The Yahoo! Mess

Yahoo’s CEO, Scott Thompson, just “resigned” from his post after it was clear that he was going to be sacked. He had been on the job just four months. Why the sudden exit? A simple Google search by a Yahoo! board member revealed that Thompson had lied on his résumé, claiming to have a degree in computer science. This opened a can of worm, Pandora’s box, and an ethics cornucopia, all wrapped in one:

  • Thompson’s initial response was that the mistake was “inadvertent,” and that he regretted not having caught the error. This attempt t0 brass his way out of deception of his own making should probably ensure that he never leads another company. If he had taken 20 seconds to think about it, Thompson would have realized that using a second lie to try to cover the first would only make it clear that his curriculum vitae fabrication was not an aberration. Naturally, it was quickly discovered that he had the same fabrication on his résumé when he had applied for his previous job. Continue reading

Phony Online Lesbian Ethics

Lesbian blogger Paula Brooks

When the media and internet were buzzing about the shocking discovery that the celebrated blogger “A Gay Girl in Damascus” was really “A Straight American Man in Scotland” who had fooled all his readers and followers through the lie-machine called the Internet, one of those who expressed shock and criticism of the hoax was Paula Brooks, the deaf lesbian editor of the popular lesbian news blog, Lez Get Real. When a man who said he was Brooks’ father told Washington Post reporters who called to interview the blogger that they could only speak to her through him because of her hearing disability, the reporters did some checking. Son of a gun: Paula’s “father” was really Paula, who was really Bill Graber, a straight, married, former construction worker.

Observations: Continue reading

Headline Deceit, the N-Word, and Dr. Laura

Curse you, Gawker, for making me defend Laura Schlesinger!

Radio talk show host/advisor/scold Laura Schlesinger, a.k.a. “Dr. Laura,” has a target on her back for liberal sharpshooters, thanks to her persistent demonization of gays and her advocacy of female subjugation in marriage. Outside of those two areas (“And aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”), Schlesinger’s ethical instincts are usually sound, and her advice to troubled callers is usually good. But she has a lot of enemies, and proof of that is today’s eye-catching headline on the gossip website Gawker, which can fairly be described as “ethics-free.”

The headline:

Dr. Laura Apologizes for Shocking, N-Word Filled Radio Rant Continue reading

Integrity, Rep. Mark Kirk, and the Citizen’s Duty to Pay Attention

The defenders of G.O.P. Rep. Mark Kirk, who has been caught in more than one misrepresentation of his achievements, will argue (as such people always do) that these “mistakes” are simply campaign gotchas that tell voters nothing about what really counts, which is how he will perform when he is elected, as he hopes he will be, a U.S. Senator from Illinois.

In fact, a candidate who lies about his past honors and job history, as Kirk has, cannot be trusted. He continues to show voters that quality, or lack of quality, as this incident, reported in several sources, proves. From The Plum Line: Continue reading

Law School and High School Credential Corruption

In many high schools around the country, as many as fifty graduating seniors were designated “valedictorians,” because the traditional honor for the top academic performer is a coveted credential, and the schools wanted as many students as possible to have the benefit of it. On their future resumes, will these students footnote “valedictorian” to let potential employers know that it doesn’t mean they were #1 in their class? Of course not. Their schools have given them a license to inflate their qualifications and achievements. Until every school clones its valedictorians, the credential now is inherently deceptive, and it is the high school administrators, not the students, who are doing the deceiving.

Ah, but “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” The New York Times reported that at least ten law schools, S.M.U., New York University, Georgetown, and Tulane among them, have deliberately altered their grading curves—-some retroactively—in order to make their graduates artificially look better to employers. Continue reading

Mark Kirk’s Misrepresentations: When Twice Is Too Many

Mark S. Kirk, the Republican candidate for that troublesome Illinois Senate seat (the one Rod Blagojevich tried to sell, the one Roland Burris lied to get) was caught in perpetrating some credential-inflating on his curriculum vitae when it was discovered that what he had long claimed was an award bestowed on him for outstanding service as a military intelligence officer was really a group award for his whole unit, and, in fact, someone else had received the honor he claimed as his own. Continue reading

Credential Deceit From Rand Paul

Rand Paul’s resume dishonesty is not in the same league with Richard Blumenthal claiming Vietnam service that wasn’t. It is closer in unethical heft to Illinois Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk’s representation of a group military award as in individual one on his resume. Still, if candidates for national office show a penchant for dishonesty and deceit before they are elected, what can we expect later, when they have the keys to the candy store and genuine power? Continue reading

Rep. Kirk’s False Award

Thanks to Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk’s revelation that he has been knowingly misrepresenting (or “lying about”) the nature of a military honor on his official biography for years, following close on the heels of the Richard Blumenthal scandal, we must answer the question: how much dishonesty should the public tolerate in candidates for the U.S. Senate?

How about “none”? Continue reading

Blumenthal’s Lies and Professional Discipline

I know I’m harping on Richard Blumenthal, but:

An Illinois attorney has just been suspended from the practice of law for three years for using a doctored resume to obtain his job at a big law firm.

Richard Blumenthal has doctored his resume, in public, by leading voters and media to believe he was a Vietnam veteran, when he was not. He is seeking a job, not with a law firm, but in the U.S. Senate.

The Illinois attorney has been found unfit for the practice of law by dint of his dishonest conduct, which raises doubts about his trustworthiness. Is filling out a resume to acquire a legal job itself the practice of law? No. Can anyone think of a reason why it is less indicative of bad character for a lawyer to fabricate credentials in pursuit of a non-legal job (albeit for a position that makes laws!) than a legal one? I can’t. That would seem to be an absurd distinction. Lying to the hiring partner at a law firm is worse than lying to the citizens of Connecticut? Blumenthal is the State Attorney General: he works for the people of Connecticut; they are his clients!  His lie is certainly worse.

Forget about not voting him into the Senate. Connecticut should work on kicking Richard Blumenthal out of the Attorney General’s office.