Morning Ethics Warm-Up: Snap Out Of It!

This morning, instead of the usual grainy 1930’s movies TCM usually shows before noon, it was featuring “Casablanca” for some reason. It’s a good thing, because the recent news had me heading for the bridge. As usual, the legendary singing duel at Ric’s between the Nazis and the French put me in a defiant mood, so I decided it was a good time to bring back the incredible Mirielle Mathiue and one of her signature performances of “La Marseillaise.” I’m a big fan of “The Star Spangled Banner,” but as inspiring national anthems go, this is the gold standard.

Now I feel better, and will at least until I finish this post.

1. You want racial conflict? This is how you get racial conflict. One benefit of the warm-up format is that I can write as little as possible about things that would make me up-chuck if I had to compose full posts about them. Following on the “systemic racism” myth, Oakland, California is launching a guaranteed income experiment called Oakland Resilient Families. 600 families in the city will receive $500-a-month payments over the next 18 months “to eliminate racial wealth inequalities.” Oakland’s guaranteed income program is only for low-income black, indigenous, and people of color, or BIPOC, families.

Whites cannot apply. If Oakland’s whites are poor, they have no excuses. They are just lazy, useless losers, I guess.

Families must apply online in the coming weeks and months in order to enter a pool of potential recipients, from which eligible families will be randomly selected to receive the cash payments.

I don’t have to explain what’s unethical about this, do I? Or what’s stupid about it? Or irresponsible?

In related news, a Kentucky mother is in custody on murder charges after her 2-year-old son overdosed on fentanyl while she slept. She had bought the drug with her stimulus money.

2. And now for something completely different…Hockey ref ethics! In the NHL, Nashville and Detroit were playing in the second period when Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was called for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill. Referee Tim Peel, who called the penalty, was heard a few minutes later on a hot mic, saying, “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a fucking penalty against Nashville early.”

The NHL fired him, announcing that Peel will “no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future” and stating,

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game. Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve. There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity our game.”

The interesting aspect of this is that such retaliatory, make-up or otherwise contrived calls have been standard in all sports; it’s just unusual to have them revealed in public. But baseball writer Craig Calcaterra astutely points out that with pro sports increasingly climbing into bed with gambling interests, this kind of thing threatens a multi-billion dollar business. It never should have been tolerated, but because of the the expansion of sports gambling, it finally won’t be.

3. A “Twofer”! Today’s creeping totalitarianism story of the day AND the George Floyd propaganda story of the day! In Columbus, Ohio at Bishop Ready High School, theology teacher Deborah DelPrince was fired because she challenged the accepted George Floyd narrative during a virtual class. The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said in a written statement she “made unsupported personal assertions and opinions regarding George Floyd’s death this past summer in Minneapolis.”

That’s just not true. The video of the exchange with a student posted on social media starts when a student shows a picture of LeBron James in a shirt reading ‘I Can’t Breathe’. DelPrince says, “That’s not necessarily true. But it perpetuates a myth against police. I’m not sure LeBron James is in the position to be disrespectful to police officers primarily because he probably doesn’t go anywhere without a bodyguard.”

The student asks DelPrince, , “I’m sorry, did you just say it’s disputed that George Floyd couldn’t breathe?”

“Yes, it is disputed,” DelPrince replied. When the student asks, “By who?” DelPrince replies, “The tape.”

The student then says, “Did the medical examiner…I’m sorry, never mind.”

“OK,” DelPrince said smiling.

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said in a statement, “These comments, contrary to school and diocesan guidelines, reflected extremely poor judgment, and upon learning of this incident, the instructor was immediately placed on administrative leave pending a detailed investigation.”

Why “poor judgement”? Aren’t teachers supposed to encourage critical thinking? The tape indeed suggests that Floyd could breath (he was talking), and that LeBron James doesn’t know what he’s preening about is indisputable.

Note that the local news story about the event attempts to minimize the significance of the entire drug overdose aspect of the incident in an effort to justify the discipline against the teacher.

4. “Howl” As a note of hope that attempts at political censorship in the U.S. generally peter out, recall that on this date in 1955 (the year Marty McFly goes back to in “Back to the Future”), the U.S. Customs Department seized 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s book “Howl,” published in Great Britain, claiming that the book was obscene.

A San Francisco publishing company and bookstore owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti to published “Howl” in 1956 as a gesture of defiance, leading to Ferlinghetti’s arrest. The American Civil Liberties Union, back when it fought against incursions on liberty and speech, handled his legal defense. Nine literary experts testified at the trial that the poem was not obscene, and Ferlinghetti was acquitted.

5. Interesting timing…Former Yale law and psychiatry professor Bandy Lee Bandy Lee alleges in a March 22 lawsuit that she was fired for exercising her First Amendment rights by the Yale School of Medicine as a consequence of her critical comments about former President Donald Trump’s mental health and the likelihood that Alan Dershowitz had taken on “Trump’s symptoms by contagion.” In fact, Lee’s comments violated many professional standards, as Ethics Alarms pointed out in multiple articles. Yale warned her in a letter,

“Although the committee does not doubt that you are acting on the basis of your personal moral code, your repeated violations of the APA’s Goldwater Rule and your inappropriate transfer of the duty to warn from the treatment setting to national politics raised significant doubts about your understanding of crucial ethical and legal principles in psychiatry.”

The American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater Rule states that it is unethical for psychiatrists to comment on a public figure’s mental faculties in an official capacity unless granted permission or after a medical examination. naturally, Lee became the go-to “expert ” when the news media was pushing Trump Removal Plan E, that he was mentally unable to do his job.

Lee was making Yale, it’s schools, its faculty and the psychiatry profession look terrible by her partisan hackery, and she should have been fired when she first started diagnosing President Trump from afar. Yale, however, didn’t have the guts to act until after Trump had left office, and her mission of smearing the President and getting cheers from the Trump Deranged had been accomplished.

My Harvard diploma is a source of embarrassment now, but it’s gratifying to see that Yale is sinking just as fast…

6. I’m going to have to listen to “La Marseillaise” again. The bridge is starting to look awfully inviting.

9 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: Snap Out Of It!

  1. “In related news, a Kentucky mother is in custody on murder charges after her 2-year-old son overdosed on fentanyl while she slept. She had bought the drug with her stimulus money.”

    And this is what happens with “free money”. Poor whites often have the same problem. It’s not a poverty problem so much as it is a Broke problem. People don’t know how to spend money wisely so, when they come into a windfall, it goes pretty quickly. I have no expectation of this extra money being used for anything that will improve the lives of the intended recipients. We can expect that they will simply increase their spending by $500 with nothing saved or earmarked toward home repair, transportation, health care or education.

    • It’ a natural consequence of the myth that poor people are poor because off bad-paying jobs, lack of opporetunity, and other things that releive the subject of the responsibility for their plight. Our economy is propped up by reckless consumption and debt, so this behavior is encouraged. To be honest, we do the same thing. Our income has at times increased by $2000 a month or more, after paying off debts, wage increases, and other factors, but somehow we still are cutting it close twice a month. With more money, we just increase our spending. And a drug addict with money? Forget it! They live their lives in 4 to 6 hour increments.

  2. Re: Warm Up Preamble.

    That is a rousing rendition of “La Marseillaise.” Very good, indeed. Our anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” though, is very hard to sing, written in a key and register most of us lowly patriots couldn’t even attempt to approximate. Add to that the constant caterwalling and overemoting and extra notes glissandoing from a high C to a double octave C over high C and plunging to some other note not generally recognized in any musical tradition and the song is simply unlistenable. I wonder how many other nations have to suffer such indignities to their respective national anthems. Can you imagine what would happen to some mediocre pop star who slaughtered “God Save the Queen”? The soul shudders.


    PS: Yeah, I said that. I stand by it. Lady Gaga did a great job at Biden’s inauguration because, well, she is an amazingly talented performer whose performance added a dynamic I hadn’t heard before. She treated the anthem with respect and reverence only added musical flourishes to enhance the song’s meter. I hate – is that strong enough? – most other “renditions” by pop stars (and especially cross-over country music stars who place yodeling about musicality).

  3. Well, the best blog that I follow hits a few of my favorite topics…
    Casablanca is The Greatest Non-animated Movie Ever Made (FWIW, Fantasia is the greatest Animated one)

    Great Anthem Renditions (ties to Hockey, coming up next…) Check out the following singers on YouTube (enter their names followed by National Anthem)
    Doug Allen (Buffalo Sabres singer): Does a great straight-up as-written version of both The Star Spangled Banner and O Canada (Buffalo plays both for every game regardless of who is playing)
    Jim Cornelison (Chicago Blackhowks): Its BIG, really BIG; amplified by the crowd noise, especially in the playoffs
    George Canyon (Calgary): Best version of O Canada (my daughter, when she was very very young, called O Canada ‘the hockey song’)

    Hockey officiating: First my bona fides: I am a former collegiate level player and have officiated at the college level as well prior to my skating career being totally ended about 35 years ago by a bad in-game injury that even kept me from walking unassisted for almost two years…
    When I was in ref school, the first lesson was ‘nobody in this building had paid to see you, remember that”. With that said “game management” is done routinely in mostly innocuous ways; examples:
    –if each team has an ‘enforcer’, you let both coaches know that you arent having any of it and will hit both with 5 minute majors and maybe an instigating minor if it starts up..
    –If a defending player is cross checking an offensive player in front of the goal, you give him one or two before you tell him to knock it off or next one gets called.
    –In a championship or close game situation, swallow your damn whistle unless, as someone told me years ago, blood or bone is showing…

    With that said… Situationally I dont get it… Neither of these teams is even close to a playoff spot, neither is known for overly aggressive physical play (remember that Austin Watson no longer plays for the Preds), and I dont see how calling a ticky-tack penalty early would do anything… and it WAS ticky-tack

    And to call it on Viktor Arvidsson ???? Dude is a gentleman and takes very very few penalties. He has 10 penalty minutes in 33 games this season…. lowest on the team pro-rata by far…Contrast that with team penalty leader Mark Borowiecki, who has 38 minutes in only 22 games (truth be told, my numbers were pretty much at this same rate)….

    I’m glad that the league handled it as they have, although it sucks to have a black mark like this just before the guy retires…

    Cheers, Mike

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