P.M. Ethics Dispatches, 1/11/2022

We have to keep baseball ethics alive even if baseball itself is in a state of suspension: the owner and players are, for the first time in decades, arguing about how to divide up their billions, everything from roster size to minimum salaries are on the table, and as of now, the two sides aren’t even talking with the season just a couple of months away. One of the issues to be settled is whether the National League will finally capitulate and adopt the designated hitter rule, which was accepted in the American League on this date in 1973, a day which many traditionalist fans then and now regard as an unforgivable scar on the integrity of the game. Baseball has always been celebrated for its equity and balance: as it was envisioned, every player on the field had to both hit and play defense. The DH, which is a batter who never uses a glove, also allowed the pitcher to be a defense-only specialist, never picking up a bat which, advocates of the new rule argued, was a result much to be wished, since the vast majority of hurlers are only slightly better at hitting the ball than your fat old uncle Curt who played semi-pro ball in his twenties. All these decades years later, the National League and its fans have stubbornly maintained that the DH was a vile, utilitarian gimmick spurred by non-ethical considerations, mainly greed. When the rule was adopted, American League attendance lagged behind the NL, which also was winning most of the All Star games, in part because that league had embraced black stars far more rapidly than “the junior league.” The DH, the theory went, would make games more exciting, with more offense, while eliminating all the .168 batters in the ninth spot in every line-up.

I had a letter published in Sports Illustrated in 1973 explaining why I opposed the DH as a Boston Red Sox fan. Since then, I have grudgingly come to accept the benefits of the rule: it gave the Sox David Ortiz, allowed Carl Yastrzemski to play a few more years, and let American League fans see such all-time greats as Hank Aaron at the plate after they could no longer play the field. It was a breach of the game’s integrity, but it worked.

1. At least that’s fixed. The Supreme Court issued a corrected transcript of the oral arguments in the Biden vaccine mandate case, and it now accurately records Justice Gorsuch as saying he believes the seasonal flu kills “hundreds…thousands of people every year.” The original version wrongly quoted him as saying hundreds of thousands, which allowed those desperately trying to defend the outrageously wrong assertions by Justice Sotomayor regarding the Wuhan virus to point to Gorsuch and claim, “See? Conservatives are just as bad!” Prime among these was the steadily deteriorating Elie Mystal at “The Nation,” who, typically for him, refused to accept the correction. Sotomayor is one of the all-time worst Supreme Court justices, though she will be valuable as a constant reminder of the perils of affirmative action. Her jurisprudence makes the much maligned Clarence Thomas look like Louis Brandeis by comparison.2. It’s true: the Golden Globe Awards were brought down because a white police officer inadvertently killed a black criminal in Minnesota. Talk about unintended consequences! The awards, once the third most viewed of all the TV award shows, always were ridiculous: why should anyone care what the Hollywood Foriegn Press thinks are the best U.S. movies and performances? But the Hollywood glitterati  still happily accepted their statuettes and the nominations, and the awards filled up resumes until “racial reckoning” struck.  Seems that the Globe voters didn’t vote for some mostly black movies that the powers that be in Hollywood decided had to get nominations because…they were mostly black movies. Then it was discovered that there weren’t any blacks among the voters, so the group was condemned as presumptively racist. This occurred while everyone was virtue-signalling like mad, so to prove that Black Lives Matter, everyone decided to boycott the Golden Globes, including NBC, which was supposed to televise them. The Golden Globes were always phony honors and would have remained so even if every voter looked like a “Hamilton” cast member, but at least they could have been diverse phony honors. Now they’re wiped out, possibly forever, not that I care.  Blame Derek Chauvin.

Does this make sense to anybody?

3. Speaking of Black Lives Matter kowtowing, last year American Airlines allowed crews to wear BLM pins, ruling that they weren’t political. Riiiight. Now, the company is reaping the whirlwind because of its obsequious response to a passenger who complained about a pilot who had a “Let’s Go Brandon” sticker on his luggage.

I object, for many reasons, to the derogatory term “Karen,” but if anyone deserves it, this jerk does. She tweeted to the airline,

It does raise the interesting question of whether a pilot’s luggage choices are personal or professional, but trying to get someone punished or fired because you don’t like his  luggage tags is pretty petty.  Then the official Twitter account of AA responded to the complaint, tweeting, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we want to get this to the right team. Please DM any additional details.” Does AA have a “Hyper-partisan harassment attempts” team? I guess so!

The American staff was just trying to keep an obviously deranged passenger at bay, but never mind: its response was taken by “the other side” as proof of weenism in the face of woke insanity. “Why are you responding to this bully? Stand with your employee, not internet trolls like Dana,” scolded conservative columnist Rita Panahi.

It didn’t help that Dana was determined to make a major issue out of the episode, because she has an empty life, apparently. She kept filing her objections to the tag and the pilot, and documenting the ensuing exchange with American:

How does “Let’s go Brandon” support “the insurrection of our government/sitting President” or “violence against the US government”? Why would a luggage tag bearing that coded vulgarity cause a passenger who doesn’t belong in a rubber room not to “feel safe” on a plane?

As someone whose instinct with unjust complaints has always been to respond “Bite me!,” I have great sympathy for anyone who has to deal with awful, petty, self-righteous people like Dana.

4. And here’s some good news! A new New York state law prohibits insurance companies from refusing to provide insurance to homeowners who have supposedly vicious dog breeds, like this monster…

…who spent this morning being chased around a tennis court by a five month old puppy. Pet rescue shelters,animal rights advocates and Ethics Alarms have been advocating the end of ignorant  restrictions on unfairly maligned breeds, especially the various “pit bull” breeds and mixes. “Removing this arbitrary and discriminatory impediment for thousands of responsible New York dog owners is simply the right thing to do,” said Bill Ketzer, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA: Eastern Division, in a statement.

Irresponsible stereotyping of breeds by the media and phobics has resulted in insurance carriers having the right to decline homeowners insurance to owners of pit bulls, or what look like pit bulls,  German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers and other dogs. It was also legal for home insurance premiums to be raised based on the breed of dog owned.

5. Here is another story that I love! A lawsuit alleges that 16 major U.S. universities and colleges have violated antitrust laws by working together to determine students’ financial aid packages. According to the lawsuit, the schools “participated in a price-fixing cartel that is designed to reduce or eliminate financial aid…and that in fact has artificially inflated the net price of attendance for students receiving financial aid.” Lawyers for the plaintiffs claim that more than 170,000 students who received financial aid packages from the schools over the past 18 years were victimized,  according to the Wall Street Journal. The schools named in the suit include Yale, Georgetown, Northwestern, Columbia, Brown, Duke universities,  the California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth , Cornell, Emory, Rice, and Vanderbilt.

It’s just a lawsuit, but would I be surprised if these elite schools have behaved as claimed?


15 thoughts on “P.M. Ethics Dispatches, 1/11/2022

  1. Who looks at other people’s luggage tags? Sure, maybe when it’s on the carousel and you’re waiting for yours to come around, but when it’s on the floor next to someone? That seems weird to me.

    Her tweets are protected now, but I looked at her profile when it first got attention and noticed that she said she was a fraternity and sorority professional (I have no idea what that is) and that she is passionate about reality TV. My first thought was that she made the tweet to get attention because she wants to pitch some frat/sorority-based reality TV show. Or maybe she’s just a nasty woman. After all, she couldn’t have known it would get the attention that it did.

  2. 3. I think the luggage tag has a #FJB on it, which is interesting. So amazing how from 2016 on any number of celebs (DeNiro comes to mind) snarled “Fuck Trump” and were praised to the heavens. What a bunch of pearl clutching, hypocritical assholes. Don’t they even see this?

    • If I recall both DiNiro and Biden remarked how each wanted to punch Trump in the face or take him out back and beat the hell out of him.

      I put very little credence in those who want someone else to do something so they can “feel safe”. Her safety is her responsibility. If she does not want to incur the costs of feeling safe why should anyone else.

      • I think I have come up with an accurate definition of “safe space”.

        Safe space is controlled environment where one’s ideas, perspectives, and biases are protected from being disabused by facts, logic, satire, and sarcasm.

    • Of course they see, they just think the one is perfectly okay and the other is dead wrong. It’s called living by your prejudices.

  3. 4.) I get uncomfortable whenever government interferes with the operations of any private business. Insurance companies, just like ever other private business, are operating to make a profit. I highly doubt that decisions about issuing policies to home owners with particular dog breeds have anything to do with public bias against those breeds. Decisions are, I would assume, based purely on whether or not they think they are likely to make an adequate profit.

    The statistics concerning the risks associated with owning various dog breeds undoubtedly are determined largely by the type of people who tend to own those dog breeds, not the dogs themselves.
    Is this unfair to those who are responsible dog owners? Whatever the answer to that question, it is not up to insurance companies to make the world a fairer place. If there was a profit to made by discerning who are the responsible dog owners, the insurance companies would figure this out.

    I’m not able to get supplemental life insurance through my employer due to a chronic health condition. Does it matter that I (at least I like to think) manage the condition better than the average person who has this particular chronic condition? Not to the insurance company, they have, apparently, determined that it doesn’t make financial sense to offer life insurance to people with my condition. And that’s the way it should be — there is no right to life insurance or home insurance.

    My favourite Reagan quote: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

    • I second that. I think it’s fair to assume underwriting decisions like these are made based on claims data. Writing insurance is simply a large-scale gamble. If you want to spread the risk and have some profit left over, you’ve got to do everything you can to not make mistakes. Among “pit bull” owners, the Marshalls are surely outliers.

  4. #1 At this point in time, anyone that continues the false smear of Justice Gorsuch’s statement is a partisan/political hack. Willful blind ignorance is not an excuse.

    Political/Partisan Hack: is a pejorative term describing a morally bankrupt person who has actively chosen to be a political tool, aka a “hired gun” or “attack dog”, for a political party apparatus or political movement. The intentions of a political/partisan hack are to demonize any perceived opposition and achieve victory at any cost NOT personal conviction, ethics or morals. The ends justifies the means is an psychological undercurrent of a political/partisan hack that’s constantly dragging them into an immoral abyss.

  5. #3 I’m quite sick and tired of of all these psychological snowflakes thinking that their ginned up offended feelings should be able to control everything in the world around them. These immature people need to be put in their place, publicly demeaned and told to grow up.

  6. I have never really been a fan of the designated hitter in baseball, for many of the same reasons.

    However, when you compare that to the rule about putting a runner on 2nd base during extra innings, the DH looks like rock-ribbed traditionalist baseball. I also really hate what MLB is doing to destroy much of minor league baseball.

    At least we don’t have to use those Little League rules during the playoffs.

    Well, that’s assuming they play baseball this year. *sigh*

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