Bullying To Discourage Bullying : Our Incredibly Incompetent, Unethical Schools

If public schools keep making my head explode, I'm not going to be able to criticize them much longer. Soon, it will be all up to you...

If public school idiocy keeps making my head explode, I’m not going to be able to criticize them much longer. Soon, it will be all up to you…

In Red Hook, New York, a recent anti-bullying workshop at Linden Avenue Middle School for 13 and 14-year-old girls focused on homosexuality and gender identity. Parents learned from their daughters that the girls had been ordered to stand before the group and ask one another for a kiss. Some students were told to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date.

Bullying, as they are supposed to teach you in school, is when someone uses their superior power to subordinate and humiliate someone weaker than themselves. This is wrong, and it is always wrong. It is just as wrong when the bully believes that his or her power is being exercised to make a weaker individual do something that is “good” for them, as in, “Go ahead, jump off that rock, or I’ll beat the snot out of you!” This pathetic, miserably unprofessional, cruel and arrogant political correctness-infected school actually used its authority over these children to force them to do something, in public, that they almost certainly felt was embarrassing and unnatural. This is bullying: the only other equally apt word for it is stupidity. The school’s method of showing students how bullying is wrong is to bully them. In addition, the school neither informed the students’ parents nor received their permission.

Why are we continuing to put up with this? Continue reading

Professionism 101: What Not To Do At Your Desk

desknonos_1

A confused commenter who wanted to take the side of that potty-mouthed TV broadcaster fired for making his first words on the job “…fucking shit” has argued that A. J. Clemente should be re-hired because “it could happen to anyone.” Wrong. It could not “happen to anyone,” I explained to her, because civil professionals don’t say “fucking shit” in public or on the job. A.J. is further displaying his cluelessness and gray matter deficit by trying to exploit his 15 minutes of infamy, appearing on Letterman and thus bidding to be known forever as “the guy who said ‘fucking shit’ in his first seconds on TV.”  Why would he think this is the way to start anew and make potential employers believe in his professionalism? Is he bidding to be a reality show cast member?

Who is advising this poor guy? Politicians, like Texas governor Rick Perry, go on shows like Letterman after a well-publicized gaffe to show they are good sports and that they understand that they messed up, but these are celebrities who are already famous for the mistake. For them,the  tactic is designed to remove the sting by laughing along with everyone else. For an unknown like Clemente to do this is self-destructive: it makes far more people aware of the embarrassing incident, it looks like he is exploiting his incompetence, and suggests that he doesn’t understand how serious his conduct was. Letterman doesn’t care if A.J. wrecks his future on the show; Dave just wants some cheap laughs. Not only is A.J. not professional or bright, he apparently has no friends or family members who are, either.

Well, enough of A. J. He has offered a vivid example of one kind of career-killing job conduct, and Salary.com has some more, in a feature it calls “Crimes in the Cubicle.” The list by Heather Dugan suggests 15 varieties of conduct to eschew at one’s desk, and it is all about professionalism, as well as etiquette, civility, decorm, dignity, office demeanor, respect for others…ethics, in short. It is a good collection: send the link to the young man or woman of your acquaintance who is starting their first office job. Or send it to A. J. Clemente.

Perhaps he should start here.

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Source and Graphic: Salary.com

A New Low, Until The Next One

The horrible mother with her son, who does not have cancer. There does seem to be something amiss with his face, though...

The evil  mother with her son, who does not have cancer. There does seem to be something amiss with his face, though…

I thought the woman who tricked her lesbian crush into marrying her by faking an illness and pretending to be her own doctor in e-mails to her romantic target was about as low as a human being could stoop. Before that, it was the various compassion thieves whose scams have been discussed here. In the category of despicable mothers, I thought ground zero was reached by Torry Hanson, who decided that her adopted Russian son was just too much trouble, so she bought him a one way plane ticket to Russia and shipped him back all by himself, with a note renouncing her parenthood. But then I learned about Wanetta Gibson, and I think I have abandoned the quest for the absolute worst ethical behavior, useful as it would be for establishing a scale for ethical misconduct. Human ingenuity regarding the despicable is just too vast.

Nevertheless, Susan Stillwaggon allegedly pulled a scam that could only be devised by someone whose ethics alarms are not only inoperable, but work in reverse, warning her to stop and change course when she is about to do something good.

In order to pull off a fake illness scam, the New Jersey mother told her family, friends and community that her elementary school age son had cancer. And just so he wouldn’t blow a sweet deal—you know how kids are— she told him he had cancer too.

I’m sure I will eventually hear about something more unethical and heartless than this. I’m not looking forward to it.

_______________________

Facts: CBS (Philly)

Graphic: The Coming Crisis

The Stigmatized Science Fair Project: School Indoctrination, Power Abuse and Passive Parents

indoctrinationFrom Lenore Skanzy’s useful and fascinating blog Free Range Kids comes a report from a mother whose Middle Schooler’s science fair project was summarily disqualified after he devoted months of work on it because it involved Airsoft guns, the realistic-looking gun replicas that shoot plastic pellets—toys, though expensive ones, much favored by pre-teen and teen-aged boys. The Airsoft was not physically featured in the project display; apparently the boy was punished for having the bad taste to use anything that looked and behaved like a gun in any activity related to school. According to the mother, his experiment, involving the spin on propelled objects, received a high enough score to send him and his experiment to the regionals, had he not been slapped down for daring to use a toy gun at his own home.

What is going on here? What is going on is a concerted, widespread nation-wide, ideologically-motivated and unethical effort by teachers, administrators and school districts to create a pervasive anti-gun, anti-gun ownership, anti-Second Amendment and pro-gun confiscation culture in the schools, ensuring, through cultural reinforcement, that future generations emerge from public education thoroughly phobic about guns no matter what their purpose. This abuse of power, a particularly stupid, sinister and ignorant abuse of power, is being encouraged by elected officials and the news media, and it is the tip of a very ugly iceberg.

This isn’t about guns, though they are the target this time. It is about school personnel and schools using their influence to implant ideology and political policy views in children, which is neither their job nor the appropriate role of public education. Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: New York State Senator Greg Ball (R)

Trust me, guys, you really don't want to vote for Greg Ball again...he's embarrassing your district.

Trust me, guys, you really don’t want to vote for Greg Ball again…he’s embarrassing your district.

Every now and then, a public official says something so brain-meltingly ridiculous that I wish I had a traditional blog and could write, “What an idiot!” and leave it at that.  This is one of those times.

Republican New York State Senator Greg Ball must represent the troglodyte section of New York—you know, that famous district heavily populated with prehistoric cave-dwellers who were discovered frozen in 1989, thawed out alive, and became politically active?—based on his unapologetic,nail-spitting, un-American tweet regarding the younger, surviving terrorist brother who engineered the Boston Marathon bombing:

Ball

What an idiot.

No, no, I can’t say that.

This is an unethical tweet. It’s an irresponsible tweet. Supporting torture “to save more lives” explicitly rejects the principles of the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitutional requirements of Due Process and the Bill of Rights prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and compelled testimony against self-interest. The “anything to save more lives” illogic, though recently adopted, to his shame and disgrace, by the presumably less idiotic President Obama in his quest for more gun regulations, is, of course, the open door to martial law and the permanent trade of liberty for security. I wrote about this at some length in the wake of the Abu Ghraib fiasco; reading “The Ethics of American Torture” again now, I would hold the same today, as would, I hope, most of you. (Don’t bother to read this, Senator Ball; it’s more than 140 characters, and you wouldn’t understand it anyway.) I wrote in part, Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Hypocrite and the Hecklers

GLAAD precedent: Emperor Hirohito reads the announcement of his Nobel Peace Prize for agreeing to end World War II...

GLAAD’s  precedent: Emperor Hirohito reads the announcement of his Nobel Peace Prize for agreeing to end World War II…

Former President Bill Clinton received the first Advocate for Change award at the GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles over the weekend. Clinton, who uniquely appears to be immune from ever being held accountable for his mistakes and misconduct, was honored by the LBGT advocacy organization for opposing a ban on same sex marriage in North Carolina, and supporting efforts to legalize same sex marriage in New York. In his remarks, Clinton attacked the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits legally married same sex couples from receiving federal benefits and protections, saying,

“I want to keep working on this until not only DOMA is no longer the law of the land, but until all people, no matter where they live, can marry the people they love. I believe you will win the DOMA fight, and I think you will win the Constitutional right to marry. If not tomorrow, then the next day or the next day.”

What Clinton did not say is that he is 100% responsible for the fact that DOMA is the law of the land, as he is the one who signed it into law in 1996. Nobody held a gun to his head: it was a popular bill in its day, and Clinton—surprise!—was following the polls. He also said at the time that he believed that the law was just.

This inconsistency—GLAAD honoring Clinton with an award for opposing a law he is responsible for inflicting on the gay and lesbian community, and his having the brass to accept it, are the stuff of Onion stories—prompted some at the event to heckle Clinton, shouting, “You signed it!”  I am tempted to cheer this development, but must pause—I object to heckling on civility and fairness grounds. One can rebut speech, but one shouldn’t seek to obstruct it. Yet there are exceptions to every rule, even in ethics. Thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today is this query:

Is it ethical to heckle Bill Clinton under these circumstances? Continue reading

The Steubenville Ethics Train Wreck: So Far, So Bad

steubenville

There has been no mention here of the awful Steubenville, Ohio rape case before today, and there was a reason for that. This is a massive ethics train wreck that is not only still rolling and accumulating passengers and victims, but is also too full of debris and wreckage to fully understand. At the end of this month, a grand jury will begin examining the looming question of whether others besides the two high school football players already convicted of the rape should be indicted.  The town is also doing an investigation of its own. These will help. My hesitation in diving into this gothic American nightmare is that recounting the obvious instances of miserable, heartless, ethically incomprehensible conduct by participants, observers, public officials and commentators doesn’t begin to make sense of it.  We will be analyzing and discussing this episode for a long time—we will have an obligation to do so. It is every bit as important and alarming as the Penn State scandal, and more significant than the infamous New Bedford pool table rape case, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film, “The Accused.”

The crucial cultural questions that will have to be answered are these: Continue reading

“The Only Answer”: An Ethics Hero, A Life Saved, And A Troubling Hypothetical

In this universe, a hero...and in an alternate one? I wonder...

In this universe, a hero…and in an alternate one? I wonder…

University of New Hampshire senior Cameron Lyle, a Division I college track and field competitor who excels in the shot put and hammer throw, has chosen to end his collegiate athletic career to save a stranger’s life.

He will donate his bone marrow today to a 28-year-old man suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Doctors told Lyle the man who will receive his marrow will live only six months without a transplant, and that there was a only one in five million chance for another non-family match. Yet the odds came up in his favor, thanks to  Lyle having his mouth swabbed to join a bone marrow registry two years ago. He was a perfect match.

Lyle says he never hesitated in his choice, once he was informed. “It’s just a sport,” he said. “Just because it’s Division I college level doesn’t make it any more important. Life is a lot more important than that, so it was pretty easy…It was kind of a no-brainer for a decent human. I couldn’t imagine just waiting. He could have been waiting for years for a match. I’d hope that someone would donate to me if I needed it.”

“He made his decision. He gave up his college season to do this. He’s a gentle giant,” Lyle’s mother said of her 6-foot-2-inch, 255-pound son. “He’ll do anything for anybody.”  Lyle’s coach Jim Boulanger, was also completely supportive, and, according to Lyle, came up with an instant Ethics Quote of the Month when the shot-putter told him of his plans.

“Here’s the deal,” Boulanger told Lyle. “You go to the conference and take 12 throws or you could give a man three or four more years of life. I don’t think there’s a big question here. This is not a moral dilemma. There’s only one answer.” Continue reading

More Reasons Not To Vote For Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford evokes that stirring Civil War battle, the Alamo.

Mark Sanford evokes that stirring Civil War battle, the Alamo.

The unethical and increasingly ridiculous Mark Sanford, now in the process of losing what should have been a sage House seat for Republicans in South Carolina, has added the public crime of “making Americans dumber” to his list of disqualifications for public office.

Sanford was the rising star South Carolina governor—married, with children— who went AWOL on the job to have a  clandestine liaison with his South American mistress, using public funds in the process, and lying through his staff to cover his tracks. He didn’t have the courage or the decency to resign, nor did he have the common sense and decency to quietly disappear so he would stop embarrassing his wife, his state, Republicans, men, and Homo sapiens everywhere. Instead he returned to run in a primary for a House seat, and since Republican primary voters will apparently vote for anyone or anything, won. Now he’s running behind in the polls to a Democratic candidate whose key qualification is that her brother is a popular TV comic.

Sanford has run a full page ad in some newspapers, painting himself in heroic terms and comparing himself to the martyrs of the Alamo: Continue reading

The GOP Out-Newtowns The Democrats…Impressive! Also, BLECHHH!

"Anything you can do I can do better...!" An appropriate accompaniment, and, ironically enough, from "Annie Get Your Gun"!

“Anything you can do I can do better…!” An appropriate accompaniment, and, ironically enough, from “Annie Get Your Gun”!

Further proving my conviction that there is no ethical difference between the two political parties at all (they are both habitually dishonest, corrupt, incompetent, hypocritical and Machiavellian), the Republicans opposing immigration reform are in the process of proving they can play the Newtown game too, only more shamelessly. This is why neither party can ever maintain the moral high ground in any issue, ever. While one party is using unethical arguments and tactics, it is just a matter of time before the other party, despite all its protests when it is the target of  them, will employ exactly the same measures—and argue that it’s not, of course.

Blechhh.

The Newtown game, if you didn’t get the reference, is when apolitical  party cynically seizes on a human tragedy and draws a specious and tendentious connection between it and a desired policy initiative. Gun control was never about stopping elementary school massacres, since what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary was unprecedented, but suddenly the old, old debates about semi-automatic weapons and background checks were cynically recast as test of whether lawmakers cared about kids or not. Which is more important, an archaic Bill of Rights provision about militias, or saving toddlers from being mowed down in cold blood? Why, if only one child is saved, isn’t it worth limiting our right to arm ourselves? Have you no heart? Gun supporters, Republicans, conservatives and fair minded citizens  capable of thought were properly offended at these tactics, while, naturally, the integrity-free mainstream media adopted the same “save the children” mantra.

None of this stopped the Republicans who continue to oppose unavoidable measures necessary to clean up the mess left by decades of bi-partisan negligence regarding illegal immigration from using the latest high-profile tragedy—the Boston Marathon bombing—as a tool to derail the  push for immigration reform.  Continue reading