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 ...

My wife and I are empty nesters. Of all the things I have ever been, this might be the one I love the most.  I highly recommend it. For the first time, I celebrated the holiday season in one of my favorite places, though it's not a place many midwesterners see as synonymous with Christmas. We went on a trip to Marco Island, a quiet little place south of Naples, Florida. My family has been there several times for Thanksgiving, all when my two boys were younger. On this trip, both of my boys came down for a few days as our ...

From the recently wounded Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the storied grounds of Donald Ross’ golf architectural masterpiece at Pinehurst, North Carolina is undoubtedly a special place. And the people, oh the people. From the sister I love who made it her home, to my niece who proudly attends the sinister University of North Carolina, I know there are good people there. The great James Taylor wrote “Carolina In My Mind” and still calls Chapel Hill home, so who am I to judge? Well that's what I do here. Carolina has me worried. I worry for those from there, but also for ...

While having lunch with my wife this weekend I said to her, “I have had a terrible week. It seems like someone has disappointed me every day of it.” She says to me, “sometimes you need to lower your expectations.” She is so right. Although, I think I will substitute the word “lower” in her advice with “change.” I am very excited about a new book by one of my favorite authors whose work I have never read. Huh? Michael Lewis has just released “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds.” It is a story about two psychologists who started their ...

The Latin phrase literally means “something for something.” The phrase is used broadly these days, but has dramatically different connotations almost every time. In politics, it is usually used with a negative tone, but in business contracts, it is a simple defining characteristic of a negotiated transaction. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a common area where the term is used—which more aptly describes an exchange made under obvious duress. I have found over the years when some deal that has been struck gets labeled a “quid pro quo,” it usually means some party to the deal got the short end ...

I got to visit an old friend this holiday weekend who is recovering from surgery.  He is an energetic guy with a long rehabilitation in front of him.  It is his energy that probably makes him feel caged right now, but at the same time, it is that energy that will ultimately lead him back to the freedom he currently misses. But even after his doctors say he is as good as new, he will still be an incurable and loyal Republican. During our visit, he asked me a good question. He pried, "what do you think it is that caused the ...

There aren't many things that are as difficult as winnng the election for President of the United States.  One of those things is quite predictable though.  And that is actually being the President of the United States. Campaigning for office is a brutal endeavor these days.  It's hard to feel good about our nominees at the top of the ticket when the voting decision is reduced to a mere comparison of their most offensive sins and doomsday scenarios.  The campaign noise is blocking the electorate from learning the real men and women running anymore. To the victors of our modern style of ...