Rep. Cawthorne And The Cross-Dressing Future Congressman Principle Question

Yes, this is a funny controversy, but not entirely trivial. And you knew Ethics Alarms would be on it like hound on a hock of ham, because examining the Naked Teacher Principle [NTP]and its real or proposed extensions, sisters, cousins and aunts, have been a periodic obsession of both Ethics Alarms and its predecessor, The Ethics Scoreboard. Add to that the fact that that Madison Cawthorn (R-NC.), is both a Christian values-spouting politician and a mega-jerk, and the photo above, showing him cavorting in lingerie, cannot be ignored (or, once seen, unseen).

The Principle states that a secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result.

It is important to remember that even the Naked Teacher Principle does not hold that teachers necessarily should be dismissed if old photos surface of them online that show more of them than parents and schools want students to see, but that it is their own carelessness that created their career crisis, and that the decision to dismiss them is ethically defensible. Most recent posts on the topic involve whether the NTP can be applied to other professions.The last time it was discussed, in 2012, involved a nurse who made money on the side by posing provocatively on a sexually themed website. The conclusion here was was that there was no “Naked Nurse Principle,” and that her firing was unjust.  The previous NTP-related post involved, almost a year before that one,  rebutting the argument that there are similar principles regarding police and firefighters. Some of the more interesting versions that have been explored on Ethics Alarms include The Female Bodybuilder Firefighter Principle, The Drag Queen Principal Principle, The Online Porn Star Teacher Principle, Naked Naval War College Professor Principle, and more.

So now we must ask, “Is there a Cross-Dressing Future Congressman Principle”? Continue reading

What Is The Ethical Response To This Astoundingly Stupid Story?

I really don’t know.

In Florida, two teenage males—Can we say “males”?—were playing a fun and exciting game: they took turns wearing body armor while the other shot a gun at him, police have concluded. Surprisingly, at least to them, one of the kids was shot dead when a bullet hit a place that the body armor didn’t cover.

Christopher Leroy Broad, 15, died after being rushed to a hospital. 17-year-old Joshua Vining has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child with a firearm. Continue reading

Bias Also Makes Philosophers Stupid

Kate Manne, an associate professor of philosophy at Cornell University, is tired of dieting, so she tied herself up into rhetorical knots and rationalizations to argue that dieting is “immoral.” She also allowed herself to be published doing so.

How embarrassing. This is one reason why philosophy is a dying field, albeit slowly: how can anyone trust someone who masks pure self-interest in philosophical theory?

Manne writes,

I recognize that even if you are a fat person who would be healthier if you lost weight, you don’t owe it to anyone to do so; you don’t owe it to anyone to be healthy in general. And I know how much my internalized fatphobia owes to oppressive patriarchal forces — the forces that tell girls and women in particular to be small, meek, slight, slim and quiet.

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Responsibility For The January 6 Capitol Riot, Part I

It is certainly appropriate to analyze and carefully consider the context and causes of the January 6 riot. Doing so, however, does not require the extended hyping, spin and deceit that we have been subjected to by Democrats, Trump-o-phobics and the news media for a full year, culminating in a contrived “anniversary” today. Over the past year, we have heard absurd comparisons of the one day riot to the bombings of September 11, 2001, Pearl Harbor, and maybe Darth Vader’s destruction of Alderaan—I don’t know, I didn’t read every hysterical screed on the topic.

Today’s retrospective overkill in the New York Times, for example, occupies four full pages in the A Section, with seven of the 24 containing at least one riot-related article. Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into World War II, crippled the Pacific fleet and cost almost 3000 lives. 9/11 ushered in a new era of struggles against Muslim terrorists, also took 3000 lives, and profoundly affected the economy, privacy, civil liberties and politics. And January 6? It provided Democrats with a useful narrative to use to try to neutralize Donald Trump, and opened a new door to criminalizing the Right. The riot never threatened to overturn the election results at any point. It never even delayed the Congressional certification of those results, nor could it.

The motivation behind this orgy of narrative framing is clear: Democrats, progressives and the media are terrified that they are headed for an epic (and oh-so-richly deserved) wipe-out in the 2022 mid-term elections, and the only weapons they appear to have in their arsenal are fear-centered: fear of the end of “democracy” (meaning Democratic Party rule), fear of Trump, and fear of “the deplorables,” with fear of climate change thrown in for variety. It is a massive, shameless, relentless, desperate propaganda effort, divisive, dishonest, thoroughly despicable, and, of course, unethical.

Nonetheless, it would be helpful to examine the reasons the January 6 riot occurred, and I find it incredible that I haven’t seen a single balanced and ethically objective analysis anywhere. Typical of what I have seen is yesterday’s op-ed by The New republic’s contributing editor Osita Nwanvetu. The Times headlined it using a rare form of dishonesty, advancing a lie by denying the lie: “Trump Isn’t The Only One To Blame.” Trump certainly shares a large portion of responsibility for the riot, but since he neither led the mob to the Capitol nor participated in the riot himself, he obviously wasn’t the “only one to blame.” But the politicians and “journalists” who are terrified of him have worked tirelessly to embed that false impression.

Who and what are “to blame” for the ugly events of a year ago? Who isn’t at fault? Here is the Ethics Alarms list. If you know of another equally non-partisan and unbiased analysis, please let me know. I haven’t seen it.

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Faultless Injustice: A Case Study

It is largely forgotten now, but the Brandon in “Let’s Go Brandon!” is NASCAR driver Brandon Brown. It was he who was being interviewed by NBC sports reporter Kelli Stavast at a NASCAR event October 2 when the then-popular “Fuck Joe Biden!” chant began to drown out the exchange. Stavast, thinking too quickly for her own good and not properly mindful of the falling credibility and trust of her profession, decided to try to cover for the crowd, NASCAR, or the President and commented that the NASCAR spectators were chanting “Let’s go, Brandon!,” which they clearly were not.

Thus a slur, a joke, a catch-phrase and a rebuke was born, one that has not only not faded, but that appears to be gaining in frequency and legend after nearly three months. And who has been harmed by the chant, other than civil discourse, respect for the office of the President, and our political culture?

Why Brandon himself, that’s who, though he is the one blameless party in the whole chain of events. The chant, he says, has killed his prospects of signing sponsorship deals, costing him untold thousands in future income.

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Ethics Dunce: Secretary Of Transportation (And Proud Dad!) Pete Buttigieg [Updated]

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When I wrote in September about Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo abusing his paternal leave privileges to abandon his team at a crucial time in its battle to make 2021 the play-offs, I expected a lot of heated criticism (I didn’t, though I did get a provocative counter argument that became a Comment of the Day.) I wrote in part,

The Boston Red Sox recently completed a disastrous collapse that dropped them from first place in the American League East to third. As they went into battle with the two teams now ahead of them, their hottest hitter, Alex Verdugo, vanished on a four game paternity leave. Shortly thereafter, another hot hitter, Hunter Renfroe, was lost for five days on bereavement leave after his father died of cancer. T’was not always thus: in the days before the Players’ Union bargained to add such mid-season leave as a new benefit, if a player’s wife was in labor or a loved one died, it was at the team’s discretion whether he would be permitted to leave the team. OK, I can appreciate the need for the benefit, but both players abused the right. These guys both earn millions of dollars a year. They both routinely talk about the team’s quest to win the World Series, yet when their team really needed them, they absented themselves for many days because they could. That’s a betrayal of the team, team mates, and fans.

By the force of pure moral luck, Verdugo’s indulgence did no damage in the end: the Sox made the play-offs and have prospered (so far, though they lost last night), in great part because of Verdugo’s clutch hitting upon his return. That doesn’t change my ethics verdict on his dereliction of duty however (which the player reminds me of every time he gets a hit now, because Verdugo makes a baby-rocking gesture to his team mates in the dugout.) Compared to the Biden administration’s Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, however, Alex Verdugo is a model of dedication and responsibility.

Buttigieg and his husband Chasten adopted infant twins named Penelope and Joseph in August. The little bundles of joy arrived as product shortages and the supply chain problems had made themselves evident, a developing crisis that is worsening, and one that threatens the economy as well as businesses, jobs and the welfare of millions of Americans. It is also a situation squarely within the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department. Not since the airplane-executed terror attacks of September 11, 2001 has that agency had such a crucial task before it, nor have more Americans needed the performance of DOT to be diligent, timely, and effective.

Never mind! The Secretary of Transportation decided that this was still an appropriate time to take advantage of the Biden administration’s “family friendly” policies, and took two full months of paid leave while the supply chain problems multiplied and expanded. He wasn’t even online with his department during most of that time.

I apologize, Alex! Compared to Paternal Pete, you’re a self-sacrificing hero. I wish you were Secretary of Transportation.

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Comment Of The Day: “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21” (Item #1, The Baseball Player’s Long Paternity Leave)

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The Comment of the Day below is really two consecutive comments in the same thread, as Sarah B. argues that fathers are not only justified in leaving their jobs at critical times to be with their wives at childbirth and thereafter for as long as they deem necessary, but that this is the most ethical choice. My note prompting her response involved the case of Red Sox star Alex Verdugo, who left the team at a crucial time when the season hung in the balance, and stayed away for four days to be with his girlfriend and their new-born child: there is no indication that he provided anything but companionship and moral support.

(I just learned that he is not married to the mother (above). No, I don’t think that changes the ethics issue, though it raises others.)

I stated that this was a breach of his duty to the team, which he is paid handsomely to respect. I am quite certain that this is the correct ethical position, but my view represents the resolution of an ethics conflict, where two ethical principles oppose one another. I can’t say that how Sarah prioritizes these principles is wrong, only that I would prioritize them differently, and have in analogous situations.

Here is Sarah B’s Comment of the Day on #1 from the post, “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21.” I will have a few rebuttal points at the end…

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“The priorities are linked, but still need to be ranked and four days is nothing. Heck, if my husband only got four days after the birth of our children, unless his absence from me would literally cause someone to die, I’d give him the choice of his job or his family. If we want men to step up and be good husbands and fathers (which would do amazing things for our society) we need to let them do that. Considering what a woman’s body goes through with the birth of a child and the incredible amount of healing she must do after the fact, four days barely lets a mom get home from the hospital (having had complication-free natural births has led to us getting to go home on day three at my hospital) and set up a good feeding schedule for the first kid (my best kid so far took two weeks before we got the bugs worked out enough for their health and mine). Subsequent kids require so much more because of the need to care for the older children too. The fact of being in high levels of pain for every action and dealing with incredible dizziness for days lead to a new mom being a literal danger to herself and the baby (not to mention any other kids) if left alone. According to my OBs, that condition is totally normal, even expected.

“Due to the danger, new moms are forbidden from lifting their own child or walking with the child in their arms in my hospital. My hospital also asks about the support a mother can expect for at least two weeks post baby before they will even let the child go home with the mother. Sure, a lot of us rely on other family members for that second (or third or fourth week), but the dad has to be there in the beginning if he wants to start himself off on a good foot of proper prioritization of responsibility. Most marriages I have seen where a dad does not give totally of himself for 1-2 weeks after a baby are at best strained. The mother needs support, and who is best able and most desired to give that support, but the father of the baby? If MLB cannot give new fathers a week away at minimum, they need to require that their players are celibate while on contract, so no babies come about. If a multimillion dollar contract is enough to abandon a wife and kid for at a time of great need, it should be enough to abandon sex for. Family is the primary responsibility, and all the more so at the birth of a baby.

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Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21

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You could yesterday, September 6, “Moral Luck Day.” On that date in 1901, President William McKinley was shaking hands at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo when a 28-year-old anarchist named Leon Czolgosz approached him with a pistol in his hand wrapped in a handkerchief, and fired two bullets into the President’s chest. Touchingly, McKinley’s immediate thoughts were of his wife, Ida, who was in poor physical and emotional health. “Be careful how you tell her!” he whispered to an aide. Eight days later, McKinley was dead. But what Czolgosz intended as a strike to the heart of America’s government had the opposite effect, making Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican considered too independent, radical and uncontrollable (unlike McKinley) by his own party to be in the White House, exactly what GOP leaders never wanted him to be. Teddy made the United States a world power, greatly expanded the power of his office and the government itself, and was, in short, an anarchist’s nightmare.

1. Baseball ethics: The Boston Red Sox recently completed a disastrous collapse that dropped them from first place in the American League East to third. As they went into battle with the two teams now ahead of them, their hottest hitter, Alex Verdugo, vanished on a four game paternity leave. Shortly thereafter, another hot hitter, Hunter Renfroe, was lost for five days on bereavement leave after his father died of cancer. T’was not always thus: in the days before the Players’ Union bargained to add such mid-season leave as a new benefit, if a player’s wife was in labor or a loved on died, it was at the team’s discretion whether he would be permitted to leave the team. OK, I can appreciate the need for the benefit, but both players abused the right. These guys both earn millions of dollars a year. They both routinely talk about the team’s quest to win the World Series, yet when their team really needed them, they absented themselves for many days because they could. That’s a betrayal of the team, team mates, and fans. I’ve been there. My grandmother, a major influence in my life, died while I was in tech week for a major production I was directing. I flew to Boston for the wake, and flew back early the next morning. I couldn’t do anything for my grandmother. My family didn’t need me as much as the show did.And I wasn’t being paid a cent for directing that show, never mind millions of dollars.

2. Curtis Flowers is suing. Good! Curtis Flowers, whom I wrote about here, filed a lawsuit last week against Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Evans, who prosecuted him six times for the killings of four people at a small-town Mississippi furniture store. He was finally released in December 2019, about six months after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the conviction and death sentence from his sixth trial, which took place in 2010. Justices said prosecutors showed an unconstitutional pattern of excluding African American jurors in the Flowers’ six trials, which kept him in prison for 26 years despite never being found guilty in a fair trial. This wasn’t a prosecution, it was a vendetta. I would like to see a bar prosecution of Evans, who abused the ethical duties of a prosecutor.

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Showdown At CVS

I’ve been looking for an excuse to use my favorite Ethics Alarms movie clip again [FYI: The library has been updated!]…

Against my usual proclivities, I am engaged in a war with the CVS that I am not going to back down from, stranding my family members there and leaving my my weapons behind to be used by terrorists. I found it odd that every time I made a purchase at the store, about twice a week, I was asked to “re-enroll” in a savings program that I had participated in for over a year. This required me to click “yes”(rather than “later”) at the end of my transaction. I finally asked a clerk what was up, an he said he would check. The result: checking “yes” did nothing. My membership could not be reinstated at that time. He could not tell me why.

So I asked to see the manager, a nice middle-age woman whom I have known there for years. She couldn’t explain why either. Finally she said, “It’s the machines,” and wrote down a phone number for me to call at CVS’s website. “Excuse me, but why to I have to call because your store’s machine’s don’t work?,” I responded. “I’m the customer, I’m misinformed for weeks, I don’t get discounts I’m supposed to get, and I have to fix your problem? I have to sit through automated phone systems and wait times? You are CVS’s agent. You work here. You’re paid for it. You fix the problem. Don’t foist it off on me. I’m the one being inconvenienced.” At this point, by some sadistic twist of fate, a large, aggressive, loud and belligerent young woman had entered the store near the front counter, and she started addressing me stridently.”Why are you harassing them?” she boomed out. “They aren’t CVS. They just work here.”

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Return To”Field Of Dreams”

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Baseball had a rare PR triumph earlier this month when it held a regular season game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox in the Iowa cornfield diamond that was the setting for the cult movie favorite “Field of Dreams.” The TV ratings were the best for any regular season broadcast in 16 years. That’s amazing, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Despite rumors of its demise, baseball still has a cultural bedrock of tradition, nostalgia and history unmatched by any other sport, professional or amateur. So many Americans would not tune in to a baseball game if they didn’t still have a flicker of affection for the sport, and if your argument is, “Yeah, but that’s just because of the movie,” the movie wouldn’t have become iconic if a lot of people didn’t care about baseball. As Terrence Mann said,

Now my confession: I’m not a wild fan of the film, nor that scene. The scene in particular is unforgivably stagey and artificial: it’s right out of the (much better) book, “Shoeless Joe,” and not even the great James Earl Jones could make it sound like anything but a recitation. I got annoyed, during the hype for the game broadcast, with “Field of Dreams” being repeatedly called “The greatest baseball movie.” I don’t regard it as that; I think it just barely makes the top five, and I could be talked out of ranking it that high.

For good reasons, many baseball writers, fans and bloggers have criticized the film over the years, and not just because it is shamelessly manipulative. But it is that. Baseball writer Craig Calcaterra, a vocal debunker of the film, writes,

“I will fully admit that a story about a father and son repairing a longstanding rift over a game of catch — with or without the magical realism elements — could form the basis of a MAJOR chills moment in an absolutely fantastic movie. The problem, as I’ve said in the past, is that “Field of Dreams” does not earn its chills moment. It is lazy in that it does not sketch out the dispute between Ray and his dad in anything approaching realistic terms — it’s dashed off in the rushed intro with almost no details — and it does nothing to explain why Ray’s moving the Earth and the Heavens to bring his dad back to that ball field is so important or why it serves as the “penance” Ray must pay for whatever reason. With no buildup or backstory, there’s no payoff.”

But worse, for me and others, is the slipshod handling of baseball history. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was not innocent of taking a bribe to throw the 1919 World Series, he was guilty. He was not a thoughtful, wise-cracking Ray Liotta, he was just north of being a moron. He batted left-handed, and famously so, not right-handed like Liotta. When Frank Walley’s character, a magically reincarnated and youthened old ballplayer named Archie “Moonlight” Graham, whose single appearance in the major leagues was in 1905, is nearly beaned by a close pitch, he says “Hey ump, how about a warning?” Umpires didn’t warn pitchers for throwing at batters in 1905, and not for more than a half-century after that. Sloppy.

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