Sunday Ethics Sundown, 7/31/2022: Stupid Social Media Tricks

Cultural milestones turn up in the damnedest places, and from the most surprising people. Actress Nichelle Nichols, the African-American who was the communications officer on the original “Star Trek” and the first round of films based on the iconic TV sci-fi series, died yesterday at 89. She was more model than actress, and as her role developed, much to her disappointment, the part of “Uhura” became little more than set dressing. But she played one of the first  black female characters on TV to have a non-subservient role, indeed Uhura was fourth in the “Enterprise” chain of command. (Whoopi Goldberg claimed that when she was a teen and saw “Star Trek” for the firts time, she screamed to her family, “Come quick, come quick. There’s a Black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!”) In her autobiography, Nichols wrote that Martin Luther King told her that she was advancing civil rights objectives, and convinced her not to quit when William Shatner was getting too obnoxious. Her great moment of destiny came, however, in the 1968 episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren,” about a aliens who used mind control. At one point, they forced Kirk and Uhura, who were never romantically involved, to engage in a passionate kiss.

The legend, which is the version of the event  now printed, is that the kiss caused great controversy and upheaval. I saw it: I don’t recall any negative reaction, or any reaction at all. It was a kiss that wasn’t genuine but forced: if the smooch was intended as a statement by show creator Gene Roddenberry, it was a very tepid one. Nevertheless, in the decades since, that moment on a forgettable episode of a cheesy and not very popular Sixties TV series has taken on the reputation of being a societal tipping point, and Nichelle Nichols died as a figure of far more cultural significance than her role as “glorified telephone operator in space” whose catch-phrase was “Hailing frequencies open, sir” would normally create.

You never know.

1. We have freedom of speech. They don’t. And here, many progressives would love to take a lot of it away. Here’s an example of what gets you punished in Great Britain, for example:

Darren Brady, 51, was arrested Hampshire Police and placed in handcuffs at his home in Aldershot for sharing the graphic above, a swastika assembled  out of four LGBT pride flags. On the video of the arrest, shot on a mobile phone, Brady can be heard asking the three police officers: “Why am I in cuffs?” An officer replies, “Someone has been caused anxiety based on your social media post. That is why you have been arrested.” Continue reading

“A Nation Of Assholes,” Congressional Division

Nice! There has been a recent outbreak of further uncivil, undignified speech and communication from members of Congress, who are, unfortunately role models and set help societal standards. The recent outburst have come from Democrats, though the phenomenon is not limited to that more rapidly rotting party….on the other hand, no Republican House member has yet said, in reference to President Biden, “Let’s impeach the motherfucker!” as Rep. Rashida Tlaib  did regarding President Trump. On the other hand, two Republican House members, Bill Posey and Jeff Duncan, evoked “Let’s go Brandon!” during House, which is the equivalent of  “Fuck Joe Biden.”

Chuy Garcia’s tweet is special, though. The Cook County House rep’s deep dive into vulgarity against  a random critic on Twitter was in print (though he deleted it eventually) and was unethical, unprofessional and unseemly in many ways. “Retarded,” of course, is a banned word in Progressive World. “Dipshit” is not acceptable discourse by an elected official, nor is “fucking” and its variations, though Rep. Talaib would doubtless argue that the normal rules don’t apply when the target is Donald Trump, just like “journalists” now argue that his existence justifies their routinely—but righteous!—biased and misleading reporting. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Hitler’s Watch

Adolf Hitler’s watch, shown above, recently sold at auction for over a million dollars. (The auction house had been expecting more, between 2 and 4 million.) The sale provoke some angry rhetoric online: many believe that it is unethical, indeed immoral, to acquire, keep or sell artifacts from Nazi Germany. In several countries, putting such things up for sale is illegal.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Is it unethical to sell or buy Hitler’s watch?

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Presenting A Statement In Today’s New York Times That Only Could Have Been Published At The Peak Of “The Great Stupid”

The statement appears in today’s article, “How Did a Two-Time Killer Get Out to Be Charged Again at Age 83?” as if it’s the most natural observation in the world. Before reading the whole story, you should know that “Ms. Leyton” is a murder victim whose dismembered body was found inside a shopping cart in East New York, stuffed in a bag. The “Ms. Harvey” referred to is the individual charged with her murder, since investigators found a bloody mop, a tub full of towels and a box for an electric saw in the alleged killer’s apartment.

A homeless shelter worker and people close to Ms. Leyden questioned whether, despite her gender identity, Ms. Harvey should have been placed in a homeless shelter for women, given her history of attacking and murdering them.

Gee, ya think? Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Ex CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo

“I saw a lot of brave men and women deciding to take somebody on who had a tremendous amount of power and who had come at them by name too and that’s a scary thing.”

—-Disgraced CNN star Chris Cuomo, celebrating himself and CNN for slanting new reports in order to oppose Donald Trump.

Cuomo could not have made a stronger case against the left-biased news media if that had been his objective. Many of his statements to Bill Maher in Cuomo’s appearance on HBO’s “Real Timewould serve as well as the above to prove just how arrogant and unethical Cuomo’s previous profession has become. For example, there is this: Continue reading

Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2022: A Flipped Bird, Another Will Smith Apology, Mid-West Shark Alert…Life Is A Cartoon!

I owe my outlook on life to Saturday morning cartoons. How sad is that?

I also note that last year on this date, Ethics Alarms included this in the warm-up:

[On] “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.”

Wow, I thought that was crazy. Look how far the trans madness and the “It isn’t what it is!” mania have progressed in just a year!

In related developments, I noticed yesterday that my gay Facebook friends are aggressively (and often ignorantly) attacking the Dobbs decision with canned abortion activist talking points and obnoxious memes. I find their knee-jerk abortion support damning, especially since they know that if it were medically possible to determine if a fetus was going to develop into a gay adult, many of them would have been snuffed out n the womb just like many Down Syndrome children. I don’t think they are thinking very hard about the issue; I think they are just deciding on their position based on whose “team” they have joined. Progressives include LGBTQ rights on their ideological agenda as well as abortion on demand, so my gay friends are just voting a straight ticket, metaphorically speaking.

What a lazy and irresponsible way to make up one’s mind on a controversy involving the lives of millions of people…

1. Two—TWO!—two fearmongering and irresponsible predictions in one headline! The clickbait is “Shark Week Hysteria” meets “Climate Change Hysteria, just like “Dracula Meets the Wolf Man”!  UPI’s headline: “Shark sightings in the Midwest could become more common, experts say.” It wouldn’t be hard for such sightings to be more common, since they virtually never happen at all. But bull sharks swimming down Chicago streets are a real possibility, “experts” say, because “summers could warm by as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century due to climate change.”

Or they might not… Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “The Incredible Sabrina Caldwell Ethics Train Wreck”

Tom P. has contributed an inspiring and thoughtful Comment of The Day in response to the disturbing but ultimately uplifting story of how a Russian orphan, abused by her American adoptive parents, not only survived and thrived (that’s Sabrina today with her family, above), but did so without succumbing to bitterness and despair.

Tom’s first line in his comment is especially provocative, I think. When are “we given” that one life we have the opportunity to do with what we can? Isn’t it at the moment a unique genetic being comes into existence, with the living biochemical capacity to develop and grow if others don’t interfere for their own reasons to stop the process? If that is the case, and I do not see any way to deny it with intellectual honesty, how can abortion activists argue their position without dealing with the existence of two lives in the abortion equation, and not only the mother’s?

But the rest of Tom P.’s Comment of the Day on the two-part post, “The Incredible Sabrina Caldwell Ethics Train Wreck,” is equally thought-provoking. Here it is:


We are each given but one life and it is up to us and only us how we choose to live it. In the United States at least, except for our genetics and eventually dying everything else is of our choosing. That is not to say that everything is within our control or that our choices come without consequences. Basically, regardless of the situation each of us can control the choice but not the outcome.

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The Incredible Sabrina Caldwell Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2

Now for the rest of the story begun in Part I.

The story of the rejected and abandoned Russian orphan haunted “48 Hours” reporter Troy Roberts after he bid the girl farewell  in the Russian hospital. He wanted to know what had become of her, and tried to track her down over the years, with no success. Then, after more than two decades had passed, Caralee reached out to him and they arranged to meet once again.

That supposedly homicidal little girl who was diagnosed as incapable of love now lives in North Carolina as Sabrina Caldwell. She is 33, happily married and has four young children. Roberts met with her near Sabrina’s home, and he spoke with her husband as well. Sabrina explained that she was depressed and even suicidal when she was with Crystal and Jesse, who she felt were more interested in her younger brother than her. When she was falsely accused of trying to kill Joshua, whom she says she loved, she told Roberts she “wanted out.” She agreed that she tried to kill him. She made up the claims that she was hallucinating. When she was abandoned by her adoptive parents in Moscow, she said she  felt like she was in jail, but now believes she was partially responsible, since she had agreed to her parents’ version of events and lied about hallucinating.

Then again, she was just a child at the time.

After two months in the mental hospital, Nina Kostina, who had helped arrange her adoption, rescued Sabrina and brought her back to the United States. Three years later she adopted by another family in North Carolina.  n 2008, Sabrina volunteered for the non profit Mercy Ships, spending two years providing medical care to the poor in Africa. That led to a job at a hospital when she returned to North Carolina. Two years later, she fell in love with  fifth grade teacher Phil Caldwell, whom she met through her church. Before she would agree to marry him, she made him watch the “48 Hours” episode about her first adoptive parents. He told Roberts that he was stunned at what she had gone through. They were married in 2014, and now have three daughters and an infant son.  Sabrina Caldwell has never been diagnosed with any mental or emotional illness, and takes no medication for such disorders. Continue reading

Tales Of The Great Stupid: Monkey Pox Ethics

I know, I know, that’s a macaque, not a monkey. But I love the photo.

Why can’t the news media and health officials just stick to the facts and stop trying to manipulated public opinion and conduct with word games and deception?

Well, it’s rhetorical question: the answer is inherent in the question. They are unethical, untrustworthy, and abuse their position and power.

Take monkeypox, for example.

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The Incredible Sabrina Caldwell Ethics Train Wreck, Part I

At the end of last year, CBS’s “48 Hours” broadcast an update of a horrifying episode from two decades ago. I missed both programs, but I stumbled upon a rerun of the December 2021 follow-up last night. The tale is a true ethics train wreck that, incredibly, had a happy ending, making it also an abject lesson in moral luck.

The story had special resonance for me because it involved the aftermath of an American couple adopting of a Russian orphan, a process my wife and I went through as well.  In 1997, Crystal and Jesse were a young married couple who had tried and failed to conceive. They fund Russian adoption agency’s website and were smitten by a photo of a beautiful 9-year-old girl. The couple began the adoption process.  The child’s medical records from the adoption agency, were concerning, though: they described developmental problems.

CBS made a big deal about this, but essentially all older Russian orphans have developmental issues. Crystal told CBS that the “were assured that this child was healthy and that in a good home … with the best doctors in America helping her with the developmental issues, that she should be fine.” That was accurate advice (and she and her husband should have known that by doing responsible research before deciding to adopt a Russian orphan). I should also mention here that Russian medical records regarding orphans are notoriously unreliable. Our son, who has been freakishly healthy, came with ten pages of supposedly serious medical problems. Our pediatrician literally laughed at the document. Continue reading