Perhaps The Best Baseball Ethics Story Ever: The Chris Sale Uniform Freak-Out

White Sox uniforms

Last night, incomplete fragments of news came through the baseball media that Chicago White Sox pitching ace Chris Sale had been pulled from his scheduled start against the Tigers. Was he about to be traded? No, we learned that there had been a “non-physical” altercation with someone in the White Sox front office. Huh? What did that mean?

It turned out that the truth was stranger than any speculation. Sale, we learned, had refused to wear a retro White Sox uniform during a “Turn Back The Clock” promotion that nigh, and to ensure that he wouldn’t have to, he cut up all the vintage uniforms, using a scissors and a knife, while the rest of the team was taking batting practice.

As soon as I heard this, I told my wife,”I bet I know exactly which uniforms the team was supposed to wear.” I was right: the White Sox promotion involved giving out free facsimile 1976 uniform jerseys to the first 15,000 game attendees, with the team wearing the infamous fashion abortion perpetrated on baseball by puckish former White Sox owner Bill Veeck, the same iconoclast who sent a midget up to bat in a real game.

Here are those uniforms, almost unanimously agreed-upon by all critics as the silliest baseball garb ever to appear on a Major League player (that’s Veeck in the middle; the ones on the left are the uniforms in question):

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It is recorded that the players and the fans hated the 1976 uniforms, which were quickly discarded, especially the version with the shorts, which only appeared in one game. No wonder Sale was upset.

Now to the ethics issues: Continue reading

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Observations On The Leaked DNC E-mails

"Thanks for all your good work for me, Debbie! And thank the rest of the DNC staff too!"

“Thanks for all your good work for me, Debbie! And thank the rest of the DNC staff too!”

1. In case you missed it—and there were a lot of people trying to make sure you did—the illegal hacking organization Wikileaks released nearly 20,000 stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee. It is, by any estimation, a scandal, and potentially a devastating one. You can read various takes on it from Heat Street, BuzzFeed, NPR, The Daily Beast, CNN, BizPac Review, Business Insider, The New York Observer, Fox News Insider, Associated Press, The Daily Caller, Mediaite, and the Associated Press. Among other things, the e-mails show that the Democratic National Committee was actively colluding to undermine Bernie Sanders and ensure that Hillary Clinton won the race to become the Democratic nominee. That means that the Democratic Party, while holding itself out as running a fair nomination process to be determined by primaries and voters while the party played neutral referee, was in fact cheating. It was fixing the competition. It lied to Democratic voters and the nation.

I think that’s a big deal.

2. Objective observers and commentators knew this was the orientation of the DNC long before the leaks, of course. It was obvious, or should have been, that the fix was in. The party tried to make sure that no real competition for Clinton emerged to challenge her for the nomination, despite her obvious weaknesses as a candidate and her self-evident corruption. All that Hillary had to overcome were a Star Wars cantina of token opposition: Sanders, an elderly socialist crackpot; Jim Webb,  a conservative, sort-of-Democrat maverick with even less charm than Hillary; Martin O’Malley, a lightweight former governor with no policy positions that varied significantly from Clinton’s, and whatever the heck ex-Republican Lincoln Chafee was supposed to be.  Even against this motley crew, Hillary  might well have lost in a fair contest, just as she did to an unproven, inexperienced junior Senator from Illinois in 2008.  But Clintons don’t do “fair,” and the DNC was willing to  serve as her accomplice. Thus the party appointed Hillary-supporting “superdelegates,” including Hillary’s husband and many former Clinton appointees and previous enablers. Thus they held as many debates as possible on weekends and opposite major sporting events, so as few undecided people as possible would be exposed to the inevitable Clinton gaffes, lies, and awkward public persona.

2. There should be little sympathy for indignant Democrats who are shocked—-shocked!—that the leaked emails show that the DNC was trying to sabotage Sanders and push Clinton over the finish line. Hillary cheats. Everyone knows that. Everyone knew that  before she announced her candidacy. She was cheating all along, just like she was lying about her State Department e-mails all along, and continues to lie about her Goldman Sachs speeches. Knowing all that, with an obligation to his conveniently adopted party and his principles to try to stop a manifestly unfit woman from gaining power, Bernie Sanders still refused to attack Clinton where she is least fit to be President: her character. All the pieces were there. If the Wikileaks leaks were necessary for Sanders and his supporters to figure out that they were the marks in a rigged  game, they are too gullible and pathetic to be involved in politics. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump

Photojournalism Ethics: The Faces Of Hillary

Clinton fair

Long ago, a Pennsylvania governor named William Scranton ran for the Republican nomination. He wasn’t a bad-looking man, but he was given to extreme facial expressions, the most grotesque or silly of which always seemed to be captured by photographers and put on front pages. I was a kid, but just reading my dad’s Time Magazines was sufficient to make me feel sorry for Scranton. The photos made him look like lunatic or a drunk. Yet on TV there was nothing unusual about Bill Scranton at all. He had an expressive face, and a fleeting look that might pass his countenance in a nanosecond, barely visible to observers, could make him appear frightening or ridiculous when captured and frozen in time. I wondered then why editors chose and published such misleading and unflattering photographs.

Now I know. They do it because they can, and because they are mean and irresponsible.

As a victim of this tactic, Scranton got off easy compared to Hillary Clinton. Camera technology now permits even more fleeting expressions to be captured, and while the largely Clinton-protecting newspapers shy away from unflattering Clinton photographs, the web is teeming with them. Like Scranton, Hillary has a very expressive face, and one that has become more expressive with age. Unfortunately, this means that she has left a damaging trail of photos of her split-second facial reactions that make her look crazy, sinister, or ridiculous. Matt Drudge, in particular, revels in them. Yes, I have used them myself; like Clinton or not, they are almost irresistible. I’m not proud of it. I’m not doing it any more.

I have concluded, belatedly, that using these misleading and unflattering photos of Mrs. Clinton is very unfair, and the visual equivalent of an ad hominem attack. I know all the rationalizations: The camera doesn’t lie (but we know it does), the camera captures the soul (suuure it does), it’s a joke, and she can take it ( a double rationalization there); everybody does it.

None of them are persuasive. Doing this to anyone, celebrity or not, funny or not, is cruel and  unfair; I think most people know it’s cruel and unfair.

It is also conduct that violates the Golden Rule. Your host knows this as well as anyone: I’m not hideous in real life,  but photos of me often make me looks deranged or worse. Like these, for example: Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

DNC Progressives Jump The Shark

Pop Quiz: Name all the ways this photo is appropriate to the post...

Pop Quiz: Name all the ways this photo is appropriate to the post…

[A “Happy Days” reference seems felicitous, since last week saw series creator, writer and frequent director Garry Marshall head off to the Big Malt Shop In The Sky. In addition to having the good taste to be named Marshall, Gary’s myrth-inducing career in TV and movies as a producer, writer, director and actor (Marshall’s turn in “Lost on America” as the incredulous casino boss whom a desperate Albert Brooks tries to persuade to give back the life savings lost by Brooks’ wife in a mad gambling spree might be my favorite comic acting bit of all time) was long and productive, and the culture will miss him greatly. As will I. ]

Attention must be paid to the fact that while the speakers at the Republican National Convention sounded scary (to some), the Democratic National Convention authorities acted scary.

Twenty-one Vermont Democrats have filed an official complaint with the party, protesting that the Democratic leadership ordered  the state party to replace Vermont Sen. Tim Ashe and party member Ken Dean with women, in the name of “gender balance” without adequate due process.

By all means, let’s make sure that gender discrimination in pursuit of the greater good and Progressive Nirvana is done with due process!

I think it’s cute that both political parties are losing their minds at the same time, don’t you? Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, U.S. Society

Why Dan Pabon’s DUI Stop Matters To Everyone, And Why He Must Resign

Pabon Apology

Colorado Rep. Dan Pabon (D. North Denver) was considered a rising political star. Among his well-publicized public policy triumphs was to  help pass a law forcing convicted drunk drivers to appear before a DUI victim-impact panel.

Then Pabon himself was pulled over in his vehicle on St. Patrick’s Day evening for driving under the influence of alcohol. Instead of Pabon accepting his fate as an honest lawyer and elected official should, the video of the stop shows the legislator trying to persuade the officer who stopped him not to make the  arrest. He tells the officer that he is a state representative who is driving a car without his legislative plates. He asks the officer to call a supervisor or the city attorney so they can direct the officer to give him mulligan. When Officer Brian Bienemann explains that he cannot let Pabon off and indeed would be subject to discipline if he did,  Pabon pleads,  “Is there any way we can avoid this possibility? This is going to change my life.”

After Pabon pleaded guilty and gave an emotional apology (above) to the public and the legislature, saying  “I have taken full responsibility. I have done everything above board,” the editors of The Denver Post begged to disagree. They called for his resignation in an edotorial. They were correct, but they weren’t clear enough about why.

The Post was upset that Pabon didn’t specifically apologize for trying to use abuse his position and power to avoid legal accountability for a serious violation of the law, even after the video of the stop was leaked to the news media. Of course he didn’t. Like most current elected officials, he didn’t see anything wrong with that. Don’t they deserve special consideration and privileges?

There can be no sufficient apology for what Pabon did. Elected officials and other government personnel must not view themselves as deserving special immunity from the laws and regulations they impose on society. Pabon’s attitude and attempt to play the “Do you know who I am?” card is poison to democracy, and exactly the kind of “fix” Donald Trump’s speech last night correctly condemned.

The public sees a Secretary of State expose sensitive information to discovery by the enemies of the United States, and not only is she not punished, she is selected to run for President. The public sees HUD Secretary Julian Castro blatantly violate the Hatch Act, combining an official appearance with campaigning for Clinton, and  then learns that the President will not discipline Castro in any way. Casrto is also considered a “rising political star.” A nation in which individuals who break the law are still considered “rising stars” and prospects for national leadership has its values in a tangle. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Donald Trump’s Acceptance: Good Speech (Wrong Speaker)

Trump-Mocks-Disabled-Reporter-CNN-USA-Today

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention must have been easy to write. Anyone with a modicum of communication skills who had been paying attention the past eight years and isn’t either in denial or thoroughly corrupted could have written it. I could have written it. President Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as their supporters, have provided so much material, or, if you like, ammunition. No wonder the speech was so long: it was the longest acceptance speech since 1972. It easily could have been longer.

There is no honest or reasonable argument to be made against Trump’s recitation of what is wrong in America. Escalating class, racial, gender and ethnic divisions, uncontrolled illegal immigration, handicapped law enforcement, sluggish economic growth, over-regulation, dangerous debt, incompetent foreign policy, weak national leadership, corruption, attacks on individual rights, and more…the speech hit a lot (not all, because there are so many) of the obvious failures of the Obama presidency, one of the most disappointing and disastrous in U.S. history. Most astute of all, the speech correctly painted Hillary Clinton as a candidate pledged to continue disastrous policies and anti-American philosophies. Read the text here.

The criticism of the speech from the left and mainstream media journalists (all together now: “But I repeat myself!”) was both predictable and telling. “Trump delivered a deeply negative speech that described a darkening America,” wrote Politico.” He spoke of spiking crime, “third-world” airports, growing trade deficits, “chaos in our communities,” and terrorism on the home front. Abroad, he said, the situation was “worse than it has ever been before.” On CNN, former Obama “czar” Van Jones said that “What Donald Trump did tonight was a disgrace. That was a relentlessly… dark speech. He was describing some Mad Max America.” Jones continued: Continue reading

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Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dilemma: What Do You Do With Steve King?”

Pennagain, who also acts as the volunteer and indispensable Ethics Alarms proofreader, submitted this Comment of the Day, packed with ethics, and trenchant observations about how diverse cultures have enriched civilization. It begins with a quote from another commenter on Rep. King’s descent into white-supremacistspeak, and heads to wonderful places.

Here is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day on the post,  “Ethics Dilemma: What Do You Do With Steve King?”

Still, most of the really big failings over the ages have been ah, east of Suez.

Rewrite: Still, most of the big failings over the ages have been during the first couple of thousand years of any particular civilization. That’s considering national and natural barriers that don’t go along any particular meridian. If they last beyond a millennia or two, they’ve usually learned a thing or two.

Some of those things might be an understanding of the concept of comparative values and why basic ethical principles have always been in vogue – including under the Shogunates, the Mughal emperors, the dynasties of China (going back to 2100BC, by the way), and other long-lived non-democracies). Or why certain types of governments or power structures work best with certain cultures at certain times, barring catastrophic disasters and military dictatorships (North Korea is still in its 68-year-old infancy and ailing). Or why philosophies of aesthetics differ to an extent that makes comparing art or architecture, or its presence or absence idiotic. Or why a majority of us believe our own way is best (and some of the latter think they need to Disneyfy, Democratize, and Develop everyone everywhere else on the planet).

Example of some basic Asian principles aka Their Ethics: harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty, filial piety.

All of the above can be incorporated into the principles of what us non-Asian, non-African folks call universal ethics; our ethics:

Continue reading

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