How Media And Academic Bias Make Us Stupid: The “Personal Freedom Study”

freedom

“STUDY: American personal freedom now ranks below 20 other nations…” reads a link in this morning’s Drudge Report.

That is NOT what the study shows….not even close.

The link goes to an Examiner story headlined “Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France.” That’s a little better, but it’s also misleading. Both headlines are attempts to spin a study that tells nobody anything about how much freedom there is in the U.S., under President Obama or otherwise. The study, meanwhile, is easily spun because it was badly conceived, is itself of dubious value, and was also probably the result of a researchers grinding their own axes.

It is early, and I am pretty sure that the cable news sharks and the internet pundits will be latching on to this garbage study in droves, with the result being mass confusion in the public. That’s right: the world of scholarship and research, and the world of journalism, will conspire to make the public less informed than it already is, setting it up for the handiwork of future Jonathan Grubers and the parties that employ them.

You see, the study doesn’t even purport to measure “freedom” in any objective way across different nations. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Character, Citizenship, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, Rights, U.S. Society

My WGAN Interview Re Jonathan Gruber

wgan_podcast

Thanks to the efforts of Arthur King, I was tapped this morning for an interview on WGAN’s morning news show, hosted by Mike Violette and Dennis Bailey, standing in for Ken Altshuler. The topic was the Jonathan Gruber matter, and they were taking the cue from my most recent post on it.

You can listen to the podcast for the segment, which was about 15 minutes, here.

30 Comments

Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks

Now THIS Is An Incompetent Lawyer

Now that's who you want defending you in your capital murder trial..Thomas Jeffer..wait, WHAT???

Now that’s who you want defending you in your capital murder trial..Thomas Jeffer..wait, WHAT???

Dennis Hawver, an Ozawkie, Kansas attorney, was disbarred last week by the Kansas Supreme Court. The court ruled that Hawver showed “inexplicable incompetence” as a defense attorney for Phillip Cheatham, charged with first degree murder and tried in a 2005.  Cheatham’s conviction was overturned and  a new trial was ordered  in 2013, on the grounds that Hawver did not provide an adequate defense and thus Cheatham did not receive a fair trial. Yes, I think that was a fair assessment, given that..

  • In voir dire, Hawver told prospective jurors that his client was “a cocaine dealer” who had “killed another cocaine dealer with a gun.”
  • During the trial, he informed the jury that his client had previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, even though prosecutors had agreed to less prejudicial  stipulation that the Cheatham had a “prior felony conviction” without further details.
  • Hawlor failed to present evidence that might have shown that his client that was not in the city where the murder occurred at the time it occurred. He failed to investigate alibi witnesses.
  • He didn’t track his client’s cellphone to find his location at the time of the murders.
  • During the sentencing phase of the trial, after his client had been found guilty, Hawlor said “the killer” should be executed.

 

  • Hawver  made the creative argument at trial that his client would never have left a witness alive if he had been the one who shot the two female victims.

Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Terry Turnage, Serial Father and Utter Fick

"So? Not my problem."

“So? Not my problem.”

Terry Turnage  has fathered 26 children by 15-20 different women, the precise number being difficult to establish. And that’s not all:  he apparently has failed to pay child support to any of the women who bore his offspring, all while driving expensive cars,  throwing elaborate parties, and spending money on everything but his bastard progeny.

He is a co-owner, with one of his many sons, Terry Jr. (and maybe one of many Terry, Jr’s), of Club Envy, an Arkansas nightclub. Recently Terry Sr. threw a two-day party for his birthday. He threw another party for 700 guests.

Of course, that could just be his relatives.

What does society do with someone like this, so irresponsible and shameless? It you lock them up, they can’t support any of the kids. We can’t castrate him (cruel and unusual, that) and courts can’t order citizens not to procreate, or ensure that they they don’t. That’s Nazi stuff, though the U.S. did a bit of it until relatively recently. Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Bioethics, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Why Hasn’t President Obama Made A Formal Appeal To Avoid Violence In Ferguson?

riots

He has an obligation to do so. He is the leader of the nation; he is the most admired figure among African-Americans; he is sworn to uphold the Constitution, which the Ferguson protestors either want to ignore (by rejecting due process of law) or believe is being ignored and abused. He has the bully pulpit; he is a persuasive and eloquent orator when he cares about what he is saying. Most of all, he has an obligation because the rhetoric of his appointees, party leaders, surrogates and the President himself have exploited race as a wedge issue and lowered racial comity in the nation to its most dismal state in decades.

Now the stage is set for blood, with Rodney King-style riots in Missouri and perhaps elsewhere, should the grand jury refuse to indict Officer Darren Wilson. Already the process has been thoroughly corrupted by premature conclusions about what happened the day Michael Brown died, and the civil rights establishment, goaded by Brown’s parents, their opportunistic lawyer, and permanent agitators like Al Sharpton, have made it clear that nothing less than a murder indictment will constitute “justice.” Professional protesters have been recruited; looters and rioters are gleefully anticipating a rumble; local businesses are tripling security; and the National Guard is on alert. The fuse is lit, and the impending explosion will be devastating in monetary, human, spiritual and historical terms. President Obama is the one individual who might be able to put it out.

If he does not, if he does not even try, it will be the greatest failure of a sadly failed Presidency, and nothing will  surpass it no matter what horrors lay ahead.

I do not know why the President has not spoken out already. My best theories:

1. He never acts in a timely fashion, almost literally never. He “leads from behind,” which means that he avoids leading until it is unavoidable, despite the needless harm that results from each delay.

2. He does not want to make the effort and fail, so he would prefer to react to a riot and condemn it, rather than take responsible actions to prevent it.

3. He is so focused on the looming fight of his own making regarding illegal immigrants that he isn’t paying attention.

4. His advisors have told him that there is no political advantage to be gained in making such a speech, and that taking the side of the justice system will be seen as support for a white police officer over “an unarmed teen.”

5. He wants racial unrest because it will dominate the news and take attention from all the other issues—Gruber, the imperiled ACA, Ukraine, Isis, pointless expenditures to stave off climate change, and more—that reflect poorly on him and his administration.

I cannot, however, think of a theory that reflects positively on him as a President, a leader, an American or a human being.

Let me know if you can come up with one, would you? It would sure make me feel better.

37 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of The Day: Joan Tarshis, Alleged Bill Cosby Victim

Joan_Tarshis_on_Bill_Cosb

“I know he’s an icon. So is Bill Clinton.”

-Latest Cosby accuser Joan Tarshis, now a publicist and journalist, who wrote a detailed account of  being sexual assaulted  by Bill Cosby, when she was a teen, for the Web site Hollywood Elsewhere, replying to a question on CNN this morning about why anyone should believe her when she impugns the character of “an icon.”

BAZINGA!

10 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media

Now THIS Is Abuse Of Police Power

Andy and Opie

No riots are anticipated, fortunately.

Police Lt. Brian Keller, an assistant sheriff,  used his unmarked black Dodge Charger, with emergency lights flashing, to stop a school bus so he could hand his son his lunch, which the boy left home without. The bus was not within Keller’s jurisdiction….not that his actions would be much better it it has been.

There was a complaint,  which Lake County (Illinois) officials are investigating.

This is the kind of thing Sheriff Andy Taylor might have done for Opie in little Mayberry, but such abuse of power is neither cute nor funny outside of TV Land. I don’t care if he’s a single dad (like Andy); it doesn’t even matter if the kid had crucial, life saving prescription drugs in the lunch bag—insulin, maybe. Using official authority for a personal matter like this is the sign of an untrustworthy cop who doesn’t comprehend his job. It is small wonder that police labor under the public presumption that they don’t respect the law or the limitations of their authority.

___________________

Pointer: Mediaite

13 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Family, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Professions