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.


Would You Vote for an Atheist or Agnostic?

Thursday, April 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

Thursday, March 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

Thursday, February 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

Friday, January 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

Wednesday, January 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

Thursday, November 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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Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian nation

Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In his first book, The End of Faith, published in 2004, Sam Harris - philosopher-neuroscientist-and religious skeptic wrote about religion. In his second book, Letter to a Christian Nation, published a few months ago, Harris writes to the religious, especially American Christians. Both books are New York Times bestsellers.

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Are You a Critical Thinker?

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Thinking is like playing tennis, driving a car, or dieting. It can be done well or badly. In modern education jargon, good thinkers are called critical thinkers. Critical thinkers have a mix of attitudes, skills, and habits that set them apart from sloppy thinkers. Are you a critical thinker? Test yourself by answering these questions.

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Liberty or Security - A False Dilemma

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Many have expressed dismay over the Patriot Act and other laws and practices adopted by the United States since 9/11 to guard against the threat of terrorism. In essence, the critics charge that the U.S. is sacrificing liberty at the altar of security.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali : A Voice of Dissent in Islam

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

For many Western political leaders, the problem in today's world is not Islam, which they see as a religion of peace, but religious extremists who subvert it. But this viewpoint is coming under fire from a growing list of writers (1), including Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Though a young woman at 36, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has received no less than a dozen major awards in Europe and the United States for her advocacy of Muslim women and in 2005 she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. Recently she was the subject of one of George F. Will's syndicated columns (September 21, 2006).

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