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 ...

Former Indiana Governor and current President of Purdue University Mitch Daniels wrote a fantastic letter that was published in the Indianapolis Star this week. It was strategically penned just before Tuesday’s election and it was addressed to the two major party candidates for governor here in the Hoosier state. http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/2016/11/11/mitch-daniels-advice-new-governor/93592972/ The letter took the tone of fatherly advice, with a welcome and much needed absence of partisanship at an obviously crucial time. The topic: the keys to effective government management. I am a graduate of Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. I spent my first thirteen years after college working ...

One of my favorite political movies is "Charlie Wilson's War." It's a story based on actual events surrounding "Operation Cyclone," a covert war funded by the U.S. Congress to combat and eventually defeat the Soviet Union during their invasion of Afghanistan. Rep. Charlie Wilson, R-Texas, takes time out of his busy schedule of boozing and philandering to do something historically important, a feat unexpected of a congressman with so little potential. This defeat of the Soviets is credited by many as instrumental to the Soviet government's ultimate demise. At the end of the movie, while celebrating a milestone in the conflict, the ...

Rock and roll will see us through this rough patch we have had. It's the kind of purpose music serves after all: to calm, to comfort, and to inspire those who need it. My wife and I got to see one of our favorite performers a couple of weeks ago.  Amos Lee treated the people at the Murat Theater to a typical show featuring his distinctive vocals and his trademark subject matter of relationships.  He sings about relationships to people and places. He sings about symbolic and otherwise insignificant objects from time to time and then rips into rockers about his ...

I think I am gonna change things up around here after this brutal campaign season. These last few months, it seems I have spent too much time sitting at my kitchen counter reading and writing, then writing and reading some more.  Actually, I plan to keep doing that.  But I am planning on much of the tabloid style content that has been overwhelming my readers to fizzle out in the days and week's that follow November 8. That way, I can restake my claim as the edgy smart aleck who isn't afraid to write about the tough topics.  "Tough" means difficult in ...