In many high schools around the country, as many as fifty graduating seniors were designated “valedictorians,” because the traditional honor for the top academic performer is a coveted credential, and the schools wanted as many students as possible to have the benefit of it. On their future resumes, will these students footnote “valedictorian” to let potential employers know that it doesn’t mean they were #1 in their class? Of course not. Their schools have given them a license to inflate their qualifications and achievements. Until every school clones its valedictorians, the credential now is inherently deceptive, and it is the high school administrators, not the students, who are doing the deceiving.
Ah, but “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” The New York Times reported that at least ten law schools, S.M.U., New York University, Georgetown, and Tulane among them, have deliberately altered their grading curves—-some retroactively—in order to make their graduates artificially look better to employers. Continue reading
Once again we visit the always despicable practice of punitive “outing,” when gay activists, gay advocates, or the generally self-righteous decide that some individual deserves to have private matters, that he or she has an absolute right to keep private, made public. This particular instance is especially notable, because it involved an especially odious brand of unethical investigation, followed by a series of arrogant rationalizations by the offending party that would make a good, if easy, pop quiz in an ethics exam.
Lavender Magazine, a biweekly for Minneapolis’s gay and lesbian community, reported that an outspokenly anti-gay local pastor attended meetings of Faith in Action, the local affiliate of Courage, an international program of the Catholic Church that offers support for people who want to remain chaste despite same-sex attraction.
As a result of the report, the pastor was placed on leave by his church, which is looking into the matter. Continue reading
A Connecticut television station traffic reporter, Desiree Fontaine was caught by security personnel as she apparently tried to shoplift a Hawaiian shirt, a bottle of cologne, two pairs of earrings and a necklace from a Sears store. When she was apprehended, Fontaine explained that she was shoplifting as part of a freelance reporting project she was doing “on the side.” Presumably this will set up a First Amendment defense at her trial, with her lawyer arguing that shoplifting is protected by Freedom of the Press. Continue reading
There is not one chance in a thousand that they will do it, of course. But Senate Republicans can do much good for the country, the political culture, and, in the long term, themselves, if they would undertake a courageous, principled and ethical act: confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, after establishing her qualifications to serve, by an overwhelming if not unanimous vote. Continue reading
Jim Joyce, the American league umpire who cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game by missing the what should have been the final out of the game, achieved immediate respect for admitting his mistake and apologizing to the pitcher and the public. Now another umpire, Gary Cederstrom, following Joyce’s lead, has admitted and apologized for a botched call, a wretched called strike on Johnny Damon that ended another Tigers game with a strikeout when it should have been a game-tying ball four (the bases were loaded at the time.)
ESPN commentator John Kruk and baseball blogger Rob Neyer have expressed dismay at the apparent trend, but it is a legitimate cultural shift in ethical standards. Continue reading
We all know Vice President Biden’s mouth is only loosely connected to his brain. To some this is charming; to others it is irritating or scary. His tendency in unguarded moments to slip into vernacular hitherto regarded as undignified and inappropriate for high elected officials and unsuitable for family newspapers is part of a national crisis in civility. It is a symptom of it, but when our leaders give in to destructive cultural trends, they reinforce them. Continue reading
Not one but two celebrities have recently had their public image and reputation battered by the publishing of police reports that they had been accused of sexual misconduct in alleged incidents that could not be confirmed sufficiently for the police to bring charges. One was New York Mets ace pitcher Johan Santana, who was already battling uncharacteristic ineffectiveness on the mound. The other was former Vice-President Al Gore, who also has more than enough problems in his life: such as a shattered marriage, a reeling climate change policy campaign, and the lingering memory that he received the most votes in a Presidential election yet somehow never got to live in the White House. Santana’s reputation will survive if he recovers the location on his fast ball. Al Gore, however, is genuinely and seriously harmed by the claims of a masseuse who says that Gore attempted to turn her professional massage into a forced sexual encounter. Continue reading