Monthly Archives: August 2016

Ethics Hero: 11-Year-Old Singer Capri Everitt

Capri Everitt is an 11-year-old girl with a big voice. She set a Guinness World Record earlier this month when she sang the National Anthem before a Washington Nationals baseball game . For nearly a year, you see, Capri and her family have traveled around the world to 80 countries so she could sing 80 different anthems in 41 different languages.Washington D.C. was the final stop for Capri,  in a tour that required her  to learn  a lot of songs and master the pronunciation of many foreign tongues.

“And a lot of the time, I got people that are native to the country to help me with the national anthem – to help me learn it and pronounce it right, ” Capri says.

Some people use national anthems to divide people. Some, like Capri, would rather use them to bring people together.

Her tour raised money for a charity called SOS Children’s Villages, which provides homes for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children in 134 countries.

“There is so much bad news on television and in newspapers that we thought, ‘How can we create a good story? How can we do something with our daughter because she loves to sing,’”  Tom Everitt, Capri’s father. has told journalists. “But we wanted to be something that would be really, really positive, so we got her to practice some national anthems.”

Capri’s anthem tour is documented on the family’s  website AroundTheWorldIn80Anthems.com.

Sing, Capri!  Colin Kaepernick can sit it out if he wants.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Family

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R)

lePage

Those who want a glimpse into what a Donald Trump presidency would be like need look no farther than the perpetual self-created mess that is the tenure of Republican Paul LePage as governer of Maine. The New York Times recently provided a handy summary of his more recent embarrassments and attacks of absurd incivility and unprofessional behavior:

2016

April

Mr. LePage apologized after storming offstage and calling protesting students “idiots” during a public appearance.

March

Mr. LePage displayed “Wanted”-style posters aimed at environmentalist and union groups during a town meeting, saying those groups were holding the state back.

February

Mr. LePage said asylum-seekers brought disease and the “ziki-fly.” When asked to apologize at an event in June, Mr. LePage did not, and said conditions like hepatitis C and H.I.V. were on the rise in Maine. Mr. LePage also drew criticism that month for appearing to mock a Chinese businessman’s name.

That month, Mr. LePage also delivered his State of the State address in the form of a letter, breaking the tradition of giving a speech to lawmakers. He said it would be “silliness” to address lawmakers who had tried to impeach him.

January

Mr. LePage apologized for a “slip-up” after saying drug-dealers would come from out of state and “impregnate a young white girl” before leaving. The drug dealers, he said, in a comment that was widely perceived as racially charged, “are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these types of guys.”

2015

July

Mr. LePage apologized to the son of a cartoonist for The Bangor Daily News because he had told the son he would “like to shoot” his father. That comment drew criticism, with some noting its added insensitivity given the attack at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris earlier that year, although the son said he was not offended.

June

A charter school in Maine said Mr. LePage had threatened to take away its funding if it did not rescind a job offer to the House speaker, Mark Eves, a Democrat.

“The full power of the state was used to put a father of three out of a job because he was a lawmaker who disagrees with the governor on policy,” the editorial board of The Press Herald wrote.

Some Democrats called for impeachment, but an effort to investigate Mr. LePage — which would have been a precursor to impeachment in January 2016 — did not muster enough support for a vote.

May

Mr. LePage vowed to veto all Democratic-sponsored bills until the party accepted his effort to eliminate the state’s income tax. The question of whether Mr. LePage had vetoed 65 bills within the proper time frame ended up in the State Supreme Court, which found that the bills could stand as law.

2013

August

Two lawmakers, who remained anonymous, said they had heard Mr. LePage say at a fund-raiser that President Obama “hates white people.”

June Mr. LePage made a graphically lewd statement about Troy Jackson, a Democrat who was the assistant Senate majority leader at the time. He added that Mr. Jackson was a “bad person” with “no brains” and a “black heart.”

2012

July

Mr. LePage compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo in a radio address. Asked about the comment in a follow-up interview several days later, he said: “What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the I.R.S. is not quite as bad — yet.”

2011

January

Mr. LePage said leaders from the N.A.A.C.P. who had questioned his decision not to attend Martin Luther King’s Birthday events could “kiss my butt.”

2010

September

During his campaign for governor, Mr. LePage told a group of fishermen that he would tell Mr. Obama to “go to hell.”

People like LePage and Trump don’t improve over time, because they don’t learn. If they did, they would not still behave like this at such advanced ages. Thus Governor LePage recently shattered his own record for outrageous conduct, whatever it was, beginning last week.  LePage told a town hall meeting addressing the current heroin-use epidemic in Maine that most drug dealers in the state were black or Hispanic, and that he had a binder to prove it. Continue reading

38 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Race

Monday Ethics Revelations…

Taking stock of ethics from a long and eventful Monday…

1. As of yesterday, Ethics Alarms is about to complete its most successful month ever in terms of traffic and new followers, beating last August by almost 2000 visitors a day. Thanks to everyone who participated. Thanks especially to the untrustworthy folks at Snopes, whose partisan manipulations and the Ethics Alarms exposure of them fueled the single most read Ethics Alarms post in any month, unseating the previous champion, this, which was a trivial post that the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, deemed the only Ethics Alarms story worth linking to.

2. Yesterday, I was a guest at a large and combative gathering of personal injury lawyers to work out a dispute involving lots of money, and when the time came for me to speak, I was hooted down and had it made quite clear to me that the majority of participants had no interest in legal ethics whatsoever.

3. They  made it clear that they didn’t know much about ethics either. For example, at one point a lawyer threatened to sue another lawyer for representations made on behalf of a client that the first lawyer felt impugned his character. Lawyers are immune from such suits. To the extent that the lawyer was trying to use a bogus threat to intimidate the other lawyer into representing his client with less zeal, that tactic is unethical, but still not forbidden by the legal ethics rules….because lawyers use the threat to sue all the time.

Just like Donald Trump. Continue reading

67 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Pundit Malpractice: NBC Sports Defends Colin Kaepernick By Misrepresenting Jackie Robinson

What does Jackie Robinson's autobiography have to do with Colin Kaepernick, you ask? Well...nothing at all, really.

What does Jackie Robinson’s autobiography have to do with Colin Kaepernick, you ask? Well…nothing at all, really.

It also represents a rationalization for unethical conduct that is not currently represented on the Ethics Alarms Rationalization List.

Someone sent Craig this quote, from Jackie Robinson’s  autobiography,  as baseball’s color-line breaker thought back to the first game of the 1947 World Series:

“There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

This naturally made Craig, whose mind sometimes cannot help itself from shifting into progressive cant autopilot, think about Colin Kaepernick’s incoherent grandsitting as he refuses to stand on the field with his team for the National Anthem. He wrote,

“Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists…the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.”

Let’s begin with the fact that there is nothing similar about Jackie Robinson and the 49ers quarterback, except their race and the broad occupation of “sports” that they shared. Continue reading

55 Comments

Filed under Character, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Race, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society, Workplace

The Complimentary Room Service Tip Dilemma

I don’t know why these ethics conundrums always attack when I’m on the road, but they do.

Today I am briefly in Atlantic City on business, and last night, just prior to a terrible night’s sleep, I put out one of those door-hangers with a breakfast order on it, to be delivered at 7:30 AM. The room’s pen didn’t work until I wrote over my room number a few times: I thought the 7 in “702” looked a little funky, but it was definitely a seven. Or so I thought: 7:30, then 7:45 rolled around the next morning, and no breakfast.  When I called Room Service, they explained that they thought I had written 4o2, hence no room service.

What? First of all, it didn’t look like a 4. Second, my name was still on the thing: if there was any question about the room, why wouldn’t they check using my name?

After giving Room Service some well-deserved grief, I was told that my order would be up “in a minute.” A minute turned out to be 20 minutes, but a nice young woman eventually arrived with my coffee and pancakes, and told me that management was paying for breakfast.

Hmmm…did this mean she lost her tip? It seemed churlish to ask her, so I said, “Well, they won’t be paying your tip (though for all I know they would), so here…” and I dug into my wallet for a few dollars. But I didn’t have a few dollars. I had a one, a ten, and a bunch of twenties. Giving her a one would look cheap (though it well might have been a tip on top of the one she would get from my order anyway), and a ten was excessive. I gave her the ten.

Now I’m wondering: can I get reimbursed for that? My client is paying for the room, and the comped breakfast actually was a gift to him, not me. The ten dollar tip, though, was entirely discretionary on my part, and I usually don’t ask for travel reimbursements for expenses like that.  So the comped breakfast is going to benefit my server, unjustly enrich my client, and cost me an extra ten bucks.

It doesn’t seem fair, somehow. Well, my server’s smile when I gave her the ten dollar bill was almost worth it.

Almost.

 

41 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Daily Life

Ethics Dunces: National Park Visitors

bison-selfie

The major reasons for the increase in National Park visitors breaking rules by getting too close to the wildlife and disturbing the integrity of the parks in other ways appear to be…selfies, selfies, selfies, and too many morons.

I may be over-simplifying, but not much. From a CBS report:

Record visitor numbers at the nation’s first national park have transformed its annual summer rush into a sometimes dangerous frenzy, with selfie-taking tourists routinely breaking park rules and getting too close to Yellowstone’s storied elk herds, grizzly bears, wolves and bison.

Law enforcement records obtained by The Associated Press suggest such problems are on the rise at the park, offering a stark illustration of the pressures facing some of America’s most treasured lands as the National Park Service marks its 100th anniversary.From Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains to the Grand Canyon of Arizona, major parks are grappling with illegal camping, vandalism, theft of resources, wildlife harassment and other visitor misbehavior, according to the records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Animals, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Science & Technology, The Internet

This Just In From PBS: Ethical Journalism Is STILL Dead, And Unethical Journalism Is Being Funded By Your Tax Dollars

To be fair, this photo should only show about 40% of Jill Stein's face...

(To be fair, this photo should only show about 40% of Jill Stein’s face…)

Last week, PBS featured an interview with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. It began as a live interview on Facebook, but what was broadcast on the PBS’s NewsHour was significantly different from the actual interview. Here. courtesy of Newsbusters, are Stein’s missing comments, in bold:

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS: You’ve made it clear you think both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be terrible presidents for the country. So are you saying that literally that Hillary Clinton is every bit as bad for the country as Donald Trump?

GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JILL STEIN: I wouldn’t say there are no differences, but the differences are not enough to save your job, because Hillary Clinton, you know, and now her transition director Ken Salazar, y’know, they’re big proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is basically NAFTA on steroids. And, uh, most observers believe that it will send our jobs overseas, as well as undermine American sovereignty by bringing in these international tribunals that get to pass judgment on our laws, on our public health protections, on our worker protections.

So we, you know, we can’t count on saving our jobs, saving our lives — 1 in 3 Americans now cannot afford health care under Obamacare — or saving the planet, because Hillary has been a big proponent of fracking, as is Ken Salazar, her transition director.

So we feel that in this election, we’re not just deciding what kind of a world we’re going to have, but whether we’re going to have a world or not going forward, and knowing that the majority of Americans is unhappy with these two party choices, this is the time for us to open up.

Americans have not only a right to vote, but a right to know who we can vote for.

So we’re pushing for opening up the debates, and then let’s see how the chips fall.

WOODRUFF: Dr. Jill Stein, with the Green Party. We thank you.

STEIN: Thank you, Judy.

You can watch the unedited version of Stein’s answer on a PBS livestreamed Facebook clip, beginning after the 6:40 mark. On  the PBS website and on PBS’ YouTube clip, however, all you’ll find is the edited answer. Even if Woodruff says, “You can hear the entire interview at…,” it doesn’t undo the damage. When an interviewer says this, do you assume that the “entire interview” means “the internal sentences and paragraphs we cut out to completely misrepresent what the actual answers were”? I don’t. Why don’t I, by now? Boy, am I an idiot.

Idiot or not, I am still the victim of an ethics foul, and disgustingly so. If the NewsHour has to cut some of the interview for time, fine: cut a question and its answer, don’t distort the answers by cutting out the middle of them, and the parts which just happen to be critical of—SURPRISE!—Hillary Clinton. If PBS does this, it is also ethically obligated to tell viewers that it has cut her answers, and where they can find what she really said. It didn’t do this.

It is absolutely unethical to distort the answer to a question in an interview by redacting it like that, and the fact that the whole interview is available intact on another medium—one could only find Stein’s unedited answers on Facebook if one knew where to look even as one was being deceived on TV—is no defense, and no more of one more than if the unmanipulated interview could be found buried under a rock with a map to it available online.

I apologize for the high dudgeon, but how dare PBS do this? How dare a publicly funded news source so blatantly play Pravda for the party in the White House? Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Facebook, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump