The Unethical Ingredients Of The West Point High School Valedictorian Fiasco, Part II: What’s Going On Here? [Corrected]

Valedictorian

Who are the ethics villains, heroes, fools and otherwise in the West Point High School graduation honors debacle?

Observations:

Number One, and nothing else is even close: If society were capable of looking at human beings as human beings and not as members of teams, groups and tribes, this would have still been a mess, but a much less toxic one. There are groups, political parties, activists, irresponsible scholars and race-hucksters of all kinds who benefit and profit by dividing the United States along racial fault-lines, and they will do it for as long as they can, no matter what harm it does to the nation, families, individuals, institutions, values and the enjoyment of life. This is an example of what we have to dread in greater frequency and damage if we don’t find a way to stifle these villains, for that is what they are.

Related to this are accounts that the president of the local NAACP was elated. This isn’t a team sport: two young women were honored for their achievements, not their race. If it would be offensive for a local group to express pleasure that two white students received an honor, it is equally obnoxious and inappropriate for the NAACP to be making racial comments.

2 If the school counselor was really the culprit who used the wrong standard, he or she needs to go. Yes, the whole school is responsible, including the principal, but if ever a scapegoat was called for, however, this is it. Because of the predictable chain reaction, it was an inexcusable mistake. In Mississippi? In a predominantly black student body? The ethics alarms should have been ringing at ear-splitting volume before the grade calculations ever started. Quite simply, this was a mistake that must not be made.

3. Suspicions that race was a factor in using the wrong standard are inevitable at a time when so many standards are being attacked, eliminated or changed for not yielding the “right” results by the measure of “equity and diversity.” The fact that two black students were elevated above the white ones by the “mistaken” use of the wrong standard under the rules and tradition could have been a coincidence, but the white parents, and objective critics, have every reason to wonder, just as the black parents have every reason to suspect racial bias when the value of their children’s honor was cut in half to satisfy two white families.

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Judging A Website By Its Commenters

Citizen Free Press

The comments on leftist websites—-yes, I include the Washington Post and the New York Times—often make me reconsider my criticism of Michael Savage’s best selling book title, “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder.” The comments on most conservative websites, however, make me want to have my human race credentials revoked.

Take the comments on Citizen Free Press…please. The surging conservative news aggregator has taken a lot of clicks from The Drudge Report since the latter went ostentatiously NeverTrump. It is occasionally a useful resource, but the more I use it, the more showers I have to take. For example…

Isimemen Etute, 18, of Virginia Beach, a Virginia Tech freshman football player (I assume he was also a student?) has been charged with second-degree murder for beating a man to death after discovering that the 40-year-old he met on Tinder as “Angie,” was a man, Jerry Smith, rather than a woman. They had apparently had some kind of sexual contact on their first meeting, but on the second a month later, the ruse was revealed. Etute told police he punched and stomped on Smith’s head and “heard gurgling” before leaving him to die.

Don’t ask me how one could have a sexual encounter with a man and believe he was a woman, but there are stranger versions of this plot.

But the comments on the story on the Citizens Free Press link are more than depressing; they are frightening. The people who wrote the vast majority of them would need a serious upgrade to reach “deplorables” status. Ready?

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Tuesday Afternoon Ethics Tunes, 6/8/21: The Mean Fundraiser, And More

Quite a while ago—I’m afraid to check—I asked readers to submit nominees for popular songs with an ethics theme or lesson. Lorne Greene’s one hit recording ( his vocal version of the “Bonanza” song did not fly off the shelves) was “Ringo,” a pretty blatant rip-off of Jimmy Dean’s “Big John,” was one of the first on the list. I received quite a few suggested songs but events overtook me, and I never finished the project. It is in a growing list of promised future content that I have yet to deliver, including missing parts to multi-part posts. I apologize to readers for all of them, but I also intend to make good on all of them, though the ethics songs compilation is understandably low priority. I was happy to finally finish the Ethics Guide to “Miracle on 34th Street” after it languished for a year. The top priorities on the catch-up list right now are Part II of Three Ethics Metaphors: The Rise, The Presidency And The Fall Of Donald J. Trump—that will be on the “Animal House” parade plot metaphor for Trump’s election—and, of course, the long-delayed Part III of The Pandemic Creates A Classic And Difficult Ethics Conflict, But The Resolution Is Clear.

Back to Lorne: I met him once, on a Santa Monica beach. He was in swimming trunks, and with his family, extremely friendly, tanned and wearing his hairpiece, which was fantastic. Like several other stars I have met in person, Greene was so strikingly attractive that he would make anyone turn their heads on a street even if you had no idea who he was. Unlike most of the others, he appeared to be a genuinely nice guy.

1. Proud to be off Twitter, Reason #569: After Twitter received notice of its noncompliance with India’s information technology laws, demanding that the company remove content critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic and about farmers’ protests, including tweets by journalists, activists and politicians, Twitter pulled itself up to its full metaphorical height, puffed itself up like blowfish, and protested in part, “We are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

Twitter actually said that it cares about freedom of expression! Then, last week, after Nigeria blocked Twitter, it had the gall to tweet…

Twitter Nigeria

This, from the platform that censored the Hunter Biden laptop story and banned President Trump. The Hanlon’s Razor question of whether these are bad people or just stupid people now becomes irrelevant. It’s unethical to operate a powerful communications platform when you are so stupid.

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Saturday Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 6/5/2020

Giant ants

And what’s a picnic without ants?

June 5, the day before D-Day, is another date chock full of ethics history. It doesn’t count, but Ronald Reagan died on this date in 2004: I was just thinking that the Great Stupid would have killed him. In Presidential history, this was the day, in 1888, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill that would have given a pension to war widow Johanna Loewinger, whose Civil War vet husband died 14 years after being discharged from the army. He was discharged a little less than a year after enlisting for what the army surgeon’s certificate called chronic diarrhea. Loewinger received his pension until he cut his throat in 1876. When Johanna applied for a widow’s pension it was denied; his suicide was not considered to be caused by his military service. Johanna argued that the death was part of the insanity triggered by his war service, and appealed to a member of Congress to petition Cleveland with a bill. But the President declared all previous inquests into the former soldier’s unfortunate death to be satisfactory. Mrs. Loewinger got no pension.

I always thought this was gutsy of Cleveland (or something), since he had paid someone to serve in the Union army for him after he was drafted. But there were bigger ethics landmarks on June 5:

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Mid-Day Ethics Interruptions, 6/4/2021: After the First Item, You May Not Want To Read Any More…

Screamfest

1. When ethics alarms were never installed...The question here is not whether this was unethical. Of course it was. The question is how such an episode could happen anywhere in this country. Eight high school football coaches at McKinley Senior High School in Canton, Ohio have been placed on paid leave after apparently forcing a 17-year-old player, a Hebrew Israelite whose faith forbids the consumption of pork, to eat a pepperoni pizza in front of the team as punishment for skipping a practice. The family is suing the school district for violating the student’s First Amendment rights.

The head football coach, Marcus Wattley, allegedly told the boy that if he didn’t eat the pizza, his team mates would be punished. I don’t comprehend this. How can someone live in the U.S. and think forcing a child to violate his faith is anything but abuse? How does someone like Wattley get hired by a public school and entrusted with the welfare of children? Why would any high school have eight assistant football coaches?

If the facts are confirmed in an investigation, more than the coaches should be fired and, one hopes, prosecuted. The principal and other administrators should also be canned. [Pointer: JutGory]

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…The dozens of ways the mainstream media warps the news and manipulates public opinion becomes oppressive once you are sensitized to it. The headline in the Times two days ago, for example, was “GOP Challenges Teaching of Racism’s Scope.” That headline presumes as fact that “Critical Race Theory” and the “1619 Project” fairly and accurately convey “racism’s scope.” “GOP Challenges What It Calls Anti-White, Anti-America Indoctrination In the Schools” would be a neutral headline. Later in the same article, the news story refers to President Trump’s “racist comments, ” which is just a continuation of a narrative build on a media-fueled Big Lie. President Trump made many insensitive, provocative and politically incorrect comments. None were “racist.”

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Ethics Observations On The Naomi Osaka Affair [Corrected]

Osaka2

On Ethics Alarms yesterday, the controversy involving the current top female pro tennis star, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, was relegated to the morning warm-up rather than a stand-alone post. If you were not following EA yesterday, here’s a quick summary:

Citing her annoyance with repetitious questions from the news media that undermined her confidence, the 23-year old announced that she would violate the 2021 official Grand Slam rulebook, which requires players to participate in post-match news conferences. Violations result in fines of up to $20,000, but since Osaka made over 55 million dollars last year alone, more than all but the most elite U.S. professional athletes, this fine would be like a late fee at the library to normal people. I wrote in part,

This is literally an example of a star announcing that rules are for lesser mortals. Verdict: Ethics Dunce. The reason Osaka makes so much money is that athletes are paid heroes and entertainers, and submitting to the idiocy of reporters is part of their job. Fines obviously aren’t enough: a tennis player who refuses to fulfill her obligations to the sport should be banned from competing until she does.

Yesterday, after winning her first round match at the French Open, Osaka was fined (but only $15,000), and tennis officials proved that they read Ethics Alarms (I jest) and told Osaka that continuing her boycott of the media would result in her being suspended from the current tournament and others. Good. The organization had no other choice, unless it wanted to directly endorse the King’s Pass (Rationalization #11). If Osaka was allowed to snub the media with minimal consequences (for her), then no other player would feel obligated to cooperate either. Rennae Stubbs, a former player who is now a coach and ESPN analyst, stated the obvious while most of the players and former players were expressing sympathy for Osaka: “You cannot allow a player to have an unfair advantage by not doing post-match press. It’s time consuming, so if one player is not doing that and others are, that is not equal.”

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The Wuhan Virus Origin Debacle: A “Bias Makes You Stupid” Classic

Times Wuhan hack

I periodically am asked why I insist on referring to the pandemic virus, which unquestionably originated in China, almost certainly in the Wuhan province, and was allowed to spread world-wide in part by cover-up activities by the Chinese government, “The Wuhan virus.” After all, the edict came down from our politically-correct betters that this term was “racist,” despite the fact that it conveyed useful and accurate information that the technical term “COVID” does not.

I typically reply that I call it the Wuhan virus because that’s where it came from, and virtually every other virus has been named for its place of origin (sometimes inaccurately). I also do so in defiance of the open scheme among the news media to try to advance the Big Lie that President Trump was being racist by using the term when the news media itself had employed it before deciding this was one more opportunity to undermine Trump’s Presidency.

In addition, I furiously reject the proposition that because idiots and assholes react to truthful statements by behaving unjustly, violently and stupidly, as with the still relatively few who have attacked or abused Asian-Americans using the same cretinous rationale as those who killed dachshunds during World War I, anyone should shade the truth or avoid stating a fact. I reject the Asshole’s Veto, in other words.

There is also this motivating me: China is an international villain, and nobody should pretend otherwise or make any effort to excuse or disguise that nation’s true nature. Moreover, I am not running for office, and have succeeded in making anyone trying to justify the ban on calling a Chinese virus a Chinese virus look like the race-baiting tool that he or she is.

The entire effort to label as racist any statement, theory or belief that China bears responsibility for the virus that has killed millions and savaged the world economy would not have occurred with such fervor if it were not fueled by anti-Trump hatred and bias. Now the inconvenient truth that the virus may have originated in a Wuhan lab is exposing the despicable censorship effort for what it is, so its purveyors are desperately trying avoid the opprobrium they richly deserve.

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PM Ethics Medley, 5/26/2021: It’s A Strange, Strange World

Pastiche

1. Priorities! Major League Baseball has placed Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway on its ineligible list through at least the 2022 season, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced. The league made the decision after investigating Callaway for sexual sexual harassment allegations reaching back several years, with several female sporstwriters among the alelged victims. The Angels fired Callaway this afternoon. Opines a major baseball news site: “Callaway is facing a year-plus ban, and it seems hard to believe any MLB team will hire him when he’s eligible to return.”

Hmmmm…

Alex Cora was suspended and fired as manager by the Boston Red Sox after a one-year suspension, then immediately hired back by the team. All he did was play a major role in devising a cheating scheme for one team, the Houston Astros, that extended through the play-offs and World Series, then oversaw a second team, Boston, that was found to have engaged in cheating, though less extensively, the next season. Cora’s cheating scheme with Astros was unprecedented, and cost two other professionals their jobs and the Astros millions in fines,while seriously scarring the integrity of the game. The conduct Callaway engaged in has been routine among professional athletes for decades, though in his case it was apparently 1) a bit more extreme than the norm and 2) “unwelcome.” After all, he was just a coach. So far, nobody has accused a player making more than $10 million a year of making sexual advances that were “unwelcome.’

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Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 5/7/2021: On Quitting, Cancelling, Lying And Deflecting

brain

1. The dignity and integrity to quit. The big news in baseball yesterday was that the California Angels finally released Albert Pujols. Pujols is in the last year of a terrible 24 million dollar a year+ contract he signed as a free agent. For the last several years, he had negative value, meaning that the Angels would have been better if they just stuck a utility infielder in his slot in the line-up. When Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals, he was already a lock of the Hall of Fame, much like Mike Trout today (also on the Angels) who could quit at 30 and still be regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. In 2019, I wrote about another washed up batter holding on to collect his exorbitant salary when he was no longer capable of earning it, the Orioles’ erstwhile slugger Chris Davis. I wrote in part,

[He] should call a press conference and do what some baseball players better than he have done when they realized they could no longer play at the level they were paid to. Quit. Retire. Say that he has too much respect for the game, his team mates, Baltimore, the Orioles, its fans, and himself to keep on with the embarrassing futility of trying to play major league baseball when he no longer has the skill to do so while receiving millions to fail. Then he should walk away, an Ethics Hero, and a model of integrity.

But Davis didn’t, of course. Davis earned $23,000,000 that year, and last year. He will earn the same amount this season and the next, to add to the 165 million he’s banked already. His OPS (On Base % plus Slugging %) the past three years: .539, .601, and .331. The average OPS in the Major Leagues is about .750. Nothing yet this year: he’s been injured. The Orioles hope he stays that way.

What Pujols is owed if he stays active is virtually monopoly money to him: he already has a third of a billion dollars from his baseball salaries alone, and many millions more from endorsements—and that’s just assuming he keeps his money in a sock. Reportedly Albert is greatly admired as a man of character, but if he was truly that, he would have the character to quit. Now.

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Here’s a fun link: conservative pundit David Harsanyi traces (some) of the egregious media bias since Biden took office.

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Wait…Why Does Facebook Allow Non-Americans To Censor Our Political Discourse?

That’s impressive: Facebook’s “quasi-independent” review board is even more unethical than I thought.

That board’s membership was in my print version of the New York Times yesterday. If it’s on the web, it’s too well hidden for me, but here is the disturbing part: on the 20 person board, 15 of the “‘experts” don’t live in the United States of America.

Let’s make this clear: as Tom Slater of “Spiked!” correctly points out, Facebook’s banning of Trump ‘represented one of the most terrifying corporate interventions into democratic politics in recent memory. In removing Trump from its platform, used by around 70 per cent of adult Americans, Facebook was effectively standing between a president and his people, depriving him of access to what now constitutes the public square. This is an assault on democracy that makes the surreal storming of the Capitol pale into insignificance.”

Exactly. And to review a decision with massive consequences for our nation and its public, Facebook turns to distant arbiters who 1) have no stake in the fate of the United States at all and 2) lack the cultural values unique to this country of treasuring and protecting free speech and expression.

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