Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/28/19: Ethics Avalanche!

ARRGH!!!

Too many festering ethics issues to cover in as much detail as they deserve…

1. The deterioration of the New York Times, and with it respectable print journalism, continues. Over the weekend, the Times published a very large, front page diagram showing the President in the middle of a circle of indicted aides, advisers and others with some connection to his campaign. (I’m looking at it right now; I can’t find a version on the web to post.) It belongs in the Guilt by Association Hall of  Shame, and some other shameful halls as well. Literally none of the indictments involve any campaign activities by Trump or his campaign that would constitute illicit cooperation with Russia to affect the 2016 election—you know, the supposed point of having a Special Counsel. The bulk are so-called “process” violations, which means that the individuals lied in some aspect of the investigation, and was charged to pressure him to “flip” on the President.The one individual whose charges are linked to Trump is Michael Cohen, whose actual crimes had nothing to do with Trump, and whose alleged crime involving Trump–paying off an adulterous sex partner to keep quiet—is probably not a crime at all, even though Cohen pleaded guilty to it to save his skin.. The graphic proves nothing and clarifies nothing. It is just raw meat for Trump-haters, asserting guilt without substance. Similar circles could be assembled around many, many national figures and politicians (Bill Clinton comes to mind, and Barack Obama), especially following two years of targeting their associates.

2. Ann Althouse vivisects Tom Brokaw.  Just go to this link and read Ann’s expert commentary on Tom Brokaw’s bizarre turn on “Meet the Press,” and the even more bizarre tweets he issued to apologize to the social media mob for opining that “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation.” (Hispanics assimilate just fine, especially when they are here legally.)

Yes, poor Tom really did tweet, ” my tweet portal is whack i hv been trying to say i am sorry i offended and i so appreciate my colleague.” 

3. This would be an unethical quote of the day except that CNN fake media ethics watchdog Brian Stelter says and writes unethical things so often that it is no longer worth highlighting. Stelter re-tweeted with favor this quote from a panelist on his show as they discussed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex:

“She’s got a target on her back because she ticks every box that makes conservative men uncomfortable.”

Of course, this is pure race- and gender-baiting, the progressive and media reflex response to any criticism of female or minority Democrats, and insulting to women and progressive men as well. I assume many of the latter—the smart ones, anyway—are also made “uncomfortable” by arrogant, ignorant, under-qualified, anti-Semitic, Socialist naifs who garner a disproportionate amount of publicity while advocating absurd and irresponsible policies. A member of Congress who blathers like AOC would be like fingernails on a blackboard if she were a midde-aged he of Nordic descent.

Boy, Stelter is terrible. I hereby apologize to Howard Kurtz for being so hard on him when he had Stelter’s job. Compared to Stelter, Howard is me. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/25/2018: Parlor Games! [UPDATED]

Good Morning!

I know that’s a photo from last night’s Red Sox World Series victory, but thinking about this catch by Andrew Benintendi it has certainly brightened MY morning…

(Psst! Joe, you idiot: George Wallace was crippled for life by an attempted assassination.) Said Joe Biden at a political rally two days ago, “This president is more like George Wallace than George Washington!” Long before Trump came along, Joe told African Americans that Mitt Romney would but them back in chains. I know it’s unfair to focus on Simple Joe (or Hillary, or Maxine, or Elizabeth, or Nancy, or Keith…) to characterize Democrats, but according to polls, this guy is currently the party front-runner for the Presidential nomination. [Pointer: Ann Althouse, who rejoined, “Because he doesn’t own slaves?”] Joe really is a boob, but he makes for good parlor games. My favorite comments in the Althouse thread…

“He’s more like George Washington…they both got elected president.”

“Trump is more like Elizabeth Warren because they’re both not Indians.”

“Because he doesn’t own slaves?” No, because he worries about black unemployment. Washington never worried about that.

“Because Wallace was a Democrat, like Trump was his whole life until 15 minutes before he ran for president?”

2. Fake News. New York Times headline:Pipe Bombs Sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN Offices.”

How much more dishonest can a single headline be? There were no “pipe bombs,” but hoax bombs, and the hoax bomb sent to “CNN offices” was addressed to John Brennan. The headline deceitfully aims to suggest that the target was the news media.

3. I figured this out when I was 17 years old. A new book called The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing, by Merve Emre, (Doubleday, 336 pages, $27.95) explains that the iconic personality test is junk science. I first took the test in high school, when my parents paid a psychologist to advise me where to apply to college. He complained that the battery of tests I took had contradictory results. Yes, that would be because it was so obvious how to manipulate them, and also how insulting they were, since any fool could see the little pigeon holes the tests were trying to stuff you into. Essentially, the test was designed to create bias on the part of employers. Writes Reason,

“This book is a useful study of how a dubious idea can gain traction if it arrives at the right time.”

There’s another parlor game: which dubious ideas are gaining traction now, supported by junk science, junk research, or false assumptions? Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Never Mind Breastfeeding In Church, What About Gus the Asparagus Man?

If churchgoers’ sensibilities regarding mothers breastfeeding during a religious service are worthy of respect and deference, what about their sensibilities regarding people dressed like vegetables?

This past Sunday, England’s Worcester Cathedral  kicked off the region’s annual Asparagus Festival with a unique ceremonial blessing. A man in a suit and tie carried a bundle of the vegetable to the front of the church, followed by a man costumed as a spear of asparagus (Gus the Asparagus Man) and someone costumed as St. George, shield and all. The cathedral’s Precentor then blessed the crop.

Many churchgoers were offended. “This is an absurd pantomime-type scene that makes a mockery of Christian worship,” said one.  A popular religious blogger asked, “Where’s the sprout liturgy, or equality for mushrooms? Would the Dean really permit a walking fungus to participate in an act of divine worship?”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is..

Was it unethical for the Church of England to present such a whimsical service to its unsuspecting members?

The values to consider here are trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.

What do you think?

________________________

Pointer: Fred

Unethical? Criminal? Stupid? Careless? What The Heck IS This?

Headline:

QUICK! Someone punch it!

QUICK! Someone punch it!

Shopper arrested for punching newborn baby after ‘mistaking her for toy doll’

Well that’s certainly understandable and..wait, WHAT?

In England, Amy Duckers was shopping at a supermarket with her five-day-old daughter in a baby carriage. She was approached by a 63-year-old man who overheard family friends saying, “Come and have a look at this beautiful baby.” The man suddenly punched the baby in the head,  then reacted in horror when the infant burst into tears. He told police that he thought the baby was a toy, and not alive.

Oh! That explains it, then. Everyone punches dolls belonging to strangers in the face. It’s a mistake anyone could make!

The infant is recovering, but I may not. I can’t get my mind around this crazy incident. If he really thought the baby was a doll, you can’t properly charge him with a crime, but how would you categorize what he did? It’s obviously unethical—he has no right to handle someone else’s doll—but how much leeway do we give idiots or crazies, when their handicap causes them to do something like this?

The guy has been arrested, and it will be interesting to see what he’s charged with, and how the system deals with him. I assume that he will be observed for mental health issues. If he’s not, and they release him with a pat on the back and a “next time, make sure it’s a doll before you punch it,” I’m going to be very upset.

“Oops!” Most Ridiculous Lie Of The Year: Saudi Mega-Millionaire Ehsan Abdulaziz

Saudi rapeOh, I can’t let this one pass.

Saudi Ehsan Abdulaziz was just tried on a rape charge in London. The alleged victim, an 18 year-old woman, says that she woke up to find him having sex with her. Supporting her accusation, traces of his semen were found in her vagina.

But wait! He can explain!

Abdulaziz says he met two women at a West End  nightclub and took them both to his room,  where they continued to drink. He had sex with one of the women; the other, the eventual accuser, fell asleep on the couch. Abdulaziz testified that he went into the room to see if  she needed anything and she drunkenly pulled at him. He lost his balance and fell on her. His penis accidentally slipped into her, he guesses, and the semen found in the woman’s vagina  must have been a left-over from the earlier sex with her friend.  “I’m fragile, I fell down,” he told the jury, “but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl.”

The jury acquitted him in 30 minutes.

 

Ethics Heroes: The Community of Middlesborough, England.

COX_funeral_3524163b

Thomas Cox, a British World War Two vet who served in the Royal Pioneer Corps, died at the age of 90 with no known surviving relatives.

Hoping to give Cox the final salute he deserved, the Royal Pioneer Corps Association  posted an appeal on its Facebook page asking for people to attend his funeral. The plea was shared among veteran groups, military groups and others, and when the day came, hundreds of strangers to Cox were on hand to say farewell and thanks to the old soldier. Many of the mourners at the service in Middelborough, Teaside sent flowers and wreaths as well.

They didn’t do this for the family, for there was none, and Cox was beyond caring. They came out of respect for a generation, a pivotal moment in human history, and to assert that we are all part of a larger family, though we usually don’t behave that way.

There’s not a lot more to say, is there?

Mission accomplished.