Ethics Dunce: Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

Mayor Trivial T. Spineless

He was, without question, the best mayor Fort Wayne, Indiana has ever had. When he first took office, he consolidated city departments launched construction of Fort Wayne’s massive underground sewage system and built the city sewage treatment plant, which is used to this day, seventy years later. When W.W. II came, he held war materials drives, upgraded city equipment and services, and broke ground for was is now Fort Wayne International Airport. and lowered city tax rates. In his last term, he opened up a major area of the town for development by elevating the railroad tracks. And he kept taxes low.

For 21 years beginning in 1934, this dedicated public servant was only not mayor for three years: he died at his post in 1954. And the people of Ft. Wayne haven’t forgotten him. This year, when city officials asked its citizens to vote on whose name the new government center should bear, the response was overwhelming. Ten times more people again voted for the former mayor they had always voted for while he was alive than for anyone or anything else (the runner-up choice was “Thunderdome”).

The current mayor, however, has decided not follow the results of the poll. He thinks the name would be inappropriate. You see, the famous leader that the people of Fort Wayne want to honor was named Harry Baals.

The current mayor’s name?  Trivial T. Spineless. Continue reading

More Zombie Ethics: George Lucas, Re-Animator

It seems that cinema innovator and mega-mogul George Lucas is using a large chunk of his “Star Wars” merchandising lucre to purchase the rights to screen images of dead movie stars. His plan is to give his tech-magicians at LucasArt the opportunity to perfect the process of re-animating and manipulating them to appear in new roles in new films. Imagine Humphrey Bogart in “Pirates of the Caribbean 5”! Imagine Marilyn Monroe joining the girls in “Sex and the City 2”!  Imagine Cary Grant in a buddy picture with Adam Sandler! Or Jar Jar Binks.

Undoubtedly there are many movie fans who would enjoy having digitally resurrected Hollywood legends appearing side-by-side current idols, and there is probably a lot of money to be made by giving them what they want. Turning deceased stars into computer-generated images and making them do and say anything the programmers choose, with the pace, volume and inflection the directors desire, would represent a significant technological advance. Another obvious benefit is that Lucas’s method is preferable to just digging up the carcasses of the acting greats, hanging them on wires, and using machinery to parade them through movie sets like marionettes.

But not much. 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