Captain Smith, of the “Titanic.” Of course, there’s no proof that he did anything wrong.
What does it tell us about the White House (and its primary occupant) that its “insider” and designated spokesperson, Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, could utter a statement like this, in public, no less? On Fox News Sunday, one of four Sunday Morning Talk shows he appeared on yesterday to deliver the current White House position on multiple scandals, referring to Sarah Hall Ingram, who led the agency’s tax-exempt division when it targeted conservative groups and has been promoted to chief of the health care reform office, Pfeiffer said,
“No one has suggested that she did anything wrong yet. Before everyone in this town convicts this person in the court of public opinion with no evidence, let’s actually get the facts and make decisions after that. There’s nothing that suggests she did anything wrong.”
Such manifest nonsense would be depressing coming from a recent college grad, and grounds for demotion from a corporate manager or CEO, but it is nothing short of frightening coming from the heart of a nation’s leadership.
This is a mercurial story, several in fact, but one of its most valuable uses is to allow us to sort out various individuals and institutions for their trustworthiness and character based upon their words and conduct regarding the multiple scandals hurtling around Washington.
- Fool: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Mn). Bachmann is talking impeachment, which has signature significance: any elected official who brings up impeachment now or anytime before hard evidence turns up proving that President Obama personally delivered a bag of gold to the IRS leadership to make sure proprietary tax information was leaked is an utter, irresponsible dolt. 1) No President has ever been convicted after their impeachment, and heaven knows we have had multiple Chief Executives factually guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It is a waste of time, an all-encompassing political warfare glut that this nation can’t afford at this point, especially when the U.S. Senate is in control of the same party the impeached POTUS belongs to. Yes, I agree with the principle that corrupt Presidents should be punished; I’m glad Bill Clinton got his just desserts, but I also know that if he and the rest of the government had been concentrating on what was going on in the world rather than hiding blue dresses, the Twin Towers might be standing today, and 3000—10,000?—-Americans wouldn’t be dead. Impeachment is like using a nuclear bomb: it’s a useful threat, but the reality is too horrible to permit. 2) Anyone who thinks making Joe Biden President is a solution to anything is certifiable. 3) There is nothing at this point that would support a legitimate impeachment. 4) Putting the scandals in that context just supports the agreed-upon White House and media spin that this is all about politics. Shut up, Michele.
Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Public Service, Philanthropy, Charity, Rights, War and the Military, Workplace
But she’s not naked!
It will be therapeutic, I hope, to take a breather from considering the steadily increasing seriousness of the various government scandals, as well as reviling the increasingly desperate spin being employed to try to deflect them, and to focus on something both far removed and of vital national interest. Of course, that means buckling down and refining the Naked Teacher Principle, which in its formal explication, is that a responsible high school teacher has a duty to take reasonable care that her students do not see her in the nude, and if she does not, and her students do see her in the nude, she has no standing to complain when the school deems her unable to maintain the proper and necessary credibility and dignity necessary for teaching.
Now comes the news that at Martin County High School, in Florida, a ninth-grade English teacher of otherwise good repute named Olivia Sprauer has been fired for being shown on the web modeling bathing suits, and offering her services to photographers for less clothed presentations. Should the Naked Teacher Principle or any of its variations apply? Continue reading
Run away! But pay attention!
I’m not going to take back every negative thing I’ve ever said about reality shows, but there is no getting around it: now and then an episode of one of them is a better training film for good ethics than “Leave It To Beaver,” “Star Trek, The Next Generation,” and “Father Knows Best” combined.
A case in point was a recent episode of “Kitchen Nightmares,” a Fox reality show that sends chef and restaurateur Gordan Ramsay to turn around failing eateries, usually by his browbeating them into basic management competence and the use of fresh ingredients. This time, however, Ramsay was pitted against the proprietors of Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro in Scottsdale Arizona, specifically the eponymous Amy Bouzaglo, a textbook narcissist who dominates her much older husband and partner, abuses employees, and treats all criticism and constructive suggestions as a personal attack. Continue reading
There are days when I despair of the nation and its society, when all the evidence points to a culture that has lost its way and is wandering deeper and deeper into the fog and mire. Today is such a day, and the Jeff Bliss saga is the perfect horrible exclamation point on my silent scream, which may go vocal any minute now.
To read the praise being heaped on Bliss, an 18-year-old Duncanville (Texas) High School sophomore, one would think he was a precocious education philosopher who spontaneously emitted the solution to the nation’s public school woes. In fact, what did was strenuously object when he felt his teacher didn’t give the class long enough for an assignment, kept complaining when she ordered him to be quiet, and was quite properly ordered out of the classroom. This caused him to launch into a diatribe about her teaching methods, which was captured on a fellow student’s cell phone and put on YouTube. And here it is:
“Bye! Come see me at my new firm! Just follow the trail of embers…”
The legal world is buzzing and tittering over a remarkable exit memo sent to firm clients and others by a disgruntled and departing partner at Ogletree Deakins. His detailed version of the events leading to his bitter good-bye was unusual enough that it was leaked to Reuters, and subsequently published elsewhere on the web. In legal circles, it is pretty viral at this point. Why? Because the author is a prominent employment lawyer, and the memo is the epitome of airing dirty laundry, burning bridges to ashes, and throwing a stink bomb on the way out the door…in short, it’s unprofessional conduct, and extremely so.
The diatribe begins with sensational allegation of management misconduct (but without names attached…these are lawyers, after all): Continue reading
The New York Times had an enlightening article about bias in its Science section this week. Apparently a study of the interactions between patients and their primary care physicians suggests that doctors are more pleasant, encouraging, empathetic, kinder—just nicer, in short—to their normal weight patients than they are to those who are obese.
From the article:
‘“It’s not like the physicians were being overtly negative or harsh,” said the lead author, Dr. Kimberly A. Gudzune, an assistant professor of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “They were just not engaging patients in that rapport-building or making that emotional connection with the patient.” …While such expressions of concern and empathy are not remarkable on their own, what was surprising was how absent they were in conversations with overweight and obese patients. And statements like these are no small thing. Studies show that patients are far more likely to follow a doctor’s advice and to have a better health outcome when they believe their doctor empathizes with their plight.
‘“When there is increased empathy by the doctor, patients are more likely to report they are satisfied with their care, and they are more likely to adhere to recommendations of physicians,” Dr. Gudzune said. “There is evidence to show that after visits with more empathy, patients have improved clinical outcomes, so patients with diabetes have better blood sugar control or cholesterol is better controlled.”’
My apologies to all.
I was on the road in Chicago preparing for a marathon musical ethics seminar for a tough crowd (PhD lawyers), and got up early to get some posts up, then was occupied until the wee hours with work and travel. I just checked the blog, and all sorts of arguments are breaking out everywhere, new comenters are stuck waiting for approval, and chaos reigns.
Clearly, I picked the wrong day to try earning a living: I’m sorry for the delay and neglect. Moderation, responses, refereeing and clean-up will commence. I may need to appoint one of you moderator pro tem in the future.
Jason Collins, a reserve NBA center, became a huge news story as well as symbol of increasing gay acceptance in America when he announced his sexual orientation in a Sports Illustrated cover story this week. This made him,technically at least, the first active athlete in one of the U.S’s major professional sports to “come out.” Since his team is not in the NBA play-offs, and since Collins is a free agent going into 2014, the NBA has yet to see its first openly gay player take the floor in a game, and Collins may not be the one who does it.
What does it all mean?
- I hate the fact that the state of celebrity economics, fame and popular culture makes me think like this, but it does: How can we know that Collins, a borderline and largely obscure NBA player nearing the end of his career, didn’t see a chance at the kind of fame, stardom and popularity, not to mention guest appearances, sponsorships and endorsements that have eluded him in his playing career, and grabbed it? We don’t. This was the kind of act that has nothing but good results whatever the motives of the actor, and so it is an ethical act by definition. Was it a truly selfless act, as it is being portrayed? I think Collins deserves the benefit of the doubt, but I sure have some. Continue reading
A confused commenter who wanted to take the side of that potty-mouthed TV broadcaster fired for making his first words on the job “…fucking shit” has argued that A. J. Clemente should be re-hired because “it could happen to anyone.” Wrong. It could not “happen to anyone,” I explained to her, because civil professionals don’t say “fucking shit” in public or on the job. A.J. is further displaying his cluelessness and gray matter deficit by trying to exploit his 15 minutes of infamy, appearing on Letterman and thus bidding to be known forever as “the guy who said ‘fucking shit’ in his first seconds on TV.” Why would he think this is the way to start anew and make potential employers believe in his professionalism? Is he bidding to be a reality show cast member?
Who is advising this poor guy? Politicians, like Texas governor Rick Perry, go on shows like Letterman after a well-publicized gaffe to show they are good sports and that they understand that they messed up, but these are celebrities who are already famous for the mistake. For them,the tactic is designed to remove the sting by laughing along with everyone else. For an unknown like Clemente to do this is self-destructive: it makes far more people aware of the embarrassing incident, it looks like he is exploiting his incompetence, and suggests that he doesn’t understand how serious his conduct was. Letterman doesn’t care if A.J. wrecks his future on the show; Dave just wants some cheap laughs. Not only is A.J. not professional or bright, he apparently has no friends or family members who are, either.
Well, enough of A. J. He has offered a vivid example of one kind of career-killing job conduct, and Salary.com has some more, in a feature it calls “Crimes in the Cubicle.” The list by Heather Dugan suggests 15 varieties of conduct to eschew at one’s desk, and it is all about professionalism, as well as etiquette, civility, decorm, dignity, office demeanor, respect for others…ethics, in short. It is a good collection: send the link to the young man or woman of your acquaintance who is starting their first office job. Or send it to A. J. Clemente.
Perhaps he should start here.
Source and Graphic: Salary.com