A “Bias Makes You Stupid” Case Study: Meghan McCain

Meghan McCain

Meghan McCain, the late Senator’s daughter, is attracting well-deserved mockery for her first column in the Daily Mail, the British tabloid. In her lament, John’s little chip of the old block pronounces herself amazed and horrified that Joe Biden, as President, has been exactly what it was obvious to anyone paying attention that he would be after his bumbling, fumbling, sometimes frightening campaign in 2020. This snippet is sufficient:

The man I once considered a friend and confidante has morphed into a feckless and unreliable leader I no longer recognize. He gives all the signs of stubborn cantankerous naiveté, surrounded by idiotic sycophants anyone who has spent more than fifteen minutes around politics should easily recognize as the worst type of corrupt bureaucrats. Biden’s policies have broken with his rhetoric of unity to create more division and distrust. Inflation has exploded. Americans are paying more at the pump and the grocery and soon for their kids’ holiday toys. The schools are supposed to be reopened, but in-person learning is inconsistent and can be pulled away with the speed of a positive test. The vaccine booster shots, which Biden promised at the beginning of the month, ran into a brick wall of FDA policy. New government mandates are testing the limits of executive power. The man who promised he would shut down the virus, not the country, is doing the opposite.

Why yes, Meghan, Joe Biden is conducting his Presidency exactly as one should expect from a career political hack of minimal intellectual timber who was obviously in the throes of diminishing capacity when he was nominated, and who was only nominated to be a malleable prop for the far-left while the Democrats pretended that he was a moderate “adult in the room” in contrast to ruthless ideologues like Elizabeth Warren and human racial spoils like Kamala Harris? Why are you surprised?

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Your Child’s Teacher Might Be An Idiot If…

Poster

…this poster is hanging in the classroom. Is there any “might” about it? Well, it’s possible that the teacher knows most of the bumper-sticker platitudes on the poster are naive, misleading, simplistic to the point of uselessness and actively suffocate critical thinking, but they are part of a loose conspiracy determined to breed Marxism, or maybe just stupidity, which is to Marxist indoctrination what agar is to bacteria, in our rising generations.

That fatuous list of virtue-signaling blather is being sold on T-shirts, stickers, posters, mugs, kids’ T-shirts and masks, and could stand as Exhibit A to prove the proposition that any parent who doesn’t drop in on their child’s classroom to see what kinds of propaganda is being force-fed there is lazy, irresponsible, and partially responsible for the rapidly spreading cultural, intellectual and ethical rot spreading over the land.

The nine progressive spit-bubbles above also turn up on lawn signs in my neighborhood. That’s fine: if adults want to signal they are squishy-brained moron, that’s a public service, and if they choose to train their children to think the Care Bears are profound, well, those kids’ DNA is probably pretty wan anyway. But teachers openly promoting such stuff as “truth” or worse, wisdom, is a hair from child abuse, and maybe not even a hair. I am going to begin advocating that all teacher interviews include the questions,

  • “Do you but, wear anything with these statements on them? Why?”
  • “Would you display such messages in your classroom?”
  • “Taking each of the statements individually, please explain how they are overly simplistic or inappropriately political in nature, or why you think they are not.”
  • “If you had such messages posted in your classroom, would you object to a parent of one of your students see it?”
  • “If a parent objected to the display, how would you respond?’

Let’s examine those nine assertions. One, “Kindness inspires,” is unobjectionable. As for the rest,

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Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Dr. Mary Rudyk”

gun to the head 3

Steve-O-In-NJ has been a veritable Samuel Pepys of late, and there are more than one potential COTD in his recent output. But I’m a sucker for personal anecdotes, so let’s start with this, Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Dr. Mary Rudyk,” in which a hospital official advocated lying and fear-mongering “for the greater good”…

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“It’s not about changing anyone’s mind, it’s about changing their behavior.

“Many years ago when I had just finished law school and was studying for the bar, still living at home, my mother wanted me to take my aged (86) grandfather to a reunion at his college in MA. I really couldn’t afford to give up four days of study to chauffeur a man who was slipping mentally four hours each way and babysit him while he did nothing but drink himself under the table and repeat embarrassing stories and dirty jokes (his favorite was the one about the misunderstanding in French between a hat and a condom) that my grandmother would always stop him from telling while she was alive.

“Any other time, ok, but while studying for the bar was too big of an ask, and I said sorry, but no, maybe she could ask another family member (there were others). However, Mom was the kind of person who, once she got it into her head that she wanted YOU to do something that she thought was important enough, dammit, she was going to make YOU do it, come high water, hurricane, or the end of the world.

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Comment Of The Day: “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21” (Item #1, The Baseball Player’s Long Paternity Leave)

alex-verdugo-girlfriend-2021-2-600x600

The Comment of the Day below is really two consecutive comments in the same thread, as Sarah B. argues that fathers are not only justified in leaving their jobs at critical times to be with their wives at childbirth and thereafter for as long as they deem necessary, but that this is the most ethical choice. My note prompting her response involved the case of Red Sox star Alex Verdugo, who left the team at a crucial time when the season hung in the balance, and stayed away for four days to be with his girlfriend and their new-born child: there is no indication that he provided anything but companionship and moral support.

(I just learned that he is not married to the mother (above). No, I don’t think that changes the ethics issue, though it raises others.)

I stated that this was a breach of his duty to the team, which he is paid handsomely to respect. I am quite certain that this is the correct ethical position, but my view represents the resolution of an ethics conflict, where two ethical principles oppose one another. I can’t say that how Sarah prioritizes these principles is wrong, only that I would prioritize them differently, and have in analogous situations.

Here is Sarah B’s Comment of the Day on #1 from the post, “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21.” I will have a few rebuttal points at the end…

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“The priorities are linked, but still need to be ranked and four days is nothing. Heck, if my husband only got four days after the birth of our children, unless his absence from me would literally cause someone to die, I’d give him the choice of his job or his family. If we want men to step up and be good husbands and fathers (which would do amazing things for our society) we need to let them do that. Considering what a woman’s body goes through with the birth of a child and the incredible amount of healing she must do after the fact, four days barely lets a mom get home from the hospital (having had complication-free natural births has led to us getting to go home on day three at my hospital) and set up a good feeding schedule for the first kid (my best kid so far took two weeks before we got the bugs worked out enough for their health and mine). Subsequent kids require so much more because of the need to care for the older children too. The fact of being in high levels of pain for every action and dealing with incredible dizziness for days lead to a new mom being a literal danger to herself and the baby (not to mention any other kids) if left alone. According to my OBs, that condition is totally normal, even expected.

“Due to the danger, new moms are forbidden from lifting their own child or walking with the child in their arms in my hospital. My hospital also asks about the support a mother can expect for at least two weeks post baby before they will even let the child go home with the mother. Sure, a lot of us rely on other family members for that second (or third or fourth week), but the dad has to be there in the beginning if he wants to start himself off on a good foot of proper prioritization of responsibility. Most marriages I have seen where a dad does not give totally of himself for 1-2 weeks after a baby are at best strained. The mother needs support, and who is best able and most desired to give that support, but the father of the baby? If MLB cannot give new fathers a week away at minimum, they need to require that their players are celibate while on contract, so no babies come about. If a multimillion dollar contract is enough to abandon a wife and kid for at a time of great need, it should be enough to abandon sex for. Family is the primary responsibility, and all the more so at the birth of a baby.

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Texas Abortion Law Freakout Friday Presents Comment Of The Day And Response 2 On “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law”

Down Syndrome abortion

I guess I could also call this “Isaac Comment of the Day Rebuttal Friday,” but it’s not quite as catchy.

Here is Here’s Johnny’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law,” followed by, as in the earlier post today, Isaac’s Comment of the Day response.

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“I am of two minds when it comes to abortion. My left side says people have a right to privacy in medical stuff (especially from government), and an absolute right to control of their own bodies. My right side says killing humans is wrong (mostly).

“The left, generally, when it comes to abortion, shies away from recognizing that a human life is being ended, while otherwise, mostly, proclaim the sanctity of human life. The right, generally, when it comes to abortion, shy away from privacy rights, while, otherwise, mostly, proclaiming that government should just leave us alone.

“The suggestion posed here, that the fetus/unborn child be carried to term and placed for adoption, has merit. The last time I checked, there were a lot of potential adoptive parents.

“But, consider a real-world case that I am all too familiar with. The fetus/unborn child is diagnosed in utero as having Down syndrome. The list of potential adoptive parents shrinks considerably. But, the parents are opposed to abortion, the child is born, and the severity of Down syndrome is far worse than expected. The list of potential adoptive parents would be close to zero. Several surgical procedures are necessary soon after birth, significant expense in money to taxpayers and in both money and time to the parents.
But, the parents never considered placing the child for adoption anyway.
Advance the calendar about a decade and a half. The teen cannot communicate, although she seems to understand some things. She cannot feed herself. She cannot manage using a toilet. She has reached puberty, but cannot manage pads. She can walk, clumsily, but cannot be allowed to wander too far.

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Noontime Ethics, 8/18/2021: The Segue Edition

Segue

1. Combine mental health with unaccountable female superstar athletes and you get.…another “How dare you expect me to answer questions like any other pro athlete, you sexists racist!” moment from Naomi Osaka. Ahead of the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, tennis’s reigning queen finally agreed to sit down for questions from the press on a Zoom call. You will recall that at the French Open in May, she said she would decline to do pretournament or post-match news conferences, even though they are required of all players. When Osaka was fined $15,000 for skipping her press commitments after her first-round victory, she withdrew before her second-round match in Paris, for the first time playing the mental health card., later used so effectively by Simone Biles at the Olympics. At the session in Mason, Paul Daugherty, a sports columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer, asked ,“You are not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format. Yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. I guess my question is, How do you balance the two?” Osaka, after an attempt at an answer that wasn’t an answer, ran out of the room in tears. Her agent, Stuart Duguid, said via text message, “The bully at The Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player/media relations are so fraught right now. Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong, and his sole purpose was to intimidate.”

Imagine that response from a male athlete to a legitimate if tough question. Imagine an agent for such a male athlete calling the questioner a “bully.” Female athletes cannot protest that they must be treated equally with male jocks and still reserve the right to revert to delicate flowers when it serves their purposes.

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Comment Of The Day: “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards,” Item #1, “The College Pledge”

Dallas Justice NOW

A few quick notes on “the College Pledge” are in order. It is the work of something called Dallas Justice Now which claims to be “a member-driven project of activists, researchers, and local leaders dedicated to making our city more just.” Yesterday the rumor was rampant that its threatening “pledge” demanding that white Dallas parents agree not to let their children apply for admission to elite institutions so black and brown kids could have an open field to obtain an Ivy League degree was a conservative “false flag” operation. This does not appear to be the case, and the increasingly unhinged Far Left, which is now just “the Left,” hardly needs any assistance in appearing menacing and racist.

The version of the pledge that I posted yesterday was not the full document, which included the implied threat that those who did not sign would be outed and ostracized, and the miserable device of introducing a false dichotomy: “Will you take the college pledge?” can be answered only with “I am a racist hypocrite.” and “I agree.” That’s rather funny, since the whole exercise is an example of anti-white racist hypocrisy.

I have searched, and apparently no mainstream national media news source finds this attempt to intimidate white Americans in the Dallas area newsworthy.

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the “College Pledge” item in “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations…”

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The vast majority of wealth is *multi-generational*. Yes, America is replete with the starry examples of rags-to-riches stories, but even those are generally isolated exceptions. For the rest of those who have significant wealth, it is mostly because the generation before them made tiny sacrifices in their lives that they didn’t have to make. Those sacrifices were essentially investments in and for their children that paid off in dividends worth VASTLY more than the sacrifice.

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Presenting The Complete Fake Voice Ethics Verdicts

Voiceprint

In Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, filmaker Morgan Neville,examines the life and death of the famous TV chef Bourdain. In the process of doing so, he introduced a new documentary device: using Artificial Intelligence to simulate Bourdain’s voice.

In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Neville explained that he used AI to synthetically create a voiceover reading of a Bourdain email that sounded like Bourdain was the reader. He engaged a software company and provided about a dozen hours of recordings, allowing them to create a convincing electronic version model of Bourdain’s voice. That voice reads three lines in the film, including an email sent to a friend by Bourdain: “My life is sort of shit now. You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” But Bourdain, of course, never read that or any of the other three lines, to which Neville’s message to viewers is “Nyah, nyah, nyah!” “If you watch the film … you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know,” he said.

Well, critics, including Ottavia Bourdain, the chef’s former wife, objected to the ethics of an unannounced use of a “deepfake” voice to say sentences that Bourdain never spoke.

I was going to make this an Ethics Quiz, and then after thinking about for a few seconds, decided that the issue doesn’t rate a quiz, because I’m not in nay doubt over the answer. Is what Neville did unethical?

Yes, of course it is. It is unethical because it deliberately deceives listeners into believing that they are hearing the man talking when he never said the words they are hearing. It doesn’t mitigate the deception, as Neville and his defenders seem to think, that Fake Bourdain is reading the actual unspoken words in an email. It’s still deception. Is the creation and use of a zombie voice for this purpose also unethical, like the creation of CGO versions of famous actors to manipulate in movies they never made, discussed (and condemned) here?

That’s a tougher call, but I come down on the side of the dead celebrity who is being made into an unwilling ventriloquist’s dummy by emerging technology.

This would be a propitious time to point out what is ethical and what isn’t when it comes to using a dead celebrity’s voice, real or fake, in various forms of communications and education:

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Baseball Says It Wants More American Blacks In The Game, But Chooses To Ignore A Likely Reason Why There Are Not

The 2021 All-Star Game was played in Denver last night because Major league Baseball allowed race-huckster Stacy Abrams to bluff the sport into punishing Atlanta and Georgia for passing a completely reasonable law shoring up the integrity of elections—a matter MLB has exactly no business involving itself in whatsoever. The day before, MLB announced that it was committing up to $150 million to the Players Alliance, a nonprofit organization formed last year and composed of active and former major league players “aiming to build more equitable systems in baseball and increase Black representation throughout the sport.”

This is more flashy virtue-signalling with a dubious nexus to the issue at hand. The money will go toward various programs, including those to support baseball in public and city schools as well as educational grants, scholarships and additional services to the Black community. Other programs will be aimed at increasing black youth participation in baseball as well as funding leagues, equipment, tournaments, clinics and other playground activities, and that’s all, as they say, well and good.

But the precipitous decline in African American participation in the National Pastime, as first discussed here in this post on the same day as MLB’s announcement, like a lot of alleged “inequities,” may have its roots in the culture of black America rather than any “systemic” biases. To quote myself: “[B]aseball is the most diverse of the professional sports, but the number of black players has declined significantly. African American participation in the majors peaked at 19% in 1986, but on opening day 2021 the figure was just 7.6%.” I foolishly passed along the conventional (or official) wisdom about why this might be so: baseball is more expensive than the other major sports to start playing because of the equipment, and colleges hand out far more scholarship money for football and basketball.

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The Hunter Biden Ethics Time Bomb

Hunter Biden painting

How long before the sad and seamy saga of President Biden’s desperate, influence-peddling son blows up in Joe’s face? It would have and should have already, but the mainstream news media has scrupulously refused to publicize, much less investigate, the many hints of family-level corruption emerging from the First Family Black Sheep’s emails. The latest development is Hunter Biden, the Acclaimed Artist. No, that isn’t a microscope photo of the Wuhan virus above—that’s a Hunter Biden masterpiece. How much would you pay to have that hanging in your living room? (How much would you pay NOT to have that hanging in your living room?)

A New York gallery owner, Georges Bergès, is planning to offer Hunter’s artwork to buyers for prices ranging from from $75,000 to $500,000, despite the fact that art critics have described Hunter’s paintings as “not bad” at best, and “generic post zombie formalism illustration” at worst, which was the assessment of art critic Jerry Saltz in Artnet News. Scott Indrisek, the former editor in chief of Modern Painters magazine and a former deputy editor at Artsy, said: “I would call it very much a hotel art aesthetic. It’s the most anonymous art I can imagine. It’s somewhere between a screen saver and if you just Googled ‘midcentury abstraction’ and mashed up whatever came up.”

So why would anyone pay so much for paintings by someone who has no professional training and has never sold art on the commercial market? You know why.

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