Idiocy In Indiana

Sorry for cluttering up your inboxes, but blame the headline and story in the Indianapolis Star. 

Clearly, It isn’t only Washington that is suffering from a surfeit of buffoons.

I ‘m old enough to remember when Harrison Ullmann, then editor of Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper Nuvo, routinely called the Indiana General Assembly “the World’s Worst Legislature.”

And that was before Milo Smith was elected to embarrass Bartholomew County.

Smith, as you may recall, was the legislator who refused to allow the House Elections Committee to even hold a vote on a redistricting bill, killing last session’s effort to reform gerrymandering–and not so incidentally, protecting his own safe seat.

Smith has also been in the forefront of efforts to pass anti-LGBTQ legislation–despite the fact that his own son is gay. There is something truly despicable about a parent actively trying to make his own child a second-class citizen.

Smith’s disdain for bedrock American values like civic equality and liberty have once again come to the fore: he has announced his intent to file a bill that would force the owners of the Indianapolis Colts to refund the admission fee of fans “offended” by players “taking a knee.”

What was it that Forrest Gump always said? “Stupid is as stupid does”?

One of my former students texted me to ask whether this idiotic proposal wouldn’t also be unconstitutional–after all, government would be forcing the team’s owner to infringe players’ rights or lose money. The answer is yes. (My students are required to encounter the Constitution; clearly, Indiana elected officials are not.)

It’s bad enough that this proposal spits on the First Amendment’s protection of every American’s right to protest–to express a political opinion without incurring government’s sanction. Even worse, Smith wants government to penalize the private-sector team owners if they fail to carry his unconstitutional water.

Perhaps he’d like to fine other businesses when their employees took public positions with which others disagreed?

Next November, I’m fervently hoping for a “wave”– voter turnout massive enough to wash away the ignorant and self-important occupants of seats gerrymandered to be “safe.” Milo Smith and his ilk need to be removed from the Indiana Statehouse, and despite the best efforts of those engaged in partisan redistricting, high turnout will turn them out.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have Representatives with at least a nodding acquaintance with the U.S. Constitution and with our most foundational American values?


  1. As the stupidity piles up in every Republican corner of our government, I am amazed and thankful for every article, blog and news report that highlights the outcome of our inattention to our elections. Thank you, Shiela.

  2. Someone told me (I may have read it here) that when you’re dead you don’t know it but everyone else does. The same holds for stupid.

  3. The measures sought to be enacted by Mr. Smith are horrendous. However—a big “However”—I fail to understand why we subsidize professional sports, the slightly-ajar door through which his measure, one would infer, enters discussion. I would alter the proposed legislation slightly. If we are to subsidize, for example, the Colts, how about a refund to every taxpayer who is offended by the subsidy? If people want to subsidize a business in an oligopoly, they then have that choice. This presents the proverbial slippery slope, of course, because if someone is offended by a specific governmental program, funds would be withheld. There would be a la carte funding, i.e., eventually no funding.

  4. Your last line, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have Representatives with at least a nodding acquaintance with the U.S. Constitution and with our most foundational American values?” is one of the saddest things I’ve read today. There have always been politicians in our country devoted to legislating their peculiar view of reality, but it seems to me that we have reached a crisis point of ideological fanaticism that has every intention to supersede the Constitution.

    We have politicians in this country now who do not view the legal system as a structure that protects citizens (more or less equally), but rather as an impediment to their desire to control —and even punish— anyone who does not have the same warped version of reality that they have. Our only recourse is to call them out, and hope that the irrational people who keep voting them into office will learn to see why they are so dangerous to us all.

  5. What was it that Forrest Gump always said? “Stupid is as stupid does”?

    Yes, he did or, to be exact, Tom Hanks did. When I read about this last night via Facebook in a national news story, from USA Today I think, I almost keyed those exact words as a response to the article but I feared if I lingered long enough to do so my brain would lock up and start smoking.

    Milo Smith is definitely the poster child for the IN General Assembly and in regard to him another quote comes to mind….. “Dare to be stupid”, from “Weird Al” Yankovic.

  6. Patmcc; how right you are about CBD oil. Also the refusal to allow hemp to be grown in the state of Indiana due to the similarities to the cannabis plant; a source of CBD oil and other medicinal properties plus being a major money crop with the many items made from hemp. Some states are getting away from plastic grocery bags; hemp would be a good source of replacement. I have actually been asking people and have not yet found anyone who even heard of anyone smoking hemp.

    mark small; a new wrinkle to the pro sports subsidy in the Star this morning, Republican Rep. Milo Smith is proposing a bill to refund Colts fans who object if one of the Colts “takes a knee” during the National Anthem. He did include that it must be during the first quarter; hopefully it includes the requirement that they leave Lucas Oil Stadium immediately upon receiving their refund. This would cost Indianapolis much less that Pence’s expensive federal publicity stunt to leave when members of the 49ers “took a knee”; which was to fully expected and why Pence made that side trip here to the game.

  7. I dream of a day when 90% of the electorate acually go to the polls. What will governemnt look like then?

  8. I thought that the Republicans were against more regulation of big business. However, this could be expanded to force other businesses to return money when the customer was offended… like when I am forced by the business to listen to Rush Limbaugh or bible thumping blasting from their PA system as I shop.

  9. “I dream of a day when 90% of the electorate acually go to the polls.” –Peggy Hannon

    I propose an amendment that removes the voting privilege of wealthy people; they have already gleaned more privilege from the system than they can indulge. Besides, they have been voting multiple times in each election: once for themselves, and several times again when every company in which they are invested votes for them—and buys a thousand other votes for them. I could argue that if everyone lived to be 100, the rich, by the time they reach 40 have already cast more votes than a 100-year lifetime offers; therefore, their allotment has expired.

  10. You may wish to contact Mr. Smith directly via US Mail:

    Indiana House of Representatives
    200 W. Washington Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46204-2786

    Or phone:


  11. I want a refund of taxes I have been forced to pay to support the idiots in our state legislature. I have found them to be continuously offensive and I should not be forced to listen to their idiocy nor be forced to financially support it.

    Furthermore, the people who elect idiots like Milo Smith should be lined up against a wall and smacked until they come to their senses. Yep, really getting tired of all the stupidity.

  12. Sheila: I would never personally kneel in protest of any kind during the national anthem. However, like you, I respect the right of others to do so, and I frankly do not view it as disrespectful to our men and women in service. To the contrary, our men and women fight to protect all of our freedoms. Is there ANY stronger message to the world about our freedom in America than the fact that Americans can protest the flag and criticize the government and not be jailed or put to death???? In my view these protests underscore our freedom. Public officials like Milo Smith who do not understand our constitution and who seek to take away our constitutional rights are a grave danger to our country and we all need to be vigilant and speak out when we must.

  13. Since around 1980 wingnuts have pared the constitution down to the 2nd Amendment, and since half if it was restricting their orgy of guns, they eliminated the militia part.

  14. John Trimble; is it the kneeling they object to or the reason the pro sports members are kneeling? I believe we know the basis for their objections but they will never admit their racist reason; it sounds good to use the excuse that they are not standing during the National Anthem. The final words of the Anthem are; “…that star-spangled banner yet waves, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I think it is pretty brave of them to “take a knee” to protest that this is not the “land of the free” when so many have lost civil and human rights this country was founded on.

  15. It’s representative government. You know that in other parts of the country, “hoosier” is a term that means dumb hick, right?

  16. JoAnn, I thought the last words of the Anthem were “Play ball!” That aside, Mike Royko years ago (and, obviously, before he died) wrote a couple of columns in which he questioned why the Anthem is played before sporting events. Also, as to subsidized professional sports, if “big business” is made “big business” by our subsidies, can the business in question make a claim to “bigness”? Owners of the then-Baltimore Colts (obtained after a trade of franchises, Colts-for-Rams to avoid inheritance taxes) were “okay” financially, but the move to Indy had quite a few perks. At the time, those perks made the Colts the most profitable franchise in the NFL(r). Other owners saw what greed and groveling (by public officials) could get them, and the race was on. We still (1) pay the tax that partly-financed the Hoosier Dome (when the selling point was the tax was “temporary”) and (2) paid a penalty to the owners of the Colts when Lucas Oil Stadium was built because the City had torn down the Dome. There is no point for anyone to mention the Pacers, as those owners have been brilliant in their “play” of Indy’s elected officials. Maybe “Money” by Pink Floyd or “Money Makes the World Go ‘Round” from “Cabaret” would be more apropos for the start of a game. Or some song, in homage to professional sports franchise owners, that includes a line about “all four hooves and the snout.” I apologize for being wordy today, but 2017 has ended with so much over which to feel disgust.)

  17. Sorry for the test, but i believe north dakotas own hold as fine a record in all aspects stated,im just waiting for the next legislature to sound off about how well trump just screwed the working class,and how they agree.. they are now free of obamas executive mayham to continue to suppress the workers and peoples rights in NoDak… thanks for the test…

  18. It would be great to have representatives for the State Legislature that were actually elected. Far too many run unopposed or appointed by the leadership. One party rule makes for a very, very bad government.

  19. Just like it was back in the day when slaves were punished for being uppity, strong willed, having a mind of their own, or the ultimate, trying to escape and the penalty was their lives. He is attempting to legislate and express white privledge/power.

  20. What did you expect? This Smith guy has Pence as a role model! And he made it to the VP position and will probably end up POTUS as soon as 45 either gets indicted and convicted or quits because the job is interfering with his golf days, watching Fox Spews and twitter. Smith is just following the leader of the hypocrites.

  21. Great pregnant comment from Mike from Iowa:
    “Since around 1980 wingnuts have pared the constitution down to the 2nd Amendment, and since half if it was restricting their orgy of guns, they eliminated the militia part.”
    Wingnuts = GOP.
    Rescue out beloved country: Vote ‘anything but GOP’ in November, 2018.

  22. Reps. who propose bills that don’t hold water constitutionally, need to be fined for not upholding the Constitution and wasting our time & money!

  23. Mark Small by any measure today’s Professional Sports Economic Model would be a complete failure if they had relied only on revenues from TV or the live gate, with no tax subsidies. Our Republicrats here in Indiana and in Indianapolis “grovel” as you say when ever the Colts or Pacers need another injection of corporate welfare.

    Anyway, I read an enlightening article recently concerning the Trumpet’s tax plan. I watched a steady parade of Democrats appearing on CNN and MSNBC or in print lamenting their helplessness in face of the Republican Steam Roller moving forward on the Trumpet’s tax plan.

    A quote from the Socialist Worker Web Site says it all:
    Above all, the Democratic “opposition” within the Washington system has been some talk and no action. Party leaders like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi issue statements about the injustices of the bill, but they won’t do anything to mobilize a challenge.

    That’s because the Democrats have pretty much surrendered without a fight-

    But the feebleness of the Democrats’ protests against the tax-cut robbery can be traced to the same source, since most party figures who make it to Congress are dependent on contributions and political support from Corporate America.
    So yes it is true the Republicans had the votes and the Trumpet was there in the White House to sign the tax fleece bill.

    However, the Democrats could have led an asymmetrical fight by calling for mass demonstrations in front the of the Capitol Building in DC and Trump Tower in NYC to protest this monstrosity of a tax bill . Can you imagine Schumer or Pelosi out mingling with we proles on the picket lines??? That scenario is beyond even my fertile imagination.

    The danger for the Corporate Democratic party is the last thing they want is to release the Progressive forces in this country. The Corporate Democratic Party dodged the Bernie bullet once, no sense in encouraging rebellion.

  24. Just a note we have here in Indiana the so-called part-time legislators.
    From an article in The Star:
    In Indiana, lawmakers receive a relatively modest base salary of $24,140. Most of their compensation comes from a per diem, which is $159 a day during the legislative session. That money is intended to cover the costs of meals and hotels, but lawmakers receive it regardless of whether they actually incur those expenses. Lawmakers who live in or near Indianapolis can simply pocket it. There is also extra pay for leadership positions.

    Still, most lawmakers have some source of outside income.
    Side Bar>>> Given the low base salary, you would need to have an outside source of income. So how many employers out there would let you take time off to go be a part-time legislator???

  25. I care much more about the corporate welfare to professional sports than what individual players do when a song is played (they have a right to do whatever they want, short of jeopardizing others’ safety or free expression). I want a change in state and federal tax laws to prohibit government subsidies to professional sports teams. Also, once sports venues are built, the team should pay for maintenance, repair, and use of the facility to reimburse taxpayers for its construction, maintenance, and loss of property tax income.

    If the teams get all the money from ticket sales, broadcast rights, parking and concessions plus free facility use and no responsibility for upkeep and property taxes (which pay for the police and fire protection of the team, facility and fans), then they have enough money to pay taxpayers – the overwhelming majority of whom never get to see a game or any other event in these venues. Tax subsidization of professional sports is – once again – taxing the poor to indulge the rich while also shortchanging schools, police and fire protection, street repair, and other public services. Studies show that even huge events like the Super Bowl are money losing situations for the taxpayers. Did it bring national and international publicity? Yes, but if publicity is such a Godsend, why then do the city and schools have deepening problems to pay for public services and why do we keep closing fire stations and schools and can’t keep up with street repairs, etc.? This is getting SO OLD.

  26. 30% of the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board budget goes to support the Colts…whose owner is worth mega millions and players paid in the millions. Part of my $805 Social Security check goes to help support the Colts and Lucas Oil Stadium. Maybe they aren’t quite so idiotic after all – we are all paying for pro sports while the owners and players live in luxury.

  27. Re: Monotonous Languor

    The Democrats didn’t surrender,that would imply there was a real fight to begin with against the Repubs. Nope,there was none because the Democrat donor class wants these tax breaks as well. The real enemy of the New Democratic Party isn’t the Republicans,it’s the genuine left. When you realize this to be true,it all makes sense as to why the Democrats have been relegated to doing nothing more than kvetching and the obligatory theatrical symbolic wringing of their hands. They’ll probably blame Putin for the tax breaks.

    Speaking of the subject of today’s topic….Irsay and Milo deserve one another. They really do. Irsay’s entire football empire is based on public subsidies. Irsay is nothing more than a Welfare Queen. Tis true.

  28. I think it interesting to see who financially supports these politicians. In 2016 Milo raised far less money than previous years ($14,700 versus $62,700 in 2014). In 2016 his major donors of $1000 were – AT&T, Assoc of Realtors, Ind. Beverage Alliance, Build Ind. Council, Ind. Bankers Council. In 2016 he lost the financial support of the House Republicans ($11,700) and Brian Bosma ($7,700) I suspect because he didn’t need it, in a gerrymandered district. I disagree, they aren’t buffoons or stupid. They are smart, calculating and with sometimes almost evil intent. These Associations and companies above should hear from those who do business with them. It really puzzles me why AT&T would support him.

Comments are closed.