Category Archives: Ethics Dunces

Ethics Dunce: Joy Behar

These things never happened at the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, but then, those comics were pros, not wannabe political pundits...,

These things never happened at the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, but then, those comics were pros, not wannabe political pundits…,

The View edged up in my estimation a tic or two when Joy Behar exited it for her own show, now mercifully ended. Admittedly, this enhancement still left that offensive ABC daytime talk-fest well below water, but anything was an improvement over Behar, the epitome of a loud and opinionated celebrity with nothing to contribute of substance to any discussion except misplaced arrogance and noise. I’m sure I’ve flagged at least one or two of her stunts…let’s check. Why yes, here is one: I wrote this when Joy led a walk-out on guest Bill O’Reilly because he had the bad taste to suggest that Muslims took down the Twin Towers. (They did, you know.)

Given her antics through the years, I was stunned to discover that anyone would compensate this awful woman to give her a podium, but someone did. On April 1, Behar was one of a group of New Jersey comedians hired to participate in a “roast” of former New Jersey governor Brendan Byrne, who is in his nineties. On the dais with Byrne was the current governor Chris Christie, who, this being a roast, came in for more than his share of the jibes from the comics, who were generally clever about it. Behar, however, decided to make her act personal and nasty. Continue reading

86 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Professions

Ethics Dunce: Belmont Law School

Gonzalez

Belmont Law School, in Tennessee, has appointed former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez as its new dean.

Unbelievable.

Here is law professor/blogger Jonathan Turley’s reaction, in part. I concur completely, and cannot improve on it:

“Gonzales is widely blamed for politicizing the Justice Department, destroying its credibility, appointing substandard officials, and turning a blind eye to egregious violations like the torture and surveillance programs. …For many, this appointment looks like a provisional law school accepting an equally provisional lawyer as dean. Gonzales will not help the law school’s reputation. The school defines itself as “Belmont University is a student-centered Christian community providing an academically challenging education that empowers men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith.” Gonzales has declared that he is committed “to make Belmont the greatest law school that it can be.” Given the fact that Gonzales took a department with a stellar reputation and devastated both its professionalism and reputation, that statement is rather chilling.”

If that weren’t enough, the appointment also means that there is now a precedent for appointing Eric Holder as a law school dean some day.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Ethics Observations On A Journalism Scandal

washington-post-logo

Shame.

Executive Summary: Washington Post reporters Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin wrote a story for the website’s Wonkblog headlined, “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” The story was essentially false. It was based on easily disproved data from a progressive activist organization. Eilperin has close ties to both the environmental advocates opposing the Keystone pipeline, and desperately trying to turn public opinion against it. She also has tied to the White House. John Hinderaker, on Powerline, his respected conservative politics blog, exposed the Post story as a blatant misinformation with a likely political motive. The reporters responded with a jaw-dropping rationalization, and are currently being excoriated by the Post’s readers online.

The Facts: The Post article by Mufson and Eilperin begins: Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Professions, Unethical Blog Post, Workplace

Ethics Dunce: Howard Kurtz…One Way Or The Other

Radner as "Baba Wawa." Walters, oddly, never felt the need to respond...

Radner as “Baba Wawa.” Walters, oddly, never felt the need to respond…

Maybe the ethics component in the title is gilding the lily in this case. Fox’s Kurtz, in attacking what he perceives as the unfairness of Stephen Colbert’s barbs, certainly misunderstands the ethics of Colbert’s craft, but what he primarily proves is that he’s a dunce…what kind of dunce, it’s difficult to tell. Is he the kind of dunce who can’t take a joke? Or is he the kind of  dunce who doesn’t realize he should leave the gags to professionals?

The former media ethics watchdog for the Washington Post, CNN and the Daily Beast, now playing that role for Fox News (all oxymoron jokes gratefully accepted), says that he has finally had his fill of being mocked by Colbert, the Comedy Central satirist whose gimmick is playing a conservative fool in order to ridicule real ones.

“It’s about time someone took on Stephen Colbert,” Kurtz wrote in what is either  serious piece on Fox News Insider, or a criminally inept attempt at ironic humor. “This guy—a fake anchor if ever there was one—has been maligning hard-working journalists for too long. Journalists like me. In an effort to get a few cheap laughs, this Comedy Central clown took my work out of context and, worse, engaged in selective editing. It was nothing less than a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers.”

Uh, Howie? Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

Ethics Dunces (Bigotry Division): Arizona Republicans

Message received.

Message received.

I don’t know what Arizona Republican legislators are running from now: they have accomplished their mission. They’ve made it abundantly clear that they don’t like or respect the rights of gays, bi-sexuals and transsexuals, and want to leave no question in the minds of anti-gay bigots (or good and gentle religious people  across the state who want to discriminate against gays because they thing doing so is “moral”) that the nationwide cultural shift to approval of gay marriage, a.k.a, equal rights under law, hasn’t changed this: Arizona Republicans back your dislike of these perverts’ sinful, corrupting lifestyle, whatever the law is.

The disingenuous and offensive argument being made by Republican supporters of the modifications of  an 1999 Arizona law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is, in essence, that Arizona businesses can already discriminate against gays, and so can those of lots of other states. This isn’t an anti-gay law! It’s a religious freedom law! Yes, and the Civil War was about States rights. The new bill’s clear motivation—Timing! Timing!— is to strengthen the hand of businesses, organizations, corporation and non-profits that object, allegedly or actually on genuine religious grounds, to serving, employing, or dealing with gays. More than that, however, the goal is to line up the legal, moral and ethical authority of the state behind those who want to treat gays in this fashion, whatever the reason, rather than behind the rights of the LBGT community to be treated like all other citizens. Continue reading

194 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, U.S. Society

Hot Off The Presses! “Portrait Of An Ethics Dunce” By Alec Baldwin

CatLionMirrorThis isn’t the real title of Alec Baldwin’s epic orgy of narcissism  and self-pity in the latest New York Magazine; that would be “Good-bye, Public Life!” It is, however, the more accurate and descriptive title, and although it is annoying and occasionally colon-disturbing to be trapped in Baldwin’s mind for the ten minutes or so it might take to wade through this opus, I think it is well worth it. For Baldwin provides us all with a frightening case study of how self-absorption and arrogance precludes an ethical world view, and with it responsibility, accountability, fairness, empathy, respect, perspective, honesty...the works.

The essay is obviously intended to make Baldwin look as good as possible; its whole thesis is that he is maligned, misunderstood, the constant target of knaves and fools, and a victim of circumstance. Yet with every statement, he makes it brilliantly clear that it isn’t everyone else, but him. He is a juvenile, egomaniacal jerk. The evidence is right in front of his face, but he just can’t see it; he teems with hate for everyone else. Alec’s hit  list includes former employers, colleagues, companies and the United States of America. Here’s a partial list (I must have missed someone) of those Baldwin, while protesting what a great guy and how misunderstood he is, spits on in his farewell: Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, Harvey Levin, stage director Dan Sullivan, Shia LaBeouf , Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski., Rachel Maddow,  MSNBC producer Jonathan Larsen, MSNBC chief Phil Griffin , Capital One, AT&T, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York, Broadway, the Huffington Post, Kim Kardashian, Roger Ailes, Fox News, MSNBC, Breitbart, and both the liberal and conservative media.

If the point of the rant is to make us feel sorry for Baldwin, it works, at least for me. I feel sorry for anyone so socially inept and self-deluded that he can write what reads like a candid confession of a pathologically hostile and inconsiderate attitude toward the rest of mankind and think it is a persuasive defense of his actions and character. This is a man who called a male reporter a “toxic little queen” in a hateful twitter attack and says now that he didn’t realize that phrase might be considered offensive by gays. This is man who has had ugly public confrontations with reporters, photographers and flight attendants, and just can’t understand why people are giving him the cold shoulder, except that he is positive he doesn’t deserve it. They are throwing mud on him, he says:

“In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day. What’s the Boy Scout code? Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent. I might be all of those things, at certain moments. But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy. You’re that guy that says this.”

And to prove how unfair this is, Baldwin pour out his heart in this essay, which insults everyone he can think of.

You really owe it to yourself to read it all. It will take some tolerance and determination, but  “Good-bye, Public Life!”might constitute the most valuable public service Alec Baldwin has ever performed, until he actually keeps his promise for once (he has previously sworn that he was going to leave the country) and exits public life. I am certain that once finished, you will, as I did, say a little prayer that if your ethics alarms ever show signs of becoming this dysfunctional, someone will be kind enough to slap you silly, sit you down, and confront you with the harsh reality that you are becoming an insufferable asshole, and need to shape up quickly, lest you end up like poor Alec Baldwin, a deluded, incurable, Ethics Dunce.

26 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces

Ethics Dunces: Conservative Supporters Of Self-Appointed Censor Mom, Judy Cox

Judy Cox, saving America one T-shirt at a time...

Judy Cox, Wacko, saving America one T-shirt at a time…

Conservatives just can’t help themselves, it seems.

They can’t avoid undermining their historically vital role in counterbalancing the process of societal entropy and the degrading of individual liberty by central state control, by periodically making themselves and their philosophy look so hypocritical and ridiculous that their power to persuade is crippled. One traditional way conservatives ensure that they will be reviled and mocked by anyone under the age of 50, even when the are right, is their addiction to celebrating censorious wackos who seem to have been only recently unfrozen from the glaciers that have imprisoned them since around 1954.

This afternoon I watched with my jaw agape as a panel of “experts” on Fox cheered the ridiculous actions of Judy Cox, who was horrified to see T-shirts sale for in a Utah college town store  that sported the images of winsome women in scanty attire—you know, like one can see on television every hour of every day, but more dignified.  Judy, who was concerned for the sensibilities of her 18 year-old son (also known as “an adult”) and those like him whose morals will be permanently warped by such images, promptly had a cow:

“Cox said she complained about the window display to a store manager and was told the T-shirts couldn’t be taken down without approval from the corporate office. She then bought all 19 T-shirts in stock, for a total of $567. She says she plans to return them later, toward the end of the chain store’s 60-day return period. The shirts cost about $28 each on the website for PacSun, which sells beach clothes for teenagers and young adults.“These shirts clearly cross a boundary that is continually being pushed on our children in images on the Internet, television and when our families shop in the mall,” Cox said in an email to The Associated Press.”

That’s not all: Continue reading

48 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunce (Advice Columnist Division): “Dear Prudence”

Hmmm...refreshing! And strangely tangy!

Hmmm…refreshing! And strangely tangy!

Here is my guess: nearly 100% of all people with two ethics alarms to rub together would be able to answer this question correctly, responsibly, and within about 1o seconds of thought. The question, in essence:

‘I worked as a nanny for a couple I didn’t like, so to make myself feel better, I secretly poisoned them. Now I work elsewhere, and I hear that they are both ill and doctors are stumped. I feel kinda bad about it. What should I do?’

The obvious answer: “For God’s sake, you idiot, tell them what you did, so the doctors can treat them! Why are you wasting time talking to me? They could die, and you would be responsible!”

But this answer isn’t the one given by Emily Yoffe, Slate’s serially incompetent and unethical advice columnist. She responded, in a live online chat that uncovered this vile supplicant, who confessed to routinely dipping her employers’ toothbrushes in the toilet and periodically spiking their bedside water with the same fecal solution, by writing this:

“Part of me would love to tell you to rush to confess. However, I will extend you a courtesy that you didn’t give your “inconsiderate” and “rude” employers. That is, while I think this couple should know the source of their illness, confessing could leave you open to potential prosecution. You may deserve it, but you need to consider the stakes here.”

That part of Emily, apparently, is the sensible, compassionate, ethical part, and it was over-ruled by the unethical, irresponsible, dumb part. The lawyer, if he or she is more ethical than Emily, a good bet, will tell the Potty Poisoner that she should confess immediately in case an E Coli infestation is what is making the couple ill, particularly because they might die, greatly increasing her risk of serious criminal penalties as well as, you know, ending their lives and leaving their children parentless.  The lawyer will also explain all the possible scenarios resulting from what Emily seems to dread, honesty and accountability. Even lawyers, who are required to place their clients’ best interests first, are not supposed to advise them to cover up their crimes and allow their victims to perish. Advice columnists are definitely not supposed to do this, and are duty bound to give wise and responsible advice that is in the best interests of all concerned, not just their correspondents, who are likely to be, in general, less than bright, ethically-clueless, and in need of nannies themselves.

“Dear Ethics Alarms: I’m an advice columnist and I told someone who said that she had been poisoning her employers with fecal matter that she didn’t need to ‘fess up, even though they became deathly ill. Now she has written me a follow-up, thanking me for my advice since the couple died, leaving several young children orphaned, and she would have been in big trouble if she had come clean. Now I feel guilty. Should I?”

Yes.

______________________
Pointer: Fark

Source: Slate

25 Comments

Filed under Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, U.S. Society

Groupon Celebrates National Incompetence and Ignorance With A Presidents Day Double KABOOM!

Hamilton-exploding_head2

The Ethics Alarms KABOOM!—a special designation for ethics-related stories that make my head explode—has a new variation, thanks to Groupon: the repeating KABOOM!, triggered by two related KABOOMs in the same episode. My head has been exploding repeatedly since I learned about this late last night.

Hold on to your craniums, for here is a Groupon press release sent out earlier this week, the first of the KABOOM! twins:

Groupon Celebrates

Presidents Day

by Honoring

Alexander Hamilton!

Commemorate a man historically powerful enough to be on money with $10 towards $40 on a local purchase while they last!

CHICAGO, Feb 14, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Starting tomorrow, Groupon ( http://www.groupon.com ) (NASDAQ: GRPN) will be kicking off Presidents Day weekend by giving customers 10 dollars off 40 dollars when they purchase a deal for any local business. The $10 bill, as everyone knows, features President Alexander Hamiltonundeniably one of our greatest presidents and most widely recognized for establishing the country’s financial system.

Beginning Saturday, Feb. 15 at 9 am CST, shoppers will be able to redeem this offer by using the promo code “10OFF40LOCAL”, which isn’t very catchy, but neither was President Hamilton’s famous saying, “Nobody expects to trust his body overmuch after the age of fifty.”

President Hamilton is best known for the fiscal sensibilities that led him to author economic policies, establish a national bank and control taxes. Customers can honor our money-minded commander-in-chief and find deals by searching Groupon.com for local deals all through President’s Day weekend. Promo codes are limited, and more information can be found at: https://www.groupon.com/faq#faqs:content-269

The emphasis is mine, and I’m paying for every bit of it, let me tell you. My head is doing a terrific Dante’s Peak impression as I type this.

But that’s not all: here comes Groupon’s KABOOM! #2. Is the company embarassed? Chagrined? Are heads rolling? Oh, noooo! For when an enterprising American, one of the few who received a competent fourth grade education, was kind enough to alert Groupon to its unforgivable gaffe, this is what he received in return:

GOUPON IDIOTIt would all be hilarious if it were not so ominous….and unethical. Continue reading

76 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Government & Politics, History, Kaboom!, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet, U.S. Society, Workplace

Thank You, Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler For Being The Best Ethics Alarms Ethics Dunce EVER!

I must say, this is the sort of thing that makes the heart of an ethicist, or at least this ethicist’s, swell with joy as the strains of “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life At Last I Found You!” take control of his brain, and the song bursts, full-blown and soaring, from his lips…You’ll have to excuse me…

Glenn Kessler’s “Fact Checker” column in today’s Sunday Post is a cornucopia of wonderful topics, including…

  • The dishonest conduct of media “fact-checkers” in using their columns not to dispute facts but to take issue with opinions, usually on partisan grounds, with which they disagree.
  • The misuse of “lies” and “lying” to describe either mistakes or opinions, neither of which are lies.
  • People who lie themselves while accusing others of lies.
  • Fact-checkers who misstate facts while accusing others of misstating facts.
  • The common misunderstanding that “consent” makes a boss’s sexual relationship with his or her subordinate ethically acceptable.
  • Rand Paul!
  • Bill Clinton!
  • Rand Paul attacking Bill Clinton!
  • ANYONE defending Bill Clinton’s conduct involving Monica Lewinsky.
  • The news media’s already evident intent to defend against all attacks, direct or oblique, on the liberal establishment’s choice for President in 2016, Hillary “The First Enabler” Clinton.

It just doesn’t get much better than this.

Let us begin with the root of Kessler’s  column and his inspiration, this statement by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky): Continue reading

21 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership