Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

All Blog Posts (1,183)

Local politics discussed rationally in the coming weeks.

   Words and phrases oftentimes are misleading. One can ask whether "local politics"---or politics of any kind, can be discussed rationally. One could qualify the topic by particular place---Marion County, Indiana---and time---the  second decade of the Twenty-First, what historians in all likelihood will call the Chinese Century or the Indian Century but in no event Another American Century. As economic policies begun under the nominal presidency of the man who almost was cast as Rick Blaine…


Added by Mark Small on October 8, 2011 at 5:46am — No Comments

The Fair Tax and the Federal Reserve this week's topics.

   There are advocates for the Fair Tax as a substitute for the Federal Income Tax. There also are advocates of no taxes at all. This Saturday, "Civil Discourse Now" will have, as our two topics, the Fair Tax---and that is not a tax levied to fund the State Fair ("Our state fair is a very good fair!") or the various county fairs, although it could be---and the Federal Reserve. We start at 1 p.m. at Big Hat Books.

   I must apologize to a person who took the time and the interest to…


Added by Mark Small on October 7, 2011 at 5:49am — No Comments

Occupy Wall Street and student demonstrations of times past.

   In grade school, junior high and high school, we watched the news each evening. At least those of later to be called geeks watched the news. A chief feature of the reports of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley (after his partner Chet Huntley succumbed to cigarette-related cancer), and whomever the anchor-of-the-month was featured on ABC was the latest in student demonstrations. Civil rights demonstrations were on as well, but as a white kid raised in rural Indiana, I identified more with the…


Added by Mark Small on October 6, 2011 at 6:02am — No Comments

Nazification of discourse is trite.

   Ann Coulter must have spiked the LSAT. How else could she have obtained admission into the University of Michigan School of Law? She only says things to attract attention and sell books, one might say. If she were a Hollywood gossip person, matters might be different. I do not mean to downplay the harm that harsh, false words can have to a person who is the target of an item from a Hollywood gossip person. I do not say "columnist" because, here in 2011, I think  that term is obsolete. …


Added by Mark Small on October 5, 2011 at 6:04am — 2 Comments

October 8's show: topics are Fair tax and the Federal Reserve

   On Saturday, October 8, on "Civil Discourse Now," Paul Ogden and I will discuss the so-called fair tax and also the Federal Reserve.

   We did not shoot the show last week and that was my fault. I was sick on Thursday and was out-of-sorts through the weekend. I feel particularly guilty because one person showed up at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell Avenue, where we do the show at 1:00 p.m. I would encourage anyone who wishes to do so to come to the show.

   I think  the fair tax…


Added by Mark Small on October 4, 2011 at 5:56am — No Comments

Does the Constitution mention professional sports?

   This is the year the Colts can use to draft a replacement for Peyton Manning, when Manning retires in 2019 or 2020. The record of our boys in blue should be dismal. If the Colts are as ineffective as they looked against the Browns, we should see the Number One pick---please don't tell me it's been traded away---firmly in Bill Polian's clutches. I do not know if there is a quarterback of Peyton Manning's odd combination of talents---physical ability, football genius, and a geekish love of…


Added by Mark Small on October 3, 2011 at 5:54am — No Comments

Nov. 12 Monon Bell panel discussion, with drink specials.

PLACE: Broad Ripple Tavern

   On November 12, 2011, DePauw University will play its rival to the north, Wabash College. Former Republican candidate for United States Congress---and alum of the school in Crawfordsvile---Carlos May has agreed to join me in a discussion, or more likely debate, agreement on the exact wording of which we have yet to reach. It will encompass whether single-gender, post-secondary educational institutions are of any positive value. We should start at about…


Added by Mark Small on October 1, 2011 at 6:09am — No Comments

High costs of medical care and $800 if a doctor simply picks up a phone.

   Members of the legal profession are reputed to gouge clients for fees. There is the joke about the lawyer who died, went to the hereafter, and was told he was overdue because, from his billing records, he was indicated as being nearly one thousand years old. A lawyer cannot bill for work not performed, however. A "retainer" must be billed against by the hour. Also, the methods of billing, be they by the tenth of an hour or a quarter of an hour, must be by some fraction. As an example, a…


Added by Mark Small on September 30, 2011 at 6:52am — No Comments

Forfeitures and legalization of all drugs.

   On this week's show, being shot Saturday, October 1, Paul Ogden and I shall discuss two topics. One is the wisdom or folly of forfeiture laws. Those are laws that provide the means by which local government can confiscate private property with fewer restraints, some would say due process, than that in which it otherwise would have to engage. The second is whether all drugs should be legalized.

   We start at 1:00 p.m. at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell Avenue, in Broad Ripple.  

Added by Mark Small on September 27, 2011 at 5:54am — 2 Comments

Do you want to see the show?

We have received a couple of inquiries as to whether we have or allow an audience when we shoot "Civil Discourse Now." Anyone is welcome to attend. Today (September 24) we shoot at an earlier time than usual. We will start at 11 a.m. and discuss with Pat Andrews TIFs and priorities in spending of the City of Indianapolis. Our usual time to start is 1 p.m. We shoot upstairs at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell Avenue. It is just north of the Brewpub and next to the Monon Trail.

Added by Mark Small on September 24, 2011 at 5:56am — No Comments

Politicians get free passes in debates.

   I attended and graduated from a high school that, prior to my enrollment, had a speech team, but not a debate team. A couple of weeks into my first year on the speech team, we attended a debate tournament as a favor to the coach of another school. I was hooked. I loved debate. I was on the team all through high school. The culmination was our making state finals. When I reached Depauw, I already had been in contact with the coach, Doctor Weiss, and one of the debaters. Again, I debated al…


Added by Mark Small on September 20, 2011 at 6:11am — 1 Comment

What "death panels"?

   The deep political theorist and former candidate for Vice President Sarah Palin complained, a couple of years back, about "death panels" in President Obama's health care reform package.

   First, I want to say I think the package was weak. We need national health care, not this weird hybrid first proposed by the Republicans in 1994, one in which private insurance companies play a big role. Second, the plan created no "death panels." In fact, for years private insurance companies…


Added by Mark Small on September 15, 2011 at 5:48am — No Comments

Conquest of technology!

   In 1973, when I registered for first semester classes at DePauw, I was amazed by the fact DePauw had its own computer. The thing was the size of a two-bedroom house in a blue-colar 1960s subdivision. Its memory was probably less than that of a digital wrist watch---for those who still wear watches---today.

   This explains, in part, the problems we have had with software, etc., and the delay in the show Paul Ogden and I co-host, "Civil Discourse Now," coming on-line. Well, finally…


Added by Mark Small on September 14, 2011 at 5:50am — 3 Comments

Folly of government-funded professional sports.

   Our streets need fixed.

   I wanted to get home from the office in time to watch the kick-off. I stopped at Marsh for a couple of things for chili. I asked the cashier if the percentage of people in Colts regalia decreased after games started. Her non-answer was "I don't think one person should mean so much to people." Okay, this was Sunday, and maybe her reference was in the context of theology. I made it home in time to watch about the only good play the Colts would make, a first…


Added by Mark Small on September 12, 2011 at 5:46am — No Comments


Pael show. pa.u. l Ogden and mark Small hosting Greg Fettig and Luther Garcia, Show should be up at 11 a.m. Enjot.


Added by Mark Small on September 10, 2011 at 8:40pm — No Comments

Today's show: (1) Is it proper to call them tea baggers and (2) Did bin Laden meet his goals with 9-11?

This week's show!

Civil Discourse Now, the weekly show Paul Ogden and I co-host, will have a panel discussion today at 1:00 at Big Hat Books, just north of the Brew Pub on North Cornell in beautiful Broad Ripple Village. The first topic for discussion will be the propriety of calling people who espouse principles of the so-called tea party movement "tea baggers." The second topic will involve whether bin Laden achieved his goals with the attacks on the United States staged on…


Added by Mark Small on September 10, 2011 at 6:13am — No Comments

Did bin Laden achieve his goals in 9/11?

   In a few days is the 10th anniversary of the attacks plotted by Osama bin Laden and his cronies. Bin Laden's stated goals, as I understand them, were to deprive Americans of their liberty and to wreck our economic system. The use of commercial airliners filled with passengers to crash into buildings was a mechanism to achieve those goals.

   As to our liberties, what occurred in "the aftermath of 9/11"? That is a phrase we have heard or read many times. The (Orwellian-named)…


Added by Mark Small on September 8, 2011 at 6:21am — No Comments

All four hooves and the snout at the State Fair.

   In America, the desire for (more) money and material things is viewed as a positive quality. It drives the economy. It is the dynamic behind the free market. In the couple of weeks since the disaster at the State Fairs, plaintiffs' law firms have made an embarrassment of our profession in their efforts to be first to jump in and show themselves to be the champions of the downtrodden---the downtrodden being those who lost their lives or were injured when the stage collapsed before…


Added by Mark Small on September 5, 2011 at 6:19am — No Comments

AMend the Indiana Constitution: no more 50-year contracts.

Amend the Indiana Constitution: no more 50-year contracts.

Politicians like to give the image of having successfully solved a problem, with little or no cost to the average citizen. The average citizen is happy with this fairy tale. After all, taxes are bad. Higher taxes are even worse. So if a mayor gets money into, for an example, his city, and shortfalls are met and little projects are built, things are marvy-poo for John Q. Public and his spouse Jane. Let us say, for our…


Added by Mark Small on September 2, 2011 at 6:55am — No Comments

New Show: Civil Discourse Now!

On September 4, "Civil Discourse Now" will premiere at 11 a.m. on the website Indianapolis attorneys Mark Small and Paul Ogden will co-host panel discussion on local, state, national, and international political and social topics with different guests each week.

This panel show will be different in several ways. First, no one will talk over anyone else. The discourse, after all, will be civil. Second, the guests will not be quite what one may expect from an Indy…


Added by Mark Small on August 30, 2011 at 5:47am — No Comments

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