I just stumbled upon that video from “The Red Skelton Show,” vintage early Seventies. The ethical values being destroyed here are competence and respect (for the audience, for the culture, for the nation, for music and dance.) You can learn so much from the thing, and yet it raises so many questions…like, how did the culture devolve from “Good Morning!” in “Singing in the Rain” to this slop in 20 years? Is this what killed movie musicals—a sudden lack of taste? What caused it? Did the choreographer know he or she was presenting shit? How could he live with himself? They paid someone to create that! Did Simon and Garfunkel see this? Why didn’t they kill themselves? How do we explain Liberace to future generations?How can anyone claim that the US is a nest of white supremacy when whites publicly humiliated themselves like this? Seeing those dancers with their insipid expression and their ridiculous outfits made me want to rip my skin off.
If the United States could survive the Seventies, it can survive again. This video gives me hope and perspective, and I will regard it as beneficial on balance, provided that I can get it out of my brain before it drives me stark, raving mad.
1. Least surprising poll result of the year: A Pew Research Center poll determined that, among reporters who say their outlet’s audience leans left, 30% support “equal coverage for all sides,” and 69% said that “it is not always deserved.” I have problems with Pew’s framing of the issue—you know, polls. Presenting the facts fairly and objectively shouldn’t involve “sides” at all. The objective should be to explain events and issues without picking or having “sides.”
1 . Boy, the Pope must hate the U.S. media. ‘Did you hear that four people say the President called our soldiers “losers”? It’s true! They really say that!’
Pope Francis called gossiping a “plague worse than COVID” and risks dividing the Catholic Church. The devil, he says, is the “biggest gossiper.” who is seeking to divide the church with his lies.
Francis was discussing a Gospel passage about the need to correct others privately when they do something wrong. The Catholic hierarchy calls this the “fraternal correction” of priests and bishops to correct them when they err without airing problems in public. You know; like when they sexually abuse children. “Gossip” apparently means “talking about things the Church is trying to cover-up.”
Got it, Your Holiness!
2. Proposition: It’s unethical to buy your dog’s food at the Dollar Store. Sunshine Mills Inc., an Alabama-based pet food company, issued a recall of its dog food this week due to the levels of Aflatoxin, a toxic mold by-product with the potential of making dogs sick, according to a Food and Drug Administration news release. The products recalled are FAMILY PET Meaty Cuts, Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavors; HEARTLAND FARMS Grilled Favorites Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavor; and HAPPY LIFE Butcher’s Choice Dog Food. All are sold exclusively at Dollar General and Family Dollar stores.
Today is my wife’s birthday. All we can do to celebrate is to be together, and be grateful that we found each other, and are still together, a miracle of chaos theory in so many ways. She is, and will always be my inspiration, my rock, my balance, the one who constantly keeps me from spinning out of control, and the love of my life.
1. Pandemic ethics and religion. It’s unfortunate when religions misbehave during catastrophes:
The Pope made the fatuous comment in an interview that the pandemic offers an opportunity to slow down the rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?” the Pope said. “I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”
Whatever that’s supposed to mean. Maybe it sounds better in Italian.
Yesterday, I turned on the TV only to see a live broadcast from one of the evangelical mega-churches, packed to the rafters, nobody wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
About 44 percent of likely voters in the United States see the coronavirus pandemic and economic meltdown as either a wake-up call to faith, a sign of God’s coming judgment or both, according to a poll commissioned by the Joshua Fund, an evangelical group run by Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes about the end of the world, and conducted last week by McLaughlin & Associates, pollsters for President Trump and other Republicans.
David Jeremiah, a pastor who has been one of President Trump’s informal evangelical advisers, asked in a sermon recently if the coronavirus was biblical prophecy, and called the pandemic “the most apocalyptic thing that has ever happened to us.”
No, it’s really not. This “end of days” stuff is either hysteria from the ignorant whose knowledge of world and U.S. history begins in 2008, or it’s worse, deliberate scare-mongering by church leaders to goose membership. Yes, I know a recent earthquake in Utah even shook the Salt Lake Temple so hard that the golden trumpet fell from the angel Moroni’s right hand. That is exactly as significant a portent of the Apocalypse as Chris Sale having Tommy John surgery.
In other words, incredibly significant.
After I get this post up, I think I’ll go watch “The Omen”—the good one, with Gregory Peck. Continue reading →
This has been more ethics drama than I could stand every week; I sure hope the rest of the year isn’t like this. First the Superbowl is won by an NFL team whose fans do the tomahawk chop. Then the Iowa Caususes self-destruct in an orgy of incompetence and finger-pointing as the Democrats blame white people and Trump. Nancy Pelosi makes Joe “You lie!” Wilson look civil, the Left has a conniption over Rush Limbaugh being honored, the Senate acquits the President, and most notable of all, the Boston Red Sox named Alex Cora’s bench coach, Ron Roenicke, its new manager.
Since the Sox are under investigation for their own alleged cheating scandal, this was a fascinating choice. The team must have done its due diligence, questioning Cora, Roenicke and others to be 100% sure that Roenicke had no hand in whatever it was the Red Sox were doing to steal signs in 2018, if they were. If they didn’t, they are, to be blunt, morons with a death wish.
1. OK, I’m getting paranoid now, but what the heck is up with the new voice of Tony the Tiger? After decades of the startling bass of voice artist Thurl Ravenscroft growling “They’re GRRRRREAT!” (Ravenscoft is the one who sings “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!” in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”), Tony now sounds like an accountant. If they wanted to find a tiger-like voice, or even a Ravenscoft imitator, Kelloggs easily could have, just as Warner Bros. has been able to find passable (though inferior) replacements for Mel Blanc. Am I being conspiratorial to think this is more woke cultural indoctrination by Madison Avenue, with the kinder, gentler, wimpier Tony avoiding toxic male aggressiveness? In the new Life cereal commercials, you know, “Mikey” is now a girl.
2. “Yet” arrives. In a post a couple of days ago, I wrote that the Democrats and news media hadn’t blamed the President for the Iowa Caucus implosion “yet.” Long time commenter Neil Doerr helpfully passed this along:
Supporters of President Donald Trump inundated a hotline used by Iowa caucus precinct leaders to report their tallies, contributing to significant delays in the final tally, Iowa Democratic Party officials said….NBC News reported on Thursday that the party’s hotline number was repeatedly posted on the online message board 4chan as voting took place on Monday night. Its users, who are anonymous and have trolled and harassed the president’s political opponents, urged others to call in. “Uh oh how unfortunate it would be for a bunch of mischief makers to start clogging the lines,” one user wrote, according to NBC.
4Chan is a pro-trolling progressives group. It is wants to promote chaos, not Trump. The callers were anonymous; they cannot be called “Trump supporters” just because they wish the Democrats ill. (Nobody knows this mind set better than I.) Moreover, the phone lines appear to have been the least of the Iowa Democrats problems. The DNC has even called for a do-over, and it is beginning to look like there will never be definitive and reliable results. This is the fault of the Democratic Party. Nobody else.
Meanwhile, Nicole Fleetwood, a Rutgers American studies and Art History professor, tweeted on the Night They Tore The Caucus Down, “Watching the Iowa Caucus is a sickening display of the over-representation of whiteness.”
That’s a irremediably racist statement. If the country is going to get proactive about eliminating ideological poisoning in our institutions of higher learning, insisting on the removal of unapologetic racists from faculties is a modest but necessary start. Continue reading →
Let’s see now. You are the titular head of a religious organization that talks a good game about virtue, morality and the dangers of sin, and it has been shaken to its core by an ongoing scandal involving thousands of officials sexually molesting hundreds of thousands of children while your organization not only covered up the crimes, but facilitated them. After the latest outbreak of this decades—centuries?—long scandal, you declared that your organization would regain the trust of its members by reversing its previous corrupt practices, and send clear messages that the conduct that endangered and damaged children would not be tolerated.
Then, when one of the highest officials in your organization offers his resignation after being convicted in a court of law for failing to stop one of the ongoing molesters despite knowledge of his vile activities, you refuse to accept that resignation.
What sense does this make? This is a fair summary of Pope Francis’s recent decision to reject the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin despite his conviction this month for covering up decades-old allegations of sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese. The only way it makes sense is if the Pope doesn’t comprehend the seriousness of the sex abuse scandal, and still places loyalty to the church and his colleagues above the welfare of victims past, present and future. Continue reading →
For me, anyway: I woke up feeling healthy for the first time in 17 days. Now the day’s ethics stories will make both of us feel sick. I’m sorry.
1. The Sliming. The news media is determined, in the absence of any verified or verifiable evidence, to continue sliming Brett Kavanaugh. The Washington Post placed the story about his return to coaching girls’ basketball in its “Public Safety” section. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!
This below-the-belt innuendo that the Supreme Court Justice is a threat to the young women on his team was caught, criticized, and the Post claimed it was an accident. You know, if journalists played it straight, and had any credibility as objective, fair commentators, such an explanation would be credible. But they don’t, and it’s not.
Then there was the Huffington Post and AOL, which ran this story, headlined “Ford Is Still Receiving Death Threats, Kavanaugh Is Back To Coaching Basketball.”
The innuendo here is that there is some kind of injustice that the accused gets to resume his life while the accuser’s life is still disrupted. No, one who is accused should always be able to return to his life if the accusation is unproven and unconvincing, though that’s often not the case, and not the case with Kavanaugh as his continued sliming by the Left-wing media demonstrates. As for Blasey-Ford, no one should endure death threats. This is, however, a false dichotomy. There is no evidence that Kavanaugh did anything wrong, much less that he is a sex offender. My view is that Blasey-Ford, for political reasons, raising a high school episode that she could not confirm and didn’t recall herself for 30 years in order to discredit an adult judge of sterling reputation and credentials was unethical, irresponsible, and unfair.
2. The Sliming, cont.: Mark Twain Prize Division. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, inexplicably awarded the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize as the individuals who has “had an impact on American society in ways similar to” Twain—Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Seriously?—-used her acceptance speech to display her Twain-like rapier wit and take cheap shots at Justice Kavanaugh. (They are too idiotic and unfunny to warrant repeating.) It takes a lot of gall for someone to be accusing a public figure of sexual assault at any event sponsored by the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Center, or with Kennedy anywhere in the name. Indeed, it took some gall for Dreyfus to even accept the award. I searched her resume to find any evidence that she ever wrote a funny line or witticism of her own, which should be the criterion and usually has been, even with wan selections like Tina Fey, a minor wit if there ever was one. The precedent for Louis-Dreyfus would be Carol Burnett, who also is just a comic actress whose wit comes from other artists, though she bestrides the like of Fey and Louis-Dreyfus like a Colossus. Sad and politically incorrect to admit, but comedy just isn’t a field where women seem to excel, so once again, the quest for diversity involves a compromise in values. Continue reading →
“Because of our sins, the Great Accuser always takes advantage – we read in the first chapter from Job – he roams looking for someone to accuse… he is accusing us strongly, and this accusation becomes persecution as well. …And there is also another type of persecution, of continuous accusations to dirty the Church: the Church must not be dirtied. The children yes, but not the mother, and the mother defends herself from the Great Accuser with prayer and penance. That’s why I asked to pray the Rosary, Our Lady, Saint Michael the Archangel. It’s a difficult moment because through us, the great accuser wants to attack the mother. And you don’t touch a mother”.
—- Pope Francis,addressing the closing session of a synod of bishops at the Vatican yesterday, claiming that the Catholic Church has been persecuted through accusations related to the clerical child sex-abuse scandals that have undermined the credibility of the papacy and church hierarchy.
I’m really mad at my head for exploding over this. Surely it isn’t a surprise, not after the ongoing accountability-ducking and finger-pointing the Pope and his Church have been engaged in while innocent children are buggered by priests worldwide. Yet somehow I did not, and apparently my head did not, believe that the Pope would be so callous, tone-deaf and, frankly, stupid as to play the victim card when it is not only invalid but guaranteed not to work. “How dare anyone accuse us of covering up child abuse when we have been covering up child abuse for decades, and probably centuries! How dare anyone imply that the Church is accountable when its priests molest children and its leadership choose to protect the molesters instead of the victims!” This is essentially what the Pope is saying (it sounds different in Italian), and he really seems to be oblivious to how awful it not only sounds, but is.Continue reading →
Last week the Vatican began a three-week-long assembly to discuss how to bring young people back into the Catholic Church. As the Synod of Bishops began, Pope Francis said, “This moment has highlighted a church that needs to listen.”
No, the moment highlights a church that needs to stop letting its priests molest kids.
Protesters have been much in evidence at the gathering, denouncing what they (and I) see as the Vatican’s refusal to take necessary actions to ensure that sexual predator priests and those who cover up for them be stopped. Said one protester, a victim himself, “They should center the discussions where it hurts most — and this is the outrageous abuse of power, and the thousands and thousands of children and young people hurt by officials of the church in the last decades all over the world. You can’t discuss youth without talking about this point.”
Other victims held up placards demanding, “No More Cover Up”; “Make Zero Tolerance Real”; “Establish an International Inquiry and Justice Commission” in Italian and English.
So far, the Pope’s approach to the renewed scandal has been to point fingers, or change the subject. He did publish a letter in August that appeared to be a holy, Italian version of “huminahuminahumina,” as Ralph Kramden used to say when words and wit failed him in a crisis. That the Pope’s efforts to either ignore, or duck, or spin his accountability for the fact that children are still not safe around priests almost 20 years after the scandal of high-level cover-ups and the facilitating of serial sexual assaults in the Church across the globe were not going well became clearer than ever last week, when Francis adopted the same tragedy used by Jimmy Swaggert, Jim and Tammy Lee Baker, Ted Haggard and so many other TV evangelist con artists did when they were caught either with a hand up a dress or in the till.
I saw a hint of this when I noticed this week that my 90% leftist Facebook friends scrupulously avoided commenting on my cross-posted article about the current Pope’s likely complicity in the ongoing Roman Catholic Church child sexual abuse cover-up while metaphorically foaming at the mouth because the White House flag wasn’t at half mast. Then the New York Times started spinning. An article by Jason Horowitz titled “Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce” argued that conservatives were “weaponizing” the scandal in order to minimize the influence of Pope Francis, who has aroused the Right’s ire by “going soft” on homosexuality and by becoming a shill for climate change. Horowitz wrote,
“Just how angry his political and doctrinal enemies are became clear this weekend, when a caustic letter published by the Vatican’s former top diplomat in the United States blamed a “homosexual current” in the Vatican hierarchy for sexual abuse. It called for Francis’ resignation, accusing him of covering up for a disgraced cardinal, Theodore E. McCarrick.”
What? Heaven forfend that someone suggest that a hypocritical homosexual factor at high levels of the Church might be partially responsible for a policy of allowing male priests to continue to rape little boys! That’s minor, however, compared to the triple “What?” earned by the writer and the Times for implying that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s a letter accusing Pope Francis of covering up Cardinal McCarrick’s abuses while also taking his counsel on appointing bishops was merely a political ploy. This is one more example of the tactic of using alleged mixed motives to delegitimize an ethical act. So what if Viganò is a Vatican dissident? The evidence is overwhelming that the Catholic Church has facilitated child abuse for at least decades (See: “Spotlight”), that this continued on Pope Francis’s watch (See: the recent grand jury report), that the Pope is accountable, that his statement was a weaselly mess of accountability-skirting platitudes, and that Viganò’s accusations appear to have validity. Continue reading →
In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.” Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
Archbishop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.
Well, let’s see if the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church can duck its responsibility one more time. This particular giant, nasty ethics chicken has been trying to roost for decades, while whoever was Pope continued to lecture the rest of the world, and the United States particularly, about its moral failings. Funny thing with me: I don’t take well to lectures on morality from self-anointed authorities who habitually facilitate their pals’ child-molesting hobby. It is telling—damning is a better word—that Pope Francis, who seldom hesitates to comment on the evils of war, capitalism and climate change cannot find words to comment on this accusation. As we discussed here last week, he did issue some Authentic Frontier Gibbersh about the re-emerging child abuse scandal as if he was just an innocent bystander.
Archbishop Viganò is a model whistleblower, although his call for the Pope and the others to resign is inadequate. The entire culture of the Church is corrupt to the core, and aa few, or many, resignations will not cure the problem.