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Civic Blog

  • What a divided America actually hears when Obama speaks

    By Greg Jaffe via The Washington Post on February 18, 2016
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    As President Obama spoke of the country’s deepening sense of alienation and anger last month, a teacher in Michigan listened, her eyes fixed on the stone-faced Republicans in the House chamber who in her view represented the problem. “Let’s get over the party lines and work together!” she tweeted during the president’s State of the Union address. In Maryland, a […]
  • TV Debates Don’t Help Political Dialogue

    By Jeffery M. McCall on February 12, 2016
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    Seven Republican and four Democrat presidential primary “debates” were held in advance of the Iowa caucuses, and the clear winner is … big television’s bank account. Nothing happened on the debate stages that changed the nation’s political trajectory. The sponsoring television channels, however, had the opportunity to promote their news personalities, boost ratings with political spectacles and haul in big […]
  • Allow Me To Repeat Myself

    By Sheila Kennedy on February 5, 2016
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    File this one under “here we go again.” Common Cause, the Brennan Center and other nonpartisan organizations are warning about the dangers of an effort to call a Constitutional Convention, purportedly to consider a “balanced budget amendment” to the U.S. Constitution. A balanced budget amendment is a truly bad idea but a Constitutional Convention is an even worse idea, as constitutional interpreters as different as Harvard’s […]
  • The Myth

    By John Guy on January 29, 2016
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    A few years ago, during The State of The State Address, Governor Daniels looked to the gallery, then introduced the best teacher he ever had, his “favorite teacher.” This fine person was there to represent all teachers, or, perhaps implicitly, to compliment an excellent, effective teacher.  Unfortunately, maybe she isn’t. This reminded me of David, my high school algebra, geometry […]
  • Secret Government

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 22, 2016
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    A few weeks ago, the Boston Globe ran an article that should be required reading for all of the activists–left and right–proposing deceptively simple”fixes” for what ails government. The article began by noting candidate Obama’s promises to reign in the NSA, close Guantanamo, and roll back portions of the Patriot Act. But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security […]
  • We’re the Threat We’ve Been Waiting For

    “There are no existential threats facing” the United States.” – President Obama, in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer Oh but I can think of a few. Lawlessness. Complacency. Authoritarianism. An erosion in morals and values. Lack of knowledge or caring about the American system of self-governance. I could go on. But note that these threats are all internal. In […]
  • New Resource: Voting Rights for Whom? Examining the Effects of the Voting Rights Act on Latino Political Incorporation

    By The Center for Civic Literacy on January 8, 2016
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    New study published in the American Journal of Political Science from SPEA Faculty, Amanda Rutherford and Melissa Marschall of Rice University.From the Abstract: “This study applies insights from principal-agent models to examine whether and how the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Sections 203 and 4(f)(4), affect Latino representation. Using panel data from 1984–2012, we estimate two-stage models […]
  • How social media influences Millennials’ political views

    By Chaz Kelsh- Journalist's Resource on December 18, 2015
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    Researchers, politicians and marketers are keenly interested in the Millennial generation, born between 1980 and the mid-2000s. Also known as Generation Y, this generation is markedly different than earlier ones. For example, its members are less likely to be affiliated with religion and more likely to be politically independent. This group — America’s most diverse and educated generation — also is the largest in the […]
  • Does the Internet help more Americans become politically active?

    By The Center for Civic Literacy on December 11, 2015
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    In every election cycle, news stories tout the potential of online activism to engage people who have historically been less engaged in offline politics — particularly young people, women, and people with less education and income. Could this be true? If so, there would be new possibilities for enlarging American democracy — in an age when 1 in 3 eligible […]
  • My Students Continue to Teach Me…

    By Sheila Kennedy on December 4, 2015
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    I’ve posted previously about teaching an undergraduate class in Media and Public Policy. I have also posted–frequently–about the loss of real journalism in our current media environment. Abbreviated version: we are positively marinating in information, but losing the “journalism of verification” required by a democratic society. When we came to the point in the semester when students share their research […]
  • Data is Everywhere

    By John Guy on November 20, 2015
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    We are drowning in data. In sports, The Indiana Department of Education, election polling, and commercial surveys, data is so addictive to consumers that when information is not naturally available, vice presidents of this and that move to create it.  When data does not produce a desired result, the goal or the data calculation is changed. Sports data entertains:  A […]
  • Trust in News Media Won’t be Easily Resorted

    By Jeffery McCall on November 13, 2015
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    Anybody who has ever been lied to or betrayed by a friend or coworker knows just how difficult it is to re-establish trust in the offending party. Sometimes, credibility that is destroyed can never be fully restored. So it is with America’s news media, which recently got yet another dismal report on public perception of the journalism industry. The media […]
  • Magnitude of Opinion

    By John Guy on November 6, 2015
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    For example, does a visitor from North Dakota, sitting next to his friend in Bloomington, have the same intensity, the same degree of unrestricted loyalty and enthusiasm as his host who is an I.U. alum, former athlete and donor?  They both support The Hoosiers, but not with the same magnitude. Sports is one thing.  What about gun control?  The arguments […]
  • Will You Vote?

    By The Center for Civic Literacy on October 30, 2015
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    So now that the Electing Our Future forums are over, the real question is: Will you Vote?  Between these forums intending to inform and engage citizen and NUVO’s Voter Guide below, the choice is easy.  What are you waiting for?  Hit the polls on Tuesday! NUVO’s 2015 Voter Guide: *The following is an original post from NUVO.net and is republished […]
  • Electing Our Future: What Should the Future Hold for Indianapolis?

    By The Center for Civic Literacy on October 23, 2015
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    This past Tuesday, the final forum in the three part-series, “Electing Our Future,” took place at the Indianapolis Public Library’s downtown location.  This forum focused on “What Should the Future Hold for Indianapolis” presented by representatives of Plan 2020.  Read a description of the event and catch the live recording courtesy of WFYI, below. What Should the Future Hold for Indianapolis? Representatives of Plan 2020: The Bicentennial Plan […]
  • The Age of Propaganda?

    By Sheila Kennedy on October 16, 2015
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    The Program on International Policy Attitudes is a respected source for international opinion research. In the wake of the 2010 U.S. elections, it conducted a survey of voters, first looking to see those voters’ perceptions of how much misinformation was “out there,” and second, to determine just how misinformed voters actually were. Unsurprisingly, The poll found strong evidence that voters […]
  • Electing Our Future: The Issues We Face.

    By The Center for Civic Literacy on October 9, 2015
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    This past Tuesday, the second forum in the three part-series, “Electing Our Future,” took place at the Indianapolis Public Library’s downtown location.  This forum focused on The Issues Indianapolis faces presented by a panel of experts and facilitated by Sheila Kennedy.  Read the transcript of Sheila’s opening statements and catch the live recording of the event courtesy of WFYI, below. […]
  • Democratic Heresies

    By Sheila Kennedy on October 2, 2015
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    My husband and I have had a long-running argument about primary elections. (Hey–you argue with your spouse about whatever is important in your house, and we nerds will argue about what preoccupies us…) My husband insists that primaries have contributed mightily to political polarization. It’s unarguable that the people who turn out for primary elections are more partisan and ideological […]
  • Electing Our Future: How Indianapolis Works.

    By Sheila S. Kennedy on September 25, 2015
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    Media attention is already firmly focused on 2016 and the presidential race, and that’s understandable, given the amount of cluelessness and buffoonery being displayed by the current crop of “candidates” (note the quotation marks, because, really–who can take some of these people seriously?). Most recently, Ben Carson has replaced Donald Trump as the preferred mouthpiece for bigotry and unintended irony: […]
  • It’s Here! Electing our Future: A Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise Indianapolis

    By The Center for Civic Literacy on September 18, 2015
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    It’s hard to believe it, but The Electing Our Future forums are upon us!  The first event kicks off this coming Monday, Sept. 21st at 6pm. The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce will take responsibility for this initial presentation. Which will include a brief description of where we are in the federal/state/local scheme of things; discussion of home rule/state authority; outline of […]