Recent Character Commentaries

Featured image for “2013 Year-End Review, Part I”
2013 Year-End Review, Part I
Remember these guys? Did they rise to the top of the bottom of the barrel? A look at the Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous over the past year. By the numbers – The Center for Public Integrity offers up a few items from the ridiculous: Number of bills passed by Congress this year that have been signed into law: 58 Number of bills passed in 1948,  » Read more...
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December 27, 2013
Featured image for “Always Be a Gentleman”
Always Be a Gentleman
James J. Corbett was an American boxer dubbed “Gentleman Jim” because of his good looks, and quiet, self-effacing personality – a stark contrast to the typical mug-like fighters of his day. Among the qualities of a true gentleman are courtesy, respect, good work habits, self-restraint, as well as a sense of caring about how their actions affect others. Every day,...
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October 25, 2013
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Football Coach to Team: You’re Benched!
Utah Union High School football Coach Matt Labrum believes “…the most important thing is that we build character.” Labrum backed up that belief with action. Immediately after last Friday’s game, the coach sat his players down in the locker room and told them that after learning of reports that many of them had skipped class, received poor grades and allegedly...
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September 27, 2013
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Whenever we get fussed-up by the trials, tribulations, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, frustrations, tragedies, challenges, the President, Congress, Fox News, MSNBC, (fill in your own blank), not to mention our own egos, we should all take a moment to step back and get a little perspective. The following poem comes from my own ethics teacher, Michael Josephson, who offers some...
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May 20, 2013
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Apology and Forgiveness
“He was the very, very first to come and apologize to me. For a private citizen to come along and say, ‘I’m the one that attacked you; I’m the one who beat you,’ it was very meaningful…. His story and the way he arrived at his position must be understood, must be told.” That was civil-rights leader and Georgia Representative John...
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April 3, 2013
Featured image for “Duty and Honor”
Duty and Honor
Downton Abbey is the British-produced, period drama on PBSthat everyone… including me, is watching. It’s a character study of two classes: the lords and ladies of privilege that occupy the drawing rooms in the castle that is their home; and the household keepers who maintain all of that fuss and fury. It comes in weekly installments not unlike the monthly chapters written by...
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February 25, 2013
Featured image for “Returning to Hadleyville”
Returning to Hadleyville
Of all the films whose central character demonstrates a highly developed moral compass, High Noon tops my list. Why does High Noon still matter? Never has one film captured the essence of an ethical dilemma along with the variety of rationalizations against doing the right thing as this 1952 western does. Written by Carl Foreman (who was facing his own dilemma with McCarthyism...
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December 14, 2012
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Goodwin on Lincoln and Leadership
Historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin knows presidents. The Pulitzer Prize winning biographer has written on the Kennedys, Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt and her book on Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was the source material for Steven Spielberg’s latest film. Washington Post writer Lillian Cunningham recently asked Goodwin for her thoughts on presidential leadership. W.P.: “You’ve done several interviews lately about...
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November 30, 2012
Featured image for “What’s the Goal?”
What’s the Goal?
Last Friday’s post talked about business ethics. One reader asked about a potential conflict between the needs of a shareholder to make money versus needing to do right by employees. “Can you be equally ethical to both? Is it ethical for a company to deprive shareholders of additional money in order to maintain an ethical working environment?” Creating and maintaining...
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May 25, 2012
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Character – You Respond
The level of thoughtful comments I received regarding my character question was impressive. On March 2, I asked, What does it mean to you to have strong moral character? Amanda from North Carolina wrote, “My thoughts on morality and ethics continue to evolve as my understanding of the historical concept of morality develops. Do I care about a president’s sexual affairs? No....
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March 12, 2012

Read Some of the Most Recent Articles
The Latest... And Often Greatest
Memo to Democrats: Don’t Gloat
Note: On assignment, but I’ll be back! No high-fives. No victory laps. No champagne room. You’re not out of the woods, yet. Watching Democratic leadership...
The Bird is The Word
“A-well-a everybody’s heard about the bird! Bird bird bird, b-bird’s the word A-well-a bird, bird, bird, bird is the word . . . ”—The Trashmen,...
Stand for What’s Right!
Integrity: firm adherence to a code of moral values—uprightness. A rap star spouts antisemitic and anti-Black remarks and refuses to apologize. A basketball star apologizes...
The Lies of Alex Jones: Contemptible, Now, ACCOUNTABLE!
Returning to duty Monday, November 7! Alex Jones, the belligerent, hostile, influential media host of Infowars was held accountable for his lies concerning the murder...
Great Moments in Republican Hypocrisy
How much toxicity can American democracy take before it collapses? Here’s pro-life conservative pundit Dana Loesch speaking about the scandal surrounding former pro-football player, anti-abortion...
Yvon Chouinard’s Extraordinary Gift
With all the chaos and destruction brought about by Washington and an unprecedented hurricane, one story has received only moderate attention. Before Yvon Chouinard became...