1. So, so predictable. Yesterday was fun: I assumed that the post about the undeniable pettiness, incivility and hypocrisy at Senator McCain’s funeral service in D.C. would prompt multiple exclamations of “But…but…Trump deserves it!”, “He’s worse!” and “What about what Trump does?” I was not disappointed. Each one of these desperate efforts to avoid facing the issue discussed and admit reality is signature significance for having crippling flaws in one’s ethics analysis abilities, gaping holes in one’s basic understanding of right and wrong, and a victim of stupidity-inducing bias. Nothing in the post excused or referenced the President’s own conduct in any way.
2. Baseball ethics. No, it is not unethical for pitchers to carry crib sheets. During the top of the eighth inning in Saturday night’s Phillies game against the Cubs in Philadelphia, third base umpire Joe West noticed the Phillies pitcher looking at a card he had pulled from his pocket, and confiscated it. The card contained scouting reports on how to pitch a Cubs batter. The advanced analytics baseball teams now use to devise how to position fielders and pitch to batters are too detailed for the typical player to commit to memory. Lots of them carry little cheat sheets, sometimes in their hats. Although lots of old school players and tradition-loving fans hate the development, it’s here, and there are no rules against it.
Never mind: Joe West, who is one of the more arrogant and autocratic umpires, felt that the piece of paper constituted a “foreign substance” under the rules, and thus surmised that it was prohibited by the provision designed to stop pitchers from making the ball do tricks by surreptitiously applying K-Y Jelly or slippery elm. Yup, ol’ Joe thought the pitcher, Austin Davis, was going to use the card to doctor the baseball. Good thinking, Joe! MLB quickly set him straight the next day, announcing that West, as he often is, for he is an awful umpire, was mistaken.
The fact that West couldn’t figure that out himself, and that he is the longest tenured MLB ump, tells you why we will have robo-umps calling strikes within five years or less.
3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Today’s nauseating example of mainstream media’s refusal to report and comment on the news objectively comes from the New York Times—Surprise!—which writes sympathetically about the Democratic Party’s dilemma as it tried to derail the Supreme Court nomination of Bret Kavanaugh. There’s no filibuster any more! Multiple Democrats tell the Times how unfair this is. Guess whose name is completely absent from the article? Why, former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who resorted to the so-called nuclear option to pass Barack Obama’s judicial nominations over Republican opposition. “They are making a mockery of the process, and that is because the No. 1 goal …. is to stack the bench with ideologues, because they know they cannot achieve their goals through the elected branches,” said the Republican leadership at the…no, wait, that quote is from Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the current Democratic leader. He doesn’t mention that his predecessor is the reason the system is “broken.” At least the Times, in one brief sentence , acknowledge that “Democrats” eliminated the filibuster for federal judges below SCOTUS level. They do not make it clear that this shattered a long-standing Senate tradition, and that it made the GOP follow-up of killing the device for Supreme Court nominations both politically feasible and inevitable.
The Times also does not remind readers that its editorial board applauded Reid’s move at the time.
4. The Big Lie that will never die. Former police officer Roy D. Oliver II was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for the indefensible shooting of black teen Jordan Edwards as he and four other teenagers drove away from a house party in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs in April 2017.The prosecution was seeking at least 60 years.
I honestly don’t know what the right approach is to sentencing police officers who kill citizens without justification or cause in the throes of panic, bad judgment, poor training, or tragic error. I believe that the perilous job police officers perform should be a mitigating factor in sentencing. Obviously the families of the unjustly killed are unlikely to accept that.
In an article about how the mother of the African American victim objected to the length of the sentence as inadequate, we read this…
“Edwards also acknowledged that before the start of the murder trial she was pessimistic about the prosecution’s chances, after watching police shooting cases like those involving Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Philando Castille, Clinton Allen, Alton Sterling, Terence Crutcher and others.
“If I have to be honest, I wasn’t looking for a conviction because quite naturally you’ve seen across the nation where this has happened so many times and no one is held accountable,” she said. “So I figured that it would be another one of these occasions where a police officer is not held accountable for his actions.”
Thus has the Black Lives Matter false narrative entered the public consciousness. All of those names are lumped together as example of police brutality and the legal system’s callous disregard of black lives, because the news media has repeated activists false characterizations of these tragedies over and over. Michael Brown attacked a police officer and was shot. The facts do not support the claim that he was a victim of racist police aggression. Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy, died as the result of a series of mistakes by all involved, at the hands of a police officer who never should have been allowed to carry a gun. Rice’s death was negligence, not murder. Philadro Castile, a black motorist who insisted on reaching into his pocket for his license after announcing to a panicky officer that he was carrying a gun, was shot after the officer screamed, “Don’t pull it out!” more than once. I don’t think any jury would guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in that fact pattern, and the officer’s jury didn’t. Clinton Allen wrestled with the cop who shot him and had PCP in his system. A grand jury didn’t think the evidence would support a conviction. Alton Sterling is another case that both Federal and state authorities investigated and found no grounds for charges against the officers. Sterling was not unarmed.
I probably would have voted to convict the officer who shot Terrence Cutcher.
The point is that these deaths were not all the same, not caused by the same factors, and did not involve the same conduct by police. What is the “this” that Edwards’ mother refers to? “This” is the presumption that any black citizen shot by a police officer has been the victim of racism and “police brutality.” It is a presumption of a crime based on the race of the victim and the occupation of the shooter, in other words, bigotry.
5. In related news...Some marketing analysts looking for ways for the athletic shoe giant to pander to its core demographic persuaded Nike to use Colin Kaepernick as the star of its latest advertising campaign …
It is fair to say that the message is fatuous, intellectually indefensible and moronic. Believe in something? Doesn’t it matter what one believes in? Belief itself carries no virtue. The ad would support believing passionately that gays don’t deserve civil rights, or that Jews should be exterminated. Should one believe that employees have a right to demonstrate and hold protests in the workplace? That’s an ignorant belief. Is it worth being fired for? Hey, don’t think, don’t analyze–just do it!
Apparently Nike’s stock fell after the announcement of this ethically incoherent and irresponsible ad.
6. [Added after initial post] More Trump Tweets. Old friend and critic Ron Sarro reminded me on Facebook about the President’s latest tweet attacking his own AG, Jeff Sessions. I confess, I pretty much block Trump’s tweets out now. I agree with Ron that this tweet is especially bad because it attacks the Justice Department for not being partisan, when Justice Departments must not be partisan…not that any of the last, oh, say, ten observed that requirement. The headlines are, of course, misleading: Trump is not criticizing the indictments themselves, but the timing of them. He wrote…
“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”