Oh, Fine…Now I have To Defend George Santos

It isn’t as if there aren’t more than enough legitimate accusations one can make against Rep. George Santos, the phony, lying, none-too-bright Republican from  New York who somehow faked his way into Congress Nonetheless, the Republican-hating news media still has to manufacture absurd accusations against this jerk  to demonize the whole party, to wit: Based on the instant captured in the photo above, we were told…

  • “In a now-viral photo, Santos is shown with his fingers forming an OK gesture, a symbol that the Anti-Defamation League calls a sincere expression of white supremacy.”[Vanity Fair]
  • “Embattled Republican congressman George Santos faced criticism after he appeared to flash a white supremacist symbol while casting his vote on the House floor.” [Pink News]
  • “Incoming Rep. George Santos appeared to flash a widely known white supremacist hand sign on the floor of the U.S. House on Thursday evening, according to images captured by photojournalists.” [Newsday]
  • “Newly elected freshman Rep. George Santos (R-NY) makes White power gesture as he casts his vote for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.” [Intellectualist]
  • “While raising his right hand to signal his vote in support of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for House Speaker on Thursday, Santos made an “OK” hand gesture with his left hand.It’s unclear why Santos made the gesture, but some right-wing trolls have increasingly used the “OK” symbol as a way to signal support for white supremacy…” [MSN]

And so on.  All completely unfair and contrived, as this video shows: Continue reading

An Ethics Incompleteness Principle Challenge: The Mutant Kid

Jeremiah Johnson, a 12-year-old running back from Fort Worth, Texas, is already 5-foot-11 and weighs 198 pounds. He has facial hair (the tattoo is fake—he just wanted to look older), and all of his photos look photoshopped, but that’s a real child in that picture.

Dallas Dragons Elite Academy (DEA) team won the 2022 Youth National Championships in Miami—big surprise there—and he was selected as the Most Valuable Player in the division, which is even less of a surprise.

The ethics conundrum is: what do you do about a mutant like Jeremiah?

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Ethics Quiz Of The Day: “Gotcha!” Or “Benefit Of The Doubt”?

That’s yesterday’s Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle, titled “Some Theme’s Missing,”, above. Does the pattern of the letter squares remind you of anything? Given that December 18 is the first night of Hanukkah, many found the resemblance of the puzzle to a Nazi swastika…disturbing. Sinister even.

Republicans pounced. New York Times-haters pounced. Donald Trump Jr. pounced, on Twitter. Israel’s Israel National News thought it notable that the swastika crossword was published following what it deemed an anti-Semitic op-ed by the Times the day before, warning that Benjamin “Netanyahu’s government…is a significant threat to the future of Israel — its direction, its security and even the idea of a Jewish homeland.”

The publication also posted a poll asking readers if the puzzle’s design was “intentional Nazi imagery or an unfortunate coincidence?” Of the 440 votes, nearly 85% deemed the symbol to be deliberate.

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Ethics Quiz: The Cartoonist’s Regret

                                        Hell’s video store

Sometimes Ethics Alarms is on these matters quicker than anyone; sometimes it takes a while. Two years ago, retired “Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson confessed that the above cartoon was the only one he could think of at the moment that he felt he should apologize for. He wrote,

Ace Ethics Alarms commenter JutGory alerted me to Larson’s lament, which had been recalled in this recent post on the site “Screen Rant.” I tended to find that the cartoonist’s apology reflected well on his  ethics alarms, as did the Screen Rant pundit, who wrote,

In the end, he put his ego aside and admitted he unfairly judged the movie and criticized it without ever seeing it. The Far Side creator sharing his mistake shows that even the most talented and self-aware cartoonists can accidentally cross a line without initially realizing it. Thankfully, after seeing the movie for himself, Gary Larson understood an apology was warranted for the Far Side comic.

Jut, however, has a different take. He wrote,

It was a joke that landed well because of popular sentiment at the time it was made. Thinking about it another way, what if he saw Ishtar at the time and liked it?  He could still make the same joke because it would resonate with the public.  It would still be funny. I guess the real question is whether comics are bound by the same rules as a critic.  A critic should know what it is criticizing.  A comic is going for a laugh.  And, to the extent it was an “unfair” joke (I am not sure it is, as the movie had a widely-known bad reputation), is an apology necessary.  Most jokes are “unfair” to some extent.  But, does that, in itself, require an apology.  From a critic, yes; from a comic, no.

Ooooo, I think I may have to agree with Jut.


Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Does Gary Larson have anything to apologize for?

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Ethics Quiz: When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring And You’re A Drunk College Senior

Sophia Rosing, 22, a University of Kentucky student, was drunk. Really drunk; drunl as a skunk, as the saying goes. As she tumbled into a campus dorm lobby, the student at the front desk, Kylah Spring, tried to stop her, because Rosing had not presented her ID. The besotted senior launched into tirade against Spring, physically attacking the young black woman while calling her a “bitch” and a “nigger,” the latter over 200 times.

When campus security arrived, Rosing kicked and bit the officers as they tried to place her under arrest. University Police were finally able to take Rosing into custody just before 4am. She was charged with public intoxication, assault and disorderly conduct.

The incident was, of course, videoed and posted on social media. Rosing is out on bail, but she will certainly face criminal penalties.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is….

Beyond the criminal penalties, what are fair, just and ethical consequences for Sophia Rosing now?

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Judge Ho Strikes Again! Is His Yale Law School Ban Unfair Discrimination Or Justly Utilitarian?

I could have easily made Judge James Ho of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals an Ethics Hero for the second time in 2022, and maybe I should. (The first time was in February, when he tossed his planned speech at Georgetown University Law Center to chastise the school for its treatment of Professor Illya Shapiro, who dared to utter an opinion that was insufficiently supportive of “diversity” as greater value to the Supreme Court than actual legal acumen. This time his principled stand has more metaphorical teeth, but we should at least consider its ethical validity.

In Judge Ho’s keynote address to the Kentucky Chapters Conference of the Federalist Society—you know, the fascists—- the judge deplored speakers being shouted down and censored at law schools across the country. Then, after singling out Yale Law School as being particularly hostile to non-compliant viewpoints and determined to engage in ideological indoctrination rather than legal education, he announced that he would no longer be hiring law clerks with Yale Law degrees, saying, “Starting today, I will no longer hire law clerks from Yale Law School. And I hope that other judges will join me as well. I certainly reserve the right to add other schools in the future. But my sincere hope is that I won’t have to.” Continue reading

Baseball Ethics: Let Aaron Judge Hit! [Updated!]

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 60th home this season last week. Now Judge leads the majors in home runs, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, WAR and several other statistical categories. Judge is hitting .316/.419/.703  with 60 home runs, 128 RBI, 123 runs, 16 stolen bases and 9.7 WAR (that’s “wins above a replacement player”). The 60 homers tie him with Babe Ruth for the long-standing so-called “154 game season record,” and put him one behind Roger Maris for the American League season record for homers, 61 (set by Maris in ’61, and celebrated in Billy Crystal’s excellent film, “61”).

61 represents another landmark, though, a more important one. It is the most home runs hit by a Major League Player who was not jacked-up on steroids. The list ahead of Maris reads, Continue reading

“Attention Must Be Paid”: The Vanishing BYU Racial Slur Saga [Updated]

Ethics Alarms mentioned this nauseating but significant story briefly last week, here. Obviously it warrants more consideration, depressing though the conclusions might be.

At an August 26 volleyball match, match on Aug. 26, Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson’s claimed that she and her African American team mates targeted with repeated racial slurs from a crowd of more than 5,500 people the the Brigham Young University arena in Provo, Utah.  Richardson’s  godmother, Lesa Pamplin, was not at the match but still told the media that someone yelled “nigger” every single time Rachel was serving. Her father, Marvin Richardson, told The New York Times that the slur was repeatedly yelled from the stands at his daughter.

Well, they said it happened, so it must be true.

Moving with unseemly speed, BYU authorities fingered a fan pointed out by Richardson as the racist culprit and announced that he would be banned from Cougars’ sporting events evermore. Duke’s athletics director Nina King quickly said that her players “should always have the opportunity to compete in an inclusive, anti-racist environment which promotes equality and fair play.” University of South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, racing to grandstand, canceled all her team’s games against BYU, since its fans are obviously racists.

“I’m disgusted that this behavior is happening and deeply saddened if others didn’t step up to stop it,” Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox tweeted on August 27 without know what happened. “As a society we have to do more to create an atmosphere where racist assholes like this never feel comfortable attacking others. ESPN resident race-baiter Stephen Smith was in high dudgeon. “I’m saying BYU- you did it!” Smith said on the air. “By allowing this to happen and not addressing expeditiously, not addressing it with a level of quickness and speed that you should’ve addressed this with.”

They banned the alleged racist before the game was over—how much faster could BYU have been?

Mike Freeman, the race and inequality editor for the sports section at USA Today, wrote a column on August 27 in which he called Richardson a “hero” and demanded an investigation. “What needs to happen next is a full investigation by BYU. If the school simply tries to move on with nothing but a statement that simply isn’t acceptable,” he wrote. “They need to interview players and coaches and the question consistently needs to be asked: why wasn’t the game stopped?”

Oopsie! They had the investigation, and found no evidence whatsoever that anyone was shouting racial slurs in the stands. Video showed that the fan BYU banned wasn’t shouting anything when Richardson was serving. Gee, the school said, we’re sorry for calling you a racist! Come back and cheer for us any time!

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Ethics Observations On Gallup’s U.S. “Moral Values” Poll

Gallup released a depressing poll last week that it headlined, “Record-High 50% of Americans Rate U.S. Moral Values as ‘Poor.'” Like many Gallup polls, but perhaps more than most, this one suffered badly from a failure a define terms and to ensure that respondents were basing their judgments on the same understanding of “values.” Using the term “moral” rather than “ethical” to define values is a crippling error: it automatically directs attention to religion. This, in turn, probably explains this chart…

…in which twice as many Republicans as Democrats rate the state of “moral values” as “poor.” About twice as many Republicans and Democrats are religious: the result was preordained. Morality involves behavioral codes, notably the Ten Commandments. Republicans are more likely to believe that such codes should guide conduct, although the whole point of moral codes is that one doesn’t have to think: just follow the code, and you’ll be “good.” Democrats have increasingly embraced the idea of subjective values and personal codes, “pursuing one’s truth.” Their idea of poor values are values that seem contrary to their objectives.

The poll does not rank values, or even require respondents to identify what values they think are being violated or ignored. Thus the figures given for various measurements in the poll are by definition apples, oranges and eggplants mash-ups. For example, a core ethical value is fairness, but progressives increasingly believe what is fair is for everyone to achieve the same level of success, security, comfort and power regardless of effort, ability, or contributions to society. Conservatives believe  fairness means that every individual should be allowed to achieve according to his or her aspirations and best efforts given the resources, talents and opportunities distributed by the vicissitudes of life and luck, and keep and use the rewards of those efforts, if any. Asking whether a group believes that life in the U.S. is fair when the group holds diametrically opposed definitions of the word is useless.

Similarly, an increasing component of the American Left believes that the U.S. Constitution embodies the wrong values. They believe it would be more “moral” to censor speech so as not to “harm” vulnerable populations; to keep “dangerous” ideas and “misinformation” advocated by Bad People from being heard or read. They believe that a right to self-defense is “immoral” because the tools of self-defense can be used to kill. They also believe, as we have seen in recent weeks, that it is “moral” to allow the mass killing of the unborn, because otherwise women are hindered in their opportunities and life choices by “unfair” biology. Most conservatives view those positions as opposition to American values.

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How Long Will Women, Parents And Feminists Tolerate This? [Photo Added]

I don’t understand the persistence of such a blatantly unethical situation at all. It is the apotheosis of “It isn’t what it is.” Any group, movement, elected official or individual who approves of such an obvious injustice should be branded as untrustworthy, whether it be due to intellectual deficiencies, dishonesty, delusion or cowardice.

Ricci Tres, a 29-year-old transgender woman, defeated 13-year-old Shiloh Catori, to win the $500 top prize in a women’s division of New York City street skateboarding competition. The real girl got $250. Four of the six finalists were under the age of 17, with the youngest being 10-year-old Juri Iikura, who came in fifth. Tres was the oldest contestant. Tres had previously failed to qualify for the Women’s Street USA Skateboarding National Championships in a bid to qualify for  the Olympics, but was rejected because of an excess of testosterone, according to The Daily Mail. Obviously, Tres is the victim of transphobia.

So she decided to beat some little girls and pick up an easy 500 bucks. It should cover shaving costs. Continue reading