A Smoothie Incident In Connecticut

After the now viral video above made the rounds, James Iannazzo, 48, was arrested and charged with a hate crime following the outburst at Robeks in Fairfield, Conn. over the weekend. The Fairfield Police Department said that Iannazzo returned to the store after a smoothie he purchased caused his son, who is allergic to peanuts, to be rushed to the hospital from his home. Iannazzo apparently ordered the smoothie without peanut butter, but did not explain to employees that his son had an allergy.

The New York Post says he called a staff member a “fucking immigrant.” The Times says he called her an “immigrant loser.”

After the Merrill Lynch office where Iannazzo works was swamped in furious emails, he was fired from his job as an analyst. A spokesman for Bank of America, the parent company of Merrill Lynch, told the New York Times in an email,

“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind. We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm.”

“When faced with a dire situation for his son, Mr. Iannazzo’s parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear,” the father’s lawyer said. “He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a moment of extreme emotional stress.”

There are many troubling aspects to the matter.

Ethics Observations:

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Ah-HA! The Zoom Trial Slap-Down I’ve Been Expecting…

What took so long?

Add one more bit of disruption to order, law and society inflicted by Wuhan Virus Weenie-ism.

The Missouri Supreme Court, in a January 11 decision, held that defendant Rodney Smith’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation with witnesses against him was violated by two-way live video testimony about DNA evidence.

Of course it was. I’ve been wondering about this since the beginning of the pandemic lock downs. The witness who testified via video against Smith was a police lab employee. He testified that Smith’s DNA matched what was found on the 16-year-old girl who had accused him of sexual assault. The teenager recanted, making the lab employee’s testimony key to Smith’s conviction for statutory rape. Also key: Smith’s lawyer objected on the record to the Zoom testimony. Other defense attorneys have not been so protective of their clients’ right: I view not objecting as justifying an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal.

The Missouri court distinguished a U.S. Supreme Court case, Maryland v. Craig,that allowed one-way video testimony by child-abuse victims who would be traumatized if they could see the defendant. In Smith’s case, it held, the witness “was neither a victim nor a child,” and the trial court had made no finding that he was unavailable. Moreover, the admission of his testimony was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, so the conviction must be reversed.

The guessing is that this issue will ultimately have to be decided by SCOTUS.

Two appellate courts outside of Missouri courts have reached dueling decisions on video testimony The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that two-way live video testimony did not violate a defendant’s rights, but you know, Minnesota. The Kentucky Court of Appeals, in contrast, upheld a decision denying a prosecutor’s request to allow a witness to testify remotely because of Wuhan virus phobia. “General concerns about the spread of the virus do not justify abridging a defendant’s right to in-person confrontation,” the court said.

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The ACLU

I think it is fair to conclude at this point (if it was not already obvious) that the American Civil Liberties Union has abandoned its original mission of being a neutral and non-partisan guardian of individual rights to being one more activist political tool of the Left. Its hostility toward transparency for school curricula marks a 180 decree turnaround for the ACLU, which has traditionally  argued for government transparency in all its activities, including public school education.

One more time, the corrupting influence here is race and “social justice,” which increasingly are regarded as taking priority over all else. Enacting the racial agenda of Black Lives Matters and its allies (like the Democratic Party) now justifies tactics and activities that the ACLU once opposed consistently. Government indoctrination is no longer an offense to freedom of speech and thought, apparently. The ends justify the means.

Once upon a time, Nevada’s ACLU fought fought for transparency when The Silver State’s schools were establishing their sex education lesson plans. Staci Pratt, Legal Director of the ACLU of Nevada, said at the time, “The days of back door decision making are over. Compliance with the open meetings law is meant to secure the opportunity of parents, students, and community members to have a meaningful impact on the development of policy. We are all well served when decisions on the appointment of sex education advisory committee members is subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests.”  The ACLU of Kentucky used records requests to uncover curriculum plans in all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts, seeking to find evidence of religious instruction:

The ACLU-KY sent requests to all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts seeking policies and curriculum for “Bible Literacy” courses.  While most districts are not offering these courses, the ACLU-KY found many of the courses that are being offered do not fall within constitutional strictures, which require any use of religious text in the classroom to be secular, objective, nondevotional, and must not promote any specific religious view.

The investigation uncovered public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons (Barren, McCracken, and Letcher Counties), use of online Sunday School lessons and worksheets for course source material and assignments (Letcher and Wayne Counties), and rote memorization of Biblical text (McCracken County) — practices which fall far short of academic and objective study of the Bible and its historical context or literary value.

But that was baaad indoctrination, you see. Teaching Critical Race Theory-ish interpretations of American history that tar whites as intrinsically racist, blacks as handicapped by intransigent systemic racism, and, as a special bonus, that a person is whatever gender they decide to be are all good indoctrination, and if overly conservative, contrarian or controlling parents are inclined to interfere, well, the ACLU holds that schools are justified in making sure the Neanderthals don’t find out what’s being taught. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Golden State Warriors Owner Chamath Palihapitiya

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay. You bring it up because you care and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

—–Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya, in an interview.

This statement, classic signature significance, neatly explains why the National Basketball Association remains metaphorically in bed with the brutal regime in China, why the Biden Administration refuses to hold the country responsible for its role as an international outlaw (and inflicting its virus on our population,economy and the world), and if you change just one word, why the United States allowed Hitler’s Final Solution to proceed as far as it did.

Give credit where it is due: at least Palihapitiya is being honest. As for his fellow owners, we can see that they feel exactly the same way through their conduct, but prefer not to say so out loud. It might cut down on the profits from souvenir NBA jerseys. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On “The After-School Satan Club”

It’s difficult to know how to begin…

Let’s start with the unfortunate fact that this is not a hoax, a joke, or a parody. The Jane Addams elementary school in the Moline-Coal Valley School District—that’s Illinois—has approved an after-school club called “The Satan Club.” Here is the flyer requesting parental permission:

Note that it is sponsored by The Satanic Temple, which released this reassuring statement:

After School Satan Club does not attempt to convert children to any religious ideology. Instead, The Satanic Temple supports children to think for themselves. All After School Satan Clubs are based upon a uniform syllabus that emphasizes a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious worldview.

There, that should put everyone’s mind at ease!

Now here is the school district’s statement:

The Moline-Coal Valley School District understands that there is concern and confusion over an upcoming after-school club at Jane Addams elementary.

The District would like to provide information on the situation. The Moline-Coal Valley School District and Board of Education have policies and administrative procedures in place which allow for community use of its publicly funded facilities outside the school day.

The district does not discriminate against any groups who wish to rent our facilities, including religious-affiliated groups. Religiously affiliated groups are among those allowed to rent our facilities for a fee.

The district has, in the past, approved these types of groups, one example being the Good News Club, which is an after-school child evangelism fellowship group. Flyers and promotional materials for these types of groups are approved for lobby posting or display only, and not for mass distribution.

Students or parents are then able to pick up the flyer from the lobby, if they so choose, which is aligned to District policy. Please note that the district must provide equal access to all groups and that students need parental permission to attend any after-school event. Our focus remains on student safety and student achievement.

Observations: Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?”

In this Comment of the Day, the first of two this morning, Extradimensional Cephalopod provides useful perspective on the logical and ethical flaws inherent in the trans athletes fiasco, as well as the weak arguments presented by advocates of biological males competing in girls’ and women’s sports. [That’s transgender female powerlifter Janae Kroc above, before (when she was Matthew Kroczaleski, and after. He/she calls himself/herself “gender fluid,” so when feeling feminine, Janae competes against women. She does…well.]

Here is EC’s COTD, on the post, “On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?”

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The nature of most sports is a form of the liability of conflict: uncertain motivational obstacles. People want to be uncertain about the outcome of a sporting event, such that much of what decides the outcome is the motivation, the character, and the efforts of the competitors. That’s why weight classes in wrestling and boxing exist. If one competitor is larger and more physically powerful than the others, and that makes a predictable difference, that moves the event into the realm of scarcity: known physical obstacles, and out of the realm of sports.

If we want to spend the money to decouple gender and ability in sports, well and good. As long as they’re tied together, though, ability must be the priority for arranging match-ups, or else it stops being sport. (Testosterone treatments are a separate factor that would probably need to have its own class, because they’re artificial treatments that cause muscle growth.)

Due to budgetary constraints, only a subset of the most physically capable (cisgender) students are usually able to compete in academic sports, which rules out most students. (Sometimes there are also the equivalent of the Paralympics, to allow people with physical impairments to compete in sports with other athletes of similar physical ability.) Everyone who doesn’t make the team does other things, and sometimes they do amateur sports. People aren’t entitled to be on the school team, though. Continue reading

P.M. Ethics Dispatches, 1/11/2022

We have to keep baseball ethics alive even if baseball itself is in a state of suspension: the owner and players are, for the first time in decades, arguing about how to divide up their billions, everything from roster size to minimum salaries are on the table, and as of now, the two sides aren’t even talking with the season just a couple of months away. One of the issues to be settled is whether the National League will finally capitulate and adopt the designated hitter rule, which was accepted in the American League on this date in 1973, a day which many traditionalist fans then and now regard as an unforgivable scar on the integrity of the game. Baseball has always been celebrated for its equity and balance: as it was envisioned, every player on the field had to both hit and play defense. The DH, which is a batter who never uses a glove, also allowed the pitcher to be a defense-only specialist, never picking up a bat which, advocates of the new rule argued, was a result much to be wished, since the vast majority of hurlers are only slightly better at hitting the ball than your fat old uncle Curt who played semi-pro ball in his twenties. All these decades years later, the National League and its fans have stubbornly maintained that the DH was a vile, utilitarian gimmick spurred by non-ethical considerations, mainly greed. When the rule was adopted, American League attendance lagged behind the NL, which also was winning most of the All Star games, in part because that league had embraced black stars far more rapidly than “the junior league.” The DH, the theory went, would make games more exciting, with more offense, while eliminating all the .168 batters in the ninth spot in every line-up.

I had a letter published in Sports Illustrated in 1973 explaining why I opposed the DH as a Boston Red Sox fan. Since then, I have grudgingly come to accept the benefits of the rule: it gave the Sox David Ortiz, allowed Carl Yastrzemski to play a few more years, and let American League fans see such all-time greats as Hank Aaron at the plate after they could no longer play the field. It was a breach of the game’s integrity, but it worked.

1. At least that’s fixed. The Supreme Court issued a corrected transcript of the oral arguments in the Biden vaccine mandate case, and it now accurately records Justice Gorsuch as saying he believes the seasonal flu kills “hundreds…thousands of people every year.” The original version wrongly quoted him as saying hundreds of thousands, which allowed those desperately trying to defend the outrageously wrong assertions by Justice Sotomayor regarding the Wuhan virus to point to Gorsuch and claim, “See? Conservatives are just as bad!” Prime among these was the steadily deteriorating Elie Mystal at “The Nation,” who, typically for him, refused to accept the correction. Sotomayor is one of the all-time worst Supreme Court justices, though she will be valuable as a constant reminder of the perils of affirmative action. Her jurisprudence makes the much maligned Clarence Thomas look like Louis Brandeis by comparison. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Now THIS Is An Irresponsible Mother! So…

A 4-year-old Detroit girl is in critical condition after being shot in the arm and leg. Her mother is in custody: first she said that her daughter was wounded in an attempted robbery, then she admitted that her gun went off accidentally while she was cleaning it.

Twice.

Now, this ethics quiz is based on the facts as the mother stated them. According to the reports, there are many reasons to doubt what she is now claiming—for example, police say the girl’s mother said the firearm was inside the apartment, but they did not find any gun there after getting a warrant and searching. But let’s assume, arguendo, as lawyers say, that she is telling the truth. Let’s also assume that she isn’t crazy or a drug addict.

According to the ATF, these are the conditions under which a citizen can lose the Second Amendment Right To Bear Arms:

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A Court of Appeals Confirms: The First Amendment Protects Hate Speech And Expressive Acts By Irredeemable Jerks

1. Good!

2. Why don’t they train police to understand that so cases like this aren’t necessary?

Artemas Buford Johnson was arrested when he drove past a Seattle Police Department officer, shouted “Fuck the police!” and then made a shooting gesture using his fingers.  In its decision in State v. Buford-Johnson, yesterday, a unanimous ruling by the Washington Court of Appeals with Judge Lori Smith joined by Judge Bill Bowman and Acting Chief Judge Beth Andrus held that the arrest was unconstitutional.

Of course it was. The opinion stated in part, Continue reading

And The Latest Desperate Rationalization As Abortion Advocates Search For A Persuasive Argument To Justify Allowing Pregnant Women The Unilateral Right To End Another Human Being’s Life Is….

Unborn children in heaven

…..this intellectually dishonest opinion piece by Kate Cohen in the Washington Post. It is titled “How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?’ Easy. I’d feel nothing,” and embodies several themes in the abortion-loving Left’s escalating freak-out over the very real possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned or limited by the current Supreme Court.

One theme is that that abortion advocates almost unanimously continue to avoid dealing with the other human party in the equation whose interests are at stake: the unborn human being. Another is using collateral attacks on religion and faith to minimize the belief by religious people that it’s wrong beyond question to kill an innocent individual for the benefit of a more powerful one. The third…

Well, let me address the second a bit again. Progressives are largely hostile to religion and the religious, whom they regard as unsophisticated, superstitious rubes. Since people tend to project their biases and attitudes on others, those who want open season on fetuses think they score points by linking the anti-abortion side of the debate to something they think is ridiculous. It is not a genuine argument but rather a cognitive dissonance trick. They are counting on a someone conflicted about the abortion debate being pulled to their side by the association with a different subject they regard with contempt. It is the same kind of tactic as using “The Handmaiden’s Tale” as a false map for the dystopian future abortion fans claim awaits if Roe goes down: linking abortion to something horrible, even a science fiction story, will diminish the appeal of the anti-abortion position, not with logic or reason, but with a negative association alone.

I have a difficult time not concluding that those using the anti-religion, association tactic are malign people because of their association with it. The belief that killing an innocent human being is wrong isn’t only a religious belief and bedrock moral tenet. It is basic ethics as well, a conclusion virtually all societies have accepted based on human experience. That’s where ethics comes from: one doesn’t have to be religious to strongly object to killing human beings, indeed religion isn’t necessary to reach that conclusion at all. Whether one reaches the position that legal abortion consists of one powerful human being who has had the opportunity to live ending that opportunity for a weaker human being for her own sole benefit and is therefore wrong, through religion, Kant, Rawls, basic ethical analysis, logic, common sense or some other path is irrelevant. You got there. Congratulations. It’s the ethical place to be.

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