Recent Commentaries

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Do the Crime, It’s Manilow Time
We’ve all heard the expression, “Let the punishment fit the crime”?  Well, for one Colorado judge it couldn’t be more apt! “After seeing so many people return for repeat noise offending,” Reuters news service reported, “Paul Sacco, a judge at Fort Lipton Municipal Court, will punish them by playing music they can’t stand for a full hour.” Who did judge...
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November 28, 2008
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Nurses Do It Better
The Gallup organization’s annual Honesty and Ethics poll gave nurses the highest ranking out of twenty-one professions for the seventh straight year! “Eighty-four percent of Americans,” Gallup reported, “call their honesty and ethical standards either ‘high’ or ‘very high.’…” This speaks directly to the issue of trust.  Clearly patients, doctors, administrators and others believe that nurses have the highest level...
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November 27, 2008
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What Americans Want Most
Working with the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life, and the help of pollster John Zogby, we put a three question, post-election survey into the field on November 5th and 6th: 1.  What one or two qualities do you think the country needs most from the new president? 2.  What one or two actions...
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November 25, 2008
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Memo Too…
Everyone and their brother is giving advice to President-elect Barack Obama these days.  (Mine was put forth in a letter addressed to both candidates the day before the election.) Listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” yesterday, correspondent Steve Inskeep reported that Phyllis Palmer’s kindergarten class (not pictured) in Essex Junction, Vermont wrote their own memo to President-elect Obama. Here’s the advice the Vermont kindergarteners had for...
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November 21, 2008
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Ethics and Religion – Part II
Continuing my conversation with Rabbi Rami Shapiro. How do you get people to look for the deeper, ethical insight in their beliefs? “I usually pull up all the stuff in the Bible that makes no sense, ethically. “A lot of people like to talk about Joshua at the battle of Jericho, where they knock the walls down, and there’s this great miracle...
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November 20, 2008
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In Conversation – Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Rabbi Chananya ben Akashya said: “To bring Truth to humankind, Reality creates Sages who carry it into the world. The Sages of Israel carry it as Torah. “To carry Torah into the world, The Sages ordain mitzvot: Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly…” Rabbi Rami Shapiro not only strives to live out this principle, but inspires others to do the...
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November 19, 2008
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What Will it Take?
Yesterday, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Democratic Congressman William Jefferson’s argument to dismiss a 16-count indictment stemming from bribery and conspiracy charges. (JimsNotes:  Jefferson is the Louisiana congressman who was videotaped by the FBI receiving $100,000 in cash as part of an investigation in which, according to an FBI statement, “Jefferson sought things of value in...
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November 14, 2008
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November 2008 Ethical Hero – Peter Westbrook
Peter Westbrook is an Olympic medal-winning fencer who sees an inextricable connection between being your best and being compassionate. Although his principle and story are straightforward, his journey through anger and pain to compassion is a remarkable example for all of us to strive to demonstrate. Peter shared this incredible story in my book, “What Do You Stand For?” “When...
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November 13, 2008
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This Just In…
John Podesta, transition co-chair for President-elect Obama, announced new ethics guidelines regarding lobbyists and the transition team. According to a report from The Fix, a political blog written by Chris Cillizza on, Podesta called the new ethics rules an example of “the most open and transparent transition in history.” “Podesta added,” Cillizza reported, “that members of the transition team will...
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November 11, 2008
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Peace in Our Time
“The most important thing to understand about nuclear weapons is this:  these weapons do not and cannot provide physical protection to their possessors.” These are the opening words from a written appeal by David Krieger addressed to the next president of the United States. Last May, I chose Krieger as my ethical hero of the month due to his tireless...
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November 10, 2008