Category Archives: Environment

Message To An Unethical Teacher: Children Are Not Your Guinea Pigs



Fire this teacher now.

Karen Keller, a kindergarten teacher at Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary on Bainbridge Island, Washington, think it is her role to use 5 year olds for her own social science experiment. She’s wrong. But then, she’s wrong about so much, and so arrogant about it. If she is allowed to continue her abusive manipulation of her young charges without being stopped, reprimanded, or given a pink slip, the negligent parents of her victims must carry the blame. Every now and then a teacher will go power mad and run amuck—I had one of those. There is no excuse for not acting quickly before someone gets hurt.

Keller has decided that it is her mission in life to combat what some studies show to be lower spatial and math skills development among girls as a group, as compared to boys. Thus she has decided to forbid boys from playing with LEGOS during the “unstructured play period” of 40 minutes that the kindergarten day includes. Keller told a local paper that it drove her crazy  that the girls wanted to play with dolls while boys flocked to the plastic building system, so she decided to take action to erase those gender-based proclivities. “Until girls get it into their system that building is cool, building is ‘what I want to do’ — I want to protect that.”

Want to fire her yet?

How about this statement…

“I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” she said. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”

Now do you want to fire her? Continue reading


Filed under Childhood and children, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Gender and Sex, Research and Scholarship

The Definition Of Irresponsible Leadership? Obama’s Keystone Pipeline Call

keystone-pipelineI am trying to find another example of a U.S. President taking action that harms the nation and its citizens while admitting that it will have no measurable beneficial effects whatsoever.

I can’t find any. I’d like to know about one, and see how it worked out.

When the Washington Post’s editorial staff essentially calls a Democratic President’s conduct an embarrassment. it really must have been embarrassing…and it was. Obama’s sole explanation for his decision, which he has, as is his style, dithered over for years, was this:

“Ultimately if we’re going to prevent large parts of the Earth from becoming inhospitable or uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them.”

But killing the pipeline will keep no fossil fuels in the ground. So the reason really is this:

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious actions to fight climate change and, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

Ah. So America will show it is serious about climate change by killing a project that all agree will have no tangible, long-term, short-term, measurable effects on climate change at all. This is Obama logic, as we have seen many times: good intentions is enough; results don’t matter. If his decision won’t help reduce the risk of parts of the Earth  becoming “inhospitable or uninhabitable in our lifetimes”—a risk that is also measurable and speculative at best—then the purpose of it isn’t to prove leadership. True, it proves atrocious leadership, but Obama is cynical, not stupid. The decision is political. Its only tangible benefit is to the Democratic Party, which feels the need to make the welfare of the U.S. and its citizens subordinate to the fanaticism of the environmentalist movement. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Science & Technology

KABOOM! “Energyween” On The Energy Dept. Website


My greatest struggle in writing an ethics blog is to flag unethical conduct without sliding into political commentary. Explaining why Barack Obama is an atrocious and unethical leader need not involve political commentary, but many people assume that any criticism of  political figures or their policies are partisan and political. Now take the Affordable Care Act (Please!)—I have never argued pro or con about its substance. It’s the lousy ethics I care about. I object to the lying, the undemocratic way it was debated and passed, the incompetence of Congress voting for a huge and expensive bill no members read, the dishonesty of the title, the fact that it does not address the unsustainable rise in health care costs, the unethical manner in which the news media lobbied for it, the unconstitutional way that flaws in the law have been “fixed” by executive fiat rather  than by the legislature, the irresponsible debt the program will require, the incompetence of administering it…these are ethical issues, not political. It is the great weakness of party loyalty that these are not recognized as non-partisan issues.  Democrats should be as concerned about lying to get a progressive program passed as a conservative program.

Avoiding politics becomes even harder when I am confronted with a mind-blowing*example of ideological insanity like the Energy Department’s page. It isn’t just that everything about it is ridiculous. The problem is that it is ridiculous, sinister, and exemplifies the left’s accelerating fondness for the methods and attitudes of totalitarian regimes, including the attempted infantilization of citizens, and a fondness for indoctrination. Some forms of government are unethical as well as unwise, among them being totalitarianism and socialism.

On Energyween, the celebration of Halloween, an activity that the government should not have any part in, is transformed into a something resembling an Obama Youth exercise with what is supposed to be a light-hearted tone, perhaps to put readers off the track. It seems to be an attempt to hijack Halloween and make it a political exercise, taking the holiday away from children and exploiting them for a political agenda. The Obama Administration has done this before, with its directive to true believers to use Thanksgiving to push Obamacare. That was despicable. This is much worse. Or perhaps much stupider. It’s hard to tell, as you will see.

Here are suggested designs for pumpkin carving, for example… Continue reading


Filed under Childhood and children, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Kaboom!, The Internet, Unethical Websites

Ethics Corrupter Weekend, Part III. Williams College And Open Minds

williams-college_416x416If colleges can’t educate students about core American values and principles like freedom of speech, what good are they? It’s worse than that, though. They appear to be teaching the opposite of those values, corrupting our upcoming generations and through them, poisoning our society.

Author Suzanne Venker, a conservative  social critic who has called herself an anti-feminist, was scheduled to give a lecture at Williams College as part of a student-created “Uncomfortable Learning” series, but the group cancelled her appearance when students complained that her ideas would make them uncomfortable. The leader of the student group that created the series, Zach Wood, was subjected to protests like this:

“When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue’ and ‘the other side,’ you are not only causing actual mental, social, psychological, and physical harm to students, but you are also—paying—for the continued dispersal of violent ideologies that kill our black and brown (trans) femme sisters. You are giving those who spout violence the money that so desperately needs to be funneled to black and brown (trans) femme communities, to people who are leading the revolution, who are surviving in the streets, who are dying in the streets. Know, you are dipping your hands in their blood, Zach Wood.”

Physical harm! Hearing her speak would actually injure them!

Opined the student newspaper:

While free speech is important and there are problems with deeming speech unacceptable, students must not be unduly exposed to harmful stereotypes in order to live and learn here without suffering emotional injury. It is possible that some speech is too harmful to invite to campus. The College should be a safe space for students, a place where people respect others’ identities. Venker’s appearance would have been an invasion of that space.

Gee, I thought “safe” on campus today meant “safe from sexual relations that you decide after the fact were a bad idea, and that magically become rape after the fact.” My mistake. Apparently it means “Having one’s world view challenged.” Wood capitulated to the mob, demonstrating that Williams had failed to teach him and his group members integrity, the importance of keeping commitments, not to be weenies and to be willing to fight for what’s right, even when it is unpopular. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Rights

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith

Looks thoughtful, sounds thoughtful, isn't thinking...

Looks thoughtful, sounds thoughtful, isn’t thinking…

“I don’t know…I think we are in a weird place in the world when the following things are considered political. Five things, I’m going to tick them off. These are the five things that were on his and our president’s agenda. Caring for the marginalized and the poor — that’s now political. Advancing economic opportunity for all. Political? Serving as good stewards of the environment. Protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom globally. Welcoming [and] integrating immigrants and refugees globally. And that’s political?”

—-Fox News anchor Shep Smith last week, responding to critics of the Pope’s visit to the U.S. and his message, as it was being celebrated by Democrats, Catholics, intellectually dishonest progressives, and, apparently, naive news anchors.

The short answer to Smith’s question is, “Of course it’s political. All of those issues are political.” I would also add, “How can you report political news and not understand that they are political?”

Now I’m going to tick them off:

….”Caring for the marginalized and the poor” requires time, money and personnel, as well as planning and efficiency. All of those in turn require re-allocating resources away from other needs and activities, including important ones that allow people to avoid poverty and marginalization. A society that makes cariung for the non-productive members of society its first priority becomes non-productive itself. So where does “caring for the marginalized and the poor” fit on the priority list? What is the definition of  “the marginalized and the poor”? The Pope doesn’t have to define them, but to seriously create policy that accomplishes the goal of “caring for” them—which also requires a definition—is a political task.
Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Environment, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

“When The Ethics Alarms Don’t Sound” Files: Auschwitz


From The Jerusalem Post:

Israeli tourists who arrived at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland on Sunday expressed shock and outrage over what appeared to be the placement of showers near the entrance to the site. Asked about the outcry, a spokesman for the Auschwitz memorial told The Jerusalem Post that “no showers were placed at the parking lot of the museum.” “Because of the heat wave in Poland, sprinklers which cool the air were placed near the entrance to the museum. They are located near the area where – in the open sun and without any possibility of hiding in the shade – a queue of people who collect the entry cards to the memorial site is formed. “Among visitors there are many people who come from countries where such high temperatures as we have this summer in Poland do not occur. We have noticed cases of fainting among people. Therefore we must do everything possible to minimize the risks connected with the heat and high temperatures and take care of the safety of health of our visitors. The sprinklers are installed on the days of highest temperatures and removed with the temperature drops.”

“As a Jew who has lost so many relatives in the Holocaust, they looked like the showers that the Jews were forced to take before entering the gas chambers,” Meir Bulka, 48, told the Post . According to Bulka, he was not the only one deeply disturbed by this unusual scene. “All the Israelis felt this was very distasteful,” he said. “Someone called it a ‘Holocaust gimmick.’” Bulka decided to do something proactive about the situation rather than let it go. He went to the main office and asked the management for an explanation to the strange scene.

“The management decided that it was a good way to cool people off on a very hot day,” Bulka said.

There is something very wrong when those in charge of the Auschwitz historical site decide to erect nozzles misting water downwards at visitors outside the notorious death camp and nobody in involved in the decision detects the obvious problem. Whether the problem is with the administrators, the post-WWII generations, non-Jews, or something else, like Europe and the world, I am not sure. I do know that ethics alarms should have been ringing loudly. Did they malfunction? Or are they not installed?

Clues to what is wrong are suggested by the comments made by Ann Althouse’s readers to this story. I’m still trying to figure them out. Her audience is, I presume, ideologically-mixed, tilting to the left, and on the young side, since she is a law professor and many students read her posts. Is the utter insensitivity bordering on hostility to Jewish sensitivity on the little, insignificant matter of the Holocaust displayed here  attributable to ignorance (an excuse the Polish curators of the museum cannot claim), callousness, distance from the events memorialized, antipathy to Israel or anti-Semitism?

Here are 17 out of the 20 comments so far: Continue reading


Filed under History, Around the World, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

Ethics Quiz: The Natural Lawn


(Commenters complained that the last quiz was too easy. This one is not.)

In the St. Albans Township, outside of Alexandria, Ohio, Sarah Baker and her partner  violated the local ordinance and stopped mowing their one acre of property. “A potpourri of plants began to flourish, and a rich assortment of insects and animals followed. I had essentially grown a working ecosystem, one that had been waiting for the chance to emerge,” she wrote in the Washington Post. The first time the couple tried this, they were fined a thousand dollars but capitulated and mowed their lawn. Now, though they have been found to turn their property into a “public nuisance” due to neglect, they are defying the town and certain that they are in the right. Baker writes in part:

” About 95 percent of the natural landscape in the lower 48 states has been developed into cities, suburbs and farmland. Meanwhile, the global population of vertebrate animals, from birds to fish, has been cut in half during the past four decades. Honey bees, on which we depend to pollinate our fruits and other crops, have been dying off at an unsustainable rate. Because one in three bites of food you take requires a pollinating insect to produce it, their rapid decline is a threat to humanity. Monarch butterflies have been even more affected, with their numbers dropping 90 percent since the 1990s. Butterflies are an important part of the food chain, so ecologists have long used them to measure the health of ecosystems.

Nature preserves and parks are not enough to fix the problem; much of wildlife is migratory and needs continuous habitat to thrive. Natural yards can act as bridges between the larger natural spaces…[M]aintaining a mowed and fertilized lawn also pollutes the air, water and soil. The emissions from lawnmowers and other garden equipment are responsible for more than 5 percent of urban air pollution. An hour of gas-powered lawn mowing produces as much pollution as four hours of driving a car. Americans use 800 million gallons of gas every year for lawn equipment, and 17 million gallons are spilled while refueling mowers — more than was leaked by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops, chemicals that can end up in drinking water and waterways…I’m not alone. Homeowners across the country have latched on to the natural lawn and “no mow” movement.

… If we allow ourselves to see a mowed lawn for what it is — a green desert that provides no food or shelter for wildlife — we can recondition ourselves to take pride in not mowing.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is...

Is Baker’s unmown, natural lawn in defiance of the town ordinance ethical?

Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society