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 www.sheilakennedy.net. 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..

Fight Back: Trump’s Attack on the Environment

Much of the damage being done by the Trump Administration can be contained (thanks to the Administration’s rather awe-inspiring incompetence), or eventually repaired (when the GOP’s radical fever breaks). People will have been unnecessarily hurt in the meantime, true, but most of the harms can (and probably will) be addressed when (we can hope) cooler heads prevail. There are only […]

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Maybe No One In The White House Can Read?

read a book

News organizations, pundits and bloggers all continue to express their amazement at the number of bald-faced lies uttered by the current occupant of the Oval Office. And it is certainly baffling; after all, virtually all of these falsehoods are easily disproved. Why would someone who presumably wants to be taken seriously provide political opponents and the general public with constant […]

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Damaged Nation: Why Knowledge Actually Matters

ignorance versus knowledge

I’m constantly amazed by the number of Americans who look askance at candidates for public office if they have government experience and/or training– the voters who express their preference for electing “outsiders” who will not be “disadvantaged” by actually knowing how government works. I’m pretty sure those same voters wouldn’t choose a doctor who had never been to medical school, […]

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Interesting Parallels: Whigs, Know Nothings & Republicans

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

History doesn’t really repeat itself, at least in the sense of “re-enactment,” but there are historical cycles with striking resemblances. We really can learn from history–if we are open to pondering its lessons. Because I think the past can illuminate the present, I found this article by a Brookings Institution scholar fascinating. Philip Wallach looked at various pieces of evidence […]

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Trump: A New Embarrassment Every Day

Donald Trump

Donald Trump may not be making America “great” again–unless your version of “great” is white, Christian, intolerant and angry–but he is certainly making the U.S. government the focus of attention, both at home and abroad. Each day, the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful nation does something to embarrass sentient Americans and appall foreign observers. Sometimes, it is a prominent […]

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The Gorsuch Nomination

Neil Gorsuch

As I have previously written, the most damning argument against Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation has nothing to do with his bona fides, which are impressive. It is the inescapable fact that his elevation to the Supreme Court will be illegitimate–the result of a very dangerous and cynical misuse of political power. The Republicans’ refusal to afford Merrick Garland a hearing has been widely […]

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Infrastructure: Getting From Here to There and Back

public transit

The age of driverless cars and trucks is rapidly approaching. Literally millions of Americans make their livings driving vehicles–trucks, Ubers, taxis, school buses…the list is long, and the consequences of those massive job losses will be severe and unprecedented. I have no policy prescriptions to offer that might mitigate that job loss disaster. But I do have a response to […]

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Dirty Harry, Mitch McConnell and the Rule of Law

Merrick, McConnell and Gorsuch

A former student recently asked for my opinion on Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the current Supreme Court vacancy. As I told him, my concerns about Gorsuch pale in comparison to my deep disquiet over the Senate’s refusal to “advise and consent” with respect to President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. Let me be very clear: Had Mitch McConnell and […]

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Godwin’s Law: Crying Wolf When There’s a Wolf

Trump, Hitler, Nazi Germany, and Godwin's Law

Godwin’s law is an Internet “meme” that recognizes a recurring phenomenon of online argumentation: as discussions get lengthier and more passionate,  a debater will eventually compare someone or something to Hitler. Godwin’s Law provides that when such a comparison is made, the guilty person has effectively forfeited the argument. Godwin’s Law is recognition that name-calling is not productive debate. An accusation […]

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The GOP Budget: This Isn’t Who We Are – Is It?

The GOP Budget: This Isn’t Who We Are – Is It?

I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but America is in the midst of an identity crisis, and the identity that emerges will shape the future our children and grandchildren inhabit. Are we the people who inscribed “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” on the Statue of Liberty? Or are we self-absorbed climbers seeking […]

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