Category Archives: Ethics Heroes

Ethics Heroes: American Journalists. Finally.

"Wait, I didn't hear you say, 'Thank-you, sir, may I have another!"

“Wait, I didn’t hear you say, ‘Thank-you, sir, may I have another!”

It is heartening, I suppose, that the subjugation of independent journalism to the Democratic party and its leadership is not yet total, and that there are still limits to how much toadying and boot-licking the once-principled  professional will tolerate.

Incredibly, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest wrote a letter to the New York Times complaining that the  paper “did not acknowledge the important and unprecedented steps that the Obama administration has taken to fulfill the president’s promise to lead the most transparent White House in history.” He concluded, “If President Obama’s government transparency effort is not even noted by The Times’s media columnist, then why would future presidential candidates make it a priority?”

This required breath-taking gall. Indeed, journalists and others do remember the President’s transparency pledge, which he has breached at every turn. Indeed, the lack of transparency in the administration has been a topic of discussion, complaint and anger for nearly eight years. It is especially bold for Earnest to make such an absurd claim—and indignantly!— as the President stumps for his former Secretary of State, who risked national security and breached protocol by employing a private server in order to avoid Freedom of Information Act access to her communications.

Assessments of journalists across the political spectrum, who can agree on little else, agree on this: Barack Obama’s administration is among the least open and transparent in history, and perhaps the least. A sample demonstrates the fact: CNN, The Atlantic, The Daily Caller, Democracy Now, Truth Revolt, Associated Press, The Washington Post, The National Journal’s Ron Fournier, the Wall Street Journal, and too many others to list.

How could Earnest (which is to say, his boss) even attempt to squeeze a statement from the press that would be the exact opposite of the truth, and have the chutzpah to  demand that it be in the form of praise? The answer should be obvious: the President has no reason to respect the news media, which has been incompetent, timid, fearful and compliant with Administration propaganda and spin from the start.

In addition, a theme of this administration has been to employ Orwellian interpretations of the administration’s performance at every turn, usually with media assistance. Failures are successes, marginal improvements are miraculous victories. An epic decline in racial trust and comity qualifies as improved race relations.  An irresponsible deal with a rogue state determined to fry Israel makes the world safer. A doubled national debt shows progress in fiscal management. We are winning the war against terrorism, and Bowe Bergdahl was a military hero. Day is night and white is black. No wonder Earnest felt that a President who has consistently defied his transparency promise could  get away with claiming that he had kept it, and could command applause.

But eventually even the most lowly worms can turn if you abuse them enough, and the journalists, to their credit, decided this was one filthy boot they would not lick clean while crying out on cue, “YUM YUM!” In a letter sent to Earnest (and copied to the President) the Society of Professional Journalists and a coalition of 40 groups set the record straight: Continue reading

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Ethics Hero: 11-Year-Old Singer Capri Everitt

Capri Everitt is an 11-year-old girl with a big voice. She set a Guinness World Record earlier this month when she sang the National Anthem before a Washington Nationals baseball game . For nearly a year, you see, Capri and her family have traveled around the world to 80 countries so she could sing 80 different anthems in 41 different languages.Washington D.C. was the final stop for Capri,  in a tour that required her  to learn  a lot of songs and master the pronunciation of many foreign tongues.

“And a lot of the time, I got people that are native to the country to help me with the national anthem – to help me learn it and pronounce it right, ” Capri says.

Some people use national anthems to divide people. Some, like Capri, would rather use them to bring people together.

Her tour raised money for a charity called SOS Children’s Villages, which provides homes for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children in 134 countries.

“There is so much bad news on television and in newspapers that we thought, ‘How can we create a good story? How can we do something with our daughter because she loves to sing,’”  Tom Everitt, Capri’s father. has told journalists. “But we wanted to be something that would be really, really positive, so we got her to practice some national anthems.”

Capri’s anthem tour is documented on the family’s  website AroundTheWorldIn80Anthems.com.

Sing, Capri!  Colin Kaepernick can sit it out if he wants.

 

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Family

Ethical Quote Of The Month, And Ethical Acceptance Letter Of The Decade: The University of Chicago

acceptance_letter

This is all over the web, but as an ethics site, Ethics Alarms can hardly not join the throng.

The tragedy is that we have to regard anything in this letter as the least bit remarkable. I now eagerly await the wave criticism of the message, condemning it  as insensitive and racist.They have already started. Grand View University professor Kevin Gannon argued in a blog post,

Students ought to be challenged, even made uncomfortable, in order to learn in deep and meaningful ways. And, of course, collegiate education is where students must encounter perspectives different from their own… and that’s what this Dean and the anti-trigger-warnings, no-safe-spaces crowd are counting on-that the surface veneer of reasonableness in these admonitions to the Class of 2020 will obscure the rotten pedagogy and logical fallacies that infest this entire screed…Displaying empathy for the different experiences our students bring to the classroom is not a threat to our academic freedom. Allowing for a diversity of perspectives to flourish, even when that diversity might challenge the very structure of our course and its material, is not a threat but an opportunity.

Slate calls the letter “strange” and notes..

[T]he letter’s author, John Ellison, betrays a common misunderstanding of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces”—both of which exist for the exact purpose of “building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds.” Trigger warnings are not intended to shield students from controversial material; they’re intended to warn students about disturbing content so that they won’t be shocked by it.

You know, like what happens in real life: we get an early warning before anything happens that might upset or “shock” us. Ellison understands perfectly: trigger warnings and safe spaces are part of a strategy to marginzlize individuals, groups and ideas by stigmatizing them as “controversial,” “disturbing,” and “shocking.”

I’ll also be watching to see if the university administrators will stand behind their bold words.

Maybe this will serve as a splash of ice water in the faces of Dean Ellison’s spineless and feckless colleagues around the country, like those in the University of Missouri, whose capitulation to campus race-baiters and grievance bullies has cost the school over 2,000 students. It may also be the final gasp of truly liberal higher education in the U.S.

We shall see….

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Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Leadership, U.S. Society

Here…This Should Wash Ryan Lochte And Hope Solo Out Of Your Brain

sportsmanship

In a women’s 5,000 meter heat in Rio earlier this week, Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand fell and tripped up American Abbey D’Agostino in the process. D’Agostino got up, helped Hamlin to her feet, and both finished roughly two minutes behind first place.

The two women  didn’t know each other and had never spoken before the race, with both seeking a place in the final. With 4½ of the 12½ laps remaining, they collided so quickly that Hamblin was stunned momentarily.  “When I went down I was like ‘Why am I on the ground’ and suddenly there was this hand on my shoulder,” Hamblin said.

The hand belonged to D’Agostino.  “Come on, get up,” the American was saying. “We have to finish this race.”

And they did.

After the race, this happened:

Olymoic hugs

 

You know I think the Olympics are now bloated, venal, corrupt hypocritical reality TV programming at the expense of their hosts, substantially participated in by arrogant jerks like Hope Solo and Ryan Lochte, but even I have to applaud when genuine sportsmanship, compassion, selflessness and human caring breaks out like this.

Now will someone explain what Slate writer Justin Peters’ problem is, as expressed in his piece, I’m Starting to Hate That Moment When Olympic Runners Helped Each Other to the Finish Line?

What did he want D’Agostino to do, kick the New Zealander and step on her face as she started running again?

_________________________

Pointer: Slate

Source: USA Today

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Ethics Heroes: The Nixon Foundation And The Richard Nixon Presidential Library

Pop Quiz: Who is missing from this picture from the dedication of the Nixon Library in 1990, and why?

Pop Quiz: Who is missing from this picture from the dedication of the Nixon Library in 1990, and why?

I can’t stand the Kennedy Library in Boston, with all its triumphal, sentimental hagiography of both Jack and Bobby. A presidential library will naturally try to put the best spin on the accomplishments, failures, and character deficits of its subject, but it has an obligation to history too. I once was determined to visit all of the libraries, but after the first few I decided that these structures were more like the pyramids than fair and enlightening representations of the men they honored.

The worst in this respect, as you might guess, was the infamous Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, which opened 26 years ago.The Watergate exhibit, approved by Nixon himself, painted Nixon as an innocent and heroic victim brought down by the media  and his sinister foes. This was certainly Nixon’s view, but it has no relationship to reality. So convinced was Congress that the Richard Nixon Presidential Library would display the same lack of ethics as its namesake that it passed a law in 1974 requiring his presidential records to be stored with the National Archives and out of the library’s control, where they might be altered or “lost.”

Nixon’s library entered the official presidential library system under the auspices of the National Archives in 2007, and to finally make it more than the presidential library equivalent of  Fantasyland, the Nixon Foundation ordered the old Watergate exhibit to be overhauled. Continue reading

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Ethics Hero: Angela Martin, As St. Paul Strangers Prevent A Suicide

Angela Matin

Remember Raymond Zack?  In 2011, 50-year-old Raymond Zack waded into the surf at an Alameda, California beach and stood calmly in the 54-degree water, apparently waiting to die. His suicide took nearly an hour, but eventually he drowned, with no rescue attempts from any of the 75 San Franciscans, including firefighters, who gathered on the shore to watch the entire tragedy. I am so used to reading about bystanders allowing desperate people, sick, wounded or otherwise in peril, to perish because they “didn’t want to get involved” that a story like this one, the opposite of the Raymond Zack tragedy from St. Paul, Minnesota, comes as a shock.

How sad is that?

Motorist Angela Martin  saw a woman  climb onto a concrete wall and scale a chain-link fence above Interstate 94 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Martin could have continued driving, but she acted immediately, parking her car and calling 911. But she sensed there was no time to lose. Martin ran over to the woman, who  having climbed over chain-link fence was now clinging to it with her fingers above heavy highway traffic.

“ No, honey. Don’t do this,” she shouted. Martin told reporters that the distraught young woman kept repeating,  “My mom don’t love me. My mom don’t care for me.’”

“No, we love you, ” Martin told her. Martin reached through the links  and grabbed the woman’s shirt and  belt, just as the would-be suicide released her grip so she could fall to her death. Other motorists on the overpass saw the unfolding scene and came to Martin’s aid, and joined her in reaching through the fence to keep the woman from falling. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

“Such Is Life,” The Kindness Of Strangers, And The Wonderful Ethics Saga Of Moises Treves And Judy Anderson

Such is life

This is an old story, but I’ve never written about it, and I need to be reminded that there is good in the world.

In the mid 1970s, Moises Treves was a day cook at a small taco stand on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, By all accounts he made the best tacos in town, and  American tourist Judy Anderson, a school teacher who visited the island several times, was a special fan of them. On one visit in 1977, Judy, traveling alone as usual, invited him to accompany her to the Mayan pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula. Moises happily agreed and served as her tour guide. They had  lunch, speaking as best they could to each other using Judy’s limited Spanish and Moises’ broken English.

During the meal, Judy asked Moises if he had any ambition to open his own restaurant. Ah, he said, that was his dream, but he despaired of it ever coming true. He just didn’t have the money, and couldn’t seem to save anything.  Judy responded,”Such is life!,” an expression that Moises had never heard. He asked Judy about it, and the saying stuck in his mind.

As the lovely day came to a close, the two friends said goodbye:  Moises was about to take  the ferry back to the Cozumel, and Judy was heading o the airport and then home to United States. Mysteriously,  Judy gave Moises a sealed envelope and told him not to open it until he was home.

When Moises opened the envelope, he found five $100 bills.  They were accompanied by a letter that said,

“Dear Moises. Go make ‘Such is Life’ happen. Love Judy.”

Continue reading

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