It’s funny: over at Ann Althouse’s blog, she’s complaining about how there’s nothing to write about. From an ethics perspective, I am finding too much to write about, especially since, unlike Ann, I still have to work for a living.
1. Quick: what does Patriots Day commemorate (and no, it’s not Tom Brady)? My home state of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine (which was once part of the Bay State), and Wisconsin observe the holiday, which honors the twin battles of Lexington and Concord, the confrontations with the British (on April 19, 1775, the day after “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”) that launched the Revolutionary War. I visited both battlefields more times than I could count when I was living in Arlington, Mass., right next to Lexington. That battlefield, what’s left of it, is in the middle of busy streets on all sides; it’s hard to imagine the scene as described in the song above from “1776.” Concord’s battlefield, in contrast, is almost exactly as it was in 1775.
All the publicity, even in Boston, about today will be dominated by the running of the Boston Marathon, but attention should be paid to the inspiring story of how ragtag groups of volunteers faced off against the trained soldiers of the most powerful country on Earth, sending the message that this rebellion would not be so easy to put down. 49 Colonists died, 39 were wounded, and five were unaccounted for. The British lost 73, while 174 were wounded,and 26 were missing.
2. It’s also Jackie Robinson Day. In every MLB game today, every player will wear Jackie’s number 42. The best way to honor Jackie for the rest of us is to tell his story to someone who doesn’t know who Jackie Robinson was, and it is shocking how many such people there are. The film “42” does an excellent job of dramatizing how Jackie broke the color barrier in baseball, simultaneously weakening segregation everywhere. The Ethics Alarms post about Robinson is here.
3. Of course, California won’t be celebrating Patriots Day. It’s probably a day of mourning…In Laguna Beach, many residents were horrified by the decision to add a stars and stripes graphic to the sides of the city’s police cars.Officials will now reconsider their February decision to add an American flag vibe to its fleet of 11 squad cars. Artist Carrie Woodburn told the March 19 council meeting and said it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design” when the newly painted Ford Explorers rolled out. “We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” Woodburn said. “It feels very aggressive.”
What–the hell—does THAT mean?
4. The Twitter-sparked deterioration of Lawrence Tribe’s brain continues apace. The once-respected Harvard law professor tweeted this out after fad Democratic Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg finally announced formally that he was running:
…The @PeteButtigieg audience was overwhelmingly white. He’ll need to be more inclusive going forward. I trust he will be.
Unless they were screening the crowd at the door, “being more inclusive” has nothing to do with the composition of Buttigieg’s crowd. He’s a white, gay male, and unless he announces that he’s also a transexual, female, handicapped Latino, his audience will be defined by group identities and tribal loyalties, because that’s how his party rolls. Twitter appears to have halved Tribe’s intellect, but an obsession with diversity, quotas and tribalism has crippled Democratic values.
4. Diversity of viewpoints, however, will not be tolerated. In another alarming pair of tweets, conservative journalist Kaitlin Bennett reported,
I am a conservative journalist and was just ejected from a @BernieSanders rally for expressing my 1st amendment. I was just sitting there and was told I had to leave, with no reason given except that his campaign didn’t want me there. THIS is actual fascism…The police officer agreed with me that I did nothing wrong, but booted me anyway. On my way out, the private security officer told me he supports me but has to do his job. Thank you @BernieSanders for exposing how intolerant the left really is towards dissenting opinions. pic.twitter.com/lzFX1s8gjP
To be fair, I don’t think there was any question how intolerant the Left is toward dissenting opinions, so giving credit to Bernie is unjust.
5. Good news! The ACLU is sometimes still interested in protecting free speech! In Lacey, New Jersey, high school officials suspended two students for posting pictures of firearms on their personal social media accounts. One of the posts was captioned “hot stuff” and read, “If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, you know where to go.”
Snapchat posts disappear after 24 hours and can only be seen by followers, but a parent called the school to complain that the Snapchat posts had made their child “nervous.” Of course, a competent official would have pointed out that off-campus, non-threatening speech that makes other students “nervous” is not their business. I suppose it’s possible that the parents’ kid was a zombie…
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the school on behalf of the suspended students. Good. Filed in federal district court this week, the suit says the school violated the students’ First Amendment rights.
“There was no threat. No unlawful behavior whatsoever. That is classic speech,” said Alexander Shalom, a senior supervising attorney for the ACLU-NJ. “They communicated something to their friends off of school grounds, off of school property, off of school time and the school simply doesn’t have the authority to discipline them for what they’re doing outside of school time.”
Now let’s talk about how educators can teach our kids when they are apparently ignorant of the Bill of Rights.
6. Anything that makes state lotteries look bad is aces with me! Stipulated: State lotteries are unethical, prey on the poor and stupid, and comes perilously close to fraud. This story, however, is head-exploding.
Colorado engineer Amir Massihzadeh won the state lottery in 2005. Four years later, two state agents told him that he was likely the only legitimate winner of a $4.8 million jackpot that had been split three ways. The other two winners were part of a conspiracy in which a lottery employee and his co-conspirators had rigged drawings in several states. Somehow, however, Colorado thinks it can weasel out of paying Amir the whole $4.8 million, even though he was the only winner who wasn’t cheating. This week Massihzadeh filed a lawsuit against the Colorado Lottery, arguing he should be declared the sole winner and that the $800,000 cash prize he received should have been tripled, and that he is owed interest and damages.
Of course he is.