Recent Ethics Commentaries

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Now, More Than Ever
If I had the opportunity to speak to Congress on the importance of trust, it might sound something like this – The first time I became aware of political leadership it was 1961. Our 7th grade homeroom teacher wheeled in a big television set so that the entire class could watch the inauguration of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We all sat...
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August 1, 2008
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But Wait… That’s Not All!
It’s new.  It’s terrific.  It’s the greatest thing since the I-Mac™, I-Pod™ and I-Phone™! What is it? It’s the XRS R9G IntelliLink™ Wireless Remote Maximum Performance Digital Radar/Laser Detector with Speed & Red Light Camera GPS Locator!! Wow, what’s that? Back in the day, we used to call it… a Fuzzbuster. Sooner or later, high-performance technology had to return to the...
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July 23, 2008
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Ethical Heroes
In 2002 Time magazine selected three women of “ordinary demeanor,” and extraordinary personal integrity to become the magazine’s Persons of the Year. Cynthia Cooper was the internal auditor who exposed what has grown to $11 billion in fraud at WorldCom.  Coleen Rowley was the FBI attorney who wrote a memo to Director Robert Mueller “about how the bureau brushed off...
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July 21, 2008
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Before the Dark Knight
There’s a lot of “buzz” surrounding the new Batman summer movie. One aspect that critics point to is the film’s faithfulness to the original concept of a dark and mysterious character committed to fighting injustice — a departure from the over-the-top cartoon characters present in earlier films. However, before the Bat-man’s appearance in 1939, before Superman debuted in ’38, another...
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July 19, 2008
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When Does Satire Go To Far?
Answer:  When it depicts a national, political candidate with a boatload of misconceptions that many still believe to be true. The cartoon on the latest cover of New Yorker magazine has Senator Barack Obama standing in the oval office, dressed as a Muslim, a picture of Osama bin Laden above the mantel and a flag burning in the fireplace.  His...
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July 18, 2008
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Do You Bling?
Well you probably realized that sooner or later I had to revisit sex, but it usually comes attached to some scandal. Not this time. There has been a lot of talk lately about what’s been called a “carbon footprint.”  It measures the impact that humans have on the environment – how much waste, greenhouse gases, resources used, and the subsequent...
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July 4, 2008
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Compliance vs. Ethics
Does a corporation have a responsibility to be ethical beyond its employees and shareholders? Whenever this question has been asked in surveys, an overwhelming majority of people answer, “Yes!” Here’s what one corporate chairman said about ethics in a memo: “Employees of the Company are charged with conducting their business affairs in accordance with the highest ethical standards. An employee shall...
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June 30, 2008
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The fallout surrounding Countrywide Financial and Chief Executive Angelo R. Mozilo just keeps getting worse.  The last 42-days have seen an extraordinary amount of activity. On May 15, Federal District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer said that “…she found confidential witness accounts in the shareholder complaint to be credible… they suggested, ‘a widespread company culture that encouraged employees to push mortgages...
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June 27, 2008
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Seattle’s Best
Psychiatrist and radio personality Frasier Crane is wrestling with an ethical dilemma. Dr. Honey Snow is not only a pop-psychologist, best selling author and knockout blonde, she also has a crush on Seattle’s resident narcissist and relationship expert. (That’s not the dilemma.) When the stunning Snow asks him to write the forward to her new book, Frasier struggles to craft...
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June 17, 2008
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Teddy Roosevelt’s “True Americanism”
“The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average...
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June 2, 2008