I have not authored the usual number of unethical campaign tactics indictments this time around. One reason is that their desperation while facing an almost certain GOP wipe-out has led Democratic Party candidates into far more questionable devices than the confident Republicans as the Blues have increasingly defaulted to race-baiting, Koch brothers attacks, scare-mongering on everything from guns to contraception, and the “war on women” chorus. Combine that with the popular integrity breach of Democratic incumbants virtually pretending that they never heard of the Democratic President in the White House, and I was faced with giving more ammunition to those who accuse me of partisan bias. Looking at the poll projections, it appears that the worst offenders—Wendy Davis, Allison Grimes, Mark Udall, and Mary Landrieu among them—will get their just desserts from voters without additional alarms from me.
Speaking of desserts: this campaign tactic is worthy of note. A loyal Rhode Island reader inquires if I have any ethical problems with the campaign of Allen Fung, the Chinese-American GOP candidate in the closely contested Rhode Island governor’s race, delivering thousands of fortune cookies to Rhode Island Chinese restaurants that look like this when you open them
So your Ethics Alarms Pre-Election Ethics Quiz is the question asked of me:
Is there anything unethical about this?
To take this quiz, you have to go to Netflix and watch “God Bless America,” a 2011 black comedy, written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite, that is a strange hybrid of “Network,” “Falling Down” and “Harold and Maude.” Unless, of course, yo9u have already seen it. (For a hint regarding its content and thrust, check the tags, as well as the clip above.)
And your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz question is...
Is this an ethical movie?
You might also want to read this related post, from The Ethics Scoreboard in 2004.
The recent thread regarding the supposedly racist Boston Herald cartoon has prompted me to ponder how much we are obligated to know what was, is and will be considered offensive, and whether the cultural rules or guidelines regarding this are fair or clear. That post is in the works, but this one interposed itself.
The latest issue of Canadian Lawyer magazine features a cover story about the lack of diversity on the Canadian bench. Above the Law joins outraged students, lawyers and civil rights advocates in being convinced that the cover is racist.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today:
The American culture’s grim determination to raise a race of wimps, weenies, hysterics and delicate snowflakes continues apace. Or is this a necessary adjustment to our growing incivility?
In Ohio, the Thunder United Metro Futbol Club, a kids’ soccer league, held an experimental “silent soccer weekend.” Parents and fans were told that there would be no shouting or cheering at the games. Clapping was permitted, but not whistling or using noise makers. Team coaches were instructed to keep shouted instructions to a minimum. Printed signs and rally towels got a green light, since they are quiet.
The objective, of course, was to combat negative shouts and other demonstrations by parents and fans that might bruise youthful egos and squash self esteem.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today:
Is banning crowd commentary at youth athletic events responsible, or irresponsible?
In Great Britain, SheTaxis also offers female drivers only, but apparently with a different market in mind….
If a white customer doesn’t feel comfortable with a black taxi driver, that’s bias. If a Christian customer doesn’t want to give his business to a Muslim driver, that’s bigotry. If a white cabbie refuses to pick up a black man looking for a ride, that’s racism. And if a woman insists on only female cab drivers, who in turn will only pick up women, that’s…SHETAXIS!!!
From the New York Times:
A new livery service starting Sept. 16 in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island will offer female drivers exclusively, for female riders, according to its founder. It will take requests for rides through an app, and dispatch drivers sporting hot pink pashmina scarves.
“The service will be called SheTaxis — SheRides in New York City because of regulations barring it from using “taxi” in its name — and aims to serve women who may feel uncomfortable being driven by men, or who simply prefer the company of other women. The app will ask potential riders if there is a woman in their party. If not, they will be automatically redirected to other car services.”
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today is:
Is this ethical…
a) for customers?
b) for the service?
Who knows what dark thoughts lurk a teacher’s imagination, unless he tells us? And should it matter if he does?
Patrick McLaw, an eighth grade language arts teachers at Mace’s Lane Middle School in Cambridge, Maryland, has been placed on indefinite administrative leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office. This measure was taken after it was discovered that McLaw had serveal aliases, two of which he has used to write novels. One of those novels was about the largest school shooting in the country’s history, set in the year 2902.
Because these books terrified parents, apparently, Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Wagner felt it necessary to announce that the Dorchester County Board of Education had moved swiftly, saying, “We have advised our community that the gentleman has been placed on administrative leave, and has been prohibited from entering any Dorchester County public school property.” That’s not all that happened. McLaw was taken into custody for an “emergency medical evaluation.” The same day,police swept Mace’s Lane Middle School for bombs and guns.
This sounds like a Kafka novel. Of course, if Kafka had been a middle school teacher in Cambridge Maryland, parents probably would be afraid that he was going to turn their kids into cockroaches.
How can this hysterical reaction to a teacher’s novel be justified, legally, logically or ethically?
Your Labor Day Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz involves yet another possible variation on “The Naked Teacher Principle”:
Is there an “Alarming Novelist-Teacher Principle” ?
Mom and mom advocate Lenore Skenazy writes the Free Range Kids blog, which I have to remember to check out regularly. She is the source of today’s Ethics Quiz, which she obviously believes has an easy answer. We shall see.