Tag Archives: modesty

Ethics Quiz: The Disappointed Valedictorian’s Billboard

Gary Allmon purchased the large digital billboard above on U.S. Highway 264 in Wake County, North Carolina to honor  his son, Joshua. The message was on display for 10 days through June 12, the day of East Wakefield High’s graduation ceremony.

The  school recently replaced valedictorians with the Latin honors ranking system used in colleges–summa, magna, cum—as a fairer and more accurate way to honor academic performance. Josh’s transcript shows him ranked as number one, and he felt robbed.

“It’s a stupid rule that will hurt students down the line, but it’ll accomplish their goal of making everyone feel equal,” he wrote on Twitter. He has a full scholarship to North Carolina State University to study chemical engineering. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Quizzes, U.S. Society

The Wake-Up Call And The Power Cord

As you may have noticed, your host has been involuntarily separated from Ethics Alarms for about 24 hours. Several things occurred that under normal circumstances would have had me dashing off a post while waiting for flights or preparing to check out of my hotel—and there were definitely several comments that had me reaching for a phantom keyboard—but I was without laptop, thanks to leaving the power cord behind in my previous hotel.

So I have a little story to tell. I stayed at a decent Boston hotel last night, not a 4 star hotel like the one I just left  in Atlanta (The Four Seasons), but a nice one, professionally run, dependable. Yet this morning this was my wake-up call, via recording:

“It’s 7 AM. This is your wake-up call for March 8, 2018.”

Almost at the same time, David Hogg was on CNN, explaining how darned easy it was to create a system that would prevent school shootings forevermore.

Wrong. Systems break down, you experience-free, arrogant, disrespectful, know-nothing puppet.  The belief that human beings can devise systems that will solve every problem, or any problem, and do what they are designed to do without failing miserably at the worst possible times and in the worst imaginable ways is signature significance for a fool, or a child. O-Rings fail. Police don’t act on warnings that a kid is violent. Obamacare raises health care premiums.  Political parties end up nominating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Jack Ruby breaks past police security. Communism ends up killing hundreds of millions rather than creating a worker paradise. The Titanic hits the wrong iceberg exactly where it’s weakest. Hitler takes a sleeping pill during the Normandy invasion.

The T-Rex gets loose. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Marketing and Advertising, War and the Military, Workplace

The Cast Of ABC’s “Modern Family” Attends A Promotional Screening Of The Show’s Season Finale: Discuss.

The actress is 19-year-old Ariel Winter, and suggested topics are standards, good taste, manners, modesty, decorum, respect, exhibitionism and narcissism.

Also showboating, and “when teens need a good talking-to by a responsible adult.”

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein

“That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It’s baseball–a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan.”

—-Theo Epstein, president of the Major League Baseball’s 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs, upon learning that Fortune Magazine had chosen him #1 among “The World’s Greatest Leaders” in a click-bait list released last week.

Thank-you, Theo, for explaining moral luck and the perils of consequentialism to the public. When it came down to the final innings of Game 7 in last year’s World Series, it looked for a while like Cubs manager Joe Maddon was about to blow the chance to win an elusive title after over a century of frustration by keeping his clearly gassed closer on the game. That his risky decision didn’t make Maddon a goat for the ages and Epstein one more name in the long list of Cubs saviors was pure moral luck—the element of chance that often distinguished heroes from villains. winners from losers and geniuses from fools in the public’s mind—and gross consequentialism, judging decisions by their uncontrollable results rather than their objectively judged wisdom and ethics at the time they were made.

If the Cleveland Indians had won that crucial game in extra-inning, no matter how, Epstein might have made Fortune’s list (I doubt it), but he would have been nowhere near the top. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Quotes, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Sports

Comment Of The Day: “Gee, Would It Really Have Been So Hard For Democrats And The News Media To Just …Wow.”

Spartan (“Sparty” to her friends) is a D.C. area lawyer  and professional woman, was well as the mother of girls. Thus her observations on the travails of women in the Halls of Power have special interest.

Here is Spartan’s “Comment of the Day” on post,  Gee, Would It Really Have Been So Hard For Democrats And The News Media To Just To Admit That Rep. Richmond’s ‘The President’s Female Counselor Looks Like She’s Used To Giving Blow-jobs’ Joke Was Wrong, Period? Apparently So. Wow:

I am going to criticize Ms. Conway for a minute, and I hope you all bear with me.

I am a career woman and, in fact, am the breadwinner for my family. Jack’s sister and I probably could exchange endless stories about the challenges of being a successful white collar female. I accept this as a fact in my life and recognize that I am held to a different standard without being bitter or loud about it. I did not wear red and stay home today despite the protest. In fact, I was supposed to be out of the office for meetings all day but deliberately came into the office so there would not be a presumption that I was taking part. I do not wear low cut dresses or stiletto heels. I do not sleep around the office — and never have. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Farewell To Yogi Berra (1925-2015)

yogi_berraP14

Whether celebrating the life of Yogi Berra has anything to do with ethics is debatable, I guess, but I feel ethically obligated to note his passing.

My father loved him: next to Ted Williams, who had the added enhancement of being a two war veteran and war hero, Yogi was Dad’s favorite athlete even though he hated the Yankees almost as much as I do. [ CORRECTION: I am reminded  by reader John Condray that Yogi was also a war hero, “serving on the LCSS (dubbed “Landing Craft, Suicide Squad” by sailors since they operated in harm’s way). He was at D-Day & the Anvil landings in southern France – where he was grazed by a bullet from a Nazi machine gun.” I’m sure Dad knew that, and I should have.]

Berra was a unique and successful baseball player, a Hall of Fame catcher, and that rarity, a completely benign and welcome presence, always. A poor kid from a St.Louis Italian-American ghetto, he managed to project himself as a nice guy who was grateful to be able to make a living playing a kids game, and who never felt superior to anyone. He was an 8th grade drop-out, and always happy to play the fool, but those who knew him realized quickly that Yogi Berra was as witty and savvy as he was modest. If anyone didn’t like Lawrence Peter Berra, he or she never had the guts to say so in public. He really appears to be just as nice, honest and modest a man as he seemed to be.

Maybe that’s what Yogi Berra’s life has to do with ethics. He had a successful and long lasting marriage to his wife Carmen, successfully raised a family, was in public life for six decades without saying a mean word against anyone, entertained and thrilled millions of baseball fans, was the epitome of a professional, and left the world richer for his being in it.

You don’t get much more ethical than that.

You can read more about Berra here and here; his statistics are here. As you may know, Berra’s talent for coming up with funny quotes, many of which were deceptively wise and showed a deft sense of internal irony and word play, became as celebrated as his baseball achievements. Today those quotes are everywhere, including some that he may not have said. As Yogi did say once, “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”

Below are 25 of my personal favorites.  Some of them make me laugh every time I read them.

What a great life. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Humor and Satire, Quotes

29 Reasons Why “81 Things Mike Huckabee Has Denounced” Should Be Denounced

 

Republican National Convention

Political reporter—not humorist, not feature-writer, but reporter—David Farenthold of the Washington Post wrote a long feature (it is a hit piece, disguised) called “81 Things Mike Huckabee has denounced.” It doesn’t matter to me which politician this kind of junk is written to trash: Huckabee’s as deserving a target as anyone. On my rapidly growing list of candidates I would take a hacksaw to my neck before voting for, he is filed somewhere among Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal and The Donald. Farenthold’s  article itself would be unethical if it was written about The Green River Killer. It is in that horrible abuse of journalism category known here as “Making Readers Dumber and Less Ethically Astute Than They Already Are.

Here are the 29 reasons why I am denouncing “81 Things Mike Huckabee has denounced.”

Reasons #1-7 It is dishonest.

It’s pretty obvious what the post is about, but the author doesn’t have the guts or the honesty to admit it. The real title should be, “Mike Huckabee opposes gay marriage, so it’s okay for me to trash him about everything I can think of whether it’s fair or not.”  After correctly noting in his reasons 3 (“Same-sex marriage”) and 4. (“The Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.”) that Huckabee is not a fan of gay marriages,  Farenthold also devotes 68 though 79, plus 81, on his list of his  “things” directly to this, and in deceitful fashion  places the last 13 of them at the end of his list. Many are misleading in the context of his stated purpose, giving me seven reasons to denounce his list:

  • #68. claims that Huckabee “denounced”  “Homosexuality, in general” when he referred to it as  “a sin” 41 years ago in a Baptist newspaper advice column.  That’s not a denunciation. To a Baptist, that’s a statement of fact.  (Reason #1 )
  • In #70,  Farenthold says that Huckabee denounced “Homosexuality, in general” is this quote: “I’ve had people who are gay that worked on my staff. It’s not like I’m some homophobe. If you ask me is it the normal pathway? I don’t think so.” “I don’t think homosexuality is a normal pathway” is a “denunciation”? No, it’s an opinion, and not even an inflammatory one. Gays comprise less than 10% of the population: that alone is sufficient to justify “not normal.” (Reason #1)
  • In #71. Farenthold accuses the Republican of “denouncing”  gay parents by saying, “The children…really cannot, get critical early-life lessons in how a heterosexual family functions successfully.” OK, maybe, and so what? And adopted boys raised by a lesbian couple can’t get critical  early-life lessons in how to use a urinal. (Reason #3 )
  • For his 72nd  item, Farenthold calls this statement…

“Of the seventy-three sex scenes shown that week…two involved male homosexual couples.”

…a denunciation of  “Same-sex couples in TV shows.” Pointing out a statistic is now “denunciation”? (Reason #4)

  • #74 alleges that  “It actually became easier to get out of a marriage than to get out of a contract for the purchase of a used car!” is a denunciation of “Allowing heterosexual couples an easy path to divorce. ”  In fact, he was talking about divorces generally, in a book about strengthening families,  marriage, and commitment. (Reason #5)
  • The stretching gets absurd in #75. Huckabee  declared that citizens should engage in civil disobedience after the Supreme Court’s decision declaring same sex marriage a right. He did not, in any way, denounce “States allowing same-sex couples to marry, after the Supreme Court said they could.” He said that he would do something else.  (Reason #6 )
  • For his last “denunciation,” the Post’s Congressional beat reporter cites this question—“Do you want a president who follows? Or do you want a president who leads?” as one encompassing “President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, for changing their minds and embracing same-sex marriage.”I could make this one about three reasons for an ethical denunciation , so dishonest is it, but I’ll be kind. Farenthold is spinning. Everyone in D.C., and most out of it, know that both Clinton and Obama based their public views on gay marriage on the polls and the opinions of the Democratic base, and didn’t have sudden epiphanies. Huckabee was quite accurately and fairly criticizing political cowardice and a lack of integrity on the parts of both Democrats, not the fact that they “changed their minds.” Just because a political reporter is playing in the sandbox of the Post “Style” section doesn’t mean that his blatant display of partisan bias is any less disturbing, or that it implicates his trustworthiness as a journalist any less.  (Reason #7 )

We get it, Dave. You really, really dislike politicians who don’t support gay marriage and believe it should not be made a right. You could make that point legitimately rather than grossly mischaracterizing the nature of the arguments of one of them who disagrees with you. Continue reading

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