Is It Wrong To Laugh At This Story?

"Now, you're sure about this, right?"

“Now, you’re sure about this, right?”

Jonathan Turley found this strange tale, and the professor managed to find a jurisprudence issue in it. Not me: I want to know if finding it hilarious demonstrates unseemly cruelty.

In Zimbabwe, prophet Shamiso Kanyama instructed his followers to bury him alive as part of a ritual to cleanse their house of evil spirits. They did as he asked, and when they dug him up later he was dead.

The family that buried him is charged with murder. “Now the courts have a case where the victim demanded on religious grounds to be buried alive,” writes Turley. “The followers clearly believed that he could survive out of their own religious zeal. What should be the punishment in such a case?”

Oh, I don’t know: a conviction for murder, but a lighter than usual sentence. I don’t really care: this is Darwinism as work. My question is whether it is proof of a lack of empathy that the story reminds me of Monty Python, and makes me laugh.

Campus “Safe Spaces”= Free Speech Suppression And Intimidation: The Next Step

edinburghBad ideas take root when they are not immediately called what they are—bad—, then mocked, eviscerated, and destroyed with reason, logic and common sense. That is why fools should never be suffered gladly, and why their foolish inspirations should be dashed before they are allowed to draw a breath. Many factors, such as misplaced politeness, mistaking open-mindedness for lack of critical thought, laziness and cowardice  allow these bad ideas to spread like weeds.

Who was it that shrugged when it was first suggested that the U.S. should ignore its own immigration laws? Who was it who failed to point and laugh when someone suggested that rape accusations in colleges should be decided without due process? Who neglected to say, “Whaat?” when a legislator suggested that workers be exempted from doing the duties required of their jobs when their religions disapproved of them? Good ideas can be defended against the attacks of those without imagination or daring. Bad ideas have to slip by, undetected and unrebutted, until they get out of control.

Some, indeed many, allowed the ridiculous “safe spaces” theory to live when it should have been strangled in its crib. Now it is strangling education and open discourse on campuses all over the nation. I’m proud to say that Ethics Alarms did its part deftly when the related argument was raised on various blogs, including this one, that places of debate should be “safe,” in the sense that no commenter risk a harsh rebuttal or an insulting retort no matter what that commenter wrote. We lost a couple of hardy and substantive participants over the issue.

The “safe places” theory is especially sinister, as it also creates places safe for more bad ideas to flourish and grow beyond the stage where they can be stamped out with ease. Of course, not every idea, even good ones, are welcome to all. “Safe spaces” means guaranteed safety from  ideas that are unwelcome to the specific group constructing its safe zone, ideas like, say, “TRUMP 2016.”  It is the culmination of the position that people should be guaranteed the right not to be confronted with opposing views. Now the University of Edinburgh, “influencing the world since 1583,” is showing us what happens when the weeds of “safe spaces” are allowed to spread. Continue reading

The Naked Mayor Principle?

Chip Johnson

Chip  Johnson, the  married mayor of Hernando, Mississippi, sent a photograph of himself naked in the shower to his mistress, who then widely circulated it on the internet after the mayor discarded her like an old sock, or something.  (This is the essentially same plot the the British series “Happy Valley” employed last season, except that ex-lover so exposed was a police detective, not a mayor.)

Chip defended himself by explaining that he had sent the  shower selfie last year to an adult woman who was fully consenting in the relationship; in other words, this wasn’t a Weiner situation. Now he’s playing the victim, whining that it was “hurtful” to have his trust violated while he was violating his wife’s trust as well as the trust of his constituency, which trusted him not to make an ass of himself and embarrass them by emailing his naughty bits to his mistress.  Johnson told the local paper that he was seeking legal advice. Here’s some ethics advice:

Resign. Mayors should, at very least, be reasonably trusted not to have their Johnsons get displayed far and wide. There is no good reason for any mayor’s Johnson to be so displayed. If a mayor’s Johnson, like Mayor Johnson’s Johnson, is so displayed, it is proof positive that said mayor is an irresponsible fool with terrible judgment. Nobody who is an irresponsible fool with terrible judgment should be a mayor. Sure, the ex-mistress’s conduct was cruel and vindictive, but she’s not the mayor.

It’s really quite simple.

He’s toast, and deserves to be.

Let’s call it “The Naked Mayor Principle.”

[ You can review the related Naked Teacher Principle here...]

Trump Goes Rogue, And If The Republican Party Has Any Integrity, Here’s What It Should Do…

donald-trump-horror-movies-01

Based on his unprofessional outbursts during the last Republican debate, Donald Trump has blown a fuse, and is edging ever closer to that inevitable moment when he loses the crucial brain synapse that leaves him drooling and proclaiming himself Prince of the Pangolins, or something similar. He has continued his meltdown with an anti-Ted Cruz rant released on his website as a press release. He laughably accuses Ted Cruz of being unstable, which is like Charles Manson calling Caligula nuts. He recites a number of what he calls Cruz’s lies, but they are just Cruz’s opinions. He is of the general opinion that Trump is lying about being a conservative. That seems fair and reasonable to me. What Cruz is really doing is pushing Trump’s buttons. The Donald can dish it out, but Cruz, like Megyn Kelly,  is proving that he can’t take it. Trump is whining, threatening, bluffing and blustering, and generally acting like the pampered, narcissist he has always been. Finally, poor, abused Donald writes this:

“One of the ways I can fight back is to bring a lawsuit against him relative to the fact that he was born in Canada and therefore cannot be President. If he doesn’t take down his false ads and retract his lies, I will do so immediately. Additionally, the RNC should intervene and if they don’t they are in default of their pledge to me.”

Observe: Continue reading

Wow! Trump Tries a JUMBO!

Elephants from the Ringling Bro. and Barnum and Bailey Circus perform a nine-trunk salute.

Donald Trump is apparently testing yet another piece of political conventional wisdom. Having already conquered such long standings assumptions as “A Presidential candidate shouldn’t talk and act like a sixth grader” and  “A candidate shouldn’t embarrass his party every time he opens his mouth,” Trump is now setting his sights on the classic, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up,” but with an impressive extra challenge.

He is now trying to cover up the fact that he grotesquely mocked the disability of a New York Times reporter in a public appearance that was videotaped.

Trump actually is denying that he did what he was obviously doing. Very bold, very intrepid. It will be fascinating to see if he can pull it off.

Here’s Trump, after the Times excoriated him for ridiculing reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a malady that  limits flexibility in his arms:

“Serge Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago – if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did. He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”

Odd that Trump didn’t remember him, since before doing his “man with weird arm movements” bit he said quite clearly, “Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy…” One doesn’t normally call a reporter “a poor guy” for no reason, nor does one say, “You’ve got to see this guy” if you aren’t going to show the crowd what it is they have to see.”

Never mind, Trump is going for it: the full “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”, or as Jimmy Durante put it, in the show that gave the Ethics Alarms category it’s name, “Elephant? What elephant?” Continue reading

And Speaking Of Turkeys, Here Are Random Observations On Donald Trump’s Handicapped Times Reporter Impression

1. Stay classy, Donald.

2. Yes, I agree, it is refreshing to have a politician on the scene who does not hide his true self, does not calibrate his words and opinions to what people want to hear or what journalists and pundits will approve, does not suddenly speak in a Southern accent in front of crowds south of the Mason-Dixon line or pose as a lifetime Yankee fan in the Big Apple. Okay, it’s a novelty to have an asshole who has the integrity to openly behave like the asshole he is.

BUT HE’S STILL AN ASSHOLE.

How are people missing this?

3. One theory is that Trump has chosen this week to go all out to see if there is anything he can say or do so beneath the dignity of the office he is seeking and so repugnant to core American values that the idiots supporting him will finally wake up and say, “What was I thinking?”

If so, his experiment is working well.

And yes, it is fair to identify anyone who supports Donald Trump at this point as an idiot.

4. Please ask the Donald Trump fans at  your Thanksgiving dinner whether this is really how they want to see their President behaving in public. If #2 above is correct, I assume that he’ll eventually don a Hillary mask, glue a herring to his forehead, and recite dirty limericks while riding on the Spinning Teacups ride in Disneyland nude.  Hell, why not?

5. Imagine:Democrats decided that they didn’t want Howard Dean to be President based on this…

Donald Trump makes Howard Dean look like Henry Higgins. Continue reading

Send In The Clowns: Larry Lessig’s Scholarly, Ignorant, Insulting, Unethical Candidacy

Full disclosure: Because I believe that nobody in the history of photography who wasn't pompous as hell posed this way for a picture, and because Lessig has several pictures in this pose, I wouldn't trust him anyway.

Full disclosure: Because I believe that nobody in the history of photography who wasn’t pompous as hell posed this way for a picture, and because Lessig has several pictures in this pose, I wouldn’t trust him anyway.

[Running out of time tonight, due to an unexpected crisis. Unethical Presidential Candidate Sunday will be extended into Labor Day. I have four posts in the can…]

Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig, being either  bored, puckish, naive or having had a psychotic break, has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President with the following “plan”: Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Kim Davis

“I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.”

—-Kim Davis, Rowan County Kentucky Clerk  and hero of the addled, who has been making an ass out of herself while inconveniencing and insulting citizens of the State of Kentucky who only wish to get a marriage license, as is their right, in an official statement today released by her lawyers.

Stop in the name of arrogance and ignorance!

Stop in the name of arrogance and ignorance!

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to extend a temporary stay of a federal court order directing Davis to stop grandstanding, do her job and issue marriage licenses to a same-sex couples. One of the couples that Davis sought to deny the equal protection of law sued her, hence the order.   Davis’s lawyers, who have been giving her lousy advice, appealed  that order to the Court of Appeals, which stayed the lower court order until August 31. Now the stay of the order is no longer in effect, she’s out of even semi-rational options, and the courts are out of patience.

Davis, expressing certainty regarding her gross misinterpretation of law, religion, the Bible, and what it means to have a job, embraces a version of the Rule of Law that would lead directly to a theocracy. She is doing more damage to Christianity by her high profile idiocy than any gay couple possibly could. Continue reading

Unethical Op-Ed Of The Month, Or Maybe All Time: Theodore R. Johnson In The Washington Post

Well, at least that would explain it...

Well, at least that would explain it…

The essay is titled, “We used to count black Americans as 3/5 of a person. For reparations, give them 5/3 of a vote.” Yes, it’s serious. There is so much wrong with it logically, ethically, historically, legally, and Constitutionally, that it would take more words, time and effort to fully rebut all the nonsense in the article than this oddity is worth. Go ahead, read it. If your first reaction is, “Hey! What a brilliant idea!,” it’s time to seek professional help, and I don’t care what color you are.

Rather than give this perverted, anti-democratic fantasy the dignity of a rebuttal, I’ll just offer a few observations: Continue reading

New York City And The Mayor: Case Study In The Simpson Principle

simpson

The Simpson Principle does not refer to Homer but Alan, the now-retired Republican Wyoming Senator who once sat next to me at a press conference announcing the Reagan administration amnesty for illegal immigrants. Conservatives hated amnesty back then, too, and Simpson was regarded as a conservative. When I found myself seated next to him at lunch (my Foundation for the Chamber had done a study on immigration reform), I took the opportunity to quiz him on why he took the lead in this issue. (Those Chamber events were fun: another time, I ended up alone at a table with Gene McCarthy.)

Simpson said, as I remember it, “Well, ideology is great, but eventually you have to use real measures to solve real problems. If you keep flogging ideology when you know it won’t work, you’re a fool. It’s dumb, it’s irresponsible, and it’s wrong.”

You will note that 1) Simpson’s plan didn’t work either, though it wasn’t the plan’s fault, 2) Conservatives still oppose what they call amnesty, and yet haven’t a single rational, practical recommendation for how to handle the 13 million illegal immigrants who have slipped into the country since that Eighties luncheon chat, and 3) both liberals and conservatives have been meeting Simpson’s definition of fool lately.

[Aside: I ran into Simpson at LaGuardia last year, introduced myself and thanked him for that wisdom. He remembered me, amazingly, but didn’t remember that comment. “I said that?” he said. “Wow. I was smart that day. Thanks for reminding me of it. I wish I had run into you a few years ago.”]

One of the primary fools who is running amuck these days is Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is determined to again try the lassez faire, look the other way, “compassionate,” kinder, gentler law enforcement policies of his former boss, the infamous Mayor David Dinkins. In the 1980ss, Dinkins continued the transformation of  New York City into a declining, filthy, crime-riddled hell, and only the long, painful, much-criticized introduction of the so-called “broken window” theory into the city’s management by Rudy Giuliani turned the crisis and the city’s fate around.

As chronicled by Myron Magnet on one of my favorite blogs, City Journal, de Blasio is determined to relive the Dinkins experiment, because it would be nice if that way of running a big city works. Already, the completely predictable results are in evidence.

He writes: Continue reading