Now THIS Is Disrespectful Courtroom Conduct!


“Come on, where’s your compassion? He’s just a mixed-up kid!”

TJ Lane, who pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of three Ohio high school students, appeared in court for sentencing wearing a T-shirt with the word “killer” written on it in black marker,the same message that he had on the T-shirt he wore while shooting three studentsteens in the cafeteria at Chardon High School. Lane also charmed the judge before sentencing with a “vile and unprintable” courtroom description about what he did to himself while recalling his killing spree, raised a middle finger to the assembled and said, “Fuck all of you!”

The judge sentenced Lane to three life sentences without parole.

And should we extend this obviously troubled and confusedyoung man our sympathy, our pity, our compassion? Should we be on the watch for when he repents, shows remorse, indicates contrition, and seeks that “second chance” that all Americans, indeed all human beings, deserve, with our hearts and arms ready to receive him back into civilized society?



And You Thought Natalie Munroe Was An Unethical Teacher…Well, Meet Jeremy Hollinger

Jeremy Hollinger, showing his compassion for his students' struggles

Remember Natalie Munroe, the teacher who blogged about how much she detested her high school students, calling them names like “rat-boy” and “jerkoff”? What, you may ask, could be more destructive to the necessary trust between teacher and student, or parents and the teacher to whom they entrust their student’s education, short of actual abuse?

How about a teacher ridiculing his grade school special ed students?

Believe it or not, that’s what Jeremy Hollinger, a Mobile (Ala.)County Public School teacher who handles a second grade special education class at the Eichold-Mertz Elementary School did on his Facebook page. (In news reports, that’s what he “allegedly” did, or “is accused of” doing. In fact, all the evidence is public, it is clear and unambiguous, and the bottom line is, he did it.) Most spectacularly, Hollinger posted a mocking picture of himself wearing a seizure helmet and making a goofy face. Among his charming jibes at the young and challenged children in his class were such satirical comments on their behavior as “I guess crayons are on the menu” and “Why is there shit on the floor?” Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Teacher Natalie Munroe

This isn't Natalie...just on the inside.

Teacher Natalie Munroe was suspended from her job at a Philadelphia-area high school after her online rants about her students, co-workers and administrators were found, read, and distributed by some students and parents.

Munroe, however, neither had the common sense or the understanding of her obligations as a professional to apologize, and has decided to be defiant instead. She pulled down the offending blog posts and is now defending herself, arguing (naturally) that her First Amendment rights have been violated (yawn!), that her comments were “taken out of context” (an old stand-by), that her insulting opinions about her school duties were but a small proportion of what she posted (and, she might have mentioned with the same rapier logic, an extremely small percentage of her total communications output since birth, and an infinitesimal percentage of all the words uttered by homo sapiens since the Stone Age ) and most of all, that what she said about her Central Bucks East High School students, none of whom were mentioned by name, was all true.

You can read her self-absorbed excuse-making here, if you have a high boredom and annoyance threshold. Or you can read one of the blog posts that got her suspended, in which she confesses how she would like to describe her various students to their parents, listing, among other descriptions… Continue reading

Omnibus Spending Bill Ethics

One silver lining in the despicable, 2000 page omnibus spending bill unveiled by Senate Democrats is that Republicans also have their grubby fingerprints all over it, so even though the bill lumps together a huge and expensive mess of pet Democratic projects, the richly deserved attacks on the monstrosity cannot be easily derided as “partisan.” Another is that it should put to bed forever the revolting slander that  the Tea Party movement was motivated by racism when it proclaimed that it wanted its country back. If there was ever a democratic institution that demonstrated utter contempt for the public, its legitimate and fervently expressed concerns, and the obligation of responsible government, the 2010 Lame Duck Congress is it. Continue reading

The Depressing Rangel Censure: Unethical Culture on Display


It takes quite a bit of doing for the public punishment of a revered figure for unethical conduct to make an institution appear more unethical itself, but the U.S. House of Representatives was up to the challenge yesterday.

As expected, Rep. Charlie Rangel, former ly the powerful Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, received a censure by majority vote, the harshest punishment a Member can receive short of expulsion. Rangel had been found guilty of five major ethical violations, or as they should properly be called, five instances of ongoing egregious unethical conduct. Charley and friends like to say “ethical violations” because that can be spun into mere carelessness, like not putting enough money on the meter. From the beginning, Rangel’s line has been that he made “mistakes,” suggesting they were either accidental or that he didn’t realize they were unethical. Think about that as you review the five: Continue reading

Celebrity Ethics: Rihanna’s “Fuck You” Necklace

Pop star Rihanna is getting media flack for being photographed with a group of young children while wearing a necklace with a design that spells out “Fuck You.” “We know she probably wasn’t anticipating being bombarded by a bunch kids and shit, but damn, she could’ve tucked that joint in before agreeing to take photos with the little crumbsnatchers,” opines the classy gossip site Bossip, for example. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Geraldo Rivera

Geraldo Rivera has declared that Rolling Stone Magazine is a journalistic miscreant for not treating comments that weren’t expressly “on the record” as “off the record,” and reporting the derogatory comments of now-deposed Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff regarding  President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and others.  The upcoming article’s contents, he reasons, do no good and much bad, and are irresponsible…”a terrible thing.”

Some news media reporting in times of war are indeed irresponsible and unethical, as when the New York Times has published the details of intelligence operations. This is not such a case. Continue reading