June 2008

Compliance vs. Ethics

Does a corporation have a responsibility to be ethical beyond its employees and shareholders? Whenever this question has been asked in surveys, an overwhelming majority of people answer, “Yes!”

Here’s what one corporate chairman said about ethics in a memo: “Employees of the Company are Read More


The fallout surrounding Countrywide Financial and Chief Executive Angelo R. Mozilo just keeps getting worse.  The last 42-days have seen an extraordinary amount of activity.

On May 15, Federal District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer said that “…she found confidential witness accounts in the shareholder complaint … Read More

Do Justly

Recently, a friend made this comment about a (June 21) commentary I posted about fairness:  “Fairness,” she said, borrowing from a previous statement about torture, “is basically subject to perception.”

Is fairness perceptual?  What is a practical definition of fairness? “All virtue,” Aristotle wrote, “is … Read More

If Big Brown Can Do It…

“I know Big Brown or any of our horses do not need this stuff to win.  I’m not worried about an uneven playing field, either.” In a brief but significant statement, Michael Iavarone, co-president of International Equine Acquisitions Holdings just raised the bar for the … Read More

The Fairness Factor

I know the world isn’t fair, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?” This insightful piece of absurdity comes courtesy of Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoon strip.

I thought about this while reading the results of a recent study by a … Read More

When Perception Becomes Reality

Torture “is basically subject to perception.” Sounds like something said by the bad guy to Clint Eastwood from some 70’s-era “Dirty Harry” movie, doesn’t it? It’s not.

This is what CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman advised U.S. officials at Guantanamo Bay regarding the treatment of … Read More

Seattle’s Best

Psychiatrist and radio personality Frasier Crane is wrestling with an ethical dilemma. Dr. Honey Snow is not only a pop-psychologist, best selling author and knockout blonde, she also has a crush on Seattle’s resident narcissist and relationship expert. (That’s not the dilemma.)

When the stunning … Read More

The Integrity of Restraint

It’s easy to criticize reporters when they go too far, but what about the times when reporters are pressured to go farther… and they don’t.

Charles Lewis founded the Center for Public Integrity after eleven years as an investigative reporter at ABC News and CBS … Read More

Genuine Experience and Integrity

It’s interesting to see the direction these commentaries take.  I never have a preconceived plan.  I go where the story and the ethical issue take me.

In Monday’s post (June 10) I had strong feelings that “Vanity Fair” editor Todd Purdum’s use of anonymous sources … Read More

June 2008 Ethical Hero – John McCarthy

Sunday mornings, in a quiet corner of Washington, D.C., John McCarthy gets out on the baseball diamond and teaches kids the skills necessary to deal with life – effort, persistence, humor and honor. In 2005, McCarthy was chosen by Newsweek magazine as “one of America’s … Read More