Monthly Archives: August 2013

Comment of the Day: “No, It’s Actually Allison Benedikt Who’s A Bad Person”

Liberal-Conservative

Here is David Shuster’s superb Comment of the Day, which is wise and greatly appreciated, on the post No, It’s Actually Allison Benedikt Who’s A Bad Person.

“Can we please drop/reform the “liberal” and “conservative” labels already? You state that Benedikt is a bad liberal; not quite true, she is utterly illiberal. She argues for state-compelled coercion circumventing individuals’ choice of how to raise their children. Her argument rests on illogical Marxist claptrap that prioritizes “the good of society” ie: the collective, over individual free will. I take back my previous statement, she is not illiberal, she is positively anti-liberal.

“I realize that this is quibbling over semantics, but in this case a rose by any other name really does smell differently. The Left and Democrats in general have self-identified for decades as “liberal”. While this label may have been appropriate 50 years ago, it certainly is not now. The Republicans’ social conservatism is rightly derided as illiberal in that it expects individuals’ sexual preferences to be dictated by the state. However, the Democrats’ claims of being “liberal” are becoming more laughable everyday; so much so that they have essentially become a parody of the classical liberal values they assure the population that they stand for. In fact, it appears as though the only things the Democrats envision people being free to do are the things the social conservatives oppose; in short, the Republicans want the state in your bedroom, the Democrats want the state everywhere else.

“We don’t have a “conservative” party and a “liberal” party, we have two statist parties with no alternative. Take gay marriage. I gave tentative applause for the Obama admin taking an explicit stand in support of it (truth be told, IMO the true “liberal” stand on this issue would be for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether, straight, gay, polygamous, whatever and let freedom of association dictate how people live with one another, but I guess that makes me a radical…). However, look at the illiberal consequences of this stance; wedding vendors with an admitted religious opposition to gay marriage but no prejudice against gays personally being forced by the government to render services against their will to gay weddings (see NM supreme court case). It’s beyond belief and IMO a violation of the 13th amendment; how can that be considered “liberal”? Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Hustle

Diligence. Integrity. Responsibility. Reliability. Trustworthiness

Pete Rose may have been a fool who  gambled on baseball, but he never, ever, failed to run hard to first base.

Pete Rose may have been a fool who gambled on baseball, but he never, ever, failed to run hard to first base.

The Washington Nationals’ blossoming star outfielder Bryce Harper provided a graphic lesson in the importance of these ethical values in the breach of them last night, when his lapse of character on the field contributed to a loss D.C.’s struggling major league baseball team could ill-afford.

The Nats have been one of the baseball season’s greatest disappointments. A team that had the best record of all last season and was widely favored to be a World Series contender, it has barely won more games than it has lost, and is hopelessly trailing the Atlanta Braves for the National League East championship. A wild card berth in this season’s play-offs also looked like a futile hope, until a recent winning streak and a flash of 2012 brilliance allowed fans to dream of a thrilling late-season comeback. It is possible, but time is running out, and every game counts. To have any chance, the Nats have to win games like last night’s against the sub-par Mets.

With the Mets leading 3-2, Washington had mounted a two-out rally, and had runners on first and second base. Harper, the team’s youngest, most exciting and most talented player was up at bat,  but he bounced an easy ground ball to the Mets second baseman. Clearly disgusted with his failure to come though in the clutch, Harper merely jogged to first base. If he had run hard, which was his trademark last season when Harper’s energy and enthusiasm made him an instant fan favorite, he would have reached first base safely, loading the bases, for the fielder unexpectedly booted the ball. But because Harper was loafing, the second baseman had time to recover and throw to first for the out. It was the last chance the Nationals had to tie the score, and they lost a game that the team needed to win. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Leadership, Professions, Sports, Workplace

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dunce: Fox News”

Bradley then, Chelsea now.

Bradley then, Chelsea now.

Responding sharply to a commenter’s expressed criticism of the argument that convicted classified data leaker Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning, sentenced to Federal prison and seeking treatment as a trans-gendered female, ought to have his treatment needs served by prison authorities at public cost, Ethics Alarms’ own expert on such matters (from Australia), provided this fascinating overview of U.S. law and medical ethics on the topic. Here is zoebrain’s Comment of the Day on the recent post flagging Fox News’ juvenile mockery of Manning’s gender issues, Ethics Dunce: Fox News:

“There are two disputes here. The first is whether prisoners have a right to medical treatment, and if so, to what degree.I’ll deal with that first.

“Brown v. Plata 131 S.Ct. 1910 (2011):  “To incarcerate, society takes from prisoners the means to provide for their own needs. Prisoners are dependent on the State for food, clothing, and necessary medical care. A prison’s failure to provide sustenance for inmates “may actually produce physical ‘torture or a lingering death.’ ” ….Just as a prisoner may starve if not fed, he or she may suffer or die if not provided adequate medical care. A prison that deprives prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity and has no place in civilized society.” Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Ethics Dunce: Fox News

Who approved the playing of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady” over photos of convicted Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning in uniform and in feminine make-up and garb? Fire him.

This isn’t professional, and it isn’t the proper role of journalists to mock the gender identity issues of public or private individuals. Fox is playing to the worst of its core conservative audience, the gay- and trans-hating troglodytes, and thus embraces bigotry as reasonable and humorous. Manning’s sexual problems are of tangential news value, and to the extent that they are, they should be treated with sensitivity and respect, with Fox’s goal being to educate its audience, not to play playground tease.

It would be impressive and appropriate if one of the more responsible, independent Fox on-air personalities—Shep Smith? Megyn? O’Reilly?—would chide their network for this. They should be embarrassed.

 

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Professions

No, It’s Actually Allison Benedikt Who’s A Bad Person

Hang in there--the schools will be better in a few generations...

Hang in there–the schools will be better in a few generations…

There may be some persuasive arguments to be made for sending your child to a public school system you don’t trust. The obvious one is that you have no choice, which is true for many Americans. There are also some good reasons to write a “manifesto” called “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person,” the best of which is to cause people to focus on the problem of the failing and unacceptable public school system, and what should be done about it. However, Allison Benedikt, who actually wrote an article with this title and presumably this intent, failed so miserably at making a coherent and persuasive argument of any kind that her provocative title amounts to an unethical assertion itself: if you are going to make a blanket indictment of the character of millions of people, you had better be able to produce an ethical argument or two, or at least demonstrate that you comprehend a little bit about ethics. Allison doesn’t. Based on this piece, I not only wouldn’t trust her (oh, by the way, Allison, the core objective of ethical conduct in your profession—any profession, actually—is trust) to provide advice about how to educate my child, I wouldn’t trust her to walk my dog. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

Ethics Mega-Dunces: The Republicans

"You're right, Abe; they're all rock-heads. I'd like to beat some sense into them with a big stick, but I have no arms."

“You’re right, Abe; they’re all rock-heads. I’d like to beat some sense into them with a big stick, but I have no arms.”

Not a single invited member of the Republican leadership accepted an invitation to attend the official March on Washington anniversary event yesterday.

This is practically all that needs to be said. That fact alone is sufficient to show an appalling lack of leadership, respect, common sense, common purpose, values and priorities within the highest reaches of the party.

Everyone had a “good reason,” of course—Boehner, Canter, McConnell, McCain, Romney, both Bushes,  But the excuses don’t matter. A responsible, intelligent, public minded, fair and  statesmanlike political organization would have made certain that a representative delegation attended, and prominently so. How or why no major Republican figures were present is irrelevant. If the commemoration of the March on Washington, Dr. King’s iconic and transformative speech, and the cultural transformation of America that they helped achieve are as important to the party as they must be--because of the GOP’s origins, because of what it represents, and because, dammit, Republicans are Americans, then attendance was mandatory. They manage to make it to the State of the Union and Presidential inaugurations, because they recognize it as important to do so. They should be able to recognize that showing solidarity with the  Democrats, African-Americans and the public on the core principle of equal rights for all is even more important. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

A Reminder: Why “User Pays” Is Unethical

The View

[Back in 2007, a ridiculous lawsuit spawned an even more ridiculous pronouncement from “The View’s” Rosie O’Donnell, which prompted the following post (originally titled “The Pants, the Judge, and Rosie’s Mouth”)  on this blog’s predecessor,  The Ethics Scoreboard.The two law-related issues that the public has the most difficult time grasping are why lawyers defend guilty people, and this one: the contingent fee system for civil plaintiffs.  While I was pre-occupied the last couple of days by two challenging ethics programs and 10 hours of driving back and forth into West Virginia to deliver one of them, I missed the outbreak of another “loser pays” discussion in one of the comment threads. It’s clearly time to run this one again (I last put it on Ethics Alarms in 2010), with a few tweaks.]

The tale of Roy Pearson, the infamous Washington, DC administrative law judge who is suing his dry cleaner for damages of $65.5 million for a lost pair of pants, would normally warrant scant comment beyond this obvious one: Pierson is a bully, his lawsuit is unreasonable and unethical, and he deserves whatever sanctions the legal system can devise. A Washington Post editorial suggested that the lawsuit, which Pierson says is justified by his inconvenience, court costs, and the mental anguish caused by the loss of his beloved pants, is proof enough of bad character and terrible judgement that he should not be reappointed to another ten-year term.  [ Update: He wasn’t.] That would normally end the issue, freeing me to move on to more important matters, like global warming and American Idol.

And then Rosie O’Donnell opened her big mouth. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society