn't have gotten the rid of the prayer in the first place; nothing else would satisfy religion-on-my-sleeve types like lynch.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

it's a miracle what bad press will do

from the indy star:

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles commissioner today backed off its denial of a woman's request for a personalized license plate reading "BE GODS."

The decision resulted from a lawsuit filed this week by Liz Ferris, who had that same plate on her car for eight or nine years but forgot to renew it on time for 2008. When she submitted a new personalized plate application, the BMV denied her request because of a recent policy change banning any references to religion or a deity on new personalized plates.

That policy took effect in November 2007, just after the renewal deadline passed for Ferris. Commissioner Ron Stiver said in a statement released today that the BMV would give Ferris a new plate bearing her old message — which she intended to mean "Be God's" or "belong to God."

"After reviewing Ms. Ferris' request," Stiver said, "it is clear that she attempted to reserve her PLP prior to November 6. As such, I have over-ruled the existing determination and directed that Ms. Ferris receive her initially requested PLP."

the story of this lawsuit (and the bmv's hypocrisy regarding this issue) spread rapidly through state media, so i'm not surprised that stiver leapt at the opportunity to change the story. but his statement shows he doesn't get it.

But Stiver's statement defended the policy, saying Ferris would get a pass under a grandfather rule that allows renewals of existing plates even if they run afoul of the policy change.

"Simply stated, if the BMV approves such pro-deity plates as 'GOD CAN,' the agency has no grounds to reject such plates as 'GOD CANT,' 'GODLESS,' or other more extreme anti-deity plates that have been requested and that most Hoosiers would find offensive," Stiver said.

never mind his assertion that "most hoosiers" would find such plates "offensive". the true irony here is that this is the exact argument that i and many others have been making about the "in god we trust" plates: allowing millions of hoosiers to place a pro-god message on their license plates (at no extra cost, even), while simultaneously forbidding any opposing messages, amounts to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

god on a plate

you may have heard that yesterday the indiana court of appeals ruled against the "in god we trust" license plate lawsuit. the court agreed with the state's argument that the plates are a "second standard" plate and thus don't require an additional fee like other specialty plates.

today, a sort-of-but-not-quite-related story:

A woman from eastern Indiana has sued the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles commissioner over the agency’s rejection of her request for a personalized license plate with the words "BE GODS."

Liz Ferris intends for the message to read "Be God's," a principle she borrowed from a contemporary Christian musician Rich Mullins and considers central to her life.

Ferris, 36, said she had that license plate on her car for eight or nine years before missing the renewal deadline in October 2007. In March, she paid a $48 fee and applied for the plate anew with the hope of putting it back on her Honda CRV in 2009.

of course, the hilarious part is that the missing apostrophe in the plate totally changes the plate's message from one of submission to a sort of atheistic self-empowerment: BE GODS. become your own god. that's a message i could agree with!

anyway, despite what you may think from my opposition to the IGWT plates, i would be happy to let her get a vanity plate that says whatever she wants... as long as she pays a fee like everyone else has to. in that respect, i don't see that as being any different than slapping a fish magnet on her car.

apparently the bmv disagrees, which is ironic. the bmv will give you a plate for free with the word "god" on it, but won't let you pay them to put the same word on there. how does that make sense?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

selling yourself out for $12 a person

when i first starting hearing the hype about mayor ballard's new plan to reduce the county income tax, i was puzzled. sure, then-candidate ballard campaigned against 2007's COIT increase, but i've long maintained that now-mayor ballard knows the city needs that money way too much to undo it. so i was quite confused to hear about plans for a COIT decrease. was our mayor dumber than i'd given him credit for?

but then i heard the details of the plan and it all made sense:

Mayor Greg Ballard has introduced a proposal to lower the county income tax by three-hundredths of a percentage point, to 1.62 percent.

The adjustment would give a $6 million break to taxpayers. That works out to about $12 a year for the average $40,000-a-year wage-earner in Indianapolis.

that's right, the mayor wants to reduce the tax by three hundredths of a percent! the average taxpayer would see a whopping twelve dollars per year of savings.

to put it in perspective, reporter brendan o'shaunessey probably earned more money writing the story about the tax decrease in the star than he will get back. in fact, i would say that the copy editor who worked on the story probably earned more editing the piece than she'd get back from the tax plan—except this is the indy star we're talking about, and i'm not sure they even use copy editors anymore.

this tax decrease is literally not worth the paper it's written on. by that i mean that the cost of writing it, printing it, voting on it, etc will cost as much money as it will save!

what the hell is the point of a $12 tax decrease? it's like ballard was so dead-set on cutting this tax that he's determined to do it, no matter how paltry the reduction is. i'd rather the city kept my $12 and used it to make up for the budget cuts in arts, parks, or many other areas.

never mind that we're in the midst of a recession (if not a depression) and that city budgets are going to get progressively tighter over the next few years thanks to the property tax caps (which he begged for). ballard's going to have a hell of a time making budget cuts over the next few years to pay for everything (he's promised not to raise taxes); now he's making his job even harder by cutting taxes, even if by a miniscule amount. he's shooting himself in the foot, and for what? $12 a person!

i've heard of cheap political stunts, but $12 per taxpayer is about as cheap as you can get.

Friday, November 14, 2008

higher-quality videos (hidden) on youtube

this is wild:

Back in march, it was discovered that when you view a video directly on Youtube, you could add a "&fmt=18" to the URL to enable a higher quality, higher resolution stream which is encoded with the H.264 codec.

To make this work in an embedded video, however, you need a slightly different hack. After pasting the embed code into a blog post, adjust the two video URLs (one in a param tag and one as the src parameter in the embed tag) by adding "&ap=%2526fmt%3D18" to the end.

check it out:

normal embed:

hi-def embed:

the bottom one definitely looks crisper to me. (the still frame is the same; you need to play the videos to see the difference.)

how long have these higher-res videos been hiding on youtube? why wouldn't youtube publicize their existence?

more on voter turnout

despite what some obama haters might tell you, voter turnout increased by several million this year. current estimates are that about 129 million ballots were cast, compared to 122.3 million in 2004. that's an increase of 6.7%, which raises the turnout rate to 62% (slightly under the record from 1964 of 64%).

Each analyst cited North Carolina as the state with the largest increase over 2004 in turnout, by about 9 percentage points. A traditionally Republican state won by Obama after his campaign waged vigorous registration and get-out-the-vote operations, the state was one of many with large African-American populations that saw rising turnout this year. Other states included Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, all of which were won by McCain; and Virginia, Florida, and the District of Columbia, all carried by Obama.

In Indiana and Nevada, both reliably GOP states for decades, Obama won with major efforts over the airwaves and on the ground, and turnout increased by several percentage points in both states over 2004 figures, according to both analyses.

Turnout was also up nearly three percentage points from four years ago in Missouri, a Republican-friendly battleground state where Obama made inroads. As of yesterday, McCain's lead was 4,990 votes out of 2.9 million cast in the state, according to an unofficial tally on the secretary of state's website. If Obama overtakes McCain in the final official count in Missouri, it would raise to 10 the number of states carried by Obama that went for President Bush in 2004.

While turnout jumped in several normally Republican states won by Obama, it dipped slightly in Colorado, both studies found.

States that experienced a large drop-off in turnout included McCain's home state of Arizona, which he won; heavily Republican Utah; and Ohio, another GOP-leaning state that fell into the Obama column.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

another story that clearly must be true

i used to think of the national enquirer as a joke, a journalistic punchline. in fact, when i was in grammar school (before i grew to accept that i can't draw) i even drew a few covers of a parody called the national enquiree (tagline: "enquireeing minds want to know!" hey, in sixth grade, i thought it was clever.)

then came the john edwards affair story. i tried to ignore it as just trash journalism. when it came out that edwards was indeed having an affair, i made sure to point out that the enquirer story was at best half right—the dates were all wrong, and the bullshit about a "love child" turned out to be false.

but gary and melyssa set me straight. "the Enquirer often gets it right," melyssa told me. gary welsh went even further, writing:

As I've said before, you can knock the National Enquirer and other tabloids all you want, but when it comes to political scandals, they're usually dead on.

and then later gary wrote:

When the tabloids take away time from the Hollywood celebrities to take on politicians, it's usually because the mainstream media is covering up for the politician.

indeed. i stand corrected: the enquirer (and other tabloids) are a virtual bastion of quality journalism, at least in the very narrow field of who/what politicians are having sex with.

a few weeks later, the enquirer published another story about an affair, this time involving sarah palin. gary mysteriously ignored that story, despite his high esteem for the enquirer as an institution. but i'm sure that was just an oversight, that he just got caught up in the heat of the election and forgot to post about it.

but now the enquirer has yet another tale of marital infidelity:

The ENQUIRER's exclusive bombshell expose as Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, is caught with another man!

Not only that but multiple witnesses have caught the pair lip locking on several other occasions.

"I couldn't believe I was watching Cindy McCain passionately kissing and hugging another man!"

That's the stunned reaction of an eyewitness who says he watched in shock - and snapped photos - as the former presidential candidate's wife romantically kissed a long-haired man who resembles "a washed-up '80s rock musician."

now, the old me would've laughed at this story and at its supposed photo evidence: a grainy snapshot of some woman with a blond ponytail smooching some shaggy-looking dude. but now i know better: the enquirer is usually dead on. john mccain is a cuckold—it's as good as proven.

i'm sure a post will show up at advance indiana any minute now blasting cindy for her infidelity.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

rokita's provisional ballot

here's an amusing anecdote from the star's behind closed doors column:

Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who oversees Indiana elections, got a new perspective on vote challenges this past week.

Rokita, of course, is an outspoken defender of one of the strictest photo ID laws in the nation. In the weeks leading up to the election, he also recommended filing charges related to bad voter registrations delivered by ACORN, the community activist group.

Then, a funny thing happened to Rokita on the way to voting:

His own absentee ballot was challenged by precinct poll workers.

According to Marion County election officials, his messily inscribed signature upon checking in to vote -- he signed it "Todd Rokita" -- did not match his neat poll book signature of "Theodore Rokita."

So what did poll workers do?

Well, they placed his ballot in a pile of provisional ballots that do not get counted until the Election Board can review the challenges one at a time after Election Day. (The board decided Friday that Rokita's ballot will indeed count in the official final tally.)

Ed Treacy, the Marion County Democratic chairman, said he thought it was "hysterical" that Rokita's vote was challenged.

"This is a person who does everything he can to repress every vote he can," Treacy said. "Now maybe he'll be able to really appreciate the sanctity of the vote."

Jim Gavin, Rokita's spokesman, said Treacy's comment was "an unfortunate attack."

"It's uncalled-for so close to a historic, successful election that we expect to shatter previous turnout records," Gavin said.

that last quote is a bit awkward, and i'm unsure whether it's just sloppy editing or whether the words just stumbled out of gavin's mouth that clumsily. of course, the actual wording of the quote is unnecessary; all you really need to know is that treacy got in a zinger and gavin whined about it.

anyway, the lesson here is to always make sure your signature matches! pretty basic, really, but rokita probably never thought his provisional ballot policies would be enforced against someone like him.

Friday, November 07, 2008

turning out for the tyrant

gary welsh tried to warn us that obama was a corrupt, coke-sniffing, noncitizen and terrorist pal, but we wouldn't listen. after obama won, gary went silent on the issue, looking for a fresh angle. now he's back on the case, telling us about "the great turnout myth of 2008":

In 2004, 122 million Americans voted in the presidential election. Estimates are that between 126.5 and 128.5 million Americans voted this year. Statistically, when looking at the total number of registered voters, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the 2004 and 2008 election turnout. The study finds that fewer Republicans and more Democrats voted this year. Wasn't that what this election was all about? Faking out the Republicans as much as possible to convince them it's a waste of time to come out and vote, while encouraging Democrats at every step to vote in massive numbers? If you're a student of history, you will discover that the same tactics successfully employed by David Axelrod and the Obama campaign in this year's presidential election are the same tactics deployed by every significant, charismatic tyrant who rose to power pretending to be something he was not and fooling a majority of the populace into so believing. Remember this: things are not as they appear when it comes to anything respecting Barack Obama. Buyer beware.

you got that? this year's supposedly high turnout was a myth! turnout wasn't really higher than it was in 2004—republicans all stayed home, only to be replaced by democrats in roughly equal numbers. obama's supposed appeal is just an illusion!

or at least, that's his conclusion looking at "the total number of registered voters". i'm sure that drilling down into the numbers a bit prove his results to be true, huh? as an example, let's look at hamilton county, indiana:

Thousands of Hamilton County residents waited hours in line Tuesday to vote, some fuming with impatience.

According to final statistics, nearly 75 percent of the county's 175,538 registered voters cast a ballot, with more than 98,000 voting on Election Day. About 25,000 people -- approximately 20 percent of voters -- voted early.

In the 2004 election, 106,083 votes were cast in Hamilton County, with nearly 95,000 coming on Election Day.

98,000 + 25,000 = roughly 123,000—compared to 106,000 in 2004. that's an increase of 16%—in hamilton county, considered to be one of the most conservative counties in the state, if not the entire country. i'd say that's more than a dime's worth of difference, but your mileage may vary.

indy parks no longer for sale?

remember mayor ballard's controversial plan to start selling off indy's parks? well, forget about it.

Noticeably absent from the plan is any indication that "pocket" parks would be eliminated. When it was disclosed over the summer that Mayor Greg Ballard was considering selling some of the small neighborhood parks, many residents expressed outrage.

"It was never seriously considered, and it is not in our plan," said Andre Denman, a planner for the department. "We need more park space not less."

never seriously considered, huh? that's funny, because back in august, it was reported that ballard had signed a sweetheart deal with venture real estate services to survey all our city parks and determine which would be the best ones to sell off. in that deal, venture agreed to do all the surveying and analysis for free (venture was going to make their money from the actual park sales).

so while i'm glad that our parks are now apparently off the table, the idea that selling them off was never seriously considered is a bit hard to swallow. to be sure, venture thought those parks would be sold, and is probably upset now that they're not going to see any money for the deal.

more likely, this was another horrible idea from mayor ballard, and just like some of his past ideas, he dropped it when he realized it was monumentally unpopular.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

is our long national nightmare finally over?

barack obama has been elected in a landslide. he might even win indiana. i've waited a long time for this moment.

i was convinced it would happen in 2004. bush was a disaster, and i thought enough people understood that to vote him out. but not quite. not too long afterward, it became obvious to all that republican policies had failed us, but then it was too late: we had to wait another four years to elect a democrat president. now our day has come.

today wasn't a perfect day. we should've won the indiana governor's race, for one thing. but it was a historic day, and the future looks brighter.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

voter intimidation in warren township

for the most part, the election seems to be going smoothly so far here in indiana (or at least in marion county)—with one notable exception. from the indy star:

The removal of two Republican election workers from a Warren Township polling site - for using improper methods to challenge voters' rights to cast a ballot - has prompted local Republican Party leaders to issue a statement of regret.

The two officials - an official challenger and a clerk - were removed by unanimous vote of the Marion County Election Board.

The officials were reportedly challenging voters with information obtained through party affiliation reports, which is not one of the accepted challenges such as a person's address, age or lack of ID.

i'm not entirely clear on what that last part means. they were challenging voters simply for being registered democrats? or based on some other arbitrary information that they got from these reports?

also, this might not have been an isolated problem:
Election officials also heard reports from the Children's Museum polling site that similar challenges were being made. But when they approached the person doing that, he left the area.

i voted

and this was the first year i can remember when i actually got an "i voted" sticker! huzzah! my polling place in pike was bustling, but at 10:40 we didn't really have to wait in line.

it's almost hard to believe election day is finally here. this has been one hell of a long election year. and by the end i was just ready for it to be over so we could move forward. but that didn't stop me from volunteering for the obama campaign on saturday. virago & i did data entry for about 5 hours. at first it was a bit boring, since we only had one laptop (mine) for the two of us, but before long someone showed us a faster way that really let us zip along. we left when we ran out of canvassing data to enter, feeling good and with some obama buttons, stickers, and rally signs for our efforts. i wanted to go back and work more, but unfortunately didn't have the time.

if you haven't voted already, please be sure to do so.

Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween

okay, i haven't quite gotten back into the swing of blogging now that i'm not so busy with wedding preparations. you could say that i'm having trouble overcoming the inertia of not blogging.

but here are some things that are coming in november:
  • exciting new backgrounds
  • more regular blogging
  • wedding photos on flickr
  • finally, part 2 of my databending primer
  • also finally, the 2008 election!
frankly, i've reached the point where i'm just ready for the election to happen, so it'll be over with and we can move forward. but that doesn't mean i'm getting complacent. tomorrow morning, virago & i will be doing some last-minute volunteering for the obama campaign, something we were unable to do earlier because we were too busy with wedding prep. hopefully they'll be able to find some non-canvassing work for us to do—i'm far too introverted to be any good at canvassing.

i'm not doing anything too special for halloween... i went to a costume party last week and wore the same costume as last year (though i'm slimmer now than in those photos). and i painted my fingernails black, because we had black nail polish, and if you can't paint your nails for halloween, then when can you? but that's pretty much it for our halloween plans. we don't even get trick-or-treaters in our apartment subdivision. maybe we'll watch something halloweeny on tv tonight.

p.s. if you're looking for some halloween music, my epic halloween collage "halloween monster mania" is still online for your listening pleasure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

damned if you do

here is all you need to know about secretary of state todd rokita's latest partisan shenanigans involving ACORN:

"We will remind the public that both local and state election officials confirmed that ACORN must turn in all applications, including those we flagged as bogus, incomplete, or duplicative. The secretary, for his own purposes, appears to have changed his opinion on this question two weeks before the election," Ordower said.

so there is a state law mandating that all applications must be turned in, and another law stating that it's illegal to turn in faulty applications. ACORN asked for guidance, since they knew some of the applications were fake, and were instructed to turn them in anyway. then... wham! todd makes a big show of the fact that they've turned in fraudulent applications, a class D felony.

my question is this: can members of todd rokita's office be prosecuted for instructing ACORN to commit a felony?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

wedding weekend wrapup

i suppose i should get around to blogging about last weekend, since it's now almost wednesday.

we had a private wedding ceremony and reception early friday evening at the propylaeum, a beautiful victorian house on the old northside. we kept the ceremony short and sweet—almost too short—so we could move on to the fun stuff: the reception, and later the doormouse show.

the catered dinner was delicious—better than your typical catering, and surprisingly inexpensive considering we had prime rib. (though it wasn't perfect; we asked for a mushroom risotto that was to be the main entrée for our vegetarian guests, and we got a basic pilaf with some mushrooms in it.) the servings of prime rib were massive; mine almost completely filled my plate, covering most of my side dishes until i could eat some of it out of the way.

entertainment at the reception was provided by my old friends in il troubadore, and after a while i lost track of how many people told me they thought the music was great. they really rocked the house, playing some traditional numbers as well as odd covers like "sunglasses at night" and even a rendition of daler menhdi's "tunak tunak tun":

2008-10-17: Il Troubadore playing "Tunak Tunak Tun" from dj empirical on Vimeo.

eventually it was time for the reception to end and head over to therapy for the show. dj empirical went first, spinning a nice mix of electro, dubstep, and other interesting electronic stuff. it was a good start to the event.

i played next. my set went pretty well, with few mistakes. i had busted my ass for weeks preparing new material, so i would have some new stuff for people who were already familiar with the mash smarter not harder material. the crowd, which was smaller than i would've liked but still bigger than average for such shows in indianapolis, seemed pretty into it.

after my set came dr. butcher m.d., who rocked the house as usual. booking him was a no-brainer, since he's indy's best (perhaps only?) breakcore artist and makes some damn fine tracks. so i was glad to expose him to some of the doormouse audience... and it looks like he may get another gig based on his performance.

next came the headliner—doormouse, a midweset legend in the scene. he began his set by hiding under a sheet, then casting it off to reveal that he was wearing a new kids on the block ringer t-shirt. (ironic and self-deprecating humor are hallmarks of the midwestern style pioneered by doormouse and his two labels, addict and distort.)

doormouse's set was massive. he played tons of old material, classic hard-as-nails doormouse stuff—the stuff we used to have to drive 5–6 hours to hear him play in a barn in rural wisconsin back in the day. all the while, he interspersed his songs with wisecracks and other zany antics like plucking out his armpit hair (or pretending to) and eating it. we lost a bunch of money putting on this show (not to mention the actual wedding and reception), but it was all worth it for the doormouse set alone.

last up was sir.vixx. he had the most difficult slot of the night: 2 a.m., after the headliner. that would be a lot of pressure no matter who the headliner was, let alone playing after one of your biggest inspirations. but sir.vixx pulled it off, playing a high-energy set that even brought him out into the audience to do jumping jacks.

with that, the show was over. we said our goodbyes, packed up our cars, and headed back to our room at the mariott courtyard, which we had rented to give ourselves a couple days of mini-vacation. the room was quite nice, with a large tv and a whirlpool tub in the room. (the whirlpool tub option was a major factor in why we selected the courtyard. when we used it, we learned a valuable lesson: adding bubble bath to a whirlpool tub causes a veritable eruption of bubbles, similar to a baking soda volcano.)

saturday we mostly relaxed, eating a satisfactory-but-not-great breakfast at the hotel, getting some ribs from dick's for dinner, and watching tv in the room. (luckily for us, napoleon dynamite was on comedy central.)

sunday morning, we decided to try breakfast at a different (nicer) hotel, and walked over to one south in the hyatt regency. this was the best breakfast i'd eaten in some time. the buffet wasn't particularly large by midwest buffet standards, but everything on it was high quality—the waffles were the best i've had in years, if not ever. that afternoon, we drove up to springfield, illinois, to spend some time with the in-laws, where we watched part of the colts game but were spared from having to watch the whole thing. on the drive back, i narrowly avoided running over a deer on i-74 in rural illinois, which surely would have been a foul way to end our wedding weekend.

all in all, it was a fantastic time. thanks to everyone who came out to the reception and/or the show, who sent gifts, or who sent their congratulations and well wishes. we'll probably upload some photos of the reception soon. dj empirical has some photos of the show here. turningmostly has some video of the show here. and there's a short video of dr. butcher m.d.'s set here. if anyone else has photos or video of either event, send them my way!

Friday, October 17, 2008

goin' to the chapel

so i haven't been blogging for the past couple weeks, but longtime readers surely know why: i'm getting married today! and then tonight is my wedding show starring doormouse—a.k.a. doormouse's last show.

so all my spare time (and money) recently has gone to wedding preparations, promoting the show, and preparing new material for my set tonight: i will have two brand-new songs that nobody other than my lovely fiancé has heard.

yes, i'm nervous. but i'm also excited. and also, i'm ready for all this stuff to be over with so i can stop stressing about it!

so if you're in the midwest and you like breakcore or other hard electronic music, come on out to the show tonight. we've got a great lineup, and our headliner doormouse will be playing his last show for the foreseeable future. plus you'll get to see the newlywed couple!

Friday, October 10, 2008

fort wayne pre-party before doormouse's last show

if you're traveling to indy for the doormouse show, why not hit the fort wayne pre-party the previous night? it's free!

Selector Catalogue (Reject Records)
Ann Arbor, MI (LIVE Breakcore)

Split Horizon (Void Tactical Media)
Detroit, MI (LIVE Broken Beats/Dark Electro)

Traits (Snake Pillage)
Ann Arbor, MI (LIVE Raggacore/Breakcore)

Sedition (FWPC)
Fort Wayne, IN (Breakcore/Dub Terror/80's Pop)

Fort Wayne, IN (Drum & Bass)

1808 W. Main St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46808

as a reminder: doormouse's last show for the foreseeable future (a.k.a. my wedding show) is next friday, october 17, at therapy nightclub & lounge, 605. e. market st in downtown indianapolis.

$10 advance tickets will remain on sale until thursday, october 16. but if you want a paper ticket, you must order by 11:59pm EDT today to give us time to mail them to you. if you order after this time, you'll get an e-ticket that will get you into the event, but no paper ticket to show off to your grandkids.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

desperately seeking validation

so the city of indianapolis website——has a new design! the most striking part of the design is the honkin' big photo of mayor ballard in the center. this week's behind closed doors in the star has more:

That didn't sit well with Democratic City-County Council member Angela Mansfield, but it was just one of many complaints she had about the site. The site was experiencing numerous technical problems, including links that did not work and words piled on top of each other.

Mansfield said the city should have tested it for bugs before the public launch.

"This has been a complete waste of money, as well as an embarrassing presentation of our city," Mansfield said. "It's a mess, and it looks like kids designed it."

the huge portrait does seem a bit vain and needy (ironic from a mayor who so detests going in front of cameras or talking to the media), but the technical issues, dead links, and overlapping text are more embarrassing. is a major website that gets a lot of traffic. a site like that seriously needs to go through some major testing before it's rolled out, or else... well, your bad rollout ends up as a story in the newspaper.

on a whim, i thought i'd run the site through a validation tool, and surprise surprise, the code doesn't validate. now granted, my site probably doesn't validate either, but i'm just an amateur putting this site together on my spare time in between work and other artistic endeavors. there's no excuse for a site like not to validate. the fact that it doesn't shows just how crummy this redesign is.

elsewhere in today's star is a story about the city's spending priorities. the article centers around the idea that if you want nice stuff, you have to be willing to pay for it, and explains that this is why indy's public transit system is a joke (likely to grow worse still) and why other cities have better parks, libraries, etc. the article then naturally concludes with a quote from melyssa, who would prefer the city spend nothing and have no nice stuff whatsoever.'s new redesign was no doubt done on the cheap, like everything this administration does, and it shows. i was no fan of the old design, but at least it didn't have dead links and overlapping words on the front page. by all means, redesign the site, but if you're going to do it, spend the money to do it right: have professional developers write industry-standard, validated code, and then test it thoroughly before rollout.

Friday, October 03, 2008

advance tickets: doormouse's last show

$10 advance tickets will be sold online for Doormouse's last show until thursday, october 16.

if you want a paper ticket, you must order by 11:59pm EDT, friday, october 13, to give us time to mail them to you. if you order after this time, you'll get an e-ticket that will get you into the event, but no paper ticket to show off to your grandkids.

don't miss this opportunity to see Doormouse's last show for the foreseeable future.

Doormouse -- Addict Records founder and midwest legend
Dr. Butcher M.D. -- Indy's breakcore mad scientist
stAllio! -- post-mashup madness
DJ Empirical -- Cincinnati Serato flavor
Sir.Vixx -- Chicago breakcore insanity

9pm-3am, Friday, Oct 17, 2008. 21+ with ID.
Therapy Nightclub & Lounge
605 E. Market St., Downtown Indianapolis, 46202

Thursday, September 25, 2008

pence wants to fix child seduction law

from the indy star:

The Democratic candidate for attorney general said today that she would lobby to change Indiana's child seduction statute so it covers anyone with responsibility over a teenager.

Without the change, Linda Pence said, people who volunteer at schools and camps or work at places that give them authority over children might not be covered by the law. She called it a loophole.

"Unfortunately for our children, there are many adult care givers who have responsibility and control over our children who are excluded by this restrictive language," Pence said during a news conference this morning on the west side of the Indiana Capitol.

so if a teacher has sex with a 16-year-old student, that's a crime under the current law, but if a volunteer coach or teaching assistant has sex with the same student, there's no penalty. sounds like a massive loophole to me.

She cited two cases. In one, the Indiana Supreme Court last year ruled that a Switzerland County school bus driver employed by a private contractor wasn't covered by the child seduction statute since he didn't work directly for the school district. In the other case, Pence said she recently represented teenage girls seduced by an Indianapolis-area coach who was a volunteer and didn't face criminal charges. The girls' families sued the coach, and the lawsuit was resolved through a settlement, Pence said. She declined to name the parties.

if that second case sounds familiar, it's because gary welsh tried to turn it into an attack on pence last month. apparently the seducer in the case was an old friend of gary's who took advantage of his role as a volunteer coach to seduce not one but two of the 16-year-old girls in his care. one of the girls' parents hired pence, who eventually filed a lawsuit against gary's buddy.

for some puzzling reason, gary thought this story made linda pence look like the bad guy and blogged about how mean she was to his old pal. at the time, i noted that the story sounded like a textbook case of child seduction and was confused as to why pence was unable to get the guy convicted of that crime, considering that he readily admitted to having sex with two underage students. now i know why: because he took advantage of this "volunteer" loophole.

one other thing: note how pence declined to name the seducer. she may not like the guy—in fact i suspect she finds him repulsive—but she's not going to publicly drag his name through the mud. in contrast, gary welsh's post not only named his buddy the child seducer, but he also named one of the victims.

update: you know gary hates to be made a fool of, so naturally he had to post again, defending himself and his good buddy:

What Pence failed to explain to the media today was that criminal charges were not brought against the person in question because the sex she alleged occurred took place after he had moved to Chicago and was no longer working as a volunteer coach for the school.

ah, so he seduced them while working at the school, but waited until after he quit to actually sex them up? hmm... i don't think that makes the situation much better. (in fact, it sounds like child grooming to me.)

furthermore, where does gary get off talking about alleged sex? in his previous post, he reported that his friend admitted to having sex with two underage former rowing students (two—not just the one gary claims is "in love" with his friend). there's nothing alleged about that sex. everyone agrees that it happened.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

is a spade a spade? obviously not!

shorter gary welsh: the new york times expects you to believe that being a founding partner in a lobbying firm that works for a client counts as having "lobbying ties" to that client. they must think you're stupid.

desperate politics

just last week, as the world found out about the latest round of bank failures, mccain insisted that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." now, he claims that things are so bad that the economy "the country could slide into a Depression by Monday" if he doesn't back out of friday's debate and rush to washington to fix things.

what has changed between now and then? if you answered that "mccain has been slipping in the polls", pat yourself on the back.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

shorter josh gillespie

shorter josh gillespie: so what if my esteemed co-blogger wrote a bunch of disgusting racist garbage that we had to delete? liberals have said mean things about sarah palin, and that's even worse! anyway, at least we're not like gary welsh... that guy is crazy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

shorter mike "sir hailstone" jezierski

everyone else has already written about this, but if i'm going to call out ipopa for racist stereotypes then i can hardly ignore this nonsense...

shorter mike "sir hailstone" jezierski: barack obama doesn't just want to raise your taxes, he wants to shank you, steal your money, and make it rain all over the white house lawn. (that's how black people act, right?) he probably wants to "superman" your girlfriend, too, whatever that means.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

shorter ipopa

i hesitate to turn the devastating power of shorter on my fellow lefties, but i must do what i must do...

shorter ipopa: i don't hate all latinos—just the ones who, you know, act like latinos.

Monday, September 15, 2008

the definitive shorter gary welsh

shorter gary welsh: when they said that reagan had meddled with foreign affairs in order to get elected, i knew it had to be a dirty lie. but when they said that obama had meddled with foreign affairs to get elected, i knew it had to be true!

economic fundamentals

major economic news this weekend. lehman brothers is tanking. merrill lynch, once ironclad, is now up for sale. how bad is it? is it time to panic? is it time to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside?

it's hard to know whose advice to trust in times like this. should i believe john mccain, when he puts out an ad saying the economy is in crisis? or should i instead believe john mccain, when he says "the fundamentals of our economy are strong", as he said this morning?

i'm so confused!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

mayor ballard shuts up

mayor ballard seems to have finally realized that every time he opens up his mouth when a reporter is around, something stupid comes out. so the solution is typically ballard-simple: stop talking to reporters! matt tully explains:

During the week, a few local Republicans attending the convention had told me Ballard was upset about coverage of his administration and had thus decided to back away from the media. So midway through our flight, I walked to the rear of the plane, where the mayor was sitting, and suggested a column that would essentially allow him to talk about his first months in office -- in his own words.

That was my mistake.

It seems the mayor is afraid of his own words. After all, they sometimes come back to haunt him. Like when he said parks were a "drain" on the city budget. Or when he picked a fight with the arts community, not realizing how tough arts folks can be. Or when he said it'd be easy to find millions of dollars of fluff in the city budget. Or when he mused about creating a Chinatown from scratch.

Now, it doesn't matter to me whether the mayor talks to me or not. This column is pretty manageable with or without his words. And regardless, the City-County Building is full of people who are eager to talk about what the mayor is doing.

But it's sad to see Citizen Mayor take the advice of those who want to turn him into Talking-Point Greg.

is this the end of the gaffe-o-matic mayor, to be replaced by the missing mayor? he's already been nearly invisible, letting marcus barlow and scott newman take most of the heat for his unpopular initiatives, and only occasionally appearing before a camera to say something embarrassing.

if the mayor's going to retreat completely into his shell, that's not surprising, but it is disappointing... writing about the mayor is generally such a joyless activity, and his many gaffes bring brief moments of much-needed humor. the next three years of the ballard administration will be grim enough; at least give us something to chuckle about!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

how dare you get upset when i take your money away?

so last night's city council meeting was filled to the brims with arts supporters, who were there to protest the mayor's plans to slash arts funding. gary and abdul are both upset at these mean artists for daring to not want their money taken away, and they're singing the same tune. gary says

[T]he City's share of funding for the arts is such a small drop in the bucket for the local arts community that it's hard for its supporters to argue that the elimination or reduction in funding will have an appreciable impact on the arts community.

abdul takes it a step further and lists how much city money is received by various organizations, before concluding:

On average the city funds about 4.6% of the operating budgets of these organizations. If they are going to go out of business over what amounts to basically an average 1.5% budget cut then maybe they should spend a little less time on art and more on math.

is this really the argument republicans want to make here? if so then they haven't properly thought it through. because not only does the argument cut both ways, but it's a stronger argument going the other way!

to wit: the city's entire arts budget is a microscopic $1.5 million. that's out of an annual budget of about $1.1 billion. so the city's arts funding is only 0.136% of the budget—that's fourteen hundredths of a percent! to paraphrase abdul, if the city is going out of business over 0.136% of its budget then the mayor needs to fire his staff and hire someone who's taken an algebra class. surely we don't truly need to cut something that is already such a puny sliver of the budget, right?

moreover, the numbers in abdul's post don't really say what he claims they do. to be sure, the indianapolis museum of art probably wouldn't suffer too much if its 85 grand of city funding were taken away. but encore vocal arts gets 11.34% of its budget from the city. storytelling arts of indiana gets 11.71% of its budget from city funding. primary colours gets 10.50%. interaction theater gets 15.81%. the indianapolis symphonic band gets 19.21%. and freetown village gets a whopping 26.22% of its budget from city funding. i'm sure abdul wouldn't mind if his bosses decided to cut his paycheck by 26.22% (or one third of that—8.74%—a year); it would probably be only a small dent in his martini budget. but for a nonprofit organization, 26% of your budget is a lot of money. that $40,500 means everything to freetown; it means nothing to the city of indianapolis.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

how much shorter is too much shorter?

it feels like i'm doing too many shorter gary welshes, but he's putting out such a prolific stream of nonsense that it's hard to stop. someone help me out here! there's too much insanity for one blog to mock...

shorter gary welsh: i'm disgusted that the media is paying so much attention to sarah palin's family! they should be going after joe biden's family instead... especially the dead ones.

doormouse's last show?

i just got off the phone a while ago with sir.vixx. while discussing arrangements for my wedding show, he mentioned something interesting that he'd noticed on doormouse's myspace page:

(click for larger, uncropped image)
on doormouse's myspace calendar, he has my wedding show listed as his last US show. ("purdy lounge dj sets" is a weekly recurring event that may very well end before october 17.) furthermore, his myspace "headline"—which is more of a profile quote or signature than a headline—now reads "And I'm Out".

all of this suggests that doormouse is retiring from music (or at least live performance). if true, it means that the october 17 doormouse show in indianapolis could be his final live show ever!

of course, it's my wedding night—we're getting married earlier in the day—so this show was always going to be special for me. but if it's going to be doormouse's last show ever... wow.

here's the flier:

here are myspace links for the performers: Doormouse, Dr. Butcher M.D., Sir.Vixx, DJ Empirical. if you want a taste of what my set will sound like, download my mash smarter not harder EP.

update: doormouse has confirmed in an email that this is his "last show for the foreseeable future" and he is "taking a break."

Friday, September 05, 2008

plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose

shorter gary welsh, monday: obama got no convention bounce! ha ha! that totally proves this theory i have about how the media is in the tank for obama.

shorter gary welsh, today: the fact that obama got such a massive convention bounce totally proves this theory i have about how the local media is in the tank for obama.

dear access hollywood

journalism: ur doin it wrong:

Oprah went on to say that she would relish the opportunity to sit down with the first female vice presidential nominee in history.

sarah palin is not the first female vice presidential nominee in history. geraline ferraro shattered that glass ceiling 24 years ago.

that is all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

ballard keeps COIT money but won't hire more cops

if you've been clinging to the hope that mayor ballard and council republicans would repeal last year's county income tax increase—you know, the one they campaigned against—perhaps it's finally time to abandon that fantasy:

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will not try to hire 100 sworn officers that were promised last year when the City-County Council raised the county income tax.

Instead, city officials said Wednesday, the department this year spent the amount of money it would have cost to hire those officers on immediate needs not covered in the 2008 budget: retirement benefits, overtime, fuel and contractual raises.

Next year, Public Safety Director Scott Newman said, the department plans to hire 40 civilian public assistance officers. The new, lower-paid positions would handle less-difficult duties such as vandalism and accident reports, allowing sworn officers more time for bigger challenges.

far from being the unaffordable tax hike that ballard and friends portrayed it as, the COIT increase turns out to have been too small, such that it doesn't bring in enough money to cover the expenses it was planned to... and that's not even counting the police pensions it was also supposed to cover. (ipopa thinks he knows why the public safety budget is a mess: expensive micromanagement.)

of course, some of us have known all along that the increase would never be repealed, because despite what ballard said on the campaign trail, the city desperately needed the money. but if there was ever any doubt, this story should squash it. this announcement officially kills two pillars of the ballard campaign: that the COIT increase was bad, and that he would hire more cops. (hiring rent-a-cops and calling them cops doesn't count.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

mayoral pronouncements from minneapolis

shorter greg ballard: just because sarah palin has no experience doesn't mean she's unqualified to be vice president. i mean, look at me! i had no experience, and yet i'm a great mayor, right? in fact, palin's a better candidate than obama, because... oh, hold on, i dropped my talking points.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

it was bound to happen

if the past couple months taught us anything, it's that gary welsh has high regard for the national enquirer. for weeks, he trumpeted the enquirer story about john edwards, writing, among other things:

As I've said before, you can knock the National Enquirer and other tabloids all you want, but when it comes to political scandals, they're usually dead on.

a couple weeks later, he wrote:

When the tabloids take away time from the Hollywood celebrities to take on politicians, it's usually because the mainstream media is covering up for the politician.

another thing we've learned recently is that gary thinks sarah palin is the bestest VP candidate ever. so what happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object? what happens when the enquirer takes on sarah palin?

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin attempted to quietly have her daughter Bristol get married before news of her pregnancy leaked out, the NATIONAL ENQUIRER is reporting exclusively in its new issue.

Palin planned for the wedding to take place right after the Republican National Convention and then she was going to announce the pregnancy.

But Bristol, 17, refused to go along with the plan and that sparked a mother-daughter showdown over the failed coverup.

The ultra-conservative governor's announcement about her daughter's pregnancy came hours after The ENQUIRER informed her representatives and family members of Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol's child, that we were aware of the pregnancy and were going to break the news.

personally, i don't trust the enquirer's reporting any further than i could throw it. i start out with the assumption that this junk is false. but apparently, gary really believes in this stuff. he starts out with the assumption that it's true. he thinks of the national enquirer as a respectable journalistic institution that follows the tough stories that other outlets are too timid to touch.

so how will he react? my metaphorical money is on him not mentioning it at all. this will be interesting to watch.

update: this is bigger than i thought:

John McCain's presidential campaign is threatening a lawsuit against the National Enquirer over a print edition story the tabloid ran today alleging that Gov. Sarah Palin has had an extramarital affair with her husband's business partner.

The allegation would normally be dismissed by political observers as the random musings of a supermarket tabloid -- indeed, the McCain campaign said as much in its statements on Wednesday -- except that the paper has built up a reservoir of legitimacy following its earlier reporting on the John Edwards affair.

considering that gary wrote three posts accusing the mainstream media of cowardice for not running with the john edwards affair story, it will be hard for him to avoid addressing this enquirer story now. but what can he possibly say that won't sound foolish?