Political Notebook

  • Donnelly stumping for Democratic candidates
    Sen. Joe Donnelly in recent days endorsed David Kolbe in Indiana House District 22, traveled to Iowa to stump for U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley and joined state House District 81 candidate Thad Gerardot for a campaign appearance in downtown
  • Coats, Donnelly donate to campaigns
    Neither of Indiana’s U.S. senators is on the election ballot this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from dipping into their campaign war chests.
  • Boland pledges to donate salary to community
    If elected, Democratic State Treasurer candidate Mike Boland would donate his salary to the community.

Why give up perks? ‘Daily Show’ grills Bayh

Given that we’re in a recession, “The Daily Show” questions why Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., would be willing to give up a lucrative Senate position willingly.

After all, senators get “free postage, free travel, even Senate haircuts,” according to show correspondent John Oliver.

“You’d have to be crazy to give this up, yet somebody actually is,” Oliver said in reference to Bayh.

In the six-plus minute segment, Oliver questions Bayh about his decision by playing the role of the Senate. Oliver sobbed as Bayh explained why he was breaking up with it.

“I hate to say it, but our relationship has become too partisan,” Bayh told Oliver.

Oliver even asks whether Bayh is leaving because of some uncovered scandal, such as sex with multiple staffers, to which Bayh denies. The show did not touch on the fact Bayh would likely have faced a tough re-election campaign.

The segment also includes interviews with disgraced former Republican Idaho Sen. Larry Craig – although no direct questions about his airport bathroom escapades. The full segment can be found online at www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-june-2-2010/evan-bayh-s-senate-retirement.

The piece ends with a test of whether Bayh could survive without his perks. Oliver asks him to mail a letter. This prompts Bayh to lick a stamp – Oliver informs him they are now self-adhesive – and then Bayh seals the envelope. When asked whether he put the letter in the envelope first, Bayh said, “I neglected to do that.”

It ends with Oliver noting it is too soon for Bayh to return to the real world.

“Poor bastard,” he laments.

How much you got?

State officials dealing with a budget crisis have come up with one new tactic – just ignore what the bill is and pay what you can.

That’s what legislative leaders have done for two years when it comes to membership dues for the National Conference of State Legislators and the Council of State Governments – entities that often provide useful information and data on specific issues facing states.

The Legislative Council last week approved payment of dues to the two entities of $190,337 and $143,944 respectively.

But as Jack Ross, head of the Indiana Legislative Services Agency, reported those amounts are a decrease of about 8 percent over two years from what the organization has billed the state.

He said the agencies haven’t kicked Indiana out, so he will just pay what has been appropriated in the budget, regardless of what the dues actually are.

How do you think the state would like it if citizens used this new strategy when it came to taxes?

Youthful courtesy

The GOP candidate forum last week featured plenty of conservative rhetoric from the 14 candidates looking to replace Mark Souder in Congress. Interestingly, it took the group’s youngest member to show what is typical courtesy at such events.

Republican Joe Schomburg, a graduate nursing student at Duke University, was the only one of the candidates to open his remarks by thanking the event sponsors and audience.

The other candidates instead went right into answering their question, many leaving time left that could have been used for such platitudes.

Some candidates did thank the event sponsors during their closing remarks.

They said what?

The Fort Wayne City Council last week took a big step toward becoming more accessible to residents with hearing impairments. Last week’s meeting was the first one to be broadcast with closed captioning.

The city hired Aberdeen Captioning Inc. to provide 98 percent accurate captions for what is said at each meeting.

While the captions were on for all viewers last week, they will eventually appear only for residents who turn captions on at home on City TV public access, Comcast Channel 58 and Verizon Channel 28.

The contract costs $115 an hour, which might shorten some meetings if council members know that prolonged pontificating is costing taxpayers money.

More caffeine?

Tired of the tea party and looking for something new? Try the coffee party.

Mark Duwe is trying to organize new chapters of the coffee party movement in Indiana. He began as the organizer for a chapter in Columbus.

Duwe recently sent out a news release about his efforts, noting that those in the tea party movement “seem to be a pretty angry bunch and some of their rhetoric crosses the line from civility to hate speech.”

He called the coffee party a bipartisan, issue-oriented organization.

Here is its mission statement: “The Coffee Party movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.”

To learn more, go to www.coffeepartyusa.com.

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net .