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.


Energy: The Turning Point

Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Fast forward fifty years to the United States of America 2058. Most of the cars and trucks run on natural gas, ethanol, or batteries, not gasoline or diesel fuel. Most of the nation's electricity is generated...

  • by thousands of huge solar panels arrayed across the western states,
  • by hundreds of nuclear power plants, and
  • by thousands of windmills along a 400-mile wide corridor through the central states from North Dakota and Minnesota to Texas.
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For A New Thrift Part 2

Thursday, July 17, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

With Americans mired in unprecedented debt, a group called the "Commission on Thrift" has issued a report with a plan to shrink debt and encourage saving among Americans of modest means. (1) Here are the highlights of the plan.

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For A New Thrift Part 1

Thursday, July 3, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

A report entitled For a New Thrift: Confronting the Debt Culture was released recently in Washington, D.C. (1) Its sixty-two signatories, called the "Commission on Thrift," aim to reduce debt and to cultivate a habit of saving among Americans of modest means. Today I'll deal with the first part of the report which tell us what went wrong in our culture and next time I'll deal with the second part which outlines a cure.

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Edward Filene

Thursday, June 19, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Filene's was a Boston-based department store chain founded by William Filene, a German Jewish immigrant, in 1881. When William became ill, his son Edward left Harvard in 1890 to run the business. Edward oversaw the expansion of the chain and the introduction of marketing innovations such as the bargain basement, money back guarantees, and automatic markdowns. With these markdowns, the cost of an item dropped the longer it remained on the selling floor. (1)
Although Edward Filene was a hugely successful entrepreneur, he was also deeply committed to his employees and their families. To promote the quality of their work and their life, Filene

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Cost of Family Fragmentation to Taxpayers

Friday, June 6, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The Institute for American Values and three other groups dedicated to strengthening the family commissioned a study which was published recently. It is entitled The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: A Report to the Nation. (1) The principal investigator is economist Benjamin Scafidi. The report confirms that due to divorce and unwed childbearing, the institution of the family is in trouble in America, and the fragmented family comes with a staggering price tag which the report estimates, conservatively, at $112 billion a year. (2)

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So You Want to be a Professor?

Thursday, May 22, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Every year in the spring the American Association of University Professors, an old and respected national organization of higher education faculty, publishes a report on the economic status of the profession. This year's report deals with two issues, faculty salaries and shifts in staffing. (1) The report was authored by economist Saranna Thornton of Hampden-Sydney College who chairs the AAUP Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession.
On faculty salaries, the AAUP report has plenty of bad news for current and prospective faculty:

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Ghosts

Thursday, May 15, 2008
Commentator: Lou Zona
Transcript:
There is no transcript available.
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Confronting the Debt Culture

Thursday, May 8, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Next week at the Washington, D.C. Marriott, a national conference will be held with the theme "Confronting the Debt Culture." It is co-sponsored by five organizations, including the Institute for American Values and the New America Foundation. (1) The conference will attract consumers and consumer advocates, scholars, elected and appointed government officials, philanthropists, and representatives from foundations, banks and credit unions, among others. The highlight of the conference will be the release of a report entitled For a New Thrift: Confronting the Debt Culture which the co-sponsors have been researching and writing for many months.

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U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

Thursday, April 24, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In February of this year, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released the results of one of the most extensive surveys in history of the views of Americans toward religion. The survey, titled the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, was conducted in 2007 among a sample of 35,000 adults. (a) Thousands of facts about believers and non-believers in America can be found in the narrative or tables in this 250 page document, including these:

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Cultural Relativism

Thursday, April 3, 2008
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

A prominent ethical theory, cultural relativism, holds that the right or the good is the customary. Further, in that customs often differ from culture to culture, so right and wrong differ, and there is no objective, universally applicable moral law. "(T)here are only the various cultural codes, and nothing more. Moreover, our own code has no special status; it is merely one among many." (1)

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