The World Cup, Islam and European hospitality

Hospitality was Germany’s motto for World Cup 2006: “The world as guest among friends.” Yet there was a note of anxiety in Germany’s effort to present itself as a good host and a good neighbor. Ironically, World-Cup visitors had little contact with their German hosts. “German” hospitality was extended by proxy, by Turkish taxi drivers […]

More oil needed: Alberta…the short term solution

Ah, the car . . . nothing is more American. We drive to work. We drive to the ballpark. We drive to the beach. We drive to the mall. We drive our kids to and from school. Americans have more cars per capita and drive more miles per capita than anyone else. For most of […]

Corporate Scandals and Leadership

With the death of Kenneth Lay and the pending sentencing of fellow convicted Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling for conspiracy, fraud, lying and manipulating stock prices, one of the last of the major corporate scandals that appeared at the turn of the millennium seems to be slowly coming to an ugly end. The demise of Enron […]

Joys and pains of living in the worldwide neighborhood

The old saying is that all politics is local. That is probably not true, but it is true that for some of us all news is local. Once a person has worked on five continents, there is no news story that can be dismissed. Friends and coworkers are involved in some way with almost everything […]

Why can’t we be friends?

Pharaohs declared themselves gods. Rulers from Julius Cesar to Queen Elizabeth II print and engrave their pictures on money. Every lord, duke or baronet who ever sat on a horse commissioned a statue of them riding it. These are all symbols of individuals as nations—personal embodiments of a national personality. We in the United States […]

The true meaning of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate Mom. These days, pampered luxuries such as day spas and getaway trips are fast becoming popular gifts. Still, the most cherished present, according to several holiday websites, is to honor hard-working moms as “Queen for a Day,” complete with breakfast in bed, homemade cards, flowers and family gatherings […]

Moving towards a fossil-fuel free Earth Day

This Earth Day we need to celebrate $3-a-gallon gasoline. Let’s have a big party and congratulate ourselves for this wonderful stroke of good fortune! A barrel of oil costs more now than at any other time in history since 1869! Maybe these good times will get even get better—$4 a gallon anyone? Before all the […]

Education reform—will it ever end?

The current rush to high stakes testing and high school exit examinations appears to be just another of the many “reforms” that have been presented as the panacea for education. Since the early days of Horace Mann in the 1830s and 1840s reform has cascaded over education. Mann described the common school as the “greatest […]

Choices made today can set the course for years to come

Tom Wolfe’s most recent book, I am Charlotte Simmons, tells the story of a naïve rural girl who earns a scholarship to a prestigious urban university. Expecting to find an intellectually stimulating environment, Charlotte instead discovers a culture that promotes alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity and a “party ‘til you drop” mentality. Confused about her new […]

Ethical business is a must—not an oxymoron

People sometimes comment to me that “business ethics” is an oxymoron, but in fact it is a necessity. Business depends on trust and integrity, on the keeping of one’s word between client and professional, customer and provider, and employee and employer, within organizations of all kinds and governments at all levels. Despite what some say, […]