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Associated Press
Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, left, lost his leadership position after Senate President Pro Tem David Long took a dim view of his rants about House Joint Resolution 3 on Twitter and at a news conference.

Furthermore …

Slapdown leaves Carmelís Delph without words

Worst week in Indiana honors undoubtedly go to Sen. Mike Delph, the Carmel Republican whose tantrum over the same-sex marriage resolution earned him the legislative equivalent of a time-out.

Delph’s troubles probably started a week earlier, when he took to Twitter to complain about House Joint Resolution 3. After the Indiana House passed the proposed constitutional amendment without the conflicted second-sentence language, several Senate members attempted to amend it back into the resolution to keep the measure on track for a statewide referendum in November.

Delph tweeted criticism of “milktoast” (sic) Senate leadership: “Many conservatives are tired of liberal to moderate GOP leadership.” He even lashed out at religious leaders and churches in his very conservative district for being too complacent on the same-sex marriage issue. In all, he posted hundreds of messages, engaging in conversation with social media followers who supported his position and who condemned it.

Delph followed up a weekend of Twitter debate with a Monday morning news conference, pledging to fight to restore the original language in HJR 3. That didn’t happen, of course, and Delph’s losing streak continued with severe punishment from Senate President Pro Tem David Long. The Fort Wayne Republican stripped Delph of his leadership position of assistant majority floor leader, yanked his title as ranking member of the chamber’s Judicial Committee, took away his press secretary and banished him to a back-chamber seat on the Democratic side of the aisle.

By Friday, Delph’s Twitter account had fallen unusually silent.

Chastened FCC revisits study

Law requires the Federal Communications Commission to conduct research studies. The most recent study was going to look at what barriers are keeping small business out of the news business.

Alas, the study asked questions like “What’s the news philosophy of the station?” and “Who decides which stories are covered?”

Remember, this is the FCC. It licenses broadcasters. No print product – like, say, newspapers – would be directly affected. Even so, Republicans in Congress got upset, saying the FCC’s effort sounded too much like intimidation because of its power over broadcasters. Theirs is not an unreasonable concern.

The FCC is walking back its study. The agency “has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters,” the FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, said in a letter to senior House Republicans. He insists that his commission is revising the study to address GOP concerns.

Republicans are also worried that the FCC is trying in a backhand way to reinstate the so-called Fairness Doctrine, an odious requirement that broadcasters present opposing views of news stories and commentaries they aired. Ronald Reagan ended the doctrine in 1987.

Liberals tended to like the doctrine. Many station owners are conservative, and the most successful shows since the end of the Fairness Doctrine have been right-wing gab fests. Needless to say, conservatives hate the doctrine and are on the lookout for any attempt at reinstating it.

In any event, they are right to raise concerns about the FCC. If the FCC is really concerned about getting small businesses into broadcasting, there are other ways.

ICE proposal has meltdown

What exactly were they thinking?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement was seeking proposals from companies for compiling a national database of license plates.

Supposedly, the idea was to find and arrest illegal immigrants. The data would have been drawn from commercial and law enforcement license plate readers that scan the tags of every vehicle crossing their paths, officials told the Washington Post.

The head of Homeland Security, the Cabinet-level department in which ICE falls, canceled the plan after privacy complaints were raised.

And a spokeswoman for ICE said the solicitation was “posted without the awareness of ICE leadership.”

Oh, really? That does not make us feel any better.

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