Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2020: Wherein My Head Explodes At Least Once

head-explode Calvin

1. KABOOM! Just when I thought 1) Georgetown could not embarrass this alum more thoroughly and 2) my head had been immunized from exploding comes the astounding news that Georgetown University has hired former FBI agent Peter Strzok as an adjunct professor. Strzok is now listed on the university’s staff page and he mentioned the Walsh School of Foreign Service on his Twitter profile. An alumnus, he will be teaching a “Counterintelligence and National Security” in the fall semester.

While engaged in an adulterous affair with then FBI lawyer Lisa Page in 2016, Strzok exchanged suspicious anti- Trump messages that called into question the legitimacy and fairness of the Mueller investigation. The FBI fired Strzok  in 2018 for  undermining public confidence in the non-partisanship of the bureau and federal law enforcement.

Stay classy, Georgetown! I already have my law school diploma facing the wall; I guess I can coat it with some kind of noxious substance…

2. The villains here is the professor. This is no time to be a weenie. Actually, there is never a good time to be a weenie. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law used “nigger” (referred to in infantile fashion by the law school’s announcement as “the n-word,” since “poopy badspeak” hasn’t caught on yet) in the context of discussing an offensive language case. But of course a student or six reported him, because they could, and it is an easy way for young progressive cowards to justify puffing up their pigeon chests because they get to cause trouble for someone who did absolutely nothing wrong.

The adjunct professor has not been identified, but in an email from law school administrators, including Law Dean Amy Wildermuth, it was announced that the professor has resigned.

“The instructor apologized and expressed his deep regret to the class, and informed the class at 1 p.m. today that he was resigning immediately from teaching at Pitt Law,” the announcement said in part.  “We condemn the use of this word, and we believe that saying this word and words like it, even in an academic context, is deeply hurtful,” the note concluded.

Words are not hurtful. Meanings are hurtful, when they are intentional. This is virtue-signaling and language policing of the most indefensible sort. The professor, whoever he is, had an obligation to the school, the culture, his profession, common sense and himself to fight, not surrender.

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/25/2020: “Snap Out Of It!”

This is applicable to so many aspects of today I don’t have space to list them. Prime among them are the apparent re-runs of the George Floyd riots in various cities, this time tied to the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the cops who didn’t murder her weren’t charged with murder.  Hmmm…are these more stupid than the St. George riots, less stupid, or exactly as stupid?

1. I wonder…has the NFL killed more innocent black men than police over the years? Gale Sayers, the legendary Chicago Bears running back, died this week from “complications of dementia,” almost certainly meaning he was another victim of CTE suffered from playing what a friend calls “Concussionball.”

Well, as much as NFL fans might resent having players pollute entertainment with half-baked politicsal grandstanding, you can bet they would rather watch meaningless kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” than forfeit the fun of watching human beings destroy their brains for cash.

2. This guy isn’t helping...Officer John Goulart, Jr., reported that at a shopping center in Pineville, La, Goulart was shot once in the leg and anotherbullet hit the back door of his patrol car. However, investigators determined that Goulart  fired those shots, including the one that hit him in the leg,  himself.  Now he’s under arrest. [Pointer: valkygrrl] Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/16/2020: For Some Unexplained Reason, Police Officers Are Feeling Unappreciated

1. Even humor sites have to do better than this...FARK is an amusing news aggregator that headlines links to interesting stories from around the web with facetious comments, puns and snark, most of the time avoiding gratuitous political slant, This headline, however, was an outright deception:  Sure the police might have some bad apples, but a review of 2,400 cases only found misconduct 54% of the time.

If you read the story, you will find that those were not just cases, but cases in which innocent people had been convicted of crimes. A study showing 54% of all cases showing police misconduct would be a damning result, but if someone is wrongly convicted of a crime, there is likely to be misconduct somewhere in the process. For those cases, 54% strikes me as low. Moreover, while the headline implies that all of the misconduct found in the study was attributable to police, that’s not true either. The study found that in  the cases studied, 54% showed misconduct by police or prosecutors.

FARK’s headline was just gratuitous and unjust police-bashing. Not funny.

2. For the record…it’s 5:58 am, and I’m still furious over the cretinous response from the Boston sportswriter I discussed in item #4 of last night’s late warm-up. Continue reading

Big Stupid In Little Miami

In this public school story out of Ohio, the only ones who didn’t embarrass themselves were two suspended students.

When the Little Miami High School football team took the field in the Hamilton Township on September 11, one player carried a Thin Blue Line flag and another a Thin Red Line flag alongside the American flag. The boys, Brady Williams, and Jarad Bentley, were honoring their fathers as well as the first responders in the Twin Towers tragedy. Williams’ father is a police officer, and his son said he wanted to honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11. Bentley’s father is a firefighter. “If it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him,” he said.

The gesture got both students suspended indefinitely. Their mistake, according to school officials: asking for permission, and carrying the flags on the field anyway after they were turned down.  “We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” said the school’s athletic director. But why was a gesture of respect to first responders deemed inappropriate on the anniversary of the attacks? The athletic director says he saw the flags as  political, presumably in the context of the George Floyd Freakout.  “We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” he said.

I wonder if a student carrying a Black Lives Matter flag would have been treated as harshly. (No I don’t.) Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “The Hypocrisy And Dishonesty Of The Democratic National Convention Apparently Made Rose McGowan’s Head Explode”

Glenn Logan took on the macro-issue of broad-brush political pronouncements in his Comment of the Day, which was only touched upon in the original post. That concerned activist Rose McGowran’s angry tweets,

I wrote in part that

“we see the limitations of Twitter…its advantage is that it is the only way to communicate with a large—far, far too large—proportion  of the American public, which is unlikely if not unable to read anything serious that has more words than a combination of three or four bumperstickers…McGowan’s assertions are “right,” is a general, meat-axe way, but they aren’t arguments. They are the ” this just is” pronouncements of someone who won’t countenance an argument, and, in most cases, isn’t capable of making one. That’s Black Lives Matter. That’s “the resistance.” That’s Maxine Waters and MSNBC….

Glenn took off from there in his Comment of the Day on the post, “The Hypocrisy And Dishonesty Of The Democratic National Convention Apparently Made Rose McGowan’s Head Explode”…

Too right, and that list is so long the full one would require a bigger blog.

What interests me is how often we all engage in these kind of broad-brush arguments that reject any aspect of nuance. Some Democrats have, to varying degrees, addressed many or even all of the ends she thinks are desirable. So have some Republicans.

The intractable problems of society cannot be solved by pronouncements, either of solutions or failures. That’s why they remain intractable. Black people most notably have refused to participate in extracting their “people” from poverty, crime, dependency and negative perceptions. “Brown” people is not a race or even a thing, and claiming they may be characterized in the same way as blacks renders the statement absurd. Each racial group has unique problems relating to their culture, their perception by our society, and their willingness to integrate into America.

I find it interesting that the Democrats completely ignore “yellow” people as if they never had the struggles of other minority populations — a risible idea that has infected the Democrat identity-politics groupthink. But the Asians have shown how to fight all the problems blacks and some other races have suffered through for generations — by willingly assimilating into America.

The fact that black people haven’t embraced this idea despite living here longer than Asians is a big part of why so little progress has been made. Now, blacks want new, government-enforced segregation policies created to further alienate them from America. Can there be any doubt as to how this new demand will work out if implemented?

“Police brutality?” The vast majority of police are professionals and behave that way. But to Rose, who has only a proverbial hammer, there are nothing but nails in blue. Continue reading

Friday Ethics Round-Up, 8/21/2020: Democratic National Convention Hangover Edition

No, John Wayne doesn’t speak Spanish in “Red River,” but this was the only clip I could find of its iconic “Yahoo!” sequence. This may be the best Western ever; I don’t know, I go back and forth on it. Amazingly, Howard Hawks never won an Oscar…but then neither did Orson Wells, Alfred Hitchcock, or Cecil B. De Mille.

1. Now this is uncivil and unethical political speech (Pointer: Tim Levier):

No, it’s not justified by “tit for tat,” but the ugly, ad hominem abuse heaped on President Trump by the Democrats this week was hardly better.

2. Oh, it’s Friday; why not check in with Paige Spiranac? You remember Paige, right? I posted about her here. She’s not much of a professional golfer, but she is now a “social influencer.” She has power and influence because, let’s be frank, she looks like this, and makes sure everyone knows it:

Now she has a viral ethics tweet about slow golfers:

That’s slowLY, Paige. Mustn’t enable those “dumb blonde” jokes.

This has actually sparked a controversy in social media, though there shouldn’t be any question that excessively pokey golfers are being rude and inconsiderate. The rationalizations being offered by defenders of slow play are, sadly, illustrative of the ethics skills of too much of the public. For example:

That’s a dumb comment. Golf is a leisure sport. You are meant to enjoy the sport with friends and family and take time while doing it. Especially if you’re not playing for millions.”

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Sunday Ethics Apparitions, 8/16/2020: Triceratops? What Triceratops? What IS A Triceratops?

1. From the Ethics Alarms cultural literacy files. I remember this re- tweet by acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates from 2015; I can’t believe I didn’t post on it then. (Pointer to Ann Althouse for reminding me of it today):

Now,  I would like to believe that Oates was joking (I’m not sure about Tilley), but she is not known for madcap humor. Apparently “Jurassic Park,” Steven Spielberg  and popular culture are beneath her, and she was so focused on literature in school that dinosaurs completely missed her attention. I regard this as being estranged from one’s culture, and I regard that as irresponsible.

2. Question: If Twitter is taking down tweets involving hate speech, why is unequivocal hate like this permitted? Robert Trump, the President’s younger brother, died yesterday. The President wrote,

“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”

Yet the hateful, vicious “resistance” couldn’t rise to a moment of bipartisan decency. The hashtag #wrongtrump, is the second highest trending on Twitter, with more than 80,000  tweets last I checked. Among the the ghouls were journalist David Leavitt., ” who tweeted, “What did he promise the devil for the Grim Reaper to take the #wrongtrump ???” (5.7 thousand people “loved” the sentiment), and Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, branch of the NAACP (and a pastor, which will perhaps help illuminate my attitudes toward organized religion), who wrote “Dear Grim Reaper, You took the #wrongtrump.” That one got 10,000 hearts.

These are mean, bad people with dead ethics alarms. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/5/2020: Words, Spin, And Millard Fillmore

Because “Glibby-glop-gloopy” or whatever the hell Oliver is singing here makes about as much sense as anything else I’m hearing…

1. Today in The Great Stupid’s cancellation orgy:

  • The ABA Journal reports that the Massachusetts Appeals Court  wants the word “grandfathering” to be “canceled.” Ruling in a zoning dispute, the court said a structure built before the enactment of zoning regulations had a certain level of protection, but the court  didn’t have a good word to describe that protection because  it wouldn’t use  “grandfathering.”  “Because we acknowledge that it has racist origins,” the woke and silly judges declared.

Apparently the phrase “grandfather clause” originally referred to laws adopted by some states after the Civil War to create barriers to voting by African Americans, explained Justice James Milkey in footnote 11 to the August 3 opinion. Interesting! And completely irrelevant to how the word is used now. Now, if I were Ann Althouse, who is word-obsessed, I might spend hours looking for other words used routinely today that have unsavory origins. I don’t care what words originally meant or when  they were first used. The objective with all words is communication. “Grandfathered” is a useful word. I used it in my baseball lecture for the Smithsonian to describe how spitball pitchers were allowed to keep throwing the unsanitary pitch after it was banned for everyone else in 1920. The court’s kind of virtue-signalling makes people stupid and communication difficult, and shame on the court for indulging in it.

  • The University of Buffalo will remove any reference to President Millard Fillmore on its campus,though he helped found the school and served as its first chancellor from 1846 until his death in 1874. School officials said in a news release that its decision to erase the memory of an individual the university owes its existence to “aligns with the university’s commitment to fight systemic racism and create a welcoming environment for all.”

No, it aligns with craven cowering to Black Lives Matter intimidation  and statue-toppling mobs.  Millard Fillmore—-great name, crummy President—signed The Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Act. Since it was a compromise, the school’s logic would require “canceling” all the anti-slavery crusaders who were part of it, as everyone at the time was desperately trying to keep the United States from ripping apart. When that effort failed, we got the Civil War, and more American casualties than any war before or since. How dare Fillmore try to stop that?

I think the Fillmore-cancelers should be obligated to explain how they would have handled the growing tensions over slavery and the cultural divide between North and South. I’m sure they have a brilliant answer ready.

As the suddenly “In” Fred Rogers would  say, “Can you say ‘hindsight bias’? Sure you can!” Continue reading

Notes From The Great Stupid

 

I don’t recall any time in history, even the Sixties, when so many people, including those in elected position, behaved so stupidly with no apparent shame or self-awareness. This indeed is The Great Stupid. I could write post after post on just these episodes. But that would be, you know, stupid. So here are some brief notes acknowledging the phenomenon.

  • Apparently actor Ryan Reynolds and his wife, rather less distinguished actress Blake Lively, are awash with guilt and remorse because they held their 2012 wedding at a former plantation in South Carolina. “[The wedding locale is] something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” Reynolds says. “It’s impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy.”

So we’re cancelling places, now? We are supposed to shun areas where people were cruel, or where crimes occurred, or people with now-unacceptable values lived? How idiotic can we get? Reynold and Lively, apparently infected with irresponsible and irrational ideas spread by fanatics and hysterics, are now trying to spread them elsewhere.

My wife and I had a marvelous honeymoon at a lovely Virginia inn on the site of a converted plantation. I have no remorse about that at all. We stayed in the caretaker’s out-building, now converted into a lovely romantic cottage. My family celebrated Thanksgiving at Mount Vernon; I guess by the Ryan-Lively Standard that means I’m endorsing slavery. Nobody should live in Salem. Nobody should vacation in the former Confederate states. Or Germany. Or Japan. Or the nations from the former Soviet Union.

Stupid Rating (1-10): 9

  • Just a week after a Starbucks employee was arrested for spitting in the coffee of a police officer, Vincent J. Sessler, 25, has been arrested for the same disgusting conduct at a Chicago Dunkin Donuts. The victim, an Illinois State Trooper, spotted the spit when he opened the coffee to let it cool. A surveillance camera caught Sessler in the act.

By what possible logic does it make sense, or is it fair, or can it be justified to treat another human being like that because of his occupation, based on the conduct of another member of the same profession in another state? That’s the essence of mindless bigotry. These idiots think they are opposing bigotry by being bigots?

Stupid Rating (1-10): 10.

You can’t be more stupid than this, right? Continue reading

From The “Stop Making Me Defend The Washington Post!” Files: The Sheriff’s Threat

“Nice little library you got there…”

Like the New York Times, the Washington Post engages in fake news and unethical journalism virtually every day. For a critic to strain to find example of the either paper exhibiting its bias is not only unethical, its unnecessary. Be patient: the Post and Times will be lying if you just wait a minute.

The link bait I fell for was “The Washington Post Can’t and Won’t Stop Lying” from something called Front Page Mag. The Post headline the writer felt was an example of the paper “[churning]  out social justice clickbait that it knows to be false”  was…

A Nevada library wanted to back Black Lives Matter. The sheriff said he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls there.

Quoth Front Page: “As anyone who can read, a category that probably includes even Washington Post hacks, can see that’s not what Sheriff Coverley said. Sheriff Coverley did not say that he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls, but suggested that the library should live up to its principles by not calling 911.”

I can read, and I rate the Post’s analysis far more accurate than that spin. Who wrote this, Bill Clinton? Here’s what the sheriff communicated  to the Douglas County Public Library Board of Trustees: Continue reading