Monday Ethics Nightcap, 6/29/2020: Fake Blackface, Fake News, Mississippi Stalling [#3 UPDATED ]

Good night!

1. Well, there’s blackface, then there’s dark make-up, then there’s stuff that idiots might think is blackface, as well as what someone may get offended over because they think it’s kind of like blackface—oh, what the hell, let’s ban it all. In a 1988 episode of “The Golden Girls,”  Dorothy’ son, Michael, who is white like his mother (played by the imposing, also white, Bea Arthur) is planning on marrying Lorraine, a much older black woman. Dorothy objects to the love birds’ age difference while Lorraine’s mother disapproves of Michael’s race, saying, “No daughter of mine is marrying some skinny white boy.” Then flighty  Rose (Betty White) and sex-obsessed Blanche (Rue McClanahan) interrupt the potential in-laws show-down by walking into the room wearing their mud facial masks.

Rose stammers: “This is mud on our faces; we’re not really black!”

“The Golden Girls” was a consistently liberal-tilting show, and the episode was obviously making fun of racial sensitivities. Never mind. Hulu has pulled it.
Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Catch-Up, 5/17/2020: Consequentialism, Graft, Firing the IGs And More Proof Of NFL Rot, As If You Needed Any

Good day!

Lots of ethics flotsam and jetsam hanging around, mostly on my office floor…

1. Speaking of the NFL, the most unethical sports organization extant…Four NFL players were taken into police custody in a span of less than 24 hours from yesterday morning to yesterday evening. First Washington Redskins wide receiver Cody Latimer, was arrested after an incident that started with shots being fired. He was booked on charges of assault in the second degree, menacing, illegal discharge of a firearm, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Later Saturday, Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar and Giants cornerback Deandre Baker  turned themselves in after arrest warrants were issued for the two players. Baker was accused of using a semi-automatic firearm last week to rob multiple people, with Dunbar’s help, of more than $11,000 in cash plus watches and other valuables worth more than $60,000. Then, last night, Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested on charges of DWI and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Even for the NFL, which has more players arrested and charged with felonies in any single season as Major League Baseball has had in the last 40 years, this was impressive.  The sport recruits its stars from among fake college students who receive little education while being pampered and idolized, with the predictable result.

2. Firing the IGs. President Trump’s latest controversy involves firing the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick. This is the latest of several such firings: before this, we saw the dumping of then-Inspector General for the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson for his role in the whistleblower complaint that prompted the Ukraine probe, and the firing of Glenn Fine, the inspector general overseeing pandemic relief. Continue reading

No, The President Isn’t A Dictator, But Given The Opportunity, These Elected Officials Might Be

There are many ironies and contradictions in the various government reactions to the Wuhan virus, some quite yummy, like the municipalities that had banned plastic bags that are now forced to ban the re-usable kind, and demand the use of the plastic once again. Some day, when this is all over, we can sit around and laugh about it all.

This development, however, is not funny: a frightening number of governors, mayors and police officers have demonstrated how much of our democracy is currently entrusted to nascent totalitarians. I know, I know: to protect the public in a unique crisis, extraordinary measures must be taken, and because so many in our democracy don’t really possess the intelligence and sense of social responsibility that the Founders, in their idealistic fervor, decided to pretend they had (much less the common sense of the average meerkat), sometimes those measures must be accompanied by the force of law. However, because it is a democracy and one that begins with wariness of governments infringing on personal liberties, and will end with our governments being supported when they decided those liberties can be ignored on a whim and a hunch, the recent gusto with which elected officials and their police forces have felt justified in crushing those liberties are warnings that responsible citizens must not let go unpunished. I wrote about one example here, regarding Vermont’s governor’s move to stop the big box stores from selling items Maple Syrup big Brother considers “non-essential.” There are more.

Ethics Alarms already covered the father taken away in handcuffs for playing T-ball on on otherwise empty field with his wife and 6-year-old child, but the Philadephia police pulling  people off  buses for not wearing masks, or the aspiring fascist officer  who tried to  chase down single jogger on an empty beach initially escaped my attention. There are so many examples, you see. Continue reading

Ruby Tuesday Ethics Round-Up, 1/21/2020: The Boy Scouts Are Going Down, Curtis Flowers Is Getting Out, And David Hogg Is Still An Ignorant Yutz

Good morning, everybody!

Good morning, Mick!

It’s disturbing how things get planted in my head: I couldn’t get the Rolling Stones out of it after someone commented, in reaction to an observation that we had another anti-Trump freakout looming when Justice Ginsberg dies, to the effect that she was the Keith Richards of the Supreme Court. Okay, but she has to leave us sometime,  as do we all, and I would bet that she cannot last another four years. I don’t even like to think about how low Democrats, the “resistance” and the news media will go to try to block the confirmation of a conservative replacement, or the hysteria that will follow.

1. The Lesson: organizations tend to act to protect themselves, not the victims of their misconduct. The Boy Scouts of America may face bankruptcy as lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by leaders and volunteers proliferate. The crisis is greatly aggravated by the loosening statutes of limitations across the country. The District of Columbia  eliminated the statute of limitations that restricted  the time for sexual abuse survivors to pursue civil litigation,  and created a two-year window for survivors under the age of 40 to file suit regardless of the date of the incident.  Accordingly,  Abused in Scouting filed suit in Washington, D.C., on behalf of eight men who say they were victimized as boys by Scout leaders and volunteers. The same process is going on in California, where similar suits are underway by 14 plaintiffs. California’s Assembly Bill 218 just kicked in on January 1, like D.C.’s law allowing victims of child sexual assault to file suit until age 40 and opening a three-year window for those abused as children to sue for past incidents.  Many more states have or soon will follow suit.

This appears to be ready to follow the awful path of the Catholic Church’s child molestation scandal, with similar evidence of cover-ups. The BSOA are a lot smaller than the Church, but they also have far less money to pay in multi-million dollar court settlements. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to see this coming, and the Scouts were already in trouble, with a blurring mission, falling membership and gender issues.

The Boy Scouts saved my father’s life, as I’ve related on Ethics Alarms elsewhere. I’m glad he didn’t live to see this. Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms “I Don’t Understand This At All” Files: The Persecution Of Curtis Flowers

The Mississippi Supreme Court yesterday threw out the murder conviction of Curtis Flowers—again. Two months ago,  the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor, Doug Evans, methodically kept blacks  off the jury, a clear violation of Flowers’ rights by SCOTUS precedent. Evans is white, Flowers is black, and he has now been tried six times for the same crime, the 1996 murders of four people in a Winona, Mississippi furniture store. Every trial has ended in a mistrial or a conviction that was subsequently overturned on appeal because of prosecutorial conduct.

Just pause and take all of that in for a moment. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Pick-Me–Up, 6/15/2019: The “Oh, Fine, It’s Afternoon Already And I’m Barely Awake” Edition

Bvuh.

Travel hangover today: I’ll do the best I can…

1. Thank you, loyal commenters, for a yeoman job in yesterday’s Open Forum.

2. Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck update. Now the historical airbrushers (all from Progressiveland, just in case you couldn’t guess) are going after Civil War recreations and commemorative events. The head of the Lake County Forest Preserve in Illinois declared that there would be no more annual Civil War Days event after next  month’s edition, if he gets his way. He doesn’t think Confederate flags should ever be displayed, even in battle recreations. Besides, he wants the event to be retooled so that instead of commemorating the single most important period and struggle in U.S. history, it advances an understanding of climate change.

(Who are these people? How did they get this way? What do we do about them so the cultural damage they inflict is contained?)

The home-grown historical censor also said,

“This has nothing we want, nor should celebrate, nor re-enact. When southern states are being made to tear down every statute representing this racist, murdering chapter of our history, I can’t believe here in Lake County our own forest preserve is preserving and celebrating it every year, and with our tax dollars.”

This deliberately brain-dead approach to U.S. history is working (aided greatly by the atrocious neglect of American history in our schools), and by working I mean promoting ignorance so citizens can be more easily misled. The Wall Street Journal reported that visits to Civil War national battlefields are falling off. Over 10 million Americans visited  Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, Chickamauga/Chattanooga, and Vicksburg  in 1970. They only had 3.1 million visitors last year.

That’s about as many tourists as visited the “Cheers” bar in Boston.

3. Oberlin race-baiting update: in case you missed it, the jury in the Gibson’s Bakery case  hit the college with the maximum punitive damages, capped by law at 22 million dollars.  Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/31/2018: “Goodbye 2018, And Good Riddance!” Edition

Happy dying gasps of 2018!

1. Double standards inquiry: Will someone please explain to me why this magazine cover, which made O.J. Simpson blacker than he really is…

 

was universally condemned as racist, and this current cover of New York Times Magazine, making the late Aretha Franklin look like a ravenous rotting zombie from Hell..

…is just an artistic choice? (ARRGHHHHH!!!)

2. And speaking of looks…It is impossible not to notice that TV commercials are increasingly featuring overweight, ordinary-looking actors instead of the impossibly beautiful people who once were the automatic choices to sell products. This is an ethical development for the culture generally, and should help children develop more realistic aspirations regarding their own appearance. Now if only TV dramas would adopt the same inclusive casting policies—a particularly egregious candidate for reform is “law and Order” creator Dick Wolf.  His old series cast one eye-popping beauty after another as the male ADA’s sidekick, and now he is stocking his current NBC line-up of Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD, with police women, female firefighters and distaff doctors who would be right at home in the pages of Vogue.

3.  More on “Enemies of the People”: Novelist and conservative gadfly Sarah Hoyt has issued a spirited defense—okay, it’s a screed, a rant even— of President Trump’s characterization of the news media, going over ground I have covered (most recently here and here), but with special brio. Read the whole thing— she is mostly right, if a bit hyperbolic and inflammatory—but here are some highlights: Continue reading

Mississippi Stinking

Gee, I wonder why feminists aren’t cheering the Cindy Hyde-Smith victory in the Senate run-off in Mississippi yesterday.  After all, she is the first female U.S. Senator in the state. And she’s a woman, and weren’t we told in the 2016 election that this alone mandated voting for a candidate, and nothing else should matter?  Admittedly, Hyde-Smith was an especially stinky candidate—inept, unqualified, addicted to sticking her foot in her mouth—but then so was Hillary Clinton. Why does being a woman outweigh all that baggage when the candidate is a Democrat but not when she’s a Republican? Or is the theory that electing a black Senator cancels out the “vote for any woman over any man”  rule?

I need this written down, I guess.

Of course, the losing Democratic candidate, Mike Espy, was pretty stinky himself, corrupt and dishonest, as well as addicted to race-baiting when the opportunity arose. He was required to quit Bill Clinton’s Cabinet after multiple accusations of corrupt dealings and illegal gift-accepting, then accepted a $750,000 consulting deal from former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo’s government in 2011. Espy’s former client is now standing trial for “crimes against humanity.” After Espy came under scrutiny for lobbying for Gbagbo, he claimed he had dropped the  contract once he learned that Gbagbo was a “bad guy.”  Continue reading

The Good Immigrant II: The Loudmouth “Dreamer”

dani-vargas

Ooooh, I bet a lot of people are just going to hate this.

 22-year-old Daniela Vargas decided to participate in a pro-illegal immigrant news conference this week in Jackson, Mississippi. Two weeks before , ICE officials had handcuff her father and brother in the family’s driveway, for they, like her, were Argentines living in the U.S. illegally. Vargas was only 7 years old when she accompanied her father, mother and brother on a three-month visitor’s visa in 2001. The visa ran out, but they stayed in the Palmetto State.

Daniela had been protected as a “Dreamer” (another progressive euphemism designed to not only obscure truth but to make something that is nothing to be proud of sound benign, even cute) when she was 17 in December 2012 and again in November of 2014. She allowed that protection to lapse, and was officially violating the law for the last three months.

Nonetheless she put herself in front of a microphone and TV cameras this week to proclaim her defiance of the law. “Today my father and brother await deportation,while I continue to fight this battle as a dreamer to help contribute to this country which I feel that is very much my country,” she said.

Then, as Vargas drove home,  ICE agents pulled her over,  handcuffed her and took her to join her family as a first step to deportation.

Good.

Are you outraged? Really? This is a key breach of the common sense, “Don’t rub your law-breaking in the authorities’ faces rule.”  I remember my Dad one time, driving me to the airport when I was late for a flight, passing a state trooper who was going over the speed limit himself.  The trooper pulled us over, and was spitting mad. “You had the gall to flaunt speeding right in my face!” he said, barely under control. “That’s an insult to me, and the law. Just cruise by me going ten miles an hour faster as if I was nothing? No respect at all!” he said.  My dad could only say “I’m very sorry, officer. I didn’t intend to be disrespectful, but you are right. It was.” (He got a ticket.)

Vargas was so certain that she was immune from the laws of ” this country which she feels that is very much my country” that she flaunted her illegal status, after shrugging off her obligation to take the required steps to stay here. Like father, like daughter.

In a statement, an ICE spokesman confirmed that immigration officials took Vargas as “an unlawfully present Argentinian citizen,” into custody  “during a targeted immigration enforcement action” after the agency verified that her DACA status had lapsed.

Now the hashtag #freedany is being  spread on social media as an immigrant rights group, United We Dream, are encouraging young  illegal  immigrants  to sign a petition to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly demanding Vargas’s release. Its introduction says,,

“ICE agents detained 22 year old Dany Vargas just hours after she courageously spoke about her fear of deportation at a press conference…Dany came to the U.S. when she was 7 years old and was a beneficiary of the DACA program. She is a manager at a small store and dreams of becoming a math teacher.

Like many beneficiaries of the DACA program, paying the nearly $500 in fees every two years was hard and her DACA status expired. However, she saved up, got the money together and her renewal application is now in the approval process. But because of this technicality, ICE tracked her down, and put her into the deportation pipeline.”

Please.

“ICE agents detained 22 year old Dany Vargas just hours after she courageously spoke about her fear of deportation at a press conference…”

The proper word is not “courageously.” Stupidly, defiantly, foolishly, disrespectfully, arrogantly—ask that state trooper for the right words. Flaunting the law in the faces of law enforcement is many things, but it is not courageous.

“She is a manager at a small store and dreams of becoming a math teacher.” Continue reading

From The “Why People Hate Lawyers” File: The Lawyer Who Bit Off More Than He Could Chew

"Bit--off--too-much--chicken--no---plastic---knife---ARRRGH!"

“Bit–off–too–much–chicken–no—plastic—knife—ARRRGH!

Paul Newton Jr., a lawyer in Gulfport, Mississippi, sued Popeye’s after he required emergency surgery to remove a chunk of fried chicken from his throat last November. He claims the fast-food restaurant was negligent and caused his near fatal accident because it didn’t include a plastic knife along with the “spork” in his drive-through order.

Newton says he consumed  the meal (two chicken breasts, an order of red beans and rice, a biscuit and a soft drink…YUM!) in his office, and had to “hold a chicken breast in his hands and to tear off pieces thereof with his teeth.”In the  lawsuit , the lawyer maintains Popeyes had a duty to provide the appropriate utensils so customers will be able “to cut their purchased food orders into appropriate portions.”

Newton abandoned his chicken suit–well, not his chicken suit, but his chicken lawsuit— the Huffington Post reported, after receiving “extreme comments directed to me and my family.”

Like “Learn to eat!”, maybe? Continue reading