Recent Commentaries

Featured image for “The Ethics of Nothing”
The Ethics of Nothing
Throughout millennia, philosophers have pondered questions like: What is good? What is truth? What is justice? In the world of Seinfeld, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer ponder nothing but themselves. However, all display a variety of philosophical types. George is the fatalist. “My father was a quitter, my grandfather was a quitter, I was raised to give up. It’s one of...
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June 29, 2011
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What Do You Stand For?
AMC’s Mad Men is rife with ethical issues. In creator Matthew Weiner’s ‘60s universe of advertising ad men and women, Joan Holloway is one of the most captivating and contradictory characters on the show. Originally seen as a Marilyn Monroe type, Joan has been quick to dispel any notion of air-headedness. In 2008, the Chicago Tribune wrote that “Joan certainly can be brusque with...
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June 27, 2011
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Simple Honesty
Continuing my month-long focus on positive stories, the following account is potent in its simplicity. Few of us will meet the kinds of ethical decisions faced by tobacco insider Jeff Wigand or WorldCom Executive Cynthia Cooper. However, all of us will face choices that will test who we are and what we stand for. Michael Braunstein is a professional trainer...
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June 24, 2011
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The Summer of ’68
During the first of what would become my favorite two years, I was listening to the Moody Blues (on cassette), Tchaikovsky’s 1812 (on vinyl) and Simon and Garfunkle’sSounds of Silence. I studied theater and philosophy, worked on a college production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and rock-climbed. I read Clarence Darrow for the Defense, Carlos Castaneda and Hamlet.  » Read more...
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June 22, 2011
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Being Trustworthy
Reading some after-talk comment cards, I came across a note which read: “Nice talk, but how about using a personal story or two to make your point?” Okay. Being trustworthy requires more than being honest. It requires us to make reasonable efforts to keep promises and obligations, and carry out the necessary integrity to resist temptations and pressures and do...
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June 20, 2011
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A Guy Named Joe
Hands down, my favorite movie of all time is the one where Spencer Tracy plays a hotshot World War II pilot who flies on instinct and hot coffee. He also has a knack for showboating on every bombing mission he’s sent out on until the day comes when he doesn’t come back. The defining moment in A Guy Named Joe occurs when...
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June 17, 2011
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The Upside
Anthony Weiner, Bernie Madoff, low economy, high unemployment, questionable housing, if you’re house hasn’t already been hit by a flood or tornado. How do you remain optimistic in an atmosphere of so much negative news? In an intriguing TIME magazine cover story (The Science of Optimism), author Tali Sharot offers some positive news. “Collectively we can grow pessimistic — about...
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June 15, 2011
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The Razor’s Edge
Jeffrey Wigand, former executive at tobacco giant Brown & Williamson, becomes a celebrity after appearing on 60 Minutes telling how big tobacco lied for decades to millions about the facts of cigarettes and smoking. Hollywood makes a major motion picture about his ethical stand and hires Russell Crowe to play him. Result: Jeff becomes an even bigger celebrity. Cynthia Cooper, former internal auditor...
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June 13, 2011
Featured image for “June 2011 Ethical Hero – Reverend Peter J. Gomes”
June 2011 Ethical Hero – Reverend Peter J. Gomes
“He was a thundering black Baptist preacher,” the New York Times writes, “and for much of his life a conservative Republican celebrity who wrote books about the Pilgrims, published volumes of sermons and presided at weddings and funerals of the rich and famous. He gave the benediction at President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration and delivered the National Cathedral sermon at...
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June 12, 2011
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Doing Right
“We know we can find stories of people who do it wrong, but where can we find stories of people who do it right?” Those words began the second chapter of my book, What Do You Stand For? whose stated purpose was to offer a collection of positive examples of integrity and moral courage. The goal I set for myself at the beginning...
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June 10, 2011