Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/6/ 2018: “Remember the Alamo” Edition

1 Remember the Alamo! On this date in 1836, before dawn, the Alamo fell. From the official Alamo website:

While the Alamo was under siege, the provisional Texas government organized at Washington-on-the-Brazos. On March 2, the convention declared independence and the Republic of Texas was born, at least on paper. The Alamo’s garrison showed its support for independence from Mexico by sending its own delegates to the convention.While they were unaware that Texas had declared independence, the roughly 200 Alamo defenders stayed at their post waiting on help from the settlements. Among them were lawyers, doctors, farmers and a former congressman and famous frontiersman from Tennessee named David Crockett. While the youngest was 16 and the oldest defender was Gordon C. Jennings, age 56, most defenders were in their twenties. Most were Anglo, but there were a handful of native Tejano defenders as well. Legendary knife fighter and land speculator James Bowie was in command before falling ill and sharing duties with Travis. Several women and children were inside the Alamo, including 15-month-old Angelina Dickinson. Just before the final battle, Travis placed his ring around her neck, knowing she would likely be spared. One of the last messages from the Alamo was a note from Travis asking friends to take care of his young son Charles.

The final attack came before dawn on March 6, 1836. As Mexican troops charged toward the Alamo in the pre-dawn darkness, defenders rushed to the walls and fired into the darkness. Travis raced to the north wall but was soon killed. Bowie was most likely killed in his bed, while reports differ as to Crockett’s death. Many believe Crockett survived the initial attack but was put to death by Mexican soldiers soon afterward.

Mexican soldiers breached the north wall and flooded into the compound. The fierce battle centered on the old church, where defenders made a last stand.

The battle lasted about 90 minutes.

From the San Antonio Express News:

BEXAR, Texas, March 6, 1836 — Alas, alas! Forever more, the name of the Alamo shall stand alongside that of Thermopylae in the annals of history as a tale of unmatched bravery to be handed down from generation to generation.

The bastion of Texas Liberty has fallen, and to a man, Lt. Col. William Travis and his fellow defenders — like the immortal 300 Spartans — have been martyred.

After withstanding an unrelenting siege of twelve days’ duration by one of the mightiest armies ever assembled on this continent, the walls of the old mission that had housed Travis (a man as brave as the fabled King Leonidas), Col. James Bowie, the Hon. David Crockett and some 200 other defenders were breached before the sun rose to-day.

Savagery was unleashed therein as a juggernaut orchestrated by the modern-day Xerxes, Mexican Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna, swept over the Alamo….

Since I was a small boy, this episode in American history moved me more than any other. It still does.  I first learned about the Alamo when I watched Fess Parker as Davy Crocket, swinging his rifle like a baseball bat at Mexiacn skulls, the last man standing as behind him we could see more of Santa Anna’s soldiers pouring over the wall. We never saw Davy fall—my dad explained that this was appropriate, since nobody is sure how or when he died, unlike Travis and Bowie, and the last verse of the Ballad of Davy Crocket played…

His land is biggest an’ his land is best
from grassy plains to the mountain crest
He’s ahead of us all meetin’ the test
followin’ his legend into the West
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

The politics and complexities of the Texas war of independence don’t alter the essential facts: a group of men of different backgrounds, under the command of three prototypical American figures—the pioneer (Crocket), the settler (Bowie), and the law-maker (Travis), all of whom were trying to recover from dark periods in their lives—chose to make the ultimate sacrifice for a cause they believed in fervently enough to die for, in the company of others who felt the same. It was, after all, the perfect ethical dilemma, the choice between an ethical act for the benefit of  society and a non-ethical consideration, the most basic one of all: staying alive. They all had the same choice, and rejected life for a principle.

That’s what I remember about the Alamo.

2. There is hope. Once again, I gave a 90 minute presentation to a Boy Scout troop and parents last night, and challenged them this time with several hypotheticals that Ethics Alarms readers would recognize, such as this one, the plight of Ryan Seacrest and those who snubbed him on the red carpet,  the “Mrs. Miniver” flower show, and this one, from personal experience, which set off the most lively debate of all:

The Option

Your professional theater company has limited funds, so it offers its actors an option. They may choose a flat fee for their roles, or get a percentage of the show’s profits, if there are any, on top of a much smaller base fee.

The company just completed an extremely profitable production, the biggest hit your theater has ever had. Nine of the show’s ten cast members chose the percentage of profits option, a gamble, because most of the shows lose money. One, the star, who you know could not afford to gamble, took the flat fee for the role. After the accounting for the production is complete, you realize that every member of the cast will make $1000 more than the star, because of the show’s profits.

Question 1: What do you do?

  1. Give him the extra $1000. It’s only fair.
  2. Pay him the flat fee. A deal’s a deal.

You can weigh in:

Question 2: You remount the production, and the exact same thing happens. The actor chooses the flat fee, the show is again a huge money-maker,,and the rest of the cast will make much more than him because they chose the percentage. Do you give him the extra amount again?

  1. No. Now he’s taking advantage of me.
  2. Yes. Nothing has changed.

As before, the approximately 50 11- and 12-year old boys were astute, serious, thoughtful, and gutsy, and their ethical instincts were superb.

3. From the anti-gun freak-out files…Arming teachers is a bad idea, BUT…permitting a teacher with military training and a facility with fire arms to carry a weapon on the job is not an absurd deterrence strategy. Yet when history teacher Timothy Locke made that point to his Cherry Hill (NJ) high school class—he is a combat veteran—a student (what kind of pathetic student-weenies are we raising?) complained to the administration that his comments made her feel “unsafe.” Thus the school suspended Locke, had his locker searched his locker for weapons, and demanded that he have a mental exam.

Some of the students staged a walk out in protest, and parents are demanding that the school justify its actions.

It can’t, of course. The lesson being conveyed is that thought and speech control by the state is necessary and normal. This was just another gun-phobic freak-out by the ideologically rigid and intellectually limited types who run the darker corners of the public education system—“you know: morons.” If you think about it, Locke should have expected this. After previous anti-gun freak-outs, schools punished and in some cases called the cops for such student transgressions as making a finger-gun or wearing a USMC  tee-shirt showing a rifle. A teacher actually talking about guns positively?

Burn him!

4. And speaking of students and freak-outs…I want to officially endorse the anger, if not the exact rhetoric, of blogger Marta Hernandez commenting on last night’s revolting appearance by Parkland shooting survivors David Hogg and Cameron Kasky on “Real Time” with Bill Maher. The exploitation and manipulation of these kids by anti-gun activists is ugly and cynical; they are being used to mouth extremist, often indefensible positions that no adult could get away with. Unlike Hernandez, I am still fighting not to blame the kids too much for believing what the unethical courtiers are whispering into their inexperienced ears, but as some point they are accountable: they are voluntarily playing in an adult forum, and cannot demand special dispensation forever. Here is Hernandez in part, and in fine form…

 Not only do the idiot Parkland kids now compare themselves to the Founding Fathers of our country, who were more intelligent, accomplished, mature, courageous, and dedicated to the cause of liberty than these entitled punks – enough to pick up arms and fight for independence – but now, they’re apparently the “experts.” Experts on what?

Apparently school shootings, guns, firearm policy, and constitutional law, according to David Hogg, who keeps beating his meat for fame and glory and blowing his wad right over the corpses of his classmates! Hogg, and his little twit buddy Cameron Kasky joined Bill Maher on Friday to discuss their efforts on behalf of their own pathetic egos to disarm law-abiding citizens.

“We are the experts,” the two arrogant little weasels declared to Maher. Kasky also delivered a strong response to members of the National Rifle Association and lawmakers who claim the student activists “don’t know what they’re talking about.”“We’ve been locked in a classroom. We have seen our friends text their parents goodbye. We are the experts,” he said. “We know exactly what we’re talking about. How dare you tell us we don’t know?”

Apparently they’re not experts at respecting the President of the United States when he invites them to discuss the very policies they’re trying to impose on innocent people of the United States.

They’re also not experts on human decency or honesty, claiming the President’s invitation was “offensive,” given that “there were funerals the next day, there was mourning we still had to do.”

Mourning and standing with their classmates… unless they had interviews and stuff to do, according to Hogg’s froth-flecked little buddy Emma Gonzalez, because they’re SOOOOOOO busy!

How dare we?

I dare because I have more experience with firearms policy than both of you pathetic gremlins have been alive. I dare because I took an oath to serve in the US military and protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, using force if necessary – to even protect you, no matter what kind of sewage spills out of your ignorant pie holes.

I dare because I deployed. I carried a firearm. I qualified with several firearms in the military, and I dare say I know quite a bit more of them than two punks who cowered in a locked classroom while a murderer mowed down their classmates. I dare because I’ve seen how countries that disarm their own citizens abuse and murder their own people – all while you spent your lives playing video games, going to school in relative peace and safety, and enjoying the rights and freedoms the disarmed citizenry of those other nations doesn’t have.

Yeah, they’re the experts. By that logic, I must be an expert on dicks, because I was sexually assaulted in college….

Do anti-gun activists really think that two kids claiming to be “experts” is anything but self-disqualifying? If you are really so dumb that you believe their logic—here’s a few more of Emma’s analogies—

By that logic, anyone who has had an overflowing toilet must be an expert plumber.

By that logic, anyone who has gotten drunk must be an expert on distilling.

By that logic, anyone who is fat must be an expert chef.

By that logic, anyone who’s had a home destroyed by a fire must be an expert firefighter.

By that logic, being a diabetic makes you an endocrinologist.

—then you are a useless, icompetent advocate for or against anything,  incapable of critical thought. Of course, Bill Maher is smart enough that he could have made the same observations as Hernandez, or funnier ones, but he chose to allow the students’ ridiculous assertion stand unchallenged, showing Maher’s own lack of integrity.

5. Today’s Supreme Court note:  The Court appears poised to overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the 1977 ruling that allowed unions to collect mandatory dues from non-union members. It was on the way to oblivion in another case when Antonin Scalia died, leaving a deadlocked court that left a lower court decision in line with Abood intact. Now, however, Niel Gorsuch is sitting in the previously empty chair. In a new case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 attorneys for Mark Janus, a child support specialist for the state of Illinois are arguing that people like Janus, who choose not to join a union, shouldn’t be compelled to pay partial union fees which will support the union’s lobbying efforts, among other things The union argues that he should because he benefits from collective bargaining negotiations.

However the Court decides, it is a classic ethics conflict, with two undeniable ethical principles in direct opposition. Is it fair for Janus to be a “free rider,” befitting from the union’s efforts on his behalf but not supporting the organization? No. Is it fair for him to be compelled by law to support political speech he does not endorse? No—in fact, it’s unconstitutional, and always had been.

My guess is that Janus wins, and the unions lose. Already, we are hearing and reading angry recriminations about how Mitch McConnell’s unethical refusal to allow President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Scalia will have paid off for  anti-union conservatives. Maybe…but that doesn’t mean that overturning Abood isn’t the correct call.

49 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/6/ 2018: “Remember the Alamo” Edition

  1. Regarding #5 – I never understood why unions were perpetual. In my mind, they make sense in certain situations, but after agreement is reached on the working relationship going forward, unions should disband.

    There’s no appreciable difference between an always existent Union and a for-profit contractor that provides the laborers to an employer.

    • Nothing matches the famous paraphrasing of philosopher Eric Hoffer’s observation more perfectly than unions:

      “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

      • See? And how do we end that cycle? We kill the movement before it becomes a business. A condition at every successful negotiation should be the dissolution of the union. The employees should be able to say “Thank you for meeting our demands, the working conditions are now acceptable. If conditions deteriorate again, we may vote for a union again, but for now, we are hereby dissolved.”

    • Tim, I read an interesting article about the stats on union members who actually voted for the union representation, versus merely accepted it as a condition of employment, (I believe it was in “Reason”, no time right now to find the reference.) The gist of it was that the vast majority of union members never actively chose union representation, with as few as 4% in some cases having ever actually voted for it. So, it appears perpetual, especially in the case of public employees.

    • Perpetual unions are competition stifling rot. We punish cartels because they collude to stifle new capital from entering markets competitively…unions are just cartels over labor. For what brief and temporary value they provide, I think they are inherently unethical.

      • Exactly. It’s not like there are multiple Unions representing different workers and companies can choose between the United Store Checkers Union and the Diversified Store Cashier’s Union.

  2. Regarding #1, “Remember the Alamo:”
    As a Tennessean, I had known since childhood that Crockett and Bowie had resettled to Texas from Tennessee, but only much later did I learn that 32 Tennesseans had died in the battle, the most from any state represented there. As a law enforcement officer, I had occasion to attend several training events with officers from Texas, and most of them were quite aware of Texas history and appreciative of the “Tennessee connection.” At one event, the sheriff of Brazos County told me. “We Texans love our Tennesseans.” The Alamo is a haunting place to visit, and memory of the event causes me to wonder, with great trepidation, how many people today would risk all for a noble cause.

    • Jim, as a native Texan, I ask myself “Could I have done this?” every time I walk into the building. I’d like to think I could’ve, but, truthfully, I don’t know. I’ve had this very conversation with my grandchildren.

  3. #5 “…the 1977 ruling that allowed unions to collect mandatory dues from non-unions members””

    That has been a slippery slope since 1977 and unions want it to get even more slippery! I’ve heard union members that have stated outright that all employees, regardless of their work place or whether their work place is union or not, benefit from the existence of unions because all wages and benefits go up relative to union jobs; therefore, all employees across the USA should be paying union dues regardless of what their job is, where they work, or even if it’s a non-union shop.

    “Is it fair for Janus to be a ‘free rider,’ befitting from the union’s efforts on his behalf but not supporting the organization? No.”

    In my opinion, the correct answer to the question is, Yes. By the way, fair is way too subjective and shouldn’t have anything to do with it. Janus is not part of the union so Janus should not be required by law to pay the union anything.

    Unions had, operative word is had, their purpose and that purpose has been replaced with actual laws like The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and subsequent amendments, 1963 Equal Pay Act, OSHA in 1970, etc, etc. Unions set out to change the workplace, they accomplished it and now those changed are enforced by multiple laws. It’s time for unions to disband; if the laws are repealed in the future and the workplace starts to deteriorate again then unions will make a comeback, until then – cya.

  4. #5 – The wife of my state representative filed a brief of amicus curiae in support of Abood. She’s got a dang good case in favor of her side. Her union, who’s she’s compelled to donate to if she wants to keep her state job, donated $53K against her husband in the last election. They slung some nasty mud his way. I can’t imagine more unethical than that.

    Click to access 16-1466-cert-tsac-debora.pdf

  5. “Already, we are hearing and reading angry recriminations about how Mitch McConnell’s unethical refusal to allow President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Scalia will have paid off for anti-union conservatives. Maybe…but that doesn’t mean that overturning Abood isn’t the correct call.”

    Merrick Garland wasn’t a horrible nomination as far as I can tell, I see no evidence that he would have rejected common sense and constitutionalism to worship at the foot of union solidarity. I wonder if this isn’t modern historical revisionism on McConnell’s part.

      • I think the block of Garland was strictly worse…

        Senators are allowed to deny confirmation to any SCOTUS nominee, but at least in the case of Bork, they produced a reason that wasn’t cravenly political for doing so, even if those reasons were all based on lies.

        With Garland, the senate had said that they would refuse to even allow the vote on any nominee before even hearing Garland’s name, this was a calculating move by the Republicans, with Obamacare throwing death rattles, unrest worldwide, and Hillary Clinton as the next apparent Democrat nominee, Republicans could have run a hermit crab as their nominee and won. Hell… I’m not sure if Trump was better or worse than a hermit crab. Obama’s nomination of Garland might have been one of the most shrewd things he did, because it put the Republicans in the position of rejecting a perfectly acceptable nomination or going back on their very publicly expressed position. It’s a perfect example of politics over principles.

        Eventually, this paid out for Republicans, I suppose… Gorsuch is an excellent and conservative jurist, but I’ve never been a fan of winning on technicalities.

        • This is pretty much my view as well. The ends do not justify the means. I would quibble about the Bork fiaco. Without it, and the rejection of the centuries-old accord it represented in which a President was regarded as having the right to see any qualified SCOTUS nominee confirmed without regard for his judicial record or philosophies, Bork would have been on the Court, not Kennedy, potentially changing dozens of pivotal cases. Has not that tradition been shattered, McConnell would never have dared the Garland maneuver. I liken the Bork hearings to the tearing down of a vital safeguard against hyper-partisanship in the Senate. It was vastly more harmful, long-term, than the Garland stunt—which was stupid, and should have backfired. Pure moral luck.

        • Equally unethical, no doubt.

          So the ethics violations scoreboard reads: GOP 1, Democrats 50

          The GOP would not have dared this without the precedent set by Democrats.

          Get used to the dirty tricks Democrats have used in the past being used against them. They finally broke and ran out the principled over the past 20 years.

          • In Canada, 2008, the Prime Minister Stephen Harper had just formed a minority government. A minority government happens when a party gets more seats than any other party, but does not have 50%+1.

            About a week after forming government the Harper cabinet unveiled a “fiscal update”, which was meant to signal the government’s plan moving forward. This was in certain ways analogous to a budget, but because of the timing of the election that led to his forming government, Harper wasn’t required to roll out and pass an actual budget until the next fiscal year.

            The opposition, however, pushed to treat the update as if it were a budget, specifically, they wanted to vote to approve it on the auspices that if such a vote was answered in the negative, it would start a cascade of non-confidence measures that would topple the government, usually that would involve Canadians go back to the polls, but being so close to the last election date, Canadians were loathe to spend the money to go back to the polls, this meant that there was something like a 2% chance that either the Liberals or the NDP could actually hold the market share they had currently, were they to force a second vote, and the likelihood of either forming even a minority government was effectively nothing.

            So why did they do it? The Liberals and the NDP, despite having almost nothing in common except a hatred of Stephen Harper (In Canada, Liberals are the Academic SJW types, and the NDP are organised labour, they don’t get along outside of teachers unions.) thought that they could ask the governor general to allow them to form a coalition government.

            The Harper government weaponized prorogation in return. Prorogation is the device that ends a session of parliament, and scuttles all votes on the floor. Harper asked the governor general to prorogue parliament, which she did, the vote was thrown out, and Harper didn’t table anything that could get within a country mile of a non-confidence motion until he had to, at which point the political climate had changed, the Liberals had hemorrhaged support since the prorogation, and the NDP was no longer interested in a coalition (because a full year later, they were unlikely to get it), so the Harper minority survived, at least until it didn’t, Canadians went back to the polls and gave the Conservatives a majority government.

            So, there were a couple of things that went on here.

            First off, the fiscal update shouldn’t have been treated like a budget. It was probably unconstitutional to do so, and the fallout from a rejection would not have stood up to scrutiny, but these things move fast, and scrutiny does not. If the Liberal plan had worked, by the time SCOC had sorted it out, it would probably be too late to reverse. And I’m sure that was part of their calculus.

            Second, never in the history of Canada have two minority parties, nevermind two minority parties so diametrically opposed formed government, and the voters had not given them a mandate to do so. Quite frankly, although there is room in the constitution for it to have happened, it’s more than passing strange and there were easier ways to do it. See, Canadian MP’s switch parties from time to time, we call it ‘crossing the floor’, I have no idea what a mid-session merger would have looked like, but if the Liberal-NDP MP’s wanted to form government, a merger would have been the more legitimate way to do it. But that would never happen. In a lot of ways, a Liberal voter has much more in common with a conservative voter than they do with an NDP voter. Because they were joined as a force against Harper, they forgot that, but had they actually formed a coalition, I would have given it to the first budget process, where everything would have fallen apart.

            That said, in response to that unconstitutional, greedy, short sighted, rules-lawyering political power grab, Harper weaponized a function of government that previous to this the average Canadian probably didn’t know existed, because it was supposed to be boring. Canada’s “Monarchy” is a figurehead now, but in the days where the Monarchy mattered, and these rules were made, a request from the PM to the governor general wasn’t rubber stamped. A request for prorogation could have, and possibly should have been denied. Currently, the governor general is a figurehead, and the first time one actually bucks a parliamentary request is probably the last time Canada has a governor general.

            So a question…. Harper’s use of the prorogation stopped a unconstitutional, greedy, short sighted, rules-lawyering political power grab, by misusing a parliamentary process in a way that grossly twisted the intended use of the process. Doing this allowed him to continue governing, which he did for an additional 8 years after that. Is his abuse of process mitigated by the worse abuses of the Liberals?

            • Clumsy sentences all over the place, but this is the worst:

              “specifically, they wanted to vote to approve it on the auspices that if such a vote was answered in the negative”

              The Liberals wanted to force an approval vote any reject the update, they didn’t want to force the vote and approve it.

            • I think you are seeing the great movement of our times, the ‘ends justify the means’ rationalization that many have sunk to especially in politics. If one side continually wins using such tactics, as we have seen for 40 years in the USA, and is allowed to get away with it (public apathy, corruption in government, a complicit media, and so on) the other side either adapts or goes extinct.

              The table has been set by socialists. Guess who’s coming to dinner?

  6. 1. Those of us in the vicinity heard the echo of the thundering cannons this morning, as we gazed toward the crucible of Texan Independence. Those brave souls distracted Santa Anna long enough for the politicians to give us a cause and a nation; those brave souls also gave us a reason to fight: “REMEMBER THE ALAMO”

    2. If the star chose his contract, that is what he should get. If others feel differently, charity is always an option

    3. Mr. Locke should sue the ever loving pants off of CH school district, as a lesson to other virtue signalling progressives that their ‘feelz’ have consequences.

    As an aside, I know many who carry a concealed gun every day, and many have done so before it was legal in Texas. Many still do not have the permit. They carry even where the signs prohibit it, as certain movie theaters do in this area. If the gun is concealed such that it cannot be exposed, how are progressives to know one is carrying? (Gee, criminals pull this stunt all the time, everywhere in the world guns are available)

    A Carry Permit Holder in Texas who carries where the private property owner has posted the appropriate signs must be asked to leave, if found out. If he refuses, the police can be called. If the subject still refuses to leave (because he is a moron) the police can site him with a ticket. He is subject to a fine of not more than $200, and cannot lose his Carry Permit as a result. That is it. This is true no matter how many times he pays that fine, too. Texas law also protects the Carry Permit Holder if he violates the written notice and has to protect his life or the lives of others due to a criminal’s actions while on that property. No penalty at all for defending yourself.

    And we do not have an epidemic of shootouts in the streets involving legally carried guns. Gee, wonder why that is?

    4. The little snowflakes need to realize that they come from one of the most blue areas in Florida, and that Democrats control everything local to the area from the schools to the sheriff’s office down to dog catcher. These Democrats failed the snowflakes, by leaving them penned up and unguarded from the wolves, by excusing the shooter from personal responsibility as he plotted, by ignoring the blatant warning signs in the name of political correctness, and by standing outside during the shooting to be sure there were more victims whose deaths could be used to wave the bloody shirt in favor of gun control.

    5. Unions once were necessary. Today they are socialist tyranny, taking from the workers for the elite salaries and political favors.

    And progressives can bite me about Garland. Talk to me about Bork, or Thomas, and when you can justify that hypocrisy lets discuss why the GOP was wrong to block Garland. Hurts when your own tactics are used against you, huh? Get used to it: this will get much worse before it gets better, if it ever does.

    • Right after the four minute mark he becomes my spirit animal.

      “Part of the reason we can’t have an honest debate over this one is because quite frankly I don’t think any of us on this side of the aisle believe you when you say that’s all you want to do”

      “what’s an assault weapon? Something that looks scary”

      “Because when the policies fail to produce the results that you are promising to your constituents, you’ll be back with more reasons we need to infringe on second amendment rights.”

      • The problem then becomes, what must change to have an honest debate over this?

        1) Leftists admitting openly that abolition of the 2nd Amendment followed by confiscation and banning of fire arms is the goal.

        2) Leftists coming around to recognizing the value of the 2nd Amendment and the necessity of private ownership of fire arms, followed by an “apology tour” of remorse for all the rhetoric?

        I mean…neither of those will happen, and #1 is the more likely one. But even if #1 is admitted, there will still be no honest debate. It will be an issue that WILL NOT resolve through compromise. Which leaves only 2 options: complete electoral domination and/or a fight.

  7. I was at the Alamo this past Saturday. I was saddened because it didn’t seem quite as busy as the previous year when I visited. Of course being so close to the 6th, many visitors may have been saving their visit for the big day.

      • …decay of the limestone based structure of the Alamo.

        This was made worse by enclosing and air conditioning the interior. We will have to make radical structural upgrades to preserve this monument. it won’t be cheap, and many will be against the renovations until the structure fails.

        That said, touching the bullet holes in the walls was a defining moment in my life, when a 1st grade slickwilly made the first of many visits to the hallowed grounds. The remnants of violence and sacrifice brought home many conservative lessons over the years. The original materials hold meaning for me, and replacing them goes against the grain.

  8. Regarding #4, this attitude is an absolute plague on public discourse, not just on gun control, but on everything from vaccination to sexual assault. No, being a victim does not make you an expert. Expertise is hard-earned through years of disciplined mental effort, not forced on you in an afternoon by a tragic twist of fate. It wasn’t the poor Londoners pouring their guts out from cholera who figured out to remove the Broad Street pump handle, it was a physician mapping cases and investigating new hypotheses. The survivors of Hiroshima emerged from their burning city with no greater insight into the construction of atomic weapons than when they went to bed the night before – Einstein himself never stood in the path of a nuclear blast.

  9. “Most were Anglo, but there were a handful of native Tejano defenders as well.”

    And even more important division amongst the Anglos – a every large contingent been in Texas since the invitation nearly a decade prior by the Mexican government and saw themselves as fighting for the Federalist Constitution of 1824 as part of the larger Mexican Civil War between the Centralists and the Federalists. The other contingent were fighting for some level of independence or greater autonomy within the Mexican structure –very few in the Alamo likely had any notion of acting with any vision even remotely pointing towards union with the United States.

  10. 4- Hogg, Kasky, Gonzalez, et al, have been seduced by the attention which they’ve convinced themselves they’re handling with aplomb; a dangerous combination.

    Thing is, an immature ego is easily played because the stroke job/massage bypasses cognition; they think it’s about them. Heck, they’re all Id, and they don’t know it.

    Wait for a defining Cindy Sheehanesque ”America out of Iraq, Israel out of Palestine” moment to pop.

    Wonder how they’ll handle it when the big, bad, real world moves on to the Next Big Thing?

    I don’t.

  11. 5. Let’s not conflate public employees unions with labor unions in general. Public employees do not need unions. They’re pampered. They’re government employees. Employed by elected officials who take care of other public employees because, they’re all on a grave train with biscuit wheels. I think public employees unions should be illegal. They are a guarantor of public corruption to the extreme detriment of the taxpayers.

  12. 5. I seem to remember some big commotion about that a couple centuries back. Something about… being compelled to contribute money without being part of the decision-making process that collects and distributes it? I think there was a catchier name for it. Eh, it’ll come to me.

  13. #4: I have said before, and was slapped down for it, these kids are too young to have an opinion. What we are hearing from them is being fed to them by liberal adults. You want to know what being shot at is like, ask some ‘Nam vets, not some pansy high school juniors.

    • Yeah, I, too, strongly resent that “combat veteran equivalency” between student survivors of school shootings and (for example) troops in Vietnam. Thank you, d_d, for calling out that particular news-fakeness.

      • You’re welcome, Lucky. I will continue to call them out, just simply because they aren’t old enough to have garnered the experience to hold the opinions they hold. If that makes my comments and responses to these CHILDREN condescending, well, tough. It’s also true.

  14. Regarding 2. There is hope

    At item 4. And speaking of students and freak-outs… you wrote,

    “(…) I am still fighting not to blame the kids too much for believing what the unethical courtiers are whispering into their inexperienced ears, but as some point they are accountable: they are voluntarily playing in an adult forum, and cannot demand special dispensation forever.

    Would that be indicative for your answering of the questions posed in item 2?

    Here are my reflections on this ethical (hypothetical) issue.

    Question 1

    In the early years of my career I worked at a small company (about 40 employees). After having worked there for 2 years the owners sold the company, probably for a very good price, because they decided to give every employee about $ 200 for each year that he had worked with the company. Some of my collegues worked with them for 15 years and more.
    For me it would be a nice $ 400 but to my surprise I received $ 1.000 with a handwritten note which stated something like, “We’ll gave you $600 extra because we are very pleased with your performance with us. Please do not discuss this with your collegues.”

    I would go for a third option. First, Pay him the flat fee. A deal’s a deal.
    But at the same time, give him in some personalized way, about $500 extra.With personalized I mean, fitting the situation. Why couldn’t he gamble with his reward? For instance, his car is broke, he needs it very bad for whatever reason. Offer to pay a part of the bill, etc.

    Question 2
    In my opinion the set-up of the first situation (question 1) was already tainted.
    Just as we expect of journalists that they don’t “interview people who are drunk, drugged, impaired, or not in a mentally or emotionally stable state.” one should also not ask an employee who you know could not afford to gamble to just do that, gamble with his income.

    But certainly after the first show the manager of this professional theater company (in this ficticious case that would be me) should have learned from the complications arising out of the proposed options and should come up with a better proposal.
    For instance, Give the actors involved again the two options but maximize the pay-out for those who choose a percentage of the show’s profits, if there are any, on top of a much smaller base fee. Let’s say, that those will get a maximum of 4 times the difference between the normal flat fee and the much smaller base fee. In the case, that there is still some money left, divide that evenly (or based on some relevant criteria) over all involved.

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