Sunday Ethics Shots, 7/11/2021: A Rescue, Larry Vaughn In Tokyo, Joe Trippi Trips, And “La Bamba” Meets Calvinball

Alexander Hamilton died on this date in 1804, in a bizarre episode in U.S. history with profound ethical and political implications. There Aaron Burr fatally shot dead the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury and essential political thinker in an illegal duel at Weehawken, New Jersey. It was, of course, unethical to break the law, especially for these two men, who qualified as national leaders. Hamilton’s son had died defending his father’s honor in 1801 at the exact same spot (What was Alexander thinking?)

According to Hamilton’s “second,” Hamilton deliberately fired his weapon into the air rather than at Burr, a gentlemanly gesture and also a profoundly stupid one, if Hamilton believed half the things he had said and written about Burr’s character for years. This was why they were dueling, after all. Burr’s second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed, and the more I’ve thought abut this, the more I’ve come to believe that this is the more likely scenario. Hamilton was anything but naive, reckless or stupid. Yes, he was a crack shot, but anyone can miss. Even if the gesture of “throwing away his shot” as “Hamilton” puts it, would have impressed some adversaries and been seen as a display of mercy and an offer of reconciliation, it made no sense at all with this adversary. Moreover, Hamilton considered Burr a threat to the nation—he was right about that—why wouldn’t he shoot him? Whatever really happened, Burr, who had the second shot, killed Hamilton with a ball that went through his stomach into his spine. Hamilton died the next day.

This ended Burr’s political career: Would killing Burr have ended Hamilton’s? Probably, but Burr was the one who had issued the challenge. Maybe Hamilton would have been excused by the public. Maybe he would have ultimately become President; all the Founders of his magnitude except Ben Franklin did. For good or ill, Alexander Hamilton would have been a strong and probably transformative leader. But if he hadn’t died at Weehawken, it’s unlikely that we would have “Hamilton” the musical….

1. Baseball, hotdogs, and a bystander hero. Dr. Willie Ross, the father of Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, saved the life of a choking fan midway through yesterday 10-4 Giants win over Washington at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Ross saw that a female spectator was choking, and when Ross came over to her seat to check on her, she couldn’t talk. Ross helped dislodge two pieces of a hot dog by using the Heimlich maneuver, then reached into her throat to take out the third and final piece. The woman, who is a nurse, could breath and speak at last. Ross received a standing ovation from nearby fans.

Continue reading

“Systemic Racism” Update

I need a graphic for “The Great Stupid,” but until I get one, that clip above from Ed Wood’s masterpiece, “Plan Nine From Outer Space,” will have to do. I have to check back and find out which generous reader sent me this after I asked if there was a “Stupid, stupid!” equivalent of the “Madness! Madness!” clip from “Bridge Over The River Kwai.” That’s the immortal Dudley Manlove uttering those words, by the way. And that was his real name!

Update: Commenter Wallphone found the “Plan Nine” clip, and has my enduring gratitude.

Here are some especially annoying recent developments on the incoherent “systemic racism” front.

1. Philonase Floyd, the brother of the late, great,George Floyd, said, following the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, “I just want to reiterate: not just black lives matter, all lives matter.” Strangely, he was not immediately condemned as a racist or racially insensitive and forced to apologize like so many others who were hounded mercilessly for saying “all lives matter.” Of course, the explanation is that Floyd’s skin shade gives him license to say “all lives matter.”

I only want to know the rules, that’s all. That seems like a reasonable request. But the systemic racism scam is truly Calvinball.The rules are made up and changed according to whatever is expedient at the time. Incidentally, there is a politician named Calvin Ball who is the county executive of Howard County, Maryland. Guess his party and race. [Hint: He’s allowed to say “All lives matter.”]

2. There has to be some designation for the cowards and enablers of rising totalitarianism that accurately describes sniveling traitors to democracy like Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, the directors of Capitol Hill Pride in Seattle. I was considering the “Winston Smith Award,” but that seems unfair to Orwell’s tragic hero.

The two sent a letter to the Seattle Human Rights Commission that said,

“It has come to our attention that an event called ‘Take B(l)ack Pride’ at the Jimi Hendrix public park June 26th is charging Whites only admission as reparations. We consider this reverse discrimination in its worse form and we feel we are being attacked for not supporting due to disparaging and hostile e-mails. We will never charge admission over the color of a person’s skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values.”

Continue reading

“White Lives Matter” Is Racist, Black Lives Matter Is Benign” You Say? Prove It.

I know this is “It’s okay to be white” all over again, but its still amazing that anyone can argue that “Black Lives Matter” is a benign motto, but that clever line, “All Lives Matter” or now, “White Lives Matter” is a racist expression and look at themselves in the mirror afterwards and not blush.

Someone painted “White Lives Matter” on Kent State University’s “front-campus rock,” where students traditionally paint graffiti. It was immediately condemned as a “direct threat” to black students. Kent State President Todd Diacon issued a statement claiming  the incident (together with some recent police-involved deaths of blacks, most of which have not been credibly attributed to racism)  “serve as glaring evidence that this university and our country need to do better when addressing racism and violence against Black Americans.” He also said the university would establish an Anti-Racism Task Force which will “explore all facets of racism at Kent State.” Continue reading