Recent Character Commentaries

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Character as Destiny
There’s a scene late in the film The Emperor’s Club when William Hundert, a teacher who believes that character is the path to true success, dispenses a final lesson to an errant student. “All of us, at some point,” Hundert tells an older but no wiser Sedgewick Bell, “are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror and see who we really...
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November 20, 2009
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What’s in a Name
Most people may not recognize Carl Muscarello by name but are probably familiar with his picture. He’s the sailor kissing the nurse in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic, 1945 photograph on V-J Day in Times Square. However, Carl describes himself as, “an Italian-American kid from Brooklyn, New York who has been fortunate in that happiness in my life has come from my...
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August 31, 2009
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The Task of a True Statesman
Sitting in a Chinese restaurant, I remember opening a “fortune cookie” which read:  Confucius say… Wealth and renown gained without honor are nothing but drifting clouds. More than 2,500 years later, the Chinese philosopher and social thinker would probably laugh to discover that much of his wisdom has been distilled and tweaked to fit inside the modern invention of a cookie which...
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July 17, 2009
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Why Be Ethical?
A weekend conversation with a friend prompted the following: “Why be ethical?  What’s the payoff?” The standard fall-back:  “Virtue is its own reward.” Another might be the adage by Louis Armstrong when asked the definition of Jazz: “If you have to ask… you’ll never know.” The reality is that most of us face issues that challenge our ethical integrity on a regular basis.   » Read...
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April 22, 2009
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How Do We Restore America’s Integrity?
Halfway through the Jim Carrey movie, The Majestic, the story takes a sharp turn away from romantic comedy to a drama that examines one man facing a moment of principle. Blacklisted writer Peter Appleton must choose between reading a pre-arranged statement that provides a list of communist sympathizers or take a stand against the Committee on Un-American Activities and stand for the second amendment.  » Read...
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April 6, 2009
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The Noble Life
You’re facing a crisis. “Know what you can control and what you can’t.” People challenge and criticize you. “Refrain from defending your reputation and intentions.” Some people use harsh language and bombast. “Conduct yourself with dignity.” If you’re looking for the calm while working your way through a great storm, the ancient Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus just might be the...
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March 30, 2009
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Character Matters
Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal ran an essay entitled, In Praise of Transgressions by Joe Queenan. Without condoning the very public offenses of Tom Daschle, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps and others, Mr. Queenan posits the notion that rather than look upon the destructive actions of high-profile individuals as bad behavior, we should instead, embrace these events as a kind of psychotherapy: “…we...
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February 25, 2009
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What is Your Purpose?
Jennifer Westbrook is a graduate from Hampton University’s Honors College who loves the music of Miles Davis and the writings of Frederick Douglass. Her story of respect is a timely reminder of the importance of recognizing the dignity of others. “A homeless man sat alone on a park bench amongst the horde of people in the park. No one sat on the...
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February 18, 2009
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A Good Judge of Character
When New York Federal District Judge Charles Brieant, Jr. died last summer the staff began packing up his chambers.  However, among his personal items was a painting that has many people talking “Hanging on the wall,” the New York Times wrote, “along with portraits of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, was an oil painting of an obscure judge… Martin T. Manton who sat...
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February 9, 2009
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The Greatest of Virtues
An economy in crisis, rising unemployment, mounting foreclosures, once trusted financial institutions and respected individuals involved in fraud and malfeasance by elected officials. In such perilous and unprincipled times, it can be difficult to find gratitude much less express gratitude in our daily lives.  And yet, a recent e-mail from a colleague who works at the crossroads of media, business...
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December 26, 2008

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...