1. Traffic here is cratering in the run-up to the 4th, guaranteeing that for one of the few months in Ethics Alarms history, June 2017 will have seen significantly less traffic than its previous year’s equivalent. 2017 and 2016 are now in a dead heat.
I have some theories: by this point last year the campaign was heating up, and I was being sufficiently critical of both parties and candidates to make everyone happy. Ethics Alarms also started getting a lot of those paid Hillary shills commenting; I banned more commenters in 2016 by far than any other year. Also because of the campaign, there were an unusual number of posts shared by hundreds and even thousands of readers, as well as a record number of the anomalous posts that double or even triple the daily average. Those, I have found, are completely unpredictable. What I consider important or especially astute essays almost never attract readership; the runaway posts are usually about something relatively trivial.
On the other hand, the blog has many more followers in 2017, more consistently high-quality comments, and, as my life partner continues to remind me with dagger glances, revenue is holding steady…
2. There was another Ethics Hero tale to tell yesterday, though the only one I had time for was the group in Texas that bought a car for a young fast-food worker.
Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane, assigned to a Pittsburgh Pirate home series, was walking from his hotel to the ball park across the Roberto Clemente Bridge when he saw woman climb over the railing to the outside of the bridge. He decided to approach her, and in response to his queries, she told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below.
The look on her face and the tone of her voice told Tumpane otherwise, so he grabbed her and refused to obey her demands that she let her go…and jump. Another bystander saw what was going on and joined him, grabbing the woman’s free arm. A third grabbed her legs through the railing as Tumpane implored the gathering crowd to call 911. The three men held on until emergency responders arrived.
“Once they were able to secure her, we were able to talk her back to help us out and we got her back on this side,” Tumpane told reporters. “After that I went up to her, she said, ‘You’ll just forget me after this’ and I said, ‘No, I’ll never forget you.’ This was an unbelievable day and I’m glad to say she can have another day with us and I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time….This isn’t about me. I appreciate this opportunity, but this is just for her, and people care about her, and I’m just glad that this is a positive story and not a sad story today. I just happened to be there. I think I’ve been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out.”
Stories like this make me think about chaos. If Tumpane had taken a phone call or stopped to chat with someone on the way to the park and been a few minutes later on his route—or if cameras and computers had already replaced baseball umpires as I fervently hope they will— the woman would be dead, and her son who grows up to save the world from Skynet would never be born….
3. Ethics Scout Fred just registered this: After the same Ohio addict had to be revived by Nalaxone 20 separate times by police after overdosing, a politician in Middletown, Ohio suggested that law enforcement stop responding to opioid overdoses because it was too expensive, setting off the debate about the duty to rescue, and focusing on the duty to of society to rescue and pay for useless, drug-addled jack-asses who have rendered themselves a burden on everyone else. Or in the terms of #2 above, when do you let the woman jump?
Middletown City Council member Dan Picard, living up to the worst stereotypes about Republicans, said that the man “obviously doesn’t care much about his life, but he’s expending a lot of resources, and we can’t afford it,” as he noted that the town would spend at least $100,000 on Narcan this year after only budgeting $10,000 for 2017.
To create an ethical society, there needs to be sufficient negative reinforcement for those who abuse the community and harm everyone else by using a disproportionate amount of the community’s resources while not contributing anything approaching a fair share of those resources. At some point, and 20 overdose rescues is over the line whatever that reasonable point is, part of that negative reinforcement has to include being charged by the city.
Another indispensable component part is shame.
4. The various misconduct by other teachers and professors got in the way of my posting on this jaw-dropping story: At California’s Vista Murrieta High School, the company that handled the student elections (wait: schools need to have outside companies handle elections now?) discovered that fraudulent votes determined the winners of the races for the 2019 class president, 2019 secretary and 2018 class president.
Said the school’s principal while announcing that the actual winners would now replace the students installed by voting fraud, “This is a very unfortunate and disappointing situation, and I regret the impact it has had on the students involved and the student body as a whole.”
Are the Russians fixing high school elections now? No, the truth is even worse. A teacher, Denise Marie Peterson, fixed the election while serving as associated student body adviser. She apparently messed with the vote totals to make sure that more liberal candidates were elected, at least in the case of one race involving a member of a group of conservative male students who had run in a previous school election.
The Murrieta Valley Unified School District spokeswoman said that Peterson resigned her advisor role but remains employed as a teacher, saying, “Obviously, it was a serious lapse in judgment, and the school is committed to righting the wrong,”
Let me repeat that: Peterson resigned her advisor role but remains employed as a teacher.
After all, she was doing the right thing to undermine a conservative’s effort to gain power, she just got caught, that’s all. She needs to confine her efforts to indoctrination, like the rest of the teachers in Southern California.
5. A long-time friend, a retired Washington journalist of some note and a reflex progressive on all matters , opined on Facebook that he believed health care was a right, attracting the predictable Facebook echo chamber seal barking and clapping in the form of “likes.” Asked (by me, of course) to square that position with any rational definition of right, my friend posted an op-ed evoking Jesus. Jesus represents the ultimate appeal to authority, and a cop-out extraordinaire. It’s great and inspiring to espouse pure values, but if the policies that flow from expressing those values are unworkable, unaffordable, and have failed repeatedly, attention must be paid. Jesus never had to balance a budget or run a business, and frankly, his views on social policy have abstract value only, and limited practical relevance. How things should be and how things can be are often very different, and while it is fine to dream, important to aspire and essential to always strive to do better, policies divorced from financial and practical realities are not ethical. They are irresponsible.