This week’s print TIME and the magazine’s website has a story titled “Astrologer Susan Miller On Why You Should Pay Attention to the Lunar Eclipse.” The TIME writer, Laura Stampler, promotes the astrologer as if she was Nate Silver, a reliable, respectable expert in a legitimate field who has something to teach us. Susan Miller is not a reliable, respectable expert. She is an astrologer, meaning that she is as legitimate as a palm reader, a douser, or the Amazing Kreskin. She is a fraud, in a fraudulent field, however ancient or popular. There is no scholarly controversy about this. There is more evidence of the existence of Bigfoot, Nessie, ghosts and flying saucers than there is that astrology is more than pseudo-scientific claptrap. Continue reading
Category Archives: The Internet
Shelley Dufresne, 32, and Rachel Respess, 24, both teachers at Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish in New Orleans, have been arrested after credible evidence surfaced that they had engaged a 16-year-old male student in a three-way sex romp.
You can read about this nauseating incident here. Needless to say (but as I will soon demonstrate, I do need to say), this is the ultimate breach of trust by a teacher, and not merely rape, but gang rape. Age, authority, role, everything is wrong here. If these women are not treated exactly like two male teachers who did the same, and my guess is they won’t be (the Debra LaFave factor is in their favor: they aren’t hideous), it will be a disgrace to the community and justice.
But you all knew that, because Neanderthals don’t read ethics blogs. Not these commenters, though, on the Huffington Post, which tends to attract liberal-minded readers. As the comments below prove, however, the toxic Y chromosome overcomes ideology. Read ‘em and weep…
Mike Martin: The victim was treated at a local hospital… for injuries to his wrist after a plethora of high fives from classmates.
Mouad El Bouanani: Im laughing so hard mate
Dennis Woodard: Lol. Aint that the truth! Like seriously! He wasnt going to brag to friends!
Rick Fitzgerald: When are the ladies going to learn that young men could never keep their mouth shut after snagging a teacher. Much less two at the same time.
Patrick BeMent : Well,, the young man learned an important lesson here. When you are lucky enough to fall into that situation, keep your mouth shut.
Dean Yasuda: If you keep your mouth shut, you’re probably not doing it right.
Walid Osama:“My son is taking it difficult” Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight..
Kris Schaumburg : In all honesty they were doing him a favor. He is now catapulted to Demi-God status.
Tony A Aragon: Yeah, He’s sad that its over.
Qamron Joseph Crooks : Let’s be honest, in some of these cases the “victim” was plenty pleased with the situation – In others, they were actually victimized. Goes for both sexes.
Clyde Daisley: AGAIN!!.. Where were these teachers when I was in high school!!.. Yep been cheated!
James L. Walker : Bet all three got off easy! Maybe two or three times!
Wayne E Naylor : You can’t rape the willing Mr. Akerberg. noun This young man was in heaven, not forced. He was NOT RAPED.
Yes, later on an occasional male tried to make an intelligent comment, balanced by the equally occasional females who agree with the fools above. This is an accurate representation of the thread, however.
I’m going to go castrate myself now.
Pointer and Spark: Fred
It pains me greatly when a Facebook friend (and real friend too) posts something from a right-wing or left-wing website that is ignorant and misleading, as if she has something enlightening to share. Then I am forced to point out that 1) the post was written by someone pretending to have knowledge he did not; 2) those agreeing with him and assuming he had a valid point are hanging out with like-minded partisans who reinforce each others’ happy misconceptions, and 3) that the lawyers who cheer on conclusions that can only be explained by the fact that the concluder can’t spell law, much less under stand it. This typically loses two to ten names off my Facebook friends list. Well, too bad. They should be ashamed of themselves.
The case I have in mind: a site called “Forward Progressive: Forward Thinking for Progressive Action”—hmmm, I think it is a progressive site!—attacked Clarence Thomas for his participation in the recent SCOTUS decision in Bowman v. Monsanto. The Court ruled for Monsanto in a patent case against farmers in a matter involving the reproduction of products whose patents have expired. To Dyssa Fuchs, the writer for Forward Progressive in this case, Thomas had a clear conflict of interest and should have recused himself.
She cites the judicial code, she cites the U.S. statutes, she–of course—cites her belief that Monsanto is evil, and of course, like all good progressives, she hates Thomas, who has the effrontery to be both a hard-core conservative and black. The fact is, however, that she has no idea what she is talking about. Thomas had no conflict of interest in this case, nor does he have an “appearance of impropriety” problem because someone determined to prove that he is corrupt doesn’t understand what improprieties or judicial conflicts are, or for that matter, what lawyers do. Continue reading
In Ethics Alarms’ continuing effort to bring to you depressing news of awful things you may never otherwise hear about if you are normal, I bring you 4Chan. Maybe you are as late to this sick party as I am.
I was vaguely aware that the site, which essentially hosts anonymous shock posts and hoaxes—meaning that it is a magnet for unethical conduct and the people who think its cool—was behind the initial hacking and posting of those nude celebrity photos earlier this month. It is much worse than that, however. Take this, for example, reported by The Daily Dot…
The absolutely terrible #cutforbieber hashtag became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter on Monday, an unfortunate truth that owes its existence to the perpetually scheming deviants on 4chan.
Long known for their affinity for disturbing, often sexually graphic or violent content, 4chan users schemed the hashtag this morning, when an anonymous poster wrote on notorious Web forum /b/ that community members should “start a cut yourself for bieber campaign.”
“Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed,” he or she wrote. “See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves.”
“…Our freedoms are recognized or denied based on court rulings. Our understanding of those court rulings often derives from media coverage of them. When we do a lousy job of covering law, or when we put up with journalists doing so, we’re doing a lousy job as citizens.”
—-Attorney-Blogger Ken White, after meticulously exposing how the media, old and new, completely misrepresented a Texas court’s striking down an overly broad statute as protecting “upskirt” photographs.
Ken White has delivered another masterpiece, expertly debunking the news media’s criminally ignorant analysis of a Texas Court opinion. I must admit, when I saw the headline “Texas Court: Ban on ‘Upskirt’ Photos Violates First Amendment Rights” and its ilk around the web, I just assumed that reporters were being sensational and dumb as usual, and moved on to other things. Thank goodness Ken was on the case, and properly flagged the danger in lawyers reacting this way. We have a tendency as a profession to think, “Well, there they go again, completely misunderstanding the law, poor dears” when we should be working overtime to set the record straight. I admonish my seminar attendees for doing this regarding the public’s distorted view of legal ethics, and fell into the same trap myself.
Ken’s dissection of the flat-out wrong reporting on this case is frightening: it is clear that most reporters are incapable of understanding what court opinions mean, yet there they are, writing nonsense and making the public more ignorant, not to mention making them think taking upskirt photographs is legal and constitutionally protected.
Counselor White has had a busy year that has kept him from providing his usual volume of daily enlightenment. He is back in top form, and we should all be grateful.
USA Today fashions itself as the newspaper of the average American, and it may well be true. Especially since its redesign, it contains less substance than a single section of the New York Times, pedestrian writing, and mostly bite-size features designed for an audience with an attention span that finds fortune cookies challenging. Every now and then, however, a bit like Family Feud, USA Today’s proud low brow style yields valuable insight. Yesterday’s feature on abortion was such an instance, as the paper gathered reader comments on its Facebook and Twitter locales for America’s opinion regarding Missouri’s new mandated three-day waiting period for women seeking an abortion.
Now that I have reviewed the responses, it all makes sense to me now, and I think I know where we are headed. Oh, there is no valuable insight regarding the measure or abortion among the comments. What is revealing is that among all the responses chosen by USA Today, not single reader could manage sufficient objectivity and critical thinking to produce well-reasoned, fair, thoughtful insight regarding a public policy issue that demands measuring and balancing interests, values, and outcomes, the essence of ethical decision-making. Not one.
Here they are, with my comments in bold: Continue reading