"We're not giving up. Please don't give up! We can stop [the I-69 extension] yet if we all work together."
So said Tom Tokarski, president of Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR), at a public meeting on April 25 at the Indian Creek Township Fire Station in Bloomington.
CARR and the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) called the meeting to make presentations about landowners' rights under eminent domain and answer questions from landowners. Those are the people confronted with the condemnation and forced sale of their property in the path of the highway by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in southwest Monroe County and Greene County.
Once again, the record needs to be set straight and the facts disclosed after the annual Duke Energy media tour regarding their now $2.88 billion boondoggle known as the Edwardsport integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant. This year, the propaganda was spread by the newly appointed president of Duke Michael W. Reed, fresh off his stint on the cabinet of Governor Daniels and before that at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).
I'm surprised that Mr. Reed admits to the $2.88 billion and still growing price tag. What he fails to disclose is rampant cost increases and mistakes in engineering and planning. The plant was originally promised at $1.2 billion in 2006. Then in November 2007, Duke sought approval at the IURC at a cost of $1.985 billion.
As the journal Pediatrics released the latest installment of what can only be called "head-in-the-sand autism science," the U.S. Vaccine Court in Washington D.C. reiterated a previous ruling that a vaccine did cause a Georgia girl's autism. And this time the "Special Masters," as the judges are called, assigned damages for that vaccine-induced injury at $20 million, more or less.
The case involves a girl named Hannah Poling, whose parents in 2002 sought compensation for the autistic symptoms she developed after receiving five shots with nine doses of vaccines in a single visit to her pediatrician when she was 19 months old. Her family -- father Jon is a neurologist -- presented such an airtight case that the government did not contest it.
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.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is seeking a national stage. And those who believe that the flow of mercury into American children's developing bodies should be stemmed and not supercharged should be on guard. "Indiana's very slight, very balding, very unimposing governor" -- Newsweek's words, not mine -- is no typical Hoosier mental mite like Dan Quayle, Evan Bayh or Mike Pence.
From 1987 to 1990, Daniels led the right-wing think tank Hudson Institute, which did then and still does receive generous funding from the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., inventor of and primary profiteer from the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, a component of childhood vaccines suspected of contributing to the worldwide epidemic of autism. He left Hudson for an executive position at Lilly, where he rose to the position of senior vice president for corporate strategy before leaving in 2001 to head George W. Bush's Office of Management and Budget.
A common question raised over the past 20 years about the I-69/NAFTA Highway has been, "Who's behind this multi-billion transfer of wealth to the politically connected elite?" Until just a few days ago, the answer among knowledgeable commoners had always been to state the obvious, "The Evansville power structure," which has lobbied for a straight-line route to Indianapolis since the 1960s.
A just-released book on the subject, however, drills the answer down to a specific name and face. And it will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Indiana politics that he was an aristocratic land baron with a 1920s view of the planet, whose personal family fortunes will swell to even greater enormity if and when the highway reaches his town.
“It is not too late!!! Ask for a redesign of this project!” Those were the messages 30 citizens with signs tried to convey to people driving on the SR 45/46 Bypass from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, on the northeast corner of Fee Lane and the Bypass.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has begun work on widening the bypass, over citizens’ objections for the last 20 years. The citizens claim that the bypass design is outmoded. It would encourage the use of more cars when, because of global climate change, we should be putting money into public transportation, not cars, one of the largest contributors to climate change.
According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a public-interest, human-rights law firm, "The Obama administration has ... continued and enhanced the use of 'terrorism' prosecutions against animal rights and environmental activists, indicating that the 'Green Scare' - the repression of environmental activists by designating them terrorists - continues in full swing."
In Indiana the Green Scare has been in full swing with two legal cases associated with construction of the I-69 interstate extension. Criminal charges brought against two activists have been settled, but Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits intended to chill political activism continue against 16 others.
Most people recognize that the events of 9/11 were the driving force behind the "War on Terror." Less well recognized is the fact that this borderless war against an ill-defined enemy has expedited economic collapse, driven totalitarian legislation and generated a great deal of animosity against the United States throughout the world. The pain and suffering caused by 9/11 comes with an opportunity, however. Through a better understanding of those tragic events, we can achieve crucial insights that can not only end the wars but might ultimately lead to lasting positive change in human society.
On Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre in Bloomington, the 9/11 Working Group of Bloomington will sponsor a free presentation by two prominent truth and peace activists. Buddhist scholar and peace studies director Graeme MacQueen will discuss "The fictional basis for the war on terror." Behavioral scientist Laurie Manwell will speak on the social and psychological implications of 9/11 and other state crimes against democracy.
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.