Tag Archives: ignorance

Tom Delay, Ethics Dunce Emeritus

I know, I know...it's mean to use the mug shot. Good.

I know, I know…it’s mean to use the mug shot. Good.

I am grateful to ex-Republican House Leader and former Texas Rep. Tom Delay for putting himself back in the news with a quote remarkable for its ignorance, hatefulness, and corrupting potential. There are many reasons:

1. It provides a little perspective for Republicans who are excessively smug about the unethical depths to which the Democratic leaders, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, will sink. Yes, they are ethically atrocious. DeLay, however, was as powerful as either of them for a very long time and was a major power in causing the Bush years to collapse in a smelly pile of corruption. The fact that the Republican Party would follow such a man is easily as damning as Democrats tolerating Reid and Pelosi.

2. It gives me the opportunity to name Tom Ethics Alarms’ second Ethics Dunce Emeritus. The first was Bill Clinton. Tom Delay makes Bill Clinton look like Atticus Finch. Think about that.

3. I miss pointing out how despicable Tom DeLay is. On Ethics Alarm’s predecessor, The Ethics Scoreboard, he was worth a post on a regular basis.

4. His statement is so ridiculous that it is bound to make thoughtful people wonder if they should be agreeing with the man, and reexamine their current anti-gay positions critically.

Here is what DeLay said, discussing the various religious rights protection measures and the controversy surrounding them, on an interview with Newsmax, with some restrained commentary by me in bold: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

Planet Ethics To Earth’s Gay Marriage Combatants: “You’re Mean, You’re Disgusting, And You’re Embarrassing The Human Race”

earth-from-space

It is hard to mediate a dispute where both sides feel entitled to use scorched earth tactics that ensure that innocent people get hurt. The gay (or same-sex) marriage wars have quickly escalated to that point, and while it may have been predictable, it was not necessary.

Gay marriage advocates, who were winning and, it is now clear, will win, could have shown patience and compassion toward the unsuspecting Americans of faith who weren’t paying close attention to the epic cultural shift underway, and who are reacting like most human beings react when the basic traditions, assumptions, and beliefs that they grew up believing were good, fair and immutable suddenly move beneath their feet like unstable tectonic plates—with confusion, anger, fear, impulsive words and actions based on instinct and panic. The gay advocates couldn’t bring themselves to do it, though. They rationalized their aggressive strategy with the Goldwateresque “Extremism in the  defense of liberty is no vice” approach to social change. They insisted on demonizing opponents, without caring about their motives or their lack of understanding of the issues. Even passive acceptance wasn’t enough: the pro-gay marriage warriors had to purge contrary thoughts from the culture. Forget about tangible opposition: anyone who wasn’t thinking friendly thoughts about gays and their unions had to be destroyed. Use the fear of the tradition-bound against them. Crush them…beat them into submission.

It has been ugly, destructive, and wrong. American shouldn’t lose their jobs for signing a petition or voting for a referendum. States, and all their businesses and individual livelihoods, shouldn’t be boycotted because of misguided laws. This week, a family that just want to make and sell good pizza was drawn into a controversy it neither understood nor could be expected to, and was targeted for destruction after the owner made a comment rife with ignorance about, well, everything. Does it really matter that a pizza seller mistakenly thinks that it would be honorable and virtuous not to cater a hypothetical same-sex wedding reception? Does the family really have to be brought to its knees, made an example of, and ruined to teach anyone else what can happen to them if they don’t conform to the new, mandated belief system?

Who respects or likes people who act this way? We call them bullies. We call them cruel. We call them fanatics. ( This hateful CBS reporter tried to derail the GoFundMe effort to raise funds to rescue the pizza place.) Unless we are determined to understand their motives, we are very likely to hate them.

So the advocates of gay marriage really think it advances their cause, and it is a just cause, to make people hate and fear them.

What utter, utter folly.

Naturally, as in any war, the other side has responded in an equally brutal and ugly manner, just worse—dumber, to begin with. It’s Dresden for Coventry all over again.  Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, U.S. Society

Ghost Of Ethics Dunce Past: “Hardball” Guest Kevin James

Chamberlain

[CORRECTION: Boy do I feel stupid. For some reason Slate ran a story about this ridiculous exchange on Hardball, and it confused me into thinking it was current, and related to the Iran deal. My mistake; thanks to Rick Jones for flagging it. Other than the time frame, everything I wrote about James (and Matthews, and MSNBC) stands, and James’ pundit malpractice deserves as much exposure as possible. I’ve made a few edits to eliminate the confusion, which was all mine. I must say, however, I question the need for dredging up past idiots on political talk shows when there is such an abundance of current ones]

I didn’t know who Kevin James was—all I could find were references to the comedian who starred in “King of Queens.”  Apparently this James is a former L.A. mayoral candidate, a lawyer, and radio talk show host. Because MSNBC likes playing the game of finding the most ridiculous, inarticulate, wild-eyed, nut-ball conservative it can to represent any position the network’s ideological clones oppose, Chris Matthews used this guy in 2008 to explain whyt Republicans  thought Obama was “an appeaser” like Neville Chamberlain.  James’ position was that Obama was following in the infamous footsteps of  Chamberlain, who appeased Hitler in Munich while trumpeting “Peace in our time.”

Incredibly, James had no idea what Chamberlain did, and maybe even who he was. Matthews humiliated him by exposing his guest’s jaw-dropping ignorance as James shouted, protested and broadcast to all that he was the epitome of a badly educated, unprepared ideologue, out of his depth, his league, and his mind: How could any sane individual go on TV to compare Obama to Neville Chamberlain without doing the minimal research necessary to justify the comparison?

This is incompetent and irresponsible punditry, advocacy malpractice, and rank stupidity. Of course, it is also unethical for Matthews and MSNBC to allow anyone so abysmally unqualified to be a guest, but fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. Still, the majority of the blame has to fall on James.

This fool was a federal prosecutor?

I bet the other Kevin James would have done better.

But he might not have been funnier.

Watch, and wince:

____________________

Spark and Pointer: Slate

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Tales of the Indiana State Legislature: “Your Baby Is A Racist!”

Indiana State Rep. Vanessa Summers. (All right, not really, but I couldn't resist. Read the story and you'll get it.)

Indiana State Rep. Vanessa Summers. (All right, not really, but I couldn’t resist. Read the story and you’ll get it.)

Can it get worse than this? During the debate  in the Indiana House  over the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act,  state Rep. Vanessa Summers, (D-Indianapolis) rose to set a new record in outrageous race-baiting.

“I told [Republican colleague] Jud McMillin I love his son, but he’s scared of me because of my color.”

Responding to a rumble of protest from her assembled colleagues, Summers insisted, “It’s true.” When challenged on the assertion later. she defended her accusation, saying:

“He (the eighteen-month-old child) looked at me like I was a monster and turned around and cried. And I told him (McMillin) you need to introduce your child to some people that are dark-skinned so he will not be scared.”

There are so many take-aways from this episode that it’s difficult to know where to begin, or where to stop.

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, Race, Rights

Well-Earned But Wrong: The Parody Website And The Attack On Memories Pizza

Memoriespizza

It is difficult to work up much sympathy for Memories Pizza, the Indiana pizza place that rushed to be known as the first business to announce that it plans on refusing to serve gay customers under the cover of Indiana’s new and poorly thought-out religious freedom law.  Oh, I agree that it was thoughtful of the owners to help show that the law, regardless of the neutral words used, was intended to be a rallying point for anti-gay advocates who want to fight back against what they see as a frightening cultural shift that they don’t understand and can’t accept, but the owners are still, to be blunt, morons.

Announcing that the law would allow them to refuse to cater a gay wedding, they injected their biases into a debate they were neither legally, ethically, morally or intellectually equipped to participate in. Crystal O’Connor, whose family owns the small-town pizzeria, spouted off  that “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,”  as the national debate over the law was heating up. Well, no, Crystal, you wouldn’t have to, and the law probably wouldn’t protect you if you did. Baking pizza is not the exercise of religion, and nothing in the Bible says “Thou shalt not send pizza to the reception of a wedding you disapprove of.

I just heard one of the law’s supporters from a “family values” group that spends much of its time, words and money attacking homosexuality swear to Chris Cuomo on CNN that the law has nothing whatsoever to do with Indiana embracing anti-gay bigots (and tricking them into thinking that stunts like Crystal’s are acceptable). “It’s about conscience, ” he intoned, without giggling. But the law says nothing about conscience either.It prevents the government from  substantially burdening the exercise of religion. Catering an event, religious or not, is not a religious act, nor is a wedding reception a religious ceremony. It is no more legitimate to say that your conscience forbids you from selling pizza to strangers than it is to say that your conscience forbids you from letting a transsexual into your cab. O’Connor, not surprisingly, doesn’t comprehend the law. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society, Unethical Websites

Jerks, Liars, Hypocrites, Fools and Hoosiers: 10 Ethics Observations On Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act Controversy

Indiana5

1. The law was passed to make discrimination against gays, trans individuals and especially same-sex couples seeking marriage if not easier, to at least seem easier. Anyone claiming otherwise is lying, or being intentionally obtuse. Would Indiana be passing this law without the Hobby Lobby decision or the various court rulings requiring photographers, bakers, and other businesses to provide the same products and services to gay couples that they do to heterosexuals? Yes, you say? Tell me another.

As GLAAD alertly pointed out, Governor Pence was surrounded by anti-gay activists when he signed the bill:

GLAAD Pence

This is res ipsa loquitur, and doesn’t speak well for the Governor’s candor or intelligence.

2. Context matters. The original laws of this sort (the Federal law signed by President Clinton is also called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) were part of the left’s long range pro-drug strategy, like medical marijuana. It was essentially a hippie law designed to create a slippery slope to recreational drug legalization by allowing fringe religious groups, specifically Native American tribes, to use peyote in tribal ceremonies. Now you understand why Clinton signed the bill.

Oops. Excuse me if I enjoy the spectacle of the clever members of the Church of the Perpetually Stoned—including the ACLU, which once supported such laws as long as they pointed the way to their young lawyers being able to have their Saturday night joints legally but now opposes them—being hoisted on their own petard.

“When the federal government adopted a religious protection act in 1993, same-sex marriage was not on the horizon,” whines the New York Times. Well, competent, well-considered, properly drafted, responsibly passed laws don’t suddenly become unbearable, then fine, then unbearable again with every shift of the cultural winds. The intent of the law was never to protect mainstream religions, but cloaked itself in language that did. It backfired.

3. That being stipulated, the good states need to read their own laws before they start grandstanding. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy just announced on Twitter that he plans to sign an executive order banning state travel to Indiana in response to its Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Yet Connecticut, hippie enclave and bedroom community of rich, white, liberal New Yorkers that it is, happily jumped on the religious freedom train with a law of its own, one that, as the Federalist points out, makes discrimination on the basis of religion easier than the Hoosier version, which only prohibits the government from substantially burdening religion. Connecticut’s law does not include the word “substantially,” meaning that all government-enacted burdens on religion are theoretically illegal.

I wonder how Malloy is going to ban government travel to Connecticut? Is the theory that the same law can be good when liberal states pass it and evil when those bad conservative states pass it? It is more likely that the governor hasn’t looked at his own state’s law.

4. The hysteria being stirred up over the supposed horribles Indiana’s law will lead to is irresponsible. Jonathan Adler explains on The Volokh Conspiracy: Continue reading

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Yes, Aaron Schock Is Untrustworthy. Why Wasn’t that Obvious From The Start?

SchlockRep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill) resigned from Congress this week, effective March 31, after it was revealed that he charged more driving miles of travel to taxpayers than he had mileage on his car. This was just the latest indication that Schock was infected with a fatal sense of entitlement, which you can read about here and  here. I’m not going to waste time declaring the Congressman unethical: obviously he is unethical. What concerns me is that he was elected to Congress three times despite being such a textbook example of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder victim that everyone should have been running away. This was a stunning instance of voters, journalists and pundits being naive, ignorant and incompetent. Continue reading

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