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Thumbs up: Dems making Illinoise

If nothing else, Indiana Democrats are earning their merit badges in stubborn resolve. Tuesday marked the beginning of week two of a statehouse walkout by nearly 40 House Democrats, most of whom (taking a cue from Wisconsin senators, no doubt) are hiding out in Illinois. The boycott began as a last-ditch attempt to stop "Right-to-Work" legislation in its tracks. Absent Democrats say they'll come home once Republicans agree to sit down and negotiate. Some may cry petulance, but we've seen walkouts before – by state Republicans, for example. If you can't beat 'em, head for the 'Ills.

Thumbs up: Winds of change

A recent survey of Indiana voters indicates strong support for wind farm development, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Commissioned by the AWEA and carried out by research firm Public Opinion Strategies, the poll revealed that 77 percent of Hoosiers are in favor of a proposed requirement that 10 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. The support doesn't stop at party lines: Roughly 66 percent of Republicans voiced approval. If and when state legislators get back to business, they'd do well to heed this clue to the consensus.

Thumbs up: The kids are all righter

An Indiana University study found a 14 percent decrease in car crashes involving minors since the state refocused its licensing standards. Restrictions introduced in 2009 limited nighttime driving hours for minors and prohibited the use of tech devices while driving; 2010's update bumped the permit age from 15 to 15.5 years old and extended the probationary stage until driver turn 18. Together, the rules seem to be working to make a taboo of distracted driving, while allowing teens time to develop good habits behind the wheel. It also adds heft for a statewide ban on texting while driving: Grownups, you're next.

Thumbs up: God who?

Indianapolis will join Washington, D.C., and Houston next week in a progressive, multimedia ad campaign, featuring billboards that celebrate secular living. An antidote to the fanatic religious advertising seen along highways outside the city, the Center for Inquiry's signs will state plainly, "You don't need God — to hope, to care, to love, to live." CFI plans to eventually include more cities, appealing to the 15 percent of Americans that reject religious beliefs, according to the latest American Religious Identification Survey. As our state becomes increasingly conservative in representation, it's encouraging to find an approach to improving quality of life that doesn't alienate all you godless liberals.


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