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 ...

“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 ...

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 ...

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 ...