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June 13, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

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Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the first edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: a former Republican congressman briefly joins the Libertarian Party and runs for vice president; the Democratic Party names its National Convention Platform Drafting Committee amid controversy; and Wikinews interviews a candidate who had a surprisingly strong performance in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

Summary

On the campaign trail in early May, the Republican Party primary race grew more contentious as it reached its final stages. On the same day as the May 3 Indiana primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who held a sizable delegate lead over his two remaining primary challengers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, cited the National Enquirer to accuse Cruz’s father of involvement in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cruz, whom Trump branded as “Lyin’ Ted,” attacked Trump as a “pathological liar” and “serial philanderer.” Trump won Indiana by a large margin, prompting the second place Cruz to end his campaign. Thereafter, both the media and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus christened Trump as the presumptive nominee, even though he had yet to secure the requisite number of National Convention delegates. The next day, Kasich finally suspended his candidacy. As Trump pivoted into general election mode, he faced a vocal Stop Trump movement within the party and a significant polling deficit against the Democrats. A national CNN/ORC poll showed Trump trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton by double digits. Nevertheless, unlike the GOP, the outcome of the Democratic primary race remained undecided. Although Clinton maintained a significant delegate lead, a CNN poll showed her ahead of sole rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, by only eight points. In fact, Sanders won the Indiana Democratic primary, making nine victories out of the latest fourteen contests to that point.

Donald Trump with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo.
Image: Donald J. Trump on Twitter.

Commencing his general election campaign, Trump announced he would participate in fundraising after self-funding his primary campaign. He named former presidential rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head a group to search for a running mate. And, in a show of pro-Hispanic sentiment, he tweeted a photo of himself with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo. Still, the Republican Party remained divided. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he would not commit to endorsing Trump. He called for Trump “to set aside bullying, […] belittlement, and appeal to higher aspirations.” Ryan’s comments drew criticism from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, among others. However, former candidates Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, all said they could not support Trump’s candidacy. 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol both called for an independent presidential candidate to run as an alternative to Trump. Ryan called this “a disaster,” and sought unity by inviting Trump to a Republican congressional leadership meeting and offering to step down as chair of the GOP National Convention if Trump so desired. Despite the internal strife, Trump continued his focus on the general election, branding Clinton as “crooked Hillary,” and attacking her for “want[ing] to abolish the Second Amendment.” He also pivoted on policies, advocating for a rise in the federal minimum wage and taxes on the wealthy. The campaign announced that five or six names were on the vice presidential shortlist including former presidential candidate Chris Christie. Quinnipiac polls showed Trump leading or close behind Clinton in head-to-head match ups in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Clinton won the caucus in Guam and the campaign shifted to West Virginia and Nebraska. On the eve of the May 10 primaries, Cruz, still on the ballot in Nebraska, announced he might restart his campaign if he won the state. Instead, Trump won Nebraska by a wide margin and won West Virginia by an even wider margin. On the Democratic side, Sanders won West Virginia as voters turned on Clinton after she expressed unencouraging views about the coal industry. ABC News exit polling there revealed nearly half of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump if Clinton won the nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden, who had been expected to mount a 2016 campaign until he ruled it out in late 2015, admitted in an interview with ABC that he had planned to run for president in 2016 but the plans derailed upon the death of his son Beau. He revealed Senator Elizabeth Warren as his preferred running mate and endorsed her for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada cautioned Democrats against nominating a sitting Senator like Warren to avoid decreasing the number of Democrats in the Senate. Trump launched an assault on Warren, referring to her as “goofy” and Pocahontas for a previous claim of Amerindian ancestry. On May 12, Trump had his much anticipated meeting with Ryan. Afterwards, the two issued a joint statement calling the meeting “a very positive step toward unification.” Ryan still withheld his endorsement though Trump asked Ryan to remain as chair of the National Convention. Polls from mid-May showed Trump edging closer to Clinton in national head-to-head match ups, as Trump faced a barrage of controversies. Both Clinton and Romney called on Trump to release his tax records. He said he might release them, but maintained it was “none of [the public’s] business.” Media reports also scrutinized Trump for allegedly acting as his own publicist in the early 1990’s. He denied the allegations outright. Next, The New York Times published an exposé about Trump’s treatment of women throughout the years. The validity of the story came into question when the lead interviewee claimed The Times had taken her account out of context. On May 17, Trump easily won the Oregon primary. The next day, for the first time in months, a Fox News poll showed him with a national lead over Clinton. That same day, he released a list of eleven judges whom he would consider nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court. He later received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. In the Democratic race, Sanders won the Oregon primary and narrowly lost to Clinton in Kentucky. He was also able to add five of his supporters to the Democratic National Convention platform drafting committee, ensuring greater influence over the party platform. Clinton rejected a debate with him and announced there would be no further primary debates. Trump offered to debate Sanders, which Sanders accepted, though Trump later backed out. Clinton went on the offensive against Trump for his past business bankruptcies, saying he “could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies.” She won the Washington primary on May 24. However, the next day, an Inspector General report said she did not comply with State Department policy when she sent official e-mails on a private server while Secretary of State.

Following a victory in the Washington Republican primary, Trump traveled to New Mexico, where the sitting Republican governor Susana Martinez snubbed his event. Trump attacked Martinez during the rally, later asking, “If I have a Republican that’s not on my side, why should I be particularly nice to that person?” Shortly thereafter, during a speech in California, he renewed attacks against Romney, Cruz, Kristol, and Jeb Bush. Former rival Marco Rubio announced he would release the delegates he won during the primary to support Trump and said he would be willing to go on the campaign trail for Trump, if asked. Rubio also apologized to Trump for derogatory comments he made earlier in the campaign. Trump mathematically secured the Republican nomination, when an uncommitted slate of delegates in North Dakota committed to supporting him. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party commenced its National Convention and nominated for president, on the second ballot, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Also on the second ballot, for vice president, the party nominated Johnson’s pre-selected running mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, who had just left the Republican Party to become a Libertarian. Trump called Johnson a “fringe candidate.” Johnson was not the last such candidate introduced in late May. Seemingly ending his search for an alternative to Trump, Kristol tweeted that he had found an “impressive” independent candidate. Bloomberg reported the candidate was little-known writer David A. French of the National Review. On the final day of May, Trump held a press conference in which he revealed the veterans charities he donated to after raising $5.6 million during a fundraiser he held in January in lieu of attending a debate. Trump excoriated the national press for its coverage of his campaign and referred to one reporter as “sleaze.” With the June 7 California primary ahead, Clinton received the endorsement of California Governor Jerry Brown. The latest polls showed her with a two point advantage over Sanders in the state. In the Real Clear Politics average, she led Trump in the general election nationally by 1.5%.

Ex GOP congressman joins LP, seeks VP, then leaves

As soon as Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Libertarian Party (LP) membership applications doubled. Longtime Republican consultant Mary Matalin, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, and former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, were among those who left the GOP in May to find a new home in the LP. While Matalin enthusiastically backed Libertarian presidential runner-up Austin Petersen, and Weld won the party’s vice presidential nomination; Bentivolio, who had endorsed Dr. Ben Carson for president before joining the party, had a much different experience.

Congressman Bentivolio
Image: United States Congress.

“It was suggested by a few supporters I run [for vice president] as a libertarian,” says Bentivolio, a teacher and veteran of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, who earned the moniker “the accidental Congressman” after his surprising 2012 election, “I briefly entertained the idea of running and spent time investigating the party.”

Bentivolio, 64, unexpectedly won the Republican nomination to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District in 2012, after the sitting Congressman, Thaddeus McCotter, a 2012 presidential candidate, was unable to run for re-election after his petitions to qualify for the primary ballot were deemed fraudulent. Upon his victory in the general election, Bentivolio went to Washington, joining the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He took an active role in introducing and sponsoring successful legislation, becoming, according to an historian of the House, one of the most effective freshmen Congressmen of recent times. GovTrack listed him as the most transparent Republican freshman in the 113th United States Congress. Nevertheless, during his single term, he frequently bucked the party leadership, voting against a resolution to the 2013 government shutdown, calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama, and agreeing to seek congressional hearings over chemtrails. In 2014, Bentivolio lost his seat to attorney Dave Trott, a primary opponent with a fundraising edge and the backing of the Republican establishment. After leaving Congress, Bentivolio suffered financial difficulties and had to file for bankruptcy in 2015, partly the result of his expensive primary campaign against Trott.

When Bentivolio joined the LP in May, he filed a Form 2 with the Federal Election Commission to run for vice president. Libertarian national chairman Nicholas Sarwark encouraged Bentivolio to run for his old congressional seat in addition to vice president. This was not well received by the local Libertarian Party, which feared such a run would violate Michigan’s sore-loser law; the same law that prevented Gary Johnson from appearing on the ballot in 2012. As a consequence, the local party nominated another candidate to run for the seat.

“The district delegates [five in total] voted for another as the House candidate”, recounts Bentivolio, “[the candidate’s] wife was the deciding vote.”

Afterwards, Bentivolio expressed doubt about the party platform, saying it amounted to “judicial supremacy,” which he rejects, referencing the 1857 Dred Scott case, which affirmed the rights of slaveholders. He added, “I am 100% pro-life and an abolitionist and many in the Libertarian Party are pro-choice and support slavery in their immigration policy.” He cited these as his reasons for ending his vice presidential campaign.

After Gary Johnson and William Weld won the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominations at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, Bentivolio offered his perspective on Johnson and Weld. Though he considered Johnson, “a nice guy and honest,” he felt Johnson “thinks government has all the answers.” In contrast, Bentivolio said he personally believes “government is the problem” and only supports “a government within the strict limitations clearly expressed in the Constitution.” He described Weld, a Council on Foreign Relations member who proposed strict gun control measures as governor, as someone who “supports big government.”

Bentivolio has left the LP and now is an independent. He remains undecided on whether to support Donald Trump for president. To help him decide, he is currently researching claims of a woman named “Katie Johnson” who filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of rape. Trump’s attorneys dismiss the suit as a hoax.

DNC aims for unity with Platform Drafting Committee picks; controversy ensues

Every four years, the Democratic Party holds its National Convention, nominating a presidential ticket and conducting official business. One important item is the drafting of a party platform to express the party’s principles and vision for the future. A special committee is formed to draft the document. In May, fifteen individuals were named to the committee. Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz selected four of the members while the two presidential candidates picked the remaining eleven in proportion to the votes each candidate received in the primaries. Hillary Clinton, the party’s presidential front-runner, selected six. Bernie Sanders chose five, though the DNC rejected one of his original picks, a union leader, leading to charges of anti-union bias in the DNC. Still, upon the release of the names, The Nation magazine argued Sanders’ input provided the committee with a “progressive majority.” Wikinews was able to reach out to one of Sanders’ picks to see what he planned for the platform.

McKibben in 2008.
Image: Hotshot977.

For the committee, Wasserman Schultz tapped Congressman Elijah Cummings, who is to serve as the head; Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only returning member from 2012; former Congressman Howard Berman; and Bonnie Schaefer, former Chief Executive Officer of Claire’s. Clinton selected Ambassador Wendy Sherman; Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress; Ohio Representative Alicia Reece; Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Congressman Luis Gutiérrez; and union leader Paul Booth. Sanders picked Dr. Cornel West; Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress; James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute; Deborah Parker, a Native American activist; and Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist.

Sanders speaks at a May 18 rally in Vallejo, California.
Image: Shelly Prevost.

McKibben, a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College who co-founded the climate change awareness organization 350.org, tells Wikinews that his Vermont roots may explain why Sanders selected him for the committee. However, McKibben has worked with Sanders previously on climate and energy issues, and The Boston Globe has described him as “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist.”

“I’d like to see [the platform] reflect the fact that since the last election the planet’s climate has deteriorated dramatically, with record temperatures, melting ice, and dying coral”, says McKibben, “So that means we need to move more aggressively, both to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and to boost renewable energy.”

McKibben is not the only member who prioritizes environmental issues. Browner, who headed the EPA during the entire presidency of Bill Clinton, has worked under President Obama as the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. While the environment is given a strong emphasis, Sanders has raised the point that labor representation on the committee is lacking.

In 2012, union leaders Donna Harris-Aikens of the National Education Association and Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO were on the committee. This year, the only union leader is Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Sanders attempted to include National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro, but Wasserman Schultz vetoed the pick. Sanders, in a press conference, accused the DNC of “not want[ing] representatives of labor unions on the platform drafting committee.” The DNC rejected the charge.

“We worked carefully with both campaigns to ensure overall balance and representation,” says DNC spokeswoman April Mellody, “[we] have 100% confidence that the views of our allies in the Labor community will be well represented in our Party’s platform as they have always been.”

Amid the division, McKibben expresses hope that though the platform is often “forgotten not long after it’s written,” perhaps the 2016 platform “will play a role in uniting the party.”

The committee is set to convene at the 2016 Democratic National Convention July 25–28 in Philadelphia.

DNC Platform Drafting Committee


Interview with overachieving West Virginia Democratic protest candidate

In the May 10 West Virginia Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton 51.4 percent to 35.8 percent. Of the remaining 13 percent, nearly nine went to little-known protest candidate Paul T. Farrell Jr., a Huntington, West Virginia attorney who entered the race to challenge President Obama’s energy policies. Wikinews reached out to Farrell to ask a few questions about the campaign.

Results by county for Paul T. Farrell Jr.

██  5%

██ 5–10%

██ 10–15%

██ 15–20%

██  20%

Image: MB298.

During the campaign, Farrell did not hold any fundraisers and his only spending was the $2,500 filing fee to appear on the ballot. He believes Obama’s policies, which Clinton supports, have hurt the coal industry, a major sector of West Virginia’s economy. Many West Virginians, even Democrats, share this view. While mining still makes up 17 percent of West Virginia’s gross domestic product (compared to 3 percent nationally), since 2009, coal production has declined around 45 percent in the south part of the state. 332 mines have closed and almost 10,000 jobs or 35 percent of those in the industry, have been lost. West Virginia’s unemployment is the worst in the nation. According to ABC News exit polls from the primary, only 26 percent of West Virginia Democrats want to continue Obama’s policies.

Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 577,000 to 378,000 in West Virginia, Republican presidential candidates have won the state in every election since 2000. ABC exit polls indicate a third of Democrats plan to vote in November for Trump, who has campaigned in favor of the coal industry. Trump is popular in West Virginia, having won 77 percent in the state’s GOP primary. He holds a 27 point lead over Clinton in the latest Public Policy Polling head-to-head match up.

West Virginia Democrats have a history of going against the national party establishment. Notably, prison inmate Keith Russell Judd won 41 percent in the 2012 primary against Obama, who was seeking re-election. Judd was on the ballot again in 2016, but received only 1.8 percent of the vote. Judd’s 2012 performance was one of the reasons Farrell cited for entered the race. In addition, he told the Charleston Gazette–Mail back in January that the candidates running did not share “West Virginia values.” He had hoped to secure some national convention delegates but just fell short. He was able to come in second place in the coal-rich Mingo County, where he outpaced Clinton 23.7 percent to 21.4 percent.

With Wikinews, Farrell discusses, his specific problem with Obama’s energy policy, what he is looking for in a presidential candidate, and his views on Trump.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How were you able to get over 8% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic Primary?

Farrell: The 2016 Democratic nominees for President of the United States support President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan executive order which we disparagingly refer to as the “war on coal.” West Virginia voters take exception to abruptly bankrupting our economy without a comprehensive plan to rebuild our infrastructure. The presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost all 55 counties in West Virginia. Voters did not cast a ballot for me; they cast a ballot for the candidate with “WV” listed after his name in protest to Mrs. Clinton’s energy policy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan on supporting the Democratic presidential nominee come November?

Farrell: No. I will support the candidate that adopts a platform that rebuilds our economy which President Obama dismantled and pledges to pass legislation during his/her first “100 days.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?

Farrell: Mrs. Clinton made the campaign promise to put “coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Mr. Trump says he will fight for West Virginia. Even if Mr. Trump is full of shit, I choose to fight rather than surrender. Most of the southern coal fields of West Virginia stand with me.



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May 4, 2016

Bernie Sanders wins Indiana Democratic primary, Donald Trump, Indiana Republican

Bernie Sanders wins Indiana Democratic primary, Donald Trump, Indiana Republican

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Winners of the Indiana primary: Donald Trump (left) and Bernie Sanders (right)

On Tuesday, Indiana held its Democratic and Republican primaries, where voters could vote for the candidate of their choice and presidential candidates can earn delegates so they can move on to the general election. The results: Donald Trump obtained 51 of the 57 delegates, while on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders obtained 43 of the state’s 83 pledged delegates; super delegates are still undetermined.

Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, now needs only 200 more delegates to secure the nomination. On the Democratic side, despite Sanders’s win, Hillary Clinton still has 92% of the delegates she needs to secure the nomination. Still, Sanders expressed that “the Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over. They’re wrong.”

Ted Cruz‘s poor performance has caused him to suspend his campaign. “Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz said. On Wednesday, John Kasich also suspended his campaign. This makes Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. Additionally, conservative groups that oppose Donald Trump are considering having a third party candidate run against him in the general election.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is celebrating his Indiana win. “The world has changed. More and more people are independents and I think it makes no sense for the Democrats to say to those people, ‘You can’t help us.’ For Democrats to do well in a national election, they’re going to need a lot of independents and I would not think it’s a good idea to push those people away,” Sanders said, complementing Indiana’s open primaries. However, in order to secure the nomination, Bernie Sanders needs to earn 66% of the Democratic Party’s remaining pledged delegates.



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May 8, 2015

Indiana Governor signs needle exchange program

Indiana Governor signs needle exchange program

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Friday, May 8, 2015

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  • 8 February 2015: Cancer kills Niki Quasney, Indiana gay marriage pioneer
  • 13 November 2014: Two-time plane crash survivor, Austin Hatch, scores first goal in college sports
  • 29 July 2014: Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400
  • 10 April 2014: Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies
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Pence was a former US Representative and elected Indiana’s Governor in 2012. He will face reelection next year.
Image: United States Congress.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence dropped his former opposition to needle exchange programs and on Tuesday signed legislation passed by lawmakers on April 29 — the last day of the state’s legislative session — that would allow local health departments, municipalities, counties, or nonprofit organizations to implement needle exchange programs. The debate about the controversial programs came on the heels of an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana.

Austin, in Scott County, Indiana, was the epicenter of the outbreak. The number of new HIV positive cases in Scott County in this outbreak rose past 140. Governor Pence declared the outbreak a public health emergency on March 26, and at the same time approved a 30-day needle exchange program. Pence since offered a 30-day extension as the number of HIV positive cases continued to rise.

Needle exchange programs provide clean needles in exchange for dirty needles. The sharing of dirty needles has been linked to the outbreak. Experts like Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society, support needle exchange programs. Beyrer told the Indianapolis Star, however, that temporary measures, like the one Pence implemented on March 26, don’t solve the long-term problem. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend needle exchange programs. But experts say long-term needle exchange programs are needed.

The HIV epidemic in Southern Indiana has been linked to a drug problem in Scott County. HIV and Hepatitis C are blood-borne viruses that spread by way of bodily fluids and bloodstream injections, especially when more than one person is using the same needle.

Legislators on the committee responsible for Senate Bill 461 heard testimony last week before voting. Representative Thomas Washburne, Republican, Evansville, told Wikinews on April 27 that he was involved in conversations pertaining to needle exchange programs. “I am inclined to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control in implementing needle exchanges,” Washburne said in an interview with Wikinews. “My vote against Senate Bill 461 was not due to the needle exchanges, but other issues involved in the bill.”

House members passed the bill 80–19, senators 38–11.

After legislators passed the bill, Pence told WISH-TV: “From my perspective, the focus needs to be on health emergencies. I have throughout my career not supported needle exchanges as anti-drug policies. But with regard to addressing an epidemic, which is what we’ve seen in Scott County, which is unprecedented in any rural part of the country. I was prepared to support that through executive action.”

Louisville, Kentucky, about 35 miles south of Austin, was the first Kentucky municipal government to approve a needle exchange program. The Louisvile Metro Council voted 22–0 to approve the program on April 23. That approval requires reconsulting the council before actually implementing such a program. About 195 cities in the United States have adopted similar programs.

Dr. William Shaffner, a doctor and chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, told Wikinews reporters March 25 at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, the day before Pence declared the public health emergency, such a program would make sense. He said the best course of action would be to “block and tackle.”

“Needle exchange programs ought to be used,” Shaffner said. “They have been proven to work and do not cause an increase in drug use.”


USI Shaw Lecture 03.jpg

Dr. William Schaffner presents March 25, 2015 at the 2015 Shaw Lecture at the University of Southern Indiana about emerging infectious diseases.
Image: Gkstylianides.

USI Shaw Lecture 01.jpg

USI Biology Professor Marlene Shaw welcomes a full house to the 2015 Shaw Lecture on March 25, 2015 at the University of Southern Indiana.
Image: Gkstylianides.

USI Shaw Lecture 02.jpg

A crowd of students, faculty and healthcare professionals gather during the 2015 Shaw Lecture on March 25, 2015 in Mitchell Auditorium at the University of Southern Indiana to hear Dr. William Shaffner present.
Image: Gkstylianides.

USI Shaw Lecture 04.jpg

Dr. William Shaffner answers questions from students on March 25, 2015 during the 2015 Shaw Lecture at the University of Southern Indiana.
Image: Gkstylianides.



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February 8, 2015

Cancer kills Niki Quasney, Indiana gay marriage pioneer

Cancer kills Niki Quasney, Indiana gay marriage pioneer

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

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Niki Quasney, who together with wife Amy Sandler became the first married gay couple in Indiana, died of cancer on Thursday. She was 38. The death was announced today by the law firm that assisted her.

Cquote1.svg They knew that by coming forward they could help accelerate equality for all same-sex couples in Indiana by demonstrating the urgency of their need for equal dignity Cquote2.svg

—The couple’s lawyer

Indiana, US had only recognised their marriage last year after a federal judge granted their emergency request. They wed in 2013 in Massachusetts, two years after an Illinois civil union.

Quasney was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 and sought the intervention to ensure eligibility for her daughters and wife to receive state and national assistance after her death. Also sought was a death certificate recognising her marriage.

The same judge ultimately struck down the state gay marriage ban. An appeals court in Chicago upheld the decision, as did the national Supreme Court. The case was one of a national slew following an earlier Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.

“If my life is cut short because of ovarian cancer,” Quasney told one court “I want our children to know that their parents were treated like other married couples in their home state, and to be proud of this. I want to know what it feels like to be a legally recognized family in our community, together with Amy and our daughters.” Their lawyer Paul Castillo said today the couple “knew that by coming forward they could help accelerate equality for all same-sex couples in Indiana by demonstrating the urgency of their need for equal dignity.”



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November 13, 2014

Two-time plane crash survivor, Austin Hatch, scores first goal in college sports

Two-time plane crash survivor, Austin Hatch, scores first goal in college sports

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

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Austin Hatch, 20, a survivor of two separate plane crashes, scored his first basket in college basketball on Monday night, for the University of Michigan.

The shot was his second of two free throw attempts. Media photos showed University of Michigan coach John Beilen congratulating Hatch.

File photo of a basketball.

Hatch survived a plane crash and eight-week coma in 2011, an accident that killed his father and step mother. Hatch had previously survived a separate crash in 2003, that killed his mother, brother and sister. Hatch’s father was the pilot in both of those accidents.

Hatch, raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, moved in 2013 to his uncle’s home in California. He committed verbally to play sports with the university in 2011, and formally signed an agreement in November 2013. Of the tragedies, Hatch told reporters, “Obviously, it’s a big part of my life, but I’m about moving forward and making the most of my experience here.”



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July 29, 2014

Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400 – Wikinews, the free news source

Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jeff Gordon in 2012
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On Sunday, Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports recorded his 90th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in the 2014 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Starting the race in second, Gordon won his second race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and his fifth at the track, breaking a tie with teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most event wins, while tying Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most wins at the track. The win marked his first 400 win since 2004, and was on the twenty-year anniversary of his 1994 Brickyard 400 win; Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard declared the day “Jeff Gordon Day”. Additionally, the win was the twelfth consecutive Brickyard 400 victory for Chevrolet, and the ninth for Hendrick Motorsports.

The race began at 1:19 PM EDT (1719 UTC), with Kevin Harvick holding pole position, his series-high fourth of the season. Harvick’s lead would end after just one lap, yielding to Gordon, who led the following 20 laps. Joey Logano would lead for the next ten laps, with the lead later being split by Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer. After claiming the lead from Bowyer, Kahne would lead for 25 consecutive laps; he would end the race leading the most laps with 70.

The first caution flag was flown as an arranged competition caution on lap 22, allowing Cole Whitt to become the beneficiary, nicknamed the “lucky dog”, and gain back a lap. On lap 69, the second caution, for Danica Patrick stopping in turn 1, allowing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to become the beneficiary; Trevor Bayne‘s crash in turn 3 on lap 98 led to Brad Keselowski gaining a lap. The final caution occurred on lap 140 due to Ryan Truex being too slow in turn 2, with Michael McDowell being the “lucky dog”.

On the final restart with 17 laps remaining, and Gordon, who struggled with restarts for seasons, passed teammate Kahne and led for the remainder of the race. Kyle Busch finished second, 2.325 seconds behind Gordon, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, with the top five being rounded out by Logano. Kahne dropped to fifth on the restart, and ran out of fuel on the last lap, finishing sixth, with the top ten closed out by Larson, Harvick, Earnhardt, Jr., and Dillon.

After the race, Hamlin had firewall plates, which protect the driver from smoke and fire, but can assist a car’s aerodynamic performace if airflow is permitted, confiscated by NASCAR.

The drivers’ points standings after the race featured Gordon in the lead with 717 points. Earnhardt, Jr. with 693; Keselowski, 666; Kenseth, 661; Johnson, 628; Kyle Busch, 609; Ryan Newman, 606; Carl Edwards, 603; Logano, 591; and Bowyer, 577, closed out the top ten. With the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format introduced for the 2014 season, Gordon, Edwards, Johnson, and Logano clinched spots in the Chase Grid, which Keselowski leads, with Johnson, Gordon, Earnhardt, Jr., Edwards, Logano, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Newman, Bowyer, Larson, and Dillon comprising the remainder of the current leaders for the sixteen-driver Grid.

The race was officially named the Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Powered by BigMachineRecords.com. Walding, who served in Iraq as a member of the Green Berets, had his lower leg amputated after being shot. His name was chosen for the race as part of Crown Royal’s “Your Hero Name Here” program.

The next race, the Gobowling.com 400, is to be held on August 3 at Pocono Raceway, and will air on ESPN at 1:00 PM EDT.

Official Top-10 Race Results for the 2014 Brickyard 400
Position Car Number Team Driver
1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Jeff Gordon
2 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Kyle Busch
3 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin
4 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Matt Kenseth
5 22 Team Penske Joey Logano
6 5 Hendrick Motorsports Kasey Kahne
7 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Kyle Larson
8 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick
9 88 Hendrick Motorsports Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10 3 Richard Childress Racing Austin Dillon



Sources

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April 10, 2014

Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies

Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies

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Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A video from 2012 where Wadewitz discusses the impact of Wikipedia
Image: Vgrigas.

News broke early this morning on Facebook that Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz died while rock climbing recently. Wadewitz was well known in the Wikimedia community for her activism drawing attention to the lack of female contributors on Wikipedia. She was also very involved in the Wiki Education Foundation, serving as a member of its board of directors.

Wadewitz was one of the most visible women in the media on the under-representation of women amongst contributors to Wikipedia, talking to media organizations like the BBC, the Huffington Post and non-English publications like Greek-language magazine LIFO. Some estimates put female participation rates at around 10% of contributors and there is a body of academic work talking about systemic bias against topics featuring women on Wikipedia.

She was involved in organizing several edit-a-thons aimed at encouraging greater female participation and improving content about women, including Wikipedia Takes America: Los Angeles, FemTech Edit-a-thon, Wikipedia Loves Eagle Rock, Wikipedia Loves WeHo, and Feminists Engage Wikipedia. Wadewitz’s own work to address systemic bias as an article contributor included improving English Wikipedia articles relating to women, including:

Cquote1.svg Adrianne embodied brilliance, determination, and enthusiasm in everything she did Cquote2.svg

—Tribute by a fellow Wikimedian

  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Thoughts on the Education of Daughters
  • Mary: A Fiction
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman
  • Timeline of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Fanny Imlay
  • Mary Shelley
  • Anna Laetitia Barbauld
  • Sarah Trimmer
  • Mary Martha Sherwood

The funerary arrangement picture decorating the top of Wadewitz’s Wikipedia talk page.
Image: Mogens Engelund.

She started contributing to English Wikipedia in July 2004. She had taught two classes on collaborative work on the project, and was involved with FemTechNet Wikistorming, an academic effort to encourage more women involved in academia to contribute to Wikipedia. In the past month, she had written several blog entries on HASTAC, an online collaborative platform dedicated to changing the way people learn, about how to write about academics on Wikipedia.

Fellow activist Sarah Stierch said in a public post on Facebook, “My heart hurts. Adrianne was a leading voice – and her legacy still is – in the work we have been doing to get more women and more diverse peoples contributing to Wikipedia. Two days ago she was quoted in the BBC, for godsake.” Stierch went on to say, “A sarcastic, feminist, smart, brilliant, to the point delivery type of academic genius who held an honest love life for all to see and a life in LA that was becoming one she owned.”

At the time of her death, she was a Mellon Digital Scholarship Fellow at Occidental College. In 2011, she earned her PhD from Indiana University.

Wikimedians are memorializing her on her Wikipedia talk page, which is adorned with a picture of a funerary arrangement of flowers. A notice at the top of the page invites condolences, which have been arriving in their dozens. “This is a crushing loss, for the Wikipedia community and the world. There was no one else like her.” wrote one contributor. Another noted “Adrianne embodied brilliance, determination, and enthusiasm in everything she did.”



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March 29, 2014

Wikinews interviews Indiana State Senator Mike Delph

Wikinews interviews Indiana State Senator Mike Delph

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

File:Senator Mike Delph 2014.jpg

Indiana State Senator Mike Delph, S-29
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

On Wikinews, we have an exclusive audio interview with Indiana State Senator Mike Delph.

Today is Thursday, March 27, 2014. I am Chad Tew and we are here in The Edge radio studios with my journalism students and recording from the campus of the University of Southern Indiana.

This is Wikinews.

Introduction

Indiana State Senator Mike Delph is a Republican who represents the northwest side of Indianapolis and Carmel, as well as Zionsville, Indiana.

After being selected to finish former State Senator J. Murray Clark’s final term in 2005, Mike Delph has served two full terms for District 29 in the Indiana State Senate. He is currently facing re-election this fall. His opponent is likely to be Democrat JD Ford, who is running as an openly gay candidate.

Senator Delph has also been considered in the past for US Congress but he declined to run, and he has already been mentioned in the Indiana media as a possible candidate for any potential opening in the US Senate in 2016. He is widely known across the state of Indiana for both his Arizona-style legislation on immigration and his support of traditional marriage.

During the legislative session this year, Senator Delph made what is known in Indiana as the “tweet heard around the world”. The tweet announced the defeat of a proposed amendment to the Indiana State Constitution in a form that would have banned civil unions. Senate leader David Long punished Delph because of this tweet on the grounds that it concerned confidential caucus information. What exactly took place in that Republican caucus and between Senator Delph and Senator Long is currently unknown to the public.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: State Senator Delph good morning and welcome to Wikinews.

Mike Delph: Thanks for having me professor.

Interview (part I): A biographical portrait

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Chad Tew: Here with our first question is Ashely Jones Phillips. Jones Phillips: Hi! Good morning, Senator Mike Delph. My name Is Ashley Jones-Phillips. The first question that I have is, I wanted to know if you can tell me a little bit about your parents, where are you from, and where were you were raised and born?

Mike Delph: Sure, I grew up here in Carmel, Indiana. I was raised by my mother. My parents were divorced for most of my upbringing. While my father was on leave from his business — or actually helping his dad, my grandfather, with one of their plants out east — I was born in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. So I was actually born in Boston or just outside of Boston but raised in Indiana by my mother. I have three brothers. I shared a bedroom with my little brother John. And my two older brothers Jamie and Stephen were with us as well.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Jones Phillips: Can you tell where you went to school at?

MD: I went through the Carmel school system. And I’m a graduate of Carmel High School — in 1988. And then I went on to college at Indiana University. And ultimately received four degrees from Indiana University.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: And those degrees are in …?

MD: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications with minors in Spanish, biology, and an emphasis in chemistry. I have a Masters in Public Affairs with an emphasis in international relations — or comparative international relations — and public finance. I have a Masters of Science in Environmental Science, focused on applied ecology. And then I have my law degree at the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And lastly I want to know, how did you become interested in politics?

MD: I kind of backed my way into politics. I had served as a page for Indiana State Senator Dan Burton. And my mom and dad went to high school with Congressman Burton at Shortridge High School. We had a family friendly connection there. But I really didn’t grow up in politics. I didn’t serve in student government — except one little stint when I was a graduate student at Indiana University. I served one summer stint as a representative from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. But I really wasn’t involved in politics.
After I was getting ready to graduate from graduate school, I had planned to go to work for State Farm Insurance as a bond analyst. About that time, I had made contact with Congressman Burton, who was going to become the first Republican chairman, to chair a Congressional committee in over 60[?] years from Indiana. And we got to talking and eventually that led to a job offer for me to come and join him on his personal and professional staff out in Washington D.C. working on Capitol Hill. So I worked out of the personal office and then the professional staff of the House Committee on Government Reform, primarily focusing on Drug War policy. I also did some work with the House International Relations Committee, which at the time was chaired by Congressman Ben Gillman from New York.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Hello Senator Delph, I’m Sara Behnke. We were wanting to know about your family and your work outside of the Indiana Senate.

MD: My family is: My wife is Beth. She is from Zionsville. She grew up in Zionsville and graduated from Zionsville High School. She is the daughter of Russ and Nancy Frankel and has one brother, who is younger, named Matthew. My in-laws are now constituents of mine, which is nice because my mother-in-law could put my yard sign in her yard without confusing her neighbors.
I have five daughters. My oldest daughter is 19 and a freshman at IUPUI here in Indianapolis. She’s our first proud graduate of Delph Academy for Girls. She did really well her first semester of college, making the Dean’s List. So mom and dad were obviously very ecstatic there. I have a 17-year-old daughter, who just turned 17. She told dad that she wanted a boyfriend for her birthday, and so I went out and got a little stuffed animal of the good guy from Frozen [a film], which I said you can take to bed with you every night and cuddle with. So her name is Evelyn. I have a 14-year old named Anna, a 10-year old named Emma, and my 7-year-old, who will probably — well her name is Lilly, that she believes she will be the next rock star of rock music. And she and I play my guitar and sing every night. So that’s a little bit about my family.
I work as general counsel for a second-generation family-owned business based out of Bloomington, Indiana, named CarDon & Associates. And we are in the business of senior housing and long-term care, post-acute care, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and independent living facilities.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Behnke: We understand that you and your wife home educate your children. How did you decide to home educate your children?

MD: Well the name of our home school is the Delph Academy for Girls. Originally my 19-year old was part of the Carmel school system and attended Carmel Elementary and had a real challenging year, her first grade year. We were actually told by her first grade teacher that she would have a hard time graduating from high school and that college was not in the cards, which obviously was a lot for mom and dad to take with our first grader. We went and had a battery of tests done. And there was a dispute within the school system as to what, if any, learning disabilities that she might have, and what we should do about it. So we finished out that school year and went a little bit into the next, and then we just made the decision as a family that we weren’t going to fight the system. We were going to take matters into our own hands and start homeschooling our daughter. Then we just started homeschooling the rest of our kids. It’s turned out to be a very big blessing in the life of the Delph family for obvious reasons because our daughter has turned around her academic life in a very positive fashion and is doing very well in college, as I mentioned before.
Another reason why we homeschool our students, is we teach Bible in our school. And obviously you can’t do that in the public school system. Our faith and Christian values are very important to Beth and I and to our daughters.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Behnke: What is your religious affliation?

MD: We are Christian. We are not Catholic. That is a falsehood put out on Wikipedia, and I’m not sure where that came from. I think people just assume that if you have a lot of kids that you are Catholic. And there is one nice thing about that, we live right across the street from a very large prominent Catholic Parish called, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and they have a fall festival every year and so it’s the one place we can go as a family where people don’t give us funny looks because of the number of girls that I have, everybody has a large family in that parish.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Hello Senator Delph, I’m Jerrilyn Thompson, and I have a question for you. The Sagamore of the Wabash Award, you were awarded that in 2005. And this honorary award is awarded by the Governor. And what did you do to get this honor?

MD: That was something that I was recommended by former Congressman Baron Hill, who represented the southeastern part of the state. And I had gotten to know Congressman Hill when I was an executive with Comcast Corporation. We actually brought the C-SPAN school bus throughout his district, especially to his hometown of Seymour, Indiana. And we had gotten to know each other, and he found out that I had served as an international election observer with the International Republican Institute in Nicaragua in 1996 and then in Mongolia in 2000. And then he had also learned about my service with Congressman Burton and also here in the state of Indiana, and he was gracious to recommend me for that award. And then Governor Kernan, before he left office as our governor, was very gracious to award me the Sagamore of the Wabash.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thompson: Okay, just a few more questions. You had mentioned earlier about the role that Congressman Dan Burton had played in your life, could you please talk a little bit more about that?

MD: Well certainly. He is somebody that was my boss, I’ve known him for a good chunk of my life. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I served as a page for him. When he was an Indiana state senator. I had volunteered a little bit on his political campaigns but not a great deal. Primarily putting stickers on fire hats in preparation for his parade season.
But I worked for him from — I want to say — 1996 to 2004. Roughly eight years, give or take. I served as a member of his professional staff when he was chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. And then I also served as a member of his professional staff, handling a number of different policy areas, including foreign policy and national security policy. I covered agricultural issues and environmental policy forum, given some of my academic background. But primarily in the national security foreign policy area, primarily focused on anti-narcotics and the drug war. I was able to travel — in addition to traveling when I was an international election observer — I was able to travel as a member of his staff to countries like Turkey and Colombia.
When I was in Colombia, I got to watch an eradication mission of coca and poppy fields down in Colombia. I also got to work on other cases. There was a new tribes and missionary case that I worked on where there were three men who were abducted by the FARC, and there was no proof of life, and they just basically disappeared. And I was able to work with the families and others in leadership within the FBI to bring that whole issue to closure. They eventually declared the missionaries as being killed by the FARC. But as you can imagine, it was one of those things where the family was in limbo and they just did not know and nobody was trying to find out for them.
It was a great honor to work as a staff member for Congressman Burton. Probably one of the most thankful points in my time for him was when I helped write, or helped ghost write, the resolution honoring the life of Mother Theresa, which was adopted by the Congress. You all probably don’t remember, but Mother Theresa died right around the time that Princess Diana died and all of the news coverage at the time was dedicated towards Princess Diana. And Mother Theresa is arguably somebody that had lived more of a Christ-like life than anybody, since Jesus Christ.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thompson: Okay one last question from me. What was your father and mother’s relationship with former congressman Dan Burton?

MD: They went to high school together and knew him from their time in high school. And my mother specifically was involved with the Young Republicans when Congressman Burton was involved with the Young Republicans. And they all kind of grew up in politics together. And then she later became a volunteer for his campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Jordan Mornout: You ended up losing your first campaign when you sought the nomination for Indiana’s Secretary of State in 2002. Of course, your opponents that year were impressive, but can you tell us from your perspective about the dramatic finish to that nomination?

MD: That is a very sore subject with me, but it’s not as sore as it used to be. It’s interesting because you guys really… I was kind of surprised with the capturing of the whole flyer deal on the floor, which misled the convention to think that I had willingly dropped out of the race, and my strategy was to win it on the second ballot. I was everybody’s second choice. The people that were supporting Todd Rokita were supporting him because of their relationship with Sue Anne Gilroy, and they would support me if Todd was not in the race. The people that were supporting Richard Mourdock were supporting him because he was older and had more experience than I had. But they liked me after they got to know me, and I was their second choice.
And so I had literally campaigned in all 92 counties for two years of my life, driving around the state of Indiana in my American-made Honda Civic, which became a political issue for part of the race. During that race, Congressman Luke Messer was part of the field for a time. Diana Cordray, the clerk treasurer at Carmel, was in part of the field for a time. Kent Benson was a big part of it. Campaigning against him was like campaigning against Elvis Presley. Because we’d go to these southern Indiana counties, and he would autograph basketballs with the starting five in the 1976 Indiana University National Championship team. And that was the time that I said I had to do something because he was killing me politically, and so we started putting our name on peanut butter and passing out peanut butter. We said that if peanuts were the food of elephants, then peanut butter was the food of the grassroots of the Republican party, whose symbol was the elephant.
So we, we ran hard. We ran a strong campaign. And really it was that campaign that created the foundation for my ability to become a senator. But there’s no question that that was a hard-fought campaign, and the way that it ended was less than favorable. Literally, the next day I had to get on an airplane to fly to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to do my 2 weeks of army training in the middle of nowhere. And I remember being on a rifle range, and a there was misfire happening, and I looked up to the safety officer on the rifle range and I said, “Was that Richard Mourdock over there?” Obviously, they didn’t get the joke. But Richard and I are now friends and get along great.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: And, in fact, you were both competing for [Senator Richard] Lugar‘s office.

MD: Well, you’re talking about the United States Senate, this last go ‘round?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes.

MD: Yeah, at the time I was finishing up my legal studies and kind of transitioning professionally. I was running my own home-based business called MA Advisory Group, which was based upon my grandfather’s name of his company, the MA Delph Company, which I mentioned before. And I had thought about that for a little bit. I had been approached by some folks out in Washington, D.C., specifically that I have known for years and that had an interest in me considering that. And it really wasn’t a good time for me professionally and in the life of my family. And so it wasn’t something that I ever formed a committee or raised money or, started campaigning or reaching out to people to build support. But it did get in the press.
That led to Richard Mourdock reaching out to me. We had lunch, we talked about the opportunity, and he candidly asked me what I thought the top issues were and I told him, and a lot of what I said he ended up using as part of his platform to run against Senator Lugar. And he ultimately was successful. While that whole thing was going on, my wife and I took a three-week home school trip out to the East Coast, to visit former Revolutionary War historical sites to learn more about the founding of the country.
It’s mistaken, in perception, that I have some type of disregard for Senator Lugar. I have very high regard for him and his leadership and specifically his public service. Anybody that serves that long sacrifices a great deal with their family and in their business financially to serve the public. So I have a tremendous regard for him personally and professionally. I just had strong reservations and disagreement with him in matters of public policy and in the direction of some of the issues he was campaigning out in the United States Senate. But there’s no question that he was a strong figure in Washington, D.C.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Let’s pause for a brief identification.

Interview (part II): Controversy over the proposed marriage amendment

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Chad Tew: This is Wikinews. It is March 27, 2014, and we are here in the radio studio of The Edge speaking to Indiana State Senator Mike Delph by telephone. Here with our next question is Justin Law.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Law: Senator Delph, your opposition to same-sex marriage and your public expression of love for your brother Stephen has us wondering about how you reconcile what seems to some as contradictory stances. Could you explain to us your philosophical stand on homosexuality and support of traditional marriage?

Mike Delph: Sure, I come to my support of all of the traditional family values from my Christian convictions and my belief in the authenticity and reliability of The Bible. My faith tradition teaches me that homosexuality is one in a number of sins that’s listed out in the Bible, and so that’s why I have an opposition to anything that institutionalizes, or legitimizes, a given sin.
The reconciliation of the contradiction that you point out is really “love the sinner, hate the sin” type deal. You know, my brother, Stephen, is my older brother. He’s had a very tough life, and we’ve been through a lot together. And you can’t go through life together and experience things as a family unit. We just experienced, for example, last year the death of my father and the death of my grandmother, both of whom were close to each one of us. That was something that we went through together. You can’t go through life, and go through experiences, with things like that without having love for one another, a love as brothers. And so I do love my brother. I support my brother. I support his right to be a human being, as well as I do all human beings and to live his life. And I don’t tell him how to live his life. And I don’t tell him what to do, or where to go, or who to be friends with. I feel like I respect my brother; but I don’t, as I’ve mentioned to the media before, I don’t support the lifestyle of homosexuality because it is contrary to my Christian convictions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Senator, your brother said on the air that you had set him up on a date. And you denied that. Could you just briefly talk about this?

MD: Certainly, I’ve never set my brother up with anybody nor have I done anything ever to promote his gay lifestyle. I have friends that I went to college with that I have suggested could be friends with my brothers — several of my brothers quite candidly — and in this case, I had a friend from college, who at the time had recently told me that he was gay. And my brother, I think, mistakenly made the connection that by me introducing him to a friend of mine who is gay that somehow there was more to it than that. My brother Stephen is not used to talking to the media and knows that he misspoke when he made that characterization. I love my brother. And we have reconciled that misstatement. But never in my lifetime have I done anything to go contrary to that Christian conviction and that belief that I have on that lifestyle.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Bobby Shipman: Senator Delph, this is Bobby speaking now. HJR-3 — the proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage and civil unions? You said it was the best environment right now. Why is this the right time for HJR-3?

MD: Well, in order for a constitutional amendment to be adopted you have it to go to a legislative body, pass the House and Senate. Then you have to have an election and you have to have the new legislative body take up the exact same language and pass the House and Senate. And so from a procedural standpoint if it didn’t pass in the same form this time the clock gets reset and the process starts over.
When I surveyed my constituents, and I do an annual legislative survey, over 60 percent of my survey responses suggested that people wanted the opportunity to vote on this issue via referendum this year November of 2014. They did not indicate which way they would vote. So they could have said, “we want to vote on it because we want to reject it and we want to be done with it this year,” or they could have said, “we want to adopt it into our constitution.” Either way, because of the actions of the leadership of the House and the Senate, my constituents were denied that opportunity to vote and resolve this issue once and for all in November 2014. And when I engaged in this issue the one thing I heard from people across the spectrum on HJR-3 is they wanted the legislature to be done with this once and for all.
And when I went through in my mind the different courses of action that could get us there I kept coming back to the referendum and I did not see another way that we could bring final closure and resolution to this issue, this very sensitive and difficult issue, without passing it to the people for an up or down vote. Because of the path that we chose, there is going to be pressure to bring this back next year and possibly years beyond that. So the state of Indiana is going to be forced to deal with this issue year in and year out. Which is my fear.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Shipman: With the polls in Indiana showing a change in public opinion over the past several years that is more favorable to the acceptance of same-sex marriage, do you think it’s going to be harder to support traditional marriage in the future?

MD: Well not for me because I am who I am and I support what I support, and I support traditional and Judeo-Christian values. I think if the polling data is accurate, as you expressed it, then the folks that were the opponents of HJR-3 — specifically the folks that were in leadership within Freedom Indiana — were working against their own self-interest. Why do I say that? Well if public opinion has truly changed then it was in their interest to pass this through the legislature and send it to the people themselves for an up or down vote were the referendum would be defeated and the issue would forever be gone and dealt with. And so I think there is some dispute where public opinion is. This is a very sensitive issue. It divides families. It divides political parties. It divides neighbors. Obviously you know about my family, and there is a difference of opinion just with me and brother on this issue. There’s a difference between me and my mother on this opinion. There’s even a difference of opinion in the Delph household — in the house where I live. And so these are all things that our state and society have to reconcile. But to me the ultimate issue was bringing this whole thing to closure and by denying people the right to vote this November we did not bring this to closure.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Shipman: Since the amendment would have had a long lasting consequences on Hoosiers, didn’t the process work this time?

MD: Well some could say that. If that brings the issue to final closure. But having sat in the legislature now for eight years, I think there’s going to be pressure to bring this back this next session — some sort of version. And it may be amended to make it tougher. They may put the civil union ban back in it, which then puts it on another two years. And so for me, I don’t think the information is going to be any clearer. I don’t think the issue are going to be any better understood. To me it didn’t make any sense to delay the final resolution of this once and for all. And for me again, the only way that I could see us bringing this to final closure was to have the referendum by the public. And if public opinion has changed, then those that support same-sex marriage worked against their own self-interest by denying the people the right to vote on this in November of 2014. Because if they would have allowed the vote and public opinion had changed, then they probably would have voted the referendum down and that would have been the debate once and for all.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: But there is also the Supreme Court that the legislature would have to deal with any kind of decision that’s made between now and when they act next.

MD: Certainly, there is a couple of things at play there. Recently, I think in Michigan, they stuck down and then stayed the decision — the Michigan constitutional amendment. So there is no question that the federal courts are getting involved. There is equal protection ground litigation that is being filed throughout the country. And specifically in Indiana, I think, there has been four law suits filed challenging the Indiana Statute, which has been on the books since 1986. And so this is a big battle that’s going on legally.
Traditionally, the widely held view is that the US Constitution trumps the State Constitution and that federal decisions in court trump state constitutional law. And so those are all things that have to be reconciled with the public opinion, and with the will of the people, and what they want, and how they view their government, and how they want society to react and deal with these types of issues.
But there is no question that even if we would have passed the constitutional amendment and even if the public would have adopted it, that that did not prevent a court challenge in federal court.
Let me just make one more comment… To me though we cannot as a legislative body at the state level of government, live in fear of litigation. We have an Article 6 oath of office that we take to the US Constitution that binds all elected officials to the same rule of law — except the President of the United States, who takes a separate oath of office. And that oath of office is to the written Constitution, as written in the Constitution. It has nothing to do with common law, has nothing to do with Supreme Court decisions and stare decisis [precedent]. It has to do with the written law, the written constitution. We also take an oath to uphold the Indiana state constitution.
And that oath of office is something I take very, very seriously. And that is what should drive us, our own understanding of the Constitution — not any fear of litigation in Federal Court.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Devyn Curry: Can you briefly give us your version of the chronology from the time you made the “tweet heard around the world” to the time when you were punished for the tweet.

MD: I will try to do the best that I can. You know the irony in all of this is that HJR-3 was really not my issue. I had found through interaction with the governor’s staff that the governor [Mike Pence] was pretty displeased with what was going on the legislature, particularly in the House of Representatives. He could not understand how a super majority House and a super majority Senate could not get this issue to the voters. He spoke in favor of HJR-3 and in a “State of the State” address and then in an additional follow-up interview with WISH-TV political reporter Jim Shella — WISH-TV is at channel 8, our CBS News affiliate in Indianapolis. And so I was trying to help them behind the scenes. I worked with Senator [Dennis] Kruse, who had told me that Senator [David] Long had wanted to control that process and have Senator Mike Young introduce the amendment on the floor that would restore the second sentence so that we could adopt the entire amendment and send it to the voters.
For me though, if you go back and look at my press conference, I pretty methodically laid out the chronology of why I thought that Senator Long and others had taken the issue into their own hands in order to really kill the issue for the session. And when I had met with them before learning the concerns of the governor, I had met with Senator Long and Senator [Brent] Steele, and we were asked — because we were members of the Judiciary Committee — to do a whip count on the Judiciary members to find out if there was support to reinsert the second sentence and if there was support to pass HJR-3 to pass out of the committee. At the time, we were told that the resolution was going to go to Judiciary Committee. And then when we did the whip count, we found support to restore the second sentence, and then pass it out of committee. After that, Senator Long made the decision to not send it to Judiciary but rather to his own Committee, Rules Committee, and then he made the further decision that he wasn’t going to allow any amendment. And then he was going to pass the resolution to the floor without amendment. Which if you look at the numbers, the mathematics — and again I go through all of this in my press conference, which is on YouTube in detail — If you take the thirteen Democrats and assume that they are all going to vote no, it only takes thirteen more Republicans to vote no with the Democrats. And so the mathematics works against conservative Republicans on the Senate floor. And I think all those things, in addition to other things, factored into Senator Long’s decision to do what he did.
Now in terms of the tweet when I was trying to help Senator Kruse. I had started my own whip count and I was stuck on fifteen solid Republican votes to agree on the floor to reinsert the second sentence. Well I needed twenty-six. If I didn’t have twenty-six, it wasn’t going to happen because of the math with the Democrats.
And so we had caucus, I can’t tell you what was discussed or said or done in caucus, but because I had filed my amendment — because at the time I wasn’t positive that an amendment was going to be filed. In checking with the legislative services agency, and with the Senate majority attorney’s office, I went ahead and filed an amendment to make sure that we would meet a deadline so an amendment could be filed. I did that knowing that I was stuck at fifteen votes. And so there was media interest as to whether or not I was going to call my amendment and what was going to happen. We were on the senate floor and this was after the caucus meeting. Within minutes of Dennis Kruse calling HJR-3 for second reading — and that’s when I put out the tweet saying there wasn’t support for me to call my amendment and that the second sentence was dead for the session of the General Assembly.
When I did that, I did that to satisfy inquiry from probably over half a dozen different media outlets that were going to ask me or had asked me what I was going to do. Rather than have the same discussion, six to ten different times, I just wanted to handle it at once during Twitter. But what I didn’t anticipate at the time was that everybody under the sun would retweet that tweet and I would start to trend nationally. At that point, this evolved into a whole other level of newsworthiness.
Senator Long came back on the floor and asked me about it and I explained what I did and why. At the time, I thought things were resolved between the two of us. It was only later that he had a media availability and he kind of blasted me and accused me of leaking a caucus confidence that we really started to get into it within the press.
And at that point in time, I made the decision to hold my news conference and to vote against HJR-3, if he would not allow the second sentence to be restored. I did that for a couple of reasons. One of which was I had passed out a legal memorandum from a very reputable source out of Washington D.C. that had told us that without the second sentence, our amendment had no legal consequences. So we were basically passing a statement that had no legal significance. And for me, given how divisive this was and how draining it was in terms of energy and what not, it didn’t make any sense to me to pass something for political purposes that wasn’t going to have any legal consequence.
And again, I talked about all of that in my press conference on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, it will take thirty minutes of your life to watch it. It was carried live on ABC the Channel 6 news affiliate in Indianapolis and I walked through methodically the chronology of events at that press conference.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Curry: What were you trying to convey to the public through the media at the press conference?

MD: I was trying to bring to light what was going on with the process. And I was trying to bring to light my reasoning and thinking as to why I felt like this was a set up job from the beginning and that there was no intention to get this to the people. And how Senator Long had controlled the process. And how every step of the process the decisions that he made gave evidence to what I was saying that the people were never going to see this amendment at the ballot box in November of 2014. I also felt like it was newsworthy that one of the most conservative members of the Indiana State Senate was going to vote against the marriage amendment because it had no legal consequence. I wanted to explain to the public and to my constituents why a guy that is a strong supporter of traditional Judeo-Christian values, was not going to support the marriage amendment. Because I didn’t believe that the marriage amendment had legal consequence.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Curry: Senator, did you violate caucus rules of secrecy?

MD: I did not.
And the saying that I take great great umbrage with is … the only way I can fully defend myself would be to go violate caucus protocol and confidence.
Now I don’t accuse Senator Long of lying; that is a little strong. There are some — because what has been said to the media, particularly by Senator Long — that have had the wrong perception that I may have violated a confidence of the caucus. I certainly want to clear up any kind of misunderstanding with my caucus mates. But in no way did I violate a caucus confidence. The tweet that I put out was based upon my own information, from my own whip count that I kept on this project. Senator (Scott) Schneider knew about my whip count. Senator Dennis Kruse knew about my whip count. Senator Mike Young knew about my whip count. And so this idea that I violated a caucus confidence is unfortunate, it’s wrong, it’s untrue, it’s misleading, and, hopefully, this will help correct that record.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Senator, Chad Tew here. Who leaked the information about your punishment to the media?

MD: That is a great question because [laughs] — There is another issue over in the House of Representatives about caucus confidence being violated. I don’t know if you are following that with the whole nursing moratorium issue —
But it was interesting because the following Thursday I was called in to Senator Long and there were a couple of other senators, and they brought me in there to tell me what my consequence from this whole event was going to be. And they listed out four different things that were going to happen, and they then told me they were going to go to the caucus and privately tell them what was going to happen. Well, I get home Thursday night, that night, getting ready to have dinner, and I get a call from a Channel 13 WTHR NBC News affiliate. And they say “Senator Delph, we understand this, this, this and this are going to happen to you because of violating caucus protocol. Do you have a comment?”
And I just find it grossly hypocritical and somewhat ironic that there would be a violation of caucus protocol to leak out this punishment that I have while they’re accusing me of this. It’s really all very silly.
Since I have been in the legislature for eight years, I have been a champion of transparency and accountability. And I think the public has the right to know what their elected officials are doing on behalf of them and in some cases against them. And in this case, I did not violate a caucus confidence, and I was trying to advocate for my constituents, who wanted the right to vote on this issue as reflected in the surveys that they returned to my office. And so I felt like I was doing things to try to advocate on their behalf without necessarily taking a position from their perspective on whether they felt like this should be part of the constitution or not part of the constitution. I was trying to give them their opportunity, which they said they wanted, to vote on this one way or the other.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Concerning your punishment, you’ve had a number of disagreements over the years with Senate leader David Long. Does Senate leader David Long serve the Republicans in the state senate or do they serve him?

MD: Yeah, that is a great question. I like Senator Long. He and I every couple of years will have an issue. The legislative process is not one where conflict can be avoided. When you are in the arena, you are going to have issues, and I have enjoyed serving with Senator Long. But ultimately we the people elect elected officials to serve in the legislative branch of government. And as Thomas Jefferson said, “The consent of the governed are who give and what gives elected leadership and legislatures the legitimacy to make decisions on behalf of the people.” And so Senator Long has been elected by the Republican caucus to a position of great public trust — to manage the institutional integrity of the senate. And so he needs to, in my opinion — I have said this to him publicly and privately — to remember it is the people of Indiana that he represents and not just special interests or even the interest of the caucus itself — but it is the public at large. And he has also a responsibility to the institution of the senate.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Thank you, Senator. Let’s pause for identification.

Interview (part III): Issues in the fall 2014 election

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Chad Tew: Mike Delph, a Republican who represents parts of Indianapolis, Carmel and Zionsville is with us this morning for an exclusive interview. It is March 27, 2014, and this is Wikinews. Welcome back, Senator.

Mike Delph: Thanks for having me professor. One thing I just wanted to add from the last segment. There are a lot of YouTube videos and interviews that I’ve done and I’ve tried to be consistent in the story that I’ve been telling making sure that the truth gets communicated to the public. But when I did my press conference, I very methodically walked through my reasoning for why I believe that the marriage amendment was at least on the Senate side, set up for failure from the beginning. And I also addressed the whole tweet and where the information for that tweet came from. There’s been misinformation and misperception that it was tweeted from a caucus meeting. That is a falsehood. It was a tweet that I actually put out, again, directly from the senate floor within minutes of HJR-3 being called down for a second reading, and I did that, again, because there were a number of media requests to explain what I was going to do or not do with the amendment I had filed to restore the second sentence. I would encourage your listeners and your students if they’ve not done so to go listen to the press conference on YouTube.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Rachel Christian: Senator Delph, you have been labeled as a social conservative. Where do you believe you fall on the political spectrum?

MD: You know, that’s a good question. In my intro (Wikipedia: Voice Intro Project) that I read for Wikinews[sic] for the project that the professor and I worked on together, I reference myself as a fiscal and social conservative.
I kind of consider myself a constitutional conservative. I consider myself very independent-minded. If you look at my last election in 2010, I won my senate district 59 percent to 41 percent. Just two years prior to that, President Barack Obama won the same Senate district 56 percent to 44 percent over John McCain. So I think my history has shown an ability to have people who aren’t necessarily conservative Republican voters vote for me.
I try to listen to everybody, anybody in my district who has an issue or concern or wants to talk to me or tell me what they think about anything, always gets my ear. And you can’t do this job and be effective doing this job without being shaped by the views of your constituents, some of whom may disagree with your position on a given issue.
So I do consider myself a full-spectrum conservative, fiscal and social, but more importantly I consider myself a Constitutional conservative.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Bradie Gray: Recently, political commentator Brian Howey wrote about your senate district. Is it fair to say that your district is not socially conservative, that your stand on HJR-3 might not been aligned with your constituents, and that the Democrats see your seat as an opportunity.

MD: Well you will to talk to the Democrat[sic] Party about what they see as an opportunity. I can’t speak for them.
I will tell you again. I survey my constituents every year before we go in session. And I knew that the marriage amendment was going to be something that was going to be debated and considered. I asked them if they wanted a chance to vote on this through the constitutional amendment process via referendum in November 2014. I sent that survey to all registered voters in Senate District 29 and over 60 percent of the respondents said they wanted a chance to vote in November 2014. Again I didn’t ask which way they were going to vote — whether they were going to vote yes or no — but rather did they wanted the chance to vote. My position primarily was driven by that piece of information and my desire to try to advocate on behalf of my constituents to bring this whole issue to resolution.
From a personal standpoint, this issue is very divisive. The media is fixated on it. Very little else was covered because the media was so fixated on it. And to me whether you were for the amendment or against the amendment, there was pretty strong support to being done with it once and for all. And I couldn’t figure out a way to bring final closure to this without going to the referendum process to the public. And so I was hoping we could deal with this whole issue in 2014 but others felt differently that were in the leadership. And so we are going to be dealing with this issue on into the future.
In terms of the ideology of my constituents. I have some constituents who are socially conservative. I have some constituents who are socially moderate. I have some constituents who are socially liberal. The proof is going to be in the pudding when we run for reelection in November 2014 whether or not this is the driving issue to drive turnout and ultimately render judgement over the totality of my service in the senate.
Last year, I carried three bills into law. I’ve been known widely as somebody who is a leader on Veterans and military issues. Last year, we expanded contracting opportunities for veterans returning from Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. I wrote and carried into law a strong reform in the area of education for high performing schools. I have led efforts in reform for local government reform in Title 36 of Indiana Code. I have been named Legislator of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans. And I have been giving the Distinguished Public Service Award twice, once in 2006 and once in 2013 by the American Legion. I’ve been awarded the Mr. Clean Award by Common Cause for my efforts to promote lobbying reform, and ethics reform, and redistricting reform. I’ve led an effort to change the law in the area immigration reform. And again that was not a Republican or Democrat issue, it was an American patriotic issue. And a lot of my folks that were not a conservative or Republican because of my leadership on this issue supported me in 2010. We feel very good about where we were politically.
I just actually just had a grassroots campaign committee with my team on Saturday at my house. My 19-year-old daughter Abby, who is a freshman at IUPUI, is going to serve as my campaign manager, and I’m going to teach her how to do this. We have the leader of the College Republicans at Anderson University, as well as IUPUI and other leaders from Butler University that will all be involved in my grass roots effort.
Before Thanksgiving, there was some talk that somebody might try to challenge me in a primary. And our grassroots effort, we had home school moms and volunteers make over 7,000 phone calls to base, Republican voters. We shut that down pretty quick. We have the strongest, best grassroots team in the state senate. I welcome competition. We are going to go out and compete. And we are going to let the voters make their decisions. We feel very good where we are politically.
From a campaign finance standpoint. We have the most money that we have ever had. We have [US]$180,000 in cash in the bank. I have a business man, a Christian pastor, who has offered to write a check for $25,000 to support me. Another person is going to write a check for $2500. And I suspect if I really tried to raise more money, I could raise a lot more money.
So again I feel the grassroots, the financial support, the community support will be there for us. But ultimately I serve at the pleasure of the voters. And if they choose that they would rather have somebody else serve them and represent them in the Indiana State Senate, I certainly will respect that decision. But I will never shy away from my core convictions, or my Christian principles, or what I believe in, or what I think the right thing to do is, and I will always act on what I believe is the right thing to do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Casie Mathies: Senator, this is Casie, how important are the business or establishment Republicans in your district and do you stand in danger of alienating them with your stands on HJR-3?

MD: You know there are some businesses that are in fear of litigation right now because of the whole environment around same-sex marriage. There are some churches that will be sued and possibly forced to ordain a relationship and a union that their God rejects. And so there are some businesses that will probably have some concerns but there will be other businesses that will support my position. I think most businesses though, aren’t really motivated by this issue in particular. They are just out trying to run a business to make payroll, to grow their business, and I’ve got a strong business-friendly record as delineated by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Manufacturers Association. A strong history for promoting economic growth, including our latest bill this year was Senate Bill 1. Where we’ve given the local government units the ability to phase out the business personal property tax if they so choose to do so, and a gradual further reduction of the corporate income tax.
One other additional point I want to make. I’ve also been a leader on corporate transparency reform. Last year, I also carried into law a bill that Governor Pence signed into law before a board of directors meeting of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation calling for and requiring more transparency and the economic incentives that we give out to companies that say that they are going to create “X” amount of jobs in exchange for those economic incentives. So bottom line, I think my record in the senate has been very pro-business and pro-job growth and pro-economic development and so I think businesses will look more at that than they will look at HJR-3.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Sean Kerchief: Your likely opponent in next fall’s election, JD Ford, says he stands for, quote, equality. Do you?

MD: I’ve not had a chance to meet Mr. Ford. I look forward to doing so. You know, we still have a primary to get through, and I’ll probably reserve my comments until after May. After the candidates have been officially nominated by the voters of each party. But I believe in equality. We do have equality of marriage. We just have not, ever, believed as a society that that translates to same-sex marriage. We have had over two hundred years of social norms and of standing up for traditional Judeo-Christian values and this idea of equating same-sex marriage with opposite sex or traditional marriage is a very new thing in the history and life of Indiana and our nation. And so, any man has the right to marry a woman who agrees to marry him, and any woman has the right to marry any man who agrees to marry her, and that is equal, you know, across all boundaries.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Keisha Wright: Senator Delph, What are the political stands that are going to provide the sharpest contrast between you and your likely political opponent, JD Ford this fall?

MD: Well again, I’ve not yet had the chance to meet Mr. Ford. I look forward to doing that, and I’ve not had the chance to be educated on what he stands for, and what his positions are, and I look forward to doing that. But what I’m told, the biographical backgrounds and positions are pretty black and white, night and day, and so I think the voters, for what I’ve been told without studying the issues on him, will get a sharp contrast.
You know I’ve served in the Indiana State Senate for 8 years. I spent four years in leadership as an assistant majority floor leader for communications revamping the whole communications process through two communications directors. I’ve carried a number of bills into law. I’ve served in business. I’ve run my own business out of my home. Now I serve for a privately-held company as a general counsel. I’ve served for a publicly traded company as an executive in their government affairs department, and so I have a lot of business experience, applied experience in the Indiana General Assembly. I’ve also had a lot of family experience raising five daughters as a home school educator.
I’ve been a leader in the military. I currently am a major in the United States Army Reserve serving in a number of leadership capacities during the course of my military experiences. So I’m very confident and proud of my history, of my record, and I look forward to further communicating that with my voters and Senate District 29. And I also look forward to meeting my opponent after we get through the May primary.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Just a short question. You started your military service in what year?

MD: June of 2001, I believe.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: And you were promoted to major when?

MD: I was promoted to major on March 23, 2012. And that was also after the whole brouhaha over the military uniform issue with [Lieutenant] Colonel Mejia. I was a company commander for the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, at the time I was a captain, company commander. And notwithstanding that I was still promoted to major. I think the military almost on a weekly basis to take a leadership position in a unit.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Meredith Harris: You have been considered for higher offices. What qualities do you have to offer not only your district, but voters all over Indiana?

MD: Well, I’ve not actively sought higher office. I enjoy reading about my political future in the press routinely, oftentimes over coffee with my daughters. You know, I love my country, I love my state, I love my neighbors, I love my community, I love my fellow man. I’m very concerned about the direction that our nation’s going. In 2008, we crossed a barrier that was not widely reported. That was the first year that our nation started talking about operational deficits — the difference between revenue and expense on an annual basis — in terms of trillions of dollars. It is mind boggling to me that since 2008 the United States government has added a trillion dollars in national debt each and every year. We are spending our posterity into oblivion. At some point our debt will not be marketable. People won’t think it’s a good enough risk to invest in and at that point Judgement Day happens.
And I, you know, am concerned about that because I love my five daughters and I want them to grow up with opportunity. I want them to grow up in economic freedom and to be able to compete and do things and love and live and enjoy life and not have a country on the brink of collapse — of economic collapse. So I’m very outspoken on issues like that and on national security issues and also on Supreme Court nomination issues, and that sort of thing. And because of that, that’s led to speculation.
When the speculation took place regarding Senator Lugar and also Congressman Burton, we did have brief discussions with my family, with my daughters, around our kitchen table. Some of my daughters have been character actors, or youth interpreters I should say, at Conner Prairie, a live museum here in central Indiana, others have served as members of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. They’re all very involved in the home school community and their friends are here. So I told them that if I ran and got elected to federal office, they would either have to move out to Washington D.C., or they wouldn’t get to see their dad three nights, at least three nights out of the week. And once I gave them that information, they were unanimous in their opposition to me running for Congress or the United States Senate. Until I get to a point where my family balance can be taken into consideration, I don’t anticipate seeking higher office. But I’m always humble and grateful that people consider my record and my views worthy of consideration for such purpose.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Just briefly, senator. Your passage of the local government initiative that would allow governments to merge was very successful in your district, but not successful elsewhere around Indiana. What was it about your district that made it unique in that it decided to merge?

MD: Well the reform that came from House Bill 1362, which at the time was the most dramatic reform in Title 36, in probably 25 years or more. It allowed for the creation of a government of the people, by the people, for the people subject to the imagination. Whatever the mind could come up with, you could do up to the county boundary. And so in the case of Eagle and Union Townships deciding to dissolve themselves and then enter into a pact with the town of Zionsville and create the new town of Zionsville, it took vision. It took selfless service because you had two township trustees that had to agree to dissolve their reason for being. Not many elected officials will do something like that. It was a very courageous move by the trustee of Eagle and the trustee of Union Townships to do that. I think part of the problem that we’ve had in other parts of the state, including Evansville and Fort Wayne, is that the process and the law has not been adequately marketed and explained to the public and to elected officials. But right now in Indiana Code, you could reform local government up to the county boundary in just about any way imaginable to the mind. The only thing that really is the constraint is the imagination.
I’m very proud of that. And I’m proud of the fact that the folks in Zionsville took the ball and ran with it. I was honored to work with then state representative Jim Buck, from Kokomo, who also represented Zionsville. And I represented … at the time, not Zionsville. It wasn’t until afterwards that Zionsville became part of my area.
Here is one other neat story. The Town Hall chambers in Zionsville is the former Methodist church where Beth and I got married in. When we had this ceremony of this dissolution of Eagle and Union Townships and the creation of the new town of Zionsville. It literally happened right where we got married. And I was asked to speak right in the same place where I exchanged my wedding vows with my wife. I got up to speak and I was nervous and stammering a little bit and they’re like “Senator is everything ok?” And I’m like, “For some reason, this specific location in the world, I’m in a vortex, and it makes me really nervous.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Thank you, senator. And, let’s pause for identification.

Interview (part IV): Conclusion

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png This is Wikinews, and we are back with Senator Mike Delph. I am Chad Tew, and we are here at The Edge radio studios with my journalism students and recording from the campus of the University of Southern Indiana, in Evansville. Our first question will come from Jordan.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Jordan Bayes: Hi, Senator Delph, Jordan Bayes speaking. What ever became of the military investigation of you and the soldier who appeared by you at a press conference?

Mike Delph: Well that was ultimately adjudicated by the military. Colonel Mejia ended up retiring in good standing with the military. At the time I was a captain in the United States Army Reserve, and I am now a major. So I think everybody has moved forward and moved on.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngTew: And you were never punished for that, for the record?

MD: There was a resolution that I had with my commanding general that is private, but there was never anything official other than on my officer evaluation report that denoted the issue.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngTew: Yes, and then you were successfully promoted.

MD: Successfully promoted for major and more importantly I get, I won’t say harassed, but a fair number of calls from recruitment and retention people asking me to take leadership of units and to be more involved in the military, as if I have all this extra time on my hands.
But let me just tell you, on that whole deal. I don’t go through life with regrets. I had no regrets for that press conference. The purpose of that press conference was to show Ray Mejia to the world, and how a guy who came from Mexico, not knowing the language, not being a citizen, used the path of the military to rise up through the ranks, get an education, learn the English language, and then ultimately become a successful executive with Eli Lilly. To me that was a story that needed to be told. Nobody was telling it. Ray Mejia is very proud of his military service, as am I, and he wanted to show off what he had done in the military that was part of his identity and part of his story.
So we were both supportive of that move, and, you know, as in life, you take positions just like when I did my press conference a couple weeks ago. I decided to do a press conference in the center of the rotunda of the Indiana State House, and I did that going into it knowing there would be consequences. That’s part of leadership.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Bayes: Tim Durham, who is now serving a 50-year sentence for running a Ponzi scheme in Indiana, was a major donator to Republicans, including your campaign. Former Governor Daniels for instance received almost $200,000 dollars. You were the first to give money back donated by Durham in 2011 after he was charged, which was $10,000 dollars. However you kept money donated by BP after the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. What kind of money do you think should be given back, and what kinds do you think are alright to keep?

MD: You know, it’s interesting, because I got introduced to Tim Durham in, I want to say September or October — I want to say it was October of 2005. It was right before my special caucus or special election for my caucus for the replacement of Murray Clark. Governor Daniels was hosting a Republican Governors Association fundraising event at Obsidian headquarters, and that was my first introduction to Tim Durham. And then I have a dear friend of mine who went to high school with him down in Seymour in Jackson County. I did not know Tim well. I met him a couple times, but my friend Tim Motsinger — who I’d known through politics and Marion County used to be a deputy with Marion County Sheriff’s Department for Jack Cottey — encouraged me to reach out to him, and I did on a couple occasions, and he wrote me two checks for $5000 dollars.
When the whole fair finance deal was coming out, and I started learning about that, the bankruptcy trustee actually sent out a list, or made a list of people that Durham had made contributions to, asking for voluntary returns of that money. Making the argument that it wasn’t his money to donate, it was the retiree’s money. I was not on that list. I didn’t know about the list. When I found out about the news story, I reached out on my own to the bankruptcy trustee, and said, “Hey, Tim gave me $10,000 dollars, I’d like to return it, what do I need to do?” And they were shocked. They couldn’t believe it because they were trying so hard to get all this other money that you mentioned back and they were not getting much cooperation. So. Tor me I felt it was the right thing to do. You know, I pray for Tim Durham. I think that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I also believe only one man walked this Earth without sin and his name was not Mike Delph. And so I felt it was the right thing to do to give the money back, and I did that.
In the terms of BP, BP is a great corporate citizen. They made a mistake and immediately went to rectify and restore the ecology of the mistake that they made. And so I’m very proud of BP and I’m very proud for the way that they handled that, and I thought this political scapegoatism of them was pretty shameful. This is a company that provides a lot of jobs, a lot of economic development, a lot of good things to the community. They had a tough time and they immediately used corporate assets and their ingenuity to aggressively address and correct what they had done negatively to the environment. And I felt like they should be applauded and lifted up and not condemned.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Dennis Marshall is here with our last question tonight, Dennis —

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Dennis: Senator you are well known for your support of the single class basketball here in Indiana, why is that such an important issue for you?

MD: Dennis you’re going to make me cry. I love this issue, love it. I grew up in a time that is not, obviously, today, and I just fell in love with Indiana high school basketball. I didn’t play basketball in high school myself. I was a football player and I was slow and bulky and that sort of thing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: You were a wrestler, too?

MD: I actually was a cheerleader for the high school basketball team my senior year.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Senator, were you a wrestler?

MD: I love basketball, I always have. But when I was growing up I remember watching the state tournament with my grandmother. It was almost like a holiday. We’d play cards and have a cheeseball and you know salami and crackers. We’d bet a dollar a game on the games.
That was the time when guys like Scott Skiles were bringing Plymouth (High School) to the state championship tournament, and Steve Alford and New Castle [High School], and Mike and Chris Heineman over at Connersville [High School]. There was just a tremendous amount of great basketball stories. And then I got to learn about the story of the “Milan Miracle”, of the state championship run that led to the story of Hoosiers [a film]. Then, later on, right before I left and started growing up more after college and graduate school, the story of Damon Bailey and Bedford North Lawrence [High School] team. These are stories were high school basketball teams would captivate and grab the attention of the entire state. I remember when the Marion Giants with Jay Edwards and Lyndon Jones dominated for a couple years.
And so these are things that are very important and then when they went to this touchy feeling everybody has to have a trophy and a championship multi-class system, it took something away from our Hoosier identity. So it was something that I always felt pretty strongly about.
When I first got elected to the legislature, my pastor’s wife was the executive assistant to the commissioner of the ISHAA, Blake Ress, and she knew how I felt about class basketball. I didn’t like it and I wished we’d go back to single class [basketball in Indiana]. But out of unity to my church and not wanting to cause my pastor’s wife consternation, I decided I would not do anything or pursue anything. Then she left the IHSAA and then I had an opportunity to interject this multi-facet education proposal. And then I met Bobby Cox, the then commissioner of the IHSAA, and I told him, “I’ll table this proposal, but let’s see what the public has to say.” And he said, “that is a great idea. Let’s do some public meetings. Let’s go around the state together, let’s hold a press conference and tell the world what we are doing, and let’s take a vote at every public meeting. We’ll give the public a chance that they didn’t have at the time when we made this decision.
I think at the time the IHSAA and Commissioner Cox, in particular, thought that the public would be more allow the lines of multi-class basketball. We probably had 50 to 100 people turn out at every one of our meetings. We even went to former historical Gary Roosevelt up in Lake County we went down to several areas in Southern Indiana, we went to Pendleton. I don’t have the list in front of me, so I’m just kind of doing this from memory. I emailed it to Professor Tew. I think the turnout or vote was 68 percent for restoration towards single class basketball.
One of the real joys of that whole process for me was meeting Bobby Plump and going to Milan and meeting the [19]54 basketball team. They all turned out for that. That was kind of a turning point in our road show. Because up until that point, the turnout was mixed in terms of whether it was single-class or multi-class. But at Milan, it was blowout. Everyone there wants to go back to single class basketball. I toured the Milan high school, and the athletic director tells me to this day he still gets calls from people all over the world wanting to know about Milan and Hoosiers.
He actually had a guy call him once and say how do I get to the high school, I’m flying in to Cincinnati, and he gave him directions from the Cincinnati airport to the Milan high school so he could come see the trophies and learn more about the history because he had just seen the movie Hoosiers. To me this is something like, just like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway puts Indianapolis on the map, we’re known as the greatest racing spectacle in world, with the Indianapolis 500. We are also known internationally for our wonderful single class basketball tournament, which lifts up and extolls the virtues of the underdog and the little guy. When we went to multi-class basketball we lost some of that cultural identity that Indiana was known for. Not only nationally but throughout the world. And I want to try to bring that back.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tew: Thank you Senator. This has been an exclusive interview with Mike Delph. Thank you very much Senator for being with us tonight and speaking to fifteen journalism students and myself…

MD: Professor, it’s been an honor. I really have enjoyed working with you and the University of Southern Indiana through this process. And I really enjoyed talking with your students and answering their questions. I look forward to an ongoing partnership into the future.



Outro

This has been an exclusive audio Wikinews interview with Indiana State Senator Mike Delph. To receive the latest news, please visit wikinews.org, presenting up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy and entertaining content without bias. Wikinews is a free service and it is funded by your generous donations. Click on the donate link on our homepage to learn how you can contribute. This recording has been released under the Creative Commons 2.5 License.

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February 20, 2014

Indiana legislators vote for state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

Indiana legislators vote for state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

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Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in the United States

██ Same-sex marriage1

██ Unions granting rights similar to marriage1,2

██ Legislation granting limited/enumerated rights1

██ Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere recognized1

██ No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions

██ Statute bans same-sex marriage

██ Constitution bans same-sex marriage

██ Constitution bans same-sex marriage and some or all other kinds of same-sex unions


1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2Same-sex marriage laws in California are complicated, please see the Wikipedia article on same-sex marriage in California.

Indiana’s Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment Monday that would ban same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution. Indiana’s state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. A sentence banning civil unions was removed from the proposal.

For a constitutional amendment to be approved in Indiana, it must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate during two separately elected legislatures, which means there has to be an election between the two sets of votes. The proposed amendment cannot be changed from one voting session to another and cannot be changed from the House of Representatives to the Senate. Once the proposed amendment has passed those hurdles, then the amendment goes to Indiana voters who vote yea or nay on the amendment.

Following the House of Representatives’ approval, the Senate passed the proposed amendment, which is known as House Joint Resolution 3, with a vote of 32–17 Monday. Opponents needed eight more votes to stop the proposed amendment from reaching the necessary margin of support.

The proposed amendment already passed both houses in 2011. A change was made this legislative session when the second sentence was deleted first by the House of Representatives and then was passed in a similar form by the Senate Monday. The failure of the second sentence, which proposes to ban same-sex civil unions, could possibly open the door for civil unions in the future. Following the process, HJR-3 will be reviewed again by the next elected legislature in either 2015 or 2016 to remain in process.

Although the amended version grants the possibility for civil unions in the future, some in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community say it isn’t enough.

“I think it’s still bad because it fails to legitimize us as human beings, since it’s trying to deny us basic rights,” said Myranda Wanden, program director at Indiana Youth Group, an organization that provides support and advocacy for LBGT teens and young adults.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence supported the proposed amendment. Pence, in his “State of the State” speech for 2014, said, “I believe in traditional marriage, and I have long held the view that the people, rather than unelected judges, should decide matters of such great consequence”. Pence also called for a civil debate for the matter and to treat everyone with respect.

“I think the rest of the country is moving towards being more open and accepting about gay marriage,” Wanden said. “I think Indiana, which is a conservative red state, saw this and wanted to resist the changing tide. I think it caused fear in many legislators, but I definitely don’t think it’s reflective of a majority of the Indiana population.”

Indiana is not the only state that prohibits same-sex marriage by law or as proposed by constitution. There are 29 other states that prohibit same-sex civil marriages under their constitutions, while Indiana and three other states prohibit it by statute. The states that allow for some form of same-sex marriage number 17 plus Washington, DC.

Worldwide, there is a wide diversity in same-sex marriage and rights laws. At this time, 17 countries allow same-sex marriage, the most recent being Scotland. Most of the countries that allow same-sex marriage are concentrated in Europe, but there are also countries in South America and Africa, as well as New Zealand, Canada, and parts of Mexico that have legalized same-sex marriage. Homosexual sex is legally criminal in at least 78 countries, and punishable by death in five.



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January 28, 2014

Warhol\’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

Warhol’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Portrait shot of Dennis Hopper, famous for his role in the 1969 film Easy Rider, amongst the Warhol Polaroids donated to USI by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Image: Andy Warhol.

Opening night, January 23, 2014, of the Andy Warhol exhibit of Polaroids and screen prints at the University of Southern Indiana.
Video: Miharris & Acphillips.

Evansville, Indiana, United States — This past week marked the opening night of an Andy Warhol exhibit at the University of Southern Indiana. USI’s art gallery, like 189 other educational galleries and museums around the country, is a recipient of a major Warhol donor program, and this program is cultivating new interest in Warhol’s photographic legacy. Wikinews reporters attended the opening and spoke to donors, exhibit organizers and patrons.

The USI art gallery celebrated the Thursday opening with its display of Warhol’s Polaroids, gelatin silver prints and several colored screen prints. USI’s exhibit, which is located in Evansville, Indiana, is to run from January 23 through March 9.

Full interview with Kristin Wilkins, curator of the exhibition at the University of Southern Indiana.
Audio: Jkthom.

The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries at USI bases its exhibit around roughly 100 Polaroids selected from its collection. The Polaroids were all donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, according to Kristen Wilkins, assistant professor of photography and curator of the exhibit. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts made two donations to USI Art Collections, in 2007 and a second recently.

Kathryn Waters, director of the gallery, expressed interest in further donations from the foundation in the future.

Since 2007 the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program has seeded university art galleries throughout the United States with over 28,000 Andy Warhol photographs and other artifacts. The program takes a decentralized approach to Warhol’s photography collection and encourages university art galleries to regularly disseminate and educate audiences about Warhol’s artistic vision, especially in the area of photography.

University exhibits

Kristen Wilkins, curator of “Andy Warhol: Photographs and Prints from the University Collection” at the University of Southern Indiana, January 23-March 9, 2014.
Image: Snbehnke.

Wikinews provides additional video, audio and photographs so our readers may learn more.

Wilkins observed that the 2007 starting date of the donation program, which is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, coincided with the 20th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death in 1987. USI was not alone in receiving a donation.

K.C. Maurer, chief financial officer and treasurer at the Andy Warhol Foundation, said 500 institutions received the initial invitation and currently 190 universities have accepted one or more donations. Institutional recipients, said Mauer, are required to exhibit their donated Warhol photographs every ten years as one stipulation.

While USI is holding its exhibit, there are also Warhol Polaroid exhibits at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and an Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol exhibit at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. All have received Polaroids from the foundation.

University exhibits can reach out and attract large audiences. For example, the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro saw attendance levels reach 11,000 visitors when it exhibited its Warhol collection in 2010, according to curator Elaine Gustafon. That exhibit was part of a collaboration combining the collections from Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also were recipients of donated items from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.

Superstars

Each collection donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program holds Polaroids of well-known celebrities. The successful UNC Greensboro exhibit included Polaroids of author Truman Capote and singer-songwriter Carly Simon.

“I think America’s obsession with celebrity culture is as strong today as it was when Warhol was living”, said Gustafon. “People are still intrigued by how stars live, dress and socialize, since it is so different from most people’s every day lives.”

Wilkins explained Warhol’s obsession with celebrities began when he first collected head shots as a kid and continued as a passion throughout his life. “He’s hanging out with the celebrities, and has kind of become the same sort of celebrity he was interested in documenting earlier in his career”, Wilkins said.

The exhibit at USI includes Polaroids of actor Dennis Hopper; musician Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran; publishers Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine and Carlo De Benedetti of Italy’s la Repubblica; disco club owner Steve Rubell of Studio 54; photographers Nat Finkelstein, Christopher Makos and Felice Quinto; and athletes Vitas Gerulaitis (tennis) and Jack Nicklaus (golf).

Wikinews observed the USI exhibit identifies and features Polaroids of fashion designer Halston, a former resident of Evansville.

University collections across the United States also include Polaroids of “unknowns” who have not yet had their fifteen minutes of fame. Cynthia Thompson, curator and director of exhibits at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said, “These images serve as documentation of people in his every day life and art — one which many of us enjoy a glimpse into.”

Warhol’s photographic legacy

Warhol was close to important touchstones of the 1960s, including art, music, consumer culture, fashion, and celebrity worship, which were all buzzwords and images Wikinews observed at USI’s opening exhibit.

He was also an influential figure in the pop art movement. “Pop art was about what popular American culture really thought was important”, Kathryn Waters said. “That’s why he did the Campbell Soup cans or the Marilyn pictures, these iconic products of American culture whether they be in film, video or actually products we consumed. So even back in the sixties, he was very aware of this part of our culture. Which as we all know in 2014, has only increased probably a thousand fold.”

“I think everybody knows Andy Warhol’s name, even non-art people, that’s a name they might know because he was such a personality”, Water said.

Hilary Braysmith, USI associate professor of art history, said, “I think his photography is equally influential as his graphic works, his more famous pictures of Marilyn. In terms of the evolution of photography and experimentation, like painting on them or the celebrity fascination, I think he was really ground-breaking in that regard.”

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The Polaroid format is not what made Warhol famous, however, he is in the company of other well-known photographers who used the camera, such as Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton.

Wilkins said, “[Warhol] liked the way photo booths and the Polaroid’s front flash looked”. She explained how Warhol’s adoption of the Polaroid camera revealed his process. According to Wilkins, Warhol was able to reproduce the Polaroid photograph and create an enlargement of it, which he then could use to commit the image to the silk screen medium by applying paint or manipulating them further. One of the silk screens exhibited at USI this time was the Annie Oakley screen print called “Cowboys and Indians” from 1987.

Wilkins also said Warhol was both an artist and a businessperson. “As a way to commercialize his work, he would make a blue Marilyn and a pink Marilyn and a yellow Marilyn, and then you could pick your favorite color and buy that. It was a very practical salesman approach to his work. He was very prolific but very business minded about that.”

“He wanted to be rich and famous and he made lots of choices to go that way”, Wilkins said.

USI exhibit

Cquote1.svg It’s Warhol. He is a legend. Cquote2.svg

—Kiara Perkins, USI student

Kiara Perkins, a second year USI art major, admitted she was willing to skip class Thursday night to attend the opening exhibit but then circumstances allowed for her to attend the exhibit. Why did she so badly want to attend? “It’s Warhol. He is a legend.”

For Kevin Allton, a USI instructor in English, Warhol was also a legend. He said, “Andy Warhol was the center of the Zeitgeist for the 20th century and everything since. He is a post-modern diety.”

Allton said he had only seen the Silver Clouds installation before in film. The Silver Clouds installation were silver balloons blown up with helium, and those balloons filled one of the smaller rooms in the gallery. “I thought that in real life it was really kind of magical,” Allton said. “I smacked them around.”

Elements of the Zeitgeist were also playfully recreated on USI’s opening night. In her opening remarks for attendees, Waters pointed out those features to attendees, noting the touches of the Warhol Factory, or the studio where he worked, that were present around them. She pointed to the refreshment table with Campbell’s Soup served with “electric” Kool Aid and tables adorned with colorful gumball “pills”. The music in the background was from such bands as The Velvet Underground.

The big hit of the evening, Wikinews observed from the long line, was the Polaroid-room where attendees could wear a Warhol-like wig or don crazy glasses and have their own Polaroid taken. The Polaroids were ready in an instant and immediately displayed at the entry of the exhibit. Exhibit goers then became part of the very exhibit they had wanted to attend. In fact, many people Wikinews observed took out their mobiles as they left for the evening and used their own phone cameras to make one further record of the moment — a photo of a photo. Perhaps they had learned an important lesson from the Warhol exhibit that cultural events like these were ripe for use and reuse. We might even call these exit instant snap shots, the self selfie.


SilverClouds2.jpg

Children enjoy interacting with the “Silver Clouds” at the Andy Warhol exhibit.
Image: Snbehnke.

KatieWaters.jpg

Kathryn Waters opens the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.

Kidinteracting.jpg

At the Andy Warhol exhibit, hosts document all the names of attendees who have a sitting at the Polaroid booth.
Image: Snbehnke.

KristinWilkins.jpg

Curator Kristin Wilkins shares with attendees the story behind his famous Polaroids.
Image: Snbehnke.

PillsFlowers.jpg

A table decoration at the exhibit where the “pills” were represented by bubble gum.
Image: Snbehnke.

Polaroidwarholstyle.jpg

Two women pose to get their picture taken with a Polaroid camera. Their instant pics will be hung on the wall.
Image: Snbehnke.

Kidandsilverclouds.jpg

Even adults enjoyed the “Silver Clouds” installation at the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.

cnter
Many people from the area enjoyed Andy Warhol’s famous works at the exhibit at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.
WarholClouds.jpg

Katie Waters talks with a couple in the Silver Clouds area.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholEntrance.jpg

Many people showed up to the new Andy Warhol exhibit, which opened at USI.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholFood.jpg

At the exhibit there was food and beverages inspired to look like the 1960s.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholPolaroids.jpg

A woman has the giggles while getting her Polaroid taken.
Image: Snbehnke.

WarholPortrait.jpg

A man poses to get his picture taken by a Polaroid camera, with a white wig and a pair of sunglasses.
Image: Snbehnke.

Warhols.jpg

Finished product of the Polaroid camera film of many people wanting to dress up and celebrate Andy Warhol.
Image: Snbehnke.

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