Monday, November 3, 2014


First of all, please vote tomorrow. This is not a “small” election. It’s as critical as the “big” ones. I don’t even like the words “off-year elections.” Every year is “on.”

Three candidates for the IPS school board have been anointed by the Indiana coven of the secretive national organization, Stand for Children (they refuse to say what they have been spending on this election, but it’s a whopper). We have been flooded with expensive flyers from SFC-I, urging us to vote for their three candidates. In our district, that would mean turning out the respected Samantha Adair-White and, across IPS, losing the at-large candidate, the current board chair Annie Roof. There’s a third candidate they are touting for another district.

These three SFC-I choices are praised by the Indy Chamber of Commerce and, in Sunday’s Star, by Matt Tully who wrote so glowingly for years about Tony Bennett. Such “reform” we don’t need!

The collusion? Last week, also in the Star, in an article by Stephanie Wang, both the SFC-I and one of the candidates claimed to have no ties to one another. That’s a lie. The slick flyers have many posed photos by the bought-and-paid-for candidates, with children whose parents probably signed photo releases at the time of the fake-looking, staged photos.

Such deception. And for what? Well, here's one thought: by pulling the strings, the “corporate education” types will tell IPS to sell off many parcels of valuable land to their buddies at an attractive price and hand over schools to their friends’ for-profit corporations for a hefty fee. As always, follow the money.

You know that’s going to happen. Unless you vote in this “big” election.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Daylight Savings Time for Cowboys

In cleaning out old Word documents on my computer today, I found this very timely note I had taped to the door of my office on the first day of Daylight Savings Time in 2006. If you don’t remember, the chief reason, we were told, for returning to this silly system was that Indiana was losing a bazillion dollars because other states couldn’t/wouldn’t do business with us. A truly bizarre argument that our inept state legislature, of course, agreed with.

Due to switching to Daylight Savings Time, just as our brilliant governor predicted, all hell has broken loose. I have already hired four more account executives, two account managers, one office manager, and one person to handle valet parking, due to the incredible, and I mean incredible, increase in business from other states and other countries.

1. People who wanted to sell to Indiana, but who had no idea how to do that, prior to Sunday at 2 a.m., have suddenly realized, since we’ve changed time zones, that they can now sell to us!!!

2. People who wanted to buy from Indiana have, since 2 a.m. Sunday, suddenly and amazingly discovered the Internet, e-mail, voice mail, the telephone, the fax, and the post office – items apparently out of their reach due to our backward state of not changing time. Amazing!!

I am afraid that you will be sharing not only desks, but chairs. Expect to work each day until 8 p.m. (that’s 8 p.m. Marion Co. time, not 8 p.m. of all the many, many counties that decided to change to a different time zone than here – hey, the whole state is all messed up again – way to go, Brilliant Mitch!!).

I realized this morning, at whatever time it was, in whatever county in the state, while the phone, fax, and doorbell were going crazy with new business, that my basic misunderstanding was this: Mitch, with his pathological (and suspicious) fear of gay marriage, was actually saying, all this time, “gaylightsavingstime” – now, at dusk, straight people turn into cowboys.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


The following letter was sent to the Indianapolis Star. They chose not to print it. It is in response to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's proposal to fight crime, based, in part, on the brutal murder of Officer Perry Renn of the Indianapolis Police Department. Ballard proposed more pre-school care and more police officers.  Period. But, he forgot to say anything about getting rid of assault weapons, the cause of Renn's death. Here is the letter (I also sent the paper the illustration.)

 Dear Editor:

Mayor Ballard’s response to crime in Indianapolis deliberately avoided a demand for a ban on the AK-47, the gun that killed Officer Perry Renn.

This murder weapon was purchased legally from Don’s Guns by the shooter’s mother. Ballard, Governor Pence, and city and state legislators should pledge to rid Indiana of this weapon that was, at one time, illegal.

I propose the following:

 1.       Call upon all Indiana politicians to wear “Ban The AK-47” T-shirts* in memory and in honor of Officer Renn and the other victims of assaults with this violent weapon.

2.       Join other Hoosiers, including NRA members, in wearing these T-shirts as a sign of support for our police officers. (The disconnect between members and the leadership of the NRA on such issues as the AK-47 has often been reported.)

3.       Encourage the media to step up, asking our political leaders about such a ban. And keep asking.

4.       Hold a funeral for the AK-47, once it is banned. I am confident that the police officers who attended Officer Renn’s funeral would be there, since they are those most at risk from this terrible weapon.

Let Ballard, Pence, and the legislators begin the push for the AK-47’s death in Indiana. I’m sick of living in a city and state run by cowards.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

NRA Not Welcome in Indianapolis

It is sadly fitting that the NRA is holding its convention in Indianapolis. We have a city government that pretends to worry about the preponderance of weapons. But, in fact, we are a city of gun shows and gun stores, a horrifying number of murders, and home to a state legislature that is getting dangerously wackier by the session when it comes to gun laws.

I am sickened that our city’s convention and visitors’ bureau bid for the NRA convention. I am also repulsed that 70,000 gun nuts (c’mon, if they’re so invested in the NRA and its agenda that they attend its national convention, they deserve that name) are in our city. Most of us don’t want them here, but our voices are drowned out by the politicians who are strongly supported by the NRA.

Talk often centers on keeping guns out of the hands of young, irresponsible blacks (a good idea), but nothing is said about keeping them out of the hands of NRA members (also, a good idea). They are, after all, the ones who control the legislators who won’t stand up for requiring background checks, making semi-automatic weapons illegal, or reversing the alarming trend to allow guns to be almost anywhere.

The Indianapolis media gets hysterical about guns only when one is used by a young black to kill a young white (a very recent occurrence). While our hearts go out to the victim’s family for this senseless killing, if the races had been reversed, instead of the feeding frenzy we witnessed, we’d have a two-column-inch story in the back of the paper.

And, founding yet another anti-gun group, as Shannon Watts did, is part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you are finally angry enough to get involved, you should have put your time, money, and energy to work for an existing organization. (Even your collaboration with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't erasing the fact that you should have avoided the founding of your own group.) Then immediately seek, as many of us are doing, to get all of the gun-control groups to merge to become one, large opponent of the NRA. That will begin to change the political climate and give us a safer America.


Thursday, April 17, 2014


“I am Governor Mitch Daniels and I am incompetent. “

Many of us would agree that this should have been said, many times over, during the long, long nightmare known as the eight years of the Daniels administration.

What the above quote refers to, however, is what he should have said before he sold off the Indiana Toll Road, for an incredible 75 years, to a consortium of private companies.

His remarks, at a press conference, should have been, in full: “I am Governor Mitch Daniels and I am incompetent. Because of my incompetency, I am forced to sell off the Indiana Toll Road, at a horrendous financial loss to the current and future taxpayers of Indiana. Private companies will reap billions of dollars that should have gone to the citizens of this state. But, that will not happen, because I am incompetent and am unable to manage the toll road.
“Even though the road has always been managed by the state government, albeit sometimes with a fair amount of fraud, I am unable to do so and, therefore, am forced to relinquish Indiana's control of it for three quarters of a century.”

Unfortunately, no one in the media called him “incompetent” for his decision to give away the state’s control of the road – and its rich assets – for nearly a century.  And many of my fellow Hoosiers thought he was good for the state because “he did things.” Well, compared, say, to the eight years of the Big Snooze (A.K.A. Governor Evan Bayh), one might, just might, be excused for getting a little excited about a governor who “did” something. The problem? Almost everything Mitch did was wrong. Damaging. For the benefit of the wealthiest among us. But, by golly, he did things! And, we’re all, literally, paying for it – and will be for at least 75 years.

It gets worse: The money from the toll road went right into Mitch’s great project devoted to those who make money from highways, dubbed Major Moves (or, as some of us prefer to call it, “Major Goofs”). Those billions were spent, hastily and unwisely, on destroying farms and forests in southwestern Indiana, so that he could engage in his lust for Interstates at a time when forward-thinking (and competent) government officials were working on fast, clean, and green methods of public transportation, instead of a senseless expansion of I-69. We need bullet trains, subways, monorails, and commuter trains and buses.  Bring back the Interurban trains that my parents rode on in the 1920s!

It gets even worse: The funds have all been spent, even before the extension of I-69 between Indianapolis and Evansville could be completed.  Math, anyone?

Speaking of addition and subtraction, who determined, then shared, the benefits of the sale of the toll road? I didn’t see or hear a story questioning the astounding loss of revenue. All I can recall is a collective cheer over the receipt of billions of dollars up front. But, if common sense had prevailed, those cheers would have turned to boos when it was calculated that the companies gleefully paying that money were well aware that they would collect an obscene amount of cash over the 75-year period. Mitch and his buddies were well aware of this, too. Instead, this money should have been collected by the state, on behalf of the state, to help alleviate Indiana’s embarrassing, sickening national ranking among the 50 states in the areas of education, basic health services, employment, and other things that matter.

We need governors who care more about infants than about Interstates.   

This isn’t the end of the story. And that’s why I’m writing about it now, years after Mitch did it to Indiana. Privatization goes on. Whether it’s money destined for the pockets of politicians or the cronies of politicians. Whether the average person suffers from the sale of something that had been working until an “incompetent” mayor or governor simply had to get rid of the asset and let us all suffer the consequences. From toll roads (Indiana) to parking meters (Indianapolis), we citizens of this state are screwed as long as we have a state legislature or city council suspiciously eager and willing to go along with the decisions. And, as long as there is little, if any, interest by the media to do the math and start demanding answers - before the years- or decades-long contracts are signed.

 My next post?  It could begin, “I am Mayor Greg Ballard and I am incompetent.” Think about that when you pay a small fortune to use a parking meter, knowing that the vast majority of your cash is not going into the city’s coffers, but into the pockets of the company that bought the rights to collect your hard-earned money.  For decades.






Saturday, August 31, 2013




The hawks in Washington and elsewhere are willfully ignoring that we are a nation that sprayed tons of Agent Orange over Vietnam, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians and soldiers, as well as many American troops, and causing birth defects among many of those caught in our years of chemical warfare. 


We, of all countries in the world, should not be threatening death to those who, maybe, have committed a similar crime.


Our actions in Vietnam began less than two decades after we dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, murdering hundreds of thousands of people.


Syria is led by an evil dictator who may or may not have used chemical weapons. And why is this particular accusation, after years of Bashar Assad’s brutal attacks on his own people, suddenly a “red line”?


American foreign policy has always been very selective in whether we treat evil heads of state as friends or foes. And, we kill democratically elected Lumumbas and Allendes and willingly support the wicked Mobutus and Pinochets who follow them.


It is long past time for the Unites States to cease to be the world’s policeman, or, more aptly put, the world’s biggest and most harmful bully. Let us stop killing horrendous numbers of civilians and soldiers in countries where we do not belong.


The sanctimonious attitude of the Obama administration, insisting on the use of chemical weapons by Syria, sounds sadly and eerily similar to the claims of “weapons of mass destruction” by the Bush administration in Iraq. 


Stop the carnage. Stop using our people as cannon fodder. Stop killing innocents, thus creating martyrs determined to cause harm to equally innocent persons on our soil. Let us draw a “red line” against yet another illegal and immoral act.


Never has it seemed more apt to recall that, because we are not without sin, we must not cast stones.



Friday, January 25, 2013


Below is a letter to the editor to the Indianapolis Star. Although I knew it was longer than the ones they usually print, I felt it had so many points that needed to be made, including information on the origins of the 2nd Amendment.
They rejected it on the grounds of its length, yet I pointed out in a series of emails to Tim Swarens, editorial-page editor, that they have been running lengthy pro-gun articles, so I suggested he not consider it a "letter to the editor," but a “conversation” or “my view” -- and run it. He would not.

Further down in my letter, you will find a description of the true origin of the 2nd Amendment. Those who love guns more than they love children seem to believe that the 2nd Amendment was carried down from the mountain top by Moses. The first step in the process to appeal it, which can’t come soon enough, is to understand why it was created.
You might have thought this point alone would have caught the eye of a fair-minded journalist who wanted to examine and report on this well-documented interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. If you help bring this to the attention of the media, we can get it out there, helping to educate both the media and their readers, listeners, and viewers.

But, please, also read the first part of the letter too that provides details of the Indianapolis Star's lust for guns – in only one issue of the paper. Two days later, on Saturday, January 19, a man shot himself accidentally after shopping at the gun show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Star buried this front-page story back in the Metro section the next day. Earlier, it had also given little notice to the story of three people who were shot at another gun show, again when an idiot (read: gun-show lover) accidentally shot them.
Yes, I do start off with "appalling" a lot - but, aren't we all appalled. A lot?

Dear Editor:
I was appalled by the number of column inches in a single issue of the Indianapolis Star (Thursday, January 17) devoted to pro-gun sentiments.

The top item on Local Living’s “Things to Do Near You” was the Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show at our Indiana State Fairgrounds. I’ve been appalled for years that the board and staff of the state fairgrounds welcome gun shows. It is even more appalling that your paper touts this as a place to go, with children, no less, especially when gun shows have long been proven to be gigantic loopholes in the efforts to control the sale of guns and the background checks on those who buy them. And you know that.
Erika D. Smith’s column about the delight of shooting the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle (the same one used to murder the children in Newtown, Connecticut) was sickening. Perhaps it would be appropriate to have photos of children to shoot at for target practice?

A survey of our members of Congress brought the expected, knee-jerk reaction defending the right to own guns, ignoring the horrible consequences of owning – and using – assault weapons. The comments from my representative, Andre Carson, said nothing about assault weapons. I want a hero to represent me in Congress, not a coward.

There isn’t room to comment on the idiocy of most of the writing about guns on the editorial page and in the letters to the editor.
I don’t believe in “gun rights.” I believe in human rights, the right to be safe from those who bear arms.

Attempts to sidetrack us into a discussion (another word for “long delay”) of mental illness doesn’t address the fact that the Newtown shooter’s mother owned an arsenal of weapons, including her own AR-15, which proved ineffective in defending herself against her own mentally ill son. We hear a lot of talk about “criminals” – people like her are the criminals, along with those who rob a store or another individual. And, no one who supports the right to own assault weapons is in his or her right mind.
President Obama’s proposals, matching those in the new legislation out of New York, allow current owners of assault weapons to keep them, legally. (We also deserve to have a hero in the White House, not a coward.) As you read this, assault weapons are being sold at a rapid pace, either at a gun shop or, even sadder, at our state fairgrounds. Perhaps Erika D. Smith will buy one at the fairgrounds, if she can stomach the displays of Nazi flags and uniforms, and go whoop it up with her own semi-automatic weapon.

The Second Amendment was willfully misinterpreted by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. It is a little-known fact that the purpose of that amendment was to provide comfort to slave owners when the United States was in its infancy. Professor Carl T. Bogus argues in his book, The Hidden History of the Second Amendment, that there is strong reason to believe that, in significant part, James Madison drafted the amendment to assure his constituents in Virginia, and the South generally, that Congress could not use its newly-acquired powers to indirectly undermine the slave system by disarming the militia, on which the South relied for slave control.  Read more at this link:
Perhaps persons of all backgrounds might be less eager to shout about trampling on the 2nd Amendment if they realized it had been designed to insure that slave owners could brutally put down any slave rebellions.

It’s a great pity that the Indianapolis Star does not have the courage to call for the banning of all assault weapons, including those now or soon to be owned. Obama called them “weapons of war.” Now, however, he has caved, as always, and does not include the banning of the vast arsenal of them already in the hands of the true criminals in this country.
John Sherman