Evening Ethics Cool-Down, 9/16/2021: On Idiots, The Donner Party, Statistical Reparations And The Evil NFL

Frozen Statue

I had to get out of bed to write this; I’ve been exhausted all day. I better not be getting old. That will really tick me off…

***

I’m working on a post called “Cannibal Ethics,” and this obviously led me to the Donner Party, the group of doomed pioneers who had to eat each other to survive when they were caught in a storm in the Sierra Nevadas in 1846. If I knew that they had come to their fate because of a negligent author, I had forgotten it: a fake expert named Lansford Hastings had written “The Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California” recommending a short-cut (which actually increased the trip’s mileage) to the Promised Land (this was before the two areas were ruined by reality-free politics)He had never actually traveled the new trail when he published the book. He did finally do it shortly before the Donner party set out, and helped sealed its fate by leaving paper notes along the way that further misled them. One told the already desperate wagon train they could cross Utah’s Great Salt Lake desert in a faction of the time it actually took. The group ran out of water in the middle of the salt plain about half-way across.

If I compiled a list of U.S. Ethics Villains throughout history—I’ve considered it—Hastings would be on it. After he left the U.S. for Brazil following the Civil War, he wrote a sequel of sorts to the book that killed so many of the Donner Party: “The Emigrant’s Guide to Brazil.” (1867).

1. Tales of The Great Stupid, Headline Division. From the Boston Globe: “How did Boston miss its moment to elect a Black leader?” The reporter, Stephanie Ebert just can’t imagine why he three Black candidates in the mayoral primary were eliminated in favor of Michelle Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and Annissa Essaibi George, whose father was a Tunisian Arab Muslim. But, Ebert complains, there won’t be “any candidate who knows the weight of being Black in a city with deep racial scars.”

Maybe the three black candidates were not seen as skilled, experienced, or qualified as the primary’s winners. Or is Ebert saying that being black should be enough to qualify someone to be mayor?

2. Political correctness and baseball stats. The Negro Leagues were recently officially recognized as a “major league” despite their rag-tag, loosey-goosey ways. I have no problem with that; it is undeniable that many, if not all, of the black players banned from the American and National Leagues until Jackie Robinson shattered the apartheid were fully qualified to complete with the white stars. However, in their rush to be woke, baseball writers are going overboard, and miseducating readers. For example, in an article this week about the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vlad Guerrero Jr. taking a run at a Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, runs batted in and home runs, Time reporter Benjamin Hoffman listed what he claimed were the previous Triple Crown winners. There were 26 listed, or nearly twice as many as the last time I saw such a list. The reason, of course, is that the Negro Leagues Triple Crown winners had been added, which is absurd. The accomplishment of winning the top spot in all three categories during a Major League season of 154 or 162 games cannot be compared to doing so during the much shorter Negro League seasons. For example the “Triple Crown” attributed to Baseball Hall of Fame member Oscar Charleston in 1924 consisted in his playing only 54 games and having only 236 plate appearances—far short of what it would take to qualify for an MLB batting championship. There is no valid comparison between the Negro League Triple Crowns and the MLB version, and lumping them together is profoundly, and, I assume, intentionally misleading.

Call it “statistical reparations.”

3. Spoiled documentary. Netflix unveiled last week a new documentary about 9-11 and the resulting U.S. attacks on Afghanistan. It is excellent until about half-way through, when California House member Barbara Lee is inexplicably handed the narrative to extol her lone vote not to retaliate against the country that facilitated the terrorist acts that killed over 3000 Americans. Osama bin Laden was counting on officials like Lee to allow his murderous act to go unpunished. However the U.S. response was botched, and it certainly was, Lee’s position is suicidal for any nation, and she is as irresponsible now as she was then. As for the documentary, I’m out.

4. The NFL has always been evil, but now it isn’t hiding it. The pro football season got underway last week, with the teams still slowly, inevitably killing its players with unavoidable mini-concussions that will have untold numbers of them in diapers or dead by their sixties. The league’s solution to the intrusion of racist politics was to embrace them, allowing players to pimp for Black Lives Matter and to advance false narratives about police shootings in which no racist motives were involved. It’s also endorsing a racially divided America by playing the so-called “black national anthem” before every game. As ugly and as divisive as this new tradition is (blacks have the same National Anthem as every other American, and it’s called “The Star-Spangled Banner”), the decision to begin it can never be reversed, just as baseball is stuck with playing “God Bless America” forever. Taking it away means that you’re saying it’s bad, you see. In the case of the “black national anthem,” not playing it is racist. Now watch the pressure grow on colleges and high schools to musically declare that the United States is no longer united.

But giving up on integrity and ethics has been liberating—and profitable!—for the NFL. The league once opposed the tens of billions of dollars wagered on its games in Las Vegas and in offshore sports betting shops, in office and bar pools and among illegal bookies. Pro football backed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act of 2006. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to make sure our games are not betting vehicles,” Joe Browne, an N.F.L. spokesman, told The New York Times in 2008. That was a responsible position. Gambling is a regressive activity that disproportionate harms the poor and stupid. It can be addictive, and wreck lives an families. Organized crime has infested gambling at all levels for more than a century. Players in games with millions in wagers at stake, especially players who know they will have short careers and probably short lives as well, are targets for bribes. Oh, never mind. The Times today reports that “What the N.F.L. once sold as a principled stand, however, has more recently given way to a far more pragmatic one. As betting on football ballooned into a multi-billion-dollar industry, and as state after state acted to legalize it, the N.F.L. was left with a stark choice: to continue to fight gambling on its games, or to embrace it in exchange for a significant cut of casino marketing dollars.”

Guess what their choice was. Come on, guess.

5. Even by celebrity standards, Nicki Minaj is a loud-mouth idiot. The rapper with the most annoying voice in the history of human speech is a Wuhan vaccine skeptic for a typically (for her) stupid reason: a questionable anecdotal episode. Minaj alleged on Twitter that her cousin in Trinidad refuses to get a vaccine because his friend became impotent after being vaccinated.”His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding,” Minaj shared. (Trinidad denies it.) She has 22.6 million Twitter followers, so now this double hearsay is sufficient to cause a new wave of vaccine resistance, as if we needed any more. Nicki got in a name-calling fight with MSNBC’s Joy Reid over vaccines, so now Tucker Carlson is calling her courageous. This is just one more bit of signature significance regarding Carlson. Minaj will literally say or tweet anything that pops into what is laughably called “her mind,” because her fans are even less intelligent than she is, and she knows she won’t face any consequences, no matter what garbage she spits out, including her rap efforts. Now Minaj says she will get vaccinated because she will have to in order to tour. You know, money. What someone like Minaj says, tweets, thinks or sings should neither interest nor influence anybody. But the Biden White House either offered her a phone call with the Big Guy or invited her to the White House (her version), so now it is involved with this fool along with Fox News. “It will be interesting to see who, ultimately, wins Minaj,” write Althouse. No it won’t! She has no expertise, no education, nothing but ego, a fawning fan base, and a serious case of the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome.

Now pretend I didn’t write about her, and wipe Nicki Minaj from your data banks.

17 thoughts on “Evening Ethics Cool-Down, 9/16/2021: On Idiots, The Donner Party, Statistical Reparations And The Evil NFL

  1. Re: the Donner Party.
    In the late 60’s the University of Colorado let students vote on naming a new campus dining facility. “Donner” was a suggestion in the running, but the winner was the “Alferd Packer Restaurant and Grill”, named after another, arguably worse but less known, snowbound Colorado cannibal. This also enabled the facility’s slogan, “Have a friend for lunch”.
    (And there’s a Southpark connection.)
    https://aboutboulder.com/blog/have-a-friend-for-lunch-literally/

  2. A list of Ethics Villains in US history? Hmmmm. I think that might need a few sublists, but I can think of several presidents who’d belong on it, together with several governors and political bosses. I’m trying to think of military leaders who belong on it. I don’t know if MacArthur qualifies for overreaching. I’m beginning to think Milley might be a candidate.

    1. I think there is an unspoken belief that all major cities need to be led by black leaders drawn from the ghetto experience and steeped in the Black Lives Matter movement. The mayor of Newark gave a speech last year in which he said that it was time that the City was policed strictly by black men who knew the black experience, who lived in black neighborhoods, who had black children, and went to bed with black women at night. Flip the colors, I dare you. The fact is that the left in this country, or a major section of it, is headed toward black supremacy. They want America’s cities to be basically taken over by blacks and allies. It’s going to be very interesting seeing what they put in place of Monument Avenue in Richmond. Oversized statues of Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, MLK, and Obama?

    2. Not miseducating, just reeducating. Now come read your daily Howard Zinn…

    3. We talked about Lee’s position when we talked about Jeanette Rankin a few Decembers ago. A lot of idealists and principled peaceful people are wonderful people, unfortunately high-sounding ideals don’t work as sound policy.

    4. The United States is no longer united. I said seven years ago we were headed this way. It’s the long-term side effect of sticking a chisel between the races and widening the crack for short term political gain. I read a recent article in the Atlantic that talks about us being split into four Americas: Free America (mainstream conservatives), Smart America (mainstream liberals), Real America (Trump conservatives), and Just America (woke liberals). There simply is no reconciling the four. How do you reconcile an American who flies the Gadsden flag outside his house with one who flies the rainbow flag outside his house and is “uncomfortable” with the Stars and Stripes? How do you reconcile the view that government is getting too big with the view that it isn’t big enough? How do you reconcile the opinion that law and order need to be kept with the opinion that revolution is the way of the future? How do you reconcile white supremacy with black supremacy? The answer is you don’t. You don’t because you can’t.

    Waaaaay back when I was in college, they used to hold a tree lighting to herald the opening of the holiday season (I went to Catholic college, so you can presumably still do that). I also belonged to the college’s ceremonial choir, who traditionally sang for that event. My final year someone started a gospel choir on campus, although I knew little about it and never attended any event that featured it. A year or two later I spoke with my old director and he said someone in the administration had suggested that both groups sing for the tree lighting. He refused, saying it would become a “battle of the bands” with his group cast as the old guard white conservatives against this newer, hipper, blacker, more liberal group, and dividing the audience. I thought at the time it was just a petty squabble over music. I didn’t think this issue would become a national one.

    5.Garbage in, garbage out.

  3. 5. I will agree that tying one medical event in another’s life to the vaccine was irresponsible and unethical for someone with a huge Twitter dolt following but I believe there is more to the uproar over her comments. From what I have heard the rapper told her following to: “pray on it” , do the research and make up their own minds beforehand. This outraged those who want Minaj and her following to fall into lock step with all their progressive ideas. Progressives need and use these celebrities to push their agenda. They are the distribution channel that must not go rogue. Thinking for yourself was what Carlson was defending based on what I heard on WMAL. I trust that more than CNN’s reprint of a Reuters story. Now of course, all that I know could be just conservative spin but it makes more sense than Carlson advocating that people should not take the vaccine when he has made positive statements about Operation Warp Speed.

    • That was my understanding, too, Chris. Carlson’s praise seemed to be for her encouraging people to make up their own minds and “make sure ur comfortable with ur decision, not bullied” (God, how I hate Twitter – do we really need to shorten the word “your”?). Carlson surmised, correctly, that the attacks on Minaj are coming in because she’s resisting the idea of mandates, and that she called it out for what it is – bullying. And for that, yeah, she deserves some credit. Stopped clock, twice a day, and so forth.

      As for the idea that “this double hearsay is sufficient to cause a new wave of vaccine resistance”, I’m dubious. We’ve had millions of doses of vaccines sitting on shelves unused for months now. The folks who aren’t interested in the vaccine clearly are not interested, and they weren’t waiting because Nicki Minaj hadn’t weighed in yet. Any increase in hesitancy going forward will have much more to do with Biden’s mandates and other policy decisions than any celebrity nonsense. Americans don’t much like to be bullied and threatened. Yes, some people will give in and get the jab because they can’t afford to lose their job. But a whole lot of people, including many who were already vaccinated, heard Biden’s threats and dug in their heels. Those people will never be vaccinated or get another booster shot, ever. The idiocy of mandating it instantly calcified the fault lines. People who were merely hesitant before are now resistant. People who were resistant before are now militant. There will be no more “waves” of covid vaccine resistance. The level of resistance has been set, and it’s staying where it’s at.

      Personally, I think this is such a counterproductive move, it almost has to be purposeful. Biden needs a villain to distract from his administration poor performance, and those dirty unvaxxed pieces of shit who are making everybody else sick is a convenient one. Plus, even with the recent surge in cases, hospitals are obstinately refusing to be overwhelmed like we’ve been told for a year and a half that they were going to be. Those goddamn nurses and doctors are working too hard and keeping things functioning. We can’t have proper exploitable panic if the medical world is still more or less functioning as normal. But if 15-20% of nurses and support personnel get fired, then we’ll have the collapse in the medical field that they’ve been hoping for all along. If hospitals start turning away patients, *then* we can get some really good government power grabs going…

      And now we hear that, despite his promises in his speech last week, the Biden admin is cutting allocation of monoclonal antibody treatments to states like Florida. They are trying to engineer a hospital crisis for political gain, that’s the only conclusion I can come to from all this. These moves will only make the impact of the pandemic worse, and it’s obvious that they will. I don’t think the people running this show are that incompetent. I think they’re literally psychopaths who cannot bear to be challenged, and are fine with punishing innocent people to hurt their political foes. We’re heading into some dark times as a nation.

      • Great analysis Jeff, especially “it almost has to be purposeful. Biden needs a villain to distract from his administration poor performance, and those dirty unvaxxed pieces of shit who are making everybody else sick is a convenient one.”

        I would change almost purposeful, to most certainly purposeful.
        Additionally, this is another push and probe to ascertain who, why, and how many, are resisting and what are the pressure points that activate people to resist.

        I think most polls have sniffer-jo’s approval rating at roughly 40%.
        That is an awful lot of really stupid compliant fools running around.
        Indeed, it appears your dark times forecast is increasingly becoming accurate.

      • “Carlson’s praise seemed to be for her encouraging people to make up their own minds and “make sure ur comfortable with ur decision, not bullied” (God, how I hate Twitter – do we really need to shorten the word “your”?).”

        And praising someone for “making up her own mind” when she lacks the critical thinking skills to do it responsibly is itself irresponsible. He’s praising her because she agrees with him. Well, my dog agrees with me, but I wouldn’t cite him as an authority.

        “As for the idea that “this double hearsay is sufficient to cause a new wave of vaccine resistance”, I’m dubious.”

        Why would you be dubious? Why do you think social media influencers are so well paid to endorse stuff? Their followers have the IQs of sheep, and behave like sheep. The folks who are “not interested” are just confused by all the changing edicts, rumors and contradictions. Anyone they trust—and trusting Minaj means you are an idiot—can make a difference.

        • The rest of my comment explained my doubts – those who remain unvaccinated at this point are largely unpersuadable, at least by celebrities and politicians. The battle lines have been drawn, and both sides are dug in deep.

          Perhaps a new, deadlier variant that doesn’t evade the vaccine-induced immunity might drive many of them to reconsider, but mere words, even from famous “influencers”, aren’t moving the needle anymore, in either direction. Essentially, we’ve reached the phase of this thing where the virus and vaccines are proxies for larger issues. For many, it’s not a pandemic anymore, it’s just another front in the culture war.

          • It is being driven by people who just want to coerce people to doing their will.

            I asked why the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) did not bury the Delta variant like they buried the Hunter Biden laptop story.

            My longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, gave this answer.

            https://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=379471&p=4506499#post4506499

            They didn’t WANT to bury it. It was another cudgel to use against the public to compel obedience.

            Lockdowns, vaccine mandates and killing dogs to stop people from traveling to rescue them are cut from the same evil cloth.

            The collective value of the lives of those who support COVID-19 restrictions are worth less than the life of one of those dogs.

            If the trolley problem involved one thousand COVID-19 restriction supporters and a sickly dog with only a few days to live at most, the answer is clearly obvious to me.

    • No, the point is that someone like Minaj shouldn’t influence anybody about anything, especially health and medicine, but also politics, the environment, sex, family, law…and the list goes on. Her opinion doesn’t matter any more than a 7-year-old’s opinion, because it is based on nothing, from incompletely formed critical thinking facilities.

      • And this is obviously the right take.

        There are precious few celebrities I trust for information on anything other than insider pool in their genres. I’d go so far as to say we should apply more scrutiny to celebrity opinions because the fact of the matter is that intelligence isn’t a requisite of celebrity, and that because of the nature of their jobs, they’re very good at speaking very authoritatively and convincingly, but have no more access to information than you or I do.

      • The folks who aren’t interested in the vaccine clearly are not interested, and they weren’t waiting because Nicki Minaj hadn’t weighed in yet.

        Many refuse because their personal risk is too low to justify vaccination.

        The idiocy of mandating it instantly calcified the fault lines. People who were merely hesitant before are now resistant. People who were resistant before are now militant. There will be no more “waves” of covid vaccine resistance. The level of resistance has been set, and it’s staying where it’s at.

        The vaccine has become a tool of oppression.

        Could getting vaccinated now constitute formal cooperation with evil?

        Those goddamn nurses and doctors are working too hard and keeping things functioning. We can’t have proper exploitable panic if the medical world is still more or less functioning as normal. But if 15-20% of nurses and support personnel get fired, then we’ll have the collapse in the medical field that they’ve been hoping for all along.

        I bring this up.

        Several points regarding this.

        – First and foremost, the vaccine mandate was limited to health care employment, which has specialized needs apart from society in general. this is a far cry from requiring vaccinations to enter bars and restaurants.
        – Even so, the H1N1 vaccine was experimental. These health care workers (who are far from anti-vaxxers) opposed the mandate due to the unknown risks of a vaccine being rushed to development. many no doubt worried about the effects on their future ability to bear children. And many pointed out correctly that this mandate could lead to a reduction of the health care workforce in the throes of a pandemic.
        – The biggest difference between then and now is that NY state’s H1N1 vaccination mandate was enacted by a legislature, after public debate regarding all trade-offs. The vaccine mandates now are being enacted with executive fiat.

  4. On 5;

    Looks like you might have been confused on whether it was “Minaj” or “Minag”, it’s “Minaj”.

    On the tweet itself; Apparently the cousin’s friend had an STD but didn’t want to tell his girlfriend. Or at least that’s the story making the rounds, there’s so much contradictory information flying around I don’t know what’s actually true, and trying to parse something like this is a fool’s errand. The the RFF is hyperventilating over sexual process after reports that something like 35,000 women skipped a period after getting the jab, not taking into account how 2.4 billion people have at least one dose, and sometimes women just miss a flow. I think this is another great example of why no one should take life advice from celebrities.

    To something more material, this might be part of the reason why Democrats are seeing their portion of the black vote decrease: Black people have not fully bought into the progressive narratives, and when they step out of line progressives come down on them HARD, and they don’t like that. Black people are disproportionately less likely to have taken a vaccine dose, and so they’re more likely to be negatively impacted by vaccine passports and more likely to be left unemployed and bitter following a vaccine mandate requirement for work.

    • Black people are disproportionately less likely to have taken a vaccine dose, and so they’re more likely to be negatively impacted by vaccine passports and more likely to be left unemployed and bitter following a vaccine mandate requirement for work.

      Part of this is distrust of the public health establishment.

      Part of this is also that the pandemic hit many Black communities hard. As a result many of them alive now have survived COVID-19, and are immune. Now they are being demanded to take a vaccine against a disease that they survived no more than a year ago!

  5. Somewhat offtopic, when I see all those reports of the percent of hospital patients who are unvaccinated, I would like to see a percent who had already had the disease. My first pass impression is that almost no one who’s actually had covid are needing care, only a tiny fraction of vaccinated individuals are, and the people who are neither are reacting the same way they already were when they catch it, with only a minority having symptoms at all and most of those being about the level of a regular cold. But I can’t find any solid numbers on previously infected getting it again.

    Since the underlying theory behind vaccines is based on natural immunity after exposure, the CDC appears to be engaging in wholesale doublethink when it claims natural immunity doesn’t work but vaccines do. Their studies rely on counting people who test positive but don’t develop antibodies, but do not appear to account for false positives or the affects of Bayes theorem. (see https://www.icd10monitor.com/false-positives-in-pcr-tests-for-covid-19 for an example, although I didn’t double check the numbers by hand the pattern matches what Bayes theorem demonstrats) It doesn’t help that when a negative comes up, they always retest, but the same is not true of every positive test (at least locally). Throwing extra money at hospitals for dealing with Covid created horrible incentives for getting accurate data.

  6. A friend sent me this today. Restaurant owner will not honor a religious exemption from the jab, says a vaccine card is required, and asks the family to leave, It is an interesting exchange and I am struck by how the guy manages to keep his cool and remain articulate and most discouraging is how passive and unsupportive the other patrons are. Video runs 4:31.

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