Recent Commentaries

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Four Who Made a Difference in 2014
While everybody is posting their own end-of-the-year list, here’s my selection of ethical stand-outs. Mike Carey – Carey is the first African-American to referee the Super Bowl and has been honored as one of the best in the game in 2008. While honesty and fairness are critical to his job, so is respect. So, in 2006 Carey quietly requested that...
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December 31, 2014
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Cleaning up after the “Hustle”
Bank of America has been cleaning up after the mess that was Countrywide Financial the mortgage loan corporation that was acquired by BofA in 2008 for $4 billion. As reported by The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 20), “Four whistleblowers will collect a total of more than $170 million for helping investigators get a record $16.65 billion penalty against Bank of...
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December 29, 2014
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Two Christmas Stories
Although faith is not an ethical value, its importance in driving ethical conduct should not be underestimated. In fact, the word faith comes from the Latin fidere meaning ‘to trust.’ According to the Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, “Faith is an attitude or belief which goes beyond the available evidence.” This first story (Dec. 19) I saw twice on the...
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December 24, 2014
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The 1914 Christmas Truce
With the recent shootings of two police officers in New York, the Eric Garner and Michael Brown protests , the Sony “hack,” the continued terrorist threats by the self-styled “Guardians of Peace,” and ISIS, Dr. Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology, neurology and neurosurgery at Stanford University, finds meaning in a Christmas gesture made 100 years ago. The front page...
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December 22, 2014
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The Sony Decision
After Sony’s announcement that they would pull the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy “The Interview” before a planned Christmas day release there has been no shortage of reactions, mostly one sided: Actor Steve Carell: Sad day for creative expression. Director Judd Apatow: I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview. Will they pull any movie that...
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December 19, 2014
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The Sony “Hack”
There’s an expression in Hollywood that says that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. However, in the case of the massive cyber attack of Sony Pictures (Nov. 24), where thousands of documents including private e-mails, budget numbers, executive salaries, social security numbers, home addresses, as well as employee health records were stolen… somehow, I don’t think Sony is keyed...
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December 17, 2014
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Perspective from a Pollster
During the past several weeks, protest marches have spread from Ferguson to Washington D.C. Is it all about the police-involved deaths of two unarmed black men, or have these events uncovered a long simmering flaw in the criminal justice system – a system that appears to side with police and against the citizens they’re supposed to protect and serve? John...
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December 15, 2014
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No Easy Answers
In assessing the actions of the CIA and, in particular, the program euphemistically called, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, context is important. Nowhere is that historical context more evident than in an April 2007 interview CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley conducted with former CIA Chief George Tenet. Tenet was unusually candid and direct about the situation the United States faced after September...
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December 12, 2014
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“We must not.”
A five-year Senate Intelligence Committee investigation examining the Central Intelligence Agency’s role in interrogation tactics against detainees involved in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 was released today and the evidence is damning. “Based on 6.2 million pages of documents,” TIME magazine reports (Dec.9), photos and other CIA files, the report presents evidence that the agency’s interrogation methods were brutal and...
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December 10, 2014
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In the Heat of the Night, Part 2
I never became aware of the racial tension that had existed for decades until the evening of August 11, 1965. The Watts Riots continued for six, agonizing days and resulted in 34 deaths and $40 million in property damage. The last two weeks have seen protests spread from Ferguson, Missouri to New York, Seattle, Washington, and Los Angeles. Last Thursday...
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December 8, 2014