Depressing Dispatches From “The Great Stupid”

moronic-idiot

I wish I could post each of these separately, but I already used up the extra hour today…

Perplexing Statement of the Week

“I understand one stab, 2 or 3 or 5, but 40 times, that’s like hate.”

That’s Jose Aguirre of Phoenix, pointing to the spot where his neighbor, Rodolfo Garcia, was brutally stabbed to death on Halloween morning. This gets Inigo Montoya’s attention:

Of course, his comment does embody the warped logic of hate crime laws, which we now should recognize as one of the early victories of those who want race and color to confer special advantages in society. I think the word Jose was looking for wasn’t hate but anger, as fury, at least as explained repeatedly by the profilers on “Criminal Minds” when they encountered a death by overkill, is the approved diagnosis with death’s like Garcia’s. I will assume that anyone who tries to stab me to death one, two, three or five times doesn’t like me very much. And frankly, those extra stabs after I’m dead won’t bother me at all. Hey, go crazy, man! It’s your time and energy you’re wasting!

A Minnesota community is confused.

What a surprise.

The city council in the Minnesota city of International Falls voted unanimously last week to prohibit dressing its sort-of famous statue of Smokey the Bear  in seasonal attire during teh year as the local tradition has been for decades. Smokey will no longer don earmuffs in the winter, or fishing gear in the summer, or the wags responsible will face fines.  No,  the iconic anthropomorphic bear cannot sport any  garb other than his traditional blue jeans, belt, buckle and “campaign” hat, with his shovel in hand.

Thank God they dealt with THAT crisis! Continue reading

Emoji Ethics…Oh, All Right, I Won’t Be Coy: The Unethical Firing Of Chad Franks

Screen-Shot-2015-04-28-at-10.50.42-PM

Would you fire someone based on that tweet? Is it so horrible to you, so seering to your senses, that it warrants harming a human being’s career and welfare? Can you even detect what it was that got its author fired? Could the person doing the firing believe that he or she would deserve firing for such a tweet, as in, say, The Golden Rule?

Has the world gone mad?

First the basics: What the hell is an emoji? From Wikipedia:

“Emoji (絵文字(えもじ)are the ideograms or smileys used in Japanese electronic messages and Web pages, the use of which is spreading outside Japan. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji). The characters are used much like ASCII emoticons or kaomoji, but a wider range is provided, and the icons are standardized and built into the handsets. Some emoji are very specific to Japanese culture, such as a bowing businessman, a face wearing a face mask, a white flower used to denote “brilliant homework,” or a group of emoji representing popular foods: ramen noodles, dango, onigiri, Japanese curry, and sushi. The three main Japanese mobile operators, NTT DoCoMo, au, and SoftBank Mobile (formerly Vodafone), have each defined their own variants of emoji. Although originally only available in Japan, some emoji character sets have been incorporated into Unicode, allowing them to be used elsewhere as well. As a result, emoji have become increasingly popular after their international inclusion in Apple’s iOS in 2011 as the Apple Color Emoji typeface,which was followed by similar adoption by Android and other mobile operating systems. Apple’s OS X operating system supports emoji as of version 10.7 (Lion).Microsoft added monochrome Unicode emoji coverage to the Segoe UI Symbol system font in Windows 8 and added color emoji in Windows 8.1 via the Segoe UI Emoji font.”

In short, they are tiny pictures increasingly used by Twitter freaks to jazz up their tweets. If you don’t look for them, you may miss them. They are, essentially, cartoons.

Chad Shanks, who ran the NBA Houston Rockets’  Twitter account as the team’s digital communications manager, posted the above tweet to celebrate the impending end of the first-round NBA play-off series with the Dallas Mavericks. The emoji of a pistol pointed at a an emoji of a horse’s head—the Mavericks’ mascot is some kind of a horse-human hybrid monster—in the upper left-hand corner was deemed by management so vile that Shanks’ head had to metaphorically roll. The shocking, PTSD triggering tweet with its reference to cartoon violence was deleted and sent to cyber Hell, and Shanks grovelled an apology, writing, via Twitter, of course, that he was no longer with the organization:

“I did my best to make the account the best in the NBA by pushing the envelope, but pushed too far for some and for that I apologize….Sometimes you can go too far. I will no longer run @HoustonRockets  but am grateful to the organization that let me develop an online voice.” Continue reading

Ethics Train Wreck Updates: The Obama Presidency and The Washington Redskins

Obama golfing

1. Update: The Obama Presidency Ethics Train Wreck

This has been a week dominated by Ethics Train Wrecks old and new: the Ferguson Express, which will presumably slow down for a few months until we find out what the grand jury does and why; the previously dormant Donald Sterling choo-choo, which came around another bend in its tracks, and, predictably, the Ethics Train Wreck that is the entire Obama Presidency, highlighted by the President more or less intentionally refusing to act like an engaged leader, happily going back to fun on the links after making a statement regarding an American journalist beheaded on video by terrorists.

Naturally the latter concerns me more than the rest, but I have realized that most of those who are in permanent denial about this leader’s ineptitude simply don’t want to process the truth in this regard. Mention the obvious, or what should be, that this frightening confluence of crises domestic and foreign is an irresponsible time to be perceived as taking a break, and one is bombarded by specious comparisons with Bush or JFK’s home away from home on Cape Cod. Some observers have the integrity to concede what many–you know, those mean Obama critics who are out to get him because he’s black–correctly discerned long ago. Here’s The New York Times, consistently one of the President’s most incorrigible apologists:

“Yet the juxtaposition of his indignant denunciation of terrorists and his outing on the greens this week underscored the unintended consequences of such a remove. If Mr. Obama hoped to show America’s enemies that they cannot hijack his schedule, he also showed many of his friends in America that he disdains the politics of appearance. He long ago stopped worrying about what critics say, according to aides, and after the outcry over Wednesday’s game, he defied the critics by golfing again on Thursday, his eighth outing in 11 days on the island.

It was all the more striking given that Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain canceled his vacation after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released the video showing Mr. Foley’s death because the accent of the masked killer suggested he came from Britain. Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News that Mr. Obama would “rather be on the golf course than he would be dealing with the crisis.”

But the criticism went beyond the usual political opponents. Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error.”

It is not a judgment error at all. It is just another example of Obama’s flat, flat, flat learning curve regarding leadership. Continue reading

The President And The Redskins: Learning Curve Flat As Ever

An updated graph of President Obama's learning curve on his practice of gratuitous commentary on the jobs, businesses, and duties of others. Oddly, it looks exactly like the last such graph, and the graph before that...

The  updated graph of President Obama’s learning curve regarding the Presidential practice of gratuitous commentary on the jobs, businesses, and duties of others. Oddly, it looks exactly like the last such graph, and the graph before that…

In the long list of example of President Obama interfering with private decisions, court cases and local matters that the occupant of highest office in the land has an obligation not to meddle in, his comments on the Washington Redskins are among the least annoying. It was a wishy-washy statement, all in all, that he gave to the AP:

“If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”

Does anyone doubt that owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, hasn’t thought about it? On its face, the statement is petty, but of course, as the President resolutely refuses to learn, everything the President of the United States says, scripted or non-, regarding national policy or local matters, be they about red lines or how victims of gun violence look like his son, the President’s comments are seized upon, blown out of proportion, spun, used as weapons, provocations and ammunition, and generally warp public policy discourse, public opinion and personal and local decision-making. Continue reading

Political Correctness, Abuse of Power, the Redskins, and Spite

I’m sure glad I don’t own the Washington Redskins.

Boston RedskinsI say this without even considering the current problem of having a head coach who let the franchise player ruin his knee. I’m glad I’m not Dan Snyder because the annual sniping about his team’s unfortunate name pulls me in opposite directions ethically and emotionally, and I don’t enjoy being Rumpelstiltskin.*

If I owned the Washington Redskins and was being pragmatic as well as ethical, I’d just bite the bullet (oops! Is that phrase banned now?) and change the team’s name. The debate is stupid, but it’s a distraction no sports franchise needs. I would dig in my heels against political correctness zealots who demand that the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks and other Native American-themed names get tossed in the ash heap of history, but “redskins” is undeniably a term of racist derision, despite the fact that it isn’t that in the context of football. In football, it just means those NFL players in red and gold that a whole city worships year round.

If, however, I wanted to take a much needed stand against the unethical tactics of political correctness bullies everywhere, refuse to yield to an argument that is as dishonest as it is illogical , I might well do what Snyder has done so far out of pure orneriness and spite, which is to say to the team’s critics, “Stick it!” Continue reading

Now THIS is Incivility…

The Victim

University of St. Thomas math professor Douglas Dokken is a devoted University of Minnesota fan, but the school mascot’s hijinks became just a little too annoying for him during  a men’s gymnastics meet Saturday night. When Goldy Gopher tapped him on the shoulder one time too many, Dokken wheeled around in his seat and punched him right in the kisser.

The  professor, though sincerely remorseful over his stuffed-animal abuse and bad manners, has been banned from the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion and Williams Arena for a year. Goldy’s face needs some stitches, and he was left speechless. But then Goldie never says anything anyway. After all, he’s a gopher.

Physical violence is not the answer, even to a dumb question like, “How do you stop a guy in a 7-foot gopher suit from bugging you?”

Stupid Ethics Tricks: Buns, Mascots, Mottos and Maher

Advertising Ethics: KFC is marketing its new “Double Down” chicken sandwich by paying college co-eds—who must  meet some secret standard of butt-comeliness—to wear sweat pants with “Double-Down” printed on the seats. The National Organization of Women objects: “It’s so obnoxious to once again be using women’s bodies to sell fundamentally unhealthy products,” says Terry O’Neill, NOW’s president. What an odd comment: is it all right in NOW’s view to use women’s body to sell healthy products? Is O’Neill saying that (not to give KFC any ideas) paying buxom co-eds to wear tight T-shirts advertizing fried chicken breasts would be wrong, but the same campaign for healthy, broiled breasts would be just fine?

I am tempted to say that any ethical condemnation of the “buns as billboards” method is attributable to the “Ick Factor,” not ethics. Continue reading