July Fourth 2018 Post Red Sox Victory Over The Nationals Ethics Warm-Up: Patriotic Births And Deaths, Siri, Affirmative Action, And A GOP Rep. Wants To Forget The Past…


Fourth of July!

Sorry for the late Warm-Up: I had to root the Red Sox to victory in an 11 AM game, and will soon celebrate Independence Day by seeing “Jurassic World II”…

1. Ethics Dunce: Siri.  A speech by British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson  in the House of Commons  yesterday was interrupted when Apple’s smartphone digital assistant, which heard her master mention terrorists in Syria, blurted out,  “I found something on the web for Syria!”

2. Good. Let it never be said that the Trump administration didn’t accomplish anything positive. Yesterday the Administration withdrew several Obama Administration policy documents designed to push universities toward admissions policies that involved preferences based on race. Affirmative action, which is government sanctioned race discrimination (because the ends justify the means) has always defied the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has consistently warned that the leash was short, and the breach would not be tolerated forever.  With higher education flagship Harvard University being exposed as grossly discrimination against deserving Asian-American applicants in the interest of “diversity,” and an affirmative action-tender majority on the Supreme Court looking like a thing of the past with Justice Kennedy’s retirement, this relic of the Seventies, a policy that exacerbated racial divisions as much as any factor in U.S. society, needs to be rejected completely and finally, and the announcement from the Education Department is an excellent start. In a related statement, as in the earlier withdrawal of the “Dear Colleague letter” that extorted universities into dispensing with due process and a presumption of innocence in student sexual assault cases, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointedly rejected this method of abusing power that the Obama Administration fine tuned to an art, saying,

The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them. When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President. In previous administrations, however, agencies often tried to impose new rules on the American people without any public notice or comment period, simply by sending a letter or posting a guidance document on a website. That’s wrong, and it’s not good government.”


The affirmative action establishment reacted predictably, with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, saying in a statement,

“We condemn the Department of Education’s politically motivated attack on affirmative action and deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation’s colleges and universities. The rescission of this guidance does not overrule forty years of precedent that affirms the constitutionality of a university’s limited use of race in college admissions. This most recent decision by the Department of Education is wholly consistent with the administration’s unwavering hostility towards diversity in our schools.”

When caught in argument they cannot win on the merits, supporters of the unsupportable inevitably use deceitful word games, which is lying. Nobody objects to diversity, as long as it can be achieved without discriminating against citizens based on group characteristics that should not be held against individuals.  What those who embrace fairness and merit-based admission object to is racial discrimination. “Politically-motivated” is more deflection: who cares what motivates a position that is right on the law and by basic American constitutional principles? No student should be disqualified for admission to a school he or she would otherwise qualify for because of that student’s race.

As for the “40 years of precedent,” the original theory behind affirmative action was that it was a time-limited policy in response to a special and unique problem, and that eventually it would end. However, the policy, as recent studies have shown, has not succeeded in measurably improving African-American progress as promised, and has increased racial resentment while attaching a stigma to blacks who labor under the suspicion that their degrees do not reflect their abilities or scholarly merit.

I have a lot of experience with affirmative action. I practiced it, as a member of the administration at Georgetown University Law Center. I saw it up close, as Roy Scheider says about the killer shark in “Jaws II,” and it was not pretty. I saw a borderline female applicant, the daughter of a wealthy law school alum, get herself pushed into a less competitive pool after I told her she was foolish not to mention that her mother was half Japanese. Presto! She was a minority applicant, and furthered the cause of “diversity,”  which she would not have if I hadn’t told her that her hesitance to use an advantage that was just sitting there was foolish. I also saw African American applicants who had been accepted via affirmative action to elite colleges arrive at Georgetown Law Center barely able to write a coherent sentence or comprehend a court opinion. They increased diversity, all right.

Affirmative action was a well-intentioned, perhaps temporarily justifiable policy that ultimately failed, and the Obama Administration’s  efforts to bolster it were unethical and divisive.

3. When will they ever learn? A hybrid #MeToo-Jerry Sandusky-US Women’s Gymnastic team-style scandal is emerging in Ohio involving powerful Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. Jordan, 54, was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion who became an Ohio State assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994. During that period, the team’s physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, allegedly sexually molested the wrestlers. Former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato was one of the first to report Strauss’ alleged misconduct to Ohio State, and he maintains that Jordan knew about the abuse but did not intervene.

Jordan denies it, saying, “I had not heard about any type of abuse at all,” and claims that had he known, he would have acted. “He knew, did know, and it’s very disappointing that he has now denied knowledge, not once, but twice,” says DiSabato, who claims he was victimized by the doctor, now deceased. “I’ve never known Jim Jordan to be a coward, frankly, but this shows that his own interest in seeking higher office is more important than the health, safety and well-being of his friends and athletes who competed for him and with him.”

As in the Larry Nassar scandal still engulfing Michigan State and the U.S. Olympic Committee, as with Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and others, and as with the Penn State debacle, those close to the abuser usually know, but keep quiet out of fear, self-preservation, or contrived ignorance. The problem is that Jordan’s response now if he did know is likely to be exactly the same as if he did not.

If you knew, Congressman, recent history shows that the best course—which also happens to be the most ethical one– would be to immediately admit that you knew, confess that you were wrong, point out that you were young and frightened, and express regret and contrition.

Unfortunately, it is too late for that now.

4. Impress your friends! Everyone knows that that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams held on to breathe their last breaths on the same Fourth of July, in 1826. A third President died on the Fourth, and he knew both Adams and Tom: James Monroe. That’s right: three of the first five Presidents of the young republic died on this date, and a fourth, James Madison, just missed, dying less than a week before the 4th in 1836.

But do you know which President was born on the Fourth of July, just like George M. Coahn’s Yankee Doodle Dandy?

It was Calvin Coolidge, born on July 4, 1872, in the tiny hamlet of Plymouth Notch, Vermont. (And happy birthday Presidential daughter Malia Obama!)


35 thoughts on “July Fourth 2018 Post Red Sox Victory Over The Nationals Ethics Warm-Up: Patriotic Births And Deaths, Siri, Affirmative Action, And A GOP Rep. Wants To Forget The Past…

  1. And Madison grumpily made sure he didn’t die on the fourth because people kept pushing him to hold on til then. Happy Independence Day and enjoy the movie!

  2. Penn State. Michigan State. Ohio State. Three B1G schools.

    Is this a coincidence or is there an underlying cause that the three worst collegiate sex scandals over the past ten years or so all involve schools from a single conference? Is there a lack of some type of conference oversight or accountability? Or is it a result of a certain “mind your own business” mindset that is more prevalent in the region?

      • Of course it is a matter for the lawful authorities after it has happened. My question concerns why all three instances occurred in one particular region/conference. I graduated from a different B1G university; I was wondering whether there was a pattern in the conference after the Nasser fiasco. (My alma mater was home to R.M. Knight for about thirty years.)

      • This is something I have never heard an explanation for in all the “Dear Colleague” letters and tales of university kangaroo courts. If you were sexually assaulted, why would you go to your school administration seeking justice, instead of the police? How did colleges get into the business of investigating crimes in the first place?

        • There are several reasons for this.

          The first and most important reason is that, despite what we call them and legally classify them as, most 18- to 22-year olds are kids. They don’t make reasoned decisions and don’t have the background information to make good decisions.

          Second, many of them are encouraged by their families and by the coaching staffs themselves to look upon the coaching staffs as substitute parents while they are at school.

          Third, it is a general principle in this country that we go to our immediate superior with any problem we may have. College athletes see their coaches as their immediate superiors. Most Americans support the idea of handling things ourselves rather than going to civil authorities.

          Fourth, it is embarrassing for most persons to talk about some things with strangers. The coaching staff are not strangers.

          • Those are all valid explanations for this kind of abuse, in an athletic program. I was more thinking of the myriad cases where one student accuses another of rape or sexual assault (see: Mattress Girl, et al.), and it’s handled by a disciplinary committee at the school. I’m puzzled as to when we decided to outsource investigation and punishment of serious crimes like rape to academic committees who have no authority or expertise in investigating and prosecuting crimes. If one student murdered another, would the university handle that as a disciplinary matter, as well?

            I think I know the answer to my question, and it’s not flattering to many of the parties involved.

            • I’ve wondered that myself. Schools do not have expertise in crime investigation and have a very vested interest in their reputation which gives them a conflict of interest in that investigation. Young women (and young men) should be taught to contact the police if a crime has been committed, not the campus administration.

          • These are all great rationalizations for absolving everyone but the target of their ire.

            1. They cannot make reasoned decisions unless they are taught. How much reasoning does it take to say Hey, stop it.? If you dont I Will.

            2. Ok your surrogate parent fails you but you never call home to get advice. Do all parents of athletes dump their incapable of reasoning 18-22 year old off with a coach and say go to him for advice?

            3. You cant use this if the kid is incapable of reasoning. If he is capable then you call the police if you think its abuse.

            4. Who are more of a stranger coaches or parents. Refer to 2.

            • I don’t know why committees would be handling such matters. The large university I attended had its own police force and I would think they would be in charge of investigating such allegations. Is there a tendency of some universities to attempt to cover-up such cases in order to protect their public image? I have no knowledge of this but my inclination would be to bet the house that some universities do so.

  3. The sad thing is sexual abuse of male students and athletes goes underreported for several reasons, one most are embarrassed as the feel they should be able too handle it them selves, and if there abuser is female it is regarded as not a big deal. The fact of the matter is anyone who is in a position of responsibility and trust, with anyone male or female as teacher,coach,Doctor, boss, or mentor. Should never ever betray this trust. Unfortunately this ethical rule is so often ignored in our society, to the point we have movies,books, and television shows romanticizing these relationships, which are totally wrong and inoproriate. Romantic involvement should be between equals.

  4. Sorry but I have a hard time accepting diSabato’s accusations. Principally, because I do not know when Mr. DiSabato first made the allegation. Was it years ago when Strauss was still living or just recently. If it was post mortem, how convenient.

    Secondly, college atheletes are not preteen sports campers as was the case in Sandusky or young female Olympic hopefulls in Nassar. Furthermore, a college age athelete is technically an adult so we are not talking about an adult taking advantage of a child. For all we know, this could be a case of I need fifteen minutes of fame. Also, if DiSabato informed Ohio State at the time what exactly is an assistant coach’s responsibility at that point? None. How exactly could Jordan intervene? He can’t if the university has been informed. I worked at a public college for years and if a student lodged a complaint against a colleague I would not be apprised of that as a junior staffer. Colleges are full of rumor and innuendo and most of it is false or terribly misreported. There are stories I have heard about other coworkers but without first hand knowlege I never repeated the story because colleges are notorius for political backbiting.

    I am sorry that I cannot just accept this claim when we are talking about a wrestler that could have laid the doctor out cold at the first attempt at abuse. What power could a team doctor hold over a wrestler except to not clear him medically? None. Even if that happened the wrestler could get a second opinion or at least fight it.

    I find it fascinating that this story is emerging right at the time Jordan is holding FBI officials feet to the fire regarding their methods and practices of investigating competing campaigns.

    For me to take diSabato credibly I would need a lot more than just his say so.

    • The timing…certainly FEELS odd. Jordan’s name was not familiar to me until a week or two ago and those hearings (after which I came across several articles from the usual suspects trying to discredit him generally, but without anything to really hang it on. Now there’s definitely something.

  5. Jack wrote, “If you knew, Congressman, recent history shows that the best course—which also happens to be the most ethical one– would be to immediately admit that you knew, confess that you were wrong, point out that you were young and frightened, and express regret and contrition.

    Unfortunately, it is too late for that now.”

    I get the “If” part and if it’s actually true I agree with you but doesn’t the statement “unfortunately, it is too late for that now” imply a presumption of guilt? What if he actually didn’t know about the abuse if it actually happened, what if he just didn’t recognize signs of possible abuse, or maybe there wasn’t actually any actual abuse? Where’s the proof of Jim Jordan’s actual knowledge of actual abuse?

    I personally don’t know if any of this took place, what I do know is there’s absolutely no defense to these kinds of unprovable accusations related to some kind of sexual abuse years after the fact. Personally I hope that if it’s not true that he sues the accusers for defamation, after all, isn’t it up to the accusers to prove that the public accusations they are making that are specifically targeting the character, credibility, and “marketability” of the accused are true?

    What ever happened to that concept that used to be a core of virtue in the United States, innocent until proven guilty, is it just quaint now?

    The new Scarlet Letter is A, for accused. It seems that no one really gives a damn about proof anymore; if you’re accused, you’re guilty. It seems like the influence of social justice warriors sidestepping the justice system to destroy people is leading us towards vigilante justice chaos.

      • He lied is too strong a word. Does OSU have a reason to deflect criticism. Damn right they do. College presidents I have worked for will throw their own mothers under a bus to protect themselves . How would OSU know he was contacted unless Jordan informed them and they did nothing.

        Here is the only action any college staffer can do when a student makes an allegation of improper staff behavior; you refer the student to take the complaint to the dean level and let them handle the matter. You never discuss the matter until it has been adjudicated. Period.

      • Jack Marshall wrote, “He’s already lied, though. He says he was never contacted about the matter, and OSU disputes that.”

        About that.
        1) To be fair, that detail wasn’t included in your blog I just had to follow your link to read that part in the second paragraph.

        2) After further reading; technicality it was Ian Fury, a spokesman for Jordan, that said those things not Jim Jordan, therefore, Jim Jordan didn’t actually lie.

        None of that actually changes what I wrote but I haven’ read everything related to this yet including what you linked to; has Jim Jordan actually made any public statements about this at all?

      • Jack,
        Did you notice that the investigative work was subcontracted to Perkins Coie the law firm that funneled money to the British operative that developed the infamous dossier. In addition, the story stated that the head coach had reported Strauss to administrators multiple times yet now they hired a law firm 13 years after Strauss dies and 24 years after Jordan’s employment ended to conduct the investigation. How convenient

        • The Swamp is using the same tactics, and this just supports our suspicions.

          I am now greatly leaning toward this being a partisan attack that has no substance whatsoever. Just the accusation to try to eliminate an opponent who may do the progressives harm.

    • Z.
      You have fully captured my thinking on these issues.

      One point that has not been addressed is why this is being laid at the feet of a former assistant coach and not the actual highly paid head coach. Is it because Jordan is now a higher profile target?

      If Jim Jordan is 54 now he would have been 22 in 1986, not much older than the athletes. An assistant coach makes no decisions at 22 or at 30.

      I told Jack a story I heard about an allegation of abuse at a college I worked for. The allegation turned out to be a lie but the accused wound up committing suicide. I know damn right well that senior college officials will crucify the accused without any investigation whatsoever to create the appearance that they were doing something. The accused was a good guy who would give you the shirt off his back but an easy target for the college to attack. I see the same thing here.

  6. “As for the “40 years of precedent,” the original theory behind affirmative action was that it was a time-limited policy in response to a special and unique problem, and that eventually it would end. However, the policy, as recent studies have shown, has not succeeded in measurably improving African-American progress as promised, and has increased racial resentment while attaching a stigma to blacks who labor under the suspicion that their degrees do not reflect their abilities or scholarly merit.”

    I had a thought clarify while reading this…. Social Justice proponents think that their actions will have positive lasting effects on society, and if that were true, I might even support short lapses in liberty to accomplish those ends. I think everyone in here could agree, on principle, that we really would prefer a world that was more egalitarian, we just disagree on what is an acceptable trade-off in liberty to achieve that equality, and the method by which we should engage it. The problem is that Social Justice falls into the trap so many other people fall into: They can’t admit when they’re wrong. Worse, they had good intentions, and they have a really hard time digesting that good intentions aren’t enough, that it doesn’t matter how much you care, or hope, or dream, that you have to be focused on realistic, achievable outcomes and the reality of the world around you, because otherwise you’re mired in a dogma that will cripple you over time.

    Eric Weinstein Touched on this last week:

    ““Let me come straight at it, we on the left had an idea that if we could get rid of cultural bias in IQ testing, if we could get rid of misogyny that was structural in the workplace, that we would get a particular kind of outcome. And we did make things better in many ways, but it didn’t go as far as we were expecting.[…] [T]here really is structural oppression, the way it was when there were literacy tests for voting which were constructed so that no black person could pass. Ok. But there’s less of it now, and there’s not enough of it to explain some of the differences. And the great fear is that the left’s program to try to produce better representation, better opportunities, for women, for minorities, or whatever is going to stall out if we start to think of these things as differences.”

    Let me paraphrase:

    “We thought that if we could remove all the discrimination that led to a lack of equality of opportunity, that a generalised human nature would correct trends over time and we would see an equality of outcome.”

    Well. That didn’t happen. As with so many other well intentioned Social Justice programs, the suspension of personal liberty didn’t create the outcome they were looking for. In fact, there’s evidence to the contrary of this: In the societies that are most equal, most free, where people are most supported to make the life choices that they want to make, gaps in equality of outcome are markedly higher because despite what you might have heard, there are differences in different demographic groups and cultures. But does that mean that Social Justice sees that their programs aren’t working does that mean they discard them and attempt something different? No, of course not, because their intentions are pure, their spirit is strong, and God Wills It.

    What they’ll do instead, is double down, “We haven’t seen enough of our programs, you foolish rednecks, if only our wonderful ideas were more strongly implemented, eventually there would be a breakthrough, and it would work.” Some people might think I’m being uncharitable here. No. That is literally the argument they make with communism, “Communism just hasn’t been implemented properly, it doesn’t matter that historically under communism, millions of people have starved to death, or that currently, Venezuelans have started to break into zoos to eat the horses because they’re hungry. It doesn’t matter that some of the most uniquely corrupt, authoritarian, destructive administrations EVER have been communists. No! We need MORE communism, and the next time, we’ll get it right! Because God Wills It!”

    Well, in this case we’re talking about affirmative action, right?

    “These people have historically been kept out of the halls of higher education, and so to address that balance, we’re going to lower our entrance conditions for those people. Is this racist? Probably, but it’s well intentioned racism, designed to fix a more destructive brand of racism, so we’ll accept it, at least temporarily.”

    Ok, but we’ve been doing this experiment for literally decades and generations now, and not only is the problem not correcting, in some cases it seems to be worse, and you’re still discriminating based on race…

    “We just haven’t had enough affirmative action! And affirmative action isn’t enough! White people tend to have nuclear families still, and they read their children bedtime stories, that disenfranchises poor minority children who grow up fatherless. We need MORE affirmative action, because thet’s the way we’ve chosen to address this policy, and if only more of our well intentioned policy was enacted, eventually there would be a breakthrough and everyone will be equal… somehow…. God Wills It!”

  7. 1. Give Siri a break: she is a dunce most of the time by nature, and might have been activated by mishearing ‘Syria’ as ‘Hey, Siri!’ Dude was stupid to not turn his phone off during a speech, or at least deactivate disruptive outbursts.

    2. No one talks about those the Affirmative Action policies victimize most: those who seem to profit from it.

    I knew an African American young man, Mike, who was hired out of college at the same time I was to work for a company. New engineer hires worked in the field for several years before promotion into the company: a solid policy given the nature of the work. Mike did well during this aspect of the job (better than I, in fact). When we moved into senior Field Service Engineer status, my colleges and I found ourselves carrying Mike more and more often. He seemed to be unable to problem solve, and would call us for advice when out on his own jobs. Eventually we were all promoted ‘in house’ to various positions. Mike did well when the task was given to him, but not so well when he had to apply critical thinking skills and figure it out by himself. He also had a shallow knowledge of engineering, and was unable to set up a problem to solve, though he could work the equations when they were defined for him.

    He eventually failed enough to be let go, blaming the company for racism along the way, when it was a simple lack of college training that got him. Mike was not stupid, but he was intellectually lazy, having had so much handed to him in the name of ‘we graduated a black engineer!’ His lack of preparation meant he never should have been in the positions he held: it was grossly unfair to him.

    3. The timing and circumstances suggest that this is an attempt to destroy a political opponent on behalf of the Swamp. Where is the proof? Where were these allegations years ago? Just another attack by progressives, if I had to guess. After all, why should I give the Elite Establishment the benefit of the doubt? They are willing to fabricate charges against Americans, as seen in the Mueller Investigation.

    4. Happy birthday Cal… and Malia.

  8. Affirmative action was a well-intentioned, perhaps temporarily justifiable policy that ultimately failed

    Except when it came to the composition of the electoral college, and the number of Senators per state, and other systems ensuring a vote in a rural state is worth up to 7 in a city. To stop policy from being dominated by just a few, high populace states that generate most of the wealth.

    That Affirmative Action Program seems to have worked very well indeed, with many recent Presidents elected by a minority of voters. As to justifiable – it may have been in 1818. In 1918? Questionable..In 2018? Debateable.

    • It’s a brilliant device, and just as brilliant now as before, preventing one large state and regional culture from dominating political power, keeping the states as discrete units in the process, and requiring national rather than regional candidates and campaigns. It also prevents an election like 1960, 1968 and 2000 being a never ending legal battle. Only one state recount was needed, not a whole country’s.

      • Sue, would you think it would be a smart move to break California into three or four states to get more Senators? I dont think you would want that. Large population states already get many more electors because of the number of representatives sent to Congress.

        • 3? No. 10 at least, just for greater LA. California is heterogenous, so to get an equitable mix of Red and Blue votes in the senate and electoral college, you need more than 3. 20 sounds about right, though even then, in terms of population each would be larger than many states, double the population of many in fact. Even 50 would still have each state larger in population than Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.

          You’d probably have to do the same for Texas too. 10 states, each with a population greater than that of Nebraska, and 12 other states.

          If we’re going to venture into impractical schemes, why not just amalgamate the 18 states with the lowest population, and give them the same number of electoral college votes and senators as California? The new state would still have less population, and far less GDP.

          US population at the time the Constitution was drafted was around 5 million, in 11 states. The smallest state in terms of population currently is Wyoming, with just under 600,000 people. So having each new state being 500,000-1,000,000 in size is not on its face bizarre.

          Not that that can ever happen. I’m unconvinced it’s desirable too. What would be the point? We’re not at the stage where 60% of the population has less than 30% of the legislature votes, except in a few states.

          Ummm.. that not right either, is it. The balance must be struck, but surely not to such an extreme. Where does it end?

      • So this “brilliant device” of Affirmative Action means you’re not against the concept in principle, just its application in some particular circumstances?

        That’s a question, not a “gotcha” statement. It also means those in favour of Affirmative Action in schools, but not in the Senate, also aren’t arguing in principle, just application.

  9. Affirmative action, which is government sanctioned race discrimination (because the ends justify the means) has always defied the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has consistently warned that the leash was short, and the breach would not be tolerated forever.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but was there not a case in the mid-1950’s where the Supreme Court ruled that schools could not consider race when deciding who may attend?

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