Recent Commentaries

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What Happened to America’s Optimism?
“There is something about too much prosperity that ruins the fiber of the people.”      – Diplomat Dwight Morrow In 1933, the president awoke to the news that the United States banking system had collapsed. Unemployment had reached 25 percent. Hourly wages nose-dived 60 percent. Distraught dairy farmers blockaded highways in order to dump hundreds of gallons of milk in...
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December 31, 2010
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And the Winner is…
In their annual roundup of factually incorrect stories of 2010,, the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning project set-up by the St. Petersburg Times, offered this example from Fox News’ Glenn Beck. “On his Nov. 22 radio show,” Politifact reports, “Beck told the story of Wilmington, a town of 13,000 people in Southwest Ohio that lost about 8,600 jobs when DHL Express, its largest employer,  » Read...
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December 29, 2010
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Moving Towards a More Compassionate Life
I met Karen Armstrong two years ago at a local talk she gave on the release of her book The Case for God – a thoughtful and highly readable history of the importance of belief. In a brief but private conversation, I found her engaged, informed and always searching; searching to learn more from whomever she spoke with or interviewed. Armstrong’s latest...
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December 27, 2010
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A Seat at Humanity’s Table
“Everyone deserves a seat at humanity’s table.” That was a favorite expression of my friend Frank Kelly, who died in 2010, one day before his 96th birthday. Frank believed it was essential for a peaceful future that everyone be seated at that big table and everyone’s voice be heard. I couldn’t agree more. We need a table that has room...
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December 22, 2010
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baQa, timHom!
Spoiler Alert: This has little to do with ethics. Think of it as a little Christmas cracker. In the beginning… there was Charles Dickens classic tale of greed, redemption and compassion. In short order, Dickens, or rather Hollywood, begat Once Upon a Christmas, Twice Upon a Christmas, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, A Charlie Brown Christmas (my favorite), How the Grinch Stole… and the...
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December 20, 2010
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Alter on Journalism
This idea of self-restraint and the press is a debate that often comes up. The last several weeks has seen hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents made public by founder Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. To Assange “all transactions between nations and leaders should be transparent,” Time magazine wrote in a recent profile. It’s interesting to note that contrary to...
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December 17, 2010
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Fran Striker’s Golden Rules
In 1994, while doing research on the creation of the Lone Ranger for my first book, I spent four days with Fran Striker, Jr., the son of the creator. It still surprises me how few people know that an unassuming, imaginative writer from Buffalo, New York created, developed, and wrote the Lone Ranger,Green Hornet, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, and many others. Fran Striker literally wrote...
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December 15, 2010
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Mulan’s Inner Voice
How do you balance living up to the expectations of others with being true to yourself? How do you find the strength to stand up for what you believe is your own path? These are just some of the themes that drive the Disney animated feature, Mulan. Based on Chinese legend, Mulan tells the story of a young girl determined to save her...
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December 13, 2010
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Nurses Do it Again!
For nine straight years, nurses continue to rank the highest in the Gallup organization’s annual Honesty and Ethics survey. They would have scored first in the last eleven years if it wasn’t for firefighters snagging the top spot in 2001. The survey results were released on December 3 of this year by the Gallup organization that has been running the annual survey since 1976. “Eighty-one...
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December 10, 2010
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No single word can adequately sum up any individual, but for Elizabeth Edwards, the former wife of presidential candidate, John Edwards, character would have to rank high on the list. Edwards died yesterday of breast cancer. In a final message to friends and colleagues, Elizabeth Edwards wrote, “I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my...
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December 8, 2010