Recent Commentaries

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Influence Matters
Our greatest influences come from those closest to us. Here is a story that speaks, not only of the influence a parent can have on a child, but to a community as well. “In my thirty-three years of life, I can say that I have always had this one constant in my life leading me in the right direction and...
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January 28, 2013
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Manti Te’o: His Problem and Ours
Well… that was quick. No sooner had I written about the importance of giving college linebacker Manti Te’o a break regarding what he said or knew about his “Internet girlfriend” hoax, then boom, in less than a week, the Notre Dame star admits to lying to talk show host Katie Couric. I had already received several e-mails from John, good friend...
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January 25, 2013
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Three Principles I Live By
The recent controversy over scenes of torture in Zero Dark Thirty, a film dramatizing the hunt for terrorist Osama bin Laden, caused me to revisit a student paper from Steve Ambra’sContemporary Ethical Issues class. The student, a former U.S. soldier deployed to Iraq, reminded me of just some of the many ethical issues faced by our military in combat situations. “I joined the military at...
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January 23, 2013
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Scandal Porn
The intersection of two stories this week caused me to examine the media’s appetite to pander under the guise of “coming clean.” After weeks of rumor and speculation, former seven-time Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to achieve his victories. In listening to Armstrong’s confessional, I wasn’t so much interested in...
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January 19, 2013
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Students displayed a wide range of topics during final presentations in this year’s Contemporary Ethical Issues class at the New Hampshire Technical Institute. Among the issues selected: capital punishment, patient confidentiality, stealing, bullying, and assisted suicide. Sports ethics offered two students as media commentators interviewing three individuals caught in cheating scandals. Three students created a debate on gun control between a representative...
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January 18, 2013
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Don’t You Judge Me!
Earl J. Hickey is a shiftless, ne’er-do-well, who, after a near-fatal accident, sees the burning bush of Karma and wants to lead a better life, or as one NHTI student so eloquently summarizes: “If you give crap, you will get crap in return.” In the part comedy-part philosophy series, My Name is Earl, Hickey sets out to reform his ways by...
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January 17, 2013
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Color of the Soul
After reviewing the PBS Frontline documentary, A Class Divided, Professor Stephen Ambra led a class discussion on bigotry and intolerance. However, it was a conversation I had at the break with one of the students that led to a special written assignment. Sitting in the back of the room, clearly uncomfortable with the discussion, this student confided that the subject of...
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January 16, 2013
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A Simple Act
One of the aspects that comes from walking into a class of total strangers for the first time is expectations. I expect that because most of them are young, that they have relatively normal lives absent any grave or impactful issues. I could not be more wrong. The level of candor reflected in most papers was not only unexpected but demonstrated a...
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January 15, 2013
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Professionalism and Respectfulness
The New Hampshire Technical Institute is a small community college tucked into the historic town of Concord. NHTI is also the home of the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center – a remarkable resource for both students and visitors. This is the third year I have had the opportunity to co-teachContemporary Ethical Issues with Professor Stephen Ambra. The intensive class runs seven hours a day for five...
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January 14, 2013
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The Great White Eagle
Second, in a series of two profiles, is about former U.S. Representative, Senator and 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern. This first appeared in the National Catholic Reporter December 31, 2012. On the Wednesday afternoon in early November 1972 after his defeat the day before by Richard Nixon for the presidency, George McGovern and his wife Eleanor arrived at Washington’s National...
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January 11, 2013