A Simone Biles Thought Experiment I Dare Her Apologists To Try…

Womens soccer goalie

The New York Times writes of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s desperate-needed victory over the Netherlands in the Olympics:

“It was only afterward that Alyssa Naeher let down her guard. After she had dived to saved the penalty kick late in the game. After she had dived again to push aside the header in extra time. After she had turned away not one but two penalties in the shootout. Naeher’s teammates count on her to do her job as well as they do theirs every time they take the field. Better than they do even, since their mistakes have a tendency to wind up in the back of her net.

In the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament on Friday, facing a dangerous Netherlands attack, that had already happened twice. Now the United States needed Naeher to save them again. After the teams played a 2-2 tie, a penalty kick shootout would decide who would go to the semifinals, and who would go home. The Americans turned to Naeher. Save us, they said. Just like you have before. “There’s no one else I’d rather have in the net than her,” midfielder Rose Lavelle said later. “She’s saved us so many times.” And so Naeher, who had saved her teams in big games and small ones, in World Cups and friendlies, saved them again.”

Now imagine that Naeher suddenly announced when the game was a tie that she would not guard the goal in the shootout, but was quitting the game. “It’s been really stressful, this Olympic Games,” she says. “I think just as a whole, not having an audience, there are a lot of different variables going into it. It’s been a long week, it’s been a long Olympic process, it’s been a long year. So just a lot of different variables, and I think we’re just a little bit too stressed out. But we should be out here having fun, and sometimes that’s not the case. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.”

So she quits, just as her team is depending on her. The back-up goalie takes her place, and the American Women’s Soccer Team loses, and is out of the Olympics.

Would Naeher be hailed as a hero and a role model? Would her team mates say afterwards that they support her decision 100%?

Anatomy Of An Ethics Train Wreck: The Amazon Warehouse “Nooses”

Amazon noose

Warning: reading this story is likely to make you feel hopeless. For this is what the hyper-racialization and resulting division of American society breeds, and it can only go in one direction from here. Hint: it will not be a direction that will lead anywhere good.

A brief summary:

  • In Windsor, Connecticut—I once spent a summer there!—Amazon contracted to have a warehouse built, with the promise of jobs and economic revitalization.
  • Over the past three months, workers building the Amazon warehouse claimed to have found nooses, or ropes that looked like nooses, or “noose-like” ropes at the construction site.
  • Protests have been organized by activists who have never seen the alleged nooses. Demands are being made for police to find and charge the noosemakers. The presence of the nooses, if they are nooses, is being called a “hate crime” by the local NAACP.
  • Local community activists have organized several demonstrations to demand that Amazon take stronger action to ensure the safety of Black construction workers. One such demonstration included members from the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the New Black Panthers, who showed up at the construction site carrying guns. The armed activists said they were there to defend the Black workers and make them feel empowered to speak their mind.
  • Amazon and the other companies involved claim they have done everything they can. They have delayed construction twice, adding security (to protect workers from the nooses, apparently) and cameras at the site and putting up $100,000 in award money for anyone who can provide information about the nooses.
  • The police say their investigation has determined that there were only two nooses, with six others being  ropes with the kind of loop often used in construction projects.

Observations:

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There Goes My Head! The Latest On Simone Biles…

jackheadexplosion

The LA Times just blew up my head, which is my problem, and also made it mandatory to once again raise the increasingly aggravating matter of Simone Biles, the greatest, most courageous gymnast who ever quit on her team because the pressure just became too much. The latter is your problem because I assume you’re as sick of reading about Biles as I am sick of thinking about her.

In an article bemoaning how the failure of so many of America’s putative stars in the Tokyo Olympics has put “the Games in a deep hole with lots of digging to be done,” Times sportswriter David Wharton wrote,

Biles could help. Though facing some detractors, she has received a wave of support on social media over the past 24 hours and, speaking with reporters, sounded as if she might compete in the all-around and individual events beginning later this week. ‘Just a lot of different variables and I think we’re just a little stressed out,” she said, adding that “we’re going to take it a day at a time.Given the very personal yet very public circumstances of Biles’ withdrawal on Tuesday, [assistant professor of sports management at the University of New Haven Jason] Chung believes her return could become an even bigger story. “I could imagine it bringing more viewers because of the human-interest angle,” he said. “Having someone of her magnitude and ability struggling emotionally, people might be interested to see how she weathers the storm. “Also,” he said, “she could draw younger viewers who connect with that kind of authenticity.”

This passage made my head explode four or five times—it’s hard to count when your brains are on the ceiling.The last was the worst–AUTHENTICITY???? Paging Inigo Montoya:

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The Suicide Of Officer Smith And Ethics Zugzwang

Officer Smith

Ethics zugzwang is a term used on Ethics Alarms to describe situations where there are no ethical options, only unethical ones The origin is the world of chess, which uses the German word zugzwang to indicate a game position in which a player is safe from checkmate as long as he or she doesn’t move. But of course, a player has to do something; time cannot be stopped in place. In ethics zugzwang, and resolution is a bad one.

The current controversy over the suicide of Jeffrey Smith, a D. C. Metropolitan Police Department police officer who confronted the mob in the Capitol on January 6 and shot himself nine days later, is a perfect example of ethics zugzwang in our ugly political environment. Smith’s widow Erin is convinced that his death was caused by the riot, she says, and will petition the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board to designate her husband’s suicide as a death in the line of duty. “When my husband left for work that day, he was the Jeff that I knew,” Ms. Smith said in an interview. “When he returned after experiencing the event, being hit in the head, he was a completely different person. I do believe if he did not go to work that day, he would be here and we would not be having this conversation.” Of course, she is welcome to believe whatever she chooses. Having her husband’s death ruled as occurring in the line of duty also carries with it substantial financial benefits. Confirmation bias is unavoidable.

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Comment Of The Day: “Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?”

Yes, I guess this is the sixth post related to the Simone Biles controversy. Isaac’s Comment of the Day elaborates on one of the many reasons this episode bothered me so much and continues to, especially as the excuses and rationalizations for Biles’ conduct appear to be taking over the “narrative” in the absence of what I consider persuasive facts and arguments. The next ugly shoe to drop, I predict, will be when the female American gymnast who won a gold in Tokyo gets endorsement contracts in preference to the “Greatest of All Time” who somehow couldn’t access that greatness when the spotlight was on, and chose not to try. The preference for the winner over the “hero” will be attributed to malign influences. Just wait.

Giving women appropriate power and influence in American culture has been generally beneficial to all, but the ascension of traditional female virtues has had the unfortunate effect of diluting some of the the very values that allowed the United States to come into existence and succeed over the centuries. The disastrous handling of the pandemic has been one example of how this development is not an unalloyed good, and the fact that Biles’ conduct is not merely greeted with sympathy, which is nice, but praise, which is offensive, is another.

Here is Isaac’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?”

***

America used to be associated with very masculine qualities: toughness, stoicism, risk-taking. This reputation did not exclude American women. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Calamity Jane, Amelia Earhart.

It’s easy to point out the Generation X and millennials’ glaring lack of these qualities, but to me it’s their parents who steered America wrong. Specifically every boomer who jumped on the socialist bandwagon and participated in the 1960s and 70s revolutions against marriage, Christianity, monogamy, patriotism, sobriety, and hard work. The ones who think Woodstock was some kind of beautiful, transformative event. The ones who wax nostalgic about the “Summer of Love” when their poorly-raised grandkids turn chunks of Seattle into murder-dystopias. The generation that necessitated the invention of the term “latch-key kid” to describe their neglected children.

So I perused Simone Biles’ Wikipedia page, and, sure enough…in and out of foster care…abandoned by Mom…no Dad ever in the picture. Showed incredible talent that was her ticket to a secure future, only to be one of the gymnasts sexually exploited by serial abuser and boomer Larry Nassau. Diagnosed with ADHD; currently on medication. These are the symptoms of growing up in a world created by the values of the 60s and 70s. We can mock them for not knowing how to talk to girls, change a tire, be in a stable relationship, or cope with stress…but these are things people learn from their dads, their faith, and their stable community of neighbors, extended family, and church. Younger generations were not only not given those things; they were taught they didn’t need them.

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Friday Late Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2021: Pot, Bribes, “Advocacy Journalism,” Baseball’s Domestic Abuse Policy, And How Did A Woman Win The Gold In The Men’s Decathlon?

White rabbit 2

I often check multiple websites to see what of ethics significance occurred on given dates. This July 30 isn’t a major ethics day, though the fiasco that resulted in 1864 when the serially incompetent Union General Ambrose Burnside made his third major blunder of the Civil War in the Battle of the Crater carries a crucial leadership lesson that apparently is impossible to learn: don’t give incompetent leaders second (or third) chances to lead.

However, on one of the sites, “This Day in History,” the headline on a note reads, “1976: Caitlyn Jenner wins Olympic decathlon.” That may be politically correct, but it’s cowardly (would the trans activist mob pounce if the event was stated straight?) and absurd on its face. Bruce Jenner won the Olympic decathlon, and it was a men’s event. Caitlyn was, as far as we know, not even a twinkle in his eye. Bruce fathered children after winning the gold; the event and the other events in his life when he was a he were not magically altered by his later transgender journey, like “Back to the Future.”

1. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” note of the day. Frequent commenter and invaluable tipster Steve Witherspoon sent me a link to a Jonathan Turley column I had missed. The law professor covers a lot of issues we have discussed here as he notes that “Professional ethics, it seems, has become entirely impressionistic in the age of advocacy journalism.”

It seems? There is no question about it. Turley also points out the hypocrisy of the Times with several examples, writing, “If none of this makes sense to you, that is because it does not have to make sense. Starting with the [Senator Tom] Cotton scandal, the New York Times cut its mooring cables with traditional journalist values. It embraced figures like Nikole Hannah-Jones who have championed advocacy journalism.” He also notes that “while the Times has embraced advocacy journalism, its has not updated its guidelines which state that “Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that The Times is seeking to cover objectively.”

Read it all, and I recommend sending it to any friend or relative who calls assertions that the news media is a left-wing propaganda machine at this point “conservative disinformation.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: NBC Gymnastics Commentator Nastia Liukin

2021 Gymnastics - Nastia Cup

I’m not going to pull a single quote from former gymnast and current ethics corrupter Liukin’s much-praised and shockingly awful letter slobbering all over Simone Biles. The whole thing is revolting, and as riddled with offensive anti-ethics as Sonny Corleone was riddled with bullets. Here it is—I’m going to letter each line for reference.

Dear Simone,

Thank you.

A. Thank you for showing the depth of who you are beyond an athlete as a leader, role model, mental health warrior, and person.

B. Thank you for epitomizing what the next generation of role models should be.

C. Thank you for creating a safer space for current and future athletes to unequivocally be themselves.

D. Thank you for helping the world realize that prioritizing your physical and mental health is the mark of a true champion.

E. Thank you for illuminating that nobody is defined by the depth of their trophy case, and that you don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself and the pursuit of happiness.

F. Thank you for taking the sport of gymnastics to new heights as the unanimous GOAT. No one will be remembered for any single routine, competition, or medal.

G.You, however, will undeniably be remembered by many for the compassion and bravery shown here in Tokyo.

H.You came here as a gymnast, and you’re leaving as a hero.

xo NL

Wait, I have to gag…ACK!!PTUI!GGGGACK!

I think it’s past, but as I review this astounding exercise in gaslighting and designating as admirable what isn’t, my gorge may rise again, so you have been warned. Well..

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Not Cakes, But Advocacy: The Tenth Circuit Rules That Compelled Expression Is Constitutional

compelled speech

I will state up front that I am confident that this decision will get to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that if and when it does, it will be reversed.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Denver ruled 2-1 that website designer Lorie Smith and her company, 303 Creative, violated a Colorado law by refusing to create a website celebrating a same sex union. forin a lawsuit filed before the law was used against her. She was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit, who also represented Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. There is a material difference, however, between a cake and a website. A cake is not generally thought of as expression, and there is a colorable argument that a bakery is a public accommodation. But Smith, whose company designs wedding websites, argues that forcing her to make one that supports a same-sex marriage violates her religious beliefs. It isn’t frosting and cake shades at issue, it’s words.

A Colorado public accommodation law bars public accommodations from refusing to provide equal access to services because of sexual orientation. The law’s communication clause also says public accommodations cannot publish any communication indicating that full access to services will not be provided because of sexual orientation. The appeals court majority decreed that neither provision violates Smith’s free speech and free exercise rights under the First Amendment, even though it acknowledged that Smith’s websites are pure speech that involve her unique creative talents. But, the Court claims, indulging in an “its isn’t what it is” rationalization, Colorado “has a compelling interest in protecting both the dignity interests of members of marginalized groups and their material interests in accessing the commercial marketplace…We agree with the dissent that a diversity of faiths and religious exercise, including appellants’, ‘enriches’ our society…Yet a faith that enriches society in one way might also damage society in other ways, particularly when that faith would exclude others from unique goods or services.”

This opinion is way, way over the traditional judicially-drawn line between compelling public accommodations to be equally accessible to all and compelling artistic expression. Under this theory, a singer who performs at weddings would have to warble at a same-sex ceremony, even if her faith held that such a ceremony was a sin.

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And Yet Another Entry From The Res Ipsa Loquitur Files! “There Is No Good Reason You Should Have to Be a Citizen to Vote”(NYT)

shackles

I really didn’t plan this. I certainly didn’t plan on having to shackle my arms to prevent myself from expressing the appropriate sentiments after encountering not one but two examples of how ethical ignorance is apparently reaching a new and dangerous high in the United States of America. But my print version of the New York Times contained an op-ed that really “argued” for the proposition above, and the New York Times, allegedly a responsible newspaper, actually felt that such an uninformed, civically illiterate, stupid opinion was worthy of publication.

We are told that the author, Atossa Abrahamian is a journalist “who has written extensively about citizenship,” evidently without understanding what citizenship is. We also are told, “This essay is part of a series exploring bold ideas to revitalize and renew the American experiment.” Bold! You know, like “Let’s have a monetary system based on cheese!” Or “Let’s select members of Congress by having Beer Pong competitions!”

Note that I still haven’t made any substantive statements rebutting this garbage or explaining why it is the intellectual equivalent of toxic waste. I don’t need to; first, I can count on my almost exclusively intelligent, ethical and erudite readers to do it, and moreover,such sentences as this are res ipsa loquitur…they speak for themselves:

“The strongest case for noncitizen voting today is representation: The more voters show up to the polls, the more accurately elections reflect peoples’ desires”

Yes, that’s the strongest case.

You take it from here.