Ethics Dunce: Francesca Eastwood

“Go ahead, make me ashamed I spawned you.”

Stipulated: you have every right in the world to dispose of of your personal belongings as you see fit.

Also stipulated: if you intentionally buy a steak dinner, eat half of it in front of a homeless woman and her infant, and feed what you didn’t finish to a stray dog as she looks on, salivating, you are a cruel, unsympathetic, sadistic creep.

With so many Americans  jobless or in financial distress, with charities short of funds and government social services facing budget cut-backs, to buy a $100,000 alligator handbag and then destroy it for “art”—-as Francesca Eastwood, Clint’s daughter, recently did—is hardly better than the steak dinner stunt. It’s even an insult to the alligator. Essentially this was an eloquent statement that Francesca would prefer to throw her money away than help people with it, people for whom a hundred grand is three years of family income.

That tells us all we need or want to know about Clint’s spoiled little girl.

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Facts: Telegraph

Graphic: Wn

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

The Ethics Verdict on the Chris Hayes Apology

To be fair, while Chris Hayes is ill-informed, ungrateful and arrogant, at least he’s incoherent.

As anyone could have predicted, MSNBC host Chris Hayes had to issue an apology after his fatuous and inarticulate comments about Memorial Day. If you were lucky enough to miss them, here they are:

“I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Why do I feel so [uncomfortable] about the word “hero”? I feel comfortable — uncomfortable — about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.’

With so many interesting, thoughtful, perceptive and provocative statements being written and uttered every day that vanish forever, never to be repeated or published, it is cruel irony to confer immortality on cretinism like that, but I digress. My commentary on Hayes’ statement is here. His apology was pre-ordained, because he insulted so many, so deeply, so pointlessly and so arrogantly, at the worst possible time, that a national outcry was guaranteed, and the eventual directive, “Apologize or pack!” from his MSNBC overlords was a forgone conclusion.

As forced apologies go, how did Hayes’ rank? Continue reading

Is It Fair For A Business To Discriminate Against the Homely?

 

Take your pick!

The EEOC is investigating a popular Boston area coffee shop chain, alleging that it discriminates in favor of attractive young waitresses to the detriment of older or more homely waitresses. The management of Marylou’s disputes the accusation, arguing that its hiring pool is disproportionately young and attractive.

I don’t want to get into the actual guilt or innocence here, but rather muse about the ethical issue. Should there be laws preventing employers from using attractiveness as a criteria in hiring, if it is relevant to the success of the business, or even if it is not? If a coffee shop owner’s patrons are overwhelmingly male, and the owner believes that having waitresses who look good in a starched uniform makes the customers happy and more likely to spend their money, why should the law prevent that? Is there anything really wrong with the conduct? Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Michael Fumento

“As a conservative, I disagree with the political opinions of liberals. But to me, a verbal assault indicates insecurity and weakness on the part of the assaulter, as in “Is that the best they can do?” This playground bullying – the name-calling, the screaming, the horrible accusations – all are intended to stifle debate, the very lifeblood of a democracy.”

—-Michael Fumento, writing powerfully in Salon about the increasingly viscous rhetoric of too many conservatives, and how it has left him estranged from his own political philosophy.

He writes,

“Civility and respect for order – nay, demand for order – have always been tenets of conservatism. The most prominent work of history’s most prominent conservative, Edmund Burke, was a reaction to the anger and hatred that swept France during the revolution. It would eventually rip the country apart and plunge all of Europe into decades of war. Such is the rotted fruit of mass-produced hate and rage. Burke, not incidentally, was a true Tea Party supporter, risking everything as a member of Parliament to support the rebellion in the United States.

“All of today’s right-wing darlings got there by mastering what Burke feared most: screaming “J’accuse! J’accuse!” Turning people against each other. Taking seeds of fear, anger and hatred and planting them to grow a new crop.”

You can read his whole essay, “My break with the extreme right” in Salon, here.

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Pointer: Volokh Conspiracy

Source: Salon

Graphic: Sleepless heretic

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

Memorial Day Ethics Dunce: MSNBC Host Chris Hayes

My hero.

Yesterday, the day before Memorial Day, MSNBC host Chris Hayes said this:

“Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow.  Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke , who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible].  Um, I, I, ah, back sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable  about the word “hero”?  I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”

   Well, yes, Chris, you’re wrong about quite a lot.

Chris was wrong, for example—as well as disingenuous—to say that “you don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen” and then come out with this insulting and fatuous gibberish that disrespect the memories of the fallen. And to do it on the very weekend when millions of families across the nation are honoring their fallen, or, in the case of my family, a father who braved combat in World War II, was wounded, decorated, and regarded his service in defense of his country the greatest achievement of his life.

Hayes was also wrong, as well as incompetent and unprofessional, to utter such a half-baked and incoherent opinion without having the respect to think it through carefully, express it articulately, and in general without meeting his obligations as a broadcaster to be worth listening to. If a commentator is going to make a statement that he knows will offend and upset grieving families, he should at least know what he wants to say and have the skill and courage to say it clearly. As it was, all he managed to do was to make a gratuitous slur against patriots who put their lives at risk because their nation asked them to, instead of taking morally craven positions from the security of a TV studio that only exists because of the sacrifices such heroes made. Continue reading

Is Elizabeth Warren A Pit Bull?

You never know.

Lucky for her, she doesn’t look like one. Then again, she doesn’t look like a Cherokee, either…

After all, it is even easier to be designated a “pit bull” than a Cherokee, believe it or not. As a result, hysterics in the public and on the Maryland Court of Appeals have decided it is prudent to engage in the kind of bias and fear-driven racism regarding pets that would be condemned as brutally unjust if applied to humans.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that “pit bulls” are “inherently dangerous” and will be subject to higher levels of liability, meaning, among other things, that there will be no “one bite rule” for these dogs, the usual trigger for determining whether a canine is a risk to humans, and that landlords will be forcing tenants to either get rid of their “inherently dangerous” dogs or move out. The ruling is  the result of bad reasoning, bad information, bad statistics and bad law, not to mention bias. What kind of legal standard depends on a term that has no definition and no way to determine what fits it? Yet that is what the Maryland pit bull ruling does.

As I have noted here in other posts, “pit bull” is a generic term applied to several bull dog and terrier-mix breeds, and mistakenly to up to 25 other breeds as well. This renders the deceptively used statistics of anti-pit bull zealot organizations like Dogs Bite.org completely worthless. I would say completely useless, but there are useful…for getting  perfectly gentle and trustworthy dogs killed. In its compiled statistics of deadly dog attacks, the organization states that “pit bull-type dogs” are responsible for 59% of fatal attacks on humans, contrasted with specific breeds like Rottweilers. The category of “pit bull-type dogs,” however, includes at least five distinct breeds that are often called “pit bulls”—  the American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, and the Mini Bull Terrier. Anti-pit bull breed-specific legislation also includes absolutely non-pit bull breeds in its definition of “pit bull types” in many jurisdictions, breeds like the Boxer, Bull Mastiff, Boston terrier and French Bulldog, the last two especially deadly threats to lick you into submission. Such laws are, in truth, dog legislation created by people who know nothing about dogs, but who are perfectly willing to take responsible people’s loving pets away and kill them if it will mollify some phobic voters.

Then there are the dog breeds that may be called “pit bulls” by dog attack victims who can barely tell a dachshund from a Great Dane. Among those “pit bull-type breeds” are the Alpha Blue Blood Bull Dog, American Bulldog,  American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Banter Bull Dogge, Black Mouth Cur, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Bulldog, Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso, Dogo Aregentino,  Dogo Canario, Dogue De Bordeaux, English Bulldog, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro, Fila Mastiff, French Bulldog, Italian Mastiff, Mastiff, Mini Bull Terrier, Neapolitan Mastiff. Old English Bull Dogge, Patterdale Terrier,  Presa de Canario, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Spanish Mastiff, and the Valley Bulldog.

So what does the predominance of “pit bull type dogs” in the dog bite statistics tell us? It tells us that a lot of fearful, ignorant people—and judges— don’t know what pit bulls are, but they are afraid of them and want to wipe them off the face of the earth anyway.

For the record, there is only one true pit bull, the American Pit Bull Terrier, which looks like this:

Continue reading

The Fojol Bros., Innocent of Racism, Political Correctness Victims

In its advanced stages, 21st century political correctness becomes a kind of delusional illness, causing sufferers to interpret  benign, harmless and even socially healthy conduct as offensive and sinister. An outbreak of this variety of political correctness is in full flower in Washington, D.C., where more than the usual number of officious defenders of that which needs no defending are trying to gin up public outrage against a creative, fun, and successful small business enterprise, Fojol Bros.

The company sends food trucks around downtown D.C. and serves strangely named hybrid ethnic dishes inspired by Indian, Ethiopian and Thai cuisines. The Fojol employees who hand out the delicious fare wear turbans, robes and fake mustaches,  claim to hail from  “Merlindia” and “Benethiopia,” and go by names like “Kipoto.” This was once called “theater” and “fantasy,” no more offensive than Disney employees in Frontierland dressing in cowboy and saloon girl garb and calling themselves “Tex” and “Lilly.” Now some are calling it “offensive,” because too many people have forgotten what offensive is. Continue reading