Ethics Dunces, “What The Hell Is The Matter With You People?” Division: Everybody* On United’s Chicago-D.C. Flight Except Tahera Ahmad

taheraAhmad

Feared soda can hijacker Tahera Ahmad

I don’t understand how this episode could happen as it has been described. I am assuming for the purpose of the post that it did, and thus have almost nothing to add to the story other than to ask “What the hell is the matter with these people?”

Tahera Ahmad, an associate chaplain and director of interfaith engagement at Northwestern, described the alleged incident on Facebook while she was on the United flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Friday night.She wrote that she was in tears following an ugly episode that began with her request for a Diet Coke when the beverage service reached her row. The flight attendant had given her an opened can of Diet Coke. When Ahmad requested an unopened can, the flight attendant told her, “Well, I’m sorry. I just can’t give you an unopened can, so no Diet Coke for you.”

Then the same flight attendant gave another passenger an unopened can of beer. Ahmad said she asked why the man was given an unopened beverage can, but she was forbidden from having one. The flight attendant, according to Ahmad, replied, “We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people, because they may use it as a weapon on the plane.”

Ahmad told the flight attendant she felt she was being discriminated against, and the flight attendant quickly grabbed the man’s beer can, opened it and said, “It’s so you don’t use it as a weapon.”  When Ahmad asked for support from other passengers,  a man sitting in an aisle across from her said, “You Muslim, you need to shut the fuck up,” Ahmad said.

“What?” a shocked Ahmad said. The passenger looked her in the face and said, “Yes you know you would use it as a weapon, so shut the fuck up.” “Some people just shook their heads in dismay,” Ahmad wrote on Facebook. But nobody rose to her defense.

After the flight, the attendant and the pilot apologized to her, and  United issued a lame mea culpa. It doesn’t matter. Everybody on the plane except for Tahera Ahmad should hang their heads in shame.

What the hell is United (or whoever made the “unopened can” policy, if there really is such a deranged policy) thinking? A can of soda is a weapon? There must be hundreds of things in carry-on luggage that would make a more plausible weapon than a soda can. Like pens. Like laptops. Like powercords. Like dop kits. Like electric razors.

Like fists and feet. Ridiculous.

Gee, I always thought they opened those cans to be nice…

What the hell was the flight attendant thinking? Making that excuse to Ahmad, and then handing a male passenger an unopened can right in front of  her? What an obvious insult! Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Officials Of The Month: The Connecticut State Senate

The Connecticut Senate this week approved a probably unconstitutional bill requiring all Connecticut colleges and universities to adopt the “yes, means yes” policy when it comes to sexual consent, similar to California’s cypto-fascist law. The bill dictates a completely unenforceable standard for sexual consent It was bi-partisan fascism, and passed 34-1. Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, was the lone vote against it.

According to the bill’s champion, Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly,  it is “is redefining the definition of consent.” She explains that under the law, college students would be required to “say yes” or indicate nonverbally through “physical cues” that they are willing to have sex with another college student. And what “physical cues” would qualify? How about eye contact, and the kind of communications that we celebrate in the arts and literature? What about the “look of love” that Dusty Springfield sang about? Enough, Mae? How would schools enforce such a law? Cameras in every room? A panel of “physical cues” experts, watching every possible sexual encounter? Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Law Professor Orin Kerr

“If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy. Yikes.”

Prof. Orin Kerr on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Hatert as coachI thought more highly of Prof. Kerr, who belongs to the left end of the group of provocative libertarian legal scholars who make up the commentariat on the erudite blog, recently annexed by the Washington Post, than to believe him capable of abusing his authority with this kind of hackery. He is endorsing  the deceitful “logic” of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Well no, Professor, I guess you don’t understand history properly, or government, or ethics for that matter. Clinton was not impeached for lying about a sexual affair, though that was the tactical spin placed on the impeachment by Clinton’s defenders.

Bill Clinton  was impeached for lying about a sexual affair under oath, before a judge, in court, an act that would get you, as well as any other lawyer, disbarred. If you don’t obey the law enough to be a lawyer, you don’t respect the law enough to be trusted to defend the laws of the land as President of the United States. He was also impeached for lying to a grand jury, another crime, and using his high office, his appointees and his staff to cover up his lies, which is obstruction of justice.

He was also impeached because he was President of the United States, the role model and exemplar for good citizenship, lawfulness and good behavior for the entire nation, and because the relationship in question occurred during his tenure in office, during the working day, and  with a low-level employee in violation of the principles under lying the sexual harassment law he had signed into law himself.

None of this was true of Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, and Dennis Hastert, the three GOP Speakers Kerr is referring to. Continue reading

Creative Cruelty To Animals: Thomas Neil Rodriguez And The Dog’s “Bucket List”

Like all dogs, Poh has several amusement parks on his bucket list...

Like all dogs, Poh has several amusement parks on his bucket list…

I don’t know about you, but this story ticks me off.

Thomas Neil Rodriguez’s got a terminal diagnosis of his 15-year-old  dog Poh when he had his pet examined by the vet.. His response was to embark with Poh on a 12,000 mile automobile odyssey to 35 cities, taking seven weeks, which he described to ABC News as  fulfilling “their” bucket list.  “It was a great trip,” Rodriguez told ABC.  “I got to spend seven weeks with Poh. At first, I did not think he’d make it two weeks, but he did.”

Dogs don’t have bucket lists. They are always happy to be with their loved ones, but traveling is stressful, and what an old dog, a dying dog, or any dog wants most is rest, love, familiar routines and surroundings. If Rodriguez had no choice but to travel, taking poor Poh along was arguably kinder than leaving him in a kennel or with a stranger (or putting him down), but to proudly proclaim that this journey was in any way for the dog’s pleasure is outrageous. Rodriguez is irresponsible, and celebrating it. Po was made to suffer for his master’s enjoyment and convenience, and the rest is nothing but spin, or perhaps a guilty fantasy.

( Best comment on Althouse’s blog: “Same reason a man would buy his wife a power tool set for her birthday. He wants it.” Right. Except that buying her the power tools isn’t as likely to kill her.)

_______________

Spark and Pointer: Ann Althouse

Source: ABC

Victims, Victimizers, and Hypocrites: The Dennis Hastert Affair

12-20-98 Copy photo from 1976 Yorkville Yearbook which shows Dennis Hastert who coached the 1976 state champion wrestling team...

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the longest serving GOP Speaker in history, has been indicted for lying to the FBI and elaborately evading reporting requirements on large cash withdrawals for  payments he allegedly made to a male former student whom Hastert sexually abused while he was a high school wrestling coach over 30 years ago. If you want to read what is known about the unfolding Washington scandal s far, as well as partisan attempts at spin, you can try Politico, The Week, Talking Points Memo, OpenSecrets.orgWashington Post, Bloomberg Business, The National Memo, NBC News, Washington Monthly, Outside the Beltway, The Hill, Daily Mail, Patterico’s Pontifications and The Daily Kos.

Ethics observations:

1. This is a personal and professional tragedy, no matter what else may be true. Hastert has a family, and once had a career and a relatively solid reputation. The family is still there, though wounded; the rest is gone, presumably forever.

2. Assuming that what is coming out as the reason Hastert was paying millions in hush money is in fact true, he abused his position of trust as a teacher and committed a heinous crime. Nothing that he did subsequently as a public servant, or endured as a consequence of his actions, mitigates the seriousness of that misconduct. Continue reading

A Naked Teacher Principle Application That Nobody Will Disagree With! At Least I Hope Not…

...especially with her new boobs....

…especially with her new boobs….

Amazingly, this is the first bona fide sighting this year of the Naked Teacher Principle, an Ethics Alarms standard, and it is, as Hazel used to say, “a doozy.” (Yes, I will continue to try to educate younger readers in the finer points of Sixties pop culture no matter how obscure the reference is. Look up Ted Key, Shirley Booth, Don DeFore, and The Saturday Evening Post, my children…)

Since it has been so long, here is the NTP:

The Naked Teacher Principle: The Principle states that a secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result. The original formulation of the NTP can be found here. It has had many tweaks and variations since, which can be found here.

Now hold on to your hats, public school fans. Here is the recent story that it governs: Continue reading

A Niggardly Principle Quiz: The Politically Incorrect Statue

Jesuit-Missionary-Pierre-Jean-De-Smet-slu

A  statue in the middle of the campus of Saint Louis University, a private Jesuit institution, depicted famous Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. praying over two Native Americans dressed in traditional clothing. There had been increasingly intense demands from some faculty and student activists to remove the statue. Summarizing the objections, a student editorial recently argued that the statue sent an unacceptable message to Native Americans and others that

“You do not belong here if you do not submit to our culture and our religion…The statue of De Smet depicts a history of colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy.”

[ The editorial also said that “As the protests surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner have shown us, just because racist policies are off the books doesn’t mean that racism is no longer practiced.” I am trying not to allow that fatuous, counter-factual and ignorant statement cause me to regard the writer and his piece as unworthy of serious consideration.]

Naturally, as is almost always the case, the spineless, path-of-least-resistance driven administrators at the university capitulated, and moved the statue into some museum.  Note that this is a Jesuit university, and teaching is one of the primary things that the Jesuit order does.

De Smet was a remarkable individual who, far from imposing his beliefs on Native Americans, began his obsession with starting far West missions for the native tribes in the U.S. after the Salish and the neighboring Nez Perce sent four delegations to St. Louis, where he was stationed, to find a “black robe” to live among them. Continue reading

The Progressive Corruption Of And Betrayal By The Democratic Party, PART II: Hillary Denial

dead donkey

It is not even June of 2015; the 2016 election is almost a year and a half away. Yet already there is so much smoke—but no smoking guns! Well, no new ones, anyway—around Hillary Clinton’s conduct, finances and character that it would have any major city’s fire department speeding to the source in panic. Her conduct as First Lady placed political expediency above common decency; her financial machinations were never fully unraveled but had the smell of a scam. She became Senator via nepotism rather than merit; she was made Secretary of State in a political deal. In that role, she engineered the fiasco in Libya, a “re-set” with Russia that backfired, and generally left fingerprints all over Obama’s epically failed foreign policy, including the disastrous withdrawal from Iraq.

The nation learned that she violated both her own agency’s policies and national security protocols to control her e-mails, then dumped 30,000 of them before they could be independently examined and subpoenaed by Congress. Her explanations for this ranged from ridiculous to untrue. She violated her deal with both Congress and the Obama Administration regarding accepting contributions to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments, and attempted to use a Canadian affiliate to cover up some of them. Objective observers regard the Foundation as a huge Clinton Family advancement slush fund and a likely influence-peddling, quid pro quo device, though an uncommonly clever one. The Foundation itself has failed to meet non-profit best practices, and is regarded with suspicion in the non-profit sector by those who monitor charities. Meanwhile, the outrageous speaking fees raked in by both Clintons appear to be naked greed at best—taking scarce money, for example, for speaking to colleges in financial distress—and thinly veiled, plausibly deniable bribery at worst.

Every week–day?— brings more. Yesterday, we learned that shady Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, whom the Obama Administration refused to allow Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hire because, well, he is shady, was paid $10,000 a month by the Clinton Foundation to advise her informally on Libya. Foul. The Clinton Foundation is a non-profit charity and operating foundation that supposedly…

“convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change”

…not one that “collects tax-deductible contributions under false pretenses so cronies of the Clintons can be paid stipends for work that has nothing to do with the Foundation’s mission.” Continue reading

Anyone Who Tries To Use A 43 Year Old Essay To Smear Bernie Sanders Is An Unethical Jerk, And You Can Tell Them I Said So

Come to think of it, Gene's poetry was as bad as Bernie's porn,

Come to think of it, Gene’s poetry was as bad as Bernie’s porn,

It is all Richard Nixon-style smearing… designed for mouth-breathing audiences, bottom-of-the-barrel, unfair, irrelevant, democracy-polluting garbage that has no more of a legitimate place in campaigns than surreptitiously commandeered laptop camera photographs of the candidates naked. To say such miserable archeological dirt-digging violates the Golden Rule is giving it too much prestige; it violates the Brass Rule, the Tin Rule, and the Cheap Styrofoam Rule. It is the kind of revelation that thrills the jerks who applauded smut-merchant Larry Flynt when he offered a bounty for proof of adulterous affairs in the distant pasts of Republican members of Congress, to support the Lanny Davis “Everybody does it” defense of Bill Clinton’s Monica cover-up.

Mitt Romney was a bully in prep school, George Allen used the word “nigger” when he was a teenager, Jim Webb had sexy passages in his novels, Hillary Clinton’s honors thesis praised Saul Alinsky, Bill Clinton maneuvered to avoid serving in Vietnam, Rick Perry used to go hunting at a lodge rented by his father that was once called “Niggerhead” and a rock with the name on it was still visible even though it was painted over…yes, the Washington Post even gave a front page story to that last one. Ugh, yuck, pooie, gag, ichhhhhhh, ew.

So now we have learned that Bernie Sanders, who is 74 years old, wrote an essay about rape fantasies in 1972, when he was 31 years old. Just as he’s too old (realistically)  to be elected President now, he was too young to be elected President then. There’s a reason for that: the Founders believed that a man isn’t mature or experienced enough to be trusted with the job until he is at least 35. The most relevant aspect of Senator Sanders’ creative writing experiment might be that it suggests that Jimmy Madison and the gang were, as usual, right. Otherwise, so what? 43 years ago, I mistreated a wonderful, sweet girl I was dating, and I’m sure she hates me to this day. If my son behaved like I did, I’d ream him out. But that distant incident no more represents who I am today than my exploits on my high school tennis team. Sanders’ essay was written so long ago, it is far beyond the statute of limitations for prosecuting actual rape…you know, like what Hillary Clinton’s husband probably did to Juanita Broderick in Arkansas (Statute of Limitations: 6 years). Continue reading

Ethics Hero Sighting At The 7-11

7 eleven

They are out there—just good, kind, ethical people who quietly do what they can to make society a little better whenever they can.

I was just at a 7-11 in Alexandria, Virginia. I was sitting in the car, waiting for Grace to pick up some things, along with Rugby, who loves sticking his head out the window and flirting with people going in and out of the store. He’s shameless and adorable, and almost every time we go there one or more shoppers will come over to the car, pat him and talk with him…and sometimes even me.

As I waited, I noticed a grim, middle-aged African American man standing quietly to the side of the store front, apparently asking people for spare change as they left the 7-11. He wasn’t having much luck. Then an SUV pulled up by my car, and a jolly, pudgy, smiley guy with curly gray hair and wearing  baggy shorts, with a loud, boisterous manner, got out. He immediately greeted Rugby, asking his name, scratching him behind the ears. “Does he have water?” he asked. I explained that we were just minutes from home. “Bye, Rugby!” he shouted, and started to enter the store.

I saw him stop as he opened the door and eye the other man. “Hi, brother!” he said loudly. “How are you doing?”

“Not too good,” was the soft reply.

“Really? Hey, come on in,” the curly haired man beckoned. The sad-looking black man followed him into the store. Grace returned, but I lingered in the parking space a bit. Sure enough, the man who had been asking for change emerged a few minutes later carrying a plastic bag that held a hot dog, a bottle of coke and some other items.

And he didn’t look quite so grim.

Nice.

In fact, perfect.

They are out there, all right.

There is hope.