ethics

Michael Kerswill / Flickr

History and literature are filled with their antics. From the Renaissance's Triboulet to Shakespeare's Feste from "Twelfth Night," jesters and fools have delighted us for centuries with their subversive humor and quick wit. But while comedy was their brand, there existed hardships for these characters as well.

The Placebo Effect

Apr 6, 2016
CHRISTIAN SCHNETTELKER / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

One law firm, 11.5 million files.

The massive trove of emails, contracts and other papers from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca is being called the largest document leak in history.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said Tuesday that he will step aside and another party official will take over for a while. The move comes days after a massive data leak known as the Panama Papers linked him to secret offshore bank accounts.

Following news that Gunnlaugsson had resigned, a spokesperson released a statement clarifying the leader's decision:

In 2014, Sergei Roldugin told the New York Times, "I don't have millions."

Associates of President Vladimir Putin of Russia have channeled as much as $2 billion through offshore accounts, banks and shadow companies, according to a massive leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm.

More than 11 million documents, dubbed the Panama Papers, show how dozens of rich and powerful people around the world have used offshore and secret accounts to dodge taxes and sanctions and launder money.

North Country Public Radio

Reporters describe Donald Trump events as frightening and unsettling for those in the media. Trump relegates the media  to rectangular pens they're not allowed to leave, singles out reporters with personal insults and refuses entry to those he doesn't like, and whips up his crowds against reporters he says are "very dishonest people." Will there be a free press under a President Trump?

Daniel Orth / Creative Commons

Some residents say a Bloomfield attorney should have recused himself from offering the town legal advice on a tax abatement for a water bottling plant because he works for the water authority.

Cloud4Treasurer2015 / Facebook

Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud will take four years to pay taxpayers back roughly $10,000 -- money he was given for a raise no one remembers approving.

Li Tsin Soon flickr.com/polytikus/ / Flickr

The new Islamic law center at Yale University opened last fall, and it's beginning this year with a speaker from the University of Chicago, Ahmed El Shamsy.

Connecticut Senate Democrats

State Senate President Martin Looney has issued a statement about last week's car crash that saw his colleague, Senator Andrew Maynard, hospitalized for four days.

A retired police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts pleaded innocent at his court arraignment Monday to charges he stole more than $400,000 from the police department evidence room.

  Kevin Burnham, who for almost 30 years was the Springfield police officer responsible for safekeeping evidence in drug cases, is accused of stealing cash from evidence envelopes in more than 170 cases during a five year period starting in 2009 and ending the day he retired in July 2014, according to an investigation by the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey

It's unusual to hear a current NFL player criticize the league, let alone talk frankly about its handling of concussions or its response to domestic violence scandals.

But a new book does just that. It's called NFL Confidential, a memoir of the 2014 football season written by a player who goes only by Johnny Anonymous.

The player spoke with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish this week, after NPR confirmed his identity before the interview.

He says he loves playing the game but thinks the NFL is manipulative and exploitative.

Volkswagen's use of a "defeat device" to fool U.S. regulators has resulted in a federal lawsuit against the company. Volkswagen has acknowledged that millions of its diesel cars worldwide relied on a ruse to skirt emissions controls.

The civil complaint was filed in federal court in Detroit, with the Department of Justice acting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency — which says it hasn't yet reached an acceptable agreement with Volkswagen over how to handle a recall.

The sale of the Block Island Times is expected to become final on January 1st. The weekly’s owners for the last decade, Fraser and Betty Lang, are selling the paper to Michael Schroeder, who owns several Connecticut newspapers, including the New Britain Herald.

Once he takes over, Schroeder says he plans to spend one or two weeks a month on Block Island.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud said he will give back a $20,000 raise that neither the mayor nor the city council remembers approving.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Frustrations over a lack of media transparency, New England-naysayers, and negativity made the list of year-end grievances for panelists on WNPR’s weekly news roundtable last week.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The publisher of two small newspapers in Central Connecticut is receiving national attention as his ties to Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson are being called into question.

City of Hartford

Add Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s name to the list of elected officials who didn’t know that Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud got a $20,000 raise.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud has just gotten a $20,000 raise, but not one member of the city council remembers approving it.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud took the stand in the federal criminal trial of former insurance executive Earl O’Garro Wednesday. Afterwards, Cloud said he had been betrayed by his former friend and maligned by the media. 

kyz / Creative Commons

New bio-technology is making gene editing easier and more accurate than ever before, but it's also raising a number of ethical questions. 

Alphaville / Flickr Creative Commons

Justin Lifflander wanted nothing more than to become a spy for the CIA. Growing up during the Cold War, he practiced spying on friends, family, and schoolmates in preparation for what he thought would be a career full of high-tech gadgetry and secret rendezvous. When Lifflander was finally assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1987, he thought his dream was coming true.

What followed was something Lifflander could never have predicted. He was a mechanic at the embassy, then an inspector of Soviet missile sights, and then a suspected American agent followed at every turn by the KGB. Lifflander found himself living in a world which very much resembled his childhood dream -- but he was never a spy.

A story about a deadly terrorist attack briefly inspired a frenzied media scrum Friday morning in Southern California when dozens of reporters and TV news crews entered the home of the two shooters in the San Bernardino massacre.

The Placebo Effect

Dec 1, 2015
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Seeking to calm growing criticism about his administration's handling of police misconduct cases, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed a new "police accountability task force."

In a press release, the mayor's office said the task force "will review the system of accountability, training and oversight that is currently in place for Chicago's police officers."

Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

Some companies are trying to keep ahead of negative online reviews by suing or threatening consumers. 

Back9Network flickr.com/back9network / Creative Commons

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission wants to know more about the relationship between Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud and the off-the-air, state-funded golf channel called the Back9Network. 

Jiří Nedorost (Wikimedia Commons)

An effort to curb eastern Long Island's deer population through sterilization has angered animal lovers who say veterinarians are botching the surgeries.

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife filed a lawsuit on November 6 seeking to halt the sterilization program, according to Newsday.

Lawrence OP / Flickr

According to Yale Philosophy Professor Shelly Kagan, many of today's political issues are actually philosophical ones. Kagan says no one ever asks philosophers to weigh in.

Wouldn't a deeper understanding of the day's news -- including why people think what they think and hold the positions they hold -- be beneficial?

One reason for the lack of philosophical commentary in the media might be the relatively short attention spans many Americans have for absorbing information. Who has time for philosophy? And are political debates real outlets for philosophical argument?

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