Sunday Ethics Echoes, 8/14/2022: “Is Anybody There?”

Ah, weekends in August. Except for a handful of much appreciated ethics enthusiasts, comments are sparse, EA traffic is weak, and as I prepare these posts while deadlines for paying ethics clients near, I find myself once again wondering if this is a wise use of my time, energy, and emotional resolve. Fortunately I am not prey to depression, unlike my mother, many of my friends, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill, but it doesn’t help that the Red Sox really stink this season…

1. Retirement ethics, or, if you prefer, “stupid athlete retirement tricks.” If you retire, dammit, retire. It is not a coincidence that the two most famous un-retirements were authored by two of the biggest jerks in Boston sports history, Roger Clemens and Tom Brady. But attention must be paid to Tyson Fury, one of the mostly unknown heavyweight boxing champions. (Boy, did that sport crash quickly! If you remember when heavyweight boxing matches were big deals and the results were front page news, you must be at least 40), announced his retirement from pugilism in April after his win against challenger Dillian Whyte to retain his heavyweight crown and stay undefeated. Fury had said for weeks that Whyte would be his final opponent. Then, last week, the WBC heavyweight championship announced he was returning to boxing. Three days later, Fury announced he was retiring again.

At least he hadn’t toured the country picking up expensive retirement gifts like Roger Clemens.

2. And speaking of stupid athlete tricks, Rodolfo Castro, an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was sliding headfirst into third base during a game with the Arizona Diamondbacks last week when his phone fell out of his back pocket. Electronic devices are banned in the dugouts during games ( with the exceptions of MLB-approved iPads and PitchCom, the new wireless communication system for pitchers and catchers to settle on pitches) thanks to the cheating hearts of the Houston Astros in 2017, much aided by current Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

It is likely that both Castro and the Pirates will be fined. Good.

3. “Delusions Ethics (A): NBC News’ Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali writes about this bizarre belief in her new book, “Electable: Why America Hasn’t Put a Woman in the White House…Yet” : Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren told Vitale as her campaign was metaphorically crashing and burning during the Democratic Presidential nomination sweepstakes in 2020, “Everyone comes up to me and says, ‘I would vote for you, if you had a penis.’”

Gee, that’s funny: I consider myself part of “everyone,” and I wouldn’t vote for Warren if she were running against Gumby. I also imagine many “everyones” would eschew voting for Warren because for decades she pretended to be a minority in order to get teaching jobs, regularly lies about law and policy, and was too old, even in 2020. Another reason an “everyone” might not vote for Warren is that she, like so many of her gender and party, resort to claims of bigotry to explain all opposition and criticism.

As for “Why America Hasn’t Put a Woman in the White House,” nobody should need a book to answer that. So far, the parties haven’t cultivated any female leaders who are qualified to be President and who have the character and skills to justify running. It’s funny: a female relative of mine who shall remain nameless was challenging me on the basis of anti-female bias. She asked, “Name one current female who you would support for President.” I answered, quickly, “There aren’t any.” After the mandatory “A-HA!” from her, I asked which female politician she would support. Her answer was, and this is exactly what she said, “I’m bad at names.”

4. “Delusions Ethics (B) Spreading delusions is unethical. I keep seeing mainstream media huzzahs that last week was President Biden’s “best.” That can only be magical thinking or deliberate disinformation. A bill advertised as an anti-inflation measure that can’t possibly reduce inflation was passed. It’s really a climate change law that won’t have any effect on climate change either, and further deepens the national debt. The “good news” theory is based on the flawed assumption that getting ideological agenda items passed is an accomplishment even when the agenda items are irresponsible, dishonest and stupid. One could make a persuasive argument that the best news for Biden is when such measures fail.

Meanwhile, the Mar-A-Largo raid almost has to end in disaster for Biden and AG Garland, doesn’t it? I assume that Justice has to indict Trump, because the raid will look like just a tin-pot dictator’s move, using the law to harass a political opponent, if there are no charges. If there is no slam-sunk evidence of criminal activity but an indictment is handed out anyway, it’s a gift to Trump. If the violation is technical rather than substantial, all of the many double standard issues will come into play. The news media, as it has since 2016, is ranking last week as “good” based on its assumption that Trump must be guilty of something terrible, because they hate him. Or perhaps it was a good week for Biden because it wasn’t as terrible as the other weeks. 1) I’m not at all sure that assessment will hold up, and 2) it’s a #22 Rationalization.

5. Still, this is unfair: the FBI and Merrick Garland are being skewered in the conservative media for searching Melania’s closet. If there was going to be a serious search, her closet, like any potential hiding place, had to be searched. However, I admit to laughing at the Babylon Bee’s meme:

6. And now for something completely stupid…Scotland, site of the recent United Nations 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate summit, cut down 14 million trees to make room for 21 wind turbine projects.

The Scottish Government has moved to reassure all that more trees have been planted, the media explains, “but it is unknown what proportion of these are mature plants that play a bigger role in turning carbon into oxygen.” The tree removal seems at odds with the agreement by world leaders while in Scotland to “end deforestation” by 2030. While there are plans to replant trees to replace those cut down, the trees can’t be replaced where they have been cut down, meaning that they aren’t really being replaced at all. Nor is there any reason to believe that Scotland’s green grandstanding will ameliorate climate change one iota.

7. Finally, an Ethics Alarms salute to Slickwilly. Steve Witherspoon informs me that Slickwilly died in April. His real name was Grady McClung, and Slick was a treasured and prolific commenter here from 2016-2020. There is a GoFundMe to help the family with its medical expenses here.

From the funeral home webpage:

Grady was born in Bryan, Texas, but spent most of his early and teen years in Burnet and Snook. He graduated from Snook High School in 1987 and attended Blinn College in Brenham before graduating in 1993 from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering
Technology. He also served in the Army and Army Reserve for eight years. Grady worked in the telecommunications industry for his entire career, spending his last nine and a half years with GVTC in New Braunfels.

Grady married his college sweetheart Rachel in 1992. They have three children: Mark, Joshua, and Sara. Grady was passionate about providing and caring for his family, and he loved spending time with them. His other passions included hunting, reading, serving his community, and above all, serving his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Grady was an active member of nineteen:ten church in Boerne, serving on both the media and prayer teams. His active faith and confident assurance of his identity as a beloved child of God inspired all of those around him. He loved encouraging others with the Word of God. When situations looked difficult, Grady could be heard saying, “God’s got it.”

Grady looked for the best in people. He loved helping others – serving his local neighborhood as HOA president, volunteering through the GVTC Foundation, and donating blood as often as possible. He will be missed by many.

He will certainly be missed on Ethics Alarms.

48 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Echoes, 8/14/2022: “Is Anybody There?”

  1. Jack wrote, “Except for a handful of much appreciated ethics enthusiasts, comments are sparse, EA traffic is weak, and as I prepare these posts while deadlines for paying ethics clients near, I find myself once again wondering if this is a wise use of my time, energy, and emotional resolve.”

    From the point of view of one of those daily readers, whether I comment or not, I think the time you spend writing and conversing with commenters is worthwhile especially to these, like me, that don’t have the in-depth ethics knowledge you regularly share. I think I am a better man today than I was when I started reading and conversing with you and others at Ethics Alarms.

    • I wholly agree with Steve’s comment above. I read every post.

      You know what my biggest disappointment is related to EA? Here’s a confession – It’s the fact that I’m not one of the more astute commentors; I’ve prepared many long comments over the years and after proof reading my comment decided not to post because I didn’t feel the content measured up. I’ve never been much of a writer. Most of my comments are short or off topic. Even though I know I wouldn’t be judged harshly here I’m still reluctant to hit the post button sometimes. Of course, I’m far from the worst commentor but I still hesitate to post occasioanlly because I know someone will cover what I’m thinking much more eloquently than me.

      However, I’ve learned a great deal reading EA and from the diverse knowledge of the contributors to this blog. Reading EA is one of my daily activities and would be sorely missed if it faded away.

      • Most of the readers and commenters must have a life and better things to do on their weekends. The sign of a healthy readership.

      • Like Edward, I read every post. I also send links to your posts to some people too. However, I probably push post on less than 10% of my attempted comments. I don’t believe that I am erudite enough to make the points I wish to make, and so delete comments often. Finally, any weekend is crazy in my life and while I will catch up eventually, I will not read them until there is a moment of peace to do so. It is your blog and your effort so only you can decide what is best, but I would very much like to encourage you to keep at it.

      • Edward: I’m with you. Decided that I would record my off-the-cuff, short reactions, and not try to compete with the complex, interesting, much more thorough respondents.

    • Yep,, have to admit I rarely post replies, but I read all of them. Maybe not daily but I’ll read a few days at a time when I do (which is partly why I don’t end up posting sometimes, it’s a few days past). It’s also tough because there are not that many equivalent blogs out there that I’ve seen

      • Jack, everyone beat me to what I was going to say. Your commentary has certainly made me more of a critical thinker and more aware of other’s biases’ influence on their world view. You’ve got some top tier commenters and I read all comments. Compared to what I see from other comments, I feel unqualified to comment in this space. And someone else usually says what I was thinking of saying. You also cover things I find interesting, that I’d otherwise not know about. I read EA before going to the opinion section (which is the sole reason of my subscription) of the Wall Street Journal. You have fans, probably more than you think.

  2. #3: the Dems have many more prominent female politicians, but, if asked, I would have said Haley Barber or Kristi Noem are promising.

    Qualified or not, they could give most of their male colleagues a run for their money.


  3. #7 Grady was an articulate guy that quickly became an online friend and then a Facebook friend. We tried to connect in the real world when I was very near his home on a business trip a couple of times but the timing just didn’t work out. It was very clear to me that Grady was a rare individual. I’ll truly miss our online and direct email conversations.

  4. Jack,
    Never go away, and I mean that sincerely.
    There is an inexorable ebb and flow to life, the physical world, and I suspect the volume of comments are not immune.
    You are much loved and appreciated, and as is so common, never expressed enough.

  5. That’s an interesting way for Warren to call the Democratic voting base a bunch of horrible sexists. One presumes she doesn’t have a lot of Republicans coming up to her with comments about how they’d like to vote for her, so “everyone” in this anecdote is likely to be mostly members of her own party. Democrats must be all be misogynists, I guess. Except the tiny minority who vote for terrible candidates like Warren, in spite of her incorrectly-configured genitals, of course.

    “So far, the parties haven’t cultivated any female leaders who are qualified to be President and who have the character and skills to justify running.”

    They ain’t been doing a great job of that on the XY side of the chromosomal divide, either. I’m not sure there have been any candidates, regardless of gender, who meet even that slim set of requirements in my adult life. Certainly none who have had any shot at all of winning their party’s nomination, for sure.

  6. Jack, I am also a daily reader. No, strike that, I sometimes check out Ethics Alarms SEVERAL times a day. And I just did something I’ve not done before: I sent to a friend who is an avid fan of the NY Times your post about the terrible breach of journalistic ethics concerning Sen. Scott. Please continue to do your very excellent work on this site. I’ve even used some of your principles in my teaching.

  7. I’m another avid reader and only once in while will I comment. Originally, I was referred to EA by my nephew’s friend in the FBI. They both served as pilots in the Air Force and I was looking for an impartial source on a political subject I knew little about and which I have completely forgotten these many years later. EA was described by this FBI agent as one of the most reliable sources he had found–not partisan at all. And so it has continued these many years. I would be lost without my daily dose of ethics and the opportunity to educate others–from both sides of the aisle. Additionally, I live in San Francisco and EA is essential in my maintaining my sanity. August is a low energy month–one that my business just accepts after 40 years as the time for everyone to go on vacation. Just know that you’re not the only one that experiences crickets every August.

  8. I spent this afternoon helping my sister pack up so she can move to her position as a newly-minted college professor!

    But I, too, do read almost every post. I have the same issues many others here have: don’t have sufficient information about a situation that would produce a well-thought-out comment on the subject and I’m getting weary of posting the equivalent of the “Grawwwk! I agree” comments that I feel I often do, have a real life that manifests itself with busyness on weekends and my contributions to the Open Forum are often thread killers.

    That being said, I have learned a great deal from this site. Just the other day, I was listening to a podcast on Genetic Engineering that was actually a conversation from 1998 and included the topic of the recent cloning of Dolly the sheep. The subject of the ethics of cloning came up. One of the panelists argued that, If we didn’t do it, then one or two years down the line, someone else would have. I immediately called out to Mother Nature (I was on a walk), “That’s a rationalization!”

  9. I’m afraid I don’t remember how I first found Ethics Alarms, but I’m glad I did. I read almost every day. Thanks for the tireless but definitely not thankless work you put in to this place.

  10. Just had a day of Verizon/AOL email problems, so I’m backed up. The only emails I go back for are all the EA’s I missed. EA is the only site I follow daily and is the only source of really unbiased commentary I know of. Strike that it’s biased toward logic, legality, and, of course, ethics. Commentariat is so good, I seldom feel moved to add my voice. Keep the faith, Jack, or as Jesse Jackson would say “keep hope alive”. Thanks for your blog, your not the only one.

  11. I read every post. I don’t comment because I think – it seems like the posts are more complete than ever – it’s hard to add side commentary – which is fine. And of course the mass exodus of people who may disagree reduces the need for replies.

  12. Jack,
    I greatly appreciate your efforts in publishing this blog. While I don’t comment frequently, I read your posts religiously. I marvel at how much effort you put into your blog and the depth and breadth of your knowledge. You question “if this is a wise use of my time, energy, and emotional resolve.” I think your blog makes a big difference in the lives of many. Unfortunately, we never truly know how big a ripple we make in our pond. Examples of that ignorance are demonstrated in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the novel “Midnight Library” by Matt Haig.

  13. Jack,

    Five simple words:

    Thank you for this blog.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.
    I hope I never find myself without the opportunity to say it yet again in the future.


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