The Strange, Seldom Told Story of Ethics Hero Emeritus, Albert Göring (1895-1966)

Good brother, Bad brother.

Good brother, Bad brother.

The German and Israeli news media have recounted the exploits of Albert Göring recently , because he is under posthumous consideration for the highest honorary title conferred by the State of Israel, the “Righteous Among the Nations.” These are the heroes of the Holocaust, the brave individuals who risked their lives to foil Hitler’s Ultimate Solution. Since it was created in 1953, the title has been awarded to 24,356 people from 47 countries.

Göring is a strong candidate to join their ranks, for he saved many Jews from extermination during World War II. Honoring him would not be a difficult decision, except for one thing: he was the younger brother of one of Hitler’s vilest henchman, the architect of the death camps and master of the Gestapo, Hermann Göring.

Albert became disillusioned with the Nazis early in their rise to power and moved to Austria, where he frequently spoke out against Hitler and the Third Reich. He would have ended up in prison when the Germans took over Austria, but brother Hermann Goering, Hitler’s designated successor, believed that blood was thicker than genocide: he kept Albert out of the hands of the Gestapo, even though he knew his little brother was an enemy of the state.

Nobody knows exactly how many Jews and non-Jews Albert saved from his brother’s death camps, because Albert Göring himself didn’t know how many the people he helped. Continue reading

Scapegoating Ethics


Meet Rick Eckstein. He understands. Really.

As it does predictably and constantly, the daily drip-drip-drama of baseball has given us another ethics quandary to ponder, arising in the context of the sport but with far more significant applications. The issue: is it ethical for an organization to deal with a crisis by firing someone for symbolic value, rather than for cause?

I have written about this traditional phenomenon in baseball before, but the current example is far less defensible on either tactical or public relations grounds. Last season, the Washington Nationals accumulated the best record in the sport, and though they flopped in the play-offs, were almost unanimously expected to be strong pennant contenders in 2013 by baseball prognosticators and more importantly, their fans. So far, at least, those expectations have been dashed. The season is almost two-thirds done, and the Nationals have been uninspiring at best. They have won fewer games than they have lost, and are trailing the Atlanta Braves by an alarming margin. Their pitching has been worse than expected, and their offense has been atrocious.

As is often the case in baseball when teams have a disappointing season after a good one, there is no obvious way to fix the problems mid-season, other than to hope the players start playing better. Unlike the other major team sports, baseball team performance is notoriously quirky, just like the game they play. Excellent players have down years frequently (though not the same players, or they would no longer be considered excellent). Team chemistry evaporates; the ball bounces funny ways. In the case of the Nationals, the most obvious problem has been a flood of sub-par years from almost all the starting position players, with an unhealthy serving of injuries.

The team’s response to its frustration and, really, lack of any substantive way to address it was to fire the team’s batting coach, Rick Eckstein, last week. Continue reading

Profiles In Expediency: Former San Diego Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña

"You knew!"

“You knew!”

If you have been wondering, as I have, how it could have been possible for his party and colleagues to nominate hands-on San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, serial sexual harasser, predator, and master of “the Filner Headlock,” without knowing of his ongoing War on Women (karma’s a bitch, Democrats!), so have I, and so have a lot of San Diegans. Sure enough, it turns out that indeed the party did have advance notice that Filner had a problem (though not as big a problem as any female staffer who came within his reach), but inflicted him on San Diego anyway.

So says former Democratic assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, who told the media that in the summer of 2011 six San Diego women prominent in local politics, business and education alerted her that Filner had physically or verbally harassed them.  Saldaña said she duly warned former party Chairman Jess Durfee about the evidence and Durfee was among a group of Democratic leaders who met with Filner to discuss the issue that summer. Nothing happened. Filner was nominated and elected, and the rest is history, headlocks, fanny pats, gropes, stolen kisses and mayoral solicitations of sex from subordinates and colleagues.

San Diego is such a friendly city.

“As disgraceful as Bob’s behavior has been, it’s been tolerated by our Democratic Party leadership,” Saldaña scolded. Continue reading

Ethics Mega-Dunce: The First National Bank in Wellston, Ohio

Katie Barnett, the victim.

Katie Barnett, the victim.

As I cull the news to find good topics for ethics discussions, the single thought that goes through my mind most frequently is this: “What is the matter with people?”  This is often followed by “How do people get this way?” and later, “What can we do with them?”

Most ethical decisions are not brain teasers. They are strikingly obvious, unless you are determined to do wrong, an evil super-villain, or were raised in a barn. How people of influence without a serious head injury can make the horrible decisions they do is one of the mysteries of the age, along with the fate of Judge Crater, the elusiveness of Bigfoot, and the continuing popularity of Jimmy Kimmel.

Imagine, for example, that you run a bank. The Three Stooges wannabes who you sent to repossess a home get the address wrong (the lawn hadn’t been mowed, so they “just assume”), and they trash the wrong house. They remove possessions, losing some, auctioning off others, damaging the rest. The innocent owner of the home comes to you and points out that your contractors screwed up outrageously, a fact that is beyond rebuttal. She presents you with a good faith estimate of the property that was lost—never mind the trauma of having her home emptied by strangers and the fact that she has had to live elsewhere for two weeks. What do you do?

If you are the president of the First National Bank in Wellston, here’s what you do, because you have a non-functioning ethics alarm and more than a few screws loose in other places besides: you reject her assessment, and try to low-ball her on the amount.

“What is the matter with people?”

“How do people get this way?” Continue reading

More Juror Ethics

funny judgeFrom the Erie Times News:

An Erie woman, dismayed that she had been picked to serve as a juror in a weapons case, audibly harrumphed the worst curse word of them all, then huffed and puffed her way to her seat in the jury box. Erie County President Judge Ernest J. DiSantis was having none of it. When apprised of the outburst by the lawyers on the case, DiSantis came to the courtroom and called the woman, Kathleen Port, in front of the bench.

Port was off the jury, for start, DiSantis said. “But we are not done,” he said. DiSantis held Port in contempt of court and fined her $500 for the improper behavior. “You are totally out of line,” he said….Jury service is a duty of citizenship, he said.

“It is inconvenient at times,” he said.


That’s one less juror who will go on ABC to prove that her vote was meaningless and that she had no idea what she was doing.


Pointer: ABA Journal

The Weiner Joke Orgy

Conservatives will grandstand about declining standards of dignity and decorum in the U.S., happily blaming the decline of gentility and civil public expression on rappers, Hollywood liberals and Joe “This is a big fuckin’ deal” Biden, until a Democrat with a name ready-made for bad sex puns and double-entendres shows up, and then its a mad stampede to bad taste.

Wow. Clever.

Wow. Clever.

What is it with the Right: is everybody 12? From Rush Limbaugh (“Weiner is hard to swallow…”) to The Daily Caller (“Weiner blows his lead”) to the New York Daily News (“Cuomo Spanks Weiner!”) to dozens of websites that can’t resist versions of “Will Weiner pull out?” and “Weiner Exposed,”  to Drudge (“Weiner Goes Soft”) to CNS (“Boehner Won’t Bite On Weiner”) to, naturally, the reliably crude New York Post ( “Too Hard To Stop!’…”Tip of the Weiner”…”Obama Beats Weiner”…”Weiner: I’ll Stick It Out”…and on, and on–okay, it’s  abrand, I get it ), apparently conservative pundits and headline writers can’t resist seeking naughty snickers from obvious gags.  Continue reading

Dear Juror B29: Shut Up.


ABC News has decided to stir the pot by persuading one of the George Zimmerman jurors—one hopes the dimmest one, but who knows—to grab 15 minutes of fame on “Good Morning America!” Friday morning. Thus will America not only be wished a good day, it will also be simultaneously treated to the marvel and horror of the jury system. The horror: that ignorant fools like Juror B29 sit on juries, ever. The marvel: that such juries still bumble their way to the right decision as often as they do…and one did in the George Zimmerman trial.

The last is hardly a consolation for having to listen to Juror B29, who dares to show her face on national TV, presumably because she is Puerto Rican and not one of the inherently and presumably racist white jurors, and because she has set out to confirm the misguided convictions of those ignorant about the case but determined to be angry about it anyway. “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” she says. “But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence.”

Shut up.

  • Juries aren’t supposed to “feel” criminal defendants are guilty until the evidence shows they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • She has no idea what other jurors “felt in their hearts.”
  • Let go of your heart, B29, and spare us the self-glorification.

A nursing assistant and mother of eight children, the woman, calling herself “Maddy,” will be heard to say that she believes she owes Trayvon Martin’s parents an apology because she feels “like I let them down.”

Shut up.

  • A jury’s duty is not to the victim, or the victim’s parents. A jury’s duty is to the justice system.
  • The point of view of the parents of the victim in any crime is the most biased and irrelevant to a jury’s decision.
  • Stop sucking up, B29 What are you going to apologize for? Not sending a man to prison without evidence?

She says that the case shouldn’t have gone to trial and that it was ”a publicity stunt.”

Shut up.

  • It never should have gone to trial, but Zimmerman was guilty of murder and she wanted to convict him? That does not compute. B29 is hell bent on obliterating any credibility or respect a critic…or adherent…of the verdict could have had, in order to grab her moment in the spotlight.
  • Whatever the trial was, it was not a publicity stunt. But if Juror B29 really believed it was a publicity stunt, she should have been insisting on an acquittal from Day 1. But no…
  • ..because she says “I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury.” You know, The dumb one. The one who felt a defendant brought to trial in a publicity stunt and a case that shouldn’t have gone to trial should be found guilty anyway.

She goes on to say, we are told, that

“It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain.”

Oh, for the love of God, please shut up!

  • She was not “forcibly included in Trayvon Martin’s death,” whatever that is supposed to mean.
  • The more she talks, the more convinced rational people will be that juries should be entrusted to robots, computers, psychics, or maybe really smart household pets, because this is whiny, cowardly gibberish, and a disgrace.
  • Juror B29 is undermining the integrity of the verdict.

For a juror to do that is despicable, unless he or she is alleging jury tampering or other irregularities. It is every juror’s job to accept responsibility for a verdict, and not to try to game public opinion in an unpopular verdict by saying that she didn’t really believe in the final decision. Saying, as Juror B29 reportedly does (you can tell me about it, because I would rather gnaw my foot off than  give ABC a second of commercial viewing time for airing this offal), that Zimmerman “got away with murder”is ludicrous, and can only mean that 1) she doesn’t know what murder is, 2) she is pandering to the anti-Zimmerman fanatics, or 3) she didn’t vote according to the evidence as she saw it. If there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman was a murderer, by definition  he didn’t “get away with murder,” because he didn’t commit murder under the law, and “murder” is a legal definition.

Despite the media jackals barking at their heels, responsible jurors should not speak about a case, the deliberations or the verdict. Irresponsible, blathering fool jurors like B29 shouldn’t either, and news shows shouldn’t seek to nauseate America and undermine the justice system by giving them a forum. Shame on ABC, which also, on its website, again called Zimmerman “a white Hispanic,” the term invented solely for the race-baiting to skirt the inconvenient fact of Zimmerman’s  multi-racial heritage. “Maddy,” however is just an uncolored Puerto Rican.

And the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck keeps rolling on…


Sources: ABC News, Washington Post

Graphic: ABC News

More Evidence That Nobody Gives A Damn

If you can’t rely on quality control and professionalism at a major league baseball park, then the end is nigh.

At San Francisco’s AT&T Park Wednesday night, the batter’s box was apparently drawn by a drunk groundskeeper, and looked like this….

Bad field


…when it’s supposed to look like this, which is to say, with straight lines:

Batters box


Nobody noticed…not the players, not the umpires, not the managers. Oh, the broadcasters mentioned it, but even though the chalk did not meet the regulation requirements, no effort was made to put it right. On The Blaze, which picked up the story from Yahoo Sports, the baseball-dense commenters’ general response was “Who cares?”  Yeah, keep that attitude up, bozos, it’s probably how you do your job too.

Fans pay from $45 to $100 bucks a ticket for games at big league baseball stadiums, and the clubs rake in many millions of dollars. A batter’s box like that is the equivalent of a new Lexus with a rattle, a 5-star restaurant that never can serve a souffle before it falls, a public school teacher who says “ain’t,” nurses who don’t wash their hands and a Congress that can’t pass a budget. It’s unprofessional. It’s an insult to the consumers. It demonstrates incompetence, laziness, poor training and bad management. And if we tolerate it, the attitude will spread and get worse.

Yes, it’s “only” the chalk lines of a batter’s box. But that’s not the way they are supposed to be, and “professional” is supposed to mean that the way things are supposed to be is the way they will be.

Does anyone in this country know that any more?


Sources: The Blaze, Yahoo!


Monica Lewinsky Turns 40: The Ethics Train Wreck That Never Stopped

Monica in March

Monica in March

The fiasco of Anthony Weiner’s political “comeback,’ including his wife’s sad Hillary imitation, has naturally conjured up the vile memories of the Lewinsky scandal, and, in turn, Monica herself. Time magazine has a post noting her 40th birthday, and as she does not do interviews, provides a timeline regarding her progress, if you can call it that, since Bill weaseled out of the political coffin of his own making.

Monica’s life reads like a cautionary fable about the perils of allowing oneself to be exploited by a powerful man. She is an expatriot, living in England because her name is a joke in the U.S. She has no husband, children or serious romantic relationship. Unable to find a stable career where her reputation and notoriety isn’t a handicap, she has sunk to repeatedly trying to cash in on her unfortunate celebrity, with a personal handbag line, a documentary, as a host of reality TV show about romantic affairs, and as a Jenny Craig spokesperson, who was dumped because local chains refused to run her ads. Now, desperate for cash, she is said to be shopping a tell-all book about the seamier details of her White House affair.

In short, her life is crap, and Bill Clinton is the reason why. While he is lionized as an elder statesman as if he didn’t disgrace the presidency and permanently lower American expectations of the office, a young, smart, attractive woman who had every reason to expect a bright future at the age of 22, is lost because a powerful man, for selfish reasons, recklessly placed her at risk of being scorched by the fiery heat of  politics and history. Scorched she was, and she has never recovered. Continue reading

Taken Down As A Likely Hoax: “Speaking Of Dishonesty, Demonization, And Being Warped By Rigid Ideology, Here’s Sandra Fluke!”

I am taking down the post regarding the alleged insane statements of Sandra Fluke regarding the GOP’s culpability for Anthony Weiner’s sexting.  I am persuaded that it is a web hoax. Though it was sent to me as true, with a reference to “Best of the Web,” a reliable source, I have traced the item back to a blogger who tagged his post “satire” and “humor.”

This is why I detest web hoaxes.

While the claims attributed to Ms. Fluke were absurd and extreme, they were not especially funny, or  so removed from other positions she has advocated that the hyperbole here would be obvious, at least to me.


  • Gratitude and kudos to Arthur in Maine, who refocused my attention on the post.
  • Apologies and regrets to Ethics Alarms readers. I do check sources, but this time I didn’t check well enough.
  • I apologize to my fellow GULC alum, Ms. Fluke, for believing her capable of such idiocy.
  • I apologize to Emily’s List.
  • I apologize to James Taranto, to whom I originally and erroneously credited for the pointer.
  • I do not apologize to Rush Limbaugh or the GOP. My comments regarding them in relation to Sandra Fluke stand.