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..

The Republican Party As Cult

The Republican Party As Cult

Evidently, McConnell and the Senate GOP are still intent upon taking healthcare away from millions of Americans–despite the overwhelming unpopularity and utter immorality of that effort. If this current vote fails, they’ll fall back on their determined sabotage of the ACA and continue their refusal to work with Democrats to tweak and fix that measure’s flaws. All because their “base” […]

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Democracy Vouchers: Politically Empowering Everyday Citizens

democracy vouchers

The outrage that followed the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United focused national attention on a problem that has long preceded that unfortunate ruling: the influence of money on democratic deliberation. Even if we ignore the armies of lobbyists and the corrupting influence of “big money” campaign donations in Washington and our state capitals, anyone who is at all familiar with the […]

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Just The Facts, Ma’am: Another Fact-Checking Resource

USA FACTS - civic ignorance

Shades of Joe Friday! There really are incredible resources on the Internet. Granted, it can be hard to locate them  in that ever-burgeoning sea of spin, propaganda and conspiracy theories, but they exist. Last week, I blogged about “ProCon,” a site that presents the arguments made by contending sides on so-called “hot button” issues. Today, I want to highlight USA FACTS, […]

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Elevating Ignorance

ignorance versus knowledge

By now, most people have heard about the twitter storm in the aftermath of NPR’s 4th of July tweeting of the Declaration of Independence. A number of Trump supporters responded angrily to the descriptions of King George as a tyrant; unfamiliar with one of this nation’s founding documents, these “patriots” assumed that the tyrant in question was Trump and unleashed their ire […]

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Education Achievement Gaps: Race & Socioeconomic Status

The Brookings Institution recently published a very interesting study about the persistence of an achievement gap between white and minority students in the nation’s classrooms. The research looked at multi-racial student performance–a population that was rarely studied before increasing rates of intermarriage produced enough children to allow for reliable conclusions. The study is explained more fully by the linked article, but here […]

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Becoming The Enemy: Evangelicals No Longer Hold Moral High Ground

evangelical moral high ground lost over support for Donald Trump

A recent article in The Atlantic considered a question that many people have asked in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election: One of the most perplexing features of the 2016 election was the high level of support Donald Trump received from white evangelical Protestants. How did a group that once proudly identified itself as “values voters” come to support a candidate who […]

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Reality Bites: Government Cannot Be Run Like A Business

It’s really a shame that American policymakers are so allergic to evidence, because we have recently had a couple of natural experiments testing the GOP’s most fervent economic ideologies, and we could learn a lot from both of them. Most people who follow the news are aware of Sam Brownback’s effort to make Kansas a shining example of economic growth to be […]

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Me and Thee: Breaking Down Meritocracy Stereotypes


One of most persistent–and pernicious–beliefs about inequality is the conviction that people “deserve” financial success or failure. If you are poor, the logic goes, that probably reflects some poor choices you made along the way, or your unwillingness to work hard, or perhaps a lack of innate capacity. America’s approach to poverty owes a lot to the Fifteenth-century English poor […]

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Pro and Con: A Source For Fact-Based Issue Analysis

Pro or Con - ProCon

As I frequently remind readers of this blog, we live in an age of pervasive propaganda. The number of talk shows, cable “news” sites and websites engaging in spin, disinformation and outright fabrication continues to grow and confound citizens who are increasingly unsure about what to believe. It has become difficult to distinguish between news and satire, let alone news […]

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Trumpcare: Deconstructing The Rhetoric

AHCA Trumpcare

A week or so ago, an Indiana legislator–a Republican– posted a comment to Facebook about the current effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. I know this particular Republican to be thoughtful and well-intentioned; he’s not one of the mean-spirited or rigidly ideological partisans who populate our Statehouse. His “logic,” however, defied reality. He began by saying that […]

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