Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/3/17

Good Morning!

1. “He was right, dead right, as he sped along, but he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.” This was a refrain (from an actual epitaph) my Dad used to recite to hammer the principle into my head: being right is often not enough. I wonder if Chris Christie ever heard it? The Governor of New Jersey is vacationing with his family at a state beach he closed to the public , along with all state parks, as a result of a budget stand-off with the legislature. Technically and legally, he has every right to do this, since governors of the state have the use of a residence on that beach, and the detail that watches it when the Governor is in residence is not affected  by the government shut-down. Christie, in his trademark blunt manner, has responded to criticism by saying, in essence, “I’m governor and you’re not.” He’s right that he’s not taking a special privilege by using his residence when the beach is closed to the public. He’s right that he has no alternative to closing government services when the legislature doesn’t meet the statutory mandate for approving a budget. It doesn’t matter: he also has a duty to preserve trust in the government and democracy. His vacation in a place that he’s made off-limits to the public, no matter what the justification, has the appearance of impropriety, and more than an appearance of arrogance and a broken ethics alarm.

2. The big story yesterday—I can’t believe I’m writing this—was the President tweeting a silly tricked-out video purporting to show him wrestling CNN. This was, to anyone not determined, due to a near fatal level of confirmation bias and the Trump Hate Brain And Conscience Eating Amoeba, to interpret every word and act by this President as evidence of evil, a joke. Sure, it was also gloating, and trolling, and sophomoric, and unpresidential but the long, long list of talking heads and pundits who solemnly pronounced  this foolishness as “advocating violence against journalists” all revealed themselves as untrustworthy, dishonest, or hysterical. This kind of incompetent reaction is why Trump keeps doing this.

Our broken news media will have to be torn down before it can be restored to the objective and non-partisan institution a healthy democracy has to have to survive. If President Trump’s japery accomplishes this—I would prefer journalism to come to its senses internally, but that clearly is not going to happen—that’s a rich silver lining to the cloud of his Presidency.

3. New York Times op-ed writer Charles Blow refers to the President as “a madman” in today’s paper. (I won’t link to it, because I won’t give Blow any clicks. He’s proven himself to be a racist, a bigot, a hate-merchant, and incapable of objectivity or fair analysis. An ethical paper wouldn’t employ him.) Donald Trump is many regrettable things, but “mad” isn’t one of them. All Blow is doing is trying to prop up the latest effort by “the resistance” wing of Congressional Democrats to undo the election, this time using the 25th Amendment. Since the effort itself is unethical as well as cynical and dishonest (the provision applies to when a President is “unable” to discharge his duties, not “Unwilling to discharge his duties the way the opposing party  would have if it hadn’t blown the election.”), so is Blow.

4. Here’s a multi-lateral ethics botch. Let’s start with the Washington Post click-bait headline: White student made ‘co-valedictorian’ with black student, despite having lower GPA, lawsuit claims. It’s a misleading headline.The story doesn’t support the claim, only that there was a claim made in the lawsuit. Lawsuits are full of unsubstantiated claims: facts are news, claims are rumors. The school claims that that a black student and a white student had identical GPAs, and according to policy, shared the honor. The black student’s mother simultaneously says that she “knows” the white student had a lower GPA, yet the lawsuit seeks verification of what the relative grade point averages are….in other words, she doesn’t know. She also objected to the fact that the her son was asked to march behind his white counterpart. (If it was a single file line, one had to walk behind the other.)

It doesn’t help that this is Mississippi,  that the school had a history of discrimination, and that the young man was the school’s first black valedictorian. The mother appears to be assuming prejudicial treatment without evidence. The school was tone deaf, and should have taken steps to avoid this controversy. The Post is publicizing a story when no story has been shown to exist, unless it’s “Toxic racial distrust after Obama leads mother to assume her son was cheated out of an honor.” The lawsuit was premature, impugns the white student, and may be based on suspicion only.

5. A new PBS poll says that 70% of Americans think that civility has worsened since Donald Trump was elected President.


  • Only 70%????
  • Told ya so…in 2015.

6. I almost forgot: conservative websites and bloggers are complaining because Disney is finally re-working “The Pirates of the Caribbean” ride to get rid of the sex auction and the funny audio-animatronic pirates chasing women, presumably to rape them. I was 14 when I first experienced the original ride, and found these details creepy, though the ride was generally wonderful. Do the critics like rape imagery? Did they find those scenes amusing, and appropriate for kids? This isn’t political correctness now, it was ethics myopia then.

Good for Disney. Why did it take so long?

75 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/3/17

  1. 6. From the liked article

    “At Disney, their specialty is scrubbing everything to be squeaky clean and palatable,” said Rick Rothschild, a ride designer for Disney from 1978 until 2009. “That’s the Disney way.”

    Um… Duh? You’re marketing something for children and want to attract as many guardians to bring their charges to the park as you can.

    • Well, except I tend to focus more on Trump’s idiocy in the WWE video rather than the press’s response. After all, he’s the president.

  2. #2 Trump Pummels CNN.

    I thought the Trump-CNN rumble was sophomoric but ridiculously funny, soundtrack and all. All it needed was a metal chair bashing someone about the head and neck. How anyone could take it seriously as a threat against journalists is beyond me.

    #6 Pirates of the Caribbean.

    Really? There is an amusement park ride with bawdy undertones? From Disney? Whoddathunk?

    As an aside, and absolutely a propos of nothing on this thread, when did Hollywood give up on dialogue and character development in movies? We watched two movies this weekend: “Why Him?” and “The Boss”. They are rated R, but there should have been another rating, maybe “P” for pointless, unimaginative, crash, and lacking of any social, artistic, or visual inspiration. The hero/heroine of each movie exhibited the same traits: “Why Him” centers around a video game developer who can’t articulate a thought without “fuck”, “shit” and/or a combination of the two in each sentence, absurdly linked to absolutely nothing in the film I(such as cursing when stubbing a toe or after being immersed in a urine-filled tank containing a moose). “The Boss”, on the other hand, is fanciful tribute-to-Martha Stewart-ride-along the life of the emotionally abusive Darnell, who wistfully punctuates her business acumen with equal parts ruthlessness and crass commentary.

    And then there is “The Book of Henry”, which we watched last weekend and wished we hadn’t. You see, Henry is an 11 year old super genius, sage-beyond-his-years, who runs his household consisting of his waitress mother (who can somehow afford a beautiful Victorian style house in upstate New York on said waitress wages) and his younger brother (who isn’t quite so intelligent but is equally awesome – well, just because . . .). They go through life’s whimsy travails until it is revealed that Henry has an incurable brain tumor that snuffs out his short life. They are a happy dysfunctional family, with Sarah Silverman as the mom’s best friend who just might have a little drinking problem but she’s cool with it so we are too. Henry tries to protect the girl next door from her sexually abusive step-father but his attempts fail. He then writes (drafts, concocts? with exacting detail, accompanied by a step-by-step narrative recorded on a Walkman) a foolproof plan to dispatch with the cretin, only to be undertaken after he is dead and gone (with the obligatory preface to his red notebook, “If you’re reading this, then I am most likely dead” trope). We are not told why Sarah, when visiting Henry in the hospital, she comforts him with a full-on mouth-to-mouth kiss (I guess a sexually abuse step-father is bad but a voluptuous mom’s best friend replete with a tattoo mouth-kissing an eleven year old boy is just fine and dandy). Disappointing to say the least and certainly not worth $11.00 per person plus tax. Who charges tax on movie tickets?


    • The spoiler-filled reviews of “The Book of Henry” have been my favorite source of humor this week, jvb. I won’t see it, but it sounds like a masterpiece of nonsense.

      • Chris,

        Don’t get me wrong. I love nonsense as much as anybody – “Airplane” is one of my all time favorites, as are the Peter Sellers “Pink Panther” movies. And, “The Trailer Park Boys” are complete nonsense, which is what I expect from them. (I am not sure I understand Mike Myers in as the odd “Gong Show” host, though.) “The Book of Henry” is not about nonsense, though. It just is a series of Hollywood throw-away plot twists to fill up time and wrangle $22.00 out of the unsuspecting public. Awful.

        • Office Space, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura. If you haven’t already, give any of them a shot; you wont regret it.

          Well, you’ll likely regret Ace Ventura, but it’s still funny.

          • I thought “Ace Ventura” was really good. Jim Carey is golden in that movie, even the low-brow parts. “Spaceballs” was stupidly funny (I like when Princess Vespa takes the hair piaces off of her ears and gives them to Barf and we find out they are cinnabons. And Dark Helmet is hilarious. “May the Schwartz be with you!” Only Mel Brooks can pull that off.)


            • Agreed. I have a deep appreciation for really good low-brow humor, as it takes a really intelligent person to unearth genuine original humor from such juvenile material.

    • Johnburger2013: Just out of genuine (non-judgemental, I swear on Leonard Maltin’s latest Movie Guide) curiosity . . . how do you choose your films?

      As far as “Henry”s goes, I recommend checking online first for Variety review of “blankety blank” next time you have $22 bucks to throw away and want to know what you’re getting into. Or if you just need a quick popular vote, Rotten Tomatoes will do it. Ignore local papers, tv, movie blogs, advertising including trailers, and neighbors, though — they don’t have your (best) interests in mind.

      • Pennagain,

        You would be absolutely appalled by my lack of sophisticated movie preview research this time around. I usually have a good idea of what I am getting myself into before I see a movie. As for “Henry”, our son was out of town and we thought we would dine and see a movie – it was a toss-up between “Henry” and the military dog movie (which neither one of us really wanted to see), so we chose “Henry” after briefly reading the synopsis and shrugged our shoulders thinking, “Why not?”

        I had not voice in the others, though. “Why him?” and “The Boss” were a joint decision between my wife and our son. My wife was horrified by both, though there were more chuckles in “The Boss” (especially the fight scene between the Girl Scouts over cookie/brownie selling rights. Peter Dinklage was disturbingly funny, too.)


        • Try ‘Crybaby,’ a Johnny Depp early attempt. Or don’t, because it is a waste of energy, and will haunt your dreams. Oh, Depp is good in the movie, but the trailers intimate that is a plot line… and there is not. Even as a musical, this is bad (and I LIKE musicals, even inane ones)

          It cost me $1 on post to watch this, and I felt cheated. It was go to a movie or clean the bathroom with a toothbrush. I should have stuck with the bathroom: the resultant nightmares would have been more entertaining.

        • johnburger, I take it all back. Talked into taking my 8 year old god-daughter to Frozen. That was okay. But then came the Frozen Sing-Along and since I did that (her parents had refused point blank), it was assumed that I would continue with the older kids . . . one year later, under my belt, swelling with popcorn: Sing-Along Grease, Grease II, Sound of Music (twice, at least I knew the words to that one), Teen Movie, Moana and two or three others. Funny voices are bad enough on-screen; when accompanied by an audience of 300+ amateur vocalists, its enough to make me wish I was losing my hearing faster than I am.
          But THEN,
          Six-year-old twins dragged me to Zootopia against my will and weight, I had to go back again, solo late-nite, just for the Sloth Scene. Even funnier. Luckily I don’t have to spend any more money; found it online:

    • Its funny..I read the part giving away the fact that Henry dies, and Im thinking “Damnit! I didn’t want to know that. This sounds just interesting enough that I might’ve gone to see it!”

      …then I get to parts about Sarah Silverman, and I’m thinking, “nah…I really don’t need to see this. Im good.” She, along with Amy Schumer, are pretty much box office poison, in my eyes.

      • Chris,

        Sorry for spoiling the Henry dies part but the whole movie needs to be spoiled. I googled reviews after I saw it, thinking that I missed some really important message. Man. Some of the reviewers were REALLY harsh. My take away is tame compared to some of them. Sheesh. The movie is disjointed and filled with every Hollywood cliche there is. Not worth it.


          • Oh, yeah. Best are the sites that give full synopses of movies I wouldn’t see at any price. Gad, what am I admitting? NerdSenior here. And proud of it.

  3. 2. The meme is part of a pattern. Trump encouraged violence against protesters during his campaign. One of his aides manhandled a reporter at one of his rallies. He has declared the press the “enemy of the people.” We’ve already seen that the Trump wing of the GOP will continue supporting a politician even when he inflicts actual violence on a reporter.

    Any further violence against journalists will be on Trump’s hands.

    4. Let’s start with the Washington Post click-bait headline: White student made ‘co-valedictorian’ with black student, despite having lower GPA, lawsuit claims. It’s a misleading headline.The story doesn’t support the claim, only that there was a claim made in the lawsuit.

    Jack, that’s exactly what the headline claims! You’re seeing media bias here where none exists.

    The Post is publicizing a story when no story has been shown to exist, unless it’s “Toxic racial distrust after Obama leads mother to assume her son was cheated out of an honor.”

    Had that been the headline, would you see it as:

    a) More biased than the one you’re upset about
    b) Less biased than the one you’re upset about
    c) Equally biased to the one you’re upset about

    • “Any further violence against journalists will be on Trump’s hands.”

      Bullshit. If you want to argue that Tweets are incitement, then I’ll be waiting for the condemnation of all the “Republicans are trying to kill you” rhetoric being strewn at Republicans prior too (and after) the Scalise shootings. And the admission that those tweets were incitement, and the calls to do something about them.

      I won’t hold my breath. Did you learn NOTHING from that situation?

      • I didn’t say the tweets were incitement–that’s a legal term, and these clearly would not apply. I said it was part of a pattern.

        And yes, I think once you designate a group “an enemy of the people,” you are justifying violence against them. I’m sure Democrats have done this to Republicans at some point. No president has, however.

          • Republicans are, by their nature, partisan. The news media is, by its own standards, obligated to be NON-partisan, and when it violates that duty, is harming the nation by deliberate action. Calling one who harms another by deliberate action an enemy of the entity harmed is neither unfair, unreasonable, or untrue.

            I regard Trump calling the current news media an enemy of the people like Reagan calling the Soviet Union an evil empire. What does it take to make someone to emulate Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” and realize—“I’m the bad guy???”

              • I’m sorry, that was snappier than it should have been.

                I just get really tired of the cold civil war being waged between the Left and the Right, and yes, I’ll say the Left by and large started it, but that doesn’t matter, it’s raging. I’m primarily tired of one side of that war pretending like it had nothing to do with the ramping up of the rhetoric. And, I really don’t see much use in pretending like the MSM is a separate entity from the DNC at this point.

                Sorry my shortness was directed at you.

            • My primary point, is Chris is using the same logic that alot of spinners are relying on, that the election of Donald Trump was the opening of some wave of virulent rhetoric, when one can find all the precedents to this rhetoric in plenty of places pre-Trump.

        • “I didn’t say the tweets were incitement–that’s a legal term, and these clearly would not apply. I said it was part of a pattern.”

          Right… One that somehow holds Trump accountable for future violence acted upon journalists.

          “And yes, I think once you designate a group “an enemy of the people,” you are justifying violence against them. I’m sure Democrats have done this to Republicans at some point. No president has, however.”

          I mean… Obama told Hispanics to “Punish Their Enemies in the Voting Booths”

          Or when he said: “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”

          How about when following the release of transcripts from a closed door speech, in which Hillary had referred to Republicans as her “enemies”, Bill Clinton said she was right to do so?

          I mean… Chris… I didn’t even have to go particularly far back.

    • About the WaPo headline:

      It would be fine if the headline started with “Lawsuit alleges….”. It did not, leading headline readers to conclude there was some factual basis behind the allegations. At this point we have two sides with opposing claims and no facts.

      Jumping to a conclusion at this point is betraying your bias. Reasonable people at this point should not pick either side. Your pre-judgement of the school is demonstrating a bias against people you don’t know and may or may not be the same people who committed the bad acts discussed in the article used to smear the school.

  4. On 2… I have no idea what machinations are necessary for people to see Trumps CNN Tweet as incitement to violence, but not all the anti-Trump memes as incitement to violence against him. I mean… I haven’t looked through the Twitter accounts of all the pundits currently fainting on their couches, mainly because I value my sanity, but I would be gobsmacked if I couldn’t find examples similar to what he posted. Granted, he’s the president of the United states, and he should know better, but really… The people who aren’t suffering from TDS are probably looking at this with revulsion from a mixture of the fact that the POTUS is posting this, and that the mainstream media is closing in on calling this incitement in the aftermath of Scalise.

    Apparently, no one learned anything.

  5. Re #4: This case looks depressingly familiar. I wrote about a nearly identical assertion in 2011. At first glance, the two lawsuits have roughly equal merit: namely, none. But in the absence of all the facts, I’m not ready to say that with confidence.

    Re #6: What intrigues me about this story is not so much Disney’s decision as the reaction to it. I first found out about the imminent change to the attraction from a Facebook post from a 30-ish, female, and quite liberal former student, who, if I’m remembering correctly, has worked for Disney on one of their cruise ships. Whereas my reaction was much like yours, Jack, she was quite incensed by the news, demanding that people “CALM DOWN,” and describing the change as “saddening to a Disney kid like me.” So it’s not just conservatives (in the political sense of the term, at least) who are objecting.

    • I wonder if some of the people lamenting the loss of a sex slavery depiction are doing it for the same reason that people resist rewriting Huck Finn to omit the word “nigger”, which is used 219 times in the original text. Disney is so entrenched in the hearts and minds of people in a way that transcends a whole lot of social barriers…. Is the retooling of the ride rewriting classic history? And even from if it is, is it right to do so?

      • Pirates are solidly entrenched archetypal characters now. Never mind the real history of their crimes and violence. Remember! They operated democratically! Or so all the documentaries place a crazy amount of emphasis on.

        Just like nowadays we have a warmer view of the Vikings, they’re actual conduct being ignored for their archetypal value.

        Who knows?

        Maybe in 400 years, the ISIS ride at Disney will finally remove the beheading scenes, when those guys become loveable heroes in Hollywood flicks.

        • Pirates are solidly entrenched archetypal characters now. Never mind the real history of their crimes and violence. Remember! They operated democratically! Or so all the documentaries place a crazy amount of emphasis on.

          Exactly, the Disney pirates. The type who when they abduct a young woman, want her to be their mother and read them stories. (And who ignore that Peter Pan is an adult woman) Sex slavery doesn’t quite fit that aesthetic.

          Anyway, there’s a specific list of what these pirates do.

          They pillage, they plunder, they rifle and loot,
          They kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.
          They extort and pilfer, they filch and sack,
          Maraud and embezzle and even hijack,
          They kindle and char, inflame and ignite,
          They burn up the city, they’re really a fright.

      • I think you’re on to something, HT. My former student described the auction scene as “iconic” and “part of its history.” For her, the change is to a cherished institution.. For me, well, I took the ride once, over 40 years ago. I’ve completely forgotten everything about the ride except for the fact that I did it. So I have no qualms about changing it.

        • Whatever I’m on, I wish it would check my spelling and grammar… Holy…

          Anyway. I don’t know how I feel about this, I’ve never been to the park, let alone on that ride, so it doesn’t have a whole lot of nostalgia for me, but I’ve never read Huck Finn either… And yet I can still understand and even empathize with the people who are arguing against rewriting history, even if that history is ugly. What’s the right thing to do? If we’ve decided that we as a society deem the slave auction to be inappropriate (a view that also has my sympathy) is the right thing to change the ride to better suit current tastes, or to decommission the ride in favor of something else?

      • It’s the 2nd Niggardly Principle. If the ride can be just as entertaining without portraying fun sex slavery and rape, then there’s no good reason not to fix it. Who thought of the ride was historically accurate?

          • Huh? Why would you even ask this question?

            Huck Finn is literature, not a theme park ride for families and kids. The language is essential to the story and its period. Disney owns the ride, and is “the author.” It’s also a current ride, not an artistic artifact. I wouldn’t take out the wife-beating in “McClintock!” even though today it mars an otherwise fun movie, because that film as an artwork is set. I ran a theater company that never touched a politically incorrect line as a matter of integrity. I agree with Spielberg, who reversed himself after he digitally turned the guns into walkie-talkies in the chase scene in ET. NONE of that is relevant here. The ride gains nothing today by joking about rape and white slavery, and loses much—I assume the artists at Disney can remove the ugly stuff without harming the ride. We learn…that’s ethics. Changing those features is obvious and right. There’s no rational argument against it, except “if liberals are for it, it must be wrong”

            • Well, no… wait a second. ET gained nothing by having the guns in the chase scene either, and changing them into walkie talkies seemed obvious and right to Speilberg, at least at the time he did it. He owned the rights to the movie and was the producer of the movie. Literally all of the logic you just used as an explanation as to why you thought changing the Pirates ride was not only good, but preferable, should lead you to approve the reworking of ET, and I don’t see the stopgap that keeps you from applying it to the rewrite of Huck Finn.

              The one difference you draw that I see as material, and it’s the one I’m struggling with also, is whether Disney attractions rise to the level that they would be protected. You started out by saying Huck Finn was literature, but that wasn’t the bar, because you pivoted to film, and then you drew a distinction between film and attractions. What makes something a timeless classic, immune to the airbrushing of the more enlightened, future version of their creators?

              • “Well, no… wait a second. ET gained nothing by having the guns in the chase scene either, and changing them into walkie talkies seemed obvious and right to Speilberg, at least at the time he did it. He owned the rights to the movie and was the producer of the movie. Literally all of the logic you just used as an explanation as to why you thought changing the Pirates ride was not only good, but preferable, should lead you to approve the reworking of ET, and I don’t see the stopgap that keeps you from applying it to the rewrite of Huck Finn.”

                No, because

                1. Movies, as Spielberg later correctly decided, are works of art completed and set in time and place, representing an artist when he or she conceived them.
                2. Theme park rides, in contrast, are utilitarian attractions designed to be benign and entertain, and are routinely UPDATED.
                3. Spielberg was a live artist changing his own work. Mark Twain is dead, and cannot be consulted. Legally his work can be bowldlerized; ethically it cannot, at least when the change is material.

                Only the artist can decide whether a change is material. Actually the walkie-talkie change was idiotic and political correctness at its worst, but hardly materia–I didn’t even notice it. This was anti-gun hysteria. Rape imagery doesn’t belong in a Disney ride—simple as that. Why would anyone argue otherises? I would also say that if a Huck Finn character on Tom Sawyer Island spoke about “niggers” that would also have to change.

                Changing Huck Finn now would be like changing ET 100 years from now. None of which is similar to keeping a theme park ride intended to be updated from being needlessly icky.

                Was Disney marring the old Moon ride by updating it to a Mars ride once we walked on the moon?

                • Ok… I’m starting to see this… It’s the ongoing nature of the attraction?

                  It would be acceptable if as opposed to changing the guns to walkie talkies (just to continue using the same examples) with special effects, they actually reshot the whole movie with changes to make for a new audience or evolving social norms, and then let the original work stange and age on it’s own merits…. It almost pays to think of each time the ride goes, each day the ride operates, as a new iteration of the attraction.

                  And then the logic carries on to other things, like all four versions of 12 Angry Men, the new Beauty and The Beast Movie, or all kinds of book to screen adaptations.

                  I get it now. Thanks.

            • I agree with all of Jack’s argument, but I think there’s something more, too: I’m not sure whether there’s an ethical element here, or if it all remains within the realm of aesthetics, but I think it might be relevant.

              I haven’t thought this through completely, and I don’t have the time right now to do so, but it strikes me that the way we engage with the two media–literature on the one hand and what I’ll simply call performance on the other–is fundamentally different.

              Neither is better than the other, but they affect our perception in different ways. Thus, most of us have a better memory (in some ways) of a play we’ve seen once than one we’ve read a half dozen times. But we’re far more conscious of some specifics through reading than through watching, because we have had time to think, even as we were encountering new material.

              Any live performance, and that’s what we’re talking about here, unfolds at what my grad school mentor called “enactment speed,” and in the perpetual present tense. A novel, by comparison always describes events that have already taken place (even if that past tense purports to be in our future), and it unfolds at the variable reading rate of the individual reader. What all this means in this case is that, is relative terms, the Pirates ride will make a greater impression (especially on kids) and its world is more likely to be presented to us as a fait accompli precisely because we don’t have the time to process the experience critically.

              Thus, someone–especially but not exclusively a child–is more likely to view the sex auction as normative than to see the use of the n-word that way. This is in addition to, not instead of, Jack’s analysis.

  6. Re: #4
    While I am loathe to side with emotion on logic, in this case, I dont fault her for being upset that her son had to march 2nd. She may be right (or wrong) regarding the other student’s GPA, but if she truly believes that she is correct, and also believes that there’s nothing she could do to stop the co-valedictorian offer (at least in time for the actual graduation), I understand being wicked pissed if my son had to march 2nd. Especially considering that this was the school’s first black valedictorian…either march them side by side, or the school needs to have a sense of context and suspend whatever rule (alphabetical order?) that allows the white student to march first, in this specific scenario. It certainly would be inspiring to the audience, and for the greater good.

    Re: #6
    I am proud to call myself a conservative, becasue I firmly believe in conservative ideals, but gotta call a spade a spade….. a certain sub-section of conservatives always have a knee jerk reaction to anything -ANYTHING- that involves change from the nrom, especially if the change is from what they were exposed to as a child. “Whatdyamean there’s peanut butter allergies now? When I was a kid, no one was allergic to peanut butter! Kids these days are a bunch of &^%%^#!”


    • The above post (emotion over facts? trashing conservatives?) was the rare example of the tiny little liberal in me poking his head out, seeing his shadow, firing off a quick post, then burrowing back down for another 6 weeks of winter….

      • Interestingly enough, I don’t think you’re reactions are “liberal” at all.

        In #6, you are rightly reacting to a set of people who claim to appeal to reason for most of their decisions, but in certain situations (such as this one) revert and appeal to emotion. That is the gut assumption that “my childhood was pristine”. It’s a thoroughly emotional response and it’s right to annoy you.

        In #4, I’m not sure there is anything specifically liberal OR conservative about wanting the *correct* order adhered to. And IF she’s right in her assumptions, the correct order IS her son 1st. If she’s incorrect, and the two students did indeed TIE, I don’t think there is anything inherently liberal OR conservative in any specific order of marching.

        So don’t worry, you aren’t out of sorts even though your conclusions may lead you to believe you are.

    • #4. Dilemma for sure. And if alphabetical still put the black student second in line? Why couldn’t the white parents object to their son being second because of his race? What if the white kid is trans and Jewish, and the black kid is Christian? Why should the resolution be different in Mississippi than Ohio?

      #6. Yup. No doubt about it.

      • #4 All valid points. And in my little fantasy world, I would hope that appealing to the parents of the white valedictorian, as well as the boy himself, to understand the context would sway them, though they shouldn’t be pressured to do so.. However, I also cant fathom why they couldn’t walk together. If it’s logistical (i.e. the hallways is only 24 inches wide), then change the path they take to walk up.

        This really is too big a deal (for this particular school) to not find a way to honor them equally, in every way, at the bare minimum.

  7. A Mississippi school district has dropped its challenge to the court-ordered desegregation of its middle and high schools, ending a 50-year legal battle over the segregation of black and white students.

    The Cleveland School District’s board announced Monday that it had reached a settlement with the Justice Department and private plaintiffs in the long-running case.

    That was in January. January 2017.

    That still doesn’t mean that the claims by the plaintiff have any substance whatsoever of course. I think it does mean though that any rebuttal by the defendent should be granted less than the usual benefit of doubt, and their claimed facts should be verified more carefully than usual.

    Even if the school’s arguments over the desegregation issue have some merit. There’s no trust there, and for good reason, even though I personally think it likely the school board is kosher.

  8. #4, If what the school claims “that that a black student and a white student had identical GPAs” is factually correct, would the conditions around this give the white student a “reasonable” case to sue others for defamation?

  9. In other news, CNN is blackmailing someone and bragging about it.

    (CNN)The Reddit user who initially claimed credit for President Donald Trump’s tweet that showed Trump tackling CNN issued an apology Tuesday for the video and other offensive content he posted — one day after CNN identified the man behind the account and attempted to make contact with him.

    Reddit user “HanA**holeSolo” first shared the GIF last Wednesday of Trump pummeling a wrestler with CNN’s logo imposed on his face. CNN could find no earlier instance of the GIF. The GIF was later edited into a video with sound and tweeted by the President on Sunday.

    On Reddit, “HanA**holeSolo” took credit for inspiring the tweet. Soon after, “HanA**holeSolo’s” other posts on Reddit, some of which included racist and anti-Semitic imagery, quickly circulated on social media.

    Now the user is apologizing, writing in a lengthy post on Reddit that he does not advocate violence against the press and expressing remorse there and in an interview with CNN for other posts he made that were racist and anti-Semitic.

    The apology came after CNN’s KFile identified the man behind “HanA**holeSolo.” Using identifying information that “HanA**holeSolo” posted on Reddit, KFile was able to determine key biographical details, to find the man’s name using a Facebook search and ultimately corroborate details he had made available on Reddit.

    On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, “HanA**holeSolo” posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.

    “First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened,” he wrote. “I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did.”
    The user further apologized for calls for violence against the press in his statement on Reddit.

    “The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation,” he wrote. “I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.”
    The apology has since been taken down by the moderators of /The_Donald subreddit.

    After posting his apology, “HanA**holeSolo” called CNN’S KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, “HanA**holeSolo” sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.

    CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

    CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

    Does it matter that @HanAssholeSolo is rumored to be 15? I don’t know. “If you ever do something that offends us, including the production of memes, or GIFs we’ll dox you and subject you to harassment that we know we can bring down on your prepubescent ass. Get the fuck in line little man.” Doesn’t get much better if you take out the age qualifier and replace it with “garbage human ass”, I’m just saying… And what wrecking ball sized balls does someone have to have to post this bollocks publicly?

  10. 1, You should have a blogful of “dad sayings.” Mine had this “watered-down” version — for some reason I remembered the name of the deceased:

    “Here lies the body of Johnny O’Day
    Who died Preserving His Right of Way.

    He was Right, Dead Right, as he sailed along
    But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong”

    quoted by Eric Hiscock in “Cruising Under Sail”, Oxford University Press, 1st ed, 1950.

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