Ethics Dunce And Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month (Yes, Even More Than Virginia’s Gov. Northam!): Dearborn, Michigan Mayor Jack O’Reilly

Henry Ford was an important industrialist, innovator and inventor, and a towering figure in automotive history. Nobody, however, mistook him for nice guy. In addition to many ruthless tendencies, Ford was well documented anti-Semite, even by the ugly standards of his time, when that particular form of bigotry was generally considered reasonable. However, when the city-funded Dearborn Historian included a article documenting Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism, the city’s mayor, Jack O’Reilly, killed the issue, ordering the museum that produces the magazine not to mail it out.

Dearborn is where Ford was born, where his estate is, and where he built his flagship motorcar factory. For some reason that apparently means to O’Reilly that the folks who live there should know less about their town’s most famous and accomplished resident that everyone else. Ford’s hatred of Jews is, after all, hardly news: he was open about it when he was alive; there are books about it; and his family has been trying to live down the shame of that part of his legacy for decades.

Oh, never mind all that: the false lesson being pushed on our society in recent years is that inconvenient history disappears if you erase the record of it. This is the message of all the screeching and crunching metal sounds from The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck, and all the other attempts to airbrush the bad stuff from industrial, local, national and personal histories. O’Reilly is a true believer that Henry Ford’s not-exactly-good name will be cleansed by making sure as few citizens as possible know what a creep he was when he wasn’t revolutionizing American industry and changing lives of Americans for the better. He is, in other words, a censorious fool. Continue reading

Gift or Bribe? Barry Bonds’ Generosity to the NABJ

Barry Bonds, the retired baseball slugger who used banned or illegal performance enhancing drugs to fuel a late-carer transformation that allowed him to grow from merely great into Superman, breaking every home run record in sight as a result, has adamantly maintained his innocence despite a mountain of circumstantial evidence, positive drug tests, and the verdict of common sense. He has also played the race card when it seemed convenient to his cause. Bonds’ cheating ways have made him rich beyond belief, and his only real problems now are 1) the likelihood of a Federal perjury trial next year in connection with his Grand Jury testimony that he never knowingly took steroids, and 2) the fact that few of the sportswriters who vote for the Hall of Fame seem inclined to enshrine steroid cheats, based on their rejection, so far, of Mark McGwire, whose steroid-assisted single season home run record Bonds broke while he was especially pumped-up.

Both of these problems could conceivably be helped by some positive press opinion, something that Bonds has never cultivated, being inclined to treat all journalists as if they were something he had to wipe off the bottom of his shoe. Thus it raised eyebrows when  it was announced that the charitable foundation created and controlled by Barry Bonds has donated $20,000 to The National Association of Black Journalists. NABJ president Kathy Times told the Associated Press that the money will be used to fund an annual award promoting entrepreneurial spirit. Continue reading