Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI’s Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

A Lesson On Know-Nothingness

GOP is the new Know Nothing Party thanks to the Tea party

Paul Krugman recently delivered a lesson on “Know Nothingness”–both as historical reference and descriptive term: If you’re a student of history, you might be comparing that person to a member of the Know Nothing party of the 1850s, a bigoted, xenophobic, anti-immigrant group that at its peak included more than a hundred members of Congress and eight governors. More likely, however, you’re suggesting […]

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Study: Trump Supporters Share Fake News More Than Anyone Else

After each new Trump travesty, my friends and family have taken to asking each other the same question: “Who the hell could still support this buffoon? How stupid would someone have to be to drink this particular Kool-aid?” A recent study conducted by Oxford University apparently answers that (not-so-rhetorical) question. Low-quality, extremist, sensationalist and conspiratorial news published in the US was overwhelmingly consumed […]

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Polluting The Judiciary

judicial appointments for federal courts

Assuming a sufficient turnout of Democrats, Independents and Republicans horrified by Trump, much of the daily damage being inflicted by this administration can be rectified. But some very real damage cannot be undone, and the evisceration of the role played by the federal courts in checking unconstitutional behavior by government is one of the most consequential. We’ll be stuck for […]

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Pendleton Act: Too Many Assaults, Too Little Time

It isn’t possible to keep up with this administration’s assaults on American government (not to mention decency, healthcare, the poor…). A regular reader sent me a link to an article that highlighted an overlooked passage from Trump’s State of the Union speech. Standing in front of a divided Congress, with possible obstruction charges looming over him and facing governance struggles […]

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White House Incompetence: About That “Reign of Error”

Trump spoke of the Civil War and Andrew Jackson

I never thought I’d be grateful for incompetence, but that was before Trump. Paul Krugman recently addressed the “qualifications” of several of Trump’s appointees, under the headline “The Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight.” A few days after President Trump was inaugurated, Benjamin Wittes, editor of the influential Lawfare blog, came up with a pithy summary of the new administration: “malevolence […]

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Despair, Rage, Anxiety: The Collapse of Normative Democracy

I think I’m getting emotional whiplash. When I read an inspiring “call to arms” from someone like Rev. William Barber (yesterday’s post), I feel hopeful. Then I stumble across an article like this one from a publication called Eudaimonia & Co., titled “Why We’re Underestimating America’s Collapse.” When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social […]

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Dr. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign

Dr. William Barber

Dr. William Barber is the impressive and impassioned clergyman who began the “Moral Monday” movement in North Carolina–a movement that has since spread to other states. I regretted missing his speech when he came to Indiana recently, and was interested to see this article about the lessons of Martin Luther King day in The Nation. After quoting King’s admonition that we either […]

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