Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Despicable Nadya Suleman and Ethics Estoppel

Nadya Suleman, a.k.a. Octomom, strikes a dignified pose

From the beginning, the only thing keeping Nadya Suleman from being unequivocally despicable has been the lingering suspicion that she was mentally ill. It might be more than a suspicion, to be fair: having octuplets by artificial insemination when one already has six young children and no viable means of support could be called “proof.”  Now even that malady is an insufficient defense: the issue is settled, and she is despicable beyond redemption. One cannot call her the worst mother on the world, sadly, because every day brings the story of another infant thrown down a laundry chute or left in the care of a six-year-old while mom goes partying or looking for drugs. She may be, however, the worst mother ever to become famous for being a mother.

In the latest issue of InTouch magazine—the rag is one full step down from Us magazine, and one half-step up from The National Enquirer—Suleman confesses that she now reviles her octo-brood. “I hate the babies, they disgust me,’ she says. “My older six are animals, getting more and more out of control, because I have no time to properly discipline them.” Elsewhere in the article she bellyaches about how hard it is being a single, unemployed, narcissistic, absurd, irresponsible mother of fourteen children. “The only way I can cope is to lock myself in the bathroom and cry. Sometimes I sit there for hours and even eat my lunch sitting on the toilet floor. Anything to get peace and quiet,” she laments. Yes, Octomom says she regrets having all the children. Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Family, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Love

Ethics Dunce: Bernie Madoff, Now and Forever

Would I rather have Charlie or Bernie on the loose? Tough call...

Bernie Madoff, reports the New York Times, is feeling mistreated.

Two years into his 150 year sentence for defrauding hundreds of investors, destroying dozens of charities, and crushing the financial security of people who trusted him with their future, Madoff thinks it was unfair for Judge Denny Chin, who sentenced him, to make certain that he would die in prison. Accusing Chin of having “zero understanding of the industry”—meaning what, I wonder; that it was normal for the investment industry to set out to ruin people?—-and saying that he was being made a scapegoat while Wall Street firms and government officials “walk away free,” Madoff told reporter Ben Weiser, “Remember, they caused the recession, not me.”

Yes, and the Crusades started the chain of events that led to 9-11, and Teddy Roosevelt’s Asian policies lit the fuse for Pearl Harbor. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Dunces, Finance, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, U.S. Society

Group Bigotry: Is This The Way It’s Going To Be? AGAIN?

I'm a fan of women's curves, but I expected their learning curve to be better than this.

I already covered this topic when Christiane Amanpour held an unrestrained “males are inferior managers because all the blood rushes to their penises” session on ABC’s “This Week” a few Sundays ago, but since it is becoming clear that the outbreak of gender bigotry in the media is more widespread than ABC, a second alarm is warranted.

This week’s Time magazine has a column by Meredith Melnick entitled “Why Women Are Better at Everything.” Among its contents:

•    “Recently in the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch columnist David Weidner noted that women ‘do almost everything better’ than men — from politics to corporate management to investing.”

•    “What’s the problem with men? ‘There’s been a lot of academic research suggesting that men think they know what they’re doing, even when they really don’t know what they’re doing,’ John Ameriks, the author of the Vanguard study, told the New York Times.”

•    “Women, who have only 10% of the testosterone that men have, seem inured to the phenomenon, according to Coates.”

•    “So, basically, the more women around, the better, as the Journal’s Wiedner said. His column referred to a recent book by Dan Abrams called Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else.”

•    “…women are better soldiers because they complain about pain less. They’re less likely to be hit by lightning because they’re not stupid enough to stand outside in a storm. They remember words and faces better. They’re better spies because they’re better at getting people to talk candidly.”

•    “Of course, to most women none of this is much of a revelation.” Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Business & Commercial, Gender and Sex, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Professions, Race, Religion and Philosophy, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology, Sports, U.S. Society, War and the Military, Workplace

Oh, Shut Up! There Is Nothing Wrong With “Go the F*** to Sleep”

If they think "Go the F*** to Sleep" is bad....

The guilt-mongers and Child Over-Protection Patrol have set their sites on “Go the F*** to Sleep,” Adam Mansbach’s children’s book parody, a cranky, profanity and obscenity-laced release for frustrated and sleep-deprived parents of small children everywhere.

“Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos,” intones Dr. David Arredondo, quoted by CNN. He is an expert on child development and founder of The Children’s Program, in the San Francisco metropolitan area, which provides consultation and training for those working with troubled youths. Yes, Dr, imagine. Then it wouldn’t be a humorous satire for the amusement of perfectly loving parents.

“Nobody is suggesting that there’s a connection between Adam Mansbach’s book and child abuse or child neglect,” writes Karen Spears Zacharias, whose essay suggests that there is a connection between Adam Mansbach’s book and child abuse or child neglect. “Still, there’s no denying the reason “Go the F*** to Sleep” should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children.”

OK, there’s a book that is an inside joke for parents that relieves their guilt over the occasional horrible thoughts they have about their children, and children shouldn’t read it, because they wouldn’t understand. So what? Since when was there something inappropriate about enjoying books that shouldn’t be shared with children? I wouldn’t let my child read Dr. Spock, either. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Family, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

The Washington Post Flunks Integrity, Conflicts, and Trustworthiness

Newspaper...Heal Thyself!

The incidents of blatantly untrustworthy conduct by supposedly prestigious news organizations have become so numerous that they are almost no longer newsworthy themselves. Journalists failing their core ethical standards when maintaining them would be inconvenient? That’s not news. That’s the status quo.

Patrick B. Pexton, the Washington Posts’s ombudsman, had to write about the strange case of Jose Antonio Vargas, the celebrated journalist, once employed by the Post, who admitted last week that he was an illegal alien.  In particular, he had to write about 1) why a Post editor, Peter Perl, continued to employ Vargas and hid his immigration status for eight years after learning that he was in the country illegally and 2) why Vargas’s 4000 word piece about his deception (and the Post’s complicity in it) was killed by another Post editor, resulting in its being picked up and published by the New York Times. So the in-house ethics watchdog wrote about it, and concluded—nothing.  Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Zombie Ethics

By joining PETZ, you can help prevent needless zombie misery...

People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies (PETZ) is now officially accepting members.

The watchdog organization flags inappropriate zombie jokes from celebrities,  advocates humane treatment of the living dead (  “Keep your zombie well-refrigerated…Reattach any limbs that have fallen off immediately…Brush your zombie’s remaining teeth regularly…”), boycotts companies that test their products on zombies (who are not capable of informed consent), companies such as KFC, Sephora, and Men’s Warehouse, and publish recipes for the zombie palate.

PETZ is also lobbying for the passage “Proposition Z,” which would “amend the California Constitution to include all persons resurrected in the State of California, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are residents of California. The State shall not make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of other residents of the State; nor shall the State deprive any infected person of life, un-dead life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any infected person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This could be a joke, but then I think a lot of PETA’s initiatives are equally ridiculous, and they are serious.

You never know.

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Filed under Bioethics, Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Antonin Scalia

“Justice Alito recounts all these disgusting video games in order to disgust us — but disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression.” 

Justice Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in the majority opinion of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association that over-turned a California law restricting the access of children to violent video games. Scalia was responding to the argument by conservative colleague Joseph Alito, who described the wide range of violent and offensive experiences a child could have though video-gaming, such as reenacting the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech,  raping Native American women or killing ethnic and religious minorities.

Scalia is the Supreme Court justice liberals love to hate, but he is the most stalwart defender of the First Amendment since Justice William O. Douglas and Justice Hugo Black on the Warren Court. As political warfare increasingly focuses on the tactic of suppressing and inhibiting speech and ideas rather than rebutting them, Scalia’s uniform rejection of any effort to squelch the free exchange of ideas, even disgusting ideas, is the last line of defense against government-imposed political correctness, nanny state thought control, and puritan censorship. While sufficiently important ends, such as protecting our children and our culture, may justify some extreme means, Scalia’s opinion reaffirms the core American principle that those means can never include government restriction of speech in its broadest definition. Continue reading

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