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.


Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc.

Published: Jul 19, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Suppose you pick up the daily newspaper and read that President George W. Bush has authorized the expenditure of $5,000,000 of public funds under his faith-based programs for construction of a new Baptist church in Texas by young Christians learning the skilled trades. You are incensed at what you see as a flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. But what can you do, legally, to stop the President and preserve the Constitution? You can write a letter to the editor, you can picket the White House, and you can unload on a blog.

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Religion and Morality

Published: Jun 14, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The popular view among religious people is that religion is indispensable to morality in that religion affirms the existence of a God who has revealed a law to direct humans how to live. (1) There are problems with this position, however, from the perspective of philosophy. Religion relies on faith while philosophy relies on reason. The three central beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam which have a bearing on morality and which are embraced on faith are that 1) There is a God, 2) God is good and not evil, and 3) God has ordained rules for living which humans can learn.

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A 1981 Warning About Religion and Politics

Published: May 16, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Through the 1970's a famous American political figure observed with deepening concern the increasing political activity of religious groups. He worried that religious groups posed a threat to individual liberty and jeopardized the separation of church and state. Finally, on September 15, 1981, he rose in the Senate chamber to warn the American people about the marriage of religion and politics. (1)

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A Day with Ted Williams

Published: Apr 17, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

It was the summer of 1955. My friend Brian Trainor and I boarded an early morning train at the Erie Terminal in Youngstown for a trip to Cleveland to see the Indians play the Boston Red Sox on a perfect day for baseball. We were twelve years old. Our fathers bought our train tickets, gave us spending money, and instructed us to report to a Mr. Berry at the umpires' entrance at the stadium to pick up our tickets. After we arrived at the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, we walked about a mile to the stadium and tracked down Mr. Berry.

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Would You Vote for an Atheist or Agnostic?

Published: Apr 5, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Would you vote for an atheist or agnostic for President of the United States? If you would, you're a member of a distinct minority, particularly if you are religious.

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Bernard Rollin, a Dog's Best Friend

Published: Mar 1, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Philosophers are often thought to be scholarly hermits who distance themselves from the practical world to produce books and papers accessible only by their peers. But there are exceptions, one of whom is Bernard Rollin of Colorado State University.

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Robert Green Ingersoll, The Shakespeare of Or

Published: Feb 8, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Eugene Debs called him the "Shakespeare of oratory." After hearing him speak, Mark Twain said "What an organ is human speech when it is employed by a master." He was a hero to James Garfield, Walt Whitman, Ulysses Grant, Margaret Sanger, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ward Beecher, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Who was this remarkable man? Robert Green Ingersoll.

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Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

Published: Jan 19, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Author and director, Nora Ephron, who gave us When Harry Met Sally, Silkwood, and Sleepless in Seattle, has published a mini-autobiography entitled I Feel Bad About My Neck, in which she reflects with honesty and wit on the highs and lows in her life, the travails of aging, and the certainty of death.

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The Costs of College and Perceived Value

Published: Jan 3, 2007
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Most high school graduates apply for admission to several colleges, as they should, because today the average income of college graduates is twice as much as non-graduates. (1) Once admitted, these young people and their parents face the daunting task of meeting the ever-rising costs of college : room, board, tuition, and other fees. The price tag at most private institutions is especially high.

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Garry Wills, A Country Ruled by Faith

Published: Nov 23, 2006
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

It is no surprise that George W. Bush made campaign promises to his political base - evangelicals. But, as a recent article in The New York Review of Books by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills shows ("A Country Ruled by Faith," Nov. 16, 2006, pp. 8-12), the ambitious scope of the President's evangelical agenda is surprising.

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