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COMMENTARY 911.1: Will This Be a Good Christmas?

by Michael Josephson on December 19, 2014

in Commentaries, The Good Life

Post image for COMMENTARY 911.1: Will This Be a Good Christmas?

Will this be a good Christmas?

To lots of kids, the answer may be embedded in the response to the question: “Whaddja get?”

On the other hand, retailers and Wall Street investors will look to sales and profits.

What a pity that the spiritual and social potential of this holiday can be so easily lost.

Of course, Christmas is a profoundly important day of worship to devout Christians, so a “good” Christmas must [click to continue…]


Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 910.5: ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly — Even While Shopping

COMMENTARY 910.5: ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly — Even While Shopping

December 18, 2014 Attitude

People are not at their best in crowds. It’s as if every survival-of-the-fittest primordial instinct comes out to obliterate thousands of years of civilization. Pre-and post-holiday shopping, and the inevitable lines, test our character. My wife’s a professional shopper. She has strategies on where to park and how to find the fastest moving line (which […]

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1 7 social sins

POSTER & QUOTE: Gandhi’s 7 Social Sins (English and Spanish)

December 17, 2014 Character

The Seven Social Sins (Aqui esta en castellano) Wealth without work – Riqueza sin trabajo Pleasure without conscience – Placer sin conciencia. Knowledge without character – Conocimientos sin carácter Commerce without morality – Negocios sin moral Science without humanity – Ciencia sin amor a la humanidad Worship without sacrifice – Religiosidad sin sacrificio Politics without […]

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1 Be honest and more

POSTER & QUOTE: KEEP GETTING BETTER – even if you think you’re good enough.

December 17, 2014 Character

BE HONEST – even when others aren’t and it may cost more than you want to pay. KEEP YOUR PROMISES – even when it’s costly or inconvenient. TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT – even if they don’t deserve it. FULFILL YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES – even if you could dodge them. DO WHAT’S RIGHT – even if you […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 910.4: The Cowboy Code

COMMENTARY 910.4: The Cowboy Code

December 17, 2014 Commentaries

I grew up in much simpler times. Television was in its infancy, and the idea of a hero was exemplified by a white-hatted cowboy. There was a clarity and simplicity to this hero’s moral code that left no doubt there is a right and wrong. As I became more sophisticated, it was easy to ridicule […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 910.3: I Just Have to Outrun You

COMMENTARY 910.3: I Just Have to Outrun You

December 16, 2014 Choices

During a camping trip, Sam and Tom saw a bear coming their way. Sam started to take off his backpack and told Tom he was going to run for it. When his surprised friend said, “You can’t outrun a bear,” Sam replied, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.” […]

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COMMENTARY 910.2: Don’t Brag, But Be Proud

December 15, 2014 Gratitude

Today, after winning a big game it’s common for athletes and fans to chant, “We’re number one,” in a classless display of self-praise that comes off as conceit and disrespectful taunting. I sometimes feel that way about materials praising America. Still, national pride is important. Reminders about the high principles on which this nation was […]

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1 Who are we

Twelve Vital Questions That Must Be Asked About the Use of Brutal interrogation Techniques

December 13, 2014 Commentaries

Though the issue of the efficacy (effectiveness) of the brutal interrogation techniques is a pertinent factor, it is not the most critical or controlling factor in determining whether such methods should have been used and whether they should be used in the future. 1. Does our position reveal anything about our personal and our nation’s fundamental […]

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1 - Dante

POSTER & QUOTE: Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

December 13, 2014 Commentaries

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they […]

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1 Should Senate report be public

Does the Public Have a Right to Know?

December 13, 2014 Commentaries

WHAT DO YOU THINK? The Senate Committee Report on interrogation techniques used by the CIA raises huge questions about our values not only about the methods and whether they were effective and ethical but about generating such a report in the first place and making it public. Many people argue that publishing the report, like […]

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4th of July Essense of America

The Efficacy and Morality of Brutal Interrogations and Use of Deadly Force

December 13, 2014 Character

PAY ATTENTION! TAKE A POSITION! SPEAK UP! I believe we are at a moral crossroad. And we must think carefully before we decide which road to take. Since out founding the values of America were embodies in grand and lofty documents including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, especially the Preamble and the Bill […]

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1 dogs in heaven

If there are no dogs in heaven . . .

December 12, 2014 Commentaries
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1 maturity

Three Perspectives on Maturity

December 12, 2014 Commentaries

Maturity is the ability to stick with a job until it’s finished; to do a job without being supervised; to carry money without spending it. – Ann Landers Everyone Grows Older. Some Attain Maturity. A Few Become Wise. It’s what you do with the experiences that come with growing older that makes all the difference. Michael Josephson […]

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1 Action


December 12, 2014 Quotes, Observations

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. – Nora Roberts THERE IS NO SUCCESS WITHOUT ACTION.  

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 910.1: If I Could Give You Anything

COMMENTARY 910.1: If I Could Give You Anything

December 12, 2014 Caring, Compassion

It’s a tradition during a bat or bar mitzvah ceremony for parents to deliver specific blessings to their child. I wrote a poem for my daughter Abrielle a few years ago. I want to share it with you as I think it captures the sort of thing most parents wish they could give their children. […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 909.5: Rules About Trust

COMMENTARY 909.5: Rules About Trust

December 11, 2014 Commentaries

I’ve talked about it lots of times before: The high cost of lying and deception — by politicians and police, corporate executives and clergy, even journalists, accountants and educators — has been to weaken every major social institution. As each of these institutions wages its separate battle to remove the cloud of suspicion and cynicism […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 909.4: Listening: A Vital Dimension of Respect

COMMENTARY 909.4: Listening: A Vital Dimension of Respect

December 10, 2014 Caring, Compassion

We demonstrate the virtue of respect for others by being courteous and civil and treating everyone in a manner that acknowledges and honors basic human dignity. An important but often neglected aspect of respect is listening to what others say. Respectful listening is more than hearing. It requires us to consider what’s being said. That’s […]

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1 Live backwards

How to live your life

December 9, 2014 Quotes, Observations

See commentary at

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COMMENTARY 909.3: The Trust of Our Children

December 9, 2014 Commentaries

There’s no doubt about it: Trust is an asset to any relationship and distrust an enormous liability. But thinking of trust in terms of its practical value can demean and distort its true significance as an endorsement of our character and as a sign of our worthiness. I get my clearest vote of trust when […]

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1 Life Lesson - choices not circumstances.jpg

The road you take matters.

December 9, 2014 Character

Where you go in life and whether you enjoy the trip will be determined by your choices, not your circumstances. In your work life and your personal life you will face choices not merely on what to do but on how you will react or respond to things other did. Life’s turning points are not […]

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1 Don't look at my past

Don’t look so hard at my past. I don’t live there anymore

December 9, 2014 Personal growth

Some people will always see us as we were rather than who we are and more importantly who we are becoming. Some people see themselves as they were, not who they are, and more importantly, who they are becoming and who they can become. Some people live in their past, others are content to learn […]

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1 Life keeps on teaching

Life never stops teaching. Be sure you never stop learning. – Michael Josephson.

December 9, 2014 Commentaries

As we get older we sometimes forget that life gets better and more interesting if we keep growing. Some grow in the direction of bitterness and regret; others grow toward wisdom and gratitude. If you are not growing in the right direction its never too late to change your course. One way to be sure […]

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COMMENTARY 909.2: The Value of Trust

December 8, 2014 Choices

A teenager wants to go to a party, but she’s sure her mom won’t let her. So she and her friend concoct a false cover story. What’s the big deal? Most kids lie to their parents from time to time, and their parents probably lied to their parents. Despite rhetoric about virtue being its own […]

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1 Black men in college.jpg

There are over 300,000 more black men in college than in prison, but you wouldn’t know this watching cable or network news? How come?

December 6, 2014 Odds & Ends

In the decade from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black students increased by 53 percent, and the number awarded to Hispanic students increased by 87 percent. In 2009–10, Black students earned 10 percent and Hispanics earned 9 percent of all bachelor’s degrees conferred, versus the 9 and 6 percent, respectively, […]

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1968 Kerner Report

Historical Context for What is Going on in Ferguson and New York City: The Kerner Report

December 5, 2014 Memo From Michael

The summers of 1964-1967 were marked by civil disorders, rioting and looting in African-American neighborhoods of major cities including Los Angeles (Watts Riot of 1965), Chicago (Division Street Riots of 1966), Newark (1967 Newark riots) and Detroit (1967 Detroit Riots) In all, these disorders resulted in millions of dollars of damage[1] and the loss of 83 lives. […]

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1 LOVE - 1ST duty to listen

The first duty of LOVE is to LISTEN. -Paul Tillich.

December 5, 2014 Caring, Compassion

The first duty of LOVE is to LISTEN. -Paul Tillich. Listening doesn’t mean obeying, it means making a true effort to hear and understand what the other person is saying and feeling. Think how much better relationships would be if parents really listened to their children; if children – minors and adults – really listened […]

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COMMENTARY 909.1: Coach Wooden the Philosopher

December 5, 2014 Choices

According to Henry David Thoreau, a philosopher is a person who seeks to understand and solve the most serious problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. A true philosopher, Thoreau added, is so committed to wisdom that he seeks to live wisely and so lives a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. By […]

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1 Love - a struggle Mr Rogers

POSTER & QUOTE: Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now. –Mister Rogers

December 4, 2014 Quotes, Observations
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1 12 Truths About Lying

P0STER: 12 Truths About Lying

December 4, 2014 Honesty

12 TRUTHS ABOUT LYING. 1. Honesty may not always pay, but lying always costs. 2. Trust is a tower, built stone by stone, lies take stones from the bottom. 3. There is no security in secrecy; every undiscovered lie is a live landmine. 4. Lies breed a bodyguard of new lies to protect themselves. 5. […]

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