The Astros Sign-Stealing Scandal, Continued And Continuing

Rather than abating, the fallout from the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal is getting more intense.

On Valentine’s Day, Los Angeles Dodger star Cody Bellinger, the reigning National League MVP, told reporters , “I thought [Baseball Commissioner Rob] Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving [the Astros players}  immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don’t realize is [Astros second baseman José ] Altuve stole an MVP from [Yankee rightfielder Aaron] Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”

The Astros defeated the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, stealing their signs while doing so, according to MLB’s investigation.

Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa returned fire: Continue reading

Sunday Evening Ethics Cool-Down, 2/16/2020: Silent Sam, Creepy Michael, Sinking Joe

Chill.

1. The Silent Sam saga continues. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  reached an agreement to give its toppled statue of an anonymous Confederate soldier (there’s a similar statue in down town Alexandria, Virginia, about a ten minutes drive from where I type this) to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with a $2.5 million trust to display it somewhere other than on a  campus.

But professors, alumni and students accused the university’s board of governors of entering into a corrupt deal with a “white nationalist” group, so the  judge who originally approved the agreement voided it, finding that Sons of Confederate Veterans lacked the legal standing to enter into the pact.

For the record, I don’t understand what kind of “standing” any group needs to come to a contractual arrangement. I don’t understand why the school can’t give the thing to a museum  without having to pay 2.5 million bucks for the privilege. I don’t understand how the University allowed a bunch of vandals—the statue was illegally pushed over by student protesters who were never punished—to trigger this problem in the first place.

I don’t understand why a work of art showing a realistic representation of actual historical figures, for there really was a Confederacy, there really were soldiers who fought and died for it in the belief that it was a patriotic duty, and there really is a value to the culture, and especially education, in remembering controversial events and times, is viewed as so dangerous that it must be hidden from view.

James L. Leloudis, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is supposed to be explaining things to people like me when he said, “The people who erected the monuments went out of their way to make it clear that they honored the living as well as the dead, and most particularly, those ex-Confederates who returned from war and committed themselves to the long, bloody and ultimately successful effort to re-establish white supremacy.”  For example, when “Silent Sam” was  dedicated, a former Confederate soldier named Julian Carr delivered a speech praising the Confederate Army for saving “the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South” and recalled that he had “horsewhipped” a black woman “until her skirts hung in shreds” because she had publicly insulted a white woman.

Isn’t that fascinating! How times have changed! That certainly explains how Jim Crow took over, especially once President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the effort after his election in 1912. But now “Sam” looks at a very different South! You, see, students, the reason….Sam? Sam? Continue reading

Oh, No! Not The Seat Reclining Ethics Debate Again!

I saw Ann Althouse’s post about a seat reclining dust-up on American Airlines, and immediately decided that the issue wasn’t worth posting about, since in my view, the ethical choice is clear. Then the issue exploded all over cable news and the web, so here I am. It would be so much easier if more people read Ethics Alarms.

A woman had posted on Twitter mid-flight:

She attached the video. Many of Ann’s commenters opined that the woman was a “jackhole” herself (for some reason I’ve never liked that term) for videotaping him and sending his face hither and yon rather than having a civilized discussion with him. How the flight attendant could justify siding with a jerk who was punching a seat, I cannot fathom. Now “Wendi” says she is considering suing American.

I addressed this issue in 2014, in the context of a product called “The Knee Defender,” which a jackhole could install to prevent the seat in front of you on a plane from reclining. I was pretty ticked off about it, too. In fact, I got on a roll: Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Plot E

The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial is an American military cemetery in northern France consisting of four main burial plots, labeled A, B, C and D, containing the remains of 6,012 service personnel who died during World War II.

There is also a secret Plot E. It lies about a hundred yards away from the cemetery, and  contains the remains of 96 American soldiers who were executed by hanging or firing squad for serious crimes committed during or shortly after World War II. Collectively, they were responsible for the murders of 26 American soldiers and the murder or rapes of 71 British, French, German, Italian, Polish and Algerian civilians.

Plot E was established in 1949 to contain the remains of what the Graves Registration call “the dishonored dead.” It was deliberately hidden from view,  surrounded by hedges and located in a forest. Officially, Plot E does not exist. The plot  is not mentioned on the cemetery’s website or in any maps brochures.

The dead have small flat stone markers the size of index cards: no names, just sequential numbers engraved in black. Individual graves are supposed to be impossible to identify. It was not until 2009 that a Freedom of Information request obtained the full list of those buried in Plot E, and the names can now be found on-line, most notably on Wikipedia. One name of note is Louis Till (that’s his marker above) , the father of the 14 year old Chicago teen lynched for “looking at a white woman” while visiting Mississippi.

Darren Smith, Jonathan Turley’s weekend blogger on Res Ipsa Loquitur, argues regarding the strange and cruel burial ground:

[I]n addition to what is at least in my view a human right to a proper and named burial, a historical aspect is sacrificed in the anonymous enumeration of the dead whose history becomes lost to oblivion…[A]t what point does the punishment end? In the case of death of a convicted person is the sentencing extended to eternity through the erasure of the convicted from the human consciousness? Must they fall into oblivion? We would be rather callous to think that these men did not have children, parents, or siblings and were erasable…

[Former Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War Robert] McNamara lamented how [ General ] Curtis LeMay proposed that if their side lost the war, they would be tried as war criminals. “And we were”, according to McNamara “acting like war criminals” in area bombing Japanese cities. The justification to this is of course based on one’s perspective and certainly which side of the pond they were born upon. Yet there was a great amount of evil done at that time, but it was often the leaders and policy makers who justified such actions who are honored with their own large memorials. Yet these ninety-six Dishonored Dead are ordinary soldiers, [have] no right to be named, it seems. Or perhaps these Dishonored Dead present a topic of a perpetual embarrassment to the American Military or government, one that is best forgotten. It is a hard pill to swallow that among the millions who served honorably, there were at least a hundred who acted with evil intent and greatly unbecoming a professional soldier. Yet given the aging population of those serving, I very much doubt that any living military personnel of WWII today can truly argue they suffer any affront resultant from the naming of these men. Seventy years ago, yes–today I think time has healed that wound.

We would not pardon these men’s crimes by granting them a proper burial, with name and epitaph afforded all other soldiers. But they at least deserve to be known.

Do they?

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is…

Is there a valid and persuasive ethical reason to provide marked graves and accessible burial sites for the executed residents of Plot E?

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 ‘Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country'”

Jeffrey Valentine has given us a perfect send-off into Presidents Day weekend with an epic post ranking the 44 men who have led our nation.

When I was a lad, Presidential ranking lists were common and popular. Jeffrey’s version is better and fairer than most of them. Then as now, the historian cabal was overtly political, overwhelmingly liberal, and successfully misleading the public with false narratives gilded into accepted truth. Worst of all was Kennedy’s house historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.  who was routinely treated by the news media of the time as an objective authority, which he most certainly was not. He placed his friend and idol JFK in the “Near Great” category, scrupulously ignored the warts on Democratic Presidents like Wilson and Jackson, and was especially unfair to Eisenhower, whose “hidden hand” Presidency has gradually won admirers the more we learn about what he was doing.

Ethics Alarms is dedicated to the subjects of both ethics and leadership, so Jeffrey’s commentary is especially welcome as well as timely. Here is Jeffrey Valentine’s Comment of the Day on the post, “The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 “Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country.” I’ll be back for a brief comment at the end:

Perhaps moreso than the original post, Adimagejim’s comments about former President Obama [JAM: Commenter Adimagejim was extremely critical of President Obama ] got me thinking about how I think about Presidents and how they rank. The more I think about it, I put Presidents into seven distinct categories. As you will see, my personal opinions don’t always mesh with popular opinion. I will also note that while I find the Presidents fascinating, I won’t even pretend to study them to to the extent that our host has.

The categories are as follows:

1. The Greats with no caveats. These are the Presidents who could objectively say “I was a great President because…..”, have a really reasonable explanation of why they were great, and not have to explain away any major part of their respective presidencies. In this category, I place George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Ronald Reagan. [You’ll note these categories won’t create perfect rankings, per se, as I believe there is at least one president (Roosevelt) in paragraph 2 objectively better than Jefferson, Monroe, Polk, Truman, and Reagan].

[Note One: This ethics blog is often very critical of Jefferson-reasonably so as a man- but I’m ONLY analyzing the presidencies of these men. I think his presidency was clearly successful-even if he wasn’t an ethical individual. In fact, Jefferson may be the major exception that probes Jack’s rule that, generally speaking, the country is better served by an ethical man holding the presidency.]

[Note Two: James K. Polk doesn’t quite seem to fit on this list. I think his reputation is a function of consequentialism, however. He expanded U.S. territory, which set the stage for the civil war. Historians blame him for this- I don’t think that’s fair. I read somewhere that a historian once stated he resolved matter for HIS time. I think it’s unfair to expect a president to do more. What he resolved for his time- he resolved well. He was, therefore, a great, but not legendary, president.]

2. The Greats with Significant Caveats: These are the Presidents who could objectively say, “I was a great president because…”, have a really reasonable explanation about why they were great, but would have a major controversy or issue to to explain away in terms of their legacy. Caveats are always, in my mind, considered based on their respective times. My more liberal friends might put Washington in this category, because he owned slaves. I do not. This list includes Andrew Jackson (Trail of Tears), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Japanese American Internment), Dwight D. Eisenhower, (McCarthyism), Lyndon B. Johnson, (The Vietnam War), and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky). Continue reading

A Poll: Which Is The Most Mock-Worthy Example Of Corporate Virtue Signaling Diversity Pandering (VSDP)

The mad diversity obsession being flung at American culture from the depths of the progressive insanity is a brainwashing exercise to make society forget what it has already learned: What matters is whether a group is constructed based on merits such as talent, experience, relevant skills, achievement, potential for significantly contributing to the success of an enterprise, and character. To the extent that the presence of diversity in a group suggests that opportunity has been equally available to all, contingent on these qualities, of course, it is a welcome condition. If the diversity can only be achieved by warping, rigging or ignoring the relevant qualifications, however, the process is destructive, and indeed unethical. Diversity for diversity’s own sake is a rationalization for unfair treatments and incompetence.

Corporations, sucking up to current fad as they are programmed to do,  will eagerly enable this destructive cultural brainwashing, if the more level-headed and ethically grounded among them don’t do our duty and mercilessly mock such examples as these:

Sports Illustrated Continue reading

The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 “Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country”

When I combined the seven previous “Big Lies of the Resistance” posts I though I had collected them all. What a mistake. Not only had I complied an incomplete list, I had managed to miss the most egregious, unfair and, for the impeachment effort, the most useful Big Lie of all. I’m sorry. It’s time to remedy my error.

I’ve been feeling the need to add Chapter 8 to the Big Lie record since the midst of the Democrats’  ostentatiously unfounded impeachment claims over the President’s dealings with the Ukraine. Their entire argument was built on an assumption: President Trump sought further information regarding the suspicious activities of Joe and Hunter Biden while the elder Biden was Vice-President and the younger was somehow pulling down big bucks from a Ukrainian corporation only to “find dirt” on his likely opponent in the Presidential election. This description was repeated over and over again by the news media, like a mantra or a hypnotic suggestion. Hearing it so often and repeated with such certitude, one might almost forget that the President of the United States has a legitimate purpose in finding out whether a high elected official in the previous administration was influence peddling, sacrificing the interests of the nation for a wayward son.

The President’s attackers and those who have been searching for a way to remove him without having to prevail at the ballot box have framed the controversy as if there was no reason on earth to suspect Joe Biden of wrongdoing–after all, he’s a patriot—so Trump’s waving a Congressional aid package as a carrot that could turn into a stick was an attempt to “interfere with the election.”

The funny part is that there was never any evidence that this was Trump’s motive. It was assumed that this was Trump’s motive because “everyone” knows he’s a bad guy.

We heard this during the Russian conspiracy investigation constantly: Trump “colluded” with the Russians because of course he did—he’s that kind of guy. The Trump haters who slowly devolved into the Trump Deranged came to regard the President’s character as one and the same as guilt of the dastardly acts they attributed to him. This is called, I remind you, bias. Bigotry. Prejudice…the intellectually indefensible assumption that someone is guilty of unethical acts because of who and what they are, rather than what we know they did. Continue reading