October 29, 2010

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter
Valley Watch, Save the Valley

A coalition of consumer and environmental organizations filed a request today with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission that two public field hearings be scheduled regarding the cost increases pertaining to the problem plagued IGCC power plant currently under construction in Knox County by Duke Energy. The coalition also questions Duke Energy's continued need for the overly expensive project.

"Given the ethical and legal questions swirling around the decisions made regarding the Edwardsport plant, its escalating cost and the questionable need for the plant in relation to more economic alternatives, we urge the IURC to hold several public hearings at locations and times accessible for public comment by Duke ratepayers, who ultimately will foot the bill for this expensive experiment," said Steve Francis, state chairperson for the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter.

Liberals will get what they deserve on Election Day

October 23, 2010

Saying "I told you so" is never a gratifying experience, even when the warning was prescient. "There is no cure for this strain of American Ugly," I wrote two days before the 2008 General Election. "If Barack Obama is elected on Tuesday, the virus will mutate, and it will only get uglier." I also wrote at that time, with slightly less zeal, that Democrats would squander the mandate for change voters ultimately gave them.

It's less than two weeks before the 2010 General Election, and even the most fervent Democratic apologists agree that is exactly what has happened, and ugly is poised to punish them for their impotence come Nov. 2. Talk about bait and switch. Despite the Democrats' 2008 talk, the only change their fleeting rise to power has wrought has been driven by Sarah Palin and the radical, religious and racist right. Indeed, the Palinistas have proven to be the only political force in America that understands how to effect change.

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 15, 2010

Photojournalist Adam Reynolds was happy to see the FedEx truck pull up recently. He'd been anxiously awaiting the return of the tools of his trade -- camera, laptop and iPod -- that were confiscated by Yemen authorities in April.

The Bloomington native and another freelance journalist, Heather Murdock, were deported at the end of April from the country located at the tip of the Saudi Arabian peninsula. The official reason for their expulsion was that they were traveling without permits. "We wanted to visit southern Yemen to interview members of the secessionist Southern Movement," Reynolds said. "And there was no way the government would have permitted that."

October 13, 2010

News Release
Citizen Action Coalition

The Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) applauds new IURC Chairman James D. Atterholt on his decision to audit cases overseen by former Chief Administrative Law Judge Scott Storms, who is now on administrative leave with Duke Energy. The cases to be re-examined include the original proceeding in Cause No. 43114, or the case which granted Duke the approval to build the problem-plagued Intgrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant, currently under construction in Knox County.

“We are cautiously optimistic that Chairman Atterholt will audit these decisions,” states Grant Smith, executive director of CAC. “However, we are concerned that when an agency investigates itself it may not be as aggressive and transparent as necessary and that the timeframe is too short. We believe the investigation should be conducted by an outside, independent agency to ensure a complete, objective and independent conclusion is reached and that sufficient time be allowed to adequately collect and review the evidence.”

October 6, 2010

The revolving door between the Indiana Utility Regulatory has been well established for a very long time but may have a more difficult time in the future.

In what may be the clearest signal yet of a run for the presidency by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, he decided yesterday to try to mitigate a scandal of huge proportions by firing the Chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission David Lott Hardy.

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.

An interview with Scott Russell Sanders

October 4, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS -- In his capacity as the 2010 national winner of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, Scott Russell Sanders spent the day here recently, making the rounds of media outlets. Over lunch, the professor emeritus of English at Indiana University talked about retirement, the culture of books, real wealth and the common good.


TPH: Which library did you pick to be the beneficiary of the award? [In addition to receiving a $10,000 personal prize, Sanders gets to select a library to receive $2,500.]

SRS: Monroe County Public Library. It’s a great dimension of the award in that it explicitly recognizes the importance of public libraries, the culture of books and what’s involved in nurturing a society where the reading and writing of books is taken seriously. And by books, it doesn’t really matter to me what medium people read in. I distinguish between the nature of the delivery system and what it is that’s being delivered. I will always prefer reading a book to reading something that’s on the screen. But I’m perfectly willing to believe that another person can get as rich an experience from reading the screen -- maybe prefers the screen.

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.


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.

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