139 episodes

The purpose of this podcast is to convince you to think about it. What exactly is "it?" "It" will be something that is happening today in our cultural, community, or political space. And “It” will also be how we communicate with, relate to, or exist around each other.

All in just FIVE MINUTES. That’s right, every episode is just FIVE MINUTES.

Think About It with Michael Leppert Michael Leppert

    • News
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

The purpose of this podcast is to convince you to think about it. What exactly is "it?" "It" will be something that is happening today in our cultural, community, or political space. And “It” will also be how we communicate with, relate to, or exist around each other.

All in just FIVE MINUTES. That’s right, every episode is just FIVE MINUTES.

    When McCormick picked Goodin, the hope of a meaningful Hoosier movement ended

    When McCormick picked Goodin, the hope of a meaningful Hoosier movement ended

    Life in Stephen King’s Shawshank State Prison, at its best, is mundane, repetitive, and stagnant. As is the state of politics in Indiana. Surviving either or both, doesn’t require lightning to strike. It requires hope. Hope that can lead to a movement.
    Democrats in Indiana nominated former Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick as their nominee for governor in May’s primary. Last week, McCormick announced her preferred running mate as former Democrat state representative, Terry Goodin.
    The latter was a mistake.
    There are three unrelenting, unequivocal policy issues that define what a Democrat is in 2024. To be credible with Democrat voters these days, a candidate must support women’s reproductive freedom, equality for all minority communities, and common sense gun safety measures. This isn’t the entire platform, but when asking a candidate about their support for these three, they are simple “yes/no” questions. And the answer to them must be an unwavering “yes.”
    I won’t vote for any candidate, for any office, who answers any of those questions with a “no,” a “sort of,” or even a “generally.”
    Yes, that purity test applies to those running for city council, school board and county auditor. Why? Because politics, like culture, is a continuum. That pro-life county auditor might run for U.S. Senate in two years. That pro-gun rights school board member might run for Congress. And then the weakness becomes trouble.
    The truth is that these deficiencies are always trouble. They’re indicators a party is willing to bargain with its own morals.
     
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    • 5 min
    The Mike and Micah show will be a historic political disaster in Indiana

    The Mike and Micah show will be a historic political disaster in Indiana

    “Mike and Mike in the Morning” was the last sports radio show I ever regularly listened to. I don’t remember why I stopped. I wasn’t angry about some hot take or uncalled-for disrespect toward the Colts. I simply lost interest. Besides, I know enough about sports, according to me, and don’t need anyone explaining why my team won or lost. And predictions? Everyone is terrible at them, that’s why we watch the games.
    Now, the Mike and Micah political show in Indiana will have a whole host of far more serious problems. That’s Mike Braun, the Republican nominee for governor, and Micah Beckwith, the surprise nominee for lieutenant governor. They have a show to put on, and based on the preview, it’s not looking good.
    Braun was likely planning on continuing his primary campaign platform, one famously declared by me as being about nothing. However, things changed on Saturday at the Indiana Republican Convention. Braun’s campaign for governor transitioned from being about nothing to being all about his running mate.
    Beckwith is a self-proclaimed Christian Nationalist. He claims to be a prophet of sorts. He notoriously supports banning books, specifically those of my favorite author, Indianapolis’ John Green. He apparently thinks that the LG offers some “check” on the governor, as opposed to being a dutiful devotee. In short, he’s trouble for Braun, and that’s entirely Braun’s fault.
     
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    • 5 min
    Rep. Victoria Spartz is simply unreliable, and that’s the kindest description available

    Rep. Victoria Spartz is simply unreliable, and that’s the kindest description available

    Maya Angelou gave the best advice with absolutely the best words when she said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I have found that people are really good at showing who they are, even when that’s exactly what they are trying to avoid. Angelou reminds us of the obvious, to believe what we see, but importantly to not waste precious time reaching the often inevitable conclusion.
    Last week, Adam Wren and Daniel Lippman reported for Politico that the House Ethics Committee is making a preliminary inquiry into the behavior of Rep. Victoria Spartz, of Indiana’s 5th District. The reasons stem from complaints made by current and former staffers of the second term congresswoman’s unstable and abusive behavior toward them.
    While the reports were troubling, and I will share some highlights, I would be surprised if anyone who has been paying attention to Spartz over the years was surprised by the news.
    Here’s an example of the behavior detailed by a current staffer, as reported by Politico: “The common thing is for her to call someone up or to their face, cuss them up, say the F-word about a million times, call them effing retards, effing children, effing whatever…That’s a weekly thing. It’s not rare. All my interactions with her have been filled with complete and total rage.”
    That came from a current staffer, quoted in last week’s story. Since January, the resignations have piled up so fast, it would seem that former staffers are easier to find than those remaining on her damaged team.
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    • 5 min
    Reasonable doubt for Trump is elusive, even in the post-truth era

    Reasonable doubt for Trump is elusive, even in the post-truth era

    The background noise in my house is the television show, “Law & Order.” My wife and I both read more than we watch TV, so reruns that we aren’t paying much attention to mask the noise from the city streets but don’t distract us. We both have already seen every episode. So, when it’s on, we race to declare, “he’s the one who did it,” or “they needed a search warrant for that.” And after about the first fifteen minutes, it’s only noise.
    Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, that ended with his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records last week, was just as predictable as any other rerun. No prosecutor, of any political party, in any part of the country, would bring a case to trial that he or she didn’t believe could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Add the complicating factors of this defendant’s unlimited financial resources and media reach, and the original reluctance can be multiplied by a thousand.
    This is primarily why conviction rates are so high. Cases aren’t brought when the prosecution lacks a provable case. Either the government has the goods on the accused, or it doesn’t. It’s too much work, and too publicly embarrassing, to invest all of the time and resources necessary to obtain a conviction when the evidence is weak. Remember, prosecutors are elected in 47 states, and they never run on a platform of losing. 
    Since Thursday’s conviction, Trump world has gone bonkers in its attempt to try and make the world believe that their man has been mistreated. Don’t confuse their mania with an attempt to show that he is innocent, that is almost never even part of any MAGA rant. In this case, Trump’s defense team didn’t even present a theory of his innocence. The defense was entirely about how Trump’s enemies were liars, and how the process was unfair.
    Was it unfair? Hell yes, it was. For example, it is unfair for a defendant to be found in contempt ten times during a trial and never revisit the jail. But the strategy of whining and victimhood is now the go-to mantra of every scrape the former president faces. It’s never “innocence.”
     
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    • 4 min
    Weather delay on race day shows how adaptable we really are

    Weather delay on race day shows how adaptable we really are

    I ate my track picnic at my kitchen counter this year. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before, so I’m writing it down for future reference. The fried chicken was as delicious as any other year, though it felt weird eating it over a plate.
    Every year, the Indianapolis 500 is our city’s most special event. It’s embedded in our culture, so grandly, so omnipresent, it’s hard to find a person or a place in the area untouched by it.
    The event and its long list of traditions can feel delicate in some ways, reliant on something as unpredictable as the weather. In other ways, it feels as strong as Indiana limestone. When a few hundred thousand diverse people have a shared purpose, it’s amazing how well we can adapt.
    A weather delay that forecasters began predicting in the middle of the week actually came true. I love not trusting the National Weather Service when it gives me bad news five days ahead of time. I treat those people like NBA referees: every call they make is the beginning of the argument, not the end of it. But they got it right this time. Golf claps for them this weekend, and I will go back to not trusting them by Saturday.
    We ride our bikes to the track on race day, a tradition I recommend for anyone capable within about ten miles of Speedway. It’s a thirty-minute ride for us and we buy advanced parking from Bike Indy right outside the main entrance. It’s so convenient, we waited at home for the weather to pass. Much like my strange race picnic, I took my traditional post-race nap before the race this year. Odd, yes, but I’m too old to complain about any nap.
    I started to stir around 2:00 p.m. and when I realized it wasn’t raining, I jumped a little. I yelled at my no-napping wife for a weather report, and she told me things were looking good, so I better get it together. The text messages from our bike group started chiming in while I was in the shower, and at 3:00 p.m., nine of us left the neighborhood for the track.
    When we got close to our seats in Stand A, we wondered what the concession stands would run out of first. With a four-hour delay, that’s like hosting two races to the vendors. Beer was the consensus pick, but we were wrong. Food ran out first. I’d like to think that collectively we simply drink less these days, but that can’t possibly be true.
     
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    • 4 min
    The Trump cult is choosing blueberries over the Judicial Branch

    The Trump cult is choosing blueberries over the Judicial Branch

    While writing on Sunday night about the truly remarkable week surrounding a criminal trial in New York, I was captivated by the final story on 60 Minutes. It was titled, “The Album,” with Anderson Cooper reporting. The subject was an album of 116 photos discovered in 2007 that were collected by a Nazi leader at Auschwitz. 
    “Here There Are Blueberries,” is the new Broadway play that attempts to make sense of the pictures by those connected to the victims there. Importantly though, it also provides context of the horrific events as seen through the eyes of those committing the crimes. The pictures make the killers appear happy to be there. One particular photo showed a large group of young German girls happily eating blueberries at an apparent party, while outside the frame, death surrounded them. It’s the source of the title of the play.
    How did these once normal, average people become the monsters we now know them to be?
    Last week in New York, Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, appeared outside the courthouse where the criminal trial of Donald Trump is nearing its end. He was there to hold a press conference to support his leader and to label the trial “election interference” and declare the justice system “corrupt.”
    The appearances at the trial of the most sycophantic members of the GOP, as Dylan Stableford writes for Yahoo! News, “began with a trickle, then became a steady stream.” Members of the U.S. Senate, former presidential candidates, and of course, a litany of House members have appeared there the past two weeks of the six week trial. Their uniform reason to appear is to suck up to the boss, and to fan the irrational flames of the boss’s support network.
    The theatrics accomplish other things though, whether intentional or not. Most importantly is that it communicates that loyalty to this criminal is more important, more valuable, than the American judicial system itself. A large swath of the nation’s citizenry has arrived at a place where justice only exists in their eyes when it aligns with their loyalties, regardless of reality. It is that singleness of vision and commitment that allows the madness to grow.
    To answer the question above, this is exactly how average people become monsters.
     
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    • 4 min

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Great podcast. Truly, great

This podcast ranks high in all the important metrics: smart, accessible, well produced, interesting. And it’s not just for Hoosiers or those interested Indiana politics. Michael’s commentary often applies to the bigger picture, and the bigger problems. Check it out.

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