Recent Commentaries

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Reflections 2012
Apology and Forgiveness, Rights vs. Responsibilities, Television and Responsibility, Confirmation Bias, Justice vs. Compassion, Freedom vs. Responsibility, Ethics vs. Morality, Us vs. Them — those were just some of the issues discussed on this site over the last year. Some of the questions raised: The Best Man?, Do Facts Matter?, Is Honesty the Best Policy?, Good for the Soul?, Is...
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December 29, 2012
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My Supper with Santa
On this eve before Christmas, a heartwarming interview with the one man we all look forward to seeing, or at least hearing something positive from. I’m speaking, of course, of Santa Claus. So here, from December 25, 2009 is my supper with Santa. Of all the high-profile people I’ve had the opportunity to interview, Santa Claus was just about the...
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December 24, 2012
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A Christmas Story
One of my favorite Christmas stories first appeared December 24, 2008. Enjoy! Much of the time we tend to think of compassion in terms of the extraordinary moments, events which seem removed from our daily perspective. The Dalai Lama’s story of a Tibetan monk’s compassion towards his Chinese jailers is one example. However, not long ago, I experienced a simple,...
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December 21, 2012
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Why I Like Colman McCarthy
First of all, Colman McCarthy is funny. Every time he gets on the phone with me, he always asks, “Hey Jim, how are those orange trees doing in your backyard?” Colman is a philosopher: “Warmaking doesn’t stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago.” Colman is a passionate pacifist who believes in fighting fire with… water. “Since...
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December 20, 2012
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There will always be senseless acts of violence in a free society, but… …when will we develop the social consciousness that says, we will not allow tragedies like Newtown, Connecticut to happen again and again? When will we act like the adults and parents we want our kids to be? When will we demonstrate the fundamental respect for each individual,...
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December 17, 2012
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Returning to Hadleyville
Of all the films whose central character demonstrates a highly developed moral compass, High Noon tops my list. Why does High Noon still matter? Never has one film captured the essence of an ethical dilemma along with the variety of rationalizations against doing the right thing as this 1952 western does. Written by Carl Foreman (who was facing his own dilemma with McCarthyism...
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December 14, 2012
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Finding Grace
There was a moment, listening to Dennis Haines’s story, that shook me. It began one life-changing night in December, 1968 in Viet Nam as first told by his buddy John Miller. “Our mission was to encircle a village. We called it a cordon. Our squad, moved farther down the road to a point where there was a pathway that led...
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December 12, 2012
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Don’t Tell Tony
You’re sitting in the front row of a sold out conference for self-help guru Tony Robbins, and here it comes, Ba-Bam!: “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” According to publisher Simon and Schuster, minister and author Norman Vincent Peale’s best selling book, The Power of Positive Thinking stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for...
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December 10, 2012
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Mr. Brooks
Former Texas Representative (D) Jack Brooks died this week. Brooks led Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign in his home district of Texas. After Kennedy’s assassination, he was present for the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson aboard Air Force One (just behind Jackie Kennedy on the right). Brooks not only helped write Kennedy’s signature Civil Rights Act, he was one of...
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December 7, 2012
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This One’s for Jeannie
Every year the Gallup organization asks a cross-section of Americans to rate “the perceived honesty and ethical standards” of various professions. As expected, nurses, pharmacists and medical doctors have topped the list at 85%, 75% and 70% respectively in 2012. “Six medical professional categories were included in this year’s update,” Gallup writes. “Nurses’ high rating this is not unexpected; they...
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December 5, 2012