1. Warm-Up musings…I suspect that the Warm-Up format costs the blog traffic, potentially a lot of traffic. If each was broken into components and posted individually, there would be a lot more clicks. Of course, I wouldn’t have time to post each separately—I estimate that a single post adds 15 to 20 minutes to the process—and there would be fewer issues covered. Capturing more of the events and issues that get into my files is one of the main reasons I started this. A better blog but less appreciated? Nah, I’m not going to measure success by traffic, as tempting as it is. I resist click-bait—there are topics that guarantee flood of comments—and don’t resist posting analysis that I know will cost me followers: I literally watch the numbers go down. And, of course, there are once regular readers who have fled because I have been consistent in my approach to the Trump Presidency, and regard his treatment by the “resistance,” Democrats, progressives and the news media as a national ethics catastrophe, irrespective of his own neon flaws. They fled, in part, though they will not admit it, because they simply could not muster valid arguments for why this President did not deserve the same presumptions of good will, good effort and public loyalty as every other President, traditional benefits that are essential to the office working and the nation thriving. What they represented as arguments were really presumptions of guilt and the byproduct of hateful group-think magnified by confirmation bias. I hope they eventually get well, and that when they do they aren’t too remorseful for being appropriated by an angry mob.
In the subsequent items, I’ll briefly explain why they are here rather than in a full post.
2. Unethical quote of the week: Don Lemon. Again. Earlier, Lemon said on his CNN platform,
“We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them. There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban — you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no white-guy ban. So what do we do about that?”
Like so much Lemon says, this was incoherent, biased, and intellectually lazy. He said to stop demonizing people, and demonized a gender and race in the same sentence. “Start doing something” is typical political humming: do what, exactly? Lock them up? What? Any fool can say “Do something!”, and Lemon is just the fool to say it. The travel restrictions are a non-sequitur, the kind of lame-brained argument that social media advances in memes and “likes.” Those restrictions involve non-citizens and their ability to immigrate. It was not based on race or ethnicity, but nation of origin. It’s an ignorant and misleading statement. “There is no white-guy ban. So what do we do about that?” is flat out racist, and intended to be—unless Lemon can’t speak clearly, which you would assume is a job requirement. A responsible news organization would have fired him, but he’s black and gay, so that’s not going to happen.
Then he came back and said this:
“Earlier this week, I made some comments about that in a conversation with Chris [Cuomo]. I said that the biggest terror threat in this country comes from radicals on the far right, primarily white men. That angered some people. But let’s put emotion aside and look at the cold hard facts. The evidence is overwhelming.”
Similar statistical evidence is “overwhelming” on the question of disproportionate criminal activities by blacks. In 2013, the FBI has black criminals carrying out 38 per cent of murders, compared to 31.1 per cent for whites. From 2011 to 2013, 38.5% of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black. Blacks comprise about 12% of the U.S. population. A white broadcaster making lemon’s argument would be canned in a heartbeat, and rightfully so. It is a misleading, inflammatory, meat-ax position that appeals to racial bias.
If progressives were not themselves addicted to group bias, and the demonization of white men in particular, they would be clamoring for Lemon’s ouster.
[This is in the Warm-Up because I’ve written enough posts about this unethical, unprofessional faux-journalist.]
3. When ethics Alarms don’t ring: the toddler “fight club.” According to a law suit, Mikayla Guliford and Tena Dailey of the Adventure Learning Center in St. Louis encouraged 4-year-olds to fight with each other while wearing Incredible Hulk toy fists. The filed papers accused the day care in court documents of permitting another child “to intimidate and harm” the plaintiff’s son while directing a “fight club.”A video shows 4-year-olds punching each other while a teacher looks on. In documents released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the director of the center said that when she confronted Guliford about the incident, she said the children “were bored” and that “we ran out of things to do.” Guliford and Dailey were fired.
The coverage of this story is a bit hysterical. I used to have my son, when he was even younger than four, have “fights” with a giant stuffed bear while I manipulated the thing. I presume the kids weren’t hurt. I also presume that they had fun. However, this isn’t the kind of activity that children should be encouraged to engage in by caregivers without parental consent, and I can’t imagine parents giving consent. Let’s have a poll! (With this poll, Ethics Alarms no longer allows repeat voters.)
[This isn’t a full post because I already wrote about a “baby fight club,” a far worse one, here.]
4. “When William Met Sandy” NPR reports that while a law student, the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist proposed marriage to a Stanford classmate named Sandra Day. She became Sandra Day O’Connor, and the two, who had dated, ended up on the same Supreme Court. Apparently, nobody on the Court ever knew, nor did the Senators who confirmed O’Connor’s nomination.
I don’t think it’s a disqualifying conflict of interest, but it is certainly a potential conflict that O’Connor should have disclosed. Rehnquist also should have told his fellow Justices.
[ It’s interesting, that’s all.]
5. Now that’s a cold snap! Sergey Savitsky, a Russian scientist working at a remote research station in Antarctica has been charged with attempted murder— either the first or second such charge in the continent’s history—for allegedly stabbing a colleague in the chest. Apparently he snapped because the victim kept revealing the endings of books in the outpost’s library. Attacker and victim are professional scientists who spend a year at a time at the Bellingshausen Station in the South Shetland Islands. I must say, I have sympathy for Savitsky, and intentionally aggravating someone you are cooped up with for a year is extremely unethical. It doesn’t justify killing him, of course. [Pointer: ABA Journal]
This reminded me of this story from 2013.
[ It’s law vs. ethics, but I couldn’t tease a full post out of this.]