Recent Commentaries

Featured image for “Hope in a Time of Uncertainty”
Hope in a Time of Uncertainty
In 1940, journalist Edward R. Murrow stood in a church in England while the country endured German bombers night after night. Inside the church was a crudely written sign which read, “If your knees knock, kneel on them.” I don’t know about you, but my knees have been knocking a lot over the last several months. Within the last year,...
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December 28, 2009
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My Supper with Santa
Of all the high-profile people I’ve had the opportunity to interview, Santa Claus was just about the toughest “get” (next to the Dalai Lama). First of all, he’s incredibly busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas. However, he consented to give me an early interview if I would stop leaving multiple, corny messages on his iPhone. I also promised that I’d...
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December 25, 2009
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More than Ordinary
Miracles come in many forms. Sitting in a rice paddy in Vietnam in 1968, infantryman Dennis Haines heard the cries of a baby or small child, “Just as I looked towards this hooch,” Haines recalls, “I saw what appeared to be a door swing open and a flash.  The next thing I remember was my buddy John cradling me, telling...
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December 23, 2009
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What Do You Stand For, Bil Keene?
The Greeks called it arête. Traditionally translated as “virtue,” its central meaning is excellence. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, arête is applied to courage and strength, especially when exhibited in competition and this is one common dimension. But it’s more. The third aspect of responsibility, the pursuit of excellence, carries an ethical component when others count on our effectiveness at a given...
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December 21, 2009
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Enjoy, Immensely
A conversation with landscape architect Isabelle Greene led me to discover that integrity can take many forms. Like the framework of the gardens she designs and creates, her principles are likewise, clear and exacting. Isabelle is the granddaughter of Henry Mather Greene, of Greene & Greene Architects, pioneers of the early Craftsman movement in Southern California. “These principles and ideas seem...
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December 18, 2009
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We are all mortal
There’s a telling moment of decision-making in Thirteen Days– the film chronicling the events by President Kennedy and his administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In a private exchange with his friend and advisor, Kenny O’Donnell, Kennedy reflects on the unthinkable – a nuclear holocaust with Russia – and declares, “We’re going to do whatever we have to do to make things...
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December 16, 2009
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The Nobel War Lecture
Nothing is perhaps more ethically challenging than a choice between war and peace.  The following is a thoughtful, passionate response by David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, to President Obama’s recent speech in Norway. “In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, President Obama, one of the world’s great orators and purveyors of hope, gave a speech...
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December 14, 2009
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December 2009 Ethical Hero – Riane Eisler
As an author, social scientist and lawyer, Riane Eisler has been a pioneer in showing how women’s rights (and therefore human rights) are the building blocks of world peace. Eisler’s international bestseller, The Chalice and the Blade, outlines the need for a cultural transformation, moving from the politics of dominance to the practice of partnership.  The Chalice and the Blade...
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December 12, 2009
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The Audacity of Hype
“There are two kinds of celebrity crash,” Time Magazine’s James Poniewozik writes (Dec.14). “The first, like Tiger Woods’ on Nov. 27, is accidental… The second is intentional.  You crash a President’s State dinner…” Due respect, Jim, you missed a third: when the mainstream media drives us to distraction with non-stop coverage of notorious, celebrity events. In describing the White House State Dinner crashers,...
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December 11, 2009
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Delivering More Than Expected
There’s a scene early in the film Bull Durham where the Kevin Costner character is being sized up by the Susan Sarandon character. She’s making a choice between two minor league ball players as to whom she’ll guide and girlfriend throughout the season. Up to this point, Sarandon – by virtue of her charismatic charm, not to mention an incredible body –...
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December 9, 2009

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