Tag Archives: cruelty

A Hopeful Ethics Note


Here’s at least one example of the culture getting more ethical. It might not seem like much, but ask a Jack Russell Terrier, and you’ll understand.

Gradually, dog owners and breeders are stopping the practice of docking—that is, cutting—the ears and tails of puppies so they conform to arbitrary breed standards. The reason is simple: it is cruel and pointless, and the dogs look just as good, indeed better, the natural way.

I first noticed this trend years ago when I saw this breed at a dog show:


I had no idea what it was. I asked, was told it was a natural example of the breed I was used to seeing this way…


Yes, it’s a Great Dane. In recent years, fewer and fewer owners are opting for the ear operation, allowing the breed to keep the ears that reflect its English Mastiff ancestry.

This beautiful, loving, smart breed dog usually has both its tale and its ears cropped, the tail down to a nub:

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Filed under Animals, U.S. Society

Unethical Donald Trump Quote Of The Day


“Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before…”

—-Donald Trump,  responding to the most recent accusations of sexual assault, in this case from Jessica Drake, a porn star who became the 11th woman to claim Trump assaulted her in a press conference over the weekend.

I suspended the Ethics Alarms Unethical Donald Trump Quote of the Day, or UDTQOTD,  feature a couple of months ago when I realized that pretty soon there would be no room for anything else. This one, however, is special, and can’t be ignored. It perfectly encompasses so much of what is fatally wrong with Trump, his character and his campaign.

Here and elsewhere, desperate Trump rationalizers have defended voting for him over the horrible  Hillary Clinton by reducing his abundant deficits of character to a couple of adjectives, essentially representing him as acceptable by strategic omission. As I recently replied in part to a commenter who argued that Trump may be “narcissitic and crude” but...gotta love that equivocal “may”:

“And no, you cannot get away with “narcissistic and crude” here. …Take out crude and narcissistic, and that still leaves ignorant, lazy, corrupt, arrogant, a fantasist, a liar, a misogynist, a fool, a political incompetent, a terrible delegater, a poor judge of character, lacking in any relevant experience, literally unable to comprehend what ethical conduct is, governed wholly by rationalizations, unaccountable, feckless, incompetent, cruel, mean-spirited, devoid of common sense, self-control, prudence, compassion and decency, and, on top of all of that, inarticulate and dumb as a brick. No responsible voter can risk making such an individual President, and doing so is indefensible.

Let’s see…18, 19, 20…today’s quote embodies 21 of the characteristics on that impromptu list, and in only seven words, which is impressive. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics

Meet Crenshanda Williams, The 911 Operator Who Hangs Up On Callers When She Just Doesn’t Feel Like Talking To People


After reading about Crenshanda Williams, I’ve been pondering what would constitute a worse match of temperament, attitude, competence and basic job responsibilities. It will be hard to top her. A Houston 911 call center operator, Crenshanda is now under arrest, but not before she hung up on thousands of emergency callers mid emergency.

On one call, she hung up on the caller mid-sentence, saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.”  That occurred  as a driver attempted to report trucks racing on the highway. The citizen identified himself when Williams picked up his call and began telling her, “I’m driving 45 South right now and right now, I am at …”

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society, Workplace

Judicial Ethics Quiz: The Cranky Judge

Judge Clarke (L) and artist's representation (R)

Judge Clarke (L) and artist’s representation (R)

A three-judge panel in California found misconduct in Judge Edmund Clarke, Jr’s treatment of one or more jurors in a jury pool for a murder trial.

Your challengeGuess which of the incidents was found to be an abuse of judicial power and authority.

A. Judge Clarke also told a potential juror who wrote that she had only $25 in her checking account that “every one of these lawyers spent more than that on lunch today.” He excused the juror, and after she left, Clarke told everyone in the courtroom how much the juror had in her account. When a second potential juror disclosed he had only $33 in his checking account, Clarke again announced the amount and said that his savings put the other juror “in the shade with that big account.”

B. Judge Clarke reduced another juror to tears reprimanding her after she appeared to change a form to indicate that she did not speak English, which he found incredible. She said  had lived in the United States for 25 years. Clarke said,

“Most people that have been in this country for 10 years have picked up enough English. [Twenty] or so, they’re moving right along. And 25 years is—so you better have a different reason why you want to be excused than that.” 

After she began weeping loudly because, she said later, she was ashamed because she didn’t speak English, he dismissed her from the panel.

C. Finally, Judge Clarke became annoyed at a juror who had written on her hardship form, “Having Severe Anxiety!!” next to her drawing of a frowny  face. “I work as a waitress and make minimum wages, plus I’m planning a wedding in two months and all of these things, especially this courthouse are aggravating my anxiety terribly. On the verge of a meltdown!” Clarke  excused her from jury duty,  but when she added that the clerk who was checking in potential jurors was “really disrespectful” to everyone, he  told the woman that she could stay in the hallway and tell him more at the end of the day. When the dismissed juror insisted that she had to leave, he said,

“No, you’re staying. You’re staying You’re staying on. I’ve been a judge for seven years. No one’s ever complained about my clerk. But I’ll be happy to hear your complaint at the end of the day. So go to the hall and stay and come in, act like an adult and you can face her and tell me everything she did wrong.”

The woman did as she was ordered and apologized to Clarke after waiting for an hour court to be adjourned. The judge  asked her how she would have felt if he came to the restaurant where she worked and criticized her in front of everyone, saying, 

“If you came here thinking that this was going to be Disneyland and you were getting an E Ticket and have good time, I’m afraid you have no sense of what is going on in this building. Now, seven years ago the first clerk that was assigned to me, she’s still here. The only clerk I’ve ever had. One juror, in all that time, out of thousands, has ever complained about her. That’s you. You can leave now knowing that’s what you accomplished.”

D. All of the above.

Take the poll, and then go to the answers after the jump.

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Quizzes

Ethics Dunce: Northern Michigan University

"...but just shut the hell up abut it, or we'll have to suspend you.  Love, The Administration"

“…but just shut the hell up about it, or we’ll have to suspend you.
Love, The Administration”

Episodes like this, coming out of the wreckage we call higher education, raise at least three troubling questions:

1. If universities are this ignorant of the principle of free speech, why is anyone surprised that our younger generations are so willing to sacrifice it for political ends?

2. How can institutions run by administrators this immune to basic ethical decision-making reasoning be trusted to competently educate their students?

3. How many equally outrageous policies do schools inflict on their students that we don’t hear about?

Northern Michigan University installed threatens students with discipline if they share suicidal thoughts with other students.

FIRE, as usual, is on the case, and has written to the school to explain to them why this is abusive and a flagrant First Amendment violation. One student who had received a warning about her discussing about her suicidal feelings with her friends on campus, and was told not to have such conversations. She asked for clarification from Associate Dean of Students Mary Brundage, writing,

Just to clarify, the email said that if I spoke to students about it that it would create a distraction—which could create disciplinary action against me. . . . I was also wondering if I respond to concerned people, is that enough to get me in trouble? I do not want to worry others by not responding and I do not want to have the possibility of getting expelled by reaching out to my friends during this emotionally trying time and I see the possibility of misunderstanding or getting more concerned.

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Health and Medicine, Rights

Ethics Villain: No, Not Bloodthirsty 12-Year-Old Aryanna Gourdin, But Eli Gourdin, Her Irresponsible Father


Aryanna Gourdin, 12, from the town of Cove, Utah, has attracted death threats on Facebook because of her page called “Braids and Bows,” an enthusiastic pro-hunting, pro-big game killing exposition featuring photos of the girl with recent victims and her enthusiastic prose about the joys of the kill.

She’s twelve. Her father (he apparently has sole custody) is the adult hunting fanatic in the family, and he has, as parents often do, passed along his dubious values to his daughter. He either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that while many people object to photos of mature hunters posing with magnificent creatures that have been slaughtered for sport, many more find images of angelic pre-teens beaming while holding the heart of a recently killed giraffe grotesque and sickening…as indeed it is. All manner of internet hate is being focused on  Eli Gourdin’s daughter, while he casually allows her to become a target.

Her notoriety and the controversy stirred up by photos like this..

Zebra kill

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Filed under Animals, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Facebook

Ethics Observations On The Naked Trump Statues

Naked Trump

Last week, five identical statues of a grossly caricatured nude Donald Trump  appeared overnight on street corners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, and New York City.  The Washington Post reported that the anarchist collective INDECLINE made and placed the statues. It called the  project “The Emperor Has No Balls.” Indeed, the otherwise anatomically correct statues showed the Trump effigy missing those particular features, though not bright yellow pubic hair. If you really want to see these assaults on your consciousness and sanity, go here.

I advise against it.

Ethics Observations: Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, U.S. Society