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Hoosier lore

No excuses

While we're waiting to see if we get any Katrina survivors here, we can see how a nearby Indiana town is handling it. About 50 evacuees are being taken care of in Marion, the county seat of Grant County, which has had some economic woes of its own. When people who can least afford it are willing to help, it doesn't leave many excuses for the rest of us.

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The outrages continue

Now that insensitive Joel Silverman is talking about moving the Southgate license branch out by the airport, which will really inconvenience those of us on the south side of town. Silverman obviously doesn't care, and Gov. Daniels backs him, so he's not likely to do anything. The General Assembly? Please. That means only one person can give us relief. So why haven't we heard from President Bush? Is he out having a photo op, or what?

If the highways seem unpatrolled . . .

I bow to no one in praise of Mitch Daniels' attempts to bring state spending under control. But isn't this a little short-sighted? All agencies can benefit from eliminating waste and inefficiency, but at some point, a department's responsibilities need to take precedence over orders for across-the-board cuts.

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Two Hoosier kids made good

Of course, I want to hear what he has to say first, and I won't make any judgments until I actually do hear it. No, I don't mean what John Roberts will say in answer to questions at his Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court seat. I mean what Sen. Evan Bayh says when he introduces Roberts to the Senate committee. Bayh says he's doing this as a courtesy because both of them are Hoosiers (sort of) and to reduce the level of incivility in Washington.

Executing the mentally ill

In commuting the death sentence of Arthur P. Baird II, Gov. Mitch Daniels has not quite set the stage for the debate on capital punishment and the profoundly mentally ill that some had hoped would begin. The governor mostly talked about the fact that life without parole was not an option when Baird was convicted, and the victims' family members and all the jurors who have made their opinions known would have preferred that sentence for him.

The best blogger you never met

It's sad that the childhood home of Ernie Pyle has been lost. Its continued presence was important for the same reason we preserve the homes of other significant people. We want to visit their pasts to see what it was like for them, what inspired them, even just what they saw out the window on a summer day. But this loss isn't in the "tragic" category, because Pyle still lives and always will in the writings he left behind.

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Dan, Dan, the Moveon man

You don't have to worry about Indiana being out of the mainstream of progressive thought. Indianapolis Star columnist Dan Carpenter has done some agonizing soul-searching, and it was a close call, but he finds himself morally superior to all the cretinous "Bush loyalists" who have "never come within a country mile of a combat zone" but nevertheless feel compelled to wage an "all-out assault" on Cindy Sheehan.

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A fiery protest

This form of protest is a little more drastic than carrying a sign and marching. Here is a particularly startling observation, a provision of Indiana law I was not aware of:

Prosecutors say it is legal in the state of Indiana to burn your own house down if you own it outright.

Posted in: Hoosier lore

East, west and around the Bend

The Great Time Zone Controversy is fizzling out the way many people predicted (oh, OK, the way I predicted -- pat, pat, pat), with most counties wanting to stay the way they are and a few counties in northwest and southwest Indiana near Central zone counties wanting to switch from Eastern. South Bend is the most interesting case. I used to live about as far west of South Bend as I now live east of it, so I'm familiar with the conflicting pulls people there feel.

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Dumb and happy, not so fat

Maybe we're still dim in Fort Wayne (America's stupidest city, Men's Health magazine, this year), but we're probably not quite as fat as we used to be (America's fourth-fattest city, Centers for Disease Control, 2003), at least if we're following the state's trend. Indiana is now ranked ninth in the percentage of adults regarded as obese. On second thought, maybe we shouldn't be throwing around words like "fat."

Posted in: Hoosier lore