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Opening Arguments

Blog buzz

Couple of interesting items elsewhere in the Indiana blogosphere. The propsoal on creationism died in the House after passing the Senate, and Doug at Masson's Blog notes that the Associated Press continues to misreport the story thusly: "A bill that would have specifically allowed Indiana’s public schools to teach creationism alongside evolution in science classes has been shelved by the leader of the Indiana House of Representatives."

Here is what the bill now says, following Sen. Simpson’s amendment on second reading:

[A school] may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.

It says nothing at all about science or science classes. It also no longer even says anything about “creationism.” It just says that schools can teach the origin stories from various religions, so long as they teach those from multiple religions. Which, of course, they can already do.

Cluttering up the Indiana Code with laws that do absolutely nothing isn't quite as bad as cluttering it up with laws doing the wrong thing, but it's close. Not reading the bills you're reporting on, however, is as bad as not reading the bills you're voting on. By the way, Masson is a Lafayette attorney who worked for the General Assembly's Legislative Service Agency for three years. His column is pretty much a must-read during the session.

Meanwhile, at Advance Indiana, Indianapolis attorney Gary R. Welsh takes note of Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's decision to take on the issue of incumbent Richard Lugar's decision to give up his home in Indiana more than 35 years ago. He thinks this is a very big deal:

I ask my fellow Republicans. If you don't believe this issue is explosive, then look no further than how the Democrats managed to criminalize Charlie White's acts, which every political observer worth his salt would have agreed prior to that ordeal that the issues raised in his case would not carry the day legally because almost everyone has at one time or another done something similar to what White did. On very flimsy legal arguments that White committed vote fraud for using his ex-wife's home as his registered voting address for a several month period, the Democrats succeeded in not only getting a judge to order White tossed from office, but also to get an over zealous special prosecutor to trump up felony charges against him that a jury was incapable of discerning was a load of crap. We can't afford to throw this Senate seat away based upon sentimental feelings about our long-time senator.

I guess I'm not as forgiving of White's actions, even if "everyone has at one time or another done something similar." White wasn't just any candidate. He was seeking to be the state's chief election officer, so ignoring the state's election requirements was carelessness on a grand scale. I'm also not sure how much effect the residency issue will have on the election. No matter what the Democratic Party says about Lugar, he's still one of the most liked politicians in Indiana history.

I do agree the issue is important, though, if for no other reason that it is symbolic of how much a Washington a longtime incumbent can become. We can have a spirited debate over how "conservative" he is, but I think an equally important issue is how much of a Hoosier he still really is.