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.


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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Eben Alexander's Journey into the Afterlife

Published: Nov 15, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

There is a new convert to the belief that consciousness is not produced by or dependent on the brain. He is Eben Alexander, M.D., a distinguished neurosurgeon who spent much of his career on the Harvard medical faculty and who has authored 150 publications and delivered over 200 papers. (1) And what prompted this conversion? It was Dr. Alexander's near-death-experience in 2008 at age 54 while in a seven-day coma when he battled the rarest of illnesses – bacterial meningitis caused by E. coli. (2)

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Harrison on Religon

Published: Nov 8, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

After years of interviewing hundreds of believers of more than a dozen religions around the world, Guy P. Harrison has written a book entitled 50 reasons people give for believing in a god (1) in which he strives to be a kinder and gentler religious skeptic than the so-called "new atheists." (2) Harrison writes:

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The Cost of Pretrial Detention

Published: Oct 26, 2012
Commentator: Matthew T. Mangino
Transcript:

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the number of state prisoners in the United States has declined, according to the Department of Justice. While local jails have also experienced a modest decrease, those numbers may change with the diversion of state prisoners from state correctional facilities to local jails.

Why the diversion? State budget woes. However, local governments have not fared better. State aid and property taxes, which together account for more than half of local revenues, are dropping simultaneously for the first time since 1980.

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The Invisible Gorilla

Published: Oct 25, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In 1997 two psychologists designed an experiment in which they directed a group of volunteers to view a film that lasted less than a minute in which people assembled in a circle pass a basketball to one another. The viewers were asked to count the exact number of passes. Because they focused their attention on the movement of the ball, over half of them failed to notice something that they didn't expect. Midway through the film, a person dressed in a gorilla suit walked through the circle, stopped, faced the camera, beat its chest, and walked off, spending a full nine seconds in the film.

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Popular Beliefs

Published: Oct 16, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Did you know that 27% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 have doubts that NASA astronauts really landed on the Moon? (1) And that 4 of 10 parents in the United States refuse to give their children one or more traditional vaccinations for fear of autism? (2) These are two of the surprising revelations in a new book by science writer, Guy P. Harrison, entitled 50 popular beliefs that people think are true. In this book Harrison examines dozens of beliefs which, despite their hold on millions, lack one important ingredient – evidence. (3)Let's focus here on beliefs about the Moon landings and vaccinations.

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