Columns


October 30, 2010

This year’s campaign season has been more bizarre than usual. From the manufactured controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque and Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch” ad to Barack Obama’s “Yes we can, but” moment on The Daily Show, it’s been a long, strange trip.

With a tip of the hat to the Tea Party, and the journalists and pundits who love them, here are a few thoughts on the intersection of media, politics and culture on the eve of Decision 2010.

October 21, 2010

Amid the current ethics scandal and announcement by Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) Chairman James Atterholt of a full audit of Duke Energy dockets, which include the unneeded and problem-plagued IGCC power plant under construction in Edwardsport, the time is now for Duke Energy to come clean and disclose what the true impact on consumers will be as a result of adding this boondoggle into their electric rates.

Duke has been misleading the public and the General Assembly about the true costs to consumers since they actively began lobbying for enabling legislation earlier this decade. In a press release dated November 20, 2007, Duke Energy announced the IURC granting approval to build the 630MW IGCC power plant in Edwardsport, IN. At that time, the cost to construct the plant was $1.985 billion. That press release stated: "The plant will result in an average electric rate increase of approximately 16 percent..."


October 16, 2010

When I reflect on the news habits of college students today, my thoughts can best be summed up in three words: shock and awe. On the one hand, it's shocking how uninformed and uninterested students are in news and current events. Whether its domestic policy debates or international relations, students are routinely "out of the loop" on the major issues of the day.

On the other hand, I'm awed by the impressive array of communication technologies college students have at their disposal. From traditional media like newspapers, magazines, radio and television, to the new media of the Internet, cell phones, PDAs and social networking sites, young people have unprecedented access to local, national and international news.


October 4, 2010

With the midterm elections just around the corner, wars and corporate excess ruining the economy and environmental calamity all around us, I’ve been doing quite a bit of wishful thinking of late.

I wish Obama was a socialist.

I wish journalists would get out of show business and do some honest reporting for a change.


October 2, 2010

Editor's note: On Oct. 5, 2010, Gov. Mitch Daniels fired IURC Chair David Lott Hardy over the ethical scandal that followed the controversy reported on below.

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels didn’t exactly get his presidential bid off to a stellar start when he alienated his party’s Radical Right last spring by telling a conservative publication it was time to “call a truce” on social issues. The Republican’s admonition that the economy trumps values, published in the Weekly Standard in June, drew harsh and immediate rebuke from the pro-life community.

It would seem that Daniels' approach to governance, as expressed through his actions as governor, would generate as much animosity from a Tea Party Right that preaches the evils of socialism as it does from a Progressive Left that rails against oligarchy. Ditto those who believe the money changers must be thrown out of the temple of democracy.

John Blair exposes presidential wannabe Mitch Daniels' unrepentant duplicity

September 11, 2010

For public consumption, Mitch Daniels wears a "conservative" hat, but as Indiana governor, he oversaw one of the largest intrusions of the public sector into the private sector ever, in any state.

In 2006, he was the first to promote the building of a new coal-to-gas plant in one of the most polluted towns in the nation, Rockport, Ind. At the time gas prices were running around $12 per thousand BTUs (MMBtu), and fear was gripping the nation that natural gas was nearing an end and the only salvation, climate change or not, was converting hydrogen and carbon elements in coal into synthetic gas (syngas) that could substitute for industrial fuel and residential home heating.

September 4, 2010

I am a Muslim, and it is my great pleasure to provide Bloomington Alternative readers with some basic information on the subject of Islam. It is important to clarify that my beliefs are my own. I am from Chicago, and I converted to Islam after reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X and then the Q’uran, and after much discussion with my girlfriend at the time, a person who is now my wife. I do not speak for anyone else.

Almost one in four people in the world today say they practice Islam. If you know someone who identifies as a Muslim, you can ask their opinion and gain understanding. Certainly, you will find that not all Muslims think alike.

Age of Autism book explores history of mercury and mental disorders

August 14, 2010

Four researchers from government and academia told a panel of U.S. senators on Aug. 3 that exposures to environmental toxins are a likely cause of autism in genetically predisposed individuals.

"ASDs [Autism Spectrum Disorders] could result from a variety of factors, including combinations of genes, environmental exposures and gene-environment interactions," EPA's Assistant Administrator for Research and Development and Science Advisor Paul Anastas said in a written version of his remarks to the Senate Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Children's Health.


August 7, 2010

"The new health care legislation is a step toward elimination, by slow strangulation, of private health insurance and establishment of government as the 'single payer.'" - George Will, in his weekly newspaper column, Sunday, July 11, 2010

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Everyone loves to pick on the Affordable Care Act, and well they should. This 2,000-page contraption, this heap of handouts to the special interest lobbyists with a few shiny baubles thrown in to placate the common folk, was not only written by the for-profit health insurance industry but now will be implemented by former WellPoint/Anthem Vice President Liz Fowler, who actually penned much of the law in her role as Max Baucus' chief healthcare staff person for the Senate Finance Committee.


August 7, 2010

Dear friends and readers,

Anyone familiar with Bloomington knows August is a time of transition here. Locals, students and migrants alike move in, move out, take time off, go on vacations and brace for the stunning transformation the community undergoes when the IU student body returns.

That's likewise been the case here at The Bloomington Alternative through the years; back when we had a print edition, we took the month off. And these brief recesses have always been times for reflection on the ever-changing challenges of presenting uncomfortable truths to a world in which unrestrained greed and willful ignorance reign supreme. They also have often spawned changes in the way we do things, as is the case this summer.

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