Recent Commentaries

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Leaning In
Before Sheryl Sandberg there was Sister Mary Benedict. The other night, I settled back to watch an old (1945) classic and was surprised to discover a few ethical indiscretions. The Bells of St. Mary’s tells the story of kindly father O’Malley (Bing Crosby) who is sent to the run-down school of St. Mary’s in a town comprised of only fine,...
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March 27, 2013
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The Dark Knight of “Wisdom”
Who is Bobby Knight? He’s a legendary coach who ranks third in all-time wins for NCAA Division I men’s basketball. Take the word “wins” out of that description and what you really have is a world-class bully who has used his position as a college coach to badger, bully and demean his student players into winning. For Bobby Knight, winning...
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March 25, 2013
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The Two Dick Cheneys
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” Lincoln never encountered the remarkable certitude of former Vice-President Dick Cheney. In a new Showtime documentary by filmmaker R.J. Cutler, aptly titled The World According to Dick Cheney, the former vice-president confidently riffs about everything from fly fishing to “enhanced interrogation...
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March 21, 2013
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Stupid is as Stupid Does
This image has not been photo-shopped. The photo accurately shows Denise Tarrant holding her 2-week-old grandson, as she pays for dinner at All Around Pizza in Virginia Beach, Virginia last month (Feb. 18). Why is this grandmother openly “packing heat” in a restaurant? Well, she’s taking advantage of a 15 percent discount offered to any customer who walks through Jay Laze’s pizza establishment “carrying...
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March 18, 2013
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The Ethical Take
Beginning today, at least once a month, I will offer an abbreviated take on a variety of current issues. First up: The New Pope – Let’s begin with the fact that, historically, the (Roman) Catholic Church is the oldest club on the planet. With 1.2 billion in membership and billions more in cash and assets, they continue to exercise considerable influence. And they...
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March 15, 2013
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Prey, Pay and Obey
Friend and colleague Colman McCarthy, a former Post columnist, directs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington DC, and teaches courses on nonviolence at six area colleges and high schools. (He’s also a recovering Catholic.) A critic of Roman Catholicism, calling it “200 years out of date” and in need of a “radical transformation,” scolded a few months ago that...
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March 13, 2013
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March 2013 Ethical Hero – Father Emil Kapaun
This is an amazing story not only of duty and courage, but of faith. Last week, President Obama stood in the East Room of the White House to tell an amazing story of courage and duty by an Army Chaplain in the Korean War. The President was there to bestow the nation’s highest military award, The Medal of Honor posthumously...
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March 12, 2013
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Stuntsmanship vs. Statesmanship
What’s wrong with this picture? When Kentucky Senator Rand Paul finished his almost 13-hour filibuster on whether the government has the legal authority to order drone strikes against Americans living in the U.S., I rolled my eyes believing there are more than a few other priorities ahead of this issue. Last Wednesday (Mar. 6), during his talk-fest, Paul took to...
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March 11, 2013
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A Tale of Two Decision Makers
Wednesday’s New York Times (Mar. 6), offered two stories, appearing side-by-side, that present a contrast in decision-making between two high-profile executives. One uses rationalization while the other employs reason. The two company figureheads I’m talking about are Marissa Mayer, newly installed CEO of Yahoo, an Internet search engine company, and Martha Stewart, author, magazine publisher and founder of Martha Stewart...
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March 8, 2013
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Crucial Years
In 1951, nuclear testing continued with a 1-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat near Las Vegas, Nevada. President Harry Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his command in the Far East. Senator Estes Kefauver headed a Senate committee investigating interstate crime, and… …on one bright and shining day in June, John Nelson Baldwin, graduating from Pelham Memorial High School in...
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March 6, 2013