Sunday Evening Ethics Nightcap: Not Watching The Olympics Edition

TV off

Happy birthday Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” conceived via in vitro fertilization in Manchester, England, on this date in 1978 to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The bioethics controversies that flowed from this landmark event and subsequent scientific advances have not stopped yet.

1. When the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck meets the Olympics, this is the sort of garbage you are going to get, at least from Kurt Streeter. He’s the black New York Times sports columnist who really appears to believe that the main function of sports is to raise racial and gender grievances. Woke sports commentary isn’t just bad sports journalism, it’s also boring. Politics makes sports less fun and less of what it was intended to be, entertainment, not crusading. By “this” I mean columns like his most recent titled “The Olympics Rely On, but Don’t Support, Black Girl Magic.” Never mind that the headline is racially offensive at the outset—nobody should care what color bodies athletic “magic” comes from, and only bigots like Streeter view sports that way.

Streeter’s brief supporting his obnoxious thesis is based on selective facts and personal bias. Here are his examples:

“Simone Biles is one of the most brilliant talents at the Games. But if recent history holds and she tries her most stunning moves in Tokyo, gymnastics officials will place an arbitrary limit on her score. Some say this is meant to discourage other competitors from attempting similarly dangerous aerial maneuvers. I say the sport’s regulators cannot deal with her sheer audacity.

And what does this have to do with her being black? Nothing, and nobody has alleged that it is otherwise, though if Biles does not win her expected gold, I’m sure Streeter will be among the first to cry “racism.”

Naomi Osaka is …perhaps the most widely known female athlete on the planet…will get tossed under the bus if she is not polite and pleasant in her interviews with the news media, a backlash prompted by her withdrawal from the French Open because she did not want to participate in news conferences there. That pressure exists alongside the dread that she’ll be derided as either too Black or not Japanese enough if she does not win a gold medal.

Whose “dread”? Apparently Streeter’s, the race-baiter. Meanwhile, any athlete who is not polite and pleasant in interviews always gets criticism from the news media, and deserves it. She didn’t withdraw from the French Open because “she did not want to participate in news conferences,” she quit because she wanted special privileges to break the tournament’s rules, and was foiled. None if this has anything to do with race either, except that Osaka may have thought that her appeal to the King’s Pass might be especially hard to turn down since people like Streeter would be quick to call enforcement of the same rules for all “racist.”

“Gwen Berry is one of the most powerful hammer throwers in the world and one of the boldest athletes in protesting racism and injustice. But the Olympic overlords have made clear she’d better behave on the medal stand — or else.”

Those “overlords” have the same rules for everyone. Berry is bold in protesting what she isn’t in the Olympics to protest; she’s a narcissist and a lousy citizen who should have been kicked off the team once she proclaimed that she didn’t regard herself as representing the nation that is honoring her by giving her a chance to compete. Streeter thinks her “Black girl magic” isn’t being supported because she won’t be allowed to embarrass her team and act like an asshole on the world stage.

2. From the “Blind Squirrel Finds Nut” files…Criminal justice reform activists and some lawmakers are upset the the Biden Justice Department is inclined to follow through on a Trump-era memo by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel requiring inmates who were allowed out of stir to reduce the spread of the pandemic in prisons and whose sentences lasted beyond the “pandemic emergency period” to go back behind bars. Awww! How mean. Criminals will actually have to serve their sentences! Systemic racism, of course. But the Biden legal team concluded that the memo correctly interpreted the law, which applies to about 4,000 nonviolent inmates. There are still plenty of fanatics and anti-incarceration extremists among Joe’s minions, so they might get the policy reversed yet.

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Return Of The Hedgehog

Angry hedgehog

Recently I have been pondering whether Donald Trump, in the parlance of philosopher Isaiah Berlin in his famous essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox”, is a hedgehog, one who, in words of the Greek poet Archilochus, “knows one big thing,”or a fox, which knows many things. The thrust of the essay (and a later book) is that history teaches that the hedgehogs tend to prevail over the foxes.

In 2019, I announced that I had figured out that Trump was indeed a hedgehog, and that the one big thing he knew was that

“Despite decades of indoctrination to the contrary, most Americans are proud of their country and do not believe it has been a force for evil in the world. They recognize that capitalism has been responsible for the much of the nation’s success, and they do not want to emulate the European nanny states. Most Americans also regard the office of the Presidency as an inherently good institution. The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, as the President now calls them, do not believe these things, and by clearly opposing a group that is deep, deep in negative territory on the scale, the President is certain to derive a net benefit. Although I have heard the Stage 5 Trump Deranged argue that he does not love his country and does not have its best interests at heart, that is an unsupportable position fueled by dislike alone. Nobody becomes President who isn’t a patriot, and no President wants to go down in history as a bad one. Now the entire Democratic Party is tying itself to these four repulsive, anti-American extremists, which is the equivalent of the party tying itself to an anchor on the [Cognitive Dissonance] Scale.”

For the record, I’m still not completely convinced that Trump isn’t a fox in spiny clothing.

Now the “Fox or Hedgehog?” game has emerged again in an essay by Lance Morrow in The Wall Street Journal. He attributes Critical Race Theory to hedgehogian reasoning. The One Big Thing: slavery was bad. He writes in part,

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How Stupid Can The Great Stupid Get? Now Responsible And Humane Pet Ownership Is”Racist”

SPUDS16

This, when you think about it, is consistent with the developing logic of the “antiracism” scam and The Great Stupid. The legal theory that the impact of a reasonable policy could be deemed racist if it had “disparate impact” on a minority group gradually metastasized into the Bizarro World belief that black community cultural pathologies had to be granted immunity from negative consequences in the interests of fairness. This, in turn, encourages cultural pathologies, which further disadvantage the black community and undermine societal values generally.

It is one of the intrinsically terrible ideas that once would have gained no traction with those possessing any critical thinking skills whatsoever, but after sufficient indoctrination and propaganda, almost any idea can begin to seem reasonable. But does it go this far?

Researchers with the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection argue that animal control policies and pet adoption requirements perpetuate racial inequities. Their “Punishment to Support: The Need to Align Animal Control Enforcement with the Human Social Justice Movement” argues that animal control enforcement and punishment disproportionately hurt people of color and low-income communities, and thus constitute “systemic racism.”

The authors, led by Kevin Nolan Morris, who holds an endowed chair, point to racial biases in requirements of “responsible pet ownership,” you know, little matters like leash laws, rabies vaccination requirements, anti-tethering laws, responsible handling of “at-risk” animals, providing shelter, behavioral training or veterinary care, and investigations of cruelty, abuse and neglect. This is all discriminatory, because African-American lifestyles, attitudes and culture often don’t mesh with such habits. Thus “racism, classism, and the White dominant culture” mandates animal treatment standards that are “largely unobtainable for anyone in the U.S. other than white, middle, and upper-class individuals,” the paper argues.

That’s right: a large number of blacks can’t or won’t treat animals with kindness and due care, so requiring such conduct of those who choose to own animals is racist.

Stupid enough for you?

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Tuesday Afternoon Ethics Tunes, 6/8/21: The Mean Fundraiser, And More

Quite a while ago—I’m afraid to check—I asked readers to submit nominees for popular songs with an ethics theme or lesson. Lorne Greene’s one hit recording ( his vocal version of the “Bonanza” song did not fly off the shelves) was “Ringo,” a pretty blatant rip-off of Jimmy Dean’s “Big John,” was one of the first on the list. I received quite a few suggested songs but events overtook me, and I never finished the project. It is in a growing list of promised future content that I have yet to deliver, including missing parts to multi-part posts. I apologize to readers for all of them, but I also intend to make good on all of them, though the ethics songs compilation is understandably low priority. I was happy to finally finish the Ethics Guide to “Miracle on 34th Street” after it languished for a year. The top priorities on the catch-up list right now are Part II of Three Ethics Metaphors: The Rise, The Presidency And The Fall Of Donald J. Trump—that will be on the “Animal House” parade plot metaphor for Trump’s election—and, of course, the long-delayed Part III of The Pandemic Creates A Classic And Difficult Ethics Conflict, But The Resolution Is Clear.

Back to Lorne: I met him once, on a Santa Monica beach. He was in swimming trunks, and with his family, extremely friendly, tanned and wearing his hairpiece, which was fantastic. Like several other stars I have met in person, Greene was so strikingly attractive that he would make anyone turn their heads on a street even if you had no idea who he was. Unlike most of the others, he appeared to be a genuinely nice guy.

1. Proud to be off Twitter, Reason #569: After Twitter received notice of its noncompliance with India’s information technology laws, demanding that the company remove content critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic and about farmers’ protests, including tweets by journalists, activists and politicians, Twitter pulled itself up to its full metaphorical height, puffed itself up like blowfish, and protested in part, “We are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

Twitter actually said that it cares about freedom of expression! Then, last week, after Nigeria blocked Twitter, it had the gall to tweet…

Twitter Nigeria

This, from the platform that censored the Hunter Biden laptop story and banned President Trump. The Hanlon’s Razor question of whether these are bad people or just stupid people now becomes irrelevant. It’s unethical to operate a powerful communications platform when you are so stupid.

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The Bureau of Land Management’s Ethics Wild Horse Wreck

Wild horses

By purest coincidence, Tucker Carlson had a segment on Fox New last night about the federal government’s wild horse fiasco (I didn’t see it), a topic I’ve had on the Ethics Alarms issue runway for the better part of a month.

The Bureau of Land Management is charged with the care of the nation’s wild horses and burros. These once numbered in the millions in North America, but after the Western settlement and the diminishing of the open range after the 19 century, the beasts were widely hunted and turned into fertilizer and dog food. By 1971, when they were finally given protection by law, there were fewer than 20,000 left. But freed from predators (like man) wild horse herds increase by about 20% a year. The herds started growing faster than the government had planned or budgeted for.

About 3,500 mustangs and burros a year are rounded up and resettled into a network of government storage pastures and corrals known the holding system. The 51,000 animals in the system cost taxpayers $60 million a year, leaving little in the budget to protect the rest of the wild mustangs running free. Legislators and regulators are afraid of the wrath of PETA and voters who would he horrified at the government killing these symbols of the old West and wild America, so the country is stuck. What to do?

Well, some genius came up with the Adoption Incentive Program in 2019, which was supposed to move wild mustangs and burros out of government corrals into what dog rescue groups call “forever homes.” Horse-lovers were paid a cool $1,000 for each equine friend they adopted, a good deal for Uncle Sam, who has to pay an average of $24,000 during the lifetime of each wild horse. Thousands of alleged wild horse enthusiasts signed up to get their horses and checks. The number of horses leaving the holding system more than doubled. The Bureau of Land Management pronounced it “a win for all involved” that was helping “animals find homes with families who will care for and enjoy them for years to come.”

OK, now, you’re smart. What is the obvious flaw in this plan? Come on. Fredo Corleone could figure it out with a little effort.

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Waning Wednesday Ethics Wonders, 6/2/2021…

What’s the ethical reaction to this story? Angelia Mia Vargas, 24, has been charged with deadly conduct with a firearm after she accidentally shot her 5-year-old son while trying to shoot an over-enthusiastic 6-month-old boxer puppy that got loose from a neighbor and was running through her yard. Neither the dog nor the boy were seriously injured. My reflex reaction, I confess, was, “HA! That should teach this idiot something about gun safety!” and then I instantly regretted it. The child was innocent: what really would have been condign justice was if her shot hit her car’s gas tank and it blew up. Shooting herself in the foot would have been good. “She could have handled it differently,” said Bruno the puppy’s owner. Ya think? Here’s the terrifying beast that Angelia thought justified deadly force:

Bruno

Should this woman have custody of a child? [Pointer: valkygrrl]

1. The rest of the story….There were a record number of Tulsa Race Massacre demonstrations on Memorial Day, as one might expect with “hate whitey” being the current fad. What was supposed to be the biggest one, in Tulsa of course, was cancelled after three survivors demanded $1 million each to appear. The May 31st Remember & Rise event was also supposed to feature John Legend and Stacey Abrams—boy, if only my sock drawer hadn’t been in such bad shape!– but it was called off because Viola Fletcher, 107, her brother Hughes Van Ellis, 100 and Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, increased their appearance fee from $100,000 each to $1 million each. Their lawyers also demanded that a reparations fund be increased from the agreed-upon $2 million to $10 million. What does this tell us about how reparations would turn out if the U.S. were ever so unhinged as to agree to them?

I did learn that the young African-American, Dick Rowland, whose arrest after a white woman accused him of rape (or something) during an encounter in an elevator was the fuse for the violence wasn’t prosecuted. He was released, left Tulsa, and never returned.

I wonder why…

2. Here I go, obsessing about group identity again...In New York, the “Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession” program, sponsored by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Moynihan Scholarship Fund, will introduce 250 “promising underrepresented high school students” to the accounting profession. The program will include virtual sessions about forensic accounting, interviewing skills, public speaking, networking, and an “accounting profession overview” featuring a panel discussion with experts in the profession. What a great idea! Nine institutions, including Ithaca College, Medgar Evers College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John’s University, Siena College, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oswego, the University at Buffalo, and Westchester Community College co-host the program, which is free of charge for students.

Oh—white students may not apply. The online application for the program includes options for Hispanic, Black, Asian, and Native American students, but no option for white students. When confronted about the apparent discrimination involved, SUNY Oswego Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott Furlong huminahumina-ed that “SUNY Oswego participates in supporting the program and sees this as a beneficial service to the profession, but we strongly believe that all disadvantaged students would benefit from the COAP program.While we do not participate in recruiting the student participants in COAP or in the setting of policy for student membership, SUNY Oswego would prefer a more inclusive perspective regarding membership in COAP and the NYSSCPA policy…[which would] “align with SUNY Oswego’s ethos that is rooted in diversity of thought and people, equitable practices and policies, and inclusive experiences.” Furlong said that the matter “merits much future discussion for the purposes of having SUNY Oswego reassess our involvement and reconsider our sponsorship.”

Meanwhile, his institution will continue to participate in a program that discriminates against white students.

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The Latest Kentucky Derby Doping Scandal Should End Horse Racing…Let’s Hope It Does

Derby cheat

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test, and if the results stand, his victory will be nullified. The horse’s Hall-of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert revealed the test results yesterday. The three-year-old colt tested positive for elevated levels of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid and sometimes used to relieve joint pain in horses. Medina Spirit’s post-race test revealed 21 picograms per milliliter, which is more than double the allowed limit in Kentucky racing.

If the original results are confirmed, Baffert will have a chance to appeal. Meanwhile, Churchill Downs suspended” Baffert “from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.”

While the Derby’s winner is under suspicion, the second “jewel” in racing’s Triple Crown, The Preakness, takes place in five days. Medina Spirit will run, even as his legitimacy as Kentucky Derby is in doubt.

The Kentucky Derby is the only horse race most Americans know anything about or pay attention to: a cheating scandal in the Derby is racing’s equivalent of baseball’s 1919 fixed World Series. The difference is that baseball was on the ascendant in 1919, while horse racing today is is barely hanging on by its hooves. Moreover, drugging in horse racing has been epidemic for decades.

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Ethics Dunces: “Social Influencers” Dan And Nikki Phillippi, And, Come To Think Of It, Anyone Who Follows Them, And, Come To Think Of It, Anyone Who Follows ANY “Social Influencers”

But I digress, though I will continue that digression later, and maybe in an upcoming post.

Dan And Nikki Phillippi are “YouTubers,” meaning that have monetized successive facile and smarmy videos via Instagram and have made a million dollars out of it. Read about them here: if you see anything that suggests to you an IQ over 110 or any special expertise or wisdom, let me know. Nikki’s YouTube bio reads, “WELL HELLO! My name is Nikki. I used to make videos growing up just to show them to my family…now I make them and upload them to YouTube. HAHA I love all things girly, acting, singing, dancing AND helping people be the best they can be! I hope you feel inspired and happy when you watch my videos and I invite you to join me on my weird and crazy journey through life! LOL”

As far as I’m concerned, ending a bio with “LOL” is signature significance for someone I wouldn’t allow to influence me to come in out of the rain.

Dan and Nikki just put down their dog, a nine-year-old Bull terrier named Bowser, recently, and, since this is how they live, they monetized it with a video. [ Full disclosure: There’s a fair chance that our rescue dog Spuds is part Bull Terrier] They had previously been “sharing” about their new baby, Logan, now 1. The baby apparently grabbed at some of Bowser’s food, and the dog nipped him. Logan was not badly hurt, but they killed the dog anyway.

Bowser had apparently had a few aggressive incidents in the past, but that’s irrelevant: anyone who allows a baby or toddler to be in close proximity with their dog (or any dog) is 100% responsible if there is an episode like this. Moreover, any dog might react badly when a child tries to take away its food. In fact, you must not allow children and dogs to have food near each other.

In fact, I might react badly if a child tries to take away MY food…

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Wednesday Wrap-Up For A Post-Chauvin Trial America, 2/21/21 [Corrected]

I guess I have to come clean: I thought I had posted this before noon. Guess not. So a Morning Warm-Up became a late night wrap up…

1. The trial was a sporting event? I did not know that! ESPN included the Chauvin guilty verdict in its list of important sports news today. Apparently, it’s sports news because a lot of athletes are going to shoot off their mouths about it, spreading ignorance far and wide.

2. Deranged Quote of the Day: “Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey’s Brisbane?” That comes from ABC Everyday’s Beverley Wang. The Disney+ program, we are told :

….is the award-winning, mega-hit animated series about the Heelers, a family of dog-shaped humans — parents Bandit and Chilli, four-year-old Bingo, and six-year-old Bluey — who live in a gorgeous Queenslander with city views, perched on a lush hilltop in sunny Brisbane.

The only way to handle people who poison minds and the the culture with ideas like this is to be merciless, and slap them down with the classic reaction of “Sidney Wang”:

Being nice just enables them.

3. From the False Narrative files: Yahoo! News correspondent Jon Ward authored a piece of counter-factual propaganda headlined, “Chauvin’s guilty verdict is a major milestone in America’s reckoning with racial justice.”  As I have tried to point out repeatedly, there is no evidence that George Floyd’s fate would have been any different if he had been white, Asian-American or a Smurf. None. NONE. There is no evidence that Chauvin was a racist, or that race played any part in his brutal treatment of Floyd. The fact that activists, politicians and the journalists seized on the symbolic imagery of a white cop’s knee on a black man’s neck and exploited it shamelessly doesn’t change the facts. This was not a racial incident. If the jury convicted Chauvin thinking that it was, then they were misled.

Ward’s essay is a good starting place for anyone who wants to understand  how far journalism has sunk.

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