Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/18/2019: Nauseatingly Unethical

Gooood Morning, and Ick.

1. Illegal immigration battles update:  a) The Empire State’s governor,  Andrew Cuomo,  signed legislation granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants—NBC calls them “undocumented immigrants, which is unethically deceptive —right after the measure passed the state Senate. New York is now the 13th state to take this unconscionable  course, creating an incentive as well as a reward for breaking U.S. laws and defying its borders.

There is no justification for ever rewarding lawbreaking  through public policy, unless the objective is to eliminate the law. Yet the Democrats who rationalize these measures still say that their party doesn’t want open borders.  How long can sentient individuals believe that? The existence of these laws, as well as sanctuary cities, prove otherwise. As idiotic and suicidal as it is, an open borders position should at least be honestly proposed and debated, since that is what progressives are really pushing for. I could have some respect for that approach. This one–lying about the intention while undermining immigration laws–is indefensible as well as cowardly.

b) In that vein, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez described the unavoidable detention facilities at the border as “concentration camps.” “I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something,” she said in an Instagram rant yesterday. Calling the President  a “fascist” (This will be today’s Big Lie entry, as the directory continues), she went on, “I don’t use those words to just throw bombs,” she said, throwing bombs, “I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist and it’s very difficult to say that. The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”

How many blatant misrepresentation and lies are in those statements? Well, how much time  ya got? Detention centers are unavoidable. They aren’t concentration camps, and the Holocaust comparison is ignorant, inflammatory and obnoxious as well as false. (“What happened to people in concentration camps?” asked OtherBill, who flagged this for me). The President is bound by his oath of office to see that the rule of law remains intact, and to protect the Constitution. A growing hoard of illegal immigrants breaching the law and established procedures to get over the border and then vanish into sanctuary cities creates a threat to both.  The Nazis put their own citizens into concentration camps (you know, like FDR did with Japanese Americans? ), and then murdered them. The illegals at the border are not citizens, they are not legally refugees until we say so, and the U.S. has no obligation, legal or otherwise, to accept what has become a cynical excuse to flout our laws. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/2/18: Dictators, Wizards, Liars and Abusers [Updated]

Good morning!

1 Housekeeping matters. For some reason, I know not what, there was an outbreak of contentious discussion regarding Ethics Alarms administration in a couple of threads yesterday. I think everything covered or complained about is covered in the Comment Policies above, but just for the record:

  • I handle the moderation here. Only me.
  • Though it might appear otherwise to some, I do not spend my day glued to Ethics Alarms. Thus on days like yesterday, when I had an early morning CLE session to teach in D.C., followed by one  law firm client emergency after another, I did not see any comments at all from 1am to 6 pm. Thus the hysterical and indignant “Why did you delete my comment?” outbursts and the “How dare you allow that rude comment to stay on the site?” and the ultimata springing therefrom were especially silly, unfair, and ill-informed.
  • I am not your Moderation Monkey. Don’t command me on how to police my own site. Thank you.
  • As I have written many times, occasionally a comment from an approved participant gets spammed for no good reason. Sometimes WordPress, for no apparent provocation, starts spamming the comments of visitors here who have been commenting for years. Sometimes such commenters have had to change their screen names as a result. None of this has anything to do with me: I can’t control it, or predict it. The calm, reasonable commenters faced with this crisis generally e-mail me, then I search the spam archives, find the lost post, send it to moderation, and approve it.
  • I do not delete posts from approved commenters. The exception is when I ban a commenter permanently, or give one a time out, which is a temporary ban or suspension, in which case the commenter is always warned in advance.
  • I expect discourse here to be civil, but will excuse momentary and periodic lapses and outbursts from veteran commenters (and me, of course), in direct proportion to their time here, level of participation and constructive value to the mission. Individual quirks will also be taken into consideration.

2. Remembering the David Manning Liar of the Month: A commenter who hails from the old Ethics Scoreboard days recently referenced the feature there called the David Manning Liar of the Month. A David Manning-style lie is a statement that the speaker or writer can’t possibly expect anyone to  believe, thus raising the question of whether it is a lie at all. (Sony spawned the award by excusing its use of a fake film reviewer it named David Manning to rave about terrible movies in ads,  claiming that nobody believed such excerpts anyway.) If Ethics Alarms had the same feature, President Trump would obviously dominate it, as I was reminded this morning. The President’s ex-physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein. bitter over his ejection from the Trump Court, revealed that Trump himself had dictated the absurd letter in which the doctor attested, Continue reading

When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring (Or Were Disconnected): Now THIS Is An Unethical Airplane Passenger….

A Trump-deranged woman on a Baltimore to Seattle flight went bananas when she learned that a fellow passenger was not similarly inclined, and was so abusive that she was kicked off the flight.

Good.

The object of her scorn, Scott Koteskey, described the confrontation on Facebook, writing in part…

I’m boarding my flight from Baltimore to Seattle and approach my seat…As I approach my row I smile and motion to the husband and wife sitting in the aisle and middle seat that my seat was next to the window. I put my backpack in the overhead and the wife with a very stern voice says to me:

“Did you come here to cheer or to protest?”

“I came here to celebrate democracy ma’am”

She then proceeded with: (somewhat paraphrased as my memory allows):

Her: “You put a crazed man in charge of the nuclear codes! You should be ashamed!”

Me: ‘Well we’re all entitled to our opinions here ma’am.”

Her: “And I’m entitled to get drunk and puke in your lap! I’m going to throw up right in your lap! You make me sick! Don’t talk to me! Don’t look at me! Don’t you dare even put your arm on that rest. You disgust me! You should be ashamed of yourself! You put a maniac’s finger on the button” (assuming she’s means nukes). You are a bigot. You should get off this plane!”

Me: “Ma’am, by definition, bigotry is disparaging someone prior to knowing them simply by their beliefs and opinions. Thank you for being the very thing you preach against.”

She then proceeded with other various rantings such as my lack of critical thinking and other insults. Finally a flight attendant came over as you will see in the video followed by a supervisor informing that she would have to de-board the plane per captain’s orders….

Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Boston Red Sox Players

owens pole

Yesterday, while watching the Boston Red Sox game on NESN as I always do EVEN WHEN THE TEAM STINKS, like this year, because no summer soldier I, team broadcasters Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy pointed out that Sox rookie Henry Owens was watching the game while being taped to a pole, with his mouth taped shut as well.

This is old-fashioned baseball rookie hazing, as Remy explained (also opining that he thought it was stupid when he played and is stupid now). The theory is that this makes rookies part of the team, builds cohesion and spirit, and yada yada yada, all the same phony rationalizations that jerks have used to excuse hazing cruelty and sadism in fraternities, the military, cults and sports teams for eons. The Owens stunt was relatively mild (and mercifully short), but the practice of hazing is still institutionalized bullying, uncivilized, and, as Remy said, stupid.

Sports team players are home town heroes, and role models too. How many kids will be humiliated, tortured, injured or even killed because the Boston Red Sox thought it was funny to immobilize a 6’6″ rookie pitcher by taping him to a pole on live TV, thus teaching him that no matter how  good he may be at pitching (and Owens is going to be really good), he’s at the bottom of the pecking order until he “earns” decent treatment and respect. “In my experience, the guys who really liked hazing the rookies were the players who couldn’t play,” noted Jerry, a Sox regular in the Eighties.  They were sadistic bullies, in other words, making up for their own inadequacies by abusing others.

You can say that Owens consented, and that’s like arguing that Monica consented when the President of the United States wanted her to emulate a Bourbon Street hooker. Owens could refuse, and be regarded as a bad team mate, leading to a year or more of cut shoelaces, shredded uniforms, insulting messages on his locker and worse “jokes.” Or he could quit baseball and sell Slurpees rather than make a gazillion dollars. He had to submit, and had to smile about it.

So he did.

Even baseball players need to be better at ethics chess than this, and calculate the likely consequences of their conduct. Hazing is unethical, and glamorizing, modeling and trivializing it on TV is irresponsible.

And stupid.

Ethics Lessons From An Ethical Life: James Garner, 1928-2014

Brett_Maverick_-_James_Garner

To me, James Garner will always be Bret Maverick, his black hat worn girlishly on the back of his head, or “The Scrounger” in “The Great Escape,” a role modeled after Garner’s real-life exploits in the military. For some reason Garner’s aging through the years—his health issues ranged from a heart by-pass to knee replacements and several strokes—bothered me more than that of most stars from my youth. His death bothers me more. James Garner always struck me as a someone who should be perpetually young. Of course, I feel the same way about myself.

By all accounts from contemporaries, fans and colleagues, he was a decent, fair and usually amiable man who never let stardom turn him into a monster, as so many do. He had a single, long-lasting marriage and a stable family; he was not fodder for tabloids with affairs, illegitimate children, drug abuse or DUI arrests. He did apparently have a penchant for punching people in the nose who insulted him to his face, a habit about which he was unapologetic. Continue reading

Ethics Rant: Here Is The Smoking Gun Proof That The Government Doesn’t Care How Much Money It Wastes, Or, In The Alternative, That It Isn’t Run By Sufficiently Competent People To Be Trusted To Spend What It Does

Oh, I almost forgot….

Kaboom!*

If this can save millions, what other measures are out there> Never mind---if they couldn't find this, they won't find them, either.

If this can save millions, what other measures are out there? Never mind—if they couldn’t find this, they won’t find them, either.

Here is the news story that justifies the title, and also that made my dome blow, as I’m sure yours will.

A 14-year old sixth grade student from Pittsburgh named Suvir Mirchandani devised, as his science fair entry at Dorseyville Middle School, a computer project that examined printing costs. He analyzed a random sample of school printouts and measured how much ink various fonts use. Noting studies that found ink remarkably expensive (I thought it was just my printer), Mirchandani calculated  that by simply switching from the Times New Roman font to a thinner, more ink-thrifty font like Garamond, his school district alone could reduce its annual ink costs by 24%,  saving up to $21,000 annually.

His  teacher encouraged him to submit his work to the Harvard-based Journal for Emerging Investigators, who were moved to inquire, “How much money could the  government save if it switched to Garamond?”

Plugging in the Government Services Administration’s estimated annual cost of ink, Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30%  of the total $467 million, or $136 million per year. Placing state governments on a font diet would save an additional $234 million, he reported.

They checked his figures, and he was right. The simple act of changing a typeface would save taxpayers $400,000,000 a year. Kaboom.

Now permit me a brief rant…

Continue reading

Adventures In The Land Of Double Standards: Sexual Harassment At Riverdale High

archie reversed

Nancy Silberkleit, the co-CEO of Archie Comics, has been accused in a law suit filed by her male employees of workplace gender discrimination and harassment because she referred to them as “Penis” instead calling them by their names. The lawyers representing Archie president Mike Pellerito, editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick, and others allege that Silberkleit used the term many times in a degrading manner, as, for example, when she began yelling “Penis! Penis! Penis!” during a business meeting.

This woman needs to work with Bill Maher.

They deserve each other. Continue reading

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, Cultural Pollutor…But Only One Among Legions

Interestingly, THIS grove understands ethics better than Lloyd.

Interestingly, THIS grove understands ethics better than Lloyd.

There are three primary reasons the United States of America is getting steadily disoriented, more gullible, less discerning, cruder and unethical. The first is that our leaders now only care about maintaining power, where once  leaders tended to their duty of being what John Adams called America’s aristocracy. Such leaders, not too long ago, modeled the best values and behavior for the public because they carried the most crucial responsibilities, and thus had to be trustworthy. They understood this obligation was theirs because they had the most visibility, and recognized that this demanded positive, admirable, virtuous public behavior. Now our leaders use sophisticated modern marketing techniques to package themselves and ideas like a phony weight-loss remedy, gradually dropping the facades once they are too entrenched to remove. The dispiriting journey make us cynical, less civically involved, and confused. Continue reading

The Ethics Duncehood Of WaPo Blogger Eric Wemple, And Martin Bashir’s Forced Apology For, Uh, Saying That Someone Should Defecate In Sarah Palin’s Mouth

When is an apparent #1 class apology not good enough? Well, in the case of the matter at hand, there are two reasons.

The apology in question came from Martin Bashir, who, as I mentioned in a previous post, used his MSNBC show to suggest that Sarah Palin’s overblown analogy between the financial burden on future generations created by U.S. debt and actual slavery warranted her having to submit to someone expelling excrement into her mouth, and urinating on her as well. He really did say this. On the air. Carefully and deliberately.

See? Yet suddenly, after the weekend, Bashir was contrite, and delivered as elegant and sincere-sounding apology as one could imagine:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers, and anyone who may have heard what I said. My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate, nor fair. They were unworthy of anyone who would claim to have an interest in politics, and they have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network, none of whom were responsible for the things that I said. I deeply regret what I said, and that I have learned a sober lesson in these last few days. That the politics of vitriol and destruction is a miserable place to be, and a miserable person to become. And I promise that I will take the opportunity to learn from this experience.” Continue reading

Self-Webshaming At Dunkin’ Donuts

(Watch this after you’ve read the post. Kind of like dessert..)

The ethical considerations one should review when pondering whether to engage in webshaming nicely evaporate when the subject has chosen, though unwittingly, to webshame herself. Thus Ethics Alarms has no qualms about presenting for your consideration, revulsion, and rejection if she ever applies for a job from you, one Taylor Chapman, a 27-year-old woman who lives in the vicinity of Fort Lauderdale. She eagerly and proudly posted to her Facebook page the phone-video above, of her abusing an impeccable Dunkin’ Donuts employee, annoying a customer, and making serial statements with signature significance—no decent human being would utter even one of these appalling comments in public unless suffering from a brain trauma or extreme intoxication.

Chapman was angry because she and her friends had not received a receipt along with their large drive-thru order, and angrily (and abusively, based on Chapman’s manner, but we can only guess) demanded to receive their order free of charge, as Dunkin’ Donuts now promises as part of a service pledge. The employee handling the order apparently did not know how to proceed, and told the group that they would have to come by the store and see her manager the next day.

[An aside: That’s not good customer service, DD. If you make a guarantee that is supposed to mean anything, you have an obligation to train employees how to deliver on it. Telling customers who have not received the promised service that they have to come back to the establishment another day to receive what they are owed is unreasonable and a bait-and switch. I would have said to forget it. I would have written a letter. I would not have done what Chapman did, and I don’t know anyone who would.]

What Chapman did was to return the next day and demand her free order, tossing obscenities at the extraordinarily polite and unflappable employee (his name is Abid Adar, and you should send him flowers) on duty while she recorded the encounter as if it were a health department sting. Continue reading