Monthly Archives: October 2010

Unethical Post of the Month: Jonah Goldberg

In his latest post on the National Review website, conservative blogger Jonah Goldberg wonders why the CIA hasn’t had the sense to assassinate WikiLeaks founder and current renegade leaker Julian Assange. That’s right: Goldberg believes that in the national interest (for Assange has gathered and leaked massive amounts of classified information relating to U.S. military operations), the U.S. government should murder an Australian citizen without due process, a trial, or anything approaching regard for law, ethics, and human rights.

I make it a rule, in the interest of civility and respect, to control the urge to sink to pure name-calling, but really: what an idiot. And a dangerous one. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Citizenship, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, The Internet, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Gawker’s Unethical Defense Of An Unethical Post

Being slammed left, right and center, the unprincipled gossip site Gawker, which published a slimy kiss-and-tell account by an anonymous creep who shared a night of passion, if not as passionate as he expected, with Christine O’Donnell, issued its official defense. It can be summarized as “she’s a judgmental, hypocritical prude and she deserved it,” which is really a stand-in for the real motive, which does something like, “we’d publish the private secrets of our own grandmothers if it would get us more traffic.”

The hypocrisy argument is nonsense. Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Leadership, Love, Popular Culture, The Internet, U.S. Society

Schemes, Slander and Deception: The Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010

Well, I have to admit they were creative. And despicable.

2010′s most unethical maneuvers ran the gamut from lying to zombie exploitation, from false identity to extortion. Unfortunately, most of the worst stunts were pulled by or on behalf of Democrats; I say unfortunately because I try awfully hard to keep these kinds of lists in partisan balance. But the Democrats and their progressive fans were especially slimy this time around, and it it figures. When the going gets tough, the tough get unethical, and it is the Democrats who are facing ballot box carnage. They have been pushing the envelope, to say the least, in their campaign tactics, and I think it probably made their situation more dire rather than less.

Here, in reverse order of ethical outrageousness, are the Ten Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Leadership, Professions, Religion and Philosophy, The Internet, U.S. Society

When the Law Is Unethical: The Case of the Negligent Toddler

Justice Paul Wooten of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan just ruled that Juliet Breitman, accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago, can be sued for negligence. She was four years old at the time.

Four.

4.

IV.

F-O-U-R. Continue reading

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Filed under Law & Law Enforcement, Research and Scholarship

Christine O’Donnell Gets “Dominiaked”

It is hard to find words to describe the despicable act of Dustin Dominiak, who wrote an odious kiss-and-tell piece entitled “I Had a One Night Stand With Christine O’Donnell.”

O’Donnell, the odd-ball, unqualified Republican candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Delaware, hardly possess the kind of potential for civilization-destroying evil that might support an argument for doing anything short of assassination to stop her ascent to power. Her candidacy is toast; she has become a political punch line, and has earned it. She has thoroughly proven her own unfitness to serve with a series of dumb comments, embarrassing campaign moments, and a ridiculous ad campaign. Still, she is a human being, and unlike another self-immolating Tea Party favorite, New York’s gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino, she seems to be a pretty nice one.

There can be no justification for Dominiak’s essay, which describes the kind of awkward social interaction between singles that must go on a million times any day of the week. Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, The Internet

“Dude”?

I cringed when Larry King, jacketless, as always, despite being a guest in the White House, ended an interview with President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1993 with “Thanks, guys!” So I choked when Jon Stewart called the President of the United States “dude” in his appearance on “The Daily Show.”

I blame KIng for blatant disrespect to the office of the President. (I would like to think that Clinton privately told King that the next time, if there was one, it would be “Mr. President,” thanks.) I blame Stewart, too; I think it was a gaffe, and I think he should have apologized. Mostly, however, I blame Barack Obama. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Citizenship, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, Popular Culture, Professions

One Joke We Can Do Without

Recently “Jimmy Kimmel Live” showed a video of a “Candid Camera” style prank pulled on an unsuspecting woman at her workplace. As a loud siren blared, everyone around her started hurling themselves on the floor, losing their balance, reeling and staggering as if the building was shaking. It wasn’t, but the woman was understandably alarmed (even conspiracy theorists don’t instantly assume that they are really surrounded by actors that Jimmy Kimmel has paid to behave like the sky is falling), though the commotion ended as suddenly as it started. Then it started again..then a third time. The woman ended up on the floor, hiding her head under a metal folding chair.

Hilarity ensued. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Popular Culture

Ethical Insights From The Great Butter Tub Debate

Colleague Rushworth Kidder has an enlightening ethics post on his Institute for Global Ethics site. After watching two diners scoop up handfuls of a restaurant’s butter tubs on their way out, Kidder queried friends about whether the conduct was unethical. His question sparked a longer debate than one might expect, and more valuable too. Kidder writes… Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, U.S. Society

Eliot Spitzer, the Harvard Club, and Blackball Ethics

Eliot Spitzer, we have learned, has been blackballed by the New York City Harvard Club. Although over 11,000 graduates of the august institution are members, and the club, which is always seeking funds and rejects an application about as frequently as its alma mater plays a decent football game, nonetheless found Spitzer wanting.

Is this a surprise to anyone? There are only a few reasons to join the Harvard Club or even tolerate it, unless one has an unhealthy affection for the stuffed heads of things Theodore Roosevelt shot, many of which are hanging on the wall. The main reason is prestige (and to let visitors know that you graduated from Harvard without having to say so). A club, by its very nature, suggests some degree of exclusivity; one’s cache from belonging to a club derives from its members. I can imagine a rational person feeling some sense of pride in belonging to a club of Harvard graduates. I cannot imagine a rational person feeling any special sense of exclusivity emanating from membership in a club that includes Eliot Spitzer. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, U.S. Society

The AirTran Bait and Switch

I’ve been flying all over the place, and, as usual,  an airline showed me some unethical maneuvering that I had never encountered before. They must stay up late thinking up this stuff. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Daily Life