Ethics Quiz: Those Illegal Immigrant Exporting “Stunts”

In today’s Open Forum, veteran commenter Arthur in Maine writes in part,

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the fact that Ron DeSantis sent two charter planes loaded with illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard, which is about 10.5 miles south of me. I find this situation absolutely hilarious on the macro scale. But from an ethics standpoint, it’s more troubling.

1) The Biden administration has been flying illegals to airports all over the country and dumping them off. This, in my view, is unethical (as is the administration’s policy on the southern border). Essentially, DeSantis did the same thing, but that doesn’t make it ethical in return.

2) Conservative media is, in my opinion, overstating the reaction on the left. Unethical. That said, there’s enough pearl clutching on the left to make this all highly entertaining. To me. Which is unethical, and I’m not proud of it, but I never claimed to be perfect.

3) DeSantis’s timing could have been better. Most of the uber-rich limousine liberals with summer homes on the Vineyard head out around Labor Day. Had he done this in August, he actually could have made this a bigger story. Which would, of course, be unethical – but no more so than it already is.

4) The aforementioned pearl-clutchers on the left are calling this a political stunt, using illegal aliens as pawns. That argument is not without merit. But it’s curious that they didn’t seem to care much when the border states were bearing the brunt of hundreds of thousands of illegals by themselves. Which is… unethical.

DeSantis’s move, though it is funnier and more diabolical (can something be ethical and diabolical?), has to be considered in the same category as the busloads of illegals that were sent to the “sanctuary cities” of New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The original idea was the inspiration of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, or a particularly creative advisor.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Is it unethical for the governors of Texas and Florida to be sending illegal immigrants to ostentatiously progressive destinations?

Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Strict Pilot

This is a new one on me.

A Southwest Airlines pilot threatened to turn the plane around and return to the departure gate after one of the passengers on board received nude photos via AirDrop and reported the incident to airline staff.

He told the plane,

“So here’s the deal. If this continues while we’re on the ground, I’m going to have to pull back to the gate, everybody’s going to have to get off, we’re going to have to get security involved, and [your] vacation is going to be ruined. Whatever that AirDrop thing is — quit sending naked pictures, let’s get yourself to Cabo.”

Southwest Airlines defended the pilot, saying that the safety, security, and wellbeing of customers and employees was its “highest priority at all times…
When made aware of a potential problem, our employees address issues to support the comfort of those traveling with us.”

And will, therefore, even punish everybody to support that comfort…

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was the pilot’s threat responsible, fair and competent?

Continue reading

“So here’s the deal. If this continues while we’re on the ground, I’m going to have to pull back to the gate, everybody’s going to have to get off, we’re going to have to get security involved, and [your] vacation is going to be ruined. Whatever that AirDrop thing is — quit sending naked pictures, let’s get yourself to Cabo.”

Southwest Airlines defended the pilot, saying that the safety, security, and wellbeing of customers and employees was its “highest priority at all times…
When made aware of a potential problem, our employees address issues to support the comfort of those traveling with us.”

And will, therefore, even punish everybody to support that comfort…

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was the pilot’s threat responsible, fair and competent?

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Censorship At Northwest High”

Frequent commenter Here’s Johnny thanked me for choosing his analysis of the recent ethics quiz on school paper censorship as a Comment of the Day. Truly, the thanks goes in the other direction. Comments like his, which dig deeper into a story than my initial post has is a gift to Ethics Alarms and its readers. On the blog’s predecessor, The Ethics Scoreboard, I would generally post only a couple of times a week. Often that meant I could thoroughly research a topic before publishing (it also meant fewer typos, and almost no readers comments). I decided that a blog format that permitted covering more of the ethics landscape, which was (and is) vast and expanding, more quickly if less thoroughly was better suited to my mission. Nonetheless, as in this case, many of the ethics tales require more research, context and nuance than I have time to apply.

This commentariat is superb at filling the blanks. Indeed, for every Comment of the Day I post there are probably five that I could have posted. It is not so much of an honor for the commenter as a rescue for the blog. Most readers, I have found, don’t read comments to posts, for the same reason I usually don’t: on most sites the comments are useless, depressing, and horrifying. Ethics Alarms comments are, in contrast to all but a few other sites (Althouse comes to mind), are important supplements to the main essay, offering not merely a different perspective, but additional information as well

Heeeeeeeeere’s Here’s Johnny’s Comment of the Day on “Ethics Quiz: Censorship At Northwest High”…


As is often the case, we are getting just part of the story and being asked to render an opinion based on incomplete information. Unless we dig a bit further, our decision would be either: it never is okay to shut down a high school newspaper, or, it is okay for administrators to shut down a high school newspaper.

In this case, one reason we are lacking information is that school and district officials seem unwilling to even talk about it. A columnist for “The Grand Island Independent” says he was hung up on by someone at the district about as soon as he said who he was. A couple of officials have commented, but they essentially are non-comments. Zach Mader, Northwest Public Schools board vice president, told “The Independent” he remembers talks of shutting down the student paper should the school district lose the ability to control what they find to be “inappropriate content.” The district superintendent would only say that it was an administrative decision. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Transexual Female Golfer

Let’s be fair and clear: golfer Hailey Davidson is not like Lia Thomas, who has crushed collegiate swimming competition by just “identifying” as female. Davidson went all the way, if you know what I mean. She is about to become the first transgender woman to earn a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour card by excelling in the first two qualifying rounds in the first stage of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying School in Palm Springs. 

Still, though she now lacks the capacity to produce male hormones, Hailey competed as a male golfer as recently as 2015, and had the permanent advantage of going through puberty as a male. Though she claims that her drives off the tee have diminished since her transition, the question remains, is it fair for her to compete in a sport against women who have never been anything but. 18 states have outlawed transgender students from competing in girls’ sports. Golf, however, is not weightlifting, and some female pro golfers have competed in men’s tournaments.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day...

Is it fair to allow a transgender female to compete against biological females in golf?

Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Return Of Sacheen Littlefeather

Apparently the Oscars are looking hard for virtue-signaling opportunities.

In this instance, they had to travel back in time 50 years and decide to make amends for one of the more ludicrous examples of celebrity grandstanding in pop culture lore. Marlon Brando, a cinch to win the Best Actor statuette for “The Godfather” in 1973, decided to snub the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, his Hollywood colleagues and the Oscars’ TV audience by sending an obscure, Native American actress named Sacheen Littlefeather to go to the podium when Marlon’s name was read and make a statement about the abuse of Indians at Hollywood’s hands while announcing that Brando was rejecting his honor in protest. You know, because “The Godfather” was all about Native American mobs, or something.

It was a complete non sequitur, and many suspected that the whole stunt had little to do with Native American portrayals in film (about which Brando had previously said nothing) and more to do with the famously weird actor’s desire to stick his thumb in the eye of the industry that had made him rich and famous. He might have just as well had his statuette rejected by Bozo the Clown; maybe it came down to a coin flip: heads, Sasheen (it was an Indian Head nickel), tails, Bozo.

The young woman’s appearance did not go over well. “Mr. Brando very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award,” Littlefeather said. “And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”  That was a reference to a protest a month earlier,when the American Indian Movement had occupied the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee, site of the infamous massacre, to protest Hollywood’s killing wait, it was the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans that protest was about. What did it have to do with movies, Brando, and the Oscars?

Oh, nothing. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Hitler’s Watch

Adolf Hitler’s watch, shown above, recently sold at auction for over a million dollars. (The auction house had been expecting more, between 2 and 4 million.) The sale provoke some angry rhetoric online: many believe that it is unethical, indeed immoral, to acquire, keep or sell artifacts from Nazi Germany. In several countries, putting such things up for sale is illegal.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Is it unethical to sell or buy Hitler’s watch?

Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Travails Of A Transgender Sex Offender

As Samuel L. Jackson would say if he were preparing to delve into this ethics quiz:

“Ella” is transgender woman now, whatever that means, but back when Ella was a 15-year-old boy, and stood 6-foot, 5-inches while weighing in at more than 300 pounds, she, though then a he, joined another teen in sexually assaulting a 110 pound autistic 14-year-old boy who was blind in one eye and autistic. The Pre-Ella then taunted the kid on Facebook. The male predecessor of Ella pleaded no contest to one count of sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age and spent time in two juvenile detention and treatment centers. Somewhere along the way Ella decided she needed to transition to female-hood, so when, in her new female-identifying edition, she was ordered to register as a sex offender, she objected. Under Wisconsin law, sex offenders must register a legal name and any aliases they use, and they may not legally change their name. That seems reasonable, since there is no point to legally registering as a sex offender to alert the community of sex offending proclivities if one can just foil the measure by using a different name.

Ella has been “Ella” since her teens and is now 22. She argued that requiring her to register as a sex offender under her male name given at birth violates her First Amendment right to express her true female identity. She also contended the registry requirement, as applied to her, amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, in essence making her out herself as a former him, or a former him trapped in a female body, or something.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected Ella’s claims,  and last week, four mean old conservatives outvoted the court’s liberal members on the Wisconsin Supreme Court also denied Ella’s attempt to change her name after hearing arguments in the case in February. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Grandstanding Or Justice?”

I didn’t provide my answer to the ethics quiz about the propriety of charging and trying the woman whose accusation against 14-year-old Emmett Till resulted in his infamous lynching in 1955. Jim Hodgson’s Comment of the Day nicely explains what it would be, though.

I also heard an interesting angle from my lawyer sister that is probably worth a full post. What Carolyn Bryant Donham said in 1955 would be literally nothing today. It was only in the warped Jim Crow culture of 1950s Mississippi that a woman false claiming a black teen touched and flirted with her could lead to violence, or could be considered provocation for a violent crime. How do you justify prosecuting someone 67 years later for an act that would no longer be considered a crime?

Here is Jim’s post, in response to “Ethics Quiz: Grandstanding Or Justice?”


My answer to the ethics quiz is that no, she should not be prosecuted. It just isn’t feasible to achieve any fair degree of justice at this point.

As a retired deputy sheriff, the first thing that struck me as odd in the news reports that I read concerning this “discovery” was the clear implication that the “lost” warrant itself was somehow a bar to her being arrested and prosecuted at some time during the past 67 years. It may be news to many people, but paper warrants get lost (or at least temporarily “misplaced”) with some regularity. In my state, any officer of the court with knowledge of the original warrant could have asked for the warrant to be re-issued by the same court that issued the original. In my state this is referred to as issuing an “alias warrant” or an “alias writ.” Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Secret Service Defies Orders!

As soon as I saw the headline to Prof. Turley’s latest post on his blog, “Res Ipsa Loquitur” I knew we had an ethics quiz: “Presidential Protection or Abduction: Why Secret Service Wrong for all the Right Reasons on Jan. 6.”

Turley’s article was prompted by one aspect of the Jan. 6 Commission testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson that President Trump ordered his official SUV to take him to the U.S. Capitol to be on hand with his supporters as they rallied (it turned out to be a “mostly peaceful” rally) against what Trump had told them was the stolen 2020 election. According to the witness, that she was told that T his Secret Service security team refused, causing the President to become furious.

Turley’s take, in brief:

…the Secret Service is trained to take immediate action to protect a president. On the other hand, it cannot effectively control the presidency by controlling a president like a modern Praetorian Guard. In the end, if this account is true, the security team was likely wrong in refusing the order of the President to be taken to Capitol Hill….Trump intended to do exactly what he promised and ordered the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol. But Tony Ornato, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and Bobby Engel, who headed Trump’s security detail, reportedly refused.

…If true, the security team’s motivation certainly was commendable. It probably prevented Jan. 6 from getting much, much worse…what was the authority of the security team to refuse a direct order from a sitting president to go to Congress?

…The Secret Service has always assumed discretion in seizing a president to protect him from immediate harm [but there was no immediate harm threatened]…Trump reportedly decided he wanted to lead the protests to the Capitol and didn’t care about the security uncertainties — and he actually had a right to do so. Presidents can elect to put themselves in harm’s way… The Secret Service has no authority to put a president into effective custody against his will… In Trump’s case, he reportedly said he did not want to go back to the White House but was taken there anyway.

…This act of disobedience may have saved the country from an even greater crisis…

In the end, the security team was correct on the merits but probably wrong on the law. This was not an unlawful order, and a president must be able to control his own travel. In other words, the agents were wrong for all the right reasons.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is: Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: VP Harris And The Julie Principle

Father’s Day naturally got me thinking about Jack Marshall, Sr., and it was he who explained The Julie Principle to me. The context was one of his best friends from childhood, an obvious sociopath. It puzzled me that my father, who was literally dedicated to all of the virtues in the Boy Scout Creed and whom I witnessed placing his values over his self-interest repeatedly throughout his life, would remain friends 60 years with someone who so clearly was the opposite of my father, a deceptive, self-centered, even cruel individual who never showed any hint of remorse or contrition.

As I have related here more than once, Dad, tone-deaf as always, responded to my puzzlement by singing the opening lines from the famous “Show Boat” ballad, “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine,”sung by the tragic mulatto, Julie : “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly.” He then explained, “I decided long ago that it was a waste of time and emotion to keep complaining or criticizing someone for conduct they will never change. You have too choices: either accept that a person will do what he does, like a bird or a fish, or decide that you can’t stand the way he or she is and cut them out of your life. But to keep getting angry or upset when someone simply acts as you know they will is pointless.”

I wrote the first post here designating my father’s philosophy as the Jule Principle in 2013. Looking back, I officially applied the JP to the late Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, and Donald Trump (both before and after his election), writing shortly after his surprise victory,

Donald Trump, more than any national figure in my lifetime,  requires a careful, measured application of The Julie Principle to serve everyone’s best interest. Screaming “TRUMP IS TRUMP! ARRGHHHHH!” for four years will do no good at all. Find a way to co-exist with him so his negative proclivities do as little damage as possible and his positive ones have a chance to thrive, and save the explosions of indignation for substantive matters where opposition is essential.

Note that nobody heeded my advice, but I was right. But I digress: Joe Biden got Julied here both before and after his election, also “The View,” Hillary Clinton, and most recently, poor, addled Larry Tribe. Looking back, there are many other individuals who have earned Julie’s pass, and I’ll take nominations. I also see that following the lesson of Julie is hard. I have frequently forgotten the fishiness of several Julie designees.

The subject of this Ethics Quiz, however, is Kamala Harris. I gave her a sort of half-Julie Principle nod regarding her general sliminess and lack of integrity, writing,

If, as many seem to assume, Harris is making stuff up to pander to the crowd, why fixate on this episode? We all know, or should, that the woman is shallow, has no core, and that saying whatever she thinks will endear herself to the most people at the moment is her defining characteristic. As Julie sang, “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly”: Kamala’s gotta make stuff up to pretend she’s something she’s not for the gullible, the naive, the hopeful and the blind.

That, however, evoked Julie in the context of Harris’s deplorable ethics, and before she took office as the woman a “heartbeat from the Presidency.” Over the 18 months since then, we have also learned that Harris is a babbling, incoherent fool, and I have frequently expressed horror at such gibberish coming from someone who was chosen by Biden to fill her critical role in the Administration.

She did it again today: speaking to a group of about two dozen elementary school-aged children at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, Harris said,

“I think that we all know today is a day to celebrate the principle of freedom. And think about it in terms of the context of history, knowing that black people in America were not free for 400 years of slavery. Let this be a day that is a day to celebrate the principle of freedom, but to speak about it honestly and accurately, both in the context of history and current application. With the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil War, it required America to really ask itself, who is free? How do we define freedom? Freedom in terms of the autonomy one should have? Is freedom given to us or are we born with freedom? Right? I would argue it is our God-given right to have freedom. It is your birthright to have freedom. And then during slavery, freedom was taken. And so we’re not going to celebrate being given back what God gave us anyway, right? We should think about it also in terms of current application, asking is everyone we know free? Do we know anyone who is not free? Around the world do all people have freedom? Are there those who are without freedom? When we talk about freedom, are we talking about freedom from — or are we talking about the freedom to?”

What the hell?

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Does Harris deserve a Julie Principle pass for her evident inability to think and speak in addition to one for her appalling lack of integrity?

Continue reading