The Incredible Sabrina Caldwell Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2

Now for the rest of the story begun in Part I.

The story of the rejected and abandoned Russian orphan haunted “48 Hours” reporter Troy Roberts after he bid the girl farewell  in the Russian hospital. He wanted to know what had become of her, and tried to track her down over the years, with no success. Then, after more than two decades had passed, Caralee reached out to him and they arranged to meet once again.

That supposedly homicidal little girl who was diagnosed as incapable of love now lives in North Carolina as Sabrina Caldwell. She is 33, happily married and has four young children. Roberts met with her near Sabrina’s home, and he spoke with her husband as well. Sabrina explained that she was depressed and even suicidal when she was with Crystal and Jesse, who she felt were more interested in her younger brother than her. When she was falsely accused of trying to kill Joshua, whom she says she loved, she told Roberts she “wanted out.” She agreed that she tried to kill him. She made up the claims that she was hallucinating. When she was abandoned by her adoptive parents in Moscow, she said she  felt like she was in jail, but now believes she was partially responsible, since she had agreed to her parents’ version of events and lied about hallucinating.

Then again, she was just a child at the time.

After two months in the mental hospital, Nina Kostina, who had helped arrange her adoption, rescued Sabrina and brought her back to the United States. Three years later she adopted by another family in North Carolina.  n 2008, Sabrina volunteered for the non profit Mercy Ships, spending two years providing medical care to the poor in Africa. That led to a job at a hospital when she returned to North Carolina. Two years later, she fell in love with  fifth grade teacher Phil Caldwell, whom she met through her church. Before she would agree to marry him, she made him watch the “48 Hours” episode about her first adoptive parents. He told Roberts that he was stunned at what she had gone through. They were married in 2014, and now have three daughters and an infant son.  Sabrina Caldwell has never been diagnosed with any mental or emotional illness, and takes no medication for such disorders. Continue reading

The Incredible Sabrina Caldwell Ethics Train Wreck, Part I

At the end of last year, CBS’s “48 Hours” broadcast an update of a horrifying episode from two decades ago. I missed both programs, but I stumbled upon a rerun of the December 2021 follow-up last night. The tale is a true ethics train wreck that, incredibly, had a happy ending, making it also an abject lesson in moral luck.

The story had special resonance for me because it involved the aftermath of an American couple adopting of a Russian orphan, a process my wife and I went through as well.  In 1997, Crystal and Jesse were a young married couple who had tried and failed to conceive. They fund Russian adoption agency’s website and were smitten by a photo of a beautiful 9-year-old girl. The couple began the adoption process.  The child’s medical records from the adoption agency, were concerning, though: they described developmental problems.

CBS made a big deal about this, but essentially all older Russian orphans have developmental issues. Crystal told CBS that the “were assured that this child was healthy and that in a good home … with the best doctors in America helping her with the developmental issues, that she should be fine.” That was accurate advice (and she and her husband should have known that by doing responsible research before deciding to adopt a Russian orphan). I should also mention here that Russian medical records regarding orphans are notoriously unreliable. Our son, who has been freakishly healthy, came with ten pages of supposedly serious medical problems. Our pediatrician literally laughed at the document. Continue reading

I Think We Can Safely Conclude That This Was Unethical…

In Brazil, a culture where respect for women is comparable to the U. S. in the early 19th Century, Gabriel Coelho forced Tayane Caldas, his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend, into his car as she was walking home from school.  He drove her to his home, and the 20-year-old Coelho then tattooed his full name on the girl’s face, as you can see above. Coelho claims that Tayane consented.

So I guess she wants to get back together with him…

Actually, that seems unlikely. For one thing, she had requested and received two restraining orders against Coelho, one in 2021 and another this year.  Still, Tayane’s mother had to encourage her daughter to press charges against her ex-boyfriend, as she was initially inclined to simply hide her new face tattoo with make-up. The fact that she even was thinking this way shows how primitive female self-esteem can be in Brazil.

Gabriel Coelho is under arrest, though his father backs his ridiculous defense that she consented to be branded. Of course he does. Men like Gabriel don’t turn out believing women are property without a role model.

Disney And The LGTBQ Activism Ethics Train Wreck: A Prelude [Corrected]

I have been intending to examine the Disney empire’s misbegotten entry into the battle over Florida’s recently passed “Parental Rights in Education” law for weeks, but postponed the project because it is too complicated to do correctly without involving other complex issues that are closely related to it. Unfortunately, these issues have proliferated during the delay.

For example, Florida is threatening to remove Disney’s special status that allowed it to operate Disney World as an autonomous municipal government because of the company’s political action. Is that kind of punishment for a political opposition ethical? Should Disney have such special status, regardless of why it is being threatened with its removal? If the special status should be removed anyway, does it matter if it is done in response to political speech?

Here’s another: Republicans in Congress are threatening to end Disney’s copyright on Mickey Mouse, also in response to its LBGTQ activism. But that copyright should have ended decades ago, and its artificial endurance has stifled creative works blocked by thousands of other drawn-out copyrights that aren’t Disney. Now I am dealing with copyright law policy, the importance of Disney to the culture, and what, if anything, the government should do to–what? Reward it? Strengthen it? Direct it? Control it?

The Disney LGTBQ advocacy issue also involves, as virtually every issue does now, media ethics, as almost all outlets other than Fox have a clear pro-LGTBQ bias. The New York Times reporter assigned to covering Disney and the Florida law controversy is Brooks Barnes, and he can’t be trusted. In an earlier story last month, the reporter wrote,

Earlier in the week, Mr. Chapek, the company’s chief executive, botched an internal email to Disney employees. He was seeking to explain Disney’s public silence on anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation in Florida that activists have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

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Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife”

I guess I should apologize for using that clip to introduce DaveL’s sensitive and wise Comment of the Day, but I couldn’t resist: just leaped into my head. Otherwise, his superb observations need no introduction.

This is DaveL’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife.”

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I lost my first wife at a young age. She was 30, I was 26, we had been married a little over two years. I’ve since remarried, and have been so for nearly 13 years.

Widowhood seriously messes with people’s heads when it comes to timeless ideas of true love and fidelity. Divorce they can cope with – clearly that person wasn’t “the one”. It “wasn’t meant to be.” The pledge you made to love them for the rest of your life has been ruptured, no more need be said about it. But widowhood, particularly in the young who remarry, screws it all up because they feel they must choose one spouse to be “the one”, the “real” spouse, the “love of one’s life”, and the other one denigrated to understudy status. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife

Ever since I dropped my subscription to the Washington Post in disgust (yes, the Times is better), I have been neglecting Carolyn Hax, the most consistently ethical advice columnist in captivity. I stumbled upon her latest column today, and my wife vociferously disagreed with my reaction to a question posed to her. I decided to make it an Ethics Quiz.

“Resentful” wrote that her father was widowed five years ago and remarried. She’s resentful that he keeps calling his second wife “Love of my life” in front of his adult children and his grandchildren. The daughter has “minimized contact with him as a result.” He’s hurt, and she wants to know what to tell him. “Quit [dumping] on the memory of my mother in my presence and you’ll see us more than twice a year” is what I WANT to say.”

The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Is the daughter being fair to her father?

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The Freakout To Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law, Not The Law Itself, Will Send LGBTQ Acceptance Backwards

There is nothing discriminatory, bigoted, ant-gay, anti-trans or unethical in the “Parental Rights in Education Bill’ signed into law by Florida Governor Jim DeSantis. Have you read it, or just relied on the hysterical and dishonest characterizations of the bill by the news media and woke activists like the three Oscar co-hosts, who chanted “Gay, gay,gay, gay!’ like four-year-olds in supposed bold and hilarious defiance of what progressives have been calling the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Read the law. It doesn’t prohibit saying “gay” at all (the word doesn’t appear in the law), and as unfortunately vague as the wording sometimes is, no fair interpretation would find that it inhibits free speech.

Here is the closest wording in the bill to an “anti-LGBTQ” provision, in Section 3, page 4:

3. Classroom instruction by school personnel or third  parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur  in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

The Horror. Only the most committed and unhinged gay activist could find that provision problematic, and the fact that so many progressives do is signature significance: they lave lost touch with common sense and reality. The law isn’t anti-gay, it’s pro-parent (and student). Any parents who really think their 4-8 year olds need to be trained in human sexuality are welcome to do it themselves. I would not want my child introduced to those topic by kindergarten through third grade teachers, even if I had the opportunity to closely examine the teachers’ qualifications for doing so and the way it would be done. This is not their job, and no, I wouldn’t trust them to take it on if it were. They have a hard enough time teaching language, arts, math, science and history. I don’t trust them to teach ethics. Continue reading

Tuesday Ethics Afterthoughts, 3/29/2022: A Cheat Sheet, Mask Mayhem, And More

(THERE IS NO GOOD GRAPHIC FOR “AFTERTHOUGHTS”)

The 29th is another of those ill-starred days in U.S. ethics, topped off in 1973 by the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the half-way war that was an ethics train wreck for decades. Two years earlier, on the same date, Lt. William L. Calley was found guilty of premeditated murder by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians including women and children on March 16, 1968. Ten years before Calley’s conviction, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II. They were executed in 1953, a flashpoint in the schism between the American Left and Right that still is a sore point. (Ethel appears to have been a genuine villain.)

1. I thought this was a hoax. It’s not, unfortunately: someone got a photo of the cheat cheat for “talking points” that President Biden was holding when he massacred his explanation for his Russian regime change outburst in an exchange with Peter Doocy.

This does not fill me with confidence. You? The ethical value at issue is competence.

2. The propaganda and misinformation continues. Though some recently departed here could never grasp it, honest and trustworthy newspapers shouldn’t be publishing falsity and partisan propaganda in house opinion pieces. That’s when the opinion is offered using misleading or incomplete facts—deceit–and the New York Times does it almost every day. I can’t trust a group of editors who permit that. Examples:

It’s incredible how quickly we’ve normalized the fact that the last president tried to retain power despite losing the election and that a mob he incited stormed the Capitol. Many people took part in the effort to overturn the election — among them, we recently learned, the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice, who hasn’t even recused himself in cases about the attempted coup.

The President in question wanted to challenge the results of an election he believed was the result of illegal manipulation, and as President, he had a duty to do that. I know Krugman isn’t a lawyer, but incitement is a term of art and a crime, and Trump did not “incite a mob” by addressing a crowd. Saying Justice Thomas “hasn’t even” recused himself because of the completely legal communications of his wife falsely implies that doing so is required or the justification for him to do so is undeniable. It isn’t. Editors should not allow such deliberately confusing and misleading opinion material Continue reading

Signature Significance: If You Say What GOP Michigan House Candidate Robert Regan Said Even Once, You Are Not Fit To Hold Elected Office

What did Regan say while engaging in a discussion via live stream regarding Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was “stolen?”

Get this:

“I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ ”

Moron. Sexist moron. Sexist moron who hasn’t been paying attention for his entire life. Saying this was enough to get any male candidate defeated thirty years ago!

Not surprisingly, Regan, who is, or was favored to win the Michigan’s District 74 seat in the state legislature, said other incredibly stupid things during the same program; they just weren’t as offensive. In the discussion hosted by the Rescue Michigan Coalition, a pro-Trump group, he also suggested that the 202o election could be “decertified” and that Trump would regain the Presidency. “We do want to decertify this election and we do want it returned to the rightful owner, just like if someone stole your car or stole your jewelry,” Regan said. “It goes back to the rightful owner. You decertify and you give it to the rightful owner, and that’s Donald Trump, and that’s what I’m pushing for and we’re going full-bore on that.”

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