Maybe this will help...
1. Starting with the important stuff: Baseball’s badly-named Today’s Game Era Committee announced that long-time right-fielder/designated hitter Harold Baines and towering closer Lee Smith had been voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Smith, who retired as the all-time saves leader and is now third behind two Hall of Famers, was a defensible pick, but not Baines. The Committee’s job is to look back on players who were rejected in the regular Hall of Fame voting process and see if some of them fell through the cracks who were Hall caliber. There are only 16 members of the committee, and an ex-player needs 12 votes to enter Cooperstown. The sixteen members included at least four with strong ties to Baines, and they presumably argued eight more members into letting him squeak by. Bias made them stupid. Those four, which included Baines’ former manager and the owner of the Chicago White Sox, which retired his number, should have had to recuse themselves because of conflicts of interest.
Baines led the league in an offensive category, once, when he had the best slugging percentage in the American League. He never finished high in the Most Valuable Player voting. Most of the players who compare most closely to him are not in the Hall. The big thing Baines had going for his candidacy as a very good but not great player was that everybody liked him. He’s sort of the opposite of Curt Schilling, who is clearly Hall-worthy but whom most sportswriters hate—too religious, too conservative, too mouthy.
Now the argument for admitting other good but not great players will be, “But he was better than Harold Baines!” This is how conflicts of interest undermine the integrity of institutions.
2. When Naked Teachers have no excuses. The Naked Teacher Principle holds that when a teacher allows a nude photo of herself or himself to circulate on the web where it can be seen by students, that teacher cannot complain when and if it leads to their dismissal. A teacher really can’t complain if she sends the photo to a student intentionally, which is what Ramsey Bearse, 28, a former Miss Kentucky now teaching at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, did with a 15-year-old former student , according to the sheriff’s office. She faces four felony counts of distributing or displaying obscene matter to a minor.
3. Pondering whether to include an open Ethics Alarms forum as a regular feature. Many of the blogs I frequent for story ideas do this late at night. Ethics Alarms has done it once when I was forced to be away from a keyboard for most of the day, and I was impressed with the results. Those forums on the other blogs often devolve into silliness, bad jokes, memes and worse, and I would insist that an “open forum” on Ethics Alarms be restricted to raising and discussing ethics and ethical topics.
4. Access to the courts is a wonderful thing, dammit. I spend an hour trying to puzzle out the Massachusetts online court filing process as one more consequence of being sued by banned Ethics Alarms commenter whose feelings I hurt. His initial defamation suit was thrown out on my motion to dismiss, but now he’s appealing on the grounds that he knows the law better than the judge does. This will eventually require me to write a return brief, pay a filing fee, and maybe, though I doubt it, travel back to Boston to argue the case.
My sister, a long-time Justice Department and HHS attorney, has railed about how much time and money is wasted by forcing lawyers having to respond to frivolous and vendetta lawsuits file by non-lawyers with time on their hands and a bees in their bonnets. She says that many millions could be saved if judges were more ruthless in throwing the lawsuits out of court as an abuse of process at the outset. I’m torn. The fact that the United States bends over backwards to allow access to the courts is much to its credit. People abuse their rights. That doesn’t mean the rights shouldn’t exist.
5. “The Bottomless Pinocchio.” Washington Post Factchecker Glenn Kessler has announced a new rating, the Bottomless Pinocchio, which he will henceforth award “to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.” Naturally, the only politician Kessler accuses of committing the offense is Donald Trump. Naturally also, because this is what factcheckers in the media do, after Kessler has run out of real False statements he starts fudging, like here…
“Another campaign claim that has carried into his presidency is the assertion that Democrats colluded with Russia during the election (48 times). This is obviously false, as the Democrats were the target of hacking by Russian entities, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.”
The fact that “Russian entities” hacked the DNC doesn’t prove that Democrats didn’t collude with the Russians, especially since nobody can agree with what “colludes” means. The Post’s own columnists have argued that Hillary Clinton’s campaign colluded with the Russians.
I think the Bottomless Pinocchio can be a useful designation, but until I see Kessler and the Post apply it to the news media’s own repeat falsehoods, like “Opposing illegal immigration is opposing immigration,” and “Hillary Clinton was one of the most qualified candidates for President in history,” as well as the favorite lies of Democrats and their allies, like “Trump is a racist,” “There were no scandals under Obama,” “Bush stole the 2000 election,” “Hate speech isn’t protected speech,” “Trayvon Martin was murdered,” “Mike Brown was murdered,” the exaggerated gender gap in wages, and the constant misinformation regarding guns, I don’t really care what Glenn Kessler says. He’s lying by omission.
6. Wait, I thought my Harvard degree was supposed to impress people…Harvard’s been embarrassing me since before I graduated, which is why I don’t wear my class ring or advertise my degree except when I have to, since so many institutions seem to think it means more than it does. (It means one had a lot of smart and interesting classmates.). Lately—like for the last decade or more— Old Ivy has been devoted to stripping students of their civil rights and discriminating against Asian-Americans and, whenever possible, men.
Now group of “private clubs” and sororities have filed a lawsuit over the 2016 Harvard University policy banning members of off-campus same-sex organizations from holding leadership positions in registered student organizations, among other limitations. The lawsuits were filed in both Massachusetts court and federal court, alleging that Harvard is discriminating against students based on sex and infringing on their rights of free association. I wrote about this issue when it first raised its ugly, militant feminist head, here.
I wish I had been contributing to Harvard, which is like giving to a legal defense fund for Donald Trump, so I could stop donating in protest.