1. Now THIS is a bribe…Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida-based real estate developer and a prominent Republican political donor “demanded” yesterday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians. “For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” Mr. Hoffman said in an interview. “It’s the end of the road for me.”
The only ethical GOP response is, “Bye!” Donors may not tie their support to specific legislative measures. That’s a quid pro quo. a bribe. The party should—I would prefer “must”—respond by officially and publicly telling Hoffman that its elected officials will do what they believe is in the best interests of their constituents and the nation, and he is free to contribute to whatever he deems appropriate.
Moreover, his statement shows that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is yet another “Do something!” yelp.
2. Yet more anti-gun hysteria...Could there be a more nakedly emotional and irrational headline than this one in today’s Sunday Times: “Why Wasn’t My Son the Last School Shooting Victim?”(That’s the print version…the online headline is different.)
3. I may have to put “cultural appropriation” on my list of things have to flag every time it’s used…From a New York Times article about Wes Anderson’s new animated film about dogs exiled to a miserable island in the wake of “dog flu” comes this astounding cut-line:
“Critics Address The Issue Of Cultural Appropriation In ‘Isle of Dogs'”
It seems the American director’s work here is influenced by the films of iconic Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The Horror. Hey, what the hell business does Japan have running professional baseball leagues? Here’s a quick poll as a warm-up for the Warm-Up:
4. Which reminds me, as most things do, of baseball...Three of the unethical tendencies of professional journalists that make me crazy were all on display in a brief 5 minute exchange between hosts on MLB’s satellite radio channel. (Which hosts? I no longer distinguish among them: they all are devoid of ethics understanding and analytical skills.) The three are misinforming the public and making them ignorant and stupid, flogging false narratives created by the media itself, and consequentialism. A little baseball background is necessary here, so bear with me, non-baseball fans.
In 2011, the Red Sox team managed by Terry Francona, the most successful and popular manager in Boston franchise history, blew a huge lead with an epic September collapse, low-lighted by several poor managerial decisions in the final week. The Red Sox lost a play-off slot in the 9th inning of the final game of the season. It was a disaster, and as often and appropriately happens after a disaster, the leaders responsible paid the price: Francona was fired. The Boston sportswriters all liked Terry, and resented his demise. (I liked Terry too, but agreed with the decision.) The next season, the team hired abrasive, cocky, outspoken Bobby Valentine as manager, and the Boston press set out to destroy him from Day #1. He was the Donald Trump of baseball managers, but more articulate. Then everything, and I mean everything, went wrong. Major stars were seriously injured. Both closers fell apart. Every starting player except David Ortiz had the worst season of their career, and Ortiz knocked out of the season early by an injury. None of this was attributable to Valentine, but the sportswriters blamed him anyway, and fed the Boston fans daily hate columns until they were a screaming mob. (At the time, I went on various radio shows and challenged writers to rebut my contention that no manager alive or dead could have had a winning season with the 2012 Red Sox. None could. Nevertheless, Valentine was fired. Two years later, Terry Francona was hired to manage the Cleveland Indians, a team on the rise, and he has had notable success.
Yesterday, the two MLB ethics dunces said, in rapid sequence..
- that the Sox firing Francona was a “mistake.” Why was it a mistake? Because he had managed another team successfully since, and because the Sox had a terrible year after he was fired. Flagrant consequentialism. Francona’s Indians could have just as easily had a bad luck year when he returned, and Valentine could have led the Red Sox to a championship if the players had stayed healthy and played to form. (They won the World Series the very next year with an inferior manager, because the team stayed healthy.) None of this was known to Red Sox management or within their control when the decision to fire Francona was made. I know this is a high bar, but I’ll set it: no one is qualified to be a pundit or expert on anything who doesn’t understand moral luck.
- that hiring Valentine was a disaster. This was the narrative dreamed up by the vicious Boston writers, and even though it is unfair and misleading, it is still repeated to this day. The narrative successfully kept Valentine from getting another managing job.
In both instances, the unethical reasoning used by “experts” is passed along as valid to a gullible and mostly ethically inept public, making them less-informed and less-competent.
5. The Good Tweet...I don’t think the President should be tweeting at all, but I criticize his worst tweets, and its only fair to acknowledge a good one once in a while, which this one is:
“If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”
6. Segue Alert! NBC is continuing its role in furthering the discord by hiring U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon, the openly gay Olympic team bronze medalist who exploited his visibility on the Olympic team to insult both Vice President Pence and President Trump. He’ll be an NBC correspondent during the remainder of the Olympics, NBC spokesman Greg Hughes announced.
NBC is taking sides with this move, and a side specifically antagonistic to the President and Vice-President. Ethical news organizations are not supposed to have “sides.” The hire is also transparent pandering. Yechh.