Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 8/11/2020: The “Preparing To Welcome A New Dog” Edition

My wife and I will finally be welcoming a new dog into the family tomorrow. It’s been more than a year since we lost Rugby, and it was time–for me, way past time. We met “Spuds” yesterday, who was being cared for by a wonderful woman who rescues and fosters abused and neglected dogs. Poor Spuds was given up to one rescue organization by his owner as a puppy, then adopted by a horrible woman who kept him in a tiny room and seldom fed him. A month ago, when he was removed from this monster’s home, he was about 20 pound underweight and suffering from malnutrition. You wouldn’t know it to meet him. Spuds is all white with a brown spot over one eye and flip-over ears, obviously some kind of pitbull-terrier mix.  He’s 2 and a half year’s old, and, incredibly, trusting and eager to make friends with all dogs and people. He still has some rehabilitation to go through, but he’s a lively, athletic, loving dog with a sweet temperament, almost Rugby-like, but twice the size. Perfect.

1. “Nah, teachers aren’t out to indoctrinate children!”  Matthew Kay, who teaches English at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, wrote on Twitter that he is concerned about parents over-hearing their children’s Zoomed instruction from teachers like him:

“So, this fall, virtual class discussion will have many potential spectators — parents, siblings, etc. — in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work? How much have students depended on the (somewhat) secure barriers of our physical classrooms to encourage vulnerability? How many of us have installed some version of ‘what happens here stays here’ to help this? While conversations about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment — I am most intrigued by the damage that ‘helicopter/snowplow’ parents can do in the host conversations about gender/sexuality.” And while ‘conservative’ parents are my chief concern — I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kid’s racism or homophobia or transphobia — how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?”

I have long advocated parents auditing their child’s classes just to prevent the kind of “teaching” Kay apparently engages in. It’s a basic tenet of practical ethics that if someone is a afraid of conduct becoming known, they know what the are doing is wrong, or may be viewed as wrong. Teachers have no justification for hiding the content of their classes from parents.

When Kay’s sinister comments prompted what should have been predictable criticism, he made his Twitter account private. Of course he did.

2. I saw this, thought it was too silly for words, then reader Michael sent me a link, and now I have to flag it.   I’ve seen “Kindergarten Cop” several times; it’s one of my wife’s favorites, and one of “Ahnold’s” best. The unlikely story of a huge police detective with an Austrian accent going undercover as a kindergarten teacher to catch a criminal before he can  kidnap and harm his estranged wife and their child, it’s funny and sweet, and intermittently exciting. However police-o-phobia is rampant during The Great Stupid, especially among hysterics and anarchists. So now that benign film has been declared dangerous.

Willamette Week reported that the movie was pulled from its slot at the Northwest Film Center’s drive-in summer cinema series in Portland after it was called offensive by deranged local author Lois Leveen. “There’s nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools, which feeds the school-to-prison pipeline” she tweeted. Yes, that’s all it takes now for spineless administrators to cancel people, art, entertainment, anything.

Leveen even provided a perfect opening to shut her down with a curt, “You need help, Lois. Really. Trust us on this. This is pathetic” when, in an email, she compared “Kindergarten Cop” to “The Birth of a Nation.”

Right, Lois. And “Toy Story” is like “Triumph of the Will.”

3. Fortunately, though our teachers aren’t making teaching English to our children a priority, at least kids are getting lessons from their role models. Here’s Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard replying to criticism by an ESPN sports pundit on Twitter, in a tweet “loved” by 194,000 followers.

“I have never been buying nothing about you fam. You a joke. And after our private convo full of back pedaling you will never have my respect.”

I guess all of his young fans should plan on attending Rutgers.

4. Not only does bias make you stupid, but being stupid makes you biased! CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond wrote that President Trump’s suggestion that he might give his GOP nomination acceptance speech at Gettysburg is motivated by Trump’s  admiration for the Confederacy.He said,

“We’ve reported that President Trump is considering his GOP nomination acceptance speech from the White House, but amid some criticism of that potential venue, the president is now floating another one,. This time he’s talking about the hallowed Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, but that could be controversial too particularly because this is a President who has consistently positions himself as a defender of Confederate symbols and monuments to Confederate generals.”


Do I really have to explain why this is head-explodingly cretinous? I’m sure I don’t, but it will be fun…

  • As we all know, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address to express his admiration of the Confederacy.
  • The Union victory at Gettysburg is widely regarded as the pivotal, tide-turning moment when the Confederacy’s chances of prevailing became practically hopeless. The town and the battlefield are associated, correctly, with American triumph and courage, and  Confederate defeat. The town also was the long-time home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. There are few places in America with more patriotic credentials—unless you work for CNN.
  • President Trump has never uttered a word or tweeted a sentence in support of the Confederacy. He has opposed the removal of memorials to Confederate figures like Robert E. Lee.  Many, like me, agree with him.

This is the quality of thinking, historical perspective and analysis CNN inflicts on its audience. “That’s a fair point to make,” CNN anchor Pamela Brown said in response to this Diamonds’ ignorant statement.

15 thoughts on “Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 8/11/2020: The “Preparing To Welcome A New Dog” Edition

  1. Congratulations on the new dog. I hope your family has many wonderful happy years with him.

    1. Does Kay really tell his students not to tell their parents some things that are discussed in class? I guess it’s a good idea that Zoom is exposing parents to what their kids are learning. I would be furious if I found out my child was instructed by a teacher not to tell me something.
    2. I saw this myself. I don’t know why she thinks this movie has anything to do with school-to-prison pipelines, especially when Arnold ends up quitting the force to teach children. I guess depicting any police officer as good is a sin these days.
    4. Maybe CNN’s talent was educated by teachers like Matthew Kay who indoctrinated them about their own country’s history without the knowledge of their parents.

    • 2. I’m guessing police in schools rein in the miscreants when they need to be, thus not allowing them to run rampant. In so far as the miscreants continue to misbehave, they end up in juvenile detention and then prison. So… if there weren’t cops in schools, these kids would never be challenged on their behavior and would never be at risk of being detained so other students could, you know, go to school safely. Presto change-o! Problem solved! It’s the cops, not the misbehaving kids who are at the beginning of the pipeline. No more cops, no more pipeline! Brilliant. This is the kind of BLM thinking the teacher in 1. above is promulgating.

  2. In unrelated news, Joe Biden has just announced Kamala Harris as his VP, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, seeing as Biden narrowed his field down to about a half dozen candidates before even looking at qualifications by promising the spot to a Black woman, and of the women on that exceptionally strong and brave bench, Harris was by far the least awful.

    Now progressives have to decide if they’re going to vote for the ticket comprised of the Weekend-At-Bernie’s prop/Octogenarian that can apparently still peddle a bike and a cop. Frabjous Day!

  3. Glad you’re getting a new dog. Reading the headline to this post in my email feed, I honestly thought it was gong to be a comment on Biden’s VP selection….Really.

  4. Congrats on your new family member. I predict many good things ahead for the Marshall household.

    4) Wow! That just takes your breath away, it is so stupid.Or no, ignorant. Ahh, stupidly ignorant, that’s the ticket.

    Does this person not realize that the Confederacy lost at Gettysburg? Decisively. With Vicksburg, it was arguably the best July 4th for the United States since 1776. Hmm, maybe Diamond was educated in the Soviet Union and regards Gettysburg as squabble amongst reactionary factions.

  5. Go get ’em, Spuds (It’s about time.)

    1) One of my favorite teachers – one of the best ever – taught with knowledge and respect for both her subject and her students, but she fell apart when she had an adult audience. Some of the class (7th grade) got together and told her she could show us off when parents or visitors came and there would be a question or three she could use for every student, just in case. It worked. For all other classes that had such interruptions, I tolerated it, learning mainly that I would never do that to a teacher – most amateurs turn nervous and a public situation; the few that don’t turn their ego performance into high gear.

    2) I’m not exactly a fan of the film, or of our ex-governor (nor the present one, for that matter) but I wish more people would do what Kay did — it’s always “banned in Boston” time for everyone to make sure they’ve bought the book or seen the movie. Money can’t buy that kind of publicity.

    3) from 2:15

    4} I hope to hear that speech in that location.

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