Recent Business Commentaries

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They Knew
On October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 took off from Jakarta, Indonesia in a brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8. Within moments, without a cloud in the sky, the plane “repeatedly bucked downward,” The New York Times reported (Mar. 20). Lion Air 610 crashed into the Java Sea, losing all on board. According to The Times report, the plane “should...
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May 13, 2019
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Don’t Give an Inch but at What Cost?
No sooner had I written that I could not find any evidence of a single furloughed federal worker who supports the president in shutting down the government in favor of a southern border wall, (Faces from the Crisis, Jan. 14), then The New York Times reported late Monday (Jan. 14), that there are some federal workers – in Parkersburg, West...
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January 16, 2019
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The “Magnificent” Trumps
(With apologies to Booth Tarkington) The ‘magnificence’ of the Trumps began with Frederick Christ ‘Fred’ Trump, who acquired his wealth by building and selling housing to soldiers who returned from World War II and their families. Their gilded splendor lasted throughout all the years that son Donald took over his father’s company, later renamed The Trump Organization. The younger Trump...
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January 4, 2019
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The Right Thing
“I’m embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred was reprehensible at every single level. I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we’re committed to making it right.” That’s Starbucks company founder and Executive Chairman Howard Schultz talking to CBS This Morning host Gayle King about his reaction to two black men who were arrested...
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April 20, 2018
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The Ethical Take: “Attack on Our Country” Edition
What’s going on? I’m gone for only three weeks and… alright, let’s get into it. Mr. Zuckerberg Goes to Washington – And it doesn’t exactly go well for the great Stone Face. After the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal – in which Cambridge created a personality application, posted it on Facebook, then scooped up and used the personal data of approximately 87...
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April 16, 2018
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Bad Blood
It sounded like a good idea. (Strike that.) It sounded like a great idea: one simple blood test that required a single finger prick would give “everyday Americans unlimited control over their health,” The New York Times writes (Mar. 15). The key promise Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes made to investors and potential clients: “that drawing a tiny amount of blood...
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March 16, 2018
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The “Magnificent” Shkreli
There’s a moment during the first act of Orson Welles’s classic film, The Magnificent Ambersons – a period story about the rise and fall of a local family – where Welles, as narrator, points out what a terror young, self-centered George Amberson Minafer is to all the local citizens. “Someday,” a neighbor angrily remarks, “that boy is going to get...
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March 14, 2018
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It’s About Time
A short series of stories about ethical minefields that have finally met their fate, maybe. Chief Wahoo Retires – Finally, the Cleveland Indians have announced that they will “retire” their “big-toothed, red-faced caricature” mascot “Chief Wahoo” used on uniforms, caps and other items. “The Indians have used the Chief Wahoo logo since 1947,” The Los Angeles Times reports (Jan. 29),...
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February 9, 2018
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Michael Wolff and Me
If there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard of Michael Wolff before last week, they’ve certainly heard of him now. Wolff is the author of the controversial new tell-all, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. I’m not going to comment on the book. I haven’t read it and don’t intend to. I will tell you about my experience...
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January 8, 2018
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Dishonesty Always Costs
Volkswagen Executive Oliver Schmidt just found out the cost of his dishonesty: 7 years in prison. “Schmidt, a citizen of Germany,” The New York Times writes (Dec. 6), “is the highest-ranking Volkswagen employee to be convicted in [a scheme to defraud U.S. consumers and regulators by participating in] the company’s efforts to rig pollution tests on hundreds of thousands of...
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December 15, 2017