Two things can dramatically decrease the level of pollution likely to be created by a firm, says new research. No, it’s not complicated machinery for carbon sequestration, or more government regulation. It’s much simpler: family ownership and financial rewards.

Luis Gomez-Mejia
Gomez-Mejia

New research suggests that firms where a single family owns at least five percent of the voting stock, pollution levels are much lower. Also, firms pollute less when the CEO is given long-term financial incentives for pollution control.

To come to these results, researchers analyzed toxic emission reports from the Environmental Protection Agency, examining the structure and actions of hundreds of companies.

When it comes to family ownership, researchers hypothesize that when a family’s image and reputation are at stake, there is a greater drive to be ecologically sound. Institutional investors can tend to have a more short-term view of the business, while family owners are more concerned with its overall quality and longevity, says Luis Gomez-Mejia, the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business and Mays management professor, who has co-authored two studies on the topic of corporate pollution reduction.

Other research on family-owned firms and “socio-emotional wealth” dovetails with Gomez-Mejia’s: leaders of family-owned companies are more likely to derive a sense of identity from the firm, desire to be seen as generous and pro-social within a community, and strive to maintain group integrity within a community.

These factors create a non-economic incentive for environmental efficacy, particularly if the family and the business are concentrated in one location as the family usually cannot escape being the face of the business.

When firms are not family owned, Gomez-Mejia says corporate pollution reduction is still a matter of incentives; however this time, the incentive is financial rather than socio-emotional. “To the extent that the CEO is rewarded for investing in pollution control and also pollution prevention, the more likely it is that the firm will engage in those efforts,” he says.

Furthermore, the structure of the incentives matter: stock and option incentives are more effective than cash in pollution reduction. This is due to the long-term nature of both meaningful environmental policies and the interest-bearing securities. That is, continued pollution control leads to continued corporate wellbeing, which leads to continued growth of securities held by the CEO.

Gomez-Mejia admits there is one limitation to the research: the EPA only requires emission reports for American companies and many of the corporations involved in the study are multinational. “A remaining question is to what extent…the CEOs may have an incentive to move or shift the pollution elsewhere,” he says. He is planning a follow-up study to investigate this question, but notes that data collection is difficult, as pollution reporting in many developing countries is not accurate.

“Socio-economic wealth and corporate responses to institutional pressures: Do family-controlled firms pollute less?” is a collaboration between Pascual Berrone, Cristina Cruz, Gomez-Mejia, and Martin Larraza-Kintana, published in Administrative Science Quarterly in 2010.

“Environmental performance and executive compensation: an integrated agency-institutional perspective,” is a collaboration between Pascual Berrone and Gomez-Mejia, published in the Academy of Management Journal in 2009.

Categories: Research Notes

I have often made the observation that in American society, time after time, competence trumps integrity. We value people who have certain abilities or who entertain us in certain ways, and what they do to make us money or make us happy is much more important to us than who they are, or who they hurt in the process. I see it as a fundamental weakness in the moral character of American society, one that provides a ceiling on how far we can really progress ethically.

I see the examples in business again and again. The latest example is Mark Hurd, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and currently the new co-president of Oracle. I would say that the things that he did to get fired at HP were relatively small compared to the accusations against many in positions of power in business. Usually, a single relationship that leads to an accusation of sexual harassment, especially when there is no favoritism shown in areas like promotion and raises, is not enough to get a successful CEO fired. If the reports in The Wall Street Journal are accurate, Hurd’s alleged misrepresentations on travel reimbursements were the cause of the board’s breakdown in trust with their CEO. If this is true, it is to their credit that they took the issue seriously. But many in the business community think that they were fools to fire him.

And, in that light, there is probably no one more likely than Oracle’s Larry Ellison to be a buyer in the market for someone of Mark Hurd’s skills. Ellison has a reputation for taking no prisoners, and he manifested that arched back mentality when HP pushed back at the hiring because of a non-compete clause in Hurd’s contract. Ellison openly threatened breaking off the long-term relationship between Oracle and HP, relatively typical bluster for him. It was all settled by Hurd giving back some of his stock awards, which, of course, does nothing to address the fact that Hurd has extensive inside information about HP.

As much as I care about business ethics, it is hard for me not to see Ellison as the clear winner in the negotiation. In some sense, competent people being employable despite their flaws may simply be the price of the free enterprise system. If the moral disconnect is not so outrageous as to make people angry, and you are really good at what you do, you are probably going to get away with it. If you are punished, it will probably only be in the short-term, and you will quickly have other, even superior, opportunities.

It is no different in the NFL. New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards’s alleged drunk driving event this week was met with a tepid response from his team’s organization, from the coach to the general manager to the owner. Coach Rex Ryan indicated that he was tired of these types of events and owner Woody Johnson intoned that Edwards had let himself and the team down. Oh, by the way, he will be playing against Miami Sunday, because the Jets have a better chance of winning if he does. (As an aside, it’s unclear to me as a football fan, based on his performance on the field, why they think that.)

And Edwards is a second chancer also. Cleveland traded him to the Jets not only because he had a tendency to drop passes, but because he was a public relations nightmare, including accusations of assault on a 135-pound man. The Jets are clearly a superior opportunity for him, the chance to play with a team with designs on the Super Bowl. Nothing he has done has prevented him from having this chance, and who could blame him for believing that nothing ever will? About the only thing you can do that will push you off the cliff is lie about what you did—ask Roger Clemens and Martha Stewart. And Mark Hurd is, allegedly, living proof that not even that will always do it.

I can feign moral outrage if you like. But, the truth is, Americans generally like winning more than they like doing the right thing. They like making money more than they like doing the right thing. That’s why I tell the young auditors I train the truth. It’s the world you are operating in, and you had better be prepared for it.

It is also the truth that the fall comes for many, for Enron’s Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow, for WorldCom’s Bernie Ebbers and Scott Sullivan. And I am glad that I live in a country that gives second chances. But sometimes, in my heart of hearts, I wish I could pick who got them.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

Even during a time of recession and cutbacks, manufacturing firms must continue to invest in marketing and R&D if they want to remain successful, says a new study from Texas A&M University.

Researchers examined manufacturing firms on the Fortune 500 list for a period of 25 years, weighing a variety of firm and industry specific factors to arrive at their conclusion. They found that investing capital in both marketing and research and development have a direct positive effect on a manufacturing firm’s survival as a member of the elite Fortune 500 list—the firms that account for nearly three-fourths of the U.S. GDP.

 Rajan Varadarajan
Varadarajan

Venkatesh Shankar
Shankar

In fact, they found that if a Fortune 500 manufacturing firm were to incrementally spend one percent of its average sales revenues on marketing and another one percent on R&D for five years, that investment would reduce the firm’s risk of leaving the list by 27.8 percent.

This is significant, says researcher Venkatesh Shankar, Coleman Chair in Marketing at Mays, as “the firms that stay on the Fortune 500 list enjoy a lot of benefits,” such as lower cost of capital and increased reputation and brand equity. Fortune 500 firms also see increases in their share prices specifically associated with their entry into this list.

Alternately, a fall from the list can be a precursor to negative events, like bankruptcy and hostile takeover.

Using this investment strategy can “significantly decrease the hazard of exiting the Fortune 500,” says Shankar. This strategy would also apply to companies that aspire to be on the list.

“These firms pour billions of dollars into R&D and marketing, yet no study has examined this important issue in depth,” say researchers. “The findings are important not just for marketers, but for senior executives in manufacturing, operations, innovation management, and top management as well.”

Not all firms benefit equally by the two areas of investment, however. Firms that are in high growth industries, such as technology, see a greater impact from marketing investment. Firms in slow growing or mature industries, such as cosmetics or packaged food, see greater returns from investment in R&D. Similarly, in any industry during periods of high growth, investing marketing capital is more effective and in times of low growth, investing R&D capital is more effective.

Gautham Gopal Vadakkepatt '02
Vadakkepatt ’02

Shankar says that these findings broadcast an important message for managers: view marketing and R&D as expenses, but rather long-term investments that need to be employed strategically in industries and periods of high and low growth. Many firms are cutting back in these areas to boost short-term profitability during a rocky economic period, he says. “And that can be very dangerous, because while…they may see immediate results, over the long run it could be detrimental.”

The research was conducted by Shankar and colleagues Gautham Gopal Vadakkepatt ’02, a recent graduate of the Mays PhD program, and Rajan Varadarajan, department head, Distinguished Professor of Marketing, and Ford Chair in Marketing & E-Commerce. The Marketing Science Institute has accepted their paper, “A study of the factors affecting the survival of manufacturing firms in Fortune 500: The asymmetric roles of marketing capital and R&D capital,” for publication.

Categories: Research Notes

In a recent study published in the Wall Street Journal, prospective employers rated U.S. colleges and universities, as well as some select majors, on the basis of whose graduates were best prepared and most able to succeed. The finance program at Mays was recognized as 5th in the nation in this ranking.

The WSJ surveyed 479 large U.S. companies, non-profits and governmental agencies to arrive at the rankings, which listed Texas A&M University 2nd among all schools. The study revealed that top public institutions were generally favored over Ivy League and other private institutions.

“The Journal research represents a systematic effort to assess colleges by surveying employers’ recruiters — who decide where to seek out new hires — instead of relying primarily on measures such as student test scores, college admission rates or graduates’ starting salaries,” noted Jennifer Merritt, the WSJ reporter who wrote the page-one story. She said in the article that recruiters’ perceptions “matter all the more given that employers today are visiting fewer schools, particularly due to the weak economy.”

Mays finance department head Sorin Sorescu says that the Aggie reputation for discipline and ethical behavior is well deserved and that’s something that recruiters recognize. “Our students are trained with a sense that a job worth doing is worth doing right. Once they go out into the workplace, they are likely to succeed…There are certain qualities that this university instills in them that are hard to teach elsewhere.”

Sorescu notes that the crisis in the financial sector in the past few years has dramatically altered the employment landscape for finance graduates—making this recruiting metric more significant. “In the past two years the needs of the marketplace have changed to demand more specialized skills such as how to value companies…manage portfolios, and manage risk.” The Mays program has responded by tailoring the curriculum to adapt to the needs of the marketplace, including practical classes in financial modeling, fixed income, and active portfolio management.

Mays students have the opportunity for hands-on lessons through the Tanner Fund, a portfolio managed by students for class credit, as well as the Reliant Energy Trading Center, which provides access to analytical tools and volumes of real-time and historical financial data.

Practical experiences in the classroom and in internships, paired with unique specialized offerings such as the Trading, Risk and Investments Program, produce graduates that have a marked competitive advantage when job hunting. “It really makes sense from an employer’s perspective to hire somebody who is already trained. It minimizes the search costs on the front end, and it minimizes training costs. It reduces risk that you may have made an error in hiring,” Sorescu says.

Categories: Departments, Programs

Texans in rural areas will soon have access to higher quality health care, thanks to faculty members at A&M and grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grants will be used to implement electronic health records (EHR) systems in small and rural health care facilities, through the newly created regional extension centers.

The CentrEast Regional Extension Center, still in development, is located at Texas A&M. Arun Sen, professor of information and operations management at Mays, and two A&M colleagues are involved in creating the center, which will assist physicians offices in creating a paperless pipeline of health information.

The HHS grants were awarded to 46 regional extension centers around the U.S., including the four such centers in Texas. The CentrEast center received a grant of $384,000 for the rural initiative.

By converting to EHR technology, rural health care facilities can qualify for substantial additional incentive payments from Medicare or Medicaid. These electronic records will bring higher quality care to patients by reducing medical errors and costs, say experts.

Sen says that soon health care information will be available via an electronic pipeline that will move patient records from local to state to national levels. The National Health Information Network is already under development. Sen and A&M colleagues Robert Morrow of Rural and Community Health Institute (RCHI) and Amarnath Banerjee of Look College of Engineering at A&M are creating the system through which Texas health care providers will upload patient information to this national system. The team of researchers from A&M will be on the leading edge of designing an electronic health record system to be used for the state.

Categories: Faculty, Texas A&M

Fashion Week logoUp and down the runway and across Bryan and College Station, A&M students will be modeling local styles in a week of events to highlight fashion arts, local artists and professionals, and most importantly, local charities and non-profits. The event, Fashion Week BCS, will be a five-day showcase of local art, fashion and music. Proceeds will benefit CarPool, Habitat for Humanity, and Brazos Valley Community Action Agency.

Paige Melvin “08, a graduate student in the marketing department, is the chief organizer of the event. Through the week of fun and fashion, she hopes to emphasize the development and appreciation of the arts in the community. Melvin has partnered with local businesses, designers, and artists to produce the five days of activities that mirror similar events in cities like New York, Paris, and Milan.

With an ultimate goal to give back to the community, Melvin has secured donations from local businesses totaling nearly $40,000 in in-kind gifts.

Fashion Week BCS will kick off for the public at Revolutions Café and Bar in downtown Bryan. It will culminate at Daisy Duke’s with a finale fashion show. For more specific information about the times and locations of events, go to fashionweekbcs.com.

For more information

For more information on Fashion Week BCS, check out the website, fashionweekbcs.com, the Facebook Page at facebook.com/FashionWeekBCS, or follow @FashionWeekBCS on Twitter.

Categories: Students

An athlete and a business student, Damani Felder ’14 knows that an understanding of statistics and laws of probability is vital to his success.

Even better than understanding the odds, Felder is making a habit of defying them.

Felder recently became the first homeschool graduate to receive a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship—an award of $24,000 which, paired with his other scholarships, will completely cover his education at A&M.

Almost as impressive, he is the first homeschool graduate in A&M’s history to earn a walk-on position on the Aggie football team.

If that isn’t enough notoriety for one Aggie, Felder—who intends to double major in business honors and management—aspires to be student body president. And he plans to be CEO of a major corporation by the age of 35.

Felder '14
Felder ’14

Some might scoff at Felder’s ambition. How could anyone accomplish all that this green, untested freshman proposes?

That’s the wrong question. A much larger challenge faces Felder: living up to his own potential.

Fresh from a workout at the Bright Football Complex, Felder sports athletic shorts and tee shirt on his well-muscled 6’1″ frame. At 230 pounds, he has the graceful, lightweight build of a quarterback, though he will be a linebacker for the Aggies.

More impressive than his physique is his humility and his obvious intelligence. He’s well spoken and polite, employing many “yes, ma’ams” as he answers my questions. I ask him to tell me about the Robinson scholarship.

“It was a national scholarship, so I thought, “What are my chances of getting it?'” His chances were about one in a hundred: of the 4,000 applicants nationally each year, about 40 students are selected. His application included five essays about his goals and aspirations, as well as a letter of recommendation. A few months later, his odds improved when he was notified that he was one of 200 semifinalists nationwide selected for an interview.

Felder traveled from his home in Bryan, Texas, to Houston where he was interviewed by a panel of six business and civic leaders. “It was challenging. They were basically grilling me for 40 minutes,” he said. Public speaking training through 4-H (he was a state champion in 2010) and Youth Toastmasters paid off in the interview. “I didn’t feel that nervous about it at the time. I felt pretty good about it.” Robinson Foundation scholars are selected on academic ability, leadership potential, and financial need. Weeks later, he found out he was one of two students from the state of Texas to be chosen for the program.

It’s not surprising that Felder stands out in a crowd. As one of nine children in his family, he’s had years of practice at doing what it takes to be noticed. Felder’s father made a career of the Air Force. Moves were routine. Felder says homeschooling made sense for his family—it was simpler than making so many children uproot their scholastics every few years. “In some ways being homeschooled is a hindrance,” he says, noting the lack of serious football opportunities, “but in some ways it’s a blessing.” The more individualized education Felder received at home was clearly a boon, as his strong SAT score attests.

The Robinson Foundation scholarship will enable Felder to do more than simply graduate debt-free. It comes with big opportunities: an annual trip to New York City, where he’ll network with famous and influential people such as Bill Cosby and Hillary Clinton; training in business etiquette, life skills, and leadership; peer and professional mentoring; international travel; and guaranteed internships with sponsor companies, such as Goldman Sachs, that frequently lead to job opportunities after graduation. Robinson scholars maintain a 97 percent graduation rate—more than twice the national average for minority students.

There are other perks to the program such as a $10,000 incentive award for the scholar that has the highest GPR at the end of the first year. Felder isn’t solely motivated by the potential for financial reward when it comes to his studies. He’s more concerned with working hard to keep the minimum 3.5 GPR necessary to continue in the rigorous business honors program.

The opportunities Felder has through Mays and the Robinson Foundation will mean a bright future, no matter how he fares on the football field.

“All I’ve got to do is get out there and make the grade,” he says with equal parts confidence and determination.

So, why a business major? Partially, he’s following in his brother’s footsteps—Eddie Lee Felder III ’10 will graduate this year with a degree in marketing. Beyond that, the economy is in trouble, he says. He’d like to be able to help find solutions that will turn the tide.

With his entire career ahead of him, filled with glittering potential, odds are he will do just that.

Categories: Featured Stories, Students

When Gary Reger ’73 was asked to choose a school to receive a gift in his honor from the Beaumont Foundation of America, he didn’t have to think long about his answer. The resulting $1 million contribution from the foundation to Mays Business School will be matched to establish the $2 million Gary Neale Reger Endowed Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide scholarships for top students majoring in business honors.

“We are so thankful that Mr. Reger chose Texas A&M and Mays Business School to benefit from this gift,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “By supporting our Business Honors Program, this gift will help educate outstanding young persons whose actions and accomplishments will provide similar benefits to others in the future.”

Gary Reger '73
Gary Reger ’73
(Photo: Mark Low)

Reger is a lawyer in Beaumont, Texas, where he primarily handles commercial litigation. The Beaumont Foundation is a nonprofit grant-making institution dedicated to enriching the lives and enhancing the futures of less fortunate children and youth, families, and the elderly. The foundation provides grants and scholarships to a broad range of charitable, religious, and educational organizations across the United States.

“I am blessed to have good friends who sit on the board of the foundation,” said Reger, naming board members Wayne Reaud, Jon Huntsman, and Gilbert “Buddy” Low. “Wayne Reaud and the other board members have a strong commitment to education. They told me they wanted to honor me with one of their many educational scholarships, and together we chose A&M. It was the opportunity for me to give back in a meaningful way.”

“Supporting these students is very exciting to me,” he says. Reger plans to be involved with scholarship recipients in a mentoring capacity.

A&M is a family tradition for Reger, who has had several relatives join him in wearing maroon. To honor this legacy, the gift is dedicated to Reger’s parents, Doris and Ronald Reger ’48, whom Reger credits with his success. “My mother was the most rabid Aggie,” he says. “It was almost painful to watch football with her, she would get so excited.” Reger’s daughter Stephanie ’92 and sister Rhonda ’79 also are Aggies.

Reger and his wife, Joette, live in Beaumont and Austin. In addition to their support of A&M, they are also active with the Reaud Family Shelter, a hospitality house for the families of patients at Baptist Beaumont Hospital. Reger holds a degree in marketing from A&M and a law degree from the University of Texas.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a non-profit organization that receives major gifts and manages endowments for the sole benefit of Texas A&M University.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

In his mid-twenties, Terrence Weaver ’11 had served five years as a medic in the Navy, with tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait. He had a lucrative career in sales after leaving the military. He had a family. But he wanted something more: a college degree.

Even with the benefits of the GI bill, leaving a job and paying for college expenses is a hard pill to swallow when you have a family to support. That’s why Weaver was overjoyed when he was notified that he would be a recipient of a Pat Tillman Foundation scholarship.

Terrence Weaver '11
Terrence Weaver ’11

More than the financial benefits of the award, Weaver says he is glad to be a part the Tillman Foundation as he was impressed when he heard Pat Tillman’s story. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Tillman put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. He joined the Army, became a Ranger, and completed several tours of combat duty before being killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

“Lets us never forget the selfless acts and sacrifice of Pat Tillman and America’s military members alike,” said Weaver.

Since 2009, the Tillman Foundation has invested in veterans and their families through education, community and advocacy. It offers aid to all veterans and specifically the ever-growing population of veterans and dependents of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

The Tillman Military Scholars program provides educational scholarship support and resources to veterans, active service members and their dependents. From a pool of more than 1,500 applicants, 60 recipients were chosen this year, including Weaver and five others at A&M. The students were awarded a collective amount of $720,000 that will be used at 31 institutions in 24 states.

Weaver, who is from San Bernadino, California, says he chose to pursue a degree at Mays “because of the great program that it offers and the overall reputation for military support and patriotism.”

One differentiating characteristic of the Tillman scholarship is that it is not simply for tuition and books; the scholarship covers direct costs related to education expenses such as housing and childcare.

With three children ranging in ages from one to 10, Weaver says the additional income provided by the Tillman Foundation is extremely helpful for his family.

The foundation requires that Tillman Scholars pay it forward through involvement in philanthropic activities. Weaver performs community service with his church, but he says his real passion is to start a nonprofit business that provides food for needy people worldwide. He is still working on a business plan for this venture.

Gregarious, confident, and energetic, Weaver has a natural aptitude for sales and a zeal for entrepreneurship. In fact, he started his first business at 11-years-old, washing cars in his southern California neighborhood. As he completes his final year in the marketing department at Mays, he is looking ahead to reentering the workforce. He hopes to find a sales position that utilizes his talents and that involves marketing a product he is passionate about and believes in. He was highly successful in sales prior to starting college, despite a lack of genuine enthusiasm about the company or product. When he finds the right marketing opportunity, he expects to create that success again, and use his earnings to fund his nonprofit dreams.

“I like selling…I like the freedom of it,” he says. “It’s always new. There are no strict guidelines….It’s super creative. I like bringing a new idea to life. I like creating something really out of just an idea. I think that’s pretty amazing.” That’s something he might have shared with the namesake of his scholarship: Tillman also earned a degree in marketing prior to his NFL years.

Categories: Students

I am not big on wasting my space on lunatics. I try not to provide free publicity to those who do nothing with their lives except to seek that publicity. You can be confident there will be no Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton columns coming from me. But I feel the need to speak clearly and succinctly on an issue that deeply bothers me, and that is the threatened Quran burning in Florida. I do not really want to go into details about the pastor, or what he has been accused of elsewhere in his pastoral career. I somewhat fan the flames just by giving this “leader” of a 50 or 100 person church a platform.

But I feel it is very important to speak to my Muslim friends and students, as well as to my Christian friends and students. While this is a “no brainer” issue, it is important to say to my many friends who follow Islam that this is not Christianity, and it has nothing to do with Christianity. It is a price of free speech in this nation, and right now it is a high price. I cannot speak to what fanatics may do as a result, any more than I can speak to the fanatic who would hold this event.

But I can speak to what we can be as a people. What we can do is talk to one another respectfully, listen to each others’ viewpoints because we have a common foe, and think long-term. I almost wrote on the Manhattan mosque controversy, but I thought the discussion had been handled quite well in our local newspaper. I was particularly taken by the wisdom of my colleague, Dr. Anwer Ahmed, who leads a local Muslim community. I was surprised to find that he was opposed to the mosque’s location near Ground Zero.

UPDATE: Shortly following the publication of this column, the pastor in question held a press conference announcing the cancellation of the Quran burning, but then publicly retracted his guarantee that the protest would not occur. Ultimately, the demonstration was canceled.

What I was not surprised by was the wisdom in his reasoning. He felt that some people of his faith were not being dialogical enough, that they were not putting themselves in the place of those who were opposed to the mosque. My argument as an American for the mosque’s location is that it brings together three of our most cherished freedoms in one decision: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. Though I was bothered, as was Dr. Ahmed, by a lack of dialogical reasoning in some Muslims, I was bothered as much by a lack of dialectical reasoning in Americans opposed to it.

By dialectical reasoning I mean the ability to think long-term. In the short-run, the mosque’s location is incredibly painful and causes significant anger in many Americans who were permanently affected by the attack on our nation. But the long-term effects of directing where people worship will reverberate and, in the long run, impact a lot more Christians than it will Muslims. America is a nation built on the idea that we may speak freely, even if those who went before us have made some of what we say sound heinous. If we are not a nation that allows people to worship freely, what are we? What is unique about this place? And what freedoms are we fighting for in the Middle East?

We should think long-term, and, if we are wise, swallow the pain that goes with allowing the freedoms of speech, worship, and assembly that make us who we are. There will be days we regret doing that. In fact, what is about to happen in Florida is one of those. We would like to shut the Quran burning down, and shut it down right now.

Will there be demonstrations all over the world? Of course. Are American troops threatened? I am guessing yes. Will this help recruit fanatics to a cause? Undoubtedly. But, in the end, this “pastor” and his heedless minions are actually just setting themselves on fire. Stand back from the flames, ladies and gentlemen. Somebody could get hurt. Given time, they will burn themselves out into irrelevance. And, when they do, I will be standing, shovel in hand, ready to begin building the bridges back to my friends in Islam about whom I care deeply.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics