Keith Cooper has served his time. Actually, he served someone else’s time in what appears to be a massive failing of Indiana’s criminal justice system. These things happen. The world, and the people living in it, are unquestionably imperfect after all. Cooper is the man who spent nearly ten years in Indiana prisons for a crime he didn't commit. He was convicted of armed robbery in 1997 and then released in 2006 as a result of a plea deal and is now living in Chicago. He is asking for a pardon of the erroneous conviction to have the felony removed from ...

I was overcome on Saturday with the urge to do some research on a great quote from a great man.  "Knowledge is good." Oh, how difficult it is to argue with the elegant simplicity of that. And who is the inspirational leader who said those words? Why Emil Faber of course! Faber is the fictitious founder of the fictitious school, Faber College, home of Delta Tau Chi fraternity.  Which is otherwise known as "Animal House." Laugh all you want, but "knowledge is good" are words we need badly right now. So this week I have chosen seven random incidents to put on a list ...

Keith Cooper is becoming a household name around here these days.  It's ironic because all he wants from the State of Indiana is to have his name given back to him. Cooper is an African American convicted felon who lives in Chicago. He was released from the Indiana Department of Correction in 2006, after spending nearly ten years in prison, much of it at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. He wants Gov. Mike Pence to issue a pardon for his conviction for an uncommon reason: he is innocent. In 1997, Cooper was convicted in Elkhart County of armed robbery and sentenced to 40 years in prison. ...

Donald Trump will never be president.  And neither will Mike Pence. It has certainly been an interesting week for all of us who are paying close attention to the details of this campaign season. While I was reasonably certain my first statement was true long ago, I am now almost equally certain the second one is as well. On October 4, I had a busy night live blogging for NUVO during the vice presidential debate. With the aggressive approach taken by Sen. Tim Kaine, and the rapid shift from topic to topic by the moderator, it was difficult for a middle aged ...

It was a maddening week on the racial harmony front here in America. And in my quest to find a quick and easy solution to it all, I came across some great reading. My confidence is low that any of you have read what I read, but since a couple of these columns made me feel a little better, I felt it my duty to share. The first piece was by Dr. Laree Kiely in the August 6, 2013 edition of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) newsletter titled “The Art of Disagreement.” An old ASPA newsletter doesn't sound exciting ...

As a younger, less sophisticated man, I was employed as a counselor at the Indiana Boys School. I left that job twenty years ago, but the lessons I learned trying to help my young criminals in that juvenile prison continue to help me in the world of politics today. Go figure. One of the most common “teaching moments” a counselor gets is when the child is faced with conflict. Any kind of conflict will do. The challenges and opportunities created by conflict are invaluable to any young person’s growth. The same rules apply to politicians. And the faster a politician learns from ...

I was introduced to the legacy of the late Warren Bennis this week. The innovative scholar on leadership has written that leaders are people who do the right thing, and managers are people who do things right. Mayors, governors and presidents need to be good at both. And one problem with political campaigns is that voters often don't get to see how candidates will handle their shot at either. Or do they? Politicians get an opportunity to show voters what they are made of more often than some might think. The ground contamination of lead and arsenic in East Chicago is a ...

Sadly, I am old enough to have seen the tone and intensity of patriotism ebb and flow wildly over the years. Of course, nothing causes it to shoot up like national security threats, Olympic Games, and political campaigns using different versions of it to curry favor with voters. Enter 2016, where we have had all three in large doses. There is not necessarily more of these three types of fuel for our fodder, but the exposure to that fuel is off the charts due to the seemingly unlimited access to all of it. Were the Olympics on twenty-four hours a day? It ...

Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana Republican Party just can't seem to quit making the big mistake.  And this time in his surprising promotion to the national ticket, he left his state party and his hand-picked successor a parting gift worse than the proverbial lump of coal. Let me explain. On Tuesday, the Republican state central committee replaced him on the ballot. They replaced him with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who Pence publicly endorsed four days earlier. It took the committee two ballots to follow Pence's recommendation, because they had Congresswoman Susan Brooks as an available option. Most politicos who are engaged in ...

For Seinfeld fans, the episode that George Costanza was dumped by one of his girlfriends using the line “it's not you, it's me," was an instant classic. What was classic about it was that George thought he had invented that insincere, blameless reason for why a relationship just wasn't working out. And now, someone was using it on him. I feel a little like that this week with Governor Mike Pence withdrawing his name from the ballot for reelection. I wanted Indiana voters to send him packing on Election Day, as I have consistently predicted they would. But miraculously, he found ...