Dear Proudly Obese Lady: It Is Not Everyone’s Obligation To Solve Your Problems

I hate to be unkind, but this is a Popeye if I ever there was one.

Jaelynn Chaney (above) is a fat positivity activist, which is jake with me, sort of, if I apply the “its not the worst thing” rationalization. (Maybe Bud Light will put her on a beer can, if possible.) However, she is now demanding, via a Change.Org petition, that the rest of us pay to make it easier for her (and her not quite as obese love-bunny to fly on commercial airlines.

Poor Jaelynn! As she writes in her repetitious and ungrammatical introduction to her demands,

Air travel should be comfortable and accessible for everyone, regardless of size. As plus-size travelers, my partner and I have unfortunately experienced discrimination and discomfort while flying. During a flight from Pasco to Denver, my fiancé was subjected to hateful comments, disapproving looks, and even refusal to sit next to them, amounting to discrimination. Similarly, on another flight, I was forced to occupy only one seat with immovable armrests that caused me pain and bruises. Being forced to occupy only one seat can result in pain and vulnerability to poor treatment from fellow passengers, including hateful comments, disapproving looks, and even refusal to sit next to them. This mistreatment of plus-size passengers is unacceptable, and it highlights the urgent need for better policies that protect the dignity and rights of all passengers, regardless of size. Unfortunately, plus-size passengers often experience discomfort and discrimination when flying. The lack of a uniform customer-of-size airline policy is unacceptable and must be addressed.

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Ethics Quiz: The Comic Strip’s Hidden Message


In February, 2019, venerable ( and usually funny) Sunday comics feature “Non Sequitur” included a hidden message tucked into the corner of a strip . Cartoonist Wiley Miller had scrawled, barely legibly, “Go Fuck yourself, Trump.”

This led some newspapers that had run the strip to cancel the comic permanently. Most, however, did nothing: the strip is still running in, for example, the Washington Post.

Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson said that Miller was going “around his editors and even his own syndicate to publish something he must have known we wouldn’t accept. We’ll have no trouble finding a better way to spend the $8,000 we would’ve paid for that strip.” For its part, Kansas City-based Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes “Non Sequitur,” apologized, saying,

“We are sorry we missed the language in our editing processIf we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed. We apologize to ‘Non Sequitur’s’ clients and readers for our oversight.”

Miller’s explanation was essentially “Oopsie!” He said he had entered the vulgarity in the corner when he was angry with then-President Trump, and forgot to remove it. He wasn’t trying to sneak the insult by anyone.

Okaaay. Do you believe that?

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

What is the fair and responsible punishment for Sunday comics cartoonist who does what Miller did?

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Showdown At Staples: A Duty To Confront Saga [Corrected]

This morning, my wife sent me on a mission to buy a new portable calculator. At the nearby strip-mall, there are three retail options right in a row: Target, Staples, and Best Buy. Target looked crowded, and the Best Buy is huge and bewildering, so I chose the more modest-sized Staples, where ProEthics has an account.

When I entered, none of the aisle and section signs—there were about two dozen— indicated that the store even offers calculators, though I knew that couldn’t be the case in an office supply store. There was a 15 foot banner proclaiming “CUSTOMER SERVICE,” however, with one female clerk beneath it, processing the purchase of an ancient man who was moving in slow motion. After waiting a few minutes and realizing that the transaction might take until Arbor Day, I asked the Staples employee where I could find the calculators, assuming it was an easily and quickly answered query and that I could get the information before the aged customer finished searching through his wallet.

The employee obviously had no idea. She said, “I think it’s down there somewhere,” pointing to the other side of the store. “Is there an aisle sign that I should look for?” I asked. “You know, let me check with somebody; just wait a minute,” she replied, and went back to Methuselah.

“Bye!” I said sharply, and left the store. [ Update: I was wrong to write that, because I did NOT say anything, sharply or otherwise as I left Staples. A sharp “bye” would have perfectly expressed by state of mind, however. Still, that was a false account.] I then went to Best Buy; its customer service staffer gave me directions, pointed out a sign and a section, and I had picked out the item in less than five minutes.

After completing the purchase, I went back to the young man at the service desk and thanked him for his competence. I also told him how his counterpart at Staples had blown it, and that Best Buy had my business from now on.

I wasn’t done yet, however.

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Wait, How Can Rebeca F. Rothstein Still Be Employed As A Middle School Teacher? Why Are Parents Allowing Her To Warp Their Children? I Don’t Understand This At All…[Expanded]

This story is incomprehensible.

Rebeca F. Rothstein apparently still works at North Bethesda Middle School in the Montgomery County School District despite posting on social media that “‘as a teacher I wish we could do more with our students like teach anti-racism and how to be kind people. Does anyone else feel like… we can skip the math, skip the science, like we’ll do that next year. Maybe this year we focus on teaching our youth how to be anti-racist.” Elsewhere she posted about providing “Marxist literature” to her students. “Fuck capitalism,” she wrote, and in another post shared that she was “tired after a long day of indoctrinating students.” In a video she put on TikTok, Rothstein said,

“I had to un-brainwash myself from capitalism in order to fall in love with socialism and communism. If everyone had the same amount of money, then money wouldn’t be worth anything.”

Wow. I sure want a teacher with that kind of keen insight teaching our next generation!

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The Revealing Resume performed an experiment by sending two identical fake resumes to “180 unique job postings that were explicitly open to entry-level candidates.” Both featured a gender-ambiguous name, “Taylor Williams.” The only difference between two resumes was the presence of preferred gender pronouns on the test version. The test resume included “they/them” pronouns under the name in the header.

The fake resume including preferred pronouns received 8% less interest than the one without them, and fewer interview and phone screening invitations.

The researchers found this “worrisome.”Ryan McGonagill, director of industry research at, told NBC,

The law makes it clear that you cannot base any employment decision (hiring, terminating, or otherwise) based on their gender identity. It’s incredibly disappointing and unethical that many of the hiring managers in our study would disqualify a candidate for being authentic.”

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Comment Of The Day: “Using Personality Testing For Anything But Party Games Is Unethical”

I was very pleased that the post on personality testing triggered the lively discussion it did. The topic is a long-time source of irritation to me. Reducing the infinite variety and complexity of human character to any test should obviously set off ethics alarms, and making life-changing decisions based on such lazy short-cuts to assessing character is a bright-line Golden Rule breach. Anyone who wants to start understanding my character should read all of the posts on Ethics Alarms, and even then should prepare to be surprised.

Before I get to Sarah B.’s Comment of the Day, let me relay the link to Extradimensional Cephalopod‘s website and its basic mindsets section in his Foundational Toolbox for Life.

I’ve combined two of Sarah’s comments here, because they are closely related and I couldn’t choose between them. Here is her Comment of the Day on the post, “Using Personality Testing For Anything But Party Games Is Unethical”…


I know a manager who believes strongly in personality testing, and focuses heavily on the Clifton Strengths profile. He has convinced everyone that it is the way to go and has every one of his employees list their five strengths in order on their work emails, just like some places want preferred pronouns. Everyone I have talked to about this seems totally bought into it. I volunteer here, and thus don’t have to have my Clifton profile done, but when I was introduced to my supervisor (T), he introduced himself as a strategist, which means that he knows how to get from point A to point B in the best possible way, but has a weakness with communication, so we should just all do what he says without question, because he knows better than we do and he doesn’t have time to communicate. If you want someone who is good at communicating, talk to person H. Another of my supervisors (D), introduced herself with her main strength, the ability to think out her problems very well, but as a down side, she must have time to think, so don’t bring her a problem and expect a solution that week. She needs quiet time to work it out.

This is not a way to introduce yourselves, in my opinion. Frankly, I’d rather be known for who I am and let you determine what you think my strengths and weaknesses are, rather than a self reported test that gives me, however accurately, an assessment of those things I am strong at and tells me to make them stronger. I’d rather work to be a well rounded person. I’d also rather think of myself, not as a combination of personality traits, but as a whole person, a person who may have strengths and weaknesses, but who can work to overcome weaknesses and may let certain strengths founder as a choice.

Even if strengths are good things to have, we have to work on our weaknesses too. Frankly, T lets his “strength” in strategizing be an excuse for acting like a controlling jackass. If something doesn’t work perfectly, he blames it all on others, and says we didn’t listen enough. He cannot handle changing conditions, because they throw off his plan, so he gets stressed and pushes people badly. I have nearly quit because of him, but am too stubborn and want the experience for later in life. D uses her “strength” as an excuse to not organize or prepare for anything, all with the excuse that she didn’t have adequate time to think through the problem. If a problem arises needing a quick solution, she shuts down totally, claiming that there is nothing to be done, and won’t accept anyone else’s solution to the problem. We go from about to do our work to completely cancelling our work in moments.

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Using Personality Testing For Anything But Party Games Is Unethical

Go ahead: change my mind.

Right on cue, after we were discussing why some elite universities were eschewing standardized test scores (that elite minorities inexplicably don’t tend to perform as well on as whites and Asian-Americans, though nobody can say why, at least out loud) and wondering what criteria schools might resort to instead to let them discriminate on the basis of race (you know, “affirmative action”) without appearing to do so, here comes the New York Times with an article about the growing popularity of so-called “personality tests.”

I should have seen itcoming. At least the report injects some skepticism into the analysis (“Critics are quick to point out that some of the tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which churns out four-letter distillations of personality, are about as reliable at predicting success in a professional endeavor as sorting candidates by astrological signs or Magic 8 Balls”), but what the report doesn’t do is state a simple fact: there is no reliable way whatsoever to measure the accuracy or value of such tests.

An outgrowth of psychology, which might be the most disappointing, unreliable and underachieving pseudo-scientific discipline of them all (if not an outright fraud), these tests purport to reduce the infinite complexity and variety of human behavior to something that can be quantified and measured by a test lasting a couple hours. Bollocks, as our British readers might say.

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A Diversity Ethics Conundrum: Is It Plausible That Phil Washington Is Qualified To Head The FAA?

Phil Washington, President Biden’s nominee to head the Federal Aviation Administration, apparently knows absolutely nothing about aviation. He is black, however, and the Biden Administration has made it quite clear that that feature, virtually all by itself, can make an individual fully qualified for difficult and important government positions without any other indicia of special competence. [See: Karine Jean-Pierre, Kamala Harris et al.] In his testimony before Congress last week, Washington did not exactly dazzle with his answers to questions related to America’s civil aviation system. Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) received these responses to seven questions about basic aviation (in baseball terms, Washington was 0 for 7):

Budd: “What airspace requires an ADS-B transponder?”

Washington: “Not sure I can answer that question right now.”

Budd: “What are the six types of special use airspace that…appear on FAA charts?”

Washington: “Sorry, senator, I cannot answer that question.”

Budd: “What are the operational limitations of a pilot flying under BasicMed?”

Washington: “Senator, I’m…not a pilot.”

Budd: “But, obviously you’d oversee the Federal Aviation Administration, so any idea what those restrictions are under BasicMed?”

Washington: “Well, some of the restrictions I think would be high blood pressure some of them would be…”

Budd: “It’s more like how many passengers per airplane, how many pounds, and different categories, and what altitude you can fly under, and amount of knots — it’s under 250 knots — so, it’s not having anything to do with blood pressure.”

Budd: “Can you tell me what causes an aircraft to spin or to stall?”

Washington: “Again, senator, I’m not a pilot.”

Budd: “What are the three aircraft certifications the FAA requires as part of the manufacturing process?”

Washington: “Again, what I would say to that is that one of my first priorities would be to fully implement that Certification Act and report…”

Budd: “You know the three types?”

Washington: “No.”

Budd: “That’s type certificate, production certificate, and airworthiness certificate. Let’s just keep going and see if we can get lucky here. Can you tell me what the minimum separation distance is for landing and departing airliners during the daytime?”

Washington: “I don’t want to guess on that, senator.”

Budd: “Are you familiar with the difference between Part 107 and Part 44809 when it comes to unmanned aerial standards?”

Washington: “No, I cannot, uh, spell that out…”

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Oh, What The Hell: I’m Designating This Pizza Shop’s Owners Ethics Heroes

I view this as similar to the “It’s OK to be white” controversy. It’s a veritable Rorschach test that provokes thought, consideration and discussion, and any business that does that without being pompous and annoying (Like, say, Starbuck’s) is making a positive contribution to public discourse.

Santino’s Pizzeria hung the banner outside its Columbus, Ohio, store a few months ago, partially in frustration over new staff not taking their jobs seriously. “A lot of the people we’ve hired just don’t want to work,” Jayden Dunigan, whose familiy owns the restaurant, told reporters.“There is no work ethic behind them, so that’s the meaning behind the ‘non-stupid.”

“I had a high school student who thought it was okay to bring a Nerf gun in with another employee here,” the shop’s manager added. The other motivation for the sign was humor. Yet some critics on social media are “offended.” Is the sign a subtle shot at DEI? Is the shop saying people are stupid?

On balance, I’ve decided it’s a constructive and courageous message, especially in the Age of The Great Stupid.

Call Me Strict, But I Think A Director Smearing Feces On A Ballet Critic’s Face For A Negative Review Warrants A Bit More Than A Suspension

This kind of conduct by an employee doesn’t require an investigation. Nobody needs to know why he did it. A responsible employer whose employee engages in this crime against any individual—yes. even a critic—has to fire him for cause, immediately and without hesitation.

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the Hannover state opera house’s ballet director Marco Goecke—that’s him above, looking like the son of the sinister Nazi whose head melts in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”— confronted its dance critic, Wiebke Huester, during the intermission of a premiere. Goecke, was furious over a nasty review she wrote of a production he staged at The Hague, and accused her of being responsible for people canceling their season tickets. Then he took dog excrement out of a paper bag he had brought for the occasion and smeared the woman’s face with the guck as she screamed. Huester has filed a criminal complaint.

On its website, the opera house said Huester’s “personal integrity” was violated “in an unspeakable way.” I wonder who came up with those weasel words. It added that the opera house had officially apologized to her. After all, the post said, Goecke’s “impulsive reaction” violated the ground rules of the theater and that “he caused massive damage to the Hannover State Opera and State Ballet.”


So, it said, he is being suspended and banned from the opera house until further notice,though the lunatic will be given an opportunity to apologize “comprehensively” and explain himself to theater management “before further steps are announced.” Continue reading