Mid-Day Ethics Interruptions, 6/4/2021: After the First Item, You May Not Want To Read Any More…


1. When ethics alarms were never installed...The question here is not whether this was unethical. Of course it was. The question is how such an episode could happen anywhere in this country. Eight high school football coaches at McKinley Senior High School in Canton, Ohio have been placed on paid leave after apparently forcing a 17-year-old player, a Hebrew Israelite whose faith forbids the consumption of pork, to eat a pepperoni pizza in front of the team as punishment for skipping a practice. The family is suing the school district for violating the student’s First Amendment rights.

The head football coach, Marcus Wattley, allegedly told the boy that if he didn’t eat the pizza, his team mates would be punished. I don’t comprehend this. How can someone live in the U.S. and think forcing a child to violate his faith is anything but abuse? How does someone like Wattley get hired by a public school and entrusted with the welfare of children? Why would any high school have eight assistant football coaches?

If the facts are confirmed in an investigation, more than the coaches should be fired and, one hopes, prosecuted. The principal and other administrators should also be canned. [Pointer: JutGory]

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…The dozens of ways the mainstream media warps the news and manipulates public opinion becomes oppressive once you are sensitized to it. The headline in the Times two days ago, for example, was “GOP Challenges Teaching of Racism’s Scope.” That headline presumes as fact that “Critical Race Theory” and the “1619 Project” fairly and accurately convey “racism’s scope.” “GOP Challenges What It Calls Anti-White, Anti-America Indoctrination In the Schools” would be a neutral headline. Later in the same article, the news story refers to President Trump’s “racist comments, ” which is just a continuation of a narrative build on a media-fueled Big Lie. President Trump made many insensitive, provocative and politically incorrect comments. None were “racist.”

3.A theory on why “factcheckers” keep checking the Babylon Bee, the conservative satire site. The latest example of was this gag, lampooning LEGO’s special LGBTQ “pride ” set, which Ethics Alarms discussed here (Item #2):

lego gag

Reuters decided a “fact check” was necessary , and, of course PolitiFact, the worst of the Left-biased factcheckers, also felt it was imperative to “check” whether LEGO really had made blocks that couldn’t attach to each other. Rueters intoned, “While the article was originally published on May 20 on Christian satirical website Babylon Bee, screenshots posted later to social media took the piece out of its comedic context – and duped users into thinking it was serious.” Of course, any late night comedian’s fantasies are subject to the same phenomenon, and there is little anyone can do about idiots who take such things seriously other than to give them helmets so they don’t injure themselves. Christian Toto, however, the brave conservative Hollywood reporter, theorizes,

“Media platforms like Snopes and USA Today similarly beclown themselves with “fact checks” aimed at a right-leaning satire site that cleans mainstream comedy’s clocks on a daily basis….Why? They want to diminish The Bee or even put its future on the line. Mega platforms like Facebook rely on fact checking services to stem the flow of “fake news” stories, a noble pose on the surface. If enough Bee articles get censored, or labeled as false, Facebook could prevent them from being shared on its platform. That’s a potential death blow to a site that finds its stories shared thousands of times on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”

4. Billing ethics. At this very moment I am waiting for a client to call for a scheduled consultation. I rearranged my schedule to accommodate hers, but she is now 30 minutes late for the appointment. I’ve emailed, called and received voice mail. The question is, is any of the time I’ve spent avoiding working on other projects while I await what was supposed to be an emergency conference billable, and ethically so? This kind of thing happens to me a lot.

I decided a long time ago that it wasn’t ethical to bill for wasted time occasioned by a client’s tardiness. Still, it always seems like there should be some better way to handle it…

5. Of course they did! From the Times report: “City workers began clearing the intersection where the police killed [George] Floyd just over a year ago. The reopening efforts drew criticism from some activists.” Assorted junk, flowers, barricades and signs had blocked a South Minneapolis intersection for many months, while businesses suffered and crime in the area increased. The mayor and city officials hoped that the unannounced clearance effort would let traffic move through the intersection again; they knew that if the project were announced in advance, there would be protesters blocking the bulldozers, and of course no police could be on hand. Mustn’t have that. The name of Chicago Avenue in the area has been changed George Perry Floyd Jr. Place for two blocks. One would think that would be more than sufficient to honor a man who did nothing honorable, and whose death, the circumstances of which he put into motion himself, has cost billions of dollars and lives while dividing the nation and undermining civil rights. Guess not. “I think it’s wrong,” said D.J. Hooker, a community activist. “This is not what they should be doing while people are trying to still heal.”

Do you see any evidence that those exploiting the Floyd episode are “trying to heal”? I do not.

6. Am I going to have to get off of Facebook too? I already should have, I know: the platform banning Ethics Alarms for most of two years without explanation was reason enough, as was its complicity in manipulating the 2020 election, and its banning of President Trump. Now we have this: On May 13, 2021, while Hamas was sending rockets into Israel, The Jerusalem Prayer Team page was flooded with 800,000 anti-Semitic or Anti-Israel comments. Two days later, Facebook told announced it had unpublished the JPT Facebook page, on the grounds that it violated its policies. The Epoch Times reports that a search of the websites of The Washington Post, USA Today, and The New York Times produced no stories on the issue.

Did you know that democracy dies in darkness?

7. Which reminds me of the Soviet purge at JAMA...Dr. Howard Bauchner, the top editor of the Journal of The American Medical Association, has been forced out because another editor, Dr. Edward Livingston, argued that socioeconomic factors, not structural racism, held back black communities on a JAMA podcast. A tweet promoting the podcast also said that “no physician could be racist.” Bauchner had been on enforced leave since March, as the “incident”—incident meaning that a non-conforming opinion was uttered in a professional setting—was investigated. “I remain profoundly disappointed in myself for the lapses that led to the publishing of the tweet and podcast,” Dr. Bauchner groveled on the way out. “Although I did not write or even see the tweet, or create the podcast, as editor in chief, I am ultimately responsible for them.”

Weenie. Shame on him.

Much of the focus has been on the “no physician could be racist” tweet. One has to deliberately misconstrue the intended meaning to find offense. Racism is harmful, and a physician must do no harm, ergo no racist is truly a physician. Yes, it’s a “no true Scotsman rationalization,” but it sets up a contrast between the real and the ideal. Of course there are racist doctors.

And now we know that there are censorious, totalitarian ones, and that they run the AMA.

22 thoughts on “Mid-Day Ethics Interruptions, 6/4/2021: After the First Item, You May Not Want To Read Any More…

  1. Re 4. Establish missed appointment rate with the a fixed amount of time allowed for a grace period. Those showing up after the grace period will have to reschedule and will be billed at the missed appointment rate. My doctors charge 25 bucks and make me reschedule. A penalty fee is simply used to prevent abuse. You have the option of waiving it

  2. Re 1.
    Obviously they knew what they were doing because eating pizza is not generally thought to be a punishment so they cannot claim ignorance. Fire them all.
    But there us more. The coaches used blackmail by stating the team would be punished if he refused. That forced the boy to make a Sophie’s choice in which he had the choose between, in this case, his faith and his relationship with his teammates. Even if the boy was told to eat dirt (no religious issue) or his refusal would cause pain to his teammates it is still totally wrong.

    • Correct, the Nazis were well-known for mass punishments of innocent people for the infractions of the few.

      I hate that I had to reference the Nazis, but those coaches were callous fools to think they could get away with it.

      • Well, the reference to the Nazis is pretty gratuitous. Group punishment is not an unusual team-building exercise. I bet you would find a ton of this crap in a Marine Corps boot camp.

        We had something similar in high school basketball. Everybody shoots free throws. Anyone misses, everybody runs. With 15 players, that could. E a lot of running.

        This is obviously different. I just wonder at what point in my life I would have looked the coach in the eye and said, “Fuck you, I’m not eating that.”

        Or, per Jack: “Bite me!”

        Even being generally stubborn, I don’t know if I would have done that in high school.


        • I understood that it was either he eats it or the others get punished. This is different than group punishment in which all are punished because no one takes the blame.
          In this case the team is to be punished not for him missing a workout but for not accepting a punishment the coaches know would require him violate his faith.

          • No, that’s right.

            My point was that group punishment can be okay and can be a valid team-building exercise.

            I think we all agree that THIS method is wrong, though.


        • Good point. I let the forcing the Jew to violate his beliefs and humiliate him take me down that dark hallway.

  3. #1. It gets worse. The practice the boy missed, according to CantonRep.com: a “voluntary May 20 strengthening and conditioning workout.” (emphasis mine)

  4. Regarding #4, I work as a piano/vocal teacher at the local music academy. We have an attendance policy that is spelled out. Generally speaking, if you are 15 minutes or more late, you are considered the same as a no call-no show. Both of those are considered for full payments (if the student does it, they pay me for the lesson, if I do it, the student gets a free lesson). If you call within less than an hour before your time, you still pay according to the policy, but we as teachers often waive this one for infrequent offenders, as they are almost always, “my kid threw up/just got out of the doctor’s and has strep/flu/etc, we can’t make it”. Our students’ families usually will waive for us too (I once had to call in sick 45 minutes before a lesson as my whole family tested positive for strep and the doctors told us we had to quarantine). I view this part as a Golden Rule opportunity. If the call is an hour or more prior, it is cancelled or rescheduled with no charge. In college, there was a rule that a teacher who is 15 minutes late can’t expect students to listen to the lecture, though I don’t know if that was University policy or common sense/courtesy, though I think it should be both. I suppose my belief is 15 minutes or more late is chargable, without at least a call/text/email/something and anything else depends on your late/cancellation policy, which you should have.

    As for working on another case while sitting there waiting for someone who is so late, I don’t see why that isn’t billable time. You are putting hours (or fractions thereof) in on someone’s job. It is time, and you bill by that time, though again, that would depend on how you usually give time. I have never done a job where I bill for time spent. The closest I ever did was trying to bill for time worked as a contractor and my employer, who I saved a lot of money by getting the project done about a week ahead of schedule with a team who wanted to drag their feet, told me that I would say that I worked 40 hour weeks, even if I really didn’t, to just make the billing easier and more fair for the extra effort I put in during the hours I worked.

    While I can think of unethical late/cancellation policies, I certainly think that a policy, with a little common sense and Golden Rule applied for extreme circumstances, should be adequate to serve both you and your clients, especially if you have to wait for long periods (I count 15 minutes of wasted time as a long period) routinely.

  5. #6. Get off Facebook. Stay off Facebook. In the last 2 years and most especially in the last year they have been increasing their censorship of posts. I used to look at a number of humor sites and noticed their moderators kept posting about Facebook threats to ban them. I didn’t take it too seriously until it happened to me.

    I used to post humor memes and noticed certain ones were being marked as “misinformation” (I have less than 150 friends on Facebook). Seriously Facebook? A meme about Cthulu returning to the North Atlantic due to less shipping traffic because of Covid is misinformation? It’s a fictional entity. Go read “The Call of Cthulu” by H.P. Lovecraft. It came out in 1929.

    Then I put one up and was instantly banned for 30 days. It was rescinded an hour or two later but Facebook still hid the post. So I decided to stop going on Facebook.

    Here’s where it gets weird. All of a sudden, my settings were changed without my knowledge. Instead of notifications only if someone posted something on my wall or if someone reacted to one of my posts, I was getting notifications about every single thing every one of my Facebook friends was doing. I was bombarded by emails from Facebook about these “notifications” and hinting I really should come back. No thank you.

    I think Facebook is reaching the point of trying to control too much and tell people what they can and cannot say and what they can and cannot think. The problem is, Facebook is not my employer, is not my friend and has no claim on my time. If I want to walk away, I can. And I have. And it’s driving them crazy.

    • I walked away from FB 2 years ago and never looked back. I did so before the outright censorship took place. I did so because it was populated by too many people who had few ideas of their own or posted things simply to get “likes” and not engage in conversation or discussion of topics.

    • I got a 30 day FB ban from posting ads or live streaming (things I don’t do anyway) for a post from last November. It was a picture of Jeffrey Dahmer and had the text, “No ones going to tell me how many people I can have for Thanksgiving.” The weirdest part was, they sent me a notice of the ban in March.

      I challenged their ban and told them that it was a joke and I am very definitely anti-cannibalism. I never heard back from them. I was a bit disappointed in that. I wanted them to reply back about how the ban was a response to me flouting the limits on social gatherings while I kept pretending to think it was because they thought I wanted to eat people instead of turkey.

  6. 4. I have been on the reverse end of a similar situation. Item one, the Bill is higher than the bid, without any explanation at all. Item two. Our tractor had a technical issue with the GPS (which itself costs several thousand in a subscription fee annually) that caused it to not be operational costing us time and it took them weeks to diagnose and multiple on site trips… I got a bill for labor and replacement parts that didn’t fix it. We later negotiated for a lesser fee of one visit and parts installed. Our hair dresser must have had dozens of cancellations, she sends text reminders multiple times, unfortunately, that didn’t stop us from cancelling day of due to Covid exposure. I also showed up 30 minutes late to the appointment of a different hairdresser, as I wrote the time down wrong on the calendar.

    Speaking of media that reports and misses reports. Andy Ngo claims to have been chased and beaten by protestors in Portland. The interesting thing is lack of coverage of all mainstream, non conservative media. I don’t know what to think. Is he a hack who instigated trouble for a story or a legit investigative journalist?


    • IMHO Andy Ngo is sort of the equivalent of a war correspondent who reports from the front lines. Ngo goes where the bad actors are to get the facts. He is documenting the activities of Antifa and exposing their tactics. They have assaulted him in the past with frozen water bottles which fractured his skull. The hacks are those in the mainstream media who choose not to report on these events as they undermine their political views. If others have a different perspective than mine I would be interested in their opinion of his work.

      • I am truly not sure if he’s a poser or a legit journalist. The reporting right now is the worst I’ve ever seen for factual info and it all contradicts.

        • Can you supply some examples of the reporting that you feel is disputable? That would help me assess the situation better. I am going on what I have seen on video.

  7. 1) Ethics hero to the high school kid. This would never have been a story if he hadn’t even remotely stood for the convictions he believed in. And most high school kids typically go along with the crowd and almost ALL high school kids will go along if the crowd AND the authorities agree. So if it even got to a point where a high school instructor or coach had to brow beat him into submission, the kid already had shown some backbone.

    Good for him.

  8. 4) What industry doesn’t have a “restocking fee” or an ethical equivalent?

    We have clients commit to ENTIRE landscape plans, and we’ve stacked up supplies and plant material ready to go, only to have them back out at the last minute. The contract explicitly makes clear that ANY changes after a contract is signed is liable to a percentage fee (which essentially covers the cost of materials already procured).

    NOW, we’re in the relationship business before we’re in the landscape business so often times we do end up forgiving this, but we end up enforcing it more than not.

    I don’t see how there isn’t something analogous here.

    • Why do none of the stories mention the race of the head coach or show photos of the rest of the coach’s staff? If the guy were white, we’d sure as hell have that crammed down our throats from here to Sunday. Why isn’t this black supremacism? What if the kid were Muslim and fasting for Ramadan? Jesus H. Christ, a white coach would have been shot by a firing squad. Eventually, this coach will get reinstated. Unless he’s not very highly regarded or successful. This is a storied high school football program. From wiki:

      “Canton McKinley is 7th in the nation in football wins all-time, with 827 as of December 2017. McKinley is also second in Ohio in win total.

      Prior to the start of the current playoff format in Ohio high school football, McKinley had won seven AP poll titles. Since the playoff format began, McKinley has won three State Titles, in 1981, 1997, and 1998. They have been State Runner-Up three times in 1977, 1985, and 2004.

      The Canton McKinley vs. Massillon Washington rivalry is the 13th most played rivalry in the nation, with 129 meetings between the schools. The rivalry is also tied for the nation’s 14th oldest, dating back to 1894 and was profiled in the November 14, 1994 issue of Sports Illustrated. The Great American Rivalry Series which features the nation’s top high school football rivalries has highlighted the rivalry 11 times since 2006.”

      Clearly, this is big time HS football, the biggest. If the coach is fired, the black population and the players will throw a fit. If the coach is any good, i.e, he wins. Benjamin Crump will be flying in any day now. You really think a good, black football coach coaching mostly black kids at a big deal high school football outfit in Ohio will be fired for abusing a Jewish kid? Hah!

      • And even more idiotic: If the kid had a shoulder injury, why didn’t the coaches send him to a doctor rather than insist he “walk it off” and “suck it up” and lift. Child abuse.

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