Haven’t featured the Battle Hymn of the Republic for a while: it was the musical climax of my Dad’s funeral service at Arlington National Cemetary. My many performer friends sure came through that day. “Wow,” the chaplain exclaimed when the rousing three choruses were finished.
1. On Wisconsin. After a party flip in state governments, the party on the way out will occasionally try to pass lame duck legislation to try to hamstring the new majority. I’m pretty Ethics Alarms has covered other examples of this in the past; if not, it’s because the stunt is usually grandstanding for the base, or mere politics Such laws often fail to withstand judicial challenge. If a legislature can get away with it, then it’s in the ethics gray zone of politics.
On Monday, the GOP majority Wisconsin legislature will try to pass as much as it can of a huge bill with many dubious or controversial provisions, including some that would limit the new governor’s powers to control the state attorney general, and others that would constrict broad powers the same legislature gave to the defeated Republican governor, Scott Walker. As long as a legislature has power to act, one cannot logically criticize efforts to benefit that legislature’s majority party and its constituents until it has the power to do so no more. If the parties mutually agreed to informally ban such lame duck tricks, that would be wonderful.
As it would be if I could win an Olympic swimming medal.
2. How clever, and further vulgarizing public discourse, too! I have now heard two ad for Christmas products use the term “elfing,” as in “It’s elfing awesome!” ZOne was a TBS ad for the movie “Elf.”
Really? Obvious plays on the word fuck to promote Christmas and a children’s film?
3. Stay classy, NFL! NFL TV ratings are up this year, which just goes to show how little American care about ethics. The NFL is managed by brutal, cynical, greedy executives, and played by athletes who are too often criminals and thus even before the NFL gets them brain-damaged. The latest from “America’s Sport”:
Running back Kareem Hunt was released by the Chiefs hours after video footage published Friday showed him shoving and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt,” read a statement issued by the Chiefs on Friday night. “At that time, the National Football League and law enforcement initiated investigations into the issue. As part of our internal discussions with Kareem, several members of our management team spoke directly to him. Kareem was not truthful in those discussions. The video released today confirms that fact. We are releasing Kareem immediately.”
The video of Hunt, obtained and published by TMZ Sports, is related to a February 2018 altercation on an early Saturday morning at The Metropolitan at the 9, Hunt’s hotel apartment in downtown Cleveland. Police were called and a written report was previously made, but video footage was not available until it was published by TMZ.
…In the video, Hunt is seen coming out of a room and talking to a woman off camera. When she approached Hunt, he shoved her, and she hit him in the face. When another man came out of the hotel room and tried to intervene, Hunt continued to lunge toward the woman. As more people came into the hallway, Hunt had to be restrained several times as he made advances toward the woman and other people. At one point, Hunt appeared to knock two people over with a shove, including the woman he initially shoved. At the end of the video, Hunt kicked the woman as she was crouched on the ground.
The Chiefs and NFL did not take any action against Hunt after the altercation was reported to police in February.
The police didn’t arrest Hunt either. He is a major star, and this would be, in baseball, the equivalent of Aaron Judge being caught beating up a woman in a hotel. Of course, Aaron Judge wouldn’t do that. No baseball player has. It’s not a sport that celebrates or tolerates violence, and very few violent individuals play it. In contrast, the NFL routinely drafts college players with shadows of domestic abuse on their records.
Then there is this, from my neck of the NFL jungle: The Washington Redskins claimed linebacker Reuben Foster on waivers hours after his latest arrest on domestic violence charges. Yes, there have been others. On January 13, 2018, Foster was arrested in Alabama for possession of marijuana. On February 11, 2018, Foster was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, threats, and assault weapon possession charges. On April 12, he was charged with felony counts of multiple domestic violence, possession of a weapon, and infliction of bodily harm. On November 24, 2018, Foster was arrested again on probable cause misdemeanor domestic violence charges, and was released by the 49ers the following day, because four strikes and you’re out. Well, they are a football team, they don’t understand baseball.
Clarence Darrow would claim that Foster never had a chance. His unmarried parents, Inita Berry Paige and Danny Foster, were estranged when Foster shot Paige in the back. She was holding 18-month-old Reuben at the time. Dad was indicted by a grand jury in 1996, fled the state before being arrested, escaped from jail and took on a new identity. He was arrested recently after spending 16 years on the run.
4. Be Afraid. Be very afraid. Google employees openly debated whether the search engine should bury conservative media outlets in the company’s search function in response to President Donald Trump’s election. according to internal Google communications. The Daily Caller and Breitbart were specifically singled out as outlets that Google should handicap. Internal Google discussions considered ways Google could prevent Trump from winning again.
Forget about Trump. The fact that these high-tech companies know they have the power to tilt the democratic process and increasingly think it is ethically justifiable to do so means that regulation as a public utility is urgent and mandatory.
In case you were taking solace in Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto, they ditched it this year.
5. I guess they just have to be “High School 1, High School 2..etc.” …unless numbers start offending people. You never know. Naming any public place after a living person is a risk; I wouldn’t do it. If one is going to do it, however, there has to be some integrity and commitment involved.
The Detroit Board of Education recently voted 6-1 to seek a new name for the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine. Guess why. Come on, guess. Yup, Carson is no longer worthy of honor because he works for the President of the United States. According to a policy approved earlier this year, the board is permitted to change existing school names to reflect “individuals who have made a significant contribution to the enhancement of education.” Carson’s contributions to medicine were significant enough to make him a suitable honoree for naming a school—he was the first to perform an in utero procedure on a fetus and lead a team of surgeons in separating conjoined twins—though he exposed himself a an idiot-savant during his run for the 2016 Presidential nomination. Politics shouldn’t matter when an honor is based on a narrow and specific achievement in a given field. Ah, but as Lamar Lemmons, a Detroit school board member told The Washington Post , Carson’s name is comparable to “having Trump’s name on our school in blackface.”
How does a name appear in blackface? I wonder where Lemmons went to school?
Honors based on real accomplishments should not be airbrushed away because of later controversial words and actions, unless they objectively amount to such a legitimate source of embarrassment to the community or institution that the elimination of the name is basic common sense.
Working for and supporting the elected President of the United states does not and cannot meet that standard.
It depresses me that this statement even has to be made.