Last Thursday was surreal. After several last ditch efforts to convince the Indiana Senate that it should debate and vote on the issue of bias, or hate crimes, I was forced to accept that it isn't going to happen. Not this year. Maybe not ever. Nationally, the number of hate crimes is skyrocketing. Even Vice President Pence made a surprise visit to a historic Jewish cemetery in Missouri to condemn the recent vandalism that had occurred there. Meanwhile, his home state of Indiana is one of only five states left in America that is silent on the issue. But if Pence ...

Every parent feels a little pressure when it comes to raising their kids. Many of us start with a preconceived notion of how our children will turn out so that each deviation from that plan can often seem like a failure. Usually that perspective could not be more wrong, but I know how it works. Fathers of children who misbehave are mortified when a child challenges his authority, especially in front of other dads. Establishing early who the boss is in these relationships is vital mainly for the sanity of the boss in the early years, but also for the child. ...

I live in a household that supported John Gregg for governor last fall. That is except for our soon to be famous dog, Birdie. As far as I know, Birdie and Governor Holcomb never met. But the Holcomb campaign went after the canine demographic with their “Hounds for Holcomb” outreach. I laughed at it at the time. The most comforting news for those supporting John Gregg last year was that no matter the outcome of the election, Indiana was going to have a better governor. And we found out in a big way what that means this week. In one press conference, ...

For the first time here, I am agreeing with Donald Trump. Let that sink in for a moment. A few days ago, our president used a couple of words to describe retail giant Nordstrom that seemed a little awkward. He claimed the chain had treated his daughter Ivanka “unfairly” and that it was “terrible.” And the store had not just behaved in a standard unfairly manner, but “so unfairly,” which is several layers worse of course. Now this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am no expert on department stores. Given my lack of sophistication on matters ...

There are several versions of the famous question from the fairy tale, “Snow White.” “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Whether the line begins with “magic mirror” or “mirror, mirror” or even “magic mirror in my hand,” the most interesting word in the question is the word “fairest.” The Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm classic was originally published in 1812 as part of a collection of folk stories. The word “fair” was contextual in 19th century Germany as a word that means “beautiful,” not pale skinned or of a light complexion. It's a bit confusing given the ...

Through the magic of social media, I got connected to an old friend from my high school days this week. She is a middle school English teacher in Jasper, Indiana and has been living there for nearly thirty years. Jasper is a small town not far from Vincennes, another small town where my friend and I lived during our illustrious high school careers. People from Jasper love their famously German town. My friend wrote in our exchange that she “couldn't see life anyplace else.” That's quite an endorsement of a small town these days, yet familiar sounding to me from others ...

“The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.” This was the most important thing President Trump said on Friday. And it might be the most ambitious as well. That is if he means it literally. The day after the inauguration, women’s marches, rallies and protests went on all over the world. But the ones that went on here are obviously the ones that matter most. These people are President Trump’s new constituents. Few of them voted for him, but that is irrelevant now. Public service is a funny thing. Like it or not, there are those ...

I spent a good part of my youth in a small town in southwest Virginia. And in my neighborhood, many families had dogs, and virtually none of us had fences. So all of the kids grew up with each other's pets. In many ways, the dogs belonged to all of us. It was a sad day when “Bengal” got hit by a car. He technically wasn't my dog, but my yard was part of his chase path whenever someone was driving through. As a grown up, I know that these tragedies happen to dogs who can't stop chasing cars. For a ...

A horrible thing happened in Chicago last week. Many of us saw the video of four young African American people terrorizing a young, white and disabled man. We saw it because these criminals broadcasted it on Facebook Live in real time. They were texting the victim’s family during the assault. It is one of the more disturbing things I have seen. It was a bias crime. What makes it a bias crime is not just that the perpetrators in the incident were of a different race than the victim. It's not just because the victim has a developmental disability. And finally it ...

A new year is upon us. Yawn. Each year, for the last twenty of them at least, has started with the busiest stretch in my work year. Accountants have tax season. Teachers have “back to school.” Lobbyists and legislators have “sessions.” In Indiana, legislative sessions start in January. So here’s to the new year! I am not nostalgic about the new year. I generally sleep through midnight, and if I don't, I'm generally mad about it. However, I do like thinking about making changes. So resolutions fascinate me. I don't make them in conjunction with the calendar, but I love watching others ...