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Access Denied: Shelbyville News Blocks Links From Local Political Blog

Accessdenied_2From the "You Know You've Made It When" file comes this nugget from an excellent blog that tracks politics and political dealings in Shelby County.

Apparently, the local newspaper has banned readers from following links to its stories from the blog, which, when you think about it, doesn't really make much sense from a driving-up-the-hits standpoint.

For the blog, which has garnered a steady local readership and wedged itself under the skin of a number of Shelby County pols, it's an outward and visible sign that the old-school newspaper may not be ready to compete with all the "noise" on the Internets.

Overshadow This: Pence Flack Says It's On Like Donkey Kong, Jon

BunnyslippersHey, Jon Stewart, you think you're so ha-ha funny with the Mike Pence "summer market in Indiana" jokes?

The truth is, you're afraid of Mike Pence. You need men like Mike Pence to go on carefully orchestrated press junkets and say completely dumb things. You use words like "Fuzzy Bunny", "cow-tipping" and "dildo" as punchlines. Mike Pence uses them as the backbone to a life spent defending his shiny public image.

Well, Jon Stewart, you don't know what you're up against. You can't handle the truth [about Indiana].

According to Jim Shella's blog, the gauntlet has officially been thrown down. and Mike Pence would totally overshadow you on the air. If you'd ever invite him on your show, that is.

"Comedy Central's The Daily Show continues to hammer Congressman Mike Pence for his comments comparing Baghdad to an Indiana market in the summertime.

"Last night correspondent Rob Riggle tracked down Indiana soldiers in Iraq seeking their comparisons.

"Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd says the Congressman, who has since retracted his comment, thinks the show is funny. Lloyd says the issue won't die because Congress is out of session for a month and there is no new material.

"What about having Pence go on the program to defend himself?

"Lloyd says with a chuckle, 'We're afraid he would... overshadow (host John Stewart.)'

"Also, the Daily Show hasn't invited Pence to be a guest."

Oh, well, there's that.

Thinking Out Loud: A Review Of Easterly's Morning Q&A With Lawmakers

TalkingA snarky summary of Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Tom Easterly's answers to BP-related questions during a bipartisan legislative committee this morning:

Asked (Rep. Pelath): Tell us about sludge silt suspended solids.
Answered: "Nobody can measure it because it is so fine that it passes through the filters."
In his head: "Crunchy water is good for you."

Asked (Rep. Pelath): Did you fast-track the permit because of pressure from the Guv and his economic development team?
Answered: "I don't think that we felt any undue pressure to move at a speed that we wouldn't try to move any other permit."
In his head: "Unless, of course, by pressure you mean the untold number of judgmental eyes watching me online as I deliver these talking points written by the Guv's staff."

Asked (Rep. Pelath): How do you rank the overall quality of Indiana's environment right now?
Answered: "I think we're going forward in many different places."
In his head: "Man, I wish I worked for an agency where I could increase dumping and put forth bold initiatives like strip-mining and clear-cutting."

Asked (Rep. Hinkle): Isn't testing water in Lake Michigan exactly like testing well water before closing a real estate transaction?
Answered: "I wouldn't even want to speculate."
In his head: "Did you mean to ask that out loud?"

Asked (Rep. Murphy): Isn't it fair to say, because the Guv's Office pretty much told me to, that Indiana has some of the best discharge standards ever -- maybe even the very bestest in the Midwestest?
Answered: "I believe that's true."
In his head: "Like I believe in the tooth fairy."

Asked (Sen. M. Young): So, like, the water in Lake Michigan is just as clean when it goes into filtration as it is when it comes out, right?
Answered: "It's very close."
In his head: "Why don't the questions that are planted in your head come out in the same pure form?"

Asked (Rep. Hinkle): I hate municipal governments more than anything, so can we blame any or all of this on them?
Answered: "People are doing their best to address these issues. Some of it's just natural. Think back to the Nile River or all of recorded history. When it rains, stuff goes into the water. It just does."
In his head: "Stuff is neat. I wish I was back at my office reading and making decisions about stuff."

Asked (Rep. Pelath): Would you have done anything different if you could turn back the hands of time and go through the permitting process again?
Answered: It would have been good "to have gotten the concerns of people in during the time that the process was open before the final decision was made." But a lot of people just don't like this idea. "We don't look at whether you like this business in this location or like it at all. We look at do you meet the requirement for the permit."
In his head: "And stuff."

Now Playing: Watch Online As IDEM Defends Its BP Dumping Permit

SewagemonsterThe bipartisan legislative oversight panel reviewing the BP Whiting Refinery permit is meeting right now.

Watch it online here: http://mediaserver.ihets.org/waysandmeans/

Quoth Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Tom Easterly: "We did more public outreach on this permit than on any permit in the history of IDEM."

Pass The Appease: Guv May Or May Not Want To Ditch The Property Tax

Guvwalorksi_2The Guv is still fishing around to figure out where he stands on property taxes, but when in Rome, he seems to be adopting Roman talking points. Or at least the ones State Rep. Jackie Walorski [and Eric Miller] want him to use when he's standing next to her at a press conference.

"Gov. Mitch Daniels stopped short of saying he would seek to eliminate property taxes in Indiana here Tuesday, but suggested the issue is one that requires examination.

"'We ought to look and see,' Daniels said in response to a question. 'We certainly need to head in that direction and go as far as we can.'

"One way to start, according to Daniels, would be for counties to adopt local option income taxes that could be used to reduce property taxes dollar for dollar.

"'We're not going to have people losing their houses in this state over unfair property taxes,' Daniels promised.

"The governor also said he is hopeful that the blue ribbon commission headed by former Gov. Joe Kernan and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall Shepard and intended to find ways to reorganize local government will take more pressure off property taxes.

"State Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Lakeville, has been an advocate of eliminating property taxes altogether.

"On Tuesday, she suggested that property taxes could be replaced by a combination of increased sales and income taxes and a reduction in spending.

"Right now, she said, several different tax plans have been suggested, but none are on the table for discussion.

"'If ever we have a shot at long-term property tax reform, it will be while he's governor,' Walorski said, indicating she meant Daniels."

Picking A Horse: Many States Prevent Election Officials From Taking Sides

RokitaFollowing up on a New York Times piece earlier this month, Stateline.org takes a look today at Secretaries of State, including our beloved Todd Rokita, who take sides in the political arena despite their supposedly neutral electoral roles:

"At least a dozen states are determined to avoid at least one of the political minefields exposed by the cliffhanger 2000 presidential race.

"Whether by law or choice, state officials who oversee local and national elections in these states are declining to serve on political campaign committees or publicly endorse candidates to assure the public that elections referees don't have a stake in the outcome.

"Still, in Indiana, Arizona and Rhode Island, there's no question who the top state election official hopes will win the presidency in 2008: Their secretaries of state have endorsed presidential candidates.

"Most states have few restrictions in this area, and contenders for the White House covet endorsements of statewide officials, including secretaries of state and governors who have political networks and connections to donors.

"Up until 2000, secretaries of state were relatively obscure statewide officials. That changed when then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris made a series of decisions regarding the recount in the nation's tightest presidential race while serving as co-chair for the George Bush campaign in Florida.

"Four years later, in Ohio, where a win was crucial for President Bush's re-election, J. Kenneth Blackwell came under fire for his actions regarding voter challenges while he served as secretary of state and chairman of Bush's re-election campaign there. Blackwell tried to quell possible conflict-of-interest concerns when he ran for governor in 2006 by delegating key duties to the assistant secretary of state. Blackwell lost to former U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, who is now Ohio's governor.

"'It just doesn’t make sense to have the state's election administrator being involved in partisan politics. The perception of conflict of interest can be too great,' said Mary Boyle, a spokeswoman for Common Cause, a lobbying watchdog group."

View It: The Daily Show Makes Mike Pence Look Stupid (Once Again)

Jon Stewart and Rob Riggle, you are very, very funny men. And Mike Pence must hate you.

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