Recent Commentaries

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Not a Good Day for States
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. – Dwight D. Eisenhower “In 2013, the director of the Idaho Racing Commission told state lawmakers that controversial ‘instant racing’ machines could help save the state’s...
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November 30, 2015
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The Turkeys are Back!
With an avalanche of serious stories occupying most of the news cycle, I’ve decided to go light. And what better way to celebrate turkey day than to reconnect with The Ethics Stupid Turkey Awards – honoring the strange, outlandish and just plain, well… you decide. * (Still honorable mention) – ‘Rudy’ (the tweeting) parrot: Still alive and kickin’! …and feistier...
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November 26, 2015
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Fear and Extremism
Since the attacks in Paris more than a week ago, so much of the political talk has centered on radical Muslims. (Although some leave the word “radical” out of the discussion). Before a packed crowd on Saturday (Nov. 21) in Birmingham, Alabama, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said, “I want surveillance of certain mosques, O.K.?” Earlier in the week, in...
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November 23, 2015
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Searching for Meaning
Since the attacks in Paris last Friday, like many, I have been struggling to understand why some people are so consumed by hate that it leads them to commit monstrous acts. I remembered a book I’ve had since college, Man’s Search for Meaning, by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. In the book’s preface, psychologist Gordon Allport writes, “As a longtime prisoner in...
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November 20, 2015
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That’s the Japanese word for survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The word translates as “explosion-affected people.” Rarely have I listened to such a compelling personal story. It’s the story of Setsuko Thurlow, a hibakusha, who, at just 13-years-old became a victim of war. Today, she is a Peace Ambassador of the United Nations University of Peace...
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November 18, 2015
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What Makes a Hero?
“A hero has two basic qualities: a selfless devotion to what’s right, whether that’s his duty or not, and the courage of his convictions.”  – Dale Dye, Marine Captain (Ret.) In 2012, while fighting in Afghanistan, Army Captain Florent Groberg demonstrated the kind of selfless devotion to duty Dye speaks of when he knowingly rushed a suicide bomber who was...
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November 16, 2015
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The Incredible Dorothy Day
On his recent visit to the United States, Pope Francis talked about several Americans who had an impact on Catholics in general and the Church, in particular. One of them was journalist Dorothy Day, a name not readily familiar to most. Former Washington Post columnist and current Peace Studies teacher, Colman McCarthy, offered a fuller background on Day and the...
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November 13, 2015
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Red Cup or Red Herring?
The choice of stories selected by broadcast news directors sometimes amazes me — example: the Starbucks Red Cup “Controversy.” What began as a YouTube rant about Starbucks alleged lack of acknowledgement of Christmas turned out to be a red herring that was a complete waste of news time. After years of offering cheery Christmas designs on their cups, coffee monster...
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November 11, 2015
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Just the Facts!
“One of the worst and most boring political pundits on television is @krauthammer. A totally overrated clown who speaks without knowing the facts.” – Donald Trump, tweet, June 4, 2015 Okay, boys and girls, it’s time for America’s number one ignored show, Checking the Candidates’ Facts!; the show where you don’t have to participate, and are completely free to disregard...
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November 9, 2015
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The ‘Better Angels’ Candidate
“Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory… will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” – Lincoln’s first inaugural address, March 4, 1861 Regular readers know that the majority of my commentaries stick to...
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November 6, 2015