Category Archives: Character

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Novelist Ann Rice

Can you see your hypocrisy when you look in the mirror, Ann?

Can you see your hypocrisy when you look in the mirror, Ann?

“The sex scandal at Fox matters; it’s at the heart of the GOP contempt for women as citizens and human beings.”

—-“Interview With The Vampire” author Ann Rice, on Twitter.

This is signature significance in so many ways. To write this in a public forum, one has to be completely corrupted by partyism, tunnel-vision, bias and the certainty that you are operating in an environment populated with millions of similarly disabled individuals. It also helps to be either dishonest or ignorant, or both.

Let’s try to count all the ways Rice’s tweet is unethical:

1. Sexual harassment scandals occur in all kinds of organizations, including otherwise virtuous non-profits and models of progressive thinking. The University of California at Berkley–the infamously right wing institution— has one going on right now. Yale has been covering up a sexual harassment scandal involving a world-famous ethicist.  These are just  examples of sexual harassment that make it to the headlines. I work in the field: believe me, there is no monopoly by Republicans or conservatives in this area. For Rice to insinuate otherwise is nothing more than disinformation born of her own biases.

In the alternative, she knows this is absurd, and is lying.

2. The statement embodies guilt by association at its worst. How about this: “The Brian Williams scandal at NBC matters; it’s at the heart of the Democratic Party’s contempt for the public as citizens and human beings” ? There’s no ethical difference: both statements are unfair and dishonest. I’ll wager that the percentage of Democrats who work for NBC is significantly greater than the proportion of Republicans who work at Fox. The political parties have nothing whatsoever to do with either situation.

3. Ailes’ engagement in harassing conduct is difficult to deny, especially after so many past employees have surfaced to bolster the accusations made in the recent lawsuit. Whether there is a wider problem beyond Ailes is completely unproven. Personally, I don’t doubt it: when leaders of organizations model such conduct, it typically corrupts the entire culture. However, it is far too soon to make the kind of leap Rice is making, which not only assumes company-wide harassment but somehow attributes it to another organization, the Republican Party.

4. Most of all, and to save the  best and funniest for last, has Rice never heard of Bill Clinton? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Social Media, Unethical Tweet

Major League Baseball Cares About Integrity And I Wish This Proved It…But It Doesn’t

I know this will be a shock, Henry, but there's forest here, not just trees...

I know this will be a shock, Henry, but there’s forest here, not just trees…

On Baseball Prospectus, one of the scholarly baseball sites, Henry Druschel has a provocative, inspiring and ultimately silly post pointing out that if baseball teams were only concerned with winning, they would forfeit games for strategic purposes, yet they literally never do. He writes…

“Teams are almost certainly harming their long-term win rates in a meaningful way by playing until every out of every game has been recorded. For example, the Red Sox encountered a grueling quirk of the schedule on Wednesday night, when they were scheduled to play the Orioles at 7:05 p.m. before traveling to Detroit and playing the Tigers at 1:10 p.m. the next day. When it began to pour in Baltimore at roughly 9:00 p.m., the Red Sox were leading 8-1 after six innings, but imagine if the situation was reversed, and Boston was instead trailing 8-1 with three innings to go. Their odds of coming back to win such a game would be something like 0.5 percent. In such a scenario, they could either wait in the clubhouse until the game was either resumed or officially cancelled, or they could forfeit as soon as the rain began, and head for the airport and Detroit right away. In the non-hypothetical game, the rain delay lasted about 80 minutes before the game was officially called; it seems obvious that an extra hour and a half of rest before the next game would add more to a trailing Boston’s total expected wins than remaining in Baltimore and hoping for a miracle would. That might seem like a corner case, and truthfully, it is; I bring it up to note that no one would even consider a forfeit in such a scenario, despite the strategic logic of the move. This isn’t limited to corner cases, however; every time a position player enters a baseball game as a pitcher in a blowout, teams are harming their long-term expected win totals by not forfeiting instead….”

The writer concludes:

Given that forfeitures would be win-maximizing in certain cases, and given that teams choose never to strategically forfeit regardless, there are two possible conclusions. One: Teams are behaving irrationally. Given the immense value even a single win can have to a franchise, I feel confident stating that this is not the case. That leaves the second conclusion: There is something the team values more than winning as much as possible. There is a societal norm that places something—a competitive ideal, maybe, or just completion—over winning, a norm that would be violated by a strategic forfeit, and a norm that teams invariably follow.

As someone who values other things over winning, this excites me…

Don’t get too excited, Henry.

Yes, I believe that baseball teams take considered actions sometimes that do not maximize their chances of winning. I was roundly pilloried in baseball circles for an article I wrote in 2008 (for another scholarly baseball site)  which argued that Barry Bonds, the shameless steroid cheat and home run champion who was suddenly a free agent and who could, based on his recent exploits, still hit though well past 40, would not be signed by any team—not even the Yankees!—because doing so would signal to that team’s fans, city, players and organization that the team endorsed flagrant dishonesty as well as a willingness to disregard fairness, integrity and sportsmanship for a few extra wins. I was on a MLB radio show where the host laughed at me. “Of course he’ll be signed! You’re crazy!” were his words. “Just wait,” I said. “If he isn’t signed, it will mean that baseball colluded against him!” he said. “Just wait,” I said.

Bonds, who said he was dying to play, that he was healthy, that he’d play for the Major League minimum, that he’d sue MLB is someone didn’t sign him, never swung a bat in anger again. There was no collusion, either. It was pure cognitive dissonance, you see. Remember the scale? Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, History, Research and Scholarship, Sports

Stupid Cops Matter

Perfect match.

Perfect match.

In a case where Hanlon’s Razor (“Never assume malice is the explanation if stupidity will suffice”) applies but one can’t really blame a mother for thinking otherwise, police in Newark  inexplicably mistook an innocent pre-teen black boy for an adult robbery suspect and chased him through a Newark neighborhood with guns drawn. This is stupidity, not racism. Well, who knows: there could be racism mixed in there too, but what jumps out is the jaw-dropping incompetence.

Legend Preston, just ten years old, was fetching a basketball that had rolled into the street when he looked up and saw armed cops running towards him as if they meant business. So he ran.

“I was scared for my life,” Legend told reporters. “I was thinking that they were going to shoot me.” Good thinking, kid. If these cope were inept enough to get a ten-year-old  confused with Casey Joseph Robinson, a 20-year-old, dreadlocks-sporting perp with facial hair (he was arrested in the next block), who knows what they might do?

Legend was quickly surrounded by neighbors  who emphatically pointed out to the police that they were chasing a child, as the officers stammered that he “fit the description” of the criminal. Well, sort of. Okay, okay, now that we’re up close, we see that he’s under five feet tall, dressed like a kid, doesn’t have dreadlocks or facial hair, and looks nothing like the guy, except that he’s black, which means we also could also mistake him for Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson, Morgan Freeman, or LeBron James. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race, U.S. Society

From James Carville, The Epitome Of The Saint’s Excuse

Now, you might think I'm violating my promise not to use unattractive photos of unethical people to make them look bad, but I'm not. James Carville looks like snake no matter what photo you use. Condign justice.

Now, you might think I’m violating my promise not to use unattractive photos of unethical people to make them look bad, but I’m not. James Carville looks like a snake no matter what photo you use. Condign justice.

Veteran Clinton hired minion (I think that’s fair) James Carville’s reaction to the latest news about how Hillary used the State Department to reward Clinton Foundation donors (that’s a fair description too, and illegal) is wonderful in its way, as it comes as close to a perfect example of one of the most sinister and historically destructive rationalizations on the list, the Saint’s Excuse, as one is likely to see in a lifetime. It’s also useful, because if you find yourself finding his logic persuasive, then you are as devoid of ethics as James Carville is.

Trust me: you don’t want that.

[For various views on the emerging proof that, as honest journalists and analysts concluded many months ago, Hillary traded State favors for cash that went to Clinton Foundation initiatives and, incidentally, into her family members’ bank accounts, see these links: Fox News, Guardian, New York Times, Lawyers, Guns & Money, Washington Monthly, Washington Times,Politico, Power Line, Associated PressMediaite, BizPac Review and the Wall Street Journal]

 Carville said this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that if the Clinton Foundation had decided not to accept foreign donations while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State —as the Obama Administration swore to Congress that it would not do, as government ethics rules and laws forbade it to do, and as anyone with the tiniest understanding of conflicts of interest knows it could not do,

“…you’d be out hundreds of millions of dollars that are doing good. What the Clinton Foundation does, it takes money from rich people and gives it to poor people. Most people think that’s a pretty good idea.”

Most people? If so, those “most people” are also the ones who are completely ignorant of what corruption is, and exactly the kind of people that Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Carville, happily recruit to prey upon the rest of us. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, U.S. Society

Nipplegate Ethics: No, We Don’t Owe Janet Jackson Any Apology At All

nipplegate

A wonderful, if infuriating, example of race- and gender-baiting was delivered earlier this year by pop culture pundit Emmanuel Hapsis, and a more ridiculous analysis you will seldom see. I missed it, but the post was no more valid then than it is now.

Returning, for some reason, to the infamous episode during the 2004’s Super Bowl halftime show, when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake conspired to turn the supposedly family-friendly Super Bowl into a strip tease, Hapsis’s piece is called “Nipplegate Revisited: Why America Owes Janet Jackson a Huge Apology.” During a choreographed duet with Jackson  and while singing “Better have you naked by the end of this song,” (talk about rape culture!) Timberlake ripped a pre-rigged portion of Jackson’s bustier to reveal her naked breast. Jackson was severely criticized, as she should have been: after all, it was her breast, and she obviously agreed to allow it to make a surprise appearance, however brief.

Never mind. Hapsis sees the episode as exemplifying America’s “patriarchy,” “racism” and “sexism,” because obviously no white singers flashing ten-year-olds in TV land would be criticized, and no male singer who decided to let Mr. Wiggly make a guest appearance would be similarly pilloried. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, History, Journalism & Media, Jumbo, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Race

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Republican Congressional Candidate Dan Bongino

Soap in mouth

“Marc listen, you can go fuck yourself…You’re a real disgusting piece of shit. You have no idea why I moved to Florida…Hey, shut the fuck up! Go fuck yourself, you piece of shit. You don’t know why I moved to Florida, you motherfucker fucking coward!…Fuck you, fuck yourself! Wait til I shred your fucking ass on the radio. Shut the fuck up.”

—-Dan Bongino, Florida Republican running in a Congressional primary, in a phone interview with Politico reporter Marc Caputo. Yes, he knew it was being recorded.

Stay classy, Republicans.

If you care about the context for this asinine performance, be my guest: read about it here. I don’t care if someone said that his mother slept with alpacas. His string of obscenities demonstrates a lack of respect for the public, miserable judgment, poor self-control, and the powers of expression of an under-educated pimp. Just what we need more of in Congress.

What kind of semi-civilized fool would vote for someone like this? I know, I know…the same kind of fool who would vote for Donald Trump.

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics

Hillary Gets Caught In A (nother) Whopper

Why yes, this IS the thanks you get, General!

Why yes, this IS the thanks you get, General!

From the New York Times (Aug. 18):

Pressed by the F.B.I. about her email practices at the State Department, Hillary Clinton told investigators that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had advised her to use a personal email account.The account is included in the notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation handed over to Congress on Tuesday, relaying in detail the three-and-a-half-hour interview with Mrs. Clinton in early July that led to the decision by James B. Comey, the bureau’s director, not to pursue criminal charges against her.

From Page Six:

Colin Powell has broken his silence about his alleged involvement in the Hillary Clinton email scandal, saying her team is falsely trying to blame him.When asked by the FBI about her email use at the State Department, Clinton reportedly told investigators that former Secretary of State Powell had advised her to use a personal email account at a private dinner. But Powell, who had said last week in a statement that he had no recollection of the conversation, told Page Six at Saturday’s Apollo in the Hamptons event, “The truth is she was using it (her personal email) for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did [during my term as secretary of state]. “Her people have been trying to pin it on me.”

When asked why Clinton’s team were attempting to blame him, he responded, “Why do you think?”

Conclusion: Hillary Clinton lied to the F.B.I.

Ethics musings: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Science & Technology, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, Workplace