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Associated Press

Furthermore …

Telling silence

Gov. Mitch Daniels is passionate and opinionated about a number of issues, so when he mentions a hot-button issue but declines to take a stand, that in itself makes news.

On Wednesday, Daniels repeated what a number of economic development advocates have already stated: Some Hoosier companies are concerned that if the state approves a gay marriage amendment to its constitution, the businesses will have more difficulty recruiting people. And they’ve said as much to Daniels.

“They wouldn’t want their ability to offer benefits and that sort of thing limited,” Daniels said. “They think it’s fair. They think it’s important at least in the case of some of their employees.”

What particularly concerns those employers is the second sentence of the proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay couples from having “a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.” Some businesspeople are concerned that language would prohibit them from offering domestic partner benefits, reducing the applicant pool for high-skilled jobs.

Yet Daniels declined to say whether he was for or against such an amendment.

Slippery-slope argument

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline may face another roadblock with a lawsuit filed by a retired paramedic and chemist from East Texas.

The pipeline has slowly moved forward despite serious safety concerns and numerous objections from environmentalists and property owners living near its proposed path. The pipeline would carry Canadian tar sands oil across the U.S. and passes over a crucial aquifer.

The concern is the chemicals needed to move the thick tar sands through the pipeline would cause significant damage if the pipeline breaks.

A similar pipeline leaked into the Kalamazoo River at Marshall, Mich., in 2010. The cleanup cost more than $800 million.

Michael Bishop, 64 (left), claims TransCanada lied to property owners by telling them the pipeline would transport crude oil, not tar sands oil. Last week a Texas judge signed a temporary restraining order and injunction to halt work on the pipeline but days later rescinded the order until a Dec. 19 trial.

Representatives for TransCanada argue that the courts have already ruled that tar sands oil is a form of crude oil.

But that argument could create another problem for the pipeline. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out in a Thursday editorial, the IRS exempts tar sands oil from an 8-cents-a-barrel tax charged on crude oil. It’s reasonable to questions whether TransCanada should be able to claim the tax exemption at the same time it is arguing the pipeline will transport crude oil.

Bitter in defeat

Three days after Election Day, unsuccessful senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock sent out a message thanking supporters, expressing his respect for the electoral process and asking for money to pay down his campaign debts.

Mourdock’s camp sent out another plea for money this week – with much less class than the earlier one.

This one blames his debt on the “liberal media” and lists his opponent as Nevada Sen. Harry Reid – not the victorious Joe Donnelly. Nor does it express anything good about the voting process.

“After a bitter, hard fought campaign, many Republicans all over the country were forced to accept defeat rather than celebrate victory,” wrote Ashlee Walls, Mourdock’s finance director. “In our case, we found our campaign caught in the liberal media cross hairs. Never has Indiana seen a more obvious example of media bias by reporters more interested in defeating conservatives than reporting the news.

“We fought back and invested heavily in a last minute push to combat the slew of false accusations Democrats and the liberal media churned up to distract voters. Unfortunately, scrapping hard for every last vote to defeat Harry Reid left us with a few last minute bills to pay.”

How “few” those bills are won’t be known in detail until after campaign fiance reports are filed early next year.

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