In Iowa, An Unattributed Shout Of “Let Him Hang” Becomes A National Race Incident…

I missed this story; luckily a reader, whom I am not certain whether he wants his name posted, didn’t. He sent it to me, writing in part, “So the catcher [Yes, it’s a baseball story] clapped and the word hang was heard. Both could be explained by the way teams talk to each other to cheer the team on. But it’s presented as if a MAJOR racial incident occurred. A half page article in a major news publication designed to stir animosity.”

That’s exactly what happened, though it wasn’t just the news media, it was all triggered by a mixed-race high school baseball player’s mother who has been conditioned to see racism whether it is in evidence or not. This is another success of the progressive racial outrage project.

Here is what happened, courtesy of the Des Moines Register yesterday. I’m going to interject my analysis as we go along to save time:

“Norwalk Warriors baseball player Ryan Wood was up to bat with three balls and two strikes in a doubleheader against Dallas Center-Grimes on Friday as his mother, Lisa Wood, watched from a seat in the stands. Wood said the DCG pitcher threw a ball into the opposite batter box, “practically in the dirt,” and Ryan, who recently graduated from Norwalk, went to walk to first base. He was halfway there when the umpire called a strike.”

Comment: Typical parent: Ryan’s mom was well up the third base line, but she was certain that she saw the pitch better than the umpire, who was behind the plate and inches away. Baseball players are coached to sometime try to steal a ball four call by starting to walk to first base. Once in a blue moon, it works.

“While Ryan, who is of mixed race, walked back to the plate, Lisa Wood said that DCG’s catcher clapped in her son’s face. “My son strikes out and the catcher yells at him ‘Go sit down,’ …And then somebody — whether it was the catcher or another in the dugout … somebody said, ‘Let him hang.’” Wood said the racial jeer was so loud that all of the parents near the outfield heard it, adding that she was “so shocked” that she turned to her 14-yearold daughter, who was sitting next to her in the stands to confirm what she’d heard.”

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April Fools Ethics Warm-Up, 4/1/2021: I Am Not Fooled Nor Fooling

april-fools-day-banner

I have come to detest April Fool’s Day, and cultural developments have shown me that, as William Saroyan liked to say, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong.” Early in the history of Ethics Alarms, more than ten years ago, I dared to criticize—indeed, called unethical—a blogging criminal defense lawyer who falsely announced that he had taken on a new prestigious job (as I recall: it’s not worth checking what his exact lie was), and it was then reported as fact by the New York Times’ crack reporters. The announcement was an April Fool’s joke, you see, so my assertion that lawyers shouldn’t deliberately misrepresent facts, even on blogs, even in jest, even unrelated to cases and even on April First was set upon by the lawyer’s angry defense lawyer allies, who pummeled me here from all sides. I had, in fact, over-stated my complaint (Can you imagine ME doing THAT?), and I duly apologized to the lawyer. But his pals remained insulting and vicious, and I wasn’t wrong in the principle I was asserting. Professionals shouldn’t lie, ever. Even on April Fool’s Day.

1. Hart concedes. The rest of the story: Iowa Democrat Rita Hart announced late yesterday that she is withdrawing her demand that her loss in Iowa’s 2nd congressional district be overturned, so the House Committee on Administration will no longer be seeking a justification to do so. I wrote about the Democratic Party’s attempt to de-certify an election result after it proclaimed Republican efforts to decertify the Presidential election as “an insurrection” here. Apparently internal polls were showing that there are still some levels of perceived hypocrisy that the Democratic faithful won’t cheer on. That’s encouraging…

2. The concept at play here is “deceit.” I guess after having three straight Republican Presidents who couldn’t speak clearly, it shouldn’t be a shock that the GOP has allowed Democrats to get away with flagrantly dishonest language games. Still, the transformation of the term “voting restrictions” into something sinister is quite an accomplishment for the Blue team, as well as cynical and dishonest. Unless a nation is going to allow anyone alive on the planet to cast votes in its elections, “voting restrictions” are natural, logical and necessary. It’s the “restrictions” part that the pro-voting manipulation side has weaponized. “Restrictions” are baaaad. But the right, informative and descriptive word is voting qualifications. You have to be alive and living in the district where you vote: this is why voter rolls have to be purged of dead people and those who have moved away. You have to be a citizen, and who you say you are, which is why voting IDs are necessary. You have to register before elections, because otherwise vote harvesters will just pay large groups of poor, confused, bored or drunk passive citizens to the polls to vote as they have been instructed. You should have to vote in person, because all mail-in ballots, including early voting and absentee voting, create verification problems, and increase the chances of fraud.

I have neither the time nor functioning brain cells to delve into this issue competently here and now, but I would not find the imposition of other voting qualifications odious or unethical, including requirements of the minimal civic literacy we would expect of, say, a 12-year-old.

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Not QUITE Hypocrisy, But Close Enough For An Eye-Roll: The Democratic Attempt To Reverse An Iowa House Election

Democrats have only a razor-thin 219-211 advantage in the House of Representatives (with five current vacancies). Although state officials declared Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks the winner in the state’s Second Congressional District after she won her race by just six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast, and though she took the oath of office in Washington in January, Nancy Pelosi set the ball rolling for the House of Representatives to overrule the state and award the seat to Miller-Meeks’ Democratic opponent, Rita Hart.

She has refused to concede the race, claiming that 22 disallowed ballots should have made her the winner if counted. The House has the rarely used power under the Constitution to arbitrate “elections, returns and qualifications of its own members,” and in 1969, Congress passed the Federal Contested Elections Act to set up a clear process governing how it should hear and decide such cases. So now Democrats have initiated an investigation by the House Administration Committee, a full-scale review into the election that could lead to impounding ballots, a hand recount and ultimately a vote by the full House to decide the election.

But…but… I thought members of the House and Senate refusing to accept the state-certified results of the 2020 Presidential election was an attack on democracy itself (although this too is allowed under the Constitution)! Well, that was Republicans, you see, and the complaining candidate was Donald Trump. Come on. Be reasonable. Besides, why would anyone suspect that the review of the Iowa House election would be subject to partisan bias and manipulation?

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Ethics Savings Time, 3/14/2021…

 

devil on shoulder

1. While I’m thinking about Republican Senators (as in the previous post)... A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll indicates that a majority of Iowans,though only a third of Iowa Republicans, say they hope U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) decides not to seek reelection in 2022. For Democrats, this may be another example of having the right opinion for the wrong reasons: they might just think with Grassley out of the way, they have a better chance of replacing him with a Democrat. But the man is 87 years old. It was unethical for him to run for re-election the last time, in 2016. Is Grassley really going to tell voters that he expects to be fully alert, competent, healthy and alive until he’s 93?

Grassley needs to watch videos of Sen. Strom Thurmond in his waning years. This is an ethics test for him, and it shouldn’t be a difficult one.

2. Update: Yesterday I told a friend, ethicist and Georgetown Law Center grad about the Sandra Sellers mess, and his immediately reaction was, “So they fired her for telling the truth?” Yet many law school alums signed the petition to have her canned for “racism.”

If they don’t know that being admitted with lower credentials means that any group—including the children of big donors— will tend to settle at the bottom of the class, then a lot of Georgetown Law Center grads are either not as smart as they need to be to practice law competently, or not honest enough to practice law ethically.

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If House Democrats Have Functioning Ethics Alarms, They Won’t Do This…

hand-with-burning-matchstick-

Wait, what am I saying?

Iowa certified Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, as the winner in the state’s 2nd Congressional District by nearly the thinnest of margins, defeating Democrat Rita Hart by only six votes. Hart hasn’t challenged the result. What she has done is to ask Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, to have her House majority seat Hart anyway. The theory, apparently, is that this strategy will force Iowa to review the current ballot count. Right now, the Miller-Meeks victory will be investigated by the House Administration Committee.

The Washington Times, which reported this last night, says, “The refusal by a Democrat to accept certified results is likely to fuel supporters of Mr. Trump, who believes he has valid reasons for contesting his apparent loss.” Ya think?

If you want a “literal civil war,” as some illiterate conservative hotheads are already claiming we have, this is a great way to push us in that direction, and I might grab a musket myself. Are Democrats really so deluded and power mad that they would try to seat a defeated House candidate by fiat in defiance of the state’s certification even as they deride the President’s campaign for challenging the results in several key states where vote-counting shenanigans appeared to be rampant?

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Monday Between Halloween And Scary Election Day Ethics,11/2/2020 [CORRECTED]

I had a conversation with a friend who said she would never speak to anyone so devoid of values and intelligence to vote for Donald Trump (she was bluffing) and then immediately thereafter demonstrated that she was incapable of explaining what was so unbearable about the President beyond generalities, Big Lies, and deflections (when the quality of the President’s advisors are a go-to argument three minutes in, you’ve got nothin’…) Upon cross examination, she could not coherently justify voting for Joe Biden either, except through denial (“He’s not senile, he’s just not as sharp as he used to be, and at that age, who is?” Yes, and that’s why nobody has run for President at that age. And no, Joe did not used to forget who he was running against, what office he was running for, or repeatedly get thousands mixed up with millions) even when it was acknowledged that he was far from the sharpest tack in the package. Finally, she said, “I’d vote for Biden even if he was completely demented.’

And there it is: the rational, informed, analytical Democratic voter. In the end, it’s mostly about hate.

  1. Speaking of dementia…Conservative flame-breathing pundit Kurt Schlichter tweeted that Sean Connery’s last words were “Elect Donald Trump.” Sure, Kurt. Yesterday I learned that 007 had been losing a long bout with dementia. If he was no longer compos mentis, that endorsement really isn’t worth much, and he would have been much more likely to endorse Biden out of comradery.

2. What’s going on here? What are we to make of all of the sudden reports that the President is surging in multiple states? For example, yesterday the Des Moines Register described the poll results showing that what had been a Biden lead was now a 9 point Trump advantage:  “Republican President Donald Trump has taken over the lead in Iowa as Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden has faded…”

There are similar stories coming out of other states, and more than one pollster is now predicting a decisive Trump win. Are pollsters deliberately trying to avoid a catastrophic embarrassment by hedging their bets at the last minute? Are conservative media forces trying to bolster GOP confidence to get out the vote? Are we witnessing another election where the undecideds suddenly all flip in the same direction in the final hours, like in 1948, 1980, 1988, and 2016?

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Lost Day Ethics Catch-Up, 9/19/2020: Even Ketchup Can’t Cover The Bad Taste Of This Post!

1.  Is it possible that this is real? A couple allegedly sent this email to wedding reception invitees, explaining that their meals would be determined by the value of the wedding gifts they planned on bringing.

Are there really people this crass? Who in their right mind would do anything but send a curt “Bite me!” note to such a couple, and resolve never to waste a second on them again?

2. OK, I don’t see anything wrong with this, at all. The assignment for an Iowa City school district online learning program asked students of all races to write four sentences about what they would do if they were a slave who was freed.

“Think very, very carefully about what your life would be like as a slave in 1865,” the students were asked.  “You can’t read or write and you have never been off the plantation you work on. What would you do when you hear the news you are free? What factors would play into the decision you make?” After an uproar from parents, the assignment was removed and the teacher was placed on administrative leave. A statement from the district called the assignment “inappropriate” and said it “does not support and will not tolerate this type of instruction.”

What would that be? Assignments that call for critical thought and imagination?

Dibny Gamez said her 14-year-old daughter, Ayesha, who is black, would not complete the assignment because it made her feel uncomfortable. “She just starts tearing up,” Gamez said. “And I was, like, ‘No, listen, you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are.’ I said, ‘You are beautiful for who you are. Don’t let not one soul make you uncomfortable for who you are.’” How would that assignment make a rational student be ashamed of who she is?

Justin Grinage, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Minnesota , claims that assignments asking students to role-play enslaved people or slave owners trivialize or distort the actual events of slavery. “The best-case scenario with lessons like this is that students come away with a fabricated lie about history. So, best-case scenario, they don’t really learn anything, or they learn the wrong thing,” Grinage told reporters. “Worst-case scenario is that it’s a deeply traumatic experience for students of color, particularly Black students.”

Why? Because he says so? Such an assignment is an excellent way to open up the topics of slavery, how it persisted, what led to its abolition, and why it is such an emotional and controversial issue, as well as empathy, the Golden Rule, and ethics. Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Iowa State Senator Dennis Guth (R-Klemme)

I really looked hard to find a non-creepy photo of this guy. This was the best I could do.

How does Congress end up with so many ignorant jerks with malfunctioning ethics alarms? This is how: states elect legislators like Dennis Guth.

Guth drafted  legislation after being upset by the story of one of his constituents whose marriage fell apart because her husband turned out to be gay. Naturally, it’s up to government to solve every problem, so Guth’s brain child, Senate File 2130, requires applicants for a marriage license  to specify whether they are bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, questioning, or “unsure.” Those who later engage in conduct contrary to that declaration would be considered by law to be liable for the dissolution of the marriage, and their transgression could result in their losing custody of their children. The Senate bill would make “sexual orientation fraud” a crime  on the same level as spousal abuse. If a member of a couple refuses to answer this intrusive question, the couple could not get a license. Continue reading

Now We Know Who Simpson College Is Named For, I Guess.

It must be Homer, because that appears to be the level of cognition being  taught to its students, by equally dunder-headed faculty.

I’ll try to make this short, because we’ve had the same discussion recently. I have made a vow, however, to remark with disgust on such idiocy every time it raises its hole-riddled Homer-shaped head.

John Bolen, a retired professor of religion working part-time at  Simpson College, uttered the dreaded shibboleth “nigger”  during a class. He used the word to discuss the word, of course, and not as a racial epithet, but Homer and similarly handicapped students can’t make such nuanced distinctions. Bolen was using the word to make the hackneyed, stale and simplistic analogy with the Washington, D.C. pro football team’s nickname “The Redskins,” but he triggered mass outage by not using baby-talk (“N-word”) or Pig Latin (“Iggernay”) instead of English as if his audience consisted of  adults and could hear a word used to describe itself without having a psychotic episode because of the color of the speaker. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/29/19: Sick Room Edition

I hope you’re feeling better than I am.

1. Sick Ethics. Being sick on the job is always an ethical conflict, and riddled with bias. My father’s approach, so characteristic of him as someone who insisted on going into the Battle of the Bulge as an officer with a mangled, recently-repaired foot that was still oozing blood, was to ignore the illness and soldier on. There are two problems with that, however. First, you are working at diminished capacity, and second, you risk infecting others. The problem is a bit easier when you have a home office like I do, but there is still a trade-off issue: if I “soldier on” like my father, do I risk a longer illness and reduced capacity for far longer than if I just took a day or two off to recuperate? In my case, this is always a tough call: I am very vulnerable to bronchitis and pneumonia following chest colds (that’s what I’ve got, big time, starting last night), and when the stuff I cough up starts attacking me through the Kleenex, I’m in big trouble that has sometimes lasted for months. There is also a bias problem when you feel rotten. Right now, I would love to lie down. I can’t think of anything I would like more. I bet I can rationalize air-tight reasons why I should lie down, despite all of the very valid reason not to.

2. And speaking of sick...All 50 states require vaccinations before children to attend school, but 47 of them  (California, Mississippi and West Virginia are the exceptions) allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have religious beliefs against immunizations. Eighteen states also allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have personal, moral or philosophical beliefs against immunizations, including beliefs that they can think straight when they are in fact idiots and get their medical advice from Jenny McCarthy and other hysterical anti-vaxxers. Oregon and Washington are among the states that allow for a parent’s personal beliefs to exempt their kids from being immunized, along with Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Vermont.

You know. Morons. Continue reading