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.


Charles Curran's Rocky Road

Thursday, January 8, 2009
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Charles Curran, one of the most influential theologians of the past half century, grew up in Rochester, New York. He decided at the age of 13 to be a priest, earned two doctorates in theology in Rome, where he was also ordained, and accepted an appointment to the theology faculty at the Catholic University of America in 1965, a campus that would serve as the stage for an epic battle between Curran and the Vatican. (1)

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Religious Illiteracy

Friday, December 26, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a recent book on the subject of religious literacy in America (1), Stephen Prothero, a historian of religion, argues that, paradoxically, "Americans are both deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion." (2) For instance, despite the fact that a huge majority of Americans are Christians, only half can name even one of the four Gospels (3), a majority cannot name the first book of the Bible (4), and only one-third know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. (5) Americans are ignorant not only about Christianity but other religions as well.

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Galbraith on Global Warming and Planning

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The mobilization for World War II by the United States shows government planning at its best. During a four-year period the United States recruited, trained, and deployed eleven million soldiers; commissioned the production of countless aircraft, seacraft, trucks, jeeps, tanks, bombs, guns, and bullets; kept inflation low; and achieved full employment. (1) The result was victory over the Axis powers. By contrast, the devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina shows government planning at its worst.

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A Lesson from Scandinavia

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:
  • During the years 2005 and 2006, American sociologist Phil Zuckerman spent fourteen months in Denmark and Sweden to study these two societies. In a recent book, he reports these findings: (1)
  • Denmark and Sweden have among the lowest rates of violent crime in the world. (pp. 28-29) (2)
  • Denmark and Sweden have the lowest rates of HIV and AIDS in the world. (p. 27)
  • Sweden is third and Denmark is fifth in the world in economic competitiveness. (p. 27)
  • On gender equality, Denmark is second and Sweden is third in the world. (p.
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Are American Voters Stupid?

Friday, November 14, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Consider the following facts about the American people:

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New Atheists

Friday, October 31, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a book published in 2006, journalist and author Chris Hedges pilloried religious fundamentalists in America, charging them with corrupting Christianity, undermining the Constitution, and promoting American imperialism. (1). In his most recent book, I Don't Believe in Atheists, (2) Hedges shifts to the opposite side of the ideological spectrum to critique a group which he calls the "new atheists" and which he considers secular fundamentalists.

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Chris Hedges: American Fascists

Friday, October 10, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The radical segment of American Evangelicals is the focus of the fourth book by Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The New York Times and co-recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reports on global terrorism. The book, entitled American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America, is a chilling expose and critique of the quest for theocracy, and its leaders, among them Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, Timothy LaHaye, Rod Parsley, and others.

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Coach Jim Tressel

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Jim Tressel has been known as a remarkably successful college football coach. With the publication of The Winners Manual for the Game of Life, (1) he is now known in the sports world and beyond as a coach and author. The book is a distillation of a nearly four-hundred page handbook called The Winners Manual which Coach Tressel gives to his football team each year as they begin preparation for a new season. He changes it slightly each year.

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Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)

Friday, September 12, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In 2006 Oprah Winfrey endorsed a book by James Frey which was purported to be a memoir of his drug addiction and recovery. It was entitled A Million Little Pieces. Oprah's endorsement made the book an instant best-seller. As time passed an investigative website called "The Smoking Gun" and a journalist named Richard Cohen showed that Frey's story was fabricated. Initially Oprah reasserted her support for Frey. (1) The fact is that Oprah had been duped but she was intent on justifying her original decision and her credibility despite the facts.

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The Faith-Based White House

Friday, August 29, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:
There is no transcript available.
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