Recent Commentaries

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What’s in a Name
Most people may not recognize Carl Muscarello by name but are probably familiar with his picture. He’s the sailor kissing the nurse in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic, 1945 photograph on V-J Day in Times Square. However, Carl describes himself as, “an Italian-American kid from Brooklyn, New York who has been fortunate in that happiness in my life has come from my...
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August 31, 2009
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With Passion and Purpose
It’s curious to reflect on three moments in my life that are marked by the same question: Where were you when Kennedy died? As a high school freshman in New York, I was in the middle of learning some important but long forgotten piece of Algebra when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Our teacher, Mr. Freeman, was called out of...
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August 27, 2009
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“It’s wrong, man… I feel tremendous hurt behind what happened… I should’ve took the initiative to stop it all… I didn’t step up. I wasn’t a leader.” That was former Atlanta Falcons football star Michael Vick on 60 Minutes apologizing for participating in a dog fighting operation on his property. “There is not a day that goes by that I...
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August 26, 2009
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What Would You Do?
Here’s the scenario: You’re an executive at a large, retail store. Company policy clearly tells employees that if they witness any shoplifting, they are not to go after the suspected thief outside the store. Word comes of a shoplifting event at one of your stores. Two employees wrestle the suspect to the ground outside the store, but in spite of their best...
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August 24, 2009
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A Steely Kind of Moral Energy
Former Washington Post columnist, teacher and good friend Colman McCarthy wrote the following eulogy about his friendship with Eunice Shriver. I thought it was well worth repeating. My friendship with Eunice Kennedy Shriver began in 1966, when I bumped into her — literally — during a pickup basketball game on her backyard court at the Timberlawn estate in Rockville. I had begun...
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August 21, 2009
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Hate Speech
“The summer of 2009 has not been our finest hour.” So wrote Newsweek editor Jon Meacham (Aug. 24) in response to those individuals who have brought Hitler and Nazism into the debate on health care. There’s political commentary and there’s hate speech and I’m sick and tired of hate speech passing for commentary. Earlier this month, conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh...
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August 19, 2009
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Weekend at Bernie’s
Right now an eminent TV actor, (an up-and-coming Dustin Hoffman type) is busy researching his role as the lead in the next made-for-cable hit. No, not “Weekend at Bernie’s III.” It’s “a gripping docu-drama” about the man who out-Ponzied Ponzi entitled “The Man who Made off with Other People’s Money.”  (Of course it’s a dumb title, it’s cable.) A little putty...
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August 17, 2009
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The Perfect Storm
“You are trampling on our constitution,” Craig Miller shouted at Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector last Tuesday. “This is about the dismantling of this country,” Katy Abram added. “They are talking about killing people,” said Laurel Tobias. The question that kept coming up for me was, WHY. Why are people so angry? Why are so many lashing out, like never before, at...
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August 14, 2009
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August 2009 Ethical Hero – John Peter Zenger
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Early, in this country’s history, it was called the press.  Now, it’s simply called, the...
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August 12, 2009
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Every time I look at Emancipation Oak, on the grounds of Hampton University in Virginia, I think of the time I spent talking to students and teachers. A conversation with Dr. Freddye Davy of Hampton’s Honors College led to her using my What Do You Stand For? questionnaire in an essay contest for the school’s annual President’s Award. All thirty-two submissions...
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August 12, 2009