Tag Archives: competence

One Class, 114 Valedictorians….W.S. Gilbert Warned Us About This

Apparently this has been going on at Arlington, Virginia’s Washington and Lee High School, from which my niece graduated, for years.  The school calls about a third of its graduating classes “valedictorians,” so 1) the school can put it on their college applications and deceive those who haven’t connected the dots; 3) make certain the school can claim a female valedictorian, a black valedictorian, an Asian-American valedictorian, a trans valedictorian…you know, because everyone is above average, like in Lake Woebegon, and 3) the official rationalization, to eliminate competitiveness for honors among students, because life isn’t competitive.

Back when I wrote about this in June, 2010, the news was that…

In many high schools around the country, as many as fifty graduating seniors were designated “valedictorians…

Now honor inflation ins some schools is  more than double that, so this atrocious practice is obviously catching on. Integrity is such a chore. Excellence, superiority, achievement…they are all chores too.  As for the genuinely superior students, they are out of luck: this is the high school equivalent of all the gladiators standing up and crying “I’m Spartacus!,” except now it’s “I’m the smartest one in the class!” This Maoist denial of the fact that some of us earn more success than others and that there is nothing wrong with doing so is all the rage, and you can expect to hear more such ideas as the various candidates to lead the nation, one founded on the principle of personal self-determination based on ambition and enterprise, argue about how to deal with “income inequality.” Income inequality is but a subset of talent, industry, risk-taking and ability inequality…and good fortune inequality too. Might high schools sending graduates out into the world with the cuckoo concept that everyone should be regarded as equally accomplished whether they really are or not also contribute to income inequality?

Why yes, I think so. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Literature, Quotes, U.S. Society

Of Shoes and Socks, and the Soothing, Unethical Device of Lowered Obama Leadership Goals and Aspirations

shoes and socks

I had a friend in college named David, a talented musician and a funny guy, who one regaled me with his new theory of how to be a success and eliminate anxiety and stress in the bargain.

“See, we make ourselves miserable and guarantee failure by setting our goals impossibly high,” he said. “The secret to a happy, successful, care-free life is to set one’s goals extremely low. Last week, I was depressed because I had aimed at attending all my classes, writing 50 pages on my thesis, and finishing my reading assignments. I didn’t come close to accomplishing this, and I was miserable and guilty as a result.”

“Then I had an epiphany! Today I set my goal, my only one, as putting on my shoes and socks,” David explained. “That was it, the whole thing. Look! I did it! And it’s only noon!” He laughed and skipped away, not a care in the world.

I’m pretty sure he was kidding. Yet the Obama Administration, and its increasingly zombie-like, denial-motivated supporters, appears to have adopted this approach to leadership. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Rights, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Thoughts Upon Watching George Stephanopoulos Interview Another Hillary Clinton Advisor This Morning

george

1. Why is George Stephanopoulos still being allowed to interview anyone connected to, critical of or opposing the campaign of Hillary Clinton? He has an irreparable conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety. He was deceptive regarding his continued support for the Clintons, by not reporting serial large contributions to their foundation/political slush fund. ABC is essentially ignoring basic journalism ethics.

2. Interviewing another one of Hillary’s paid liars--I didn’t catch his name, and frankly, they are fungible: let’s call him :Lanny Davis 2016″—George asked the same question about trade that Jake Tapper did, but barely pressed on after receiving the same evasive answer. Why? Because Tapper is a real journalist and George isn’t? Or because George was attempting to show he is objective by asking the question, but is still essentially an undercover, though not so covered, Clinton booster?

3. George then asked another tough question, asking Lanny 2016 about what he said about Clinton in 2008 when he was working for candidate Barack Obama against Hillary, saying that Clinton couldn’t be believed and that she adopted positions according to political calculus rather than sincere beliefs. The honest answer would have been, “Well, you understand this, George: Obama was paying me then, Hillary’s paying me know, just as the Clintons paid you once, and now ABC does.” Instead, Lanny II replied with a canned statement that didn’t address George’s question at all, and George let him get away with it. Why? Because he’s a hack? Because he’s dumb? Or because he’s in the tank for Hillary Clinton?

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Search Engine Ethics Bulletin: Google’s Not Perfect, And That’s Not Unethical

Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden hit the dinosaurs HARD...

Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden hit the dinosaurs HARD…

Late last month, someone discovered, probably in the wake of all the pre-release publicity for “Jurassic World,” that the search “What happened to the dinosaurs?” turned up this site as its top result. This is a fundamentalist Christian site that is hilarious in its misinformation and ignorance, along with the inevitable smugness that routinely accompanies this kind of stubborn immunity to fact and logic. Here’s my favorite passage:

Representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals, including the dinosaur kinds, went aboard Noah’s Ark. All those left outside the Ark died in the cataclysmic circumstances of the Flood, and many of their remains became fossils.

Boy, that must have been some boat. Today there was news of a controversy over whether the recently discovered “heaviest dinosaur” was only 40 tons rather than the earlier estimate of 65 tons. Since the beasts boarded the Ark two by two, this is  about 80 tons for just one species of dinosaur, Dreadnoutus, to go with 84 tons of Futalognkasaurus, 78 tons of Brachiosaurus, and 32 tons of Diplodocus, and that’s without the other 700 or so dinosaur species, which are estimated to be about a tenth of the actual total. Then Noah had to fit all the other animals on the ship…green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees, some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born, he didn’t take along no unicorns.

But I digress. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, History, Literature, Religion and Philosophy, Science & Technology, The Internet

Would You Trust This Newspaper?

Amphibious-Pitcher

I wouldn’t.

The newspaper is the East Oregonian of  Pendleton, Oregon. The subject of the headline was not, in fact, an amphibious pitcher, nor, as the photo above was labeled in its file, an amphibian pitcher, which really would have been a story. No, it referred to ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte, who was brought up from the minors by the Oakland Athletics last week, and who, while pitching against the Boston Red Sox (I saw the game on TV)  made baseball history by becoming the first big league pitcher to record an out as a left-handed pitcher and a right-handed pitcher in the same inning. In case you are wondering, the age-old question of what happens if a switch-hitter faces a switch-pitcher was answered quickly. Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, came up to bat right-handed, then switched to batting left-handed because Venditte was then pitching right-handed. Venditte responded by switching his glove (it has two thumbs) from his left hand to his right to throw left-handed, and that’s how the situation stayed. Both batter and pitcher can switch once before the at bat is underway.

But I digress.

As for the headline, I won’t blame the reporter (he used the correct word in the story), but the headline writer, editor and anyone else on staff who saw the page before it was printed and distributed needs to find a line of work that doesn’t require English, writing, the conveyance of information, or common sense.

________________________

Pointer: The Sporting News

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Sports

The Marco Rubio Traffic Ticket Story: Is The NY Times’ Anti-GOP Bias Finally Undeniable…and Unmanageable??

The New York Times thinks you need to know about this woman's driving record. Really?

The New York Times thinks you need to know about this woman’s driving record. Really?

The New York Times matters, even as newspapers continue their march to oblivion. Centuries of outstanding journalism tend to carry weight, so despite the fact that the paper has befouled itself with hypocrisy, dubious reporting, partisan bias and an inexcusable imbalance among its pundits, it nonetheless still functions as a news media role model and icon. The infuriating debate over whether the news media is overwhelmingly biased in its news coverage (that would be biased in favor of Democrats, progressives, and liberal policy objectives in case you haven’t picked up on it) has special importance now, as again we head into a Presidential election and most Americans—I hope?—would like to see the public’s opinions on the matter prevail, not the biases of journalists, operating through selective or slanted reporting

Last week’s Times investigative scoop that Marco Rubio and his wife had a combined 17 traffic citations since 1997 thus is important, not regarding Sen. Rubio, who is running for President.  Though the Times still defends it—and that’s significant too—pretty much everyone else, Left, Right, and  anywhere, has condemned the Rubio hit. The story told us nothing newsworthy about Rubio,  but told us a lot about the Times, and perhaps whether the U.S. news media plans on placing its heavy thumb on our campaign scales…again. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Professions

Ethics Dunce: Pope Francis

The Pope and "the Angel of Peace"...

The Pope and “the Angel of Peace”…

Sigh.

I apologize in advance to all the Catholics and others who will be offended by this post. I wish I didn’t have to write it. But I just read one too many “nyah, nyah, nyah conservatives and Republicans, you’re so big on waving God at us and now the Pope says you’re full of crap” Facebook posts from someone who would no more set foot in a church than Damien in “The Omen.”  The Pope is as fair game for criticism when he abuses his influence and power as Kylie Jenner, who was the subject of the previous post, and for similar reasons. To those who say that it is disrespectful for me to compare the Pope’s ethics to those of an ignorant 18-year-old minor celebrity drunk on her own fame, my answer is that the Pope needs to stop acting like one.

I’m going to try to avoid the mocking tone I used with Kylie, I really am.

With great power, the saying goes, comes great responsibility. What I see in this Pope is a very, very nice and well-meaning man who suddenly was given the power to have his every opinion on any subject immediately plastered all over newspapers across the world and recited by news readers as significant, and literally can’t stop himself. He told an Argentinian journalist last week that he just wants to be remembered as “good guy.”  Mission accomplished: I believe he is a good guy. He’s also an irresponsible guy, who knows or should know that his pronouncements will be exploited for political advantage by people and parties that could not care less about his Church, God and religion generally, but who will use his words  to persuade voters who feel the need to know no more about a subject that what the “Vicar of Christ” tells them.

It may be “good to be Pope,” to paraphrase Mel Brooks, and it’s also not “easy being Pope,” to paraphrase Kermit the Frog. I don’t care: he accepted the job, and with it the duty to do it responsibly. Being a responsible Pope means not shooting off your mouth about every topic that occurs to you. In that same interview, Pope Francis opined that humans care too much about pets. I get it: poverty is, by his own assessment, the single most important aspect of the Church’s mission, so it’s natural for the Pope to believe that the money spent on movies, cable TV, make-up, CDs, and Jack Russell terriers should all be given to the Clinton Foundation or his Church instead. That’s a facile opinion from someone who has a staff catering to his every whim, and who sits on billions in the Vatican Bank. Does the Pope understand loneliness? Does he have any compassion for those suffering from it? Does he understand the needs of my sister, divorced and with both children gone, and her desire to have some unconditional love in the house when she returns to an otherwise empty home,  love that  takes the form of a happy, loyal, Havanese? “Care for pets is like programmed love,” the Pope told the interviewer. “I can program the loving response of a dog or a cat, and I don’t need the experience of a human, reciprocal love.”

My response: “Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and millions of people will assume you got this point of view straight from God.” Continue reading

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