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Furthermore …

Pence puts his profile on the rise

Gov. Mike Pence returned from a trade mission to Germany last week with promises of about 100 jobs, including a pledge from DOT GmbH, a medical coating technology provider, to establish operations in Columbia City, where the company says it will create up to 20 jobs by 2016 and invest $4.5 million in a 17,520-square-foot facility in the Blue River Industrial Park.

Political observers, however, noted the governor’s trip seemed to have another purpose: raising his foreign policy profile, perhaps in anticipation of a White House bid. Indiana Legislative Insight noted that Indiana media weren’t informed in advance of a speech Pence delivered in Berlin, across the square from the Brandenburg Gate, but Politico’s “Morning Score” had the details in advance, including the text of the governor’s remarks. While he devoted much of the address to boasting of Indiana’s economic strength, Pence sounded a lot like a player on an international stage.

“I believe we must take immediate steps to deploy a robust missile defense in Europe – especially Poland and Czech Republic – to protect the interests of our NATO allies and the United States in the region,” he told guests at a Friends of Indiana gathering. “Stronger economic ties and stronger defenses is the strategic response to Russian aggression.”

Bloomberg News, which also seemed to have advance notice of Pence’s foreign policy remarks, noted the governor’s rising national profile in a story last week. Bloomberg writes he “has spent more than a decade courting the deep-pocketed small-government cadre that has come to dominate Republican politics: The Koch brothers, the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation.”

Pence’s political profile continues to grow beyond Indiana’s borders now that his trade trip is over. He’ll speak at the Alabama Republican Party’s summer dinner in Birmingham on June 20.

Listen with a grain of salt

No wonder a majority of Americans are skeptical about the Big Bang theory.

Even research on salt seems a little shaky.

Sodium, it seems, is either good for you or bad for you.

A researcher from the London School of Medicine and Dentistry has linked less salt use with lower rates of heart disease and stroke in Great Britain.

But, according to the New York Times, “a report commissioned by the Institute of Medicine just last year found that there was no scientific reason for anyone to aim for sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams a day.”

Some say that the need for a 2,300-milligrams-of-sodium maximum, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is not supported by the evidence.

And, the Times reported, “A study published in 2011 found that low-salt diets may increase the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes and do not prevent high blood pressure.”

Pick your poison: salt – or the lack of it.

Compassion and the law

In Evansville, U.S. District Judge Richard Young pondered a situation so absurdly, callously cruel that he made a special ruling to rectify it.

Young granted a Munster couple a temporary restraining order that prevents Indiana from enforcing its ban on gay marriage against them.

The judge took this extraordinary step on behalf of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler because Quasney is terminally ill. But he also noted that the state has presented no good reason why it shouldn’t recognize out-of-state marriages such as theirs.

Quasney and Sandler were married in Massachusetts 13 years ago and have two young daughters. Several couples have filed lawsuits challenging Indiana’s refusal to recognize such marriages, and the state attorney general’s office has leapt to the law’s defense. The fact that Quasney, who has Stage 4 ovarian cancer, may not live to see the outcome of all this legal maneuvering was deemed irrelevant. The state argued that its law “does not allow for hardship exceptions,” according to spokesman Bryan Corbin.

Young disagreed. His order that Indiana recognize Quasney’s and Sandler’s marriage does not apply to anyone else, including the other plaintiffs. But it is likely, the judge wrote, that the ban on recognition of out-of-state marriages will be found in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“The Equal Protection Clause requires states to treat people equally under the law,” he wrote. “If the state wishes to differentiate between people and make them unequal, then it must have at least a legitimate purpose.”

Nonetheless, Corbin told the Associated Press the fight will go on.

Shamed in the court of public decency and given the clearest of signals that its case will ultimately be lost, Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office has chosen to ignore common sense and squander even more of the public’s time and money.

Meanwhile, Judge Young has shown that the law depends upon the heart as well as the head.