Category Archives: Character

Re The Latest In The Stream Of Clinton Scandals: If Hillary Clinton Really Cared About The U.S., She’d Drop Out Now

"..and in US public officials!"

..and in US public officials!

Has any American politician voluntarily and sincerely given up power or the quest for it in the best interests of the nation? I’m searching through my American history materials, and so far, I can’t find one since George Washington, who knew he could have been President for Life, and also knew it was a terrible idea. President Nixon and Johnson both said that they were giving up the Presidency for the good of the nation, but Nixon was toast and knew it, and Johnson, the consummate politician, knew that he faced an ugly rejection by the public and the destruction of his party as a result.  I can point to one president who definitely refused to give up power in the best interests of the nation, and thus set us on the divisive and dysfunctional path we are on now: Bill Clinton.

What a coincidence!

Hillary is not Bill, but it is already clear that she is willing to reduce American politics to new lows in blood warfare, polarize the nation even more than it is now, set class against class, gender against gender and race against race, and corrupt the news media and her supporters beyond recognition if the carnage can take  her to the White House. Surely she realizes that the months between now and November 2016 will consist of a river wild of revelations, accusations, scandals,  and search and destroy operations by her opponents as well as objective supporters of honest and responsible government. She also know that there is plenty of substance—as in evidence of her duplicity and untrustworthiness—to discover. And she knows that she will respond, as the Clintons always have and always will, with carefully worded denials, ad hominem attacks on her critics, dark theories about conspiracies, accusations of sexism, and, of course, cover-ups and lies.

Next to a terrorist attack or a national police announcement that yes, they are hunting down African Americans, this is the last thing the United States needs….which means, in turn, that the next to last thing is the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

The latest controversy is instructive. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Now THAT Was A Rape Culture…”

Blogger and esteemed commenter here Rick Jones shares my passion for theater and is also, like me, a stage director, but seldom has a chance to weigh in on that topic. My post about the troubling lyrics in “Standing on the Corner,” the best known song in Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” gave Rick a chance to swing at a pitch in his wheelhouse, as the baseball broadcasters like to say, and he didn’t disappoint.

I want to clarify something from the original post. Having noted the lyrics, I was no way  criticizing them or the song, or the musical itself. Older shows are valuable and fascinating in part because they serve as windows on past cultural values and attitudes—that was one of the reasons for the ambitious, important and doomed mission of the theater I have been artistic director of for the last two decades. Such politically incorrect references should never be excised in performance.

“The Most Happy Fella” is a slog, however. Ambitious, sure, but too long, too sentimental, and with too many unavoidable “wince points,” as I call them, to make the show worth the huge investment in talent, money and time that it takes to produce competently. Any time the best songs in a musical are the ones that have nothing to do with the plot (“Standing on the Corner,” “Big D,” and “Abondanza!”, which in in the clip above) it’s ominous. The 1925 Pulitzer Prize-winning hit play this pseudo-opera was based on, “They Knew What They Wanted” by Sydney Howard, is much better.

Here is Rick’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Now That Was A Rape Culture…”: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Literature, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Now THIS Is Contempt Of Court…

You call that rant fighting back, Al? That's nothing! THIS is fighting back...

You call that rant fighting back, Al? That’s nothing! THIS is fighting back…

It’s always useful to have rock bottom standards against which all other similar incidents can be compared, so we all owe Tamah Jada Clark a debt of gratitude.

Police in Camilla, Georgia, had arrested her after a September 2010 “suspicious vehicle” stop turned up loaded AK-47 rifles and a .45-caliber pistol in her trunk, apparently intended tools for a foiled plot to break her son’s father, Jason Clark, out of prison, where he has been sentenced to stay for the next 30 years. Police had intercepted incriminating phone calls. Along with some other novel defenses, Clark argued that she was unlawfully arrested because she legally owned the weapons and was not in the same city as the jail where Jason Clark was held, although she was stopped in a nearby town.

She submitted a nine page filing to the court titled, “F*ck this court and everything it stands for.”

Catchy! Some highlights…

  • “Look here, old man, when I told you I AM Justice – I meant it. It took me about 1 month to study the history of the world and to learn the history and inner workings American jurisprudence, literally. I was born to do this here. Don’t you know that your FBI and CIA have been trying to recruit me since grade school? Lol. But they’re unscrupulous losers like you, so it won’t be happening.”
  • “I am well aware that the court has not spoken to me because it cannot defeat my legal arguments – so it runs and cowers like a panic-stricken hoe that has stolen money from her back-handing pimp Just for the record: you are a hoe. This court is a hoe. And I will backhand you both, should you continue to waste my time.”
  • “I couldn’t give two f*cks about you or what you have to say. F*ck you, old man. You’re a joke. Your court’s a joke. You take it up the a*s; and you suck nuts. Lol.”

Imagine writing “LOL” in a court filing!

Outrageous. On the good side, it was sensitive of Clark to use the polite, acceptable version of “fuck.”

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Law & Law Enforcement

No, Craig, Barry Bonds Wasn’t A “Great” Baseball Player. Bernie Madoff Wasn’t A “Great” Investment Manager, Either

Christy Mathewson, a genuine hero. Barry Bonds would have made him want to throw up.

Christy Mathewson, a genuine hero. Barry Bonds would have made him want to throw up.

I like and admire Craig Calcaterra, who blogs entertainingly and perceptively about baseball on the NBC Sports website. I suppose I’m a bit jealous of him too: he’s a lawyer who now earns his living blogging about something he loves.

But Craig has always been a bit confused about how to regard baseball’s steroid cheats (they are cheats, which should answer any questions, but somehow doesn’t for a lot of people), and predictably, I suppose, he couldn’t resist reacting to the early results of Major League Baseball’s “Franchise Four” promotion, in which fans vote (until mid-May) for “the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise” as well as some other categories, including “Four Greatest Living Players.” The early results have Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver leading in the “Greatest Living Players” category, so Craig snarked that this is sad, because “it must mean Barry Bonds has died in a tragic cycling and/or Google Glass accident and no one thought to tell me.”

No, Craig, this is what someone failed to tell you: cheaters in any profession are not “great” by definition. Great baseball players, like great lawyers, writers, doctors, scientists and Presidents, bring honor on their profession, don’t corrupt everyone around them, don’t force people who admire them to embrace unethical conduct and turn them into aiders and abetters, and accomplish their great achievements while obeying the law, following the rules, and serving as role models for everyone who follows them. Barry Bonds was not a great baseball player. He had the ability to be one, but not the character.

Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver never once disgraced their game while they wore a uniform, and indeed made baseball stronger and better while they played. Good choices all.

The disgrace is that San Francisco fans voted Bonds as one of that team’s “Franchise Four,” and dishonoring great Giants of the past like Juan Marichal, as well as New York Giants greats like Christy Mathewson, Bill Terry, Carl Hubbell, and Mel Ott, Hall of Famers  and lifetime Giants who played with honesty and sportsmanship. But Giants’ fans warped values are among the casualties of Bonds’ career…and one more reason he can’t be rated anything but a great villain.

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Sports, Unethical Blog Post, Workplace

Ethics Dunce: Alexandra Robbins, The Mocking Nurse

Mockery

If you set out to defend ethically indefensible conduct in print, you better be able to do a better a job of it than this.

Alexandra Robbins, in an op-ed causing quite a bit of controversy in the Washington, D.C. area, attempted to not only justify the despicable conduct of medical professionals deriding and ridiculing their unconscious patients, but to sanctify it, arguing, lamely, that doctors and nurses are mocking the unwitting and vulnerable human beings who have placed their lives in their hands in order to “rejuvenate [the medical personnel] and bond them to their teams, while helping to produce high-quality work. In other words, the benefits to the staff — and to the patients they heal — outweigh occasional wounded feelings.”

Right.

Robbins’ protests of virtue amount to a desperate raid on the Ethics Alarms Rationalization List, which, as always, operates as virtual Rotting Ethics Detector, or RED. If you find yourself thinking these corrupting self-delusions, you’re on the verge of unethical conduct; if you find yourself saying them, you’ve applied for membership in the Dark Side, and if you are so rationalization-polluted that you proclaim them in print, like Robbins, you shouldn’t be trusted to mail the water bill, much less to cavort in the operating room.

Rationalizations aren’t the only ethical problem with her loathsome essay. The entire thing is a Jumbo, denying the blatantly undeniable. “Oh, no!” readers are told. “We aren’t being disrespectful to patients when we mock their weight, sex organs, or the maladies that placed them in pain, peril and in our care!” Robbins expects us to believe that insults constitute “non-destructive coping measures” that help nurses and doctors “provide the best possible care, even if those methods might seem unprofessional outside of the health-care setting.”

They seem unprofessional because they are unprofessional. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Health and Medicine, Jumbo, Professions, Workplace

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Ohio Governor John Kasich

“[T]he most important thing is, what does the Lord want me to do with my life?”

Potential GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, explaining what considerations will determine whether or not he enters the race.

"Governor? It's for you."

“Governor? It’s for you.”

There is so much wrong with Kasich saying this that the only question now is whether it disqualifies him for elected office.

I guess that’s excessive, though. In a political culture in which Hillary Clinton is considered qualified to be President, almost no one can be truly disqualified. Anything goes, as long as you are wearing the right team colors.

If the Founders knew their democracy would come to this, I think they would have decided to just submit to King George’s tyranny.

Kasich is a skilled governor, just as he was an outstanding House member in a crowd of Republican embarrassments during the Bush years. Then he tried being a talking head for Fox, and had the integrity to quit in disgust. He seemed to have the qualities necessary to elevate the Republican presidential field.

Guess not:

1. He is pandering. The GOP evangelicals and religious right have a lot of power and influence, and they are the only ones who could possibly take Kasich’s statement seriously. “Ah!” they will say, or so Kasich’s shameless advisors have convinced him, “He’s one of us! He believes that weather disasters are visted upon us because of America’s sins! He believes that women belong barefoot and pregnant, that Adam was ducking dinosaurs, that school prayer will cure our ills…that good people ought to be able to shun and exclude the sinful by refusing to sell them services that they provide to everyone else, and that homos are the spawn of Satan.” The statement that Kasich is dictated to by God hints that he thinks a theocracy is hunky-dory. Hey, look at Iran!

2. He is lying. Or he is deranged.

3. The belief that God is likely to choose you as a leader of the most powerful nation on earth is so devoid of humility and so unfair to and disrespectful of the democratic process that it boggles the mind.

4. It avoids personal accountability.

5. The statement is a declaration of incompetence and fecklessness. What other decisions will President Kasich place in God’s hands, or blame on Him when they turn out to be duds?

6. Waiting for God to declare the right course is an intentional abdication of ethics for the moral direction on others, or, if you prefer, Others.

 God made you say that, John, so you would not be President. You have your answer.

Dummy.

 

Read more:

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy

The Irony Of Wikileaks: Yes, It Is Despicable…But It’s Still Useful To Know That PBS, Ben Affleck And Prof. Henry Lewis Gates Are Despicable Too.

Batman is ashamed of you, Ben...

Batman is ashamed of you, Ben…

Once a secret is out, it isn’t a secret any more. Once privacy is shattered, it’s gone: that egg can’t be put back together again. I wish Sony’s e-mails hadn’t been hacked: everyone who isn’t operating under a policy that mandates that their communications must be archived and available for media and public examination, like, oh, say, Hillary Clinton, has a right to have private business and personal communication.

Julian Assange is a fick, and an uncommonly arrogant one. He encourages, aids and abets the theft of proprietary information in the interests of world anarchy, which is in the interests of nobody. So let’s see now…North Korea hacks Sony to chill our First Amendment rights, and Wikileaks helps magnify the damage by spreading private e-mails and documents far and wide.

Yechhh.

But it’s all out there now, and there is no virtue in averting our eyes and plugging our ears. There is a lot of unethical conduct exposed in those 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails hacked from Sony, and while the means by which it was exposed was illegal and wrong, we should still learn from what is now public information.

The fact that PBS and Harvard prof Henry Louis Gates Jr. can’t be trusted, for example, is good to know. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Jumbo, Race, Rights, The Internet