A Déjà Vu Ethics Dunce: Pete Rose

Pete Rose

I confess that at this time of year, with the Boston Red Sox in the play-offs (and doing splendidly so far), my thoughts keep defaulting to baseball and baseball ethics. However, I couldn’t have resisted this inspiration in the dead of winter.

I was already considering writing about how Major League Baseball has now abandoned its former principled stand against gambling on the game to the point where its gambling industry partners are encouraging suckers to bet on game details like extra-base hits and runs-batted-in, and during games, using special bonus pay-offs—you know, like the casinos that give out free chips to get tourists hooked? How MLB is going to square this sudden embrace of professional gambling with the sport’s so-called “third rail” rule that demands a lifetime ban of any player, coach or manager who is caught betting on baseball games is anybody’s guess.

Pete Rose, the all-time career hits leader, is the most famous victim of the third rail, and he was also my very first Ethics Dunce. In January of 2004, Pete’s sleaziness helped launched The Ethics Scoreboard when I wrote,

Pete Rose now admits he bet on baseball (after ten years of lying about it) but says that his bets (always in favor of his team, never against it, he says) as manager of the Cincinnati Reds never effected his management decisions, and thus he did not harm the integrity of the game. He feels he should be let back into the game as a manager.

A couple of things, Pete:

1) Even if this were true, fans of the game cannot put their faith in the outcome of games when they know that those who help determine the outcome might be motivated by their wagers. This is the reason that we call “the appearance of impropriety” an ethical problem.

2) Presumably you did not bet on the Reds when a key player was sitting out, or when your starting pitcher wasn’t feeling good. Right? Or are we supposed to believe that you bet large amounts of money while already in debt to bookies in circumstances when you thought you would lose? So every time you didn’t bet on the Reds, you were sending information to the bookies, and it affected their odds on the game. Got it?

3) You say you never bet against the Reds. You used to say you never bet on baseball. You’re a liar. Why should anyone believe you now?

Pete continued to embarrass himself and baseball, leading to several posts on Ethics Alarms. My favorite Pete Post is this one, in which I wrote in part,

All of the above could be more concisely summarized by six words: Pete Rose is a stupid man. As comedian Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.” Manfred, in his letter telling Pete that he can forget about any future employment in baseball, noted more than once that Rose does not appear to understand the import and purpose of the rule he violated, which exists  to protect the integrity of the game. Indeed,  Pete Rose wouldn’t know what integrity was if it sat on his face.

“This final chapter (I hope) in the sad Rose gambling saga drives home a fact that is under-appreciated in the ethics world. Ethics is hard, and requires attention, critical thinking, and a modicum of intelligence. Ethics involves choosing among competing options in difficult situations, often under pressure; it involves recognizing when non-ethical considerations are threatening to overwhelm ethical principles; it involves being able to understand why an ethical society is preferable to a corrupt one, and the difference between rationalizations and ethical values.

When tying your shoes is a challenge, most of this is out of the question. Or to put it in Pete Rose terms, if you are seeking forgiveness for  placing bets on baseball when you knew that baseball bans anyone who does that, and can’t figure out that continuing to gamble on baseball isn’t going to help your case, the chances that you are going to be able to figure out whether a particular situation requires an application of the Rule of Universality or not are those of Frosty the Snowman bumpety-bump-bumping safely through Hell...”

As you have probably guessed by now, that was not “the final chapter.” A new chapter came out today. Pete, who is always playing some angle to make money off of his baseball exploits because he is perpetually broke, has launched a sports gambling podcast.

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Let All Good And Objective Americans Deride And Mock San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Those Who Voted For Her, And Anyone Who Dares To Defend Her…

SF-Mayor-London-Breed

What a ridiculous excuse for a mayor.

What an embarrassment to her city and party.

What an arrogant, silly, clueless fool.

The usual Ethics Alarms tag I would consider in this kind of story, “Incompetent Elected Official of the Month,” just doesn’t do San Francisco Mayor London Breed justice. Letting her astounding explanation for why she violated her own mask mandate simply brand her as incompetent would be a cruel insult to all previous incompetent elected officials. Previously, Ethics Alarms wrote about Breed being videoed unmasked, singing, and dancing with a largely unmasked crowd inside a jazz club in the Tenderloin last week. This made her the latest Democratic mayor, governor or other official—and there have been a ridiculous number of them— to regard themselves as immune from their own pandemic restrictions on “the little people” they deign to govern. However, none of these hypocrites have come within miles of Breed’s mind-melting hauteur. Here’s what she said:

“We don’t need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should or shouldn’t be doing. My drink was sitting at the table, I got up and started dancing because I was feeling the spirit and I wasn’t thinking about a mask.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: Virginia Tech Instructor Crystal Duncan Lane (And There Goes My Head!)

jackheadexplosion

“I am a Caucasian cisgender female and first-generation college student from Appalachia who is of Scottish, British and Norwegian heritage. I am married to a cisgender male, and we are middle class. While I did not ‘ask’ for the many privileges in my life: I have benefited from them and will continue to benefit from them whether I like it or not. This is injustice. I am and will continue to work on a daily basis to be antiracist and confront the innate racism within myself that is the reality and history of white people. I want to be better: Every day. I will transform: Every day. This work terrifies me: Every day. I invite my white students to join me on this journey. And to my students of color: I apologize for the inexcusable horrors within our shared history.”

—Virginia Tech instructor Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane in her course syllabus

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Chilling Tales Of The Great Stupid: Bette Midler’s Tweets

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Midelr tweet 3

I love these tweets! The pop music and Broadway diva and actress has provided a cultural, political, anthropological and philosophical artifact for the ages. I could write a book about these twin tweets and what they tell us, not just about Midler, but about a society that produces the kind of celebrity who would produce them.

Where to begin? Well, taken together they are not unethical tweets: I might even argue that they are ethical, because they publicly declare to the world, “I am a complete and utter idiot, and not only do I lack the critical thinking skills of a three-toed sloth, I suffer from a near terminal level of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, being both unable to discern just how stupid I am, but also unable to comprehend the consequences of advertising my disability to the public.” Now there is no excuse for anyone considering having an interaction of any kind with Midler that involves trust—letting her baby-sit a child, for example, or even a guppy—and thus to make the mistake of relying on her judgment. She has none, and has been considerate enough to proclaim it. (Not that she hadn’t provided plenty of evidence before.) The tweets make the world safer. How many social media posts do that?

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month, Year, Decade, Century, And Eon: Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.)

I know, I know, this is res ipsa loquitur. Anyone with a functioning brain, unlike Rep. Bush, will immediately see the hilarious flaw in her “reasoning,” if one can call it that. There may be high-functioning mollusks that could see it. But I’ve had a crummy day, and deserve some fun.

Yes, this isn’t a parody or a deep fake. (House Whip James Clyburn might think it is, since he swears no Democrat has ever advocated defundung the police. Well, him, but no others…) We really have someone in Congress who passionately, angrily insists that taxpayers should pay for her private security force so she can make sure the U.S. Congress defunds the police. There isn’t enough space in this post to explain how many alarms one had to lack in order to be recoded saying something like this. Not just ethics alarms, but hyp[ocrisy alarms, common sense alarms, alarms, “Wow, I’m embarrarsing party, my district, my family, my friends, and all of my teachers!” alarms, and of course the crucial “Gee, I’m sounding like an idiot!” She is the best illustration of the Dunning-Kruger Effect I have ever seen.

We knew, if we knew anything about Bush at all, that she was an idiot. After all, she ran as a Black Lives Matter candidate and still believes that Mike Brown was shot while holding up his arms and saying “Hands Up! Don’t shoot!” She’s obviously unqualified to be a lawmaker, but the video shows she’s also too lacking in basic cognitive function to be 7-11 clerk, a crossing guard, an au pere, a gardener, a house-painter, a dog-walker. or a lemonade stand proprietor. She mistakes passion and certitude for wisdom. She also is likely to mistake an anteater for a spoon.

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The Rest Of The Story, From The Ethics Alarms “What An Idiot!” Files: Mayor Lighfoot’s Justification For Her Racial Discrimination

That was Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “defense” of her action yesterday announcing that she would only do interviews with black and other non-white colored reporters. Once again, I am tempted to leave this letter from Chicago Mayor Lightfoot free of any further commentary from me, since what makes it not just unethical but a stunning demonstration of so many other deficits on her part should be screamingly, stenchingly, head-explodingly obvious. Maybe I should, in my respect for readers here who I assume can recognize the trail of a toxic dolt when they see one, just let what is res ipsa loquitur “speak for itself.” I feel like the Duke, trying to stay calm when provoked in “McClintock!” and reaching the same moment of surrender:

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Today’s Evidence That We Put People In Power Who Don’t Understand The Bill Of Rights: Kentucky State Senate Bill SB 211

jackheadexplosion

Incidentally,

KABOOM!

The Bill, if it became law, would make it a crime to insult a police officer if the words or gestures provoked a violent response. It would be class B misdemeanor, punishable up to 90 days in prison, when someone “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”

This potential law (actually, it isn’t even potential because the thing would be unconstitutional and a First Amendment breach the second it was passed and signed) is one of the most embarrassing pieces of legislative garbage I have seen in a very long time. It essentially says that if a citizen is so darn mean to a police officer by saying nasty things or making scary faces, and the officer is so unprofessional, incompetent and badly trained that he or she commits violent battery, the victim of the cop’s attack can be locked up! Brilliant!

Let’s look at the relevant section of the Bill of Rights, shall we? You know, that old document they apparently don’t teach in Kentucky schools and that applies to the States through the 14th Amendment? The one progressives don’t like?

Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…

This isn’t hard, or shouldn’t be, even for Kentuckians. (My father grew up in Kentucky.) When a law says “you can be imprisoned for saying things that a police officer finds offensive” that’s abridging free speech. What ignoramus composed this monstrosity?

He is State Senator Danny Carroll, (R-Benton), who says the bill is in response to the riots in Louisville last summer (There is another Breonna Taylor demonstration going on in Louisville right now) and on Capitol Hill in D.C.

Oh. What?

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Fairness To Senator Ron Johnson: He’s Not A Racist, He’s Just An Irresponsible Idiot.

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Here’s a rule of thumb: if you are a national politician and are moved to say, “This is going to get me in trouble,” don’t say “this” unless it is so brilliant that your message will eventually enshrine you in the Yale Book of Quotations…and maybe not even then.

In an interview Thursday with syndicated radio host Joe Pagliarulo, Wisconsin’s GOP Senator Ron Johnson said regarding the January 6 rioters who invaded the Capitol,

“I knew those were people who love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.Now, had the tables been turned, and Joe — this is going to get me in trouble — had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa, I might have been a little concerned.”

Now people are calling Johnson a racist, because he didn’t fear a white mob, but would have feared a black one.

Wow, what a stupid thing to say:

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I Hearby Forgive Prof. Jonathan Turley For My Having To Toss My Completed “What An Idiot!” Post On Rep. Swalwell…

Village idiot

…because Turley did such a superb job showing how ridiculous Swalwell’s lawsuit is. I couldn’t possibly compete.

I saw the note about Swalwell filing a a 64-page complaint against Donald Trump ( and Donald Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks) alleging nine counts in tort ranging from negligent emotional distress (suffered by Swalwell) to negligence, in an “incitement to riot.” That news sparked three thoughts: 1) “What an idiot!” 2) “Who was the hack lawyer who agreed to file such a suit?,” and finally, 3) “This will be a fun post to write!” And it was, except that while I was formatting, editing and arranging tags, commenter Steve Witherspoon dropped me an email that said in part, “Did you read Turley’s blog post about Eric Swalwell posted a couple of hours ago? WOW!!!”

I hadn’t, I did, and “Wow!” indeed. It’s a tour de force.

The take-no-prisoners defenestration of Swalwell is unusually merciless for Turley, who begins,

“French philosopher Voltaire said he had only one prayer in life — “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous” — and that it was uniformly granted by God. The answer to Donald Trump’s prayers may be Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)”

Do read the post. And as you do, remember that the idiot Turley is writing about was hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi to be one of the House Managers in the second Trump impeachment trial. The University of Maryland School of Law must be measuring the heads of its board, administrators, alumni and faculty for paper bags to wear, because that school gave Swalwell a law degree.

Comment Of The Day, “Welcome To My World” Edition

email mistake

This guy actually sent his comment to my email account. Not to keep you in suspense, he will not be approved for future participation.

Traffic here may be falling, but I am getting more hate mail than ever—from self-professed conservatives, for, you know, my being such a knee-jerk progressive.

Here is No Name Yet’s Comment of the Day on the blog in general. Enjoy:

If you are so concerned with bigotry and racism and whatever virtue signaling fake shit.  I don’t understand why you associate with the people who push racism. I’ve never met a bigger racist in my life than a progressive. People who are constantly putting people in categories… categories according to race and sex. The ultimate racist. The nerve of you 2 point fingers. I’m sure you’re probably some middle-aged pseudo- intellectual weakling. The kind of man that wouldn’t last five minutes if society broke down or if the police actually were defunded. You’re probably one of the people that was making fun of me when I was speaking out against real racism back in the 90s when it was more of a problem, although it was much a bigger problem before that. Bigotry, really? your f****** swimming in it. Group thinker! Go piss yourself.