Reflection Time: News You Can't Really Use Because It's Already Musty

Newspaper What did we learn today while TDW was away?

The Lite Guv, who was a member of the Indiana Senate before presiding over it, still doesn't know the rules.

Weather forecasters are a bunch of liars, but that's a good thing because everyone's out of salt.

The Guv took pity on former City-County Council member and unofficial former Ballard administration spokesman Ike Randolph.

Oh, and the bar exam sucks, but probably not as much as it sucked earlier today to be the people staying at the Days Inn across the parking lot from TDW's hotel.

Best Foot Forward? Lite Guv Perhaps A Poor Choice For IU Ceremony

LiteguvcapandgownNot to be a complete bitch, but what the hell, it's Friday: Isn't there a certain irony in the fact that the Lite Guv, all dolled up in cap and gown, spoke yesterday at the inauguration of IU's new president? (Who, by the way, seems like he's going to be a rock star. With a sexy accent.)

"'We believe the health of our universities is very much tied to our state's health,' Skillman said. 'Our partners in education are the cornerstone of Indiana's economic success and I am proud that IU is always looking toward the future.'"

Not only is it a little odd that the Guv didn't bother to attend the ceremony, but he sent someone who doesn't have a college degree to talk about the intrinsic value of higher education and its direct relationship to our state's economic prosperity?

TDW understands that most Hoosiers don't have college degrees, and there are plenty of jobs out there that don't require them. But this was a smells-and-bells ceremony honoring the guy who's going to take over one of our state's finest institutes of higher learning.

Send someone with the CV to back up the talking points.

Ethanol Bust: There's Gold In Them Thar Fields Of Corn (Or Is There?)

CornMore potentially bad news for those -- including the Guv and Lite Guv -- banking on ethanol as the Next Big Thing:

"One year ago this week, Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman attended a ground-breaking ceremony for the Hartford Bio-Energy ethanol refinery in Hartford City. Nothing much happened after that.

"'They started last year and then pulled out in November or December and have not been back since that point in time,' said Hartford City Mayor Dennis Whitesell. 'The last time I talked to them, within the last month, they remained confident of moving forward. It seems to me to be financing at this point.'

"Hurt isn't surprised that Hartford Bio-Engery and other proposed ethanol plants, including Muncie Ethanol, which was supposed to have broken ground months ago, might be dragging their heels.

"'Lenders are saying no way,' Hurt said. 'It's not an understatement to say there was just a massive over-investment in ethanol that just got ahead of its marketability.'

"At one point during the ethanol gold rush, at least one and sometimes two ethanol plants were proposed in every county in East Central Indiana, including two that remain planned in Henry County."

All Your Corn In One Basket: Ethanol Love Affair Losing Its Spark?

Corn1 Since there's not a whole lot else on the local news scene, let's turn our attention to this story in the New York Times about ethanol, which has been much-discussed as the Next Best Thing for our state's economy:

"The ethanol boom of recent years — which spurred a frenzy of distillery construction, record corn prices, rising food prices and hopes of a new future for rural America — may be fading.

"Only last year, farmers here spoke of a biofuel gold rush, and they rejoiced as prices for ethanol and the corn used to produce it set records.

"But companies and farm cooperatives have built so many distilleries so quickly that the ethanol market is suddenly plagued by a glut, in part because the means to distribute it has not kept pace. The average national ethanol price on the spot market has plunged 30 percent since May, with the decline escalating sharply in the last few weeks.

"'The end of the ethanol boom is possibly in sight and may already be here,' said Neil E. Harl, an economics professor emeritus at Iowa State University who lectures on ethanol and is a consultant for producers. 'This is a dangerous time for people who are making investments.'

"While generous government support is expected to keep the output of ethanol fuel growing, the poorly planned overexpansion of the industry raises questions about its ability to fulfill the hopes of President Bush and other policy makers to serve as a serious antidote to the nation’s heavy reliance on foreign oil."

More Than Corn: Tourism Folks Less Than Effusive In Defense Of Indiana

Restart_logo_wtag_blue_2Hat tip to the reader who forwarded this Chicago Sun-Times story about Windy City residents not choosing our state as a vacation destination. Oddly enough, the state's expensive new slogan doesn't even get a mention by the poor tourism flacktoid called for comment:

"Curt Brantingham, a spokesman for the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, said his state is doing its best to convince Chicagoans that, as the slogan of an Indiana amusement park goes, 'There is more than corn in Indiana.'

"'Everyone kind of has their own things that they like to do, but Indiana is very diverse. It may not have quite the reputation as some of the other states, but we try to work on that.'"

Wow, Curt, what a ringing endorsement of the state you're paid to promote. Maybe you could fashion that into your very own uplifting tagline: "Working Hard Not To Suck As Much As People Think We Do."

Every Word You Say: Lite Guv Believes TDW Goes Wherever She Does

BeckybananaIt looks like the pressure of cutting ribbons and being told to stay away from major policy decisions may finally be getting to the Lite Guv. Everyone's favorite Fort Wayne debtor Dan Turkette "reports" that the Queen Of Preen apparently thinks she's being followed around by the Queen Of Mean:

"AWB: Lieutenant Governor, I'm a local political blogger and I was hoping to ask you a few questions. (at this point her face kind of cringed) so I told her 'I was no 'Jennifer Wagner' and was on her side of the aisle'.

"Skillman: Good, Wagner shows up at most of our events in Indianapolis (sigh)."

Even if she's convinced that your friendly neighborhood blogmistress is hiding out around every corner (for what it's worth, TDW hasn't been at an event with the Lite Guv in months), at least Lady L'Oreal had the presence of mind to duck and dodge Turkette's questions about Matt Kelty's imploding mayoral campaign:

"AWB: In light of the controversy surround republican candidate for Mayor Matt Kelty, I would like to know if you and Governor Daniels support Matt?

"Skillman: Yes, we do support Matt Kelty.

"AWB: Do you plan on attending any Kelty events prior to the election?

"Skillman: I have only made one commitment and that is to a friend running back in my hometown of Bedford, Indiana. With the governor and I both on the campaign trail, that's all I can commit to attending at this time."

Try, Try Again: Lite Guv's Name Comes Out All Wrong On New State Maps

SkillmanbluesuitJim Shella writes about an amusing typo that started making the rounds last week. This one's more entertaining than most that have come out of this error-prone administration, but it's still a close second to this one:

"It's Becky Skillman. Not Becky Skillmam.

"The second spelling appears under the Lieutenant Governor's picture on state maps that just became limited edition collectors items.

"Some of the maps were distributed before discovery of the error. No more. A new printing is ordered.

"From what I know all the roads on the map are correct."

Anyone have a scanned image of a map from the original run?

Pick And Choose: Lite Guv Kicks Off Contest To Find Top Three Tourism Spots

SuitcaseIt might just be TDW's take, but it seems slightly unfair to launch a contest to find Indiana's top three tourist destinations and then give people only a dozen options from which to choose.

"A state government contest and online vote beginning today is designed to find Indiana's top three tourism destinations.

"Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, in a press conference at 10:30 a.m. outside the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, was set to announce a contest through July 13 at

"First, voters can rank their top three getaways from these: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Amish Country/South Bend, Indianapolis/Hamilton County, Indianapolis/Hendricks County, Fort Wayne, Richmond/Antique Alley, Lafayette/Indiana Beach, Turkey Run State Park/Covered Bridges, Holiday World/Evansville, French Lick/West Baden, Brown County/Bloomington/Columbus, and Madison/Vevay. The Web site features a graphic of the locations, and clicking on each location provides details for voters.

"Then, from July 16 to 27, voters can revisit the Web site to view the itineraries for the top three selections and write a short essay explaining why they should be selected to win a Great Indiana Getaway trip.

"Three winners will receive a three-day, two-night trip for four to their selected getaway. Other prizes will include a $500 Circle K gasoline card, an RCA digital camcorder and MP3 player."

Cheap Shot: Lite Guv's Former Flack Joins Fishers Marketing Company

BeckybananaFrom the Star's morning business update:

"Cantaloupe, a permission-based marketing company in Fishers whose main tool is unscripted video stories, has hired Vicki Duncan Gardner. Her resume includes stints as a reporter with WRTV (Channel 6) and as press secretary to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. Duncan Gardner will be director of story development."

Though she's going to a delicious-sounding company, let's hope Gardner is not going to be in charge of planning any photo opps near tropical fruit.

(Okay, yes, this was just a lame excuse to post the banana photo again. Sorry.)

Around The Block: In Memory Of The Lite Guv's Not-So-Classy Ethanol Vehicle

In honor of the Lite Guv's apparent decision to retire her donated Tahoe, TDW heads back to September 2005 for a touch of reprised photo fun:


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