You might as well know: I’ve been what they euphemistically call “under the weather” recently. Ethics is getting in the way of my naps…
1. About those bombs…Not much that needs to be said about the explosive devices sent to Soros, the Clintons, Obama and—it fits–CNN, except this: it was inevitable. With conservatives being harassed and attacked in public places, Fox News offices and Republican offices being vandalized, and Democratic leadership and the media openly feeding the hate while rationalizing extreme incivility ( Philippe Reines, former adviser to Hillary Clinton, on MSNBC regarding mobs harassing Mitch McConnell and others: “People are doing these things because it’s all that’s left.” Gee, I guess there were some other tactics left after all, eh, Phil?), that some unstable wacko would decide to bring a gun to knife fight was a near certainty. Naturally, the news media and Democrats want to blame Republicans for the crimes. That’s not going to defuse the situation, and it’s also wrong. The blame falls on all of those who have encouraged the rhetoric of hate and uncivil conduct rather than conducting political debate in a manner that doesn’t shame democracy.
You can make that list as easily as I can. When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, the extreme anti-government rhetoric—by the standards of those times, at least–of the Right was fairly accorded the bulk of the blame for raising anger to a dangerous level. This time, the hate machine is being operated around the clock by the Left, and for two years without a break or a significant easing on the accelerator—indeed, it is pretty much the Democratic theme of the 2018 elections.
2. It’s a huge bat! It’s a black-robed blur! It’ SUPER JUDGE! In Chehalis, Washington, Judge R.W. Buzzard left the bench and chased after two handcuffed inmates when they made a run for it from his Washington state courtroom. 22-year-old Tanner Jacobson and 28-year-old Kodey Howard bolted for the door and down four flights of stairs, but the judge grabbed Howard just as he was about to exit the courthouse, and Jacobson was caught by police apprehended Jacobson a few blocks away.
As with the cases of bank tellers and grocery clerks who spontaneously play vigilante, the judge was exceeding his authority and interfering with law enforcement. This wasn’t his job, and is not the kind of image the judiciary wants to project. He should be disciplined, but probably won’t be.
Sheriff Rob Snaza said of the incident, “These things don’t happen very often.” No kidding. And they shouldn’t happen at all.
3. I’m stunned!!!! “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade donated to President Trump’s campaign, and is lying about it. You will recall that in his MSNBC days, Keith Olbermann was suspended for contributing to a Democrat’s campaign, and George Stephanopoulos was caught contributing to–also a stunner—the Clinton Foundation. I have no problem with biased journalists contributing to partisan causes, as long as they are open about it and state who and what they have contributed to every tome they cover any story with partisan content. A crawl on the screen would be sufficient. But the public has a right to know, and a right to understand where the alleged objective journalist stands.
Kilmeade told The Hill that he accidentally made a $600 donation to the Trump campaign during Christmas shopping back in 2016. His story: he was buying Christmas ornaments that looked like Trump’s Make America Great Again hats for his friends and family, which came after Trump won the 2016 presidential election. “I had no idea that this would be considered a donation,” Kilmeade said, explaining that he somehow stumbled onto the Trump campaign website.
On the site, purchasers of merchandise are given a choice to make an additional donation and, before checkout, they must to enter their occupation because of a federal law. The shipping and returns section states that transactions on the site are political contributions.
Fox News told The Hill that it has no policy permitting reporters from buying holiday ornaments.
And that, my friends, is why I do not watch Fox News except to remind myself of how unprofessional it is.
4. I don’t even know what to call this. Travel photographer John Milton traveled with his fiance to the war-torn Congo in 2017 to take staged wedding photos with a “we’re getting married in the middle of a civil war” theme…like this one:
Then he shared them on Instagram. Now he and his wife are social media pariahs.
Let me play Tevye for a bit. (If you don’t know what I mean...cultural literacy!!!)
On the one hand, it’s their wedding pictures, and really nobody’s business what they think is a funny gag.
On the other hand, putting something like this on Instagram is the equivalent of wearing a “Kick Me!” sign. The Congo is a human rights nightmare, people are being shot and raped, and anyone who views this as a proper setting for photo hilarity has serious ethics alarms malfunctions.
On the OTHER hand, this is just an “It seemed like a good idea at the time” lapse of taste. We should not be at risk of permanent villain status for something as ultimately inconsequential as a gag photo nobody thinks is funny.
5. Today’s arcane baseball ethics note. “Framing” is institutionalized cheating. There was a lot of it yesterday in Game #1 of the World Series. The practice consists of a catcher quickly moving his glove into the strike zone as the pitch, out of the strike zone, lands in the pocket. This fools the umpire, when it works, into calling what is really a ball a strike. There are even stats that measure how effective individual catchers are at “framing.” A skilled framing expert can get ten or more balls called strikes during a single game.
I know this practice is as old as baseball, but it still is cheating, intentionally deceiving the home plate umpire so he calls the pitch incorrectly. The batters are cheated, the teams are cheated, and the fans are cheated. Now that pitches can be accurately called electronically, there is no excuse for allowing the practice to continue. In my opinion, there never was an excuse.
I would advocate, right now, a rule in which umpires can warn a catcher for framing, and if the catcher tries it again, the catcher is ejected. Another approach would be to tell catchers that “if I see you try to fool me, that pitch will be a ball, and so will the next one.”
Interestingly, the explosion of passed balls and wild pitches this season is being attributed by some observers to catchers concentrating more on stealing strikes than on catch the balls.