I Hereby Grant Loyal Ethics Alarms Readers This Open Forum…

US Grant

Sorry, I had to find some way to feature U.S. Grant this morning, in part because he died on this date in 1885, but mostly because my son was named after him, and I love Grant Viktor Bowen Marshall with all my heart. Grant is one of the most interesting and complex of Presidential personalities, as well as among our most ethical Presidents. Even in death he was ethical: he spent his last days furiously writing out his memoirs so his family could be cleared of debt by selling them. (The publisher was Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.) Grant was in the process of dying in agony of throat cancer, but he not only wrote through the pain, he did a fine job of it. I’ve read most of the Presidential autobiographies, and if there is one as good, I haven’t encountered it yet.

I suppose by now everyone knows my favorite piece of Grant trivia: he was christened Hiram Ulysses Grant, but was embarrassed that his initials spelled out “hug” (Grant was fanatically modest, and wrote that his wife had never seen him naked), so he flipped his middle and first names so the initials spelled “uhg,” as if that’s an improvement. Then some careless clerk at West Point substituted an “S” for the “H,” and the young Grant recognized that “U.S. Grant” was a pretty cool name, and kept it. The “S” didn’t stand for anything except “Hiram,” but he got sick of explaining this, so settled on “Simpson.” This eventually made Grant one of two U.S. Presidents with a middle initial S that actually was meaningless: the other is Harry Truman. If a source prints Harry’s name with a period after the S, it’s a hack outfit. Wikipedia has the period, for example. No, Truman’s middle name was just “S”…

But I digress.

Start writing about your ethical issues, concerns and observations, please…

The “Hello, Friday! I Thought You’d Never Come!” Open Forum

Robinson and Friday

I was looking for Robinson Crusoe and Friday illustrations, and boy, if they thought that Teddy Roosevelt statue that’s they’re taking down in New York City radiated white supremacy, they hadn’t checked out Daniel Defoe’s masterpiece lately. Is that novel ever read in school any more? (It’s a terrific novel, and one of my Dad’s favorites…and he read everything.) With “To Kill A Mockingbird” being banned in some schools, I wonder how much literature will be sacrificed to political correctness and The Great Stupid. And how many pop culture nuggets…I was alternately amused then shocked to hear the 1957 Australian goof “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” played on Sirius XM, for the song is hilarious as well as racially insensitive to the max with this verse (remember that the song purports to quote the last requests of an old Aussie stockman on his deathbed):

Let me Abos go loose, Bruce

Let me Abos go loose

They’re of no further use, Bruce

So let me Abos go loose!

I just checked:one of the lyrics websites excised that verse while claiming that it was printing the whole song.

But I digress. Write about anything you want, as long as it has an ethics theme…

Friday Open Forum!

hith-charge-of-the-light-brigade-2

Let’s see if the brilliance, perception and foresight of the Ethics Alarms Commentariat can put an upbeat exclamation point at the end of what for me has been an unexpected entry into my Top Ten Worst Weeks ever—which, by the way, pales in worst-ness compared to what the vast majority of humanity has experienced. I know I’ve been very, very lucky. This is just one of the weeks where I wish I was luckier. And smarter.

As one of the many excellent mentors, role models and teachers I’ve had, Tom Donohue, recently retired as head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, use to say, “Charge on!”

TGIF Open Forum!

Pointing at the sky

Well, I’m thankful it’s Friday, at least: what an awful week, culminating in an inexplicably sleepless night. Oh—that’s two out of the three things I’ve received reader complaints about in the last few days—yes, EA has a complaint desk: my occasional use of CAPS, bolding and italics for tone and emphasis, and the inclusion of “personal stuff.” The third is that I reply to comments too much, or so some critics think.

Now, hoping to prompt a complaint that I shouldn’t taint the purity of an open forum by mentioning a topic, I’ll point out this, since I’m going back to bed and may not be in any shape to get back here for a long time: today’s headlines about the U.S. government finally admitting that it has no idea what a lot of the UFOs are is infuriating. THAT’s something that Congress should investigate; not the potential flying saucers themselves, but how the policy of lying to the public about them, calling them swamp gas, domestic aircraft and hallucinations and generally gaslighting the American people, was allowed to continue for decades. Who approved that? Who allowed it to continue? What news organizations assisted in the cover-up? Is there any wonder that the public doesn’t trust our institutions, and that conspiracy theories abound? This was a conspiracy, one that the military and every President from Ike to Trump—that’s twelve!— allowed to continue. Give Joe some credit on this one.

Now feel free to ignore me , and write about the ethics issues you want to.

And if I decide to comment on it, I will.