The ACLU Believes Certain Sports Are Racist Now…

The logic and legal reasoning underlying the American Civil Liberty Union’s current bit of woke grandstanding is profoundly depressing. These people are lawyers. This is the caliber of legal minds we are supposed to trust to protect the Bill of Rights?

Central Michigan University eliminated its men’s track and field team. It shouldn’t matter why, but in its announcement of the move in May of 2020, the school cited budget concerns in the midst of the pandemic lockdown. This seems reasonable; when funds are tight, colleges should be spending money on education rather than sports. The controversy was launched when CMU decided this year to add a men’s golf program.

The decision, the ACLU of Michigan decided, was racist in light of the fate of track and field. In one letter, the organization protested that track and field was crucial to the Black community because it has “offered many a way out of oppressive poverty.”

I’d like to see the data on that.

Then the ACLU wrote the university president on September 16 that golf, in contrast, was a “white sport.” “Country clubs that have been the training grounds for elite golfers have historically been racially exclusive,” the letter states. “Add to that the expense of the sport and the socio-economic circumstances of many African Americans, and the reasons for the whiteness of golf are quite evident.”

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No, Gene Weingarten, YOU Are The Poopyface, But Not For The Reason You Confessed To

Weingarten cartoon2

Harry Truman liked to say “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” That applies in a lot of fields, but perhaps nowhere more than in the field of humor and satire in these days where would-be censors and race-baiters slither across the landscape. If you are going to venture into these dangerous environs (what they endanger is free speech, expression, and freedom itself), you better have the courage of conviction and willingness to fight the adventure requires. If not, you will make things worse. You will become part of the problem, and it is a big problem.

Gene Weingarten is a longtime columnist for the Washington Post, I’ve written about one of his serious pieces here (also here) and had debates with him via email on occasion. He often writes humorous columns, and it was one of those that unjustly made him the target of the social media mobs.

I assume Gene was a little stuck for a topic, because his theme, foods he won’t eat, is a pretty hoary one. I have read very similar joke essays by other writers, going back to Robert Benchley. Clarence Darrow used to riff on foods he didn’t like: he once said, “I don’t like spinach, and I’m glad I don’t, because if I liked it I’d eat it, and I’d just hate it.“ Another of Darrow’s was “I don’t like turnips, and I don’t like anyone who does.”

So Weingarten whipped off a lazy column joking about all the foods he says he hates; remember, actually hating them isn’t an ethical requirement. The idea is just a platform to justify snarkiness and to make silly comments like ” Balsamic vinegar likely broke up the Beatles.” Among his targets: Old Bay seasoning (hate it), hazelnut (I agree), anchovies (it depends), blue cheese (yecchh), pizza with more than two toppings (I think that’s about right), “garbage sushi,” meaning junk like California rolls (not worth hating) and sweet pickles (absolutely). It should be obvious to a spaniel that all of his laments are tongue in cheek, but that spaniel might object to “Drowning good food in wildly disparate other tastes is — I do not mean to exaggerate — like drowning puppies in a toilet.”

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Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/12/2021: It’s The Great Stupid, Charlie Brown!

Gypsy moth

1. Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Guess who! Yes, of course it is VP Kamala Harris, and this would be a stand-alone post if I hadn’t begun the day with another Kamala story. You may have heard about this one, if you don’t depend on mainstream media.

The Vice President suggested during an interview at the end of last week with BET News that voter ID laws will make it unacceptably difficult for rural voters who do not live near Kinko’s or OfficeMax to cast ballots. “In some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them,” she warned. “Of course people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are.”

Naturally the interviewer, the historically unobjective Soledad O’Brien, who was the worst talking head at CNN before the whole network went to Journalism Hell, just smiled and nodded as if Harris had said that the world was round. Elsewhere, Kamala’s idiotic statement got the reaction it deserved. Harris had managed to insult rural America and show her own ignorance in one single gaffe. Kinkos hasn’t existed for several years; it’s called FedEx Office now. Wrote PJ Media’s Bryan Preston, his tongue piercing his cheek,

“Rural Americans have access to these things called ‘smartphones,’ which they can use to scan and send their IDs if they need to. They also have access to these things called ‘scanners,’ ‘printers, and these amazing devices that can scan,  print, and even digitally transmit information wirelessly. It’s like magic, really. Rural Americans also have this amazing communications tech called ’email.’ They also have various means of getting their information from where it is to where it needs to be — in physical form! There’s even a whole government service dedicated to moving physical pieces of paper and even packages from place to place called the ‘U.S. Postal Service.’ We truly live in an age of miracle and wonder.”

One Tweeter writes, “She’s so misinformed and so ridiculous. It’s absurd.” Yes, It’s that trademark Harris smug laziness, all right. If she is going to keep up the dishonest Democratic talking point that voter ID is racist and a means of “voter suppression,” it would be prudent to check some facts. Harris doesn’t do that very often. The episode was reminiscent of President Bush the Elder expressing amazement at a grocery store checkout scanner, causing widespread mockery in the media over how out of touch he was. Yet I can’t find any mention of Harris’s telling botch outside of the “conservative media.” Gee, why is that? When poor Dan Quayle was VP, the fact that he misspelled “potato” was news for a week. Harris shows that she thinks of rural America as a primitive wasteland, and it isn’t newsworthy at the Times, Washington Post, CNN, CBS and the rest.

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More On The Andrew Yang “Racist” Cartoon: Some Perspective From The Ethics Alarms Archives…

In contrast to the political cartoon discussed in the previous post, THIS is a racist cartoon. Below is the Ethics Alarms post from 2014 titled, 9 Observations On The Boston Herald’s ‘Racist’ Cartoon”:

1. I’m adding this new #1 right at the beginning—there were originally only 8 observations—because some of the early comments suggest that I over-estimated some of my readers’ scholarship, historical knowledge and/or sensitivity on this issue, so let me be direct:  the reference to any African- American having an affinity to watermelon is about a half-step from calling him or her a nigger, and maybe even closer than that. Clear? This is not a political correctness matter. If the reference is intentional, there can be no debate over whether it is racist or not. It is. The President of the United States should not be subjected to intentional racial slurs.

2. I’m amazed—I just don’t know how this could happen. How could this cartoon make it into print? Cartoonist Jerry Holbert explained that he came up with the idea to use watermelon flavor after finding “kids Colgate watermelon flavor” toothpaste in his bathroom at home. “I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations,” Holbert said. “I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.” Is this possible? In a political cartoonist? On one hand, since the racial connotation is so obvious and so predictably offensive, it seems incredible that a cartoonist for a major daily would dare offer such a cartoon unless he really didn’t perceive the racial stereotype it referenced. On the other, the man is a political cartoonist, not a Japanese soldier who’s been hiding in a cave for decades. How could he not know this? How could his ethics alarms, racial slur alarms, survival alarms not go off?

I don’t get it.

3. Hence the quotes around “racist.” The only way the cartoon makes any sense to me is if Holbert is amazingly, wonderfully non-racist, and completely color blind. The flavor of the toothpaste is innocuous if one doesn’t think in racial terms at all. Maybe he just thinks about the President as the President. If so, isn’t that terrific? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was like that? Wouldn’t it be swell if a dumb detail like the flavor of the toothpaste in a cartoon that has nothing to do with race OR toothpaste wasn’t even noticed?

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Political Cartoon Ethics: No, There Was Nothing “Racist” About Bill Bramhall’s Andrew Yang Cartoon

Yang cartoon

Some day, in a more mature and enlightened America, we will have non-male and non-white candidates for elective office as well as elected officials whose supporters do not use the politicians’ race or gender to unethically intimidate critics by crying “Bigotry!” when there is none. Some day. Or maybe not. Right now, it is clear that such politicians and their supporters just can’t help themselves. It’s cheap, it’s unfair, it’s dishonest, but as Harry Reid ( or Niccolò Machiavelli) might say, “It works!”

It needs to stop working. I consider the routine use of that tactic to stifle legitimate criticism as an valid, if not necessarily decisive, reason not to support female or minority candidates.

The latest despicable example of the practice arrived in New York City, where a mayoral race is heating up. Evelyn Yang, wife of candidate Stephen Yang, attacked New York Daily News’ cartoonist Bill Bramhall for a characature she called a “racist disfiguration” of her husband.

Bramhall, a boringly predictable progressive cartoonist who draws Donald Trump to look like he ate Orson Welles, mocked Yang by exploiting the common complaint that he’s not a real New Yorker, but a carpetbagger who is naive about the ways of The Big Apple. Mrs. Yang, however, tweeted,

“I can’t believe my eyes. To publish this racist disfiguration of @AndrewYang as a tourist, in NYC where I was born, where Andrew has lived for 25 years, where our boys were born, where 16% of us are Asian and anti-Asian hate is up 900%.”

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Comment Of The Day: “Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!”

Another Steve-O Comment of the Day is on the way, but this one is particularly relevant considering what is unfolding in Minnesota, and not just there. Here, for example, is the state of affairs in Austin, Texas:

After the Austin police budget cut on top of the repeal of the public camping ban, Austin crime and disorder has gotten measurably worse. Austin police are also leaving in droves:

After the Austin city council voted unanimously to defund its police department by about one-third of its budget, in August 2020, many predicted that once the cuts kicked in a flood of officers would leave the force as soon as they could. The new district attorney’s policy of re-investigating police officers for closed cases is also expected to cause officers to resign or retire.

The city council’s cuts officially kicked in and have been in place for a few months.

PJ Media reports exclusively that APD is now suffering a huge surge of officer departures putting it on pace to shatter 2020’s record.

In January 2021, sources tell PJ Media 20 officers retired from APD and eight resigned, for a total of 28 departures.

In February 2021, five officers resigned and six retired, according to multiple sources, for a total of 11 departures.

In March 2021, 24 more officers left APD, with 20 officers retiring. Additionally, three officers resigned and one was terminated.

To put this into perspective, 2019 was the last non-pandemic year and the year before the city council cut APD’s budget. APD averages about 50 retirements or separations in a calendar year, and replaces them with cadets who have graduated from the police academy or officers who join APD from another force.

APD saw 46 officers retire with another 22 resigning in 2019, according to local TV news station KVUE.

2020’s numbers were exacerbated by the George Floyd riots; 78 officers departed or retired from APD from the beginning of those riots to the end of 2020, for a total of 89 separations, according to KVUE.

Official 2021 numbers provided to PJ Media by the Austin Police Retirement System (APRS) break down as follows:

  • Prior to 2020, retirements averaged 50-52 per year over the last 5-6 years
  • Record number of retirements in FY 2020: 97
  • First-quarter 2021 retirements: 45

Add to those 45 retirements the 18 resignations or terminations, for a total of 63 separations in just the first quarter of 2021. If the current pace continues, APD could lose approximately 252 officers — about five times the average number of separations for a year. This will impact public safety across the board, and according to the APRS, can impact retirees’ benefits as well. APRS raised the alarm about the impact the city council’s cuts could have in September of 2020.

March 2021’s retirements hit all over the department, including tactical intelligence, gang crimes, narcotics enforcement, investigations, and the bomb squad, according to a full list provided to PJ Media. Traffic enforcement — both warnings and citations — has declined by more than 60% in the first two months of 2021, a source tells PJ Media.

At the same time, the city council’s cuts have forced the cancellation of police cadet classes. The department is losing experienced officers in droves and is unable to replace them with new officers.

Fewer officers means fewer officers to cover 911 calls, to the point that some 911 calls now result in “NUA”s: No Officer Available…

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, where it increasingly appears that the prosecution and the judge are willing to discard due process and basic fairness to make certain Derek Chauvin is convicted of murdering George Floyd, Kim Potter, the police officer who shot Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after appearing to mistake her gun for her Taser was arrested yesterday and charged with manslaughter. The Wrights’ family lawyer, Ben Crump, coincidentally the same lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, declared,

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform.”

Nice! Crump is accusing Porter of racism and murder, before any investigation and without any evidence that race played any part in the shooting. The fact that the victim resisted arrest, however, was a significant part of the tragedy. The convention Crump and various elected officials and legislators are trying to create would create strict criminal liability for law enforcement officials when black suspects are involved. Why wouldn’t this eventually lead to police officers being passive when confronted with black law breakers? Why would any officer take any measures to stop a fleeing African-American suspect,or foil efforts to resist arrest?

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

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Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

I know this is the second appearance today of James Donald’s anguished coda at the end of “The Bridge Over The River Kwai,” but he arrives when it is appropriate.

Maryland’s Democrat-controlled legislature moved yesterday to pass a “police reform package “that includes the repeal of the state’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), overriding Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto to do it.

The state’s police Bill of Rights covered due process for officers accused of misconduct. You can read it here. I have. I would call it a not especially radical or permissive document, and its provisions simple codify basic due process rights. I view this move by the legislature as primarily symbolic, a virtue-signaling gesture of support for the individuals who break laws and against those who enforce them.

Yes, this is sure to work out well.

The action of the Maryland House of Delegates is more of the George Floyd freakout, still marching to the dishonest tune of Black Lives Matter, as the news media provides ample fertilizer. Here’s Politico, for example: “The move, a win for police reform advocates, comes amid a national reckoning with policing after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last year.”

Morons. First, Floyd did not die “at the hands” of a police officer by any measure. Second, whether the police officer caused his death is a matter being determined in a court of law, a right even police officers have. Third, it is foolish, irresponsible, incompetent emotion-driven policy-making to allow any single event, especially one in a different state, to drive substantive policy changes of any kind.

In his veto statement, Governor Hogan wrote,

“These bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions and instead further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state.”

Why would anyone in his or her right mind want to serve as a police officer in Maryland? I guess the state wants police officers who are not in their right minds. Oh, yes, this is really going to work out well.

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Well THAT’S Cleared Up! Now We Know (As If There Was Reason For Doubt) That The CDC Is A Political Organization, Not A Scientific One, And Thus Not To Be Trusted

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director of the Centers For Disease Control, released a statement last week that declared “racism” a public health threat.

Go ahead and read the statement if you like; that sentence above is all you need to know from an ethics perspective. If “racism”—it’s in quotes because the definition no longer has any coherent meaning, since it has been distorted to mean anything a social justice warrior or an unhappy individual who regards himself/herself/whateverself as a minority needs the word to mean at a given time or in a particular dispute, or, of course, a dictatorial-minded government—is a health issue, almost anything is. Maybe everything.

Walensky’s motives could be just about anything too. Maybe she really believes this and that it’s a legitimate topic for the agency under its mission. If she does believe that, she’s not very bright. The CDC Mission Statement makes it crystal clear that the agency’s purpose in to fight disease, stating at the outset:

Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

Because that’s what the Mission states at the beginning, the mission cannot suddenly expand elsewhere. (You would think the agency’s name would have precluded doing so as well.) I write mission statements as an occupation (among other things); groups pay me to help them compose theirs. You can’t have an ethical, valid Mission Statement that begins like that, and then goes on to say that the organization is also concerned with cheating at Parcheesi and overcooking good steaks. “Race” is not a disease, and how people treat race is based on emotion, which is not subject to hard science. Continue reading

Song Ethics: Isn’t “Whitewashing” Just Covering A Song For A Different Audience?

I usually don’t expect “Great Stupid”-style race-baiting from The History Channel, but today for some reason it alerted me that on this date in 1955 “Black music got whiter” with the release of Georgia Gibbs’ “Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower)” “setting off a dubious trend known as ‘whitewashing.'” This recording was a cleaned up version of Etta James risque song you can hear above. “Roll with me, Henry,” as the lyrics of that song went, essentially meant “Fuck me, Henry,” and they weren’t going to play that on mainstream AM radio stations in 1955. So producers bowdlerized the lyrics for pop singer Gibbs, who was, ugh!, white, and she had a hit:

Apparently there’s supposed to be something sinister about this, as if Gibbs was “stealing’ record sales from Etta James. Nonsense. Artists aiming at different audiences with covers of songs taking a different turn is called “commerce.”

Here’s a 1936 song by Rodgers and Hart that was favored by old fogies at the time..

…but only after the lyrics were changed…

Old Blue Eyes, before he was old, covered it later by jazzing it up…

But “Blue Moon” only became a mega-smash when it a lot of 50’s era gibberish was added and it came out like this:

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Don’t Be Lulled Into Apathy Because It Involves A Silly Daytime Talk Show Watched By Idiots And A Reality Star Of Negligible Importance: CBS Pulled A TV Show Because Someone Dared To Criticize A Black Woman. It’s Time To Draw A Line In The Sand…

Osbourn

This makes two frightening ethics stories involving the media in a row, the worst back-to-back Ethics Alarms concerns that I’ve seen in ten years here. The seriousness of the previous story is easy to grasp: multiple news organizations deliberately misled the public to suggest misconduct by President Trump that never happened, and “coincidentally” they did so with perfect timing to affect the crucial special Senate elections in Georgia. This second horror is trickier, because it involves what to normal people is trivia layered on trivia. However, it may be the more terrible of the two.

Try to follow this without getting disgusted and turning on “Three’s Company” re-runs, or you can jump to the bottom of this nauseating account for the reason why the episode is important despite all evidence to the contrary…

1. It began with the Oprah interview of the narcissistic and manipulative Duchess of Sussex and her dominated husband last week, during which Meghan absurdly played poor little rich girl and poor princess while accusing conveniently un-named members of the Royal family of being racists. Even the fact that the couple sold the interview to O didn’t dissuade the celebrity-addled Princess Di cult from swallowing every whooper served up by the former actress like it was a culinary masterpiece. Tellingly, the interview went over like a lead balloon, as my father used to say, in Great Britain, where Meghan Markle and Harry are even less popular members of the royal family than Jeffrey Epstein pal Prince Andrew.

2. Then, on a British morning talk show the next day, celebrity muckraker Piers Morgan announced that he didn’t believe the couple’s tale of abuse, and thought it was outrageous for two entitled (literally) individuals of unearned wealth and power to present themselves as victims, and particularly offensive for Markle to be posing as a victim of “systemic racism.” For this he was accused of being biased—he’s white after all—and Morgan, who bottom-feeder though he is does not grovel or back down, quit his co-host job on the spot, walking off the set.

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