Commentaries

If you're a regular listener to NPR news programs, you're probably familiar with the occasional brief commentary during the morning or evening news programs by experts in various fields; people providing insight into public affairs, observations on the arts, and thoughts on how we live. This page contains transcripts and/or audio recordings of local commentaries that have aired on WYSU.


The Odd Couple

Published: Jan 31, 2014
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In 2006, Jim Henderson, a Christian minister, (1) turned to an unusual source for help with his project to improve churches. He outbid more than a dozen competitors in an eBay auction in which Hemant Mehta, a self-described “friendly atheist,” offered to attend churches and evaluate their services and programs. Thus was born a religious version of the odd couple. (2)

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The Care and Feeding of the Brain

Published: Jan 1, 2014
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The human brain, which weighs only three-pounds, is on duty round the clock whether we're awake or asleep, conscious or unconscious. Electrical and chemical messages fly around it constantly. It regulates all the other organs in our body and makes possible every action that we perform.

Fortunately, there are steps that we can take to make and keep our brain fit. In fact, as science writer Guy P. Harrison points out in his new book entitled Think, they are the same steps that benefit our overall health. (1) According to Harrison, here is what we should do for our brain:

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Winter Solstice

Published: Dec 20, 2013
Commentator: Tess Tessier
Transcript:

For many thousands of years, human beings in this hemisphere have acknowledged, through prayer and ritual, the sacred power of this season—the power of the long dark and the first glimmer of light’s increase. There is something about this time of year. These are the halcyon days, around the time of the winter solstice, named after the great bird of folklore who built her nest on the surface of the ocean and was able to quiet the winds while her eggs were hatching.

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Religion and the Founders

Published: Dec 19, 2013
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In popular culture there are two sharply contrasting views about religion and the founding fathers. One is that the founders were devout Christians who read the Bible and prayed daily. The other is that they were products of the Enlightenment who abandoned religion for reason and science. So, which view is accurate? Neither! If we could take a snapshot of religion in the colonies in 1770, here is what we would find:

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Jennifer Hecht on Suicide

Published: Dec 5, 2013
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In the United States over the past decade, the rate of suicide has risen sharply. Although it rose among all age groups during this period, it shot up dramatically in two groups:

  • in the 35-64 age group, suicide increased 30 percent, and
  • among men in their fifties, it increased 50 percent.

Today, suicide deaths per year (38,364) exceed deaths per year due to auto accidents (33,687). (1)

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JFK: What Could Have Been

Published: Nov 22, 2013
Commentator: Matthew Mangino
Transcript:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the most infamous crime of the 20th century.

The murder of President Kennedy continues to fascinate and disturb people around the globe. The killing has been investigated and analyzed; reviewed and written about; video-taped and dramatized; unequivocally the most talked about criminal event in the last 100 years.

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Herbal Supplements - A New Study

Published: Nov 14, 2013
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a recent commentary I argued that we should be skeptical about alternative medicine because, contrary to conventional medicine, its claims are not confirmed by science and it is unregulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Admistration). New evidence has now surfaced about herbal supplements, a staple in alternative medicine, which underscores the need for such skepticism. The evidence appears in an important research study in Canada which was published last month in the journal BMC Medicine (1) and reported this month in The New York Times (2).

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The Fiscal Cliff

Published: Dec 19, 2012
Commentator: Dr. Keith Lepak
Transcript:

Dr. Keith Lepak is an Associate Professor teaching Politics and International Relations in the Political Science Department at Youngstown State University.  In this commentary, he provides his insights on the looming Fiscal Cliff.

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John Strossel, Gadfly

Published: Dec 13, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

We begin with a question. Who is the TV investigative reporter whose career spans forty-three years, who has won no fewer than nineteen Emmys and five National Press Club awards, and who is a libertarian who celebrates free markets and denigrates government? If you answered "John Stossel," you're right on the money. (1) Although it is now six years old, Stossel's book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, (2) remains the best distillation of his body of work over the years. Let's focus on parts of his discussion of two topics in this book - the media and public schools.

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Race One and Race Two

Published: Nov 29, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

There are two basic and opposed interpretations of the term "race" which I will label Race One and Race Two. Let's clarify each.

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