Tag Archives: Indiana

Gay Marriage Ban Off The Ballot This Year. Or Is It?

My interview w/Chris Plante of the National Organization for Marriage:


UPDATE #2 (2/21/2014)

If Chris Plante from NOM spoke to “state lawmakers”, my guess is that he did not speak to House Speaker Brian Bosma.  The Speaker said yesterday that there is no way to get any part of HJR-3 on the 2014 ballot.  The story from my colleague, Eric Berman:

House Speaker Brian Bosma is throwing cold water on a conservative group’s bid to force a gay-marriage amendment onto this year’s ballot.

The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage is floating the possibility of a lawsuit arguing that the first sentence of the amendment has passed the required two legislatures, even though the version which passed the House and Senate in 2011 included a second sentence banning civil unions.

Bosma confirms he met briefly with the group this week, but says the notion of a lawsuit didn’t even come up. He joins Senate President Pro Tem David Long in saying he considers the law clear that amendments must pass two separate legislatures in the same form. That would mean a referendum can’t occur until 2016.

And Bosma notes opponents who successfully deleted the civil-union clause also added a preamble explicitly declaring the amendment had to pass the General Assembly a second time to go to the voters.

Long has said he expects the Senate to hold hearings on the amendment next year. Bosma’s not discussing what the House will do — he says he’s focused on the three weeks remaining in this year’s session.


My colleague, Eric Berman, spoke to Megan Robertson, campaign manager for Freedom Indiana, the coalition fighting HJR-3.  She basically said NOM had no clue.  Here is my WIBC story:

The coalition opposed to the proposed gay marriage ban in Indiana doesn’t buy another group’s claim that it’s possible to get the constitutional amendment on this November’s ballot.

The regional director for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) says it is “exploring all it’s options” in trying to get the amendment known as HJR-3 before voters this year. Under state law, the amendment has to be passed in another legislative session because a sentence that would ban same-sex civil unions was removed from the resolution that passed in 2011. “They talked a lot about how this shouldn’t be in the hands of activist judges and how this should be decided by the people, and frankly it was decided by the people,” said Megan Robertson with Freedom Indiana. “The legislature voted, they decided there were some changes that needed to be made in the language and that it wouldn’t go to the ballot this year.”

Chris Plante with NOM claims there is precedent for the legislature holding referendums on constitutional amendments if the first part – the main idea – of those referendums are passed twice. Robertson isn’t swayed. “They’ve said they’ve talked to the Speaker – I can’t verify that, but my guess is that they haven’t talked to (Senate President Pro Tem David) Long, who has said several times this can’t go to the ballot.”

As of now, the earliest HJR-3 could appear on the ballot is 2016.


The above photo was taken from NOM’s Facebook page, and their regional director, Chris Plante, believes a vote can still happen in 2014.  That’s despite what pretty much everyone else at the Indiana Statehouse believes to be true, that 2016 is the earliest a referendum can take place.  My WIBC story on the matter:

One of the outside groups who pressed the General Assembly to approve a ban on gay marriage will try to find a way to get the proposed constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot, even though that isn’t supposed to be possible.

“The Legislature has affirmed marriage as the union one man and one woman, both in statute and in passing the first sentence of HJR-3 two successive legislative sessions.  We believe that language should go to the ballot this year,” said Chris Plante, regional director for the National Organization for Marriage, based in Washington.

State law says that proposed amendments to the Constitution have to be approved twice with no change in language in order to go before voters.  The marriage amendment approved by the General Assembly this year did not include a sentence that also banned same-sex civil unions, unlike the version passed in 2011.  But Plante says he believes there is a precedent in Indiana “where a proposed amendment was passed by one session and then amended in a second session, yet the first clause of that amendment was put on the ballot that year.”  Plante could not specify when that had taken place in the past.

Plante’s claim runs counter to that from other groups who supported HJR-3 and opposed removing the amendment’s civil unions ban.  “Hoosier voters will not be able to vote to protect marriage this November.  This is indeed a disappointing setback,” read a statement from the Indiana Family Institute after HJR-3 in its new form was approved by the State Senate this week.  Also, the first section of the amendment says that is has been “referred to the next General Assembly for reconsideration and agreement.”

Plante joined others, among them Republican Senator Mike Delph, in denouncing GOP legislative leaders for their handling of the marriage amendment this session.  “The choice of the House leadership and Senate leadership to allow HJR-3 to be amended and therefore potentially delay the question going before the people is a betrayal and a broken promise,” Plante said.  When asked if he worried that some would see his as an outside group trying to influence Indiana events, Plante said he was standing up for what most people in the state believe.  “80-percent of the voters in Indiana think that it should be on the ballot.  60-percent say they would approve an amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman.”  Plante is referring to a poll commissioned by House Republicans last month.  A previous survey from Ball State University showed that 60-percent of respondents opposed the amendment, with 48-percent saying they favored the legalization of same-sex marriage.

No lawsuits have been filed as of yet.  Plante says he has spoken with some state lawmakers about pursuing this year’s ballot and says they are “considering all their options” as of now.


“Honest To Goodness Indiana?” Young people don’t think so


Listen: My WIBC report on my visit to a UIndy marketing class to get their take on the new state tourism slogan

Dear Indiana Office of Tourism Development,

Don’t misunderstand.  I am not trying to play dog-pile on the wabbit.  However, you can’t ignore the criticism of the “Honest To Goodness Indiana” slogan you chose.  I had a hypothesis; that you didn’t talk to very many young people as part of your research (Tongue in cheek addendum: Statehouse interns don’t count.  They like politics – virtually every other young person does not, therefore the interns are outside the norm).

So, at a cost of $0 as opposed to $100,000 that you spent on the research to come up with your slogan, I thought I’d spend time with some college students to see what they could come up in 30-45 minutes, as opposed to the several months it took to generate “Honest To Goodness.”

I owe everything in this report to the Consumer Behavior class of Dr. Deirdre Pettinga, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Indianapolis.  She allowed me to take up the entirety of one of her classes to put this piece together.  The students were outstanding, as you will hear, and please do not be offended by their repeated “old people” references.  Besides, that was one of the biggest criticisms I heard from many people just after the slogan was released.

To be sure, any slogan you chose would be criticized by someone, somewhere, and only time will tell whether your slogan decision will reap long term benefits.

One thing I did learn.  If you wish to have young people get your news, the way to do that is NOT to scheduled a big honkin’ press event or send out press releases to traditional media.  Not a single student in a marketing class at one of the area’s prominent universities could tell me what the new slogan was.  This was TWO DAYS after you announced it.  Young people don’t watch TV news, listen to radio news or read newspapers.  Frankly, about 90-percent of the time, neither do I – and I am 42 years old and working in the dang industry.

Mike Hicks, Ball State economist – Why is Indiana creating so many jobs?

LISTEN: Dr. Mike Hicks from the Center For Business & Economic Research at Ball St., on the falling unemployment rate:

My time is not spent exclusively with people for whom I mark out, i.e. pro wrestlers, entertainers, composers of “Convoy”, etc.  My regular job is as a news reporter and host of the Saturday morning interview show “Weekend Indiana” on Indy radio station WIBC-FM.  That means I have the privilege of talking to a lot of people about a plethora of subjects, a few of which will be sampled today.

Dr. Hicks, for the longest time, was considered a virtual Dr. No among some in our business.  Example: “The unemployment rate is down, but Ball State economist Mike Hicks says the economy is still stankier than a chicken house”, would be a typical lead sentence for a news story.  That’s an exaggeration, as Hicks simply does a fantastic job of delving into the minutiae of a jobs or any other economic report.  Yes, in case you didn’t know, an unemployment rate means almost nothing in the grand scheme of things, regardless of what politicians tell you.

In two years of talking to him, I don’t recall Hicks ever being so upbeat about a jobs report, though according to the initial numbers, he had good reason to be so.  If the numbers hold up, Indiana will have created 12.5% of all new jobs created in the entire country for the month of November.

Dave Koz used to cook with Emeril’s band. Now, he’s cookin’ some Christmas tunes at the Palladium

LISTEN: Dave Koz talks about his holiday show at the Palladium in Carmel:

I tried to find footage of Dave playing with Doc Gibbs and the Emeril Live band.  Couldn’t find any.  That’s too bad, because that show was bad booty daddy.

Dave plays sax, so he automatically qualifies for the cool wall.  Dave and his friends are playing the Palladium in Carmel Friday night at 7:30pm.

Colt Cabana; Thankssss. Hope I didn’t spoil your groceries

My conversation with professional wrestler Colt Cabana:

When he called, Colt told me he was getting some grocery shopping done. After I yapped my head off like a fan boy, he said something about putting his groceries away. I have this vision of melting ice cream bars. Sorry about that, Colt.

I didn’t know who Colt Cabana was until the week of June 2011. That’s when he played a role in my return to loving pro wrestling the way I loved it as a kid. And an adolescent. And as a college student using my Mom’s money to buy pay-per-views. And as a young adult who worked for a radio group in Huntsville, Alabama that also owned a low-power TV station which ran ECW on Saturday nights.

Long story short, CM Punk did this…

Credit to a guy who gets a lot of undeserved internet crap: John Cena executed perhaps the longest sell of a spear through a table in WWE history.

I had never seen Punk wrestle before then. The most I had seen of Punk was his guest shot on Ghost Hunters. Since then, I have not missed any WWE programming on TV. But I also wanted to learn everything I could about CM Punk, because he was so dad gum fun to watch. What I discovered was this wonderful world that I had missed out on for the previous decade – the independent wrestling shows and promotions like Ring Of Honor where gentlemen like Punk, Bryan Danielson, Tyler Black and Claudio Castagnoli proved that they deserved a shot at the big time world of the WWE. So did a guy named Colt Cabana.

Some of those wrestlers got their shot. Punk and Bryan (now Daniel Bryan) are two of the biggest stars in the company. Seth Rollins – the former T. Black – just completed his first year in WWE as part of The Shield, the wonderful team that started the revival of tag team wrestling in the company. Claudio, as Antonio Cesaro, has some of the best looking moves in pro wrestling, and WWE fans have started to dig his version of one of the oldest of old-school moves – the giant swing.

And Colt Cabana, in his words, had “a thimble-full of coffee with WWE.” Which is bullcrap, but the times may be a changin’ on that front – please listen to the podcast for an explanation.

Colt is an inspiration to anyone, in any business field, who may have lost their “dream job.” It surely hasn’t been easy, but Colt not only learned his trade – pro wrestling, he learned how to communicate with his fans. Colt learned how to podcast, from recording to producing, mixing and publishing. The Art of Wrestling became my education into this beautiful pro wrestling underbelly (not to mention insight into some of my old favorites like William Regal, George South and Tommy Dreamer – wait, Tommy’s not old. Crap. Thank you sir, may I have another?)

Colt also built a business based on what he knows best – himself. He learned how to market that business, and he has gotten to see the world and make a lot of people happy despite not being with “the revolutionary force in sports entertainment.” Colt Cabana, who admits to never reading, is a best-selling self-help book waiting to happen. And Matt Classic could whip Tony Robbins’ butt.

Colt is also a dang good wrestler and is funny.

Colt and his partner in the video, comedian Marty DeRosa, will join Colt’s good friend (and one of his best wrestling rivals) Kevin Steen at the The Heorot in Muncie on Sunday night, December 29. It’s a comedy show – the three basically make fun of old wrestling matches, and (say it like Mean Gene) did you know, Colt has done this show around the world?

I will see him in Muncie, and I hope you will, too.

Bobby “Slick” Leonard: Boom Baby, and Dear HOF, are you serious?

My chat with Bobby “Slick” Leonard on his life, and his new book Boom Baby:

The first time I spoke to Indiana Pacers play-by-play man Mark Boyle was last year when we discussed Reggie Miller’s and Mel Daniels election to the Basketball Hall Of Fame last year.  When I asked Mark who else from the Pacers deserved entry into the Hall, Mark gave me a five minute dissertation – I suspect he would’ve gone 50 if we had the time – on his broadcast partner, Bobby Leonard.

Having moved to Indy recently at the time of that interview, I knew more about Leonard Part 6 than Bobby Leonard.  After further review, Mr. Boyle is right – it is a (sports cliche warning!) crime that Bobby Leonard is not in the Naismath,

Mr. Leonard professes to not care, and I believe him.  But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t.  Since the Hall’s voting process is about as closed as (insert euphemism for tightness), we can only assume the worst – that there continues to be pervasive anti-ABA sentiment on the part of the mystery voters.   Why else would a man who won three ABA titles and took two other teams to the finals not be in the Hall?

“The ABA wasn’t as good as the NBA.”  Sure it wasn’t.  Though smaller, the quality of basketball may have been better top-to-bottom than the NBA during the ABA’s later years.

Also, Naismath Hall induction is supposed to incorporate it’s members’ entire basketball lives.  Leonard may have only been good and not great as an NBA player, averaging 10 points a game over seven seasons, but he won a national title at IU, was a third-team All-American as a junior and a second-team AA’er as a senior.  I won’t bother going through the list of HOF’ers with chintzier resumes.

Mr. Leonard is a delight, and if nothing else, we dredge up the old word that used to be used when you were pursuing your mate – courtship.  Going courtin’ probably means something completely different now.   Oh, something else we dredge up…this…Heller jingle, baby!  You’re welcome Buster Bodine and Cris Conner.

Sir James Galway; playing the Palladium in Carmel

Listen to Ray talk to Sir James Galway:

I have a confession. I am an alto sax player, and when I was in high school band, I made fun of flute players. Quite often, too. Karma being what it is – I heard a rumor that it rhymes with snitch – I got to talk to perhaps the best flute player of all time. I was not man enough to tell him I made fun of flute players back in the day, so if Sir James reads this, you may set my penance at your leisure.

If it seems as if Sir James (and it is Sir James, not Sir Galway – he corrected me, but was gracious about it!) has been playing forever, in a way, he has. Galway turns 74 next month and has played with a little of everyone, not to mention every style of music. He says classical is his favorite, though, and that is what he will play with the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the Palladium in Carmel Wednesday night, November 6.

Fun parts of this interview – Sir James talks about his appearances on Sesame Street – confession number two; that was the first place I ever saw Sir James perform. He also talks about playing duets with his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, for much of the past three decades. “We live together, we eat together, we sleep together. How about that? A married couple sleeping together. Never heard of that before. Must be from Chicago.” Lady Galway (and it is Lady Galway; ladies get to use their last names, and Sir James corrected me on that, too) will play with her husband at the Palladium.

The best answer was near the end of our conversation when I asked him to describe the Irish Chamber Orchestra. “It’s a very good chamber orchestra, and it’s from out of Ireland.” Is any further description necessary? When Sir James Galway is on stage, you don’t.