Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/7/2020: Oh, Great, A Red Sox Ethics Scandal….

Bad Morning.

1. Fire this copy writer: Boll and Branch sheets informed me this morning that their product is “loved by THREE American Presidents.” Well, that settles it: I’m running right out and buying these sheets if Presidents—well, three, anyway, love them. Actually, I’m making the sheets an early target of my new rule to personally boycott any product that insults my intelligence with their ads or packaging.

So much for Chex-Mix.

2. I just realized what climate change hype is like. I’m slow, I guess. I was reading a typical Paul Krugman column about how we are doomed by climate change and only the mean, stupid Republicans refuse to accept it. (The runaway brush fires in Australia, he said, can’t be proven to have come about by climate change, the brilliant economist said, but everybody knows its climate change. All Democrats, anyway.) It then hit me: climate change is like all the reflex explanations for bad things that primitive civilizations, cults and Machiavellian leaders have used to relieve public fears of  random misfortune since the beginning of time. The devil, angry gods, witches, Jews…anything to be able to rationalize events that otherwise have no explanation.  If you sacrifice people to the gods, hang the witches or exterminate the Jews, you’ll feel better—you’re doing something by addressing the cause of all your pain. Of course, these imaginary “causes” aren’t really responsible for what’s happening, but its comforting to “do something.” In the case of climate change, the proxy trouble-makers are capitalism, personal liberty and democracy. Just get rid of them, and everything will be all right again.

I don’t know why it too so long for me to figure this out. I think it’s because I persist in the romantic notion that we all get smarter over time. I certainly don’t.

3. The vaping maneuvers make no sense. Let me try to get this straight. We know e-cigs help people (like my wife) quit smoking, and that smoking is deadly. There were a bunch of vaping fatalities last year that caused an e-cig panic, and the government threatened to ban them, first banning the flavored variety. Then data showed that it was only the vaping of marijuana-derived chemicals that caused the deaths (except in a single case, which has not been explained) but the government is still going to ban most flavored vaping devices, this time on the theory that they will hook kids on cigarettes.  But cigarettes are legal, as always, and, increasingly, so is pot. Meanwhile, a series of investigations and prohibitions are doing their best to put Juul, the leading e-cig device, out of business.

Ban cigarettes outright, and I’ll consider the wisdom of the vaping persecution. If government regulators force  my wife back to her deadly cigarette addiction, we’re going to have words…

4. BREAKING! It was reported this morning that the Boston Red Sox violated a new 2018 rule against using the video replay room during regular games that season to steal catchers’ signs to the opposing pitcher. Until 2018, it was a so-called “gray area” whether the replay equipment could be used that way: every team had a replay room in every park, and it was known that many and perhaps all teams were using the equipment to steal signs. Once MLB explicitly prohibited the use of the equipment for this purpose, that practice became cheating. Some points:

  • The Red Sox won a decade-high 108 games in 2018.
  • Beginning in the 2018 play-offs, MLB placed monitors in all replay rooms, and the safeguard continued during the 2019 season.
  • This is different from the Astros sign-stealing methods  that are being investigated and will soon bring some kind of punishment. The Astros used their own illicit video equipment and real time relays to their batters. The replay equipment was legally available, but the use of it for sign-stealing purposes was forbidden. (One commentator just likened the situation to a workplace installing a free frozen yogurt  machine and telling employees to watch their carbs.)\
  • I hate to say this, as I like and admire Boston manager Alex Cora, but he was the bench coach for the Astros when they were cheating, and the first year manager of the Sox in 2018. I find this suspicious.
  • Apparently three members of the 2018 Sox spilled the unethical beans.
  • More later. This literally was just revealed.

5. Uber is going to “change its culture.” Right.  There were over 3000 sexual assaults by Uber drivers in 2018, what the company calls “a small percentage.” Baloney. That’s a loy of sexual assaults by drivers. The “culture” appears to be one that embraced the King’s Pass. When a high performing driver was accused of harassment, it was swept under the rug. (This kind of culture is hardly unique to Uber; indeed, it is more the rule than the exception in business and politics). At the end of 2019, Uber agreed with the EEOC to pay a 4 million dollar fine for its conduct of persistently turning a blind eye to driver sexual misconduct. Uber will record more than 15 billion dollars in revenue in the year just ended.

It’s the proverbial slap on the wrist.


This is the link you’ll have to use to post this on Facebook:


43 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/7/2020: Oh, Great, A Red Sox Ethics Scandal….

  1. 5) It’s my understanding that the 3,000 stat also includes when the driver is harassed or assaulted by the passenger. Even if it just driver to rider ratio, how do you ultimately mitigate a society that contains some bad people who get through the cracks? Given Uber’s ratio here…something like 3000 assaults to 1.3 billion rides? And the latest sexual assault statistics I found have it at like 26.5 per 100,000?

    So Uber’s per capita rate is .0000023 and the wider society’s is .000265.

    You’re 11,500% safer inside an Uber vehicle than outside.

    The question is, what level of outliers do you accept are going to make it through the cracks simply because there are bad people in the world versus condemning an entire company and the service it provides?

    • I had heard the similar claim – something like 800 were the driver assaulting the passenger and the rest were the passenger assaulting the driver or another passenger.

      When you consider that a sizeable customer base of Uber is the “too drunk to drive home” crowd, this isn’t a surprise. Consider how many passengers have passed out in an Uber. There is no doubt many additional assaults have happened and the passenger was too drunk to ever remember what went down. With no recollection of anything happening, reporting is unlikely.

  2. What’s the nature of the “sweeping under the rug” of the accusation of the highly rated driver?

    Did the investigation determine there was NO guilt on the part of the driver? If so, is there anything unethical about not publicizing a debunked accusation?

    Did the investigation determine guilt, but Uber still suppressed the story?

    I think the details matter.

  3. 2) I don’t think they use “climate change” as a fall back on things they can’t explain. I think they attach climate change to every visible disaster in order to push everyone’s panic…with the desired end state to be the easy institution of society-changing policy in their favor. I don’t think it’s a comfort thing like superstitions of old.

  4. on 2.

    It’s not just climate change, progressives are really bad at defining their terms and holding their own to a reasonable, consistent interpretation. So labels that describe a thing in reality, and they might to an extent have a point with (see: climate change or corporatism). And then, out of the myriad of misunderstandings of their own damn terms, these labels grow into monolithic, all encompassing, god of the gaps theories that end up being unfalsifiable because you can’t even pin down what it is you’re trying to falsify. Worse, they have a healthy tradition of labeling things in the most bombastic way possible, almost designed to foster those misunderstandings (see: toxic masculinity, privilege theory). The answer to questions about patriarchy is the patriarchy, the answer to questions about communism is communism, the answers to questions about racial issues is racism, and anyone who disagrees with the current iteration of their catechisms is a heretical racist, sexist, xenophobic, ect. ect. ect. The very worst part about this, in my opinion, is that these adherents will claim that the people who disagree with them are somehow rejecting science, having wrapped themselves in the armor of disbelief, armed with terms they only tenuously understand, not terribly wanting to be confused by facts.

      • Thanks!

        Could I get you to make one edit? I didn’t finish a sentance:

        ‘So labels that describe a thing in reality, and might to an extent have a point (see: climate change or corporatism), are almost immediately gobbled up by a population interested in pidgeonholing those theories into personal narratives, no matter how different their narrative is from the actual intent of the label.’

    • ”these adherents will claim that the people who disagree with them are somehow rejecting science, having wrapped themselves in the armor of disbelief, armed with terms they only tenuously understand, not terribly wanting to be confused by facts.”

      During most of the evolution of Global Warming to Climate Change to Climate Emergency to Climate Catastrophe to Global Weirding to Climageddon to term-du-jour, Warmies were more than content to refer to the non-brainwashed as skeptics.

      Eventually, their handlers (without whom the great unwashed would be lost) realized that skepticism is THE most basic aspect of scientific inquiry.

      Well, they couldn’t have that. Perception is everything, especially to those being led around by the nostrils by the likes of Al Gore, Jr. and the Climate Criminals, so there began a barely noticeable pivot from the reference skeptic to the reference denier, like “Holocaust Deniers.”

      The handlers were happy because the rank-n-file had been properly herded, and the rank-n-file were happy because they still didn’t have to actually think or cogitate critically.

    • Great stuff, HT! The last sentence is spot-on as it pertains to the climate debate. Greta Thunberg tweeted several months back that she simply refuses to listen to any contrary argument, effectively putting her fingers in her ears and shouting “lalalalala” until it stops. Granted, she’s not a scientist, nor even an expert, but that response is very much indicative of how one side has walled itself off from debate and dissent.

      An environmentalist that I follow (a geologist at heart and a software guy) has spent thousands and thousands of hours researching temp data, ocean data, tide gauges, ice extent, you-name-it, and has come away concluding that CAGW is deeply flawed, even phony. He has volunteered to debate any climate alarmist – any time, any place. The response from the other side has been to block him, attack him as “just a geologist”, and repeat the mantra that the “science is settled.”

      “If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.” – Richard Feynman

      • The Climate Criminal Cabal (especially Al Gore & Dr. Michael Mann[-made Global Warming]) are notorious for dodging the debate stage.

        Their Anti-Christ (Marc Morano), or any of the other prominent skeptical scientists, would mercilessly slaughter them.

        “Uncertainty Is an Uncomfortable Position. But Certainty Is an Absurd One.” Voltaire

  5. 3–Local Conservative Talk Radio firebrand Vicki McKenna testified at a House Oversight Committee hearing last October and landed a couple of timely, delightfully well-placed jabs on the notoriously thin-skinned HoR Rashida, Tlaib, who takes herself FAR too seriously.

    • Thanks for that link, Paul. Am I the only one who’s noticed that anyone who disagrees with a lefty is a “conspiracy theorist?” Any thought that is not approved lefty doctrine is a “conspiracy theory.” This started fairly recently, within the last year or so. It’s extremely noticeable to the point of being ubiquitous. Someone must have sent out a talking points memo to urge people to use the term thusly. Grr.

      • ”Am I the only one who’s noticed that anyone who disagrees with a lefty is a ‘conspiracy theorist?’ ”

        C’mon OB, folks from WESconsin aren’t around the bend; we’re ahead of the curve…

        And speaking from the Catbird’s Seat of self-anointed omniscience, look for conspiracy theorist to be nudged aside to make way for the Next Big Thing…(drum roll)…Cultist!

        • Trust me, Paulie. My sister-in-law Judy and her husband have lived in Wesconsin for probably three decades, so they know everything. Or as Judy is wont to respond to anything said, “I know!” It’s the Wesconsin equivalent of the across the dreaded western border “Oh, yah, sure!” She’s an expert on everything. Certainly knows absolutely everything the Packers have ever done wrong.

  6. on 3:

    I’m still torn. While I think that generally we’re over-regulated, the fact of the matter is that vaping products aren’t well understood, and I think your experience has biased you. The first generation of vaping products have given people heavy metal poisoning because the heating coils melted some of the vape and people were inhaling aluminum. That is completely separate from the issue of coils overheating the air inhaled, which has burned lungs. As much as you might hate pot, in places where pot is legal, those exact same cartridges that are currently suspect are have passed all the same standards as normal vapes, and I just don’t think it’s reasonable to attribute the deficiency to the devil’s lettuce, especially now that cases absent marijuana are working their way into the public.

    Remember; Vapes have only been on the market for ten years, and very few people immediately developed cancer after starting to smoke. Give it a generation, and vaping will be the new smoking, and there won’t be many arguments against regulating it just as strongly.

  7. on 5:

    Uber has almost a million drivers in America alone, that 3000, even assuming that all of them were unique drivers as opposed to repeat offenders, would be less than a third of a percent of their workforce. For comparison, the population density of trans people in America is slightly higher than a third of a percent…. It is a staggeringly low rate when you consider the numbers involved.

  8. The vaping restrictions are more idiotic than that. They isolated the problem to bootleg flavor pods (including bootleg THC pods) that contain fat-soluble molecules such as Vitamin E. Fat-soluble molecules do not dissolve in water, and end up causing lung injury when inhaled with water vapor. THC is fat-soluble, thus was one of causes of damage. Jule and other licensed manufactures use only soluble ingredients.

    The government’s solution is to ban flavored pods, so that only the bootleg ones are available….

  9. RE #3: I have no doubt this is all being driven by trial lawyers. One regularly sees ads trolling for clients “injured” by vaping products in my neck of the woods.

  10. 2). Invariable when I get into a “debate” with a TDS person they will migrate into other periphery issues such as climate (whatever), but I simply state climate change is real since it is the history of the earth. It is settled science, but now about that climate forecasting? Is that settled?

    4). Am I surprised? The Apple Watch fiasco a few years back. The manipulation of international bonus money that cost them. Now, this! And to add to the misery a clubhouse attendant just got bagged for rape.

  11. 1. That kind of advertising just begs someone to offer some saucy response about President Clinton being one of the three Presidents…how much credibility those sheets gain with his endorsement. I won’t be the guy to do it, but…

    4. Ugh! Why can’t players just try to steal signs the old-fashioned way and risk the “chin music” that comes with it? The Alex Cora connection is interesting. I’ll have to visit with my dad about it. He’s a life-long Red Sox fan and he’s sure to have some thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.