Now THAT’S An Incompetent Principal!

Jan McGee was the principal at Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, Florida. Everything at the school of about 1,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade was going swimmingly until Jan ended up in a long-running online friendship with Elon Musk, or so she thought.

I know how exciting it can be suddenly having a famous celebrity billionaire contacting you and emerging as your pal: I once was emailed by this cool Nigerian prince.

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It’s Unethical For A Leader To Refuse To Fire Incompetent Subordinates. Somebody Tell President Biden

The current poster boy for incompetent Biden appointees and subordinates who are apparently immune from firing is Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Like so many in this administration, Buttigieg was hired to please a Democratic Party constituency, not because there was any reason to believe he would be good at his job. He was an ineffective mayor of a small city: that gave him neither experience in key transportation systems or a background in running a large bureaucracy. Buttigieg’s sole qualifications for the Cabinet position were and are that he is openly gay and in a same-sex marriage, making him “historic.” I know, I know: I don’t understand how where you want to put your whackadoodle makes you better at keeping the trains running on time either, but that’s apparently the theory.

To call Buttigieg a disaster in his job would be too kind. The supply chain fell apart on his watch. Shortly after taking over his 58,000-employee department, a supply chain breakdown damaged businesses, harmed consumers and fueled inflation. Meanwhile, the DOT Secretary has prioritized touch-feely DEI measures above actually overseeing the transportation systems. In the midst of the worst of the supply chain crisis, he took two months paternity leave. Throughout Buttigieg’s tenure, railroads had been unable to reach an agreement with the dozen labor unions representing their workers. Buttigieg was vacationing in Portugal when a rail strike seemed imminent in September, so Labor Secretary Marty Walsh stepped in to avert one. So far.

When soaring gas prices made highway transportation too expensive for many Americans, Buttigieg’s contribution was to lecture us on the need to buy electric cars. A system wide collapse at Southwest Airlines resulted in thousands of flight cancellations and delays over the holidays, stranding thousands of travelers. A primary cause was inadequate oversight of the airlines by the agencies under Buttigieg’s command. Then this week, a safety system outage forced the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily ground all U.S. flights for the first time since the 9/11 attacks.

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Now THIS Is Incompetent Policing! (International Division)

Police in Santa Marta, Colombia, recently published a wanted poster for 12 dangerous criminals in the town, asking the public for help in apprehending them. All are members of the “Los Pachenca” drug cartel and are suspects in a series of crimes committed in Santa Marta in recent months. The published poster (above), however, only mentioned the suspects’ nicknames without revealing their real names, and only generic silhouettes were offered rather than actual photos.

Nevertheless, the police department acted as if their procedure was serious and reasonable. “It is very important that citizens help us identify the people who are affecting life throughout the city,” the police high command said to supplement the poster. “We are going to provide payments for data that allow us to identify them.”

The mockery of the absurdly inept dragnet was instant and relentless. One wag noted that it should be easy to identify cartel members since “they all look identical.”

The department quickly pulled the poster. See? It’s not completely incompetent after all!

The Most Incompetent Christmas Greeting Ever!

The Askern Medical Practice in Doncaster, England intended to send out a jolly seasonal text to all of its patients wishing them a “very merry Christmas.” Instead, and don’t ask me how this could happen, the mass text told patients they had “aggressive lung cancer” that had metastasized and asked them to fill out form DS1500 for people those have a terminal illness to apply for benefits.

After freaking out many of its patients, the Center texted its “sincere apologies” saying, “This has been sent in error. Our message to you should have read We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” 

I don’t think “Oops! Sorry!” quite makes up for something like this.

Ethics Dunces: The Operators Of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park

This place should not be in business.

The Giant Slide at Belle Isle Park reopened last week after being closed for two years because of the pandemic (how this ride could possibly be a virus-spreader is beyond me, but that’s The Great Stupid for you). The 50-foot metal slide has been a  Detroit summer tradition since 1967. When it went back into operation last week, however, “the waxing was a little robust,” according to Ron Olson, the chief of parks and recreation for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It’s nice that he can be so cavalier about people nearly breaking their necks. As a result of that robust waxing, every bump in the slide sent fun-seekers airborne, as you can see from one of the many videos made of the thing above. One woman bumped her head and lost her phone, headphones, glasses, a shoe and even a sock on the way down.

What fun! GMAC Cash, a Detroit rapper, even put the experience to song: “You can break your back, on the Giant Slide,” he raps. “You can even break your neck, on the giant slide. You can even bump your head, on the giant slide.”

Apparently nobody connected with the park bothered to stage a few test runs to see if the slide was safe after being put back into service after two years. No state agency checked it either, though most such amusement park attractions have to be inspected before the public can use them. It gets worse. Even though the ride was obviously dangerous, over 500 sliders risked their necks before the slugs operating the park thought hard about the violence they were seeing and said, “Ya know, maybe we need to fix this.” Then they closed the ride. (It reopened last weekend.)

The ethical values on display here are competence and responsibility, or rather the lack of them. The fact that nobody was seriously injured is pure moral luck. This is how people get killed.

The episode ranks an “Otter”:

A Baseball Integrity And Competence Ethics Train Wreck! [Corrected]

…and, I’m ashamed to say, I got pulled into it myself.

I miss one Red Sox game—I thought yesterday’s contest between the Sox and Astros in Houston was a night game, but it was played in the afternoon—and this was my punishment. Writing about Karine Jean-Pierre’s idiotic statement that the Supreme Court, charged with interpreting the Constitution, issued an “unconstitutional” ruling in Dobbs, I noted in a comment,

[T]hat’s not what unconstitutional means, as SCOTUS uses it, and how SCOTUS uses it is what matters. SCOTUS said that Roe was a misinterpretation of the Constitution, which is not the same as saying the decision was unconstitutional. Unconstitutional would mean that SCOTUS was exceeding Constitutional authority to make the decision.

And this is what makes her statement incompetent and pernicious. She’s not a lawyer, she doesn’t understand those distinctions, and she’s ensuring that much of the public now is confused too.

If an umpire makes a wrong call, out when a player was safe, one can argue that the call was wrong, was inept, was bad. One cannot say the umpire violated the rules, however, because the umpire is empowered to make those decisions.

Little did I know, because I had not seen the game, that it contained an umpire’s call that did violate the rules, and that an umpire is NOT empowered to make.

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: GOP Senate Candidate Herschel Walker [Expanded]

“Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air. So when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then — now we got we to clean that back up.”

Yes, Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker really said those words, in that order. The gibberish is on a recently released video of an appearance he made last week at a local GOP picnic in Hall County, northeast of Atlanta, when Walker spoke, if you can call it that, about climate change. The Republican Party, desperate to take control of the Senate, actually nominated a candidate to defeat Democratic incumbent Ralph Warnock whose grasp of science, logic and language is that infantile.

Walker’s sole qualifications, if you can call them that, for the Senate are that he is a local and national sports celebrity, and black. He has no other qualifications. In addition to his obvious lack of education and erudition, he has also lied repeatedly for years, presenting himself as someone he is not. He is a neon-bright hypocrite, lecturing about the responsibilities of fatherhood while hiding the existence of his own children conceived without the security of a secure relationship with their mothers. Continue reading

The Victoria’s Secret Smoking Gun: The New York Times Doesn’t Just Use Unethical Reporting To Push Its Political Agenda…It Does It To Push A Social Agenda As Well

The Times article yesterday was headlined, “Victoria’s Secret and What’s Sexy Now: A rebranding and a new documentary have the lingerie company back in the cultural cross hairs.” The piece emits barely-restrained enthusiasm for VS’s controversial rebranding and implies that the effort, while having to overcome much bias and cultural headwinds, is succeeding….and should. The final words written by NYT fashion maven Vanessa Friedman are these:

[P]erhaps the real takeaway from all of this is that no one person or brand or size or shape gets to say what’s sexy — and that should be seen as a good thing.

That sexy in the end has to do with feeling at ease in your skin, rather than in any single garment. That there are as many definitions of the term as there are people in the world. And that actual empowerment doesn’t come in a bra and panty set. It comes out of it.

Her article begins by saying that when the fantasy female bedroom attire company announced, in a fit of wokeness, that it would “become a champion of female empowerment, replacing its bevy of supermodel angels with the VS Collective, ten women of great accomplishment as well as varying ages and body types — the news was met, generally (and understandably), with raised eyebrows.” Among those virtual eyebrows were those of this blog, which observed at the time in part [Item #3]:

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Oh-Oh! The President’s New Paid Liar Is Incompetent At Lying

When the name Karine Jean-Pierre was first mentioned on Ethics Alarms (here, Item 4), it was after the lead-in, “Biden’s not even trying to be responsible at this point.” Her major qualification to take over the press secretary job—aka “Pofficial paid liar”— from the unbearable Jen Psaki, it seemed, was that Jean-Pierre is a black lesbian, which White House flacks (echoed by the mainstream media of course, boot-licking as usual) hailed as “historic.” (My reaction, then and now: who cares?) She also has a major conflict of interest, being married to CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. Later, after non-bootlicking reporters did some digging, we learned that she has been a habitual race-baiter. The New York Post reported that between 2015 and 2020 the new voice of the White House had accused people, policies, ideas, or words of being “racist” 57 times on Twitter and 43 times in TV appearances on CNN and MSNBC.

To be fair, being a knee-jerk race-baiter is a valid qualification for being a Democratic President’s press secretary in 2022.

However, the main objective in appointing Jean-Pierre, as with any job, has to be that she be able to do it competently. That means lie, which is what people in her position do and have done since the role came into being. The job is easier now that it has been for many past occupants of the position, because, as already noted, most of the reporters likely to toss questions at a Democrat President’s paid liar aren’t seeking the truth, and nearly completely unwilling to make her boss look bad. (That might risk his losing re-election, which, we are told daily, would endanger democracy.)

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Unethical—And Ignorant!—Quote Of The Month: The Washington Post

“The air in humid, hotter environments contains more water, which can condense onto the virus particles, make them bigger and theoretically fall to the ground faster. Wu compares the particles to a rock in this case — the more mass, the faster it falls.”

—-Washington Post Reporter Kasha Patel, forgetting about Galileo and gravity in an alleged science article headlined,  “Covid-19 may have seasons for different temperature zones, study suggests.”

Her editors also seem to have missed 6th grade science. In truth, I believe I learned about Galileo’s experiment with the Leaning Tower of Pisa before the sixth grade, after Santa left a children’s book about “great moments in science” in my sister’s stocking. We shared it, and it ended up with me: it’s around the house somewhere. I think about the book every time I end up on Walter Reed Drive in Arlington, which is often. His story is also in it; I wish I could think of the title.

The full quote is… Continue reading