Category Archives: Ethics Dunces

Ethics Dunce: Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd (D)

How low will she go?

How low will she go?

Ms. Todd is Alabama’s only openly gay legislator, and now she’s an openly unethical legislator. She doesn’t like the political and social arguments some of her colleagues are making against gay marriage, so she’s going to extort them to  shut them up. Maybe she got the idea from “Citizen Kane.” Charles Foster Kane’s political career was ruined by similar extortion from a political opponent. Of course, the Orson Welles classic made it clear that James Gettys was a ruthless villain. So is Todd.

Her threat: if opponents use “family values” rhetoric as a reason to oppose marriage equality, she’ll start making rumors of their marital infidelities public. “I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about ‘family values’ when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have,” Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd wrote on Facebook.  “I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out…If certain people come out and start espousing this rhetoric about family values, then I will say, ‘Let’s talk about family values, because here’s what I heard.’ I don’t have direct knowledge, because obviously I’m not the other person involved in the affair. But one thing you would never hear about me is that I ever cheated on a partner or had an affair.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials

STUPIDITY SATURDAY Bonus: The Deflategate Deniers, Excusers, Rationalizers and Corrupters

dumb football fan

[This post took so long to write that I am posting it on Sunday. Pretty stupid.]

Every few months an ethics story erupts that convinces me that I’m wasting my time. I started writing about ethics online in disgust over the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, which revealed to me that no politicians, few journalists and a tiny minority of the public understood the difference between, right, wrong, and a desperate rationalization. I was aghast at the vigorously nodding heads on talk shows when some ethically-challenged dolt would say that “everyone lies about sex” (so it’s okay), or that because other leaders may have had illicit sex, that made it acceptable, or that Clinton deserved special dispensation because he was an effective and popular President, or that he and Lewinsky were consenting adults, or that personal conduct was irrelevant to the job, or that other Presidents had done worse. These were all just lazy, poorly reasoned and culturally corrupting rationalizations, but nobody except a derided few seemed to know it.

So I’ve been writing about these and other ethics issues, including rationalizations, for about 15 years, and nevertheless, when something like the Patriots cheating scandal arises, I hear the same unethical, ignorant crap, as if nothing has changed. And, of course, nothing has. All I can hope to do, in conjunction with others who don’t want to see society devolve into a Hobbesian Hell, is to try to convince enough rational people that we can, by constantly explaining, arguing, and pointing the way, just keep things as barely endurably corrupt as they are now.

I got depressed just writing that last sentence.

The issue regarding the New England Patriots giving their quarterback an edge by cheating—deflating the balls so he could throw more accurately–isn’t controversial or hard to understand. If the team broke a rule that relates to sportsmanship, the fairness of the competition and the integrity of the result, and it is hard to see how it didn’t, then the NFL should punish the team severely. [ The NFL, true to its black heart, has made it clear that its investigation will not allow a resolution of this until after the Super Bowl, meaning that it hopes the controversy will deflate. I’m sure it could resolve all questions and identify the accountable parties faster if it wanted to—it doesn’t want to.] To do otherwise essentially endorses cheating. Moreover, since the team involved has a head coach who has made it clear that he is willing to cheat (having been caught before), that coach must be held accountable for the unethical culture he has nurtured whether he was directly involved in this particular episode or not. This is truly Ethics 101, Management 101, Culture 101, Sports 101—let’s just call it “101.” Yet so many, from the elite among sportswriters to the public that devotes an obscene amount of their passion, time and money to following football just don’t get it. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Professions, Sports, U.S. Society, Workplace

STUPIDITY SATURDAY Continues: Anti-Vaxxers Resurrect Measles With An Assist From California

jenny_mccarthy

The anti-vaccination crowd, let by such worthies as professional bimbo Jenny McCarthy (above), endangers the public health and undermines child safety by relying on various conspiracy theories and quacks to avoid a proven program of eradicating infectious diseases. Now measles, once considered extinct, has returned with a vengeance, with more reported cases in 2014 than any time since 2000.The reason is that not enough children are being vaccinated against it. Jenny and her pals are why.

Before measles vaccines became routine in 1963, between three and four million Americans a year got the disease, with 400 to 500 dying from it annually. So this isn’t a matter of kids getting the sniffles. Continue reading

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It’s STUPIDITY SATURDAY, Celebrating That Fascinating Nexus Between Dumb and Unethical! First Up: The IRS Picks A Contractor

Fool_Alfred

Perusing the many ethics issues that have slopped into my inbox, I realized that a fascinating theme was developing: wanton, willful, inexcusable stupidity. Being stupid is not intrinsically unethical, for in many cases it is a malady, a Nature-dictated state like being short or bald, just one that is more limiting than most. Being stupid and allowing yourself to be placed in a position where your stupidity will harm others, however, is unethical.

Incompetence is not the same thing as stupidity necessarily, but it is a kind of stupidity and it generates stupidity: stupid risks, stupid decisions, stupid statements, stupid policies, stupid results. The recent Pew study showing that the two most common descriptions of President Obama were “good” and “incompetent” was intriguing on that issue. A man can be both “good” and “incompetent,” but a leader cannot. Obama can be a good man (though after hearing his defiant, dishonest, petulant and self-destructive State of the Union address, I find that hard to believe), but he cannot be a good leader while being an incompetent one.

The President is incompetent, and the incompetence has, as it always will with those serving under incompetent leadership, metastasized throughout his administration into incontrovertible stupidity of a sort that it is unethical for a leader to tolerate or allow to continue. Yet he does.

This brings us to the IRS. Believe it or not, just even months after federal officials fired the firm CGI Federal for its botched work on the Obamacare website Healthcare.gov, the IRS awarded these same bunglers a $4.5 million IT contract for its new Obamacare tax program.

Let me say that again, slowly, so it sinks in: Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: Sarah Palin

FU MMoore

Civility, decorum, dignity, role model obligations, leadership, high standards…never mind all that elite stuff.  Just keep catering to the boors, the  clods, and the vulgar jerks. I’ll admit, there are a lot of them

Stay classy, Sarah.

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The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 4 of 4)

mamoru-samuragochi2

Outrageous Hoax Of The Year

Mamoru Samuragochi, the composer sometimes known as “The Japanese Beethoven” because he composed critically acclaimed works despite being deaf, was exposed as double fraud: he didn’t compose the works that made him Japan’s most popular classical composer, and he isn’t even really deaf!  Samuragochi hired a musical ghostwriter named Takashi Niigaki to compose more than twenty compositions for Samuragochi since 1996.

Funniest Outrageous Hoax

Fake Panda

This.

Unethical Artist Of The Year

Performance artist Maximo Caminero, who  walked into the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, entered a special exhibit of sixteen ancient Chinese vases painted over in bright colors by celebrated Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, picked up one of them, and immediately after a security guard instructed him not to touch the exhibit, allowed the vase to fall from his hands, shattering into bits. Caminero admitted that smashing the pottery, which was valued at a million dollars,  was intentional, and was his protest against in support of local artists like himself whose work is not exhibited at the museum while the art of international artists like Weiwei is.

Unethical Veterinarian Of The Year

Fort Worth, Texas veterinarian Lou Tierce lost his license for five years as a result of, among other transgressions, his telling the owners of a Leonburger (it’s a very big dog) that their pet was terminally ill and had to be euthanized, then secretly keeping the dog alive in a small cage so he could use Sid’s blood for transfusions to Dr. Tierce’s other canine patients. Eventually an assistant at the clinic blew the whistle and alerted Sid’s owners, who rescued their dog and sicced the law on the worst veterinarian since Dean Jones menaced Beethoven.

Unethical Doctor Of The Year

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s medical expert, endangered the public by defying a voluntary quarantine for possible Ebola exposure,  because she just couldn’t bear to be without her favorite soup.

Scam of the Year

Jonathan-Gruber-1

The Affordable Care Act.

 Unethical Federal Agency Of The Year

The Secret Service. Lots of competition in this category: the Veterans Administration, the I.R.S., the CDC, the Justice Department, NSA…but when you essentially have one job to do and do it badly, sloppily carelessly and dangerously, there’s really not much more to say Continue reading

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Ethics Dunces: Voters in Virginia’s 74th District

Virginia’s 74th District, made up of Charles City County and parts of Henrico and Prince George Counties and the cities of Hopewell and Richmond, used a special election this week to return to the state House of Delegates the illustrious Joseph D. Morrissey, who ran as an independent because his previous party, the Democrats, wanted no part of him. Morrissey ran from his jail cell thanks to his conviction (he pleaded guilty, but maintained his innocence) following a sex scandal involving his 17-year-old secretary, whose nude photo was found on his cellphone and was  shared with a friend. Morrissey professed his innocence, and claimed that his phone was hacked. Yet Morrissey’s friend was prepared to testify that  he had received a text from Morrissey saying, “Hey, buddy I just fucked her on my conference table and again on the floor for good measure!” The young woman denies they had sex, but she texted her friend saying, “OMG so much I have to tell you but the most important thing is!!! I just fucked my boss tonight in our office on the desk and on the floor.”  Coincidentally, she is now pregnant. It’s a miracle!!!

Of course, any decent public servant who embarrassed his district, state, party and the democratic system by ending up in jail for breaking laws when he was elected to make them would have resigned—but then, a decent, ethical public servant wouldn’t be in such a fix. He certainly found the right place to run: in  four previous elections, Morrisey’s history of fistfights, contempt-of-court citations and disbarment didn’t dim his appeal, nor did the fact that the 57-year-old bachelor has sired three children out of wedlock with three different women. Before his latest victory, Morrissey always won at least 70 percent of the vote as a Democrat.

Morrissey told reporters that his constituents aren’t interested in all of that trivial stuff, just what he does in the General Assembly. He is apparently correct. His constituents also seem to believe that an individual lacking character, respect for the law and the requisite trustworthiness to be a lawyer is an appropriate individual to entrust with running their state. They are morons, exactly the kind of people that have led despots and tyrants throughout history to insist that the common folk lack the intellect and ability to govern themselves.

Based on the acumen and respect for the law demonstrated by the voters of 74th District, those tyrants had a point.

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