Category Archives: Comment of the Day

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dilemma: What Do You Do With Steve King?”

Pennagain, who also acts as the volunteer and indispensable Ethics Alarms proofreader, submitted this Comment of the Day, packed with ethics, and trenchant observations about how diverse cultures have enriched civilization. It begins with a quote from another commenter on Rep. King’s descent into white-supremacistspeak, and heads to wonderful places.

Here is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day on the post,  “Ethics Dilemma: What Do You Do With Steve King?”

Still, most of the really big failings over the ages have been ah, east of Suez.

Rewrite: Still, most of the big failings over the ages have been during the first couple of thousand years of any particular civilization. That’s considering national and natural barriers that don’t go along any particular meridian. If they last beyond a millennia or two, they’ve usually learned a thing or two.

Some of those things might be an understanding of the concept of comparative values and why basic ethical principles have always been in vogue – including under the Shogunates, the Mughal emperors, the dynasties of China (going back to 2100BC, by the way), and other long-lived non-democracies). Or why certain types of governments or power structures work best with certain cultures at certain times, barring catastrophic disasters and military dictatorships (North Korea is still in its 68-year-old infancy and ailing). Or why philosophies of aesthetics differ to an extent that makes comparing art or architecture, or its presence or absence idiotic. Or why a majority of us believe our own way is best (and some of the latter think they need to Disneyfy, Democratize, and Develop everyone everywhere else on the planet).

Example of some basic Asian principles aka Their Ethics: harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty, filial piety.

All of the above can be incorporated into the principles of what us non-Asian, non-African folks call universal ethics; our ethics:

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Comment of the Day

Comment of the Day: “Prelude: Intent, Gross Negligence, And ‘Extremely Careless’”

eyes closed driving

Long-time commenter (and blogger) Glenn Logan has authored not one but three COTD-worthy posts of late. I have chosen his commentary on the gross negligence/extremely careless distinction for the honor, but any of them would have been worthy choices. You can find the others in the threads here and here.

Before I get to Glenn, I want to point out that a recent and ridiculous news story illustrated the difficulty of the gross negligence/extreme carelessness distinction perfectly:

A North Florida woman is saying her prayers after running her car into a home — after saying her prayers.

The 28-year-old woman was driving in the tiny town of Mary Esther, located west of Fort Walton Beach in the Florida Panhandle. Deputies from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office say the driver told them she was praying and had her eyes closed before the incident took place.

According to NWFDailyNews.com, authorities say she ran a stop sign, going through an intersection and into the yard of a home. The driver tried to back out, but her car got stuck in sand and dirt around the home. No one was hurt inside the home and the driver was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. She was cited for reckless driving with property damage.

Gross negligence would be praying, driving, and closing her eyes knowing well that it endangered others, and doing it anyway. Extremely careless would be praying, driving, and closing her eyes assuming that no harm would come of it, perhaps because God would be driving the car. “Reckless,” however, may cover both.

Here is Glenn’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Prelude: Intent, Gross Negligence, And ‘Extremely Careless’”: Continue reading

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Government & Politics, language, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy

Comment of the Day: “California’s High Speed Rail Fiasco”

astrodome

I’m behind on posting Comments of the Day, and the first to be sprung from the backlog is this, from johnburger2013, giving yet another account of political leaders defeating the public will to pursue expensive and irresponsible projects that do not and cannot live up to the promises made to justify them. I wonder if there is a category of informed people who simultaneously deride the motivation for the Brexit vote, and yet condemn debacles like the California high-speed rail project. The issue, as it usually is, is trust.

Here is johnburger2013’s Comment of the Day (that day being almost a weeks ago) on the post, California’s High Speed Rail Fiasco:

Here in Houston, there is a constant litany of ideas about what to do with the Astrodome, it being one of the man-made wonders of the world (until the King Dome left it in the dust). The Dome was moth-balled when Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium) was built about 11 years ago, after the Astros got their own facility in Downtown Houston (thank you, taxpayers), and the Dynamo got their own facility (thank you, taxpayers), and the Houston Texans got NRG Stadium (again, thank you, taxpayers). The Rockets never played there, but they have a new stadium, too (thank you a fourth time, taxpayers), so they are not to blame. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo doesn’t use the facility either, because they use NRG for their events (the parking stinks, though, as big-ass crowds of people have to take limited numbers of buses and light rail [which only goes to downtown, thank you a fifth time, taxpayers] to outlying parking venues).

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Filed under Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Hero: Mother Jones Pundit Kevin Drum”

There are, I think, three regular commenters on Ethics Alarms who extend all the way back to Ethics Scoreboard days, or pre-2012. One of them is Tim Levier, who unlike the other two, I have actually met while I was in his state of Colorado. Tim posted the following on my Facebook page, and I invited him to cross-post here. In his post, he addresses the “do something!” lament that appears to be thoroughly rotting the brains of our leaders in both parties as they hustle to pander to the emotional responses to the Orlando tragedy. Tim wrote a younger friend about what somethings he would do, and not all of them are relevant to guns. They all, however, are relevant to building a society in which fewer people might choose to start shooting strangers.

Here is Tim’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Hero: Mother Jones Pundit Kevin Drum.

I’m 35 and was recently talking with someone slightly younger. He had the standard call for ideas to check the “do something” box. After I did some jumping jacks to show that I did something, I buckled down and wrote some ideas.

Now, I’m usually accustomed to reading some constitutional murky stuff, so I veered a different direction. Below is my list as I wrote it to him, perhaps there’s something in it that speaks to people. My 4 ideas for improvement (not solutions, because solutions don’t exist.):

Idea #1

I’ll tell you that the #1 thing I would like to see in this country (give me some slack here, I believe everything is connected), given the state of health care…

I’d like to see a 3 tier system of medical insurance & payments. (Tier 3 will be the part that relates back.)

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Daily Life, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “The Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service Condemns Former Agent Gary Byrne And His Clinton Exposé ‘Crisis in Character’…GOOD.”

Bill and Monica

Like one of those characters who leaves the band of heroes mid-movie only to make a sudden return to save the day at the climax (OK, I’m thinking about Brad Dexter in “The Magnificent Seven,” and come to think of it, he gets shot), veteran Ethics Alarms pugilist Steve-O-in-NJ vanished for more than a month but came galloping back with an interesting, wide ranging, politically provocative and bitter post about the ex-Secret Service agent’s tell-all book,  its relevance to the Presidential race, my contention that an agent might have an obligation to assist a POTUS with less than savory—but legal!—activities, and when he really gets rolling, much, much more.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, The Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service Condemns Former Agent Gary Byrne And His Clinton Exposé “Crisis in Character”…GOOD.

I think the formal pledge of confidentiality was only instituted in 2000. So legally he may be ok, depending on when he left and whether the pledge was retroactive. Ethically what he is doing is pretty slimy. Unfortunately, in this campaign all bets are off, and he can probably hide behind rhetoric that casts him as a private, concerned citizen exercising his First Amendment rights to make sure that this country does not go down a VERY dangerous path with a female near-Caligula at the helm (alluding to Caligula’s random and capricious abuse of power, not his perversion) .

I have to say, the statement that they are obligated to help the President cheat on the First Lady, a la wheeling FDR to Lucy Mercer, does NOT sit well with me. The Secret Service are law enforcement officers before they are anything else, and they are officers who enforce laws against fraud and deception, i.e. counterfeiting, certain kinds of check fraud, and I think at some point they may also have worked on credit card fraud. As such they need to be doing things better and cleaner than Joe Average. They are not the President’s personal valets, chauffeurs, or manservants, and their role is not to enable the President to commit acts for personal gain or gratification that we ordinary citizens wouldn’t tolerate from ourselves or others. That’s not only setting one set of ethics for the First Family and another for the rank and file of citizens, it’s saying that officers otherwise sworn to uphold the law against fraud have to aid in those dubious ethics.

Maybe this sounds a little bit old-style Boy Scout-ish, but I couldn’t blame a Secret Service agent who told a President who was at least as concerned with chasing ass as he was with running the country that “my job is to protect you, sir, but you will not drag me into your slimy personal affairs and then tell me to keep it quiet.”

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Comment of the Day: “Ethics (and Legal) Dunces: Hillary Clinton And Everyone Else Who Is Suggesting That The Government Should Be Able To Keep Someone From Buying A Gun By Placing Them On A “No-Fly List””

EYES of fear

From Comment of the Day auteur Chris Marschner comes more perspective on the post Orlando debate, and some of the irresponsible arguments being made. His focus: the distortion caused by fear,  and he adds a further rebuttal to the suddenly current “The Second Amendment only applies to muskets” nonsense, for which he has more patience that I. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics (and Legal) Dunces: Hillary Clinton And Everyone Else Who Is Suggesting That The Government Should Be Able To Keep Someone From Buying A Gun By Placing Them On A “No-Fly List”

What I have not seen yet is an actual deconstruction of the events that took place well before the self-proclaimed radical set his sights on the Pulse night club. Furthermore, once again one side immediately attributes the root cause of mass shootings to an inanimate object that has the capability to inflict substantial casualties or, as the New York Times editorial(s) puts it, Republican rhetoric that fuels hate toward the LGBT community and other minorities and that the pro-gun lobby is complicit in facilitating these horrific events. It seems to me that such rhetoric fuels the intransigence by the pro gun side to stick to their guns, so to speak.

Whether it’s the NRA and the millions people that make up its membership, or non-gun owners who would not know an automatic weapon from a semi- automatic weapon used by the military both sides are arguing from a state of fear.

At the heart of the problem is how do we combat that fear without sacrificing the very freedoms we want to protect. We aid, abet and give comfort to our enemies when we fight internally over these issues. By dividing us they distract us from their activities; so they win a tactical advantage. By causing us to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms they win some battles. When they force our retreat into isolation they win the war.

Irrespective of what we call it, radical Islamists or simply extremists we do know the name of the organizations that seek to inflict as much death and destruction to the civilians living in western Europe, Israel and the United States. Each has a name and a state of war can be declared on each one. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethical Quote Of The Day: Marjorie Ingall

pibull pile

“Let’s not generalize about an animal based on the shape of its head or the texture of its coat… Individuals are individuals. Generalizations—about dogs, or about people—are odious.”

—–Marjorie Ingall in her review of Bronwen Dickey’s new book, Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon

I have several times,in posts here about the senseless, ignorant and unethical vendetta pursued against “pit bulls” [Ingall: “Pit bulls’ (meaning ‘any dog that looks the way we think a pit bull looks’) “], compared the reasoning of the anti-pit bull Furies to the logic of racism. Thus I was especially pleased to read Ingall’s essay, while she called “Pit Bulls—the Jews of the Canine World.” Another sample…

Nowadays, people associate pit bulls with thugs. And the word “thug,” as we all know, is barely coded shorthand for a young African-American man. (Truthfully, I’d thought of pit bulls being Jews … but comparing pit bulls to African Americans is even more resonant, in terms of the stereotyping both face.)…Study after study has shown that pit bulls are no more likely to bite than any other breed…Fear of the word “pit bull” and misplaced fear of the breed, combined with a healthy dose of racism, have trumped common sense.

You can find the Ethics Alarms post on this topic here.

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Filed under Animals, Around the World, Comment of the Day, Law & Law Enforcement, Race