Dealing with the opioid crisis
You only have to look at recent news stories to see the kind of problem we have. A man shoots an Indiana doctor to death for denying his wife opioid pain killers. A pharmacy in Indianapolis aims to combat the opioid epidemic by keeping better control of prescriptions and discouraging drug thieves. A South Whitley family doctor is charged with six felonies related to dealing “substantial sums” of prescription drugs without a medical need.
Those stories tell us a couple of things. One is that Indiana is in the middle of the opioid crisis gripping the country. The other is that at least part of the epidemic can be traced to people hooked on prescription opioid pain killers then switching to lower-cost, more-available illegal opioids like heroin.
Ready for Pence, Trump haters?
It has become pretty obvious that the harshest, most strident never-Trumpers — the ones who want the president out of office as soon as possible, no matter what it takes — are not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed.
If they fail — as they surely will — they will have wasted precious time and effort they could have applied to their own agenda or to shoring up their pathetic bench for the next round of elections.
If by some miracle they succeed, they will have brought upon themselves a calamity of epic proportions: President Mike Pence.
Talk about lose, lose.
Almost everybody these days wants to play the “What kind of president would Mike Pence make?” game.
Beware of social media outrage
Remember the great social media outrage ginned up against Indiana in 2015 when the state passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act? That action was supposedly going to make Indiana the discrimination capital of the Midwest, and no self-respecting LGBT supporter would set foot in the state. The tourism industry would be devastated.
And truthfully, there is evidence the city of Indianapolis did take a hit. “Since April 2015,” Forbes reported in January 2016, “ Indianapolis has lost more than $60 million in future convention business as a result of the RFRA controversy.” But the rest of the state? Not so much. Visitors pumped $11.5 billion into the state's economy in 2015, up more than $900 million compared to 2014.
Can we be cool about jobs?
Question of the day: Can Indiana ever truly be cool, or even semi-cool? Is that really the answer to our population problem?
Before we dispatch that notion with the firmness it deserves, let's at least agree on the problem.
Indiana has a predicted growth rate of only 12.5 percent between 2010 and 2030, compared with the national predicted average growth rate for that same period of 30 percent. Over the next five years 1 million jobs will open up in Indiana. Only 300,000 of those will be due to economic growth, with 700,000 attributed to retirement. So when the older generation retires, there likely won't be enough millennials to fill the vacancies in the workforce.
A big Fourth Amendment deal
In 2015 Marcus Zanders, an Ohio man, was convicted of robbing two southeastern Indiana liquor stores. Part of the evidence against him was location data showing where he had been recently — gotten by the sheriff's office from his cell phone company without a search warrant.
Zanders' attorneys want the Supreme Court to take his case, along with that of another robber who committed his crimes in Michigan that the court has already agreed to hear. The question is whether authorities are violating a defendant's rights to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure if they get such location data without getting a search warrant.
It's an important Fourth Amendment question with implications for all of us.