Category Archives: Incompetent Elected Officials

The Oxon Hill High School “Art Display” Controversy

oxenhill ART

Oxon Hill (Maryland) High School allowed a display of student art to remain in the school’s rotunda for most of May. Some students and teachers said the display was “cathartic;” the Washington Post called it “an embodiment of the angst and anger” students felt “when police violence made national headlines.” “Young black males: the new endangered species,” read a placard; next to it was a cutout painted to look like a police officer with white skin reading a newspaper with obituaries of black men killed by law enforcement officers. Next to that was another silhouette painted black, depicting a black man with hands raised wearing a T-shirt with holes in it. “Blood” dripped  from the eight bullet holes, forming the stripes of an upside-down American flag.

Last week,  after a photo of the thing was posted  on Facebook and recieved criticsm there and on some conservative websites, school officials decided to remove the display. A spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Public Schools said the decision was made to protect the school and students. But those pesky students installed a new display consisting of two wooden coffins amidst flower petals, with headstones reading, “HERE LIES OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH” and “HERE LIES OUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.” They then tweeted messages with the hashtag #donttakeitdown and collected nearly 1,500 signatures on a petition demanding a statement of solidarity from the school board.

Isn’t self-righteous ignorance grand? Not only should the display have been removed, it should have never gone up in the first place, since it continues to spread a virulent and divisive lie (nobody was shot eight times with his hands up), while encouraging racial distrust and hatred. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Race

Ethics Dunces: The 21 Republicans Who Voted Against The Torture Ban

torture

As I explained long ago, torture is already a human rights abomination forbidden by U.S. principles, values, tradition and culture. That does not mean, and has never meant, that the nation’s official and sincere opposition to torture as an ethical absolute must not be subject to a genuine existential exception.  It does mean that an official policy that allows torture degrades the very reason for the nation’s existence.

This vital reason doesn’t even reach the fact that the United States has signed international treaties that state, unequivocally, that it deplores and rejects torture. That one is less complex; as I wrote about the Bush Administration’s doubletalk at the time…

Typically, the Administration is trying to finesse this uncomfortable fact by playing legalistic word games, requesting a “clarification” of what constitutes torture. This is intellectually dishonest, and blatantly so. The methods it wants to define as “something other than torture”…threatened drowning, cold room interrogations with subjects doused with water, beatings and other forms of assault and battery, obviously violate provisions of the Geneva Convention such as those requiring prisoners of war to be treated with “personal dignity” and “humanely,” and that they should not be subjected to “hardships and sufferings.” Meanwhile, torture is defined in Article 1 of the 1984 Convention as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.” Simulated drowning, by this definition, is torture, and passing some official “clarification” that declares otherwise won’t change that. Depriving prisoners of sleep and making them stand wet in 50 degree temperatures aren’t going to suddenly become “humane” either, nor will such treatment suddenly cease to cause “hardship” and “suffering.”

The United States exists on the ideal that it, unique among nations past and present, asserts and acts upon its original dedication to the values of human life, liberty and pursuit of happiness above all else. The United States’ identity is that of the Good Citizen, the hero, the trustworthy one. Of course that’s a high aspiration; of course we will fall short of it sometimes, of course such an aspiration appears arrogant and superior to others, and so what? Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Scoreboard classics, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society, War and the Military

“Jaws” Ethics: A Real Life Larry Vaughn Models Rationalization #49, “It Would Have Happened Anyway”

Jaws

Wait, I’ve seen this movie!

From the Associated Press:

OAK ISLAND, N.C. (AP) — The mayor of a coastal North Carolina town where two young people were severely injured in shark attacks this weekend says she doesn’t think emergency workers had enough time between incidents to close the beaches. A 12-year-old girl was attacked just after 4 p.m. Sunday in Oak Island, and a 16-year-old boy was attacked less than two hours later about two miles away. The girl lost part of her arm and suffered a leg injury. The boy lost his left arm…

Beaches were open for the two-hour stretch Sunday but closed after the second attack.

Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace told The Associated Press on Monday that she didn’t think that gave workers enough time to decide to close the beach between attacks. …Wallace says that even if the beach had closed after the first attack, the order might not have extended to the area of the second incident.

It was unclear whether the same shark attacked them…

The beaches were open Monday, with a boat and a helicopter patrolling the water.

OK, I know what happens next! The helicopters spot a fin in the water, and there’s a panic on the beach, and it turns out to be two kids with snorkels and a fake shark fin. The younger boy points to his brother and says, “He made me do it!” Meanwhile, the Great White goes over to the lagoon and bites the leg off a guy with a bad fake Boston accent.

If, as I suspect, Mayor Wallace is Amity Mayor Larry Vaughn come to life from “Jaws” and identifying as a woman as well as disguising herself accordingly to get another job as a resort town mayor—which means that she is a woman, of course—then old Larry sure has a flat learning curve. On the other hand, if Mayor Wallace isn’t Larry Vaughn, someone needs to make her watch “Jaws,” quick. Is it unethical—irresponsible, negligent, incompetent— for any Mayor of a coastal town not to be aware of the lessons of that film?

I think so. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Incompetent Elected Officials

Lincoln Chafee’s Batty Ethics Argument For The Metric System

Lincoln_Chafee_official_portrait

Ugh. I can’t let this pass.

Yesterday I happened upon Lincoln Chafee on one of the Sunday shows, giving his elevator pitch for why he should be President. You may recall that Chafee, former Republican Senator and Governor of Rhode Island, turned independent after being defeated for re-election and now is following Bernie Sanders’ example, declaring himself a Democrat for the purpose of getting nominated. Chafee is another politician, like the Bush bothers and Hillary Clinton, who owes his initial political prominence to being related to a popular political figure rather than his own innate abilities. As he made obvious the more he spoke…

His two primary campaign positions were 1) “Wage peace”—whatever that means. This is right up there with John Lennon songs as serious policy discourse,  though I’m sure ISIS is fascinated by the concept, and 2) Adopt the metric system. Chafee borrowed this from the idea machine known as the Andrew Johnson administration, as Andy was the first President to officially acknowledge the benefits of the U.S. adopting the less eccentric measurement system used by Europe. I’m sure we all can agree that this is one of the most pressing issues facing the country today.

However, Chafee really got my attention, and sparked this post, when he attempted to combine his two prime objectives, which is no mean trick. I tried to find a transcript, video or a news report to document this, but so far I have failed: maybe everyone is trying to be nice. I swear I am not making this up, though I wish I were.

Chafee argued that the United States should adopt the Metric system because it invaded Iraq and didn’t find the weapons of mass destruction.

He really did. Continue reading

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KABOOM! The Fascist School Superintendent Who Is Training Children To Think Like Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Bad one. Been building for a while.

Bad one. Been building for a while.

Explain to me why this story isn’t national news, while a principal pulling a valedictorian off the graduation program when he insisted on making graduation a vehicle for his coming out as gay—to his parents—is. Never mind. We both know know. Journalists see discrimination and homophobia even where it isn’t, but fascism increasingly bothers them less and less.

That’s because, I fear, they are Democrats. I will return to this surprising and alarming theme in a moment.

At Northwest Mississippi Community College, where the graduation ceremony for Senatobia High was held,  the superintendent asked the crowd not to scream or cheer and to hold their applause until the end. As always happens—always, always,always–a few relatives couldn’t contain themselves. Four guests shouted various felicities and exhortation to their graduates out of turn

They are strict in Mississippi: all four were kicked out of the event.

But that’s not all. They are really strict in Mississippi: Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster filed ‘disturbing the peace’ charges against the people who yelled at graduation, and police  issued warrants for their arrests with a possible $500 bond.

KABOOM!

Well, my head’s been threatening to explode for quite a while now*, and this finally did it, big time. Congratulations Jay Foster, you foolish, unethical, unkind, tin-god fascist. You did it.

Foster refused to be interviewed on camera, but told the media that he’s determined to have order at graduation ceremonies. I recommend snipers, Jay. Or maybe duct tape. This fascist idiot is responsible for educating children! Does he realize he’s educating them to be…Democratic Senators? Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Science & Technology, U.S. Society

Morning Pop Quiz On Ethics And Leadership: What’s Wrong With White House Spokesman Josh Earnest’s TSA Quote?

Here’s the quote, from Earnest’s  statement on behalf of the President:

“The President does continue to have confidence that the officers of the TSA do very important work that continues to protect the American people.”

Your pop quiz:

What’s wrong with it?

(It is very wrong.)

I’ll give you a minute (It took me 3 seconds) “Final Jeopardy” style:

Got it?

Here we go…. Continue reading

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TSA’s Incompetence: Combining David Brooks’ Scandal-Free Fantasy With United’s Anti-Soda Can Policy For Muslem Passengers

mashupmonday

Now we have this:

Washington (CNN)Airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly every test that an undercover Homeland Security team conducted at dozens of airports, according to an internal investigation.

The Transportation Security Administration found that “red teams” with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General were able to get banned items through the screening process in 67 out of 70 tests — 95% — it conducted across the nation.

In other words, since those deadly Islamic terrorists can easily smuggle explosives and weapons on board United flights (or any others), it’s really silly to rob them of the pleasure of sipping a Diet Coke from a freshly opened can as they wait to send everyone to Allah.

In more words, all of the hundreds of thousands of hours, pointless inconvenience and hassle, emptying of pockets, taking off of shoes and belts, moving laptops in and out of bags, showing IDs and boarding passes, as well as the occasional intrusive and unpleasant feel-up pat-downs by strangers wearing rubber gloves that have been inflicted on air passengers (like me) have been stupid, useless, and as effective at keeping airplanes safe as being checked by a blind marmoset with a divining rod.

Of course, David Brooks wouldn’t call the TSA’s gross failure an example of inexcusable incompetence, lack of oversight and breach of trust a scandal either, because it doesn’t involve sex (well, at least in most of the patdowns)  or criminal acts, and is the responsibility of Barack Obama, whose administration is amazingly scandal-free, so this can’t be a scandal by definition.

I beg to differ. The stunning incompetence and lack of competent management, accountability (watch: nobody will be fired for this) or oversight exemplified by this latest fiasco is an ongoing scandal of the worst kind, one of many, or, if you prefer, just the single, devastating, huge, two-term scandal that is the Barack Obama presidency, the most arrogant and incompetent administration in U.S. history.

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Rights