Ethics Jump Ball: What Is An Ethical Reaction To This Story?


From the BBC (2008):

An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey.

The naked body of Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, 33, known as Pippa Bacca, was found in bushes near the northern city of Gebze on Friday.

She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.

Turkish police say they have detained a man in connection with the killing.

Reports say the man led the police to the body.

I think I’ll add my reactions to the comments.

Fragments can be found in the tags.

You go first.


Pointer: Red Flag

Bill Clinton’s Predator Past Rises Again To Haunt Hillary: Fair?

hand rising

It is more than fair, actually. This is what George Will calls “condign justice.” It is so appropriate, ironic and long deserved  that all fair-minded Americans should run into the street shouting “Calloo! Callay!”

Well, metaphorically at least.

The fact that Bill Clinton smugly ducked impeachment while damaging the law, the culture, his office and his party in the process (just ask President Gore) and was allowed to slip easily into the role of beloved elder statesman and obscenely compensated celebrity speaker was enough to make one question the existence of cosmic justice. The fact that his wife was allowed to undermine the cases of his various victims and then achieve high elected office wearing the mantle of feminist champion was, if possible, worse, a catalyst for cynicism and despair.

I know of what I speak.

But as American jurist John Bannister Gibson (1780-1853) observed, “Millstones of Justice turn exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly fine.” Both Bill and Hillary got careless and smug as time went on, as the culture evolved around them, not entirely in healthy ways, but definitely dangerous ways for them. Thanks to the Obama Administration’s weaponizing of sexual discrimination, bias and assault for partisan combat, feminists adopted an extreme and dangerous approach to sexual assault, taking the position that all women who accuse a man of rape or assault must begin with the presumption of credibility, in direct contradiction of long-held, core principles of American justice, which hold that the presumption of innocence rests with the accused, and an alleged victim must still prove her case. The Democratic Party, which back in Bill’s day shrugged off Clinton’s conduct with rationalizations like “Everybody does it” and fictions like “Illicit sexual activity by the President in his office with an employee that he subsequently lies about under oath and uses his power as President to evade responsibility for is personal conduct” (Bernie Sanders, who is old and didn’t get the memo, just repeated this canard: Try to keep up, Bernie!), embraced the feminist position with foolish and undemocratic gusto, and suddenly Hillary Clinton was saying, as if the history of her husband didn’t exist, that all victims of sexual abuse had the right to be believed. She said this, and then sent Bill out on the road to support her. Continue reading

And The Answer Is: “Well, Talk Show Host Arthur King On Maine’s WGAN, For One…”

WGAN logoOne of several cantankerous commenters on the inexplicably contentious Julian Batts post wrote, in the course of his generalized abuse, “Who would ever book you? LOL.” (Those familiar with this forum know it was the “LOL” that got him banned more than the insult). The  rhetorical question was also secretly ironic, because I was booked that very day (yesterday) on an early morning talk show, by Arthur King, an occasional commenter here who has  me on South Portland, Maine’s WGAN as his guest occasionally.

You can listen to the segment here. Much thanks to Arthur, for both a professionally run interview and great timing.

Donald Rumsfeld And The Irony Of Hair-Trigger Race-baiters

chimp-jackLook around the web, and you will find some vituperative leftist bloggers and tweeters condemning Donald Rumsfeld as a racist, based on his criticism of Barack Obama. True, any criticism of Barack Obama is presumptively racist—did anyone predict that an unintended consequence of the first black President would be de facto suppression of legitimate political criticism?—-but Rumsfeld, we are told, really proved he’s just like all conservatives, Republicans and teapartiers because he recently said, criticizing the Obama administration’s eminently criticizable  policies in Afghanistan:

“A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship.”

GOTCHA! Comparing a black President to an ape! Proof positive of racial bigotry!

Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla)

“Three black teens shoot white jogger. Who will [Mr. Obama] identify w/ this time?”

Allen West, African-American conservative and formerly a Republican Congressman, in a tweet chiding President Obama for his identification of black shooting victim Trayvon Martin with his hypothetical son and himself, because of their common race.

finger-pointingYou will note that I didn’t say “ethical quote.” I don’t know that West’s quote is ethical. He is a metaphorical bomb-thrower, and exploiting this horrible story to say “how dya like it when its thrown right back at ya, sport?” to President Obama may be satisfying (and well-earned), but I’m not sure it’s productive or responsible. I detested the President’s two comments on the Martin case, and think that they were ill-considered and destructive, but this kind of tit for tat mockery doesn’t clarify why his comments were wrong.

On the other hand, West’s tweet raises some valid ethics points in a modicum of keystrokes. How do we know this killing was racist? Just because the assailants were black and the victim was white, there is no reason to assume that their motive of killing someone for the fun of it wasn’t race blind. Race isn’t always a factor just because the victim and perpetrator are different colors, just as it may not have been a factor in the Martin slaying—which is why a prudent and responsible President should have kept his self-centered musings to himself. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978)

The Angry Man

The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street —
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled “Tolerance.”

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, “I am he
Who champions total liberty —
Intolerance being, ma’am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

“When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma’am.” His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
“Let the Intolerant beware!”

Poet Phyllis McGinley, quoted in the comment thread on the Volokh Conspiracy’s post about the Supreme Court decision this week in Glowicki vs. Howell Public School District. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Mayor Bloomberg’s Pizza Petard

"No pizza for you!"

“No pizza for you!”

I came thiiiiis close to making this an Ethics Hero post, then I realized that the story was a gag.

But fictional tales pose real ethics dilemmas: let’s see if you can resolve the one raised by this spoof.

According to the satirical  Daily Currant, Mayor Bloomberg, better known in NYC as the Nanny Mayor who has, among other measures, decreed how much sweet soda pop one is allowed to sell or purchase to consume, was having a business lunch at Collegno’s Pizzeria. When he asked for second slice of pizza, however, he was refused.

“I’m sorry sir,” the Currant quoted owner “Antonio Benito” as replying, “we can’t do that. You’ve reached your personal slice limit.” And he wasn’t kidding.

“OK, that’s funny,” the alternate universe New York Mayor remarked, “because of the soda thing … No come on. I’m not kidding. I haven’t eaten all morning, just send over another pepperoni.”

“I’m sorry sir. We’re serious,” Benito said. “We’ve decided that eating more than one piece isn’t healthy for you, and so we’re forbidding you from doing it.”

Bloomberg, in the Currant’s account, then snapped., saying:  “Look jackass. I fucking skipped breakfast this morning just so I could eat four slices of your pizza. Don’t be a schmuck, just get back to the kitchen and bring out some fucking pizza, okay.”

Benito stood fast! “I’m sorry sir, there’s nothing I can do. Maybe you could go to several restaurants and get one slice at each. At least that way you’re walking. You know, burning calories.”


If only it were true… Continue reading

An Ethical, Effective, and Ironic Counter-Protest

Hey, thanks guys! Keep it up!

The OWS protesters could learn a thing or 2, 456 from the clever students at Missouri’s Clayton High School. You see,  protests don’t have to be obnoxious and pointless, if organizers have their wits about them and a clear objective in mind.

After Fred Phelps’ vicious, hateful, and Constitutionally-protected Westboro Baptist Church announced that it planned to take a break from disturbing family funerals for fallen American soldiers who perished for their country in order to demonstrate against Clayton High’s  Gay-Straight Alliance, the student leaders of the Alliance  organized what they call a “Phelps-a-Thon.” Donors are pledging to give money to the Gay-Straight Alliance’s human rights initiatives for every minute the Phelpsians are chanting and waiving their homophobic signs and placards.

Voila! The longer they demonstrate against gays, the more money they raise for gay rights, thus damning themselves to be slowly cut up into little shreds  by sadistic demon high-school cafeteria workers wielding dull vegetable peelers, then reassembled by cubist jokesters, and forced to watch re-runs of RuPaul’s reality show for all eternity, or whatever happens to horrid people like them in Hell.

Peaceful, effective, lucrative, pointed, simple, and funny. You can’t have a more ethical protest than that!

[Thanks to Jeff Hibbert for the tip!]

Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue

Gov, Beverly Perdue: Aspiring dictator? Ultra-Dry comedian? Doorstop?

As the United States struggles to solve a myriad of entrenched systemic problems—the list, according to NYT columnist David Brooks: “the lack of consumer demand, the credit crunch, the continuing slide in housing prices, the freeze in business investment, the still hefty consumer debt levels and the skills mismatch,not to mention regulatory burdens, the business class’s utter lack of confidence in the White House, the looming explosion of entitlement costs, the public’s lack of confidence in institutions across the board”…he may have missed one or two—it is alarming how many prominent individuals have announced their readiness to abandon representative democracy or part of it. Even the President himself has wistfully said that he wishes he could bypass Congress. His former budget director, Peter Orszag, has an essay in the current New Republic is which he calls for “less democracy.” Hollywood liberals have been quick to follow this theme; Woody Allen told an overseas journalist that the United States would be better off if Obama could be a benevolent dictator.

I think this is playing with fire and  irresponsible in the extreme, particularly given the last item in Brooks’s list. This position is especially irresponsible when it comes from elected officials in high offices, and thus it isn’t surprising that when Nouth Carolina’s Democratic governor, Beverly Perdue, told a rotary club event in Cary, N.C. … Continue reading

The Worst Humanitarian Award Winner of the Year

Michael Brown---wife-beater, humanitarian.

Michael Brown founded Houston’s Brown Hand Center, which specializes in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. He is now on trial for assault, after being arrested last year for attacking his his wife, twisting her arm behind her back and, among other things, hurling his 2010 Joanne King Herring Humanitarian Award at her.

I have often thought that those who give out humanitarian awards for specific instances of good conduct have an ethical obligation to make sure that recipients conform to the definition of “humanitarian” in their overall conduct. One of the definitions of humanitarian is “ethical.” Official pronouncements that an individual is ethical can be very effective false advertising for the character of someone who is anything but. Mr. Brown illustrates my concerns.

By 2010, when Brown received his award, he had already pleaded no-contest in 2002 to aggravated assault for beating then-pregnant wife, Darlina Brown, with a bed post. Call me a stickler, but I think there should be an automatic “Beating a pregnant woman with bedpost” disqualification provision for humanitarian awards. Then, in 2006, Dr. Brown’s medical license was revoked after he tested positive for cocaine use. So to summarize, at the time he was deemed worthy of the honor of being the 2010 humanitarian of the year, Brown was already an admitted wife-beater and an ex-doctor found unfit for the continued practice of medicine.

What a guy!

How about a rule that if you try to kill someone with your humanitarian award, it is automatically revoked?

Too strict?