Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/15/18: Overthrowing The Government, Replacing Umpires, and Fooling Some Of The People Who Never Did Their Science And Math Assignments [UPDATED!]

Good morning…

1. Baseball Ethics: Again, Robocalls, please! Last night, Game #2 of the American League Championship Series between the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros and some team from Boston again showed why Major League Baseball must install automated ball and strike calls and automatic video review if the game is going to have any integrity at all. Regarding the latter, there was a play in which a Houston batter’s swing and miss for strike three was erroneously called a foul ball by the home plate umpire, and the replay claerly showed that the bat had missed any contact by inches. Nonetheless, the batter got another chance. He struck out (“no harm, no foul” literally) a second time, but that was just moral luck. If he had hit a home run, altering the game’s outcome, the system would have been changed with lightning speed: Ye Olde Barn Door Fallacy.

Regarding the constant missed call and strike calls that risk changing the outcome in every game, the previous game in the serious contained a classic example. In a close contest with the two runners on base and a 3-2 count, Red Sox batter Andrew Benintendi was called out on a pitch about six inches outside the strike zone. Instead of the inning continuing with the bases loaded and the AL season RBI leader, J.D. Martinez, coming to the plate, the inning was over. Listening to the ex-players like TBS color man Ron Darling babble excuses and rationalizations is almost as infuriating as the obviously wrong calls. “Well, the ball wasn’t too far off the plate” and “That pitch has been called a strike earlier tonight” and “The umpires have a difficult job”: Shut up, Ron. The strike zone is set by the rules; a ball is either a strike or it isn’t, so a call is either correct or it’s botched. Blatantly missed calls were “part of the game” in an earlier era when nothing could be done about them, but that’s not true now. Baseball is supposed to be determined by the skill and performance of the players, not by random, unpredictable mistakes by the bystanding officials. Can you imagine a criminal defendant sent to prison in a trial where the judge repeatedly allowed inadmissible evidence against him because he misinterpreted the law, and the appeals court shrugging and rejecting an appeal with a unanimous opinion that said, “Hey, mistakes happen! It’s part of the system’s tradition and charm!”

2. Run, Fauxahontas, Run!  Fake Native American Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) announced that she finally did have her DNA tested. No cheapie home test for this aspiring Cherokee: she had the DNA test performed  by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor (and Democrat) and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.  He concluded that “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but he added that “the results strongly support the existence of an “unadmixed Native American ancestor,” and calculated that Warren’s pure Native American ancestor appears in her family tree “in the range of 6-10 generations ago.” That’s a big range: six generations would make her 1/32nd American Indian, but ten generations would make her 1/1024th Native American. Nothing in the test proves she has the Cherokee ancestry she claims.

UPDATE: Apparently the Globe reporters and editors are among the math-challenged. Mid-day, it issued a second correction:

“Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 6th to 10th generation relative. The generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she’s between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American,” the Globe explained.

This means Warren is somewhere between 0.09 and 1.5 percent Native American, not between .19 and 3.1 percent as originally claimed.

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I Suppose Ethics Alarms Has To Officially Designate “Bloody Headgate” As An Ethics Train Wreck, Since Now The VFW Has Boarded

The Veterans of Foreign Wars declared that Kathy Griffin’s photo of Trump’s severed head is unprotected under the First Amendment.

They are ignorant and have embarrassed themselves. The organization doesn’t even understand what its members have been allegedly fighting to protect and preserve.

VFW National Commander Brian Duffy issued a statement that “The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. strongly condemns comedian Kathy Griffin’s incredibly revolting attack on the President of the United States . . . . What she did was not humorous nor should it be protected speech or expression. Playing to an audience with a severed head is what our enemies do. The USO should end its relationship with her.”

Actually, playing to an audience with a severed head is what Shakespearean companies performing “MacBeth” have done on stages, professional, college and amateur, in the U.S. and elsewhere for hundreds of years, you ignoramus.

This is another reason why the Left’s claims that “hate speech” shouldn’t be protected are so dangerous to our society: too many citizens of all political persuasions don’t understand what free speech is, and are too ignorant to know how to counter this threat to democracy

Let’s see: Griffin, her lawyer, the President and his punching-down tweet; Rosie O’Donnell, who announced that she had no sympathy for 11-year-old Barron Trump seeing photos of someone apparently holding up his father’s head, the mainstream media hypocrites who told audiences that Griffin’s “eliminationist rhetoric” wasn’t news or worth discussing, though a far less threatening image dominated their conversations for weeks when they tried to tie Sarah Palin’s metaphorical cross-hairs on a political race map to the madman who shot Rep. Giffords…I was wondering which organization would be the first on the Right to claim that what Griffin did warranted criminal punishment. The VFW would have been a good bet.

But wait! There’s more!... and I should have seen this one coming too. Progressive favorite Alec Baldwin, a habitual boor and Ethics Dunce, weighed- in in support of Griffin and her severed Trump head as only he can, tweeting,

“Dear Kathy Griffin, Kathy….baby…I’ve been there. The whole Henry Hyde thing [with] Conan, where we bring out an oxygen mask at the end? a joke. That’s what I thought. That’s what we intended. No one walked out of the studio and said, “No! We’re serious!” No one. But all your gutless, weasels in the GOP insisted that I actually threatened Hyde. They played the victim beautifully. Kathy…fuck them. Fuck them all. No 1 believes u meant 2 threaten Trump.Trump is such a senile idiot, all he has is Twitter fights. ignore him. Like the leaders of all the other countries in the world. Ignore him.”

Honestly, I do not understand how anyone can laugh at Baldwin knowing the anger, bitterness and nastiness that ooze out of every pore; it’s like finding Bill Cosby or Woody Allen funny. Yet that this guy passes for a wit, political pundit and truthteller by Hollywood progressive standards.

Dear Alec…
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The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 3)

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2014 Conflicts of Interest of the Year

  • Conflicted Elected Official: Philadelphia State Senator LeAnna Washington. This is always an entertaining category. Washington was convicted of using her tax-payer financed staff to organize a yearly campaign fundraiser around her birthday party. When one staffer complained that this was illegal, she reportedly replied, according to his grand jury testimony:

“I am the fucking senator, I do what the fuck I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me. I have been doing it like this for 17 years. So stop trying to change me.”

  • Conflicted Journalist: CNN sent Jay Carney, fresh off his assignment as President Obama’s official spokesman, defender and spinmeister, to cover his ex-boss’s speech.
  • Conflicted  “Non-partisan” Watchdog: CREW. The Center For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and its chief, Melanie Sloan, finally came clean (after falsely claiming non-profit status as a non-partisan organization for years) by making David Brock, head of the openly partisan, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Republican media watchdog Media Matters its Chairman of the Board, essentially merging the two groups.
  • Appearance of Impropriety Award: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La), Republican Whip. It is not certain yet whether Scalise knowingly spoke to a group of white supremacists in 20o2, inadvertently spoke to the group, or just spoke to another group meeting in the same venue before the David Duke-affiliated group of racists started comparing sheets. It isn’t even clear that Scalise knows, but everyone should agree that it looks awful no matter how you categorize it, making the fiasco a classic appearance of impropriety situation. If the Republicans were smart, they would dump him.

Unethical Attire of the Year

Offensive shirt

This.

Unethical Political Candidate of the Year

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, whose campaign materials were largely plagiarized from the materials other candidates.

Ethically Clueless Voters of the Year

New York’s 11th Congressional District, which contains Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. These alert and ethical citizens sent back to Washington thuggish and crooked Rep. Michael Grimm (R), then facing a 20-count indictment by federal authorities for fraud, federal tax evasion, and perjury, having earlier distinguished himself by threatening to kill a reporter and being recorded doing so.

  Unethical Advertising of the Year

Lawyer Division:

Public Service Announcement Division:

TV Program Division:

The Discovery Channel’s campaign for “Eaten Alive!” which did not, in fact, feature anyone being “eaten alive,” or at all.

Private Sector Product Division:

Halos. Or perhaps this is the Child Abuse Division:

Political Campaign Division:

Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Texas Governor, offered an ad attacking her wheelchair- bound opponent that 1) appealed to bias against the disabled 2) misrepresented the duties of a state attorney general 3) misrepresented the facts of the cases the ad referred to and  4)  deceived the public regarding the ethical duties of lawyers, which Davis, a lawyer, presumably understands. Continue reading

Hot Off The Presses! “Portrait Of An Ethics Dunce” By Alec Baldwin

CatLionMirrorThis isn’t the real title of Alec Baldwin’s epic orgy of narcissism  and self-pity in the latest New York Magazine; that would be “Good-bye, Public Life!” It is, however, the more accurate and descriptive title, and although it is annoying and occasionally colon-disturbing to be trapped in Baldwin’s mind for the ten minutes or so it might take to wade through this opus, I think it is well worth it. For Baldwin provides us all with a frightening case study of how self-absorption and arrogance precludes an ethical world view, and with it responsibility, accountability, fairness, empathy, respect, perspective, honesty...the works.

The essay is obviously intended to make Baldwin look as good as possible; its whole thesis is that he is maligned, misunderstood, the constant target of knaves and fools, and a victim of circumstance. Yet with every statement, he makes it brilliantly clear that it isn’t everyone else, but him. He is a juvenile, egomaniacal jerk. The evidence is right in front of his face, but he just can’t see it; he teems with hate for everyone else. Alec’s hit  list includes former employers, colleagues, companies and the United States of America. Here’s a partial list (I must have missed someone) of those Baldwin, while protesting what a great guy and how misunderstood he is, spits on in his farewell: Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, Harvey Levin, stage director Dan Sullivan, Shia LaBeouf , Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski., Rachel Maddow,  MSNBC producer Jonathan Larsen, MSNBC chief Phil Griffin , Capital One, AT&T, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York, Broadway, the Huffington Post, Kim Kardashian, Roger Ailes, Fox News, MSNBC, Breitbart, and both the liberal and conservative media.

If the point of the rant is to make us feel sorry for Baldwin, it works, at least for me. I feel sorry for anyone so socially inept and self-deluded that he can write what reads like a candid confession of a pathologically hostile and inconsiderate attitude toward the rest of mankind and think it is a persuasive defense of his actions and character. This is a man who called a male reporter a “toxic little queen” in a hateful twitter attack and says now that he didn’t realize that phrase might be considered offensive by gays. This is man who has had ugly public confrontations with reporters, photographers and flight attendants, and just can’t understand why people are giving him the cold shoulder, except that he is positive he doesn’t deserve it. They are throwing mud on him, he says:

“In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day. What’s the Boy Scout code? Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent. I might be all of those things, at certain moments. But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy. You’re that guy that says this.”

And to prove how unfair this is, Baldwin pour out his heart in this essay, which insults everyone he can think of.

You really owe it to yourself to read it all. It will take some tolerance and determination, but  “Good-bye, Public Life!”might constitute the most valuable public service Alec Baldwin has ever performed, until he actually keeps his promise for once (he has previously sworn that he was going to leave the country) and exits public life. I am certain that once finished, you will, as I did, say a little prayer that if your ethics alarms ever show signs of becoming this dysfunctional, someone will be kind enough to slap you silly, sit you down, and confront you with the harsh reality that you are becoming an insufferable asshole, and need to shape up quickly, lest you end up like poor Alec Baldwin, a deluded, incurable, Ethics Dunce.

Martin Bashir Resigns From MSNBC

You can read details here.

Well, It's about time.

Well, It’s about time.

It has been about two weeks since MSNBC talking head Martin Bashir said, on the air, not spontaneously but reading from a script, that Sarah Palin deserved to have someone shit in her mouth. I have previously commented on the incident and its aftermath here, here, here and here, which is more than Bashir is worth.

Briefly…

  • Bashir should have been fired. That would have asserted that MCNBC had standards of civility and professionalism. This suggests it has none, at least when a conservative is the one being abused on the air.
  • He should have been fired immediately. Late is sometimes better than never, but it is also significant when a network, faced with an employee who engages in objectively outrageous conduct that doesn’t merely cross the line, but pole vaults across it, appears to be pondering, as in, “Hmmmm. How bad is it, really, when a host suggests that someone hold down a former vice-presidential candidate and defecate in her mouth? Tough one! What’s your take, Lou?”
  • Bashir’s producer and editor should have been disciplined, if not fired as well.  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

Three Case Studies In Ethics Obtuseness: The Sheriff, His Victim, And The Hollywood Loudmouth

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These Ethics Dunces  don’t get it, and probably never will.

There is nothing quite as frustrating as the ethics offender who receives a clarion lesson in response to the wrongful conduct, and completely misses the point:

Case Study #1 : Alec Baldwin

The serial loudmouth actor, who alternates between banal progressive nostrums and outbreaks of public violence, verbal abuse and denigrating slurs, was inexplicably addressing a gathering of ServiceSource International Inc. employees in the aftermath of his suspension by MSNBC for calling a photographer a “cocksucking fag” and getting caught on video in the process (the network was trying to make sure the actor understood that it was harmful to have one of its show hosts denigrate a strong demographic slice of their viewing audience, and that in the future he should confine his outbreaks of vile language to calling for conservatives to be defecated in and upon). ServiceSource CEO Michael Smerklo, having already booked Baldwin, said that Baldwin’s  insult to  gays created  one of the toughest decisions in his career. Hmmm… pay Alec Baldwin lots of money to impart his wisdom to a tech firm’s employees, or spend the money on something more worthwhile, like, say Cheetos. Wow. What a quandary. And why did the CEO think that Baldwin’s wisdom was worth imparting? CBS says: Continue reading