Monthly Archives: April 2016

Comment of the Day: “Comment of the Day (1): ‘Unethical Quote Of The Week: Chelsea Clinton’”

Hysterics, obviously...

Hysterics, obviously…

The gun-banning deceit is revving up again, so to pace the blog on this topic, which already had been discussed in a recent post and a Comment of the Day on it, I held out this excellent post by lively Ethic Alarms regular Steve-O-in-NJ for a few days.

By deceit, I mean statements like White House spokesman Josh Earnest yesterday regarding so-called “smart gun” technology, on which the White House is preparing a legislative push. He said in part:

“I think what is true is that I couldn’t think of another industry off the top of my head that isn’t interested in looking at new technology that could make their product safer. Just about every other industry that I can think of, that’s what people do. That’s what manufacturers do. That is a source of innovation in a variety of fields. I think the best example of this is in the auto industry. Auto manufacturers actually market the degree to which they use new technology to make their products safer, to make cars and trucks safer. It is surprising to me that so many gun manufacturers shirk that responsibility.”

It is amusing that Earnest—is he the worst of the three professional liars the Obama White House has employed to mislead the press, deny the truth and spin misconduct?—prefaced his remarks by dismissing “wild conspiracy theories” that the new initiative was designed to make guns less accessible, then uttered this whopper. Guns aren’t supposed to be safe, or what anti-gun zealots regard as safe, which would mean that they would have to be made out of foam rubber. They are designed to kill things, including, when necessary, people. Cars are not supposed to kill  anyone: making safe cars is nothing at all like making safe guns.

You know, Josh, I can’t think of any another industry off the top of my head–which is apparently quite a bit more well-furnished than yours–that makes killing tools and machines and does look for technology to make them “safer” by the anti-gun lobby’s definition. Hunting knives? Baseball bats? Have you ever seen a safe hammer? A safe bomb? Safe poison? Of course “smart gun” requirements would make guns less accessible (meeting regulations costs money and adds to purchase price, “smart” features that don’t work right engender lawsuits, guns that are more cumbersome to use are less desirable to people who want guns…) by making them more expensive and difficult to use. And that’s just what the President, Hillary, Chelsae and the rest want.

You’re a liar who treats the press and public as if they were idiots, Josh. Just off the top of my head. Yes, I know: I don’t care that you are just channeling your boss. The line about gun-makers “shirking responsibility” is a transparent effort to grease the skids for product liability lawsuits that would make it impossible to make guns, which is exactly the agenda being pursued here. Gun rights supporters know it, and are derided as conspiracy nuts. Anti-gun advocates also know it, and think it’s just fine.

Here is Steve-O-in-NJ‘s Comment of the Day on the Ethics Alarms post “Comment of the Day (1): ‘Unethical Quote Of The Week: Chelsea Clinton’”: Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: San Antonio District Attorney Nico LaHood, The FUN Prosecutor!

my_cousin_vinny_9

Casual Friday was always a blight on the professional workplace landscape,and, predictably, it has come to this.

There is a cultural battle going on in San Antonio, Texas, where in the 187th District Court, District Judge Steven Hilbig  announced that he would not allow prosecutors in his courtroom if they were dressed like a local version of Joe Pesci’s Vinnie in “My Cousin Vinnie,” garbed in jeans and guayaberas rather than Vinnie’s leather jacket and leather pants. This wouldn’t be a problem for any sane DA’s office, since almost everywhere else no self-respecting (judge-respecting, court-respecting, law-respecting, respect-respecting…) lawyer would dream of appearing in the halls of justice dressed like an Acapulco tourist, or Cousin Vinnie, for that matter. It is a problem in Bexar County, however, because there District Attorney Nico LaHood thinks that local tradition trumps the legitimate needs of the justice system.

It is Fiesta time, you see, in Bexar county, a ten-day celebration that migrated legally from Mexico to parts of Texas, and previous judges foolishly allowed it to be recognized in their courthouses by permitting prosecutors to “dress down.”  The rough, and equally stupid, equivalent farther from the border would be allowing prosecutors to dress like elves during the Christmas shopping season or Minnie Mouse on Halloween.

Judge Hilbig, an adult, finally decided to put a stop to this nonsense by declaring, as did Judge Fred Gwynne, old Herman Munster himself in “My Cousin Vinnie,” that no lawyer was going to make a mockery of justice in his courtroom by setting foot in it dressed unprofessionally.

I love this guy! Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

The Fraudulent Sperm Donor

Sperm Bank

The British cartoon above give me the willies the first time I saw years ago it, and it does still. I tracked it down after reading legal commentary on a nightmarish incident in Canada.

Canadian couple Angela Collins and Elizabeth Hanson chose a sperm donor for their planned child who claimed a 160 IQ, a neuroscience PhD, and a perfect medical history.  After their child was born, they learned the surrogate father’s name though an error by the sperm bank, and discovered that Dad had lied: he never graduated from college, was a convicted felon, and had a history of schizophrenia. His sperm bank profile picture was also a fake; I’m guessing he really looked like the guy in the cartoon.

Other than that, he was fine.
Continue reading

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Ethics Quiz: The University Of Washington Cheerleader Do’s and Don’ts

 

I have to admit that for me, one potential benefit of the viral political correctness malady that makes virtually any communication a potential threat to one’s career, reputation or physical well-being would be the obliteration of the embarrassment known as “cheerleading squads” from athletic events sidelines and the culture forever.

Nevertheless, this episode from earlier this week warrants examination.

The University of Washington cheerleading team posted an infographic on Facebook Monday night, giving out aspiring cheerleader audition tips.  The team said that it created the graphic “in response to a high volume of student questions about cheer and dance team tryouts.” Similar “do’s and don’ts”  had been posted by the squads at Washington State University and Louisiana State University  but this one caused a full social media freakout.

University of Washington cheerleader tryout advert.

“I can’t believe this is real,” exclaimed UW student Jazmine Perez, director of programming for student government. “One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate,” she said. “As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.” Another UW student complained, “I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity — but not too much. Such a message would never go out to men trying out for a sport.”

The graphic was taken down quickly, because university officials deemed that some might find it offensive….a standard that if followed routinely these days would preclude virtually any statement or graphic about anything. I am sure someone is at work on software right now that will devise within seconds a basis for outrage and offense for any form of expression.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz today:

Was this an unethical—as in hurtful, irresponsible, incompetent, insulting or unfair—graphic?

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Environment, Gender and Sex, Quizzes, Race, Social Media, Sports

Indeed He Deserved All Of It, But Denny Hastert’s Sentencing Hearing Was A Legal And Ethical Travesty

Hastert sentencing

“I am deeply ashamed to be standing here,” former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert  told a judge yesterday at his sentencing hearing.  “I know why I am here … I mistreated some of the athletes that I coached.”

Wait…what? That’s not why Hastert was in court at all. He was before a judge for one reason: he violated banking laws and lied to the F.B.I.. The fact that he was a sexual predator and molested members of the wrestling team he coached many years ago is not the reason he was in court. It couldn’t be. The statute of limitations on all of those crimes, horrible crimes all, had expired. Hastert couldn’t be charged, tried or convicted of any of them.

I don’t understand why this hasn’t been the focus of the coverage of Hastert’s ordeal yesterday. Why did the judge think it was appropriate to “angrily” lecture him about his crimes that in the eyes of the law he must be considered innocent of by the legal system, because he cannot be found guilty of these crimes any more?

“‘If Denny Hastert could do it, anyone could do it,'” U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin said. “Nothing is more stunning than to have the words ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence.” Well, that’s very interesting, Judge. If  the late Ted Kennedy had been before you to be sentenced for, say, just a wild hypothetical, a drunk driving charge, would you lecture him about letting Mary Jo Kopechne drown in his car?

I may have missed it, but when O.J. Simpson was sentenced for burglary, I don’t recall the judge asking him to confess to murdering Nicole and Ron…did that happen?

Earlier this month, the judge and prosecutors allowed the trial to become a proxy trial for a crime that wasn’t on the docket, with prosecutors hammering at graphic details about the sex-abuse, describing how Hastert would sit in a recliner in the locker room with a direct view of the showers. The victims, prosecutors said, were boys between 14 and 17. Hastert was in his 20s and 30s. This is relevant to the charges against Hastert how, exactly? Answer: They aren’t. Continue reading

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No, Of Course You Don’t End Friendships Over Support For Donald Trump…

cat and mouse

Donald Trump derangement has induced Slate’s Isaac Chotiner to pen one of the least self-aware and ethically tone deaf pieces within memory. In a post taking issue with New York Times columnist Peter Wehner’s  recent column arguing that political differences should not sever friendships and other  personal relationships, he argued that while Wehner’s principle was usually sound, it should not apply when the source of discourse is Donald Trump. He writes:

“Of course friendships should survive some political differences: I have friends who think differently than I do about everything from proper tax rates to abortion regulations. But having a friend who supports a blatantly (and proudly) bigoted candidate is categorically different. Everyone might have a different line about what issue to take some sort of moral stand on, but Trump has stepped over pretty much all of them.”

If Chotiner wants to choose his friends like that, he is free to do so. This is the attitude that is tearing apart the traditional connective tissue that makes America a unique and productive society, however, and he is promoting it.  It is also the demonization impulse, now being fed by zealots in both political parties and activists in every field, crusade and issue. This is the ultimate slippery slope. Hate your neighbor, if he doesn’t think like you do. Chotiner is embracing partyism, intolerance and, ironically, bigotry, exactly what he says makes Trump supporters unworthy of human companionship. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics

Ethics Dunce: Miami Marlins Manager Don Mattingly

stabbed-in-the-back

When new Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly chose Barry Bonds as his batting coach, it was considered a bold move. Bonds, after all, is simultaneously baseball’s all-time home run champion, holding both the single season and career records, and its biggest cheat, having achieved both records while being secretly, illegally and unethically assisted by steroids. In addition to knowing how to cheat, Bonds undeniably knows how to hit (he was a great hitter before he decided to mutate himself), so this was a chance at redemption for Barry, as well as an opportunity to soften some of the sports media antipathy toward his conduct and character which has so far kept him out of the MLB Hall of Fame.

Asked this week how Barry Bonds was doing as batting coach, Mattingly replied,

“Him getting used to the coaching part of it is a work in progress from a standpoint of the amount of time and the preparation. You see [assistant hitting coach Frankie Menichino] still doing a lot of the prep work. Barry is still getting into the routine of the ugly side of coaching — being here at 1, and studying video, and studying on the plane and you don’t get a chance to watch movies, and things like that. It just depends how good you want to be as a coach. If you want to be a really good coach, you’ve got to do the work.”

Translation: “So far, Barry’s been lazy and isn’t doing his job. His assistant is doing it for him. The job requires a lot of hard, tedious work, and Barry hasn’t shown that he’s willing to do it. At this point, he not a good coach.”

Ethics foul. Mattingly was a fool to hire Bonds, and MLB is wrong to let this sport-wide ethics corrupter set foot in a clubhouse. Bonds is a living, breathing advertisement for the proposition that cheating pays, and should not be trusted not to promote that proposition to young players. Having hired Bonds, however, Mattingly still is obligated to treat him fairly and professionally.

It is not fair and professional to make a negative job review public by communicating it to the news media. Mattingly gave a critique of Bonds’ performance that should have passed from him to Bonds, and only from him to Bonds, in private. Attacking Bonds—and it was an attack, if a passive aggressive one—in the press is unfair, irresponsible, disrespectful, a betrayal of trust, and also cowardly.

Mattingly’s job is called “manager,” and this is atrocious, unethical management. He owes Bonds an apology, and if I were Marlins management, I would be thinking very hard about whether Don Mattingly is qualified for his job.

 

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