Strange Tales Of The Ethically Clueless 1%: When A Birthday Gift Is Worse Than No Gift At All

"Oh, thank you, kind sir!"

“Oh, thank you, kind sir!”

The title of Ethics Dunce doesn’t do Fort Wayne Newspapers CEO Mike Christman justice.

In order to “celebrate” his employees’ birthdays, and, of course, recognize his loyal staff’s value, hard work, industry and loyalty, he gives each member of his corporate family a small token of his  appreciation on his or her birthday, and I do mean small token: a $1.25 token that can be used to buy a soda or a snack at a company vending machine.

How condescending, demeaning, disrespectful, insulting and, of course, cheap: the equivalent of a pat on the head. In the Gilded Age, rich men would occasionally drop nickles on the street for the street urchins to pick up. John D. Rockefeller was the most famous practitioner of this form of low-level charity, though he would use dimes. During the Depression, though he was still a billionaire, he switched to nickels. (Nickels in the Great Depression were worth a lot more than $1.25 today.) His beneficiaries were children, however. 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