Morning Ethics Warm-Up, April 3, 2019: Morning Disillusionment And “Morning Joe”

Good morning!

Since this is an ethics blog, I guess I’ll have to confess that it’s really a lousy morning, since I was up until 1 AM watching the Red Sox lose to Oakland 1-0…

1. From the “Why do I bother?” Files. I’ve been complaining (too much, but it makes me feel better) about the precipitous fall in Ethics Alarms traffic  since the Trump Deranged fled the objective discussions here and Facebook decided to make it impossible to post anything I write. Yesterday, I returned to the periodic theme of teachers facing termination when their naked forms pop up on the web, including the controversial photo in question. Because of that post, and not any of the important Ethics Alarms commentary over the past 12 months that were significant and useful, the blog  had its highest traffic total in more than a year. None of the visitors had anything to say or constructive to offer, of course.

This is undoubtedly why Tucker Carlson’s website routinely includes tabloid style cheesecake features, like—let’s see what it is today—Ah! “Celebrate Amanda Bynes’ Birthday With Her Hottest Looks”! Bynes is a fallen ex-child and teen star who has been out of show-business for years because of emotional illness and drug problems.

Stay classy, Tucker.

2.  How constant political correctness immersion rots even superior brains: A case study. One of the smartest, sharpest, BS intolerant people I have ever known or ever will know just posted this approvingly on Facebook:

I am  depressed. These directives from a Montgomery County, MD sponsored community groups are largely idiotic, and like all word policing, efforts at thought and language control. My friend is a parent of two teens, but I would expect  her, of all people, to send them the lesson that they should never capitulate to this kind of sinister conditioning, which is what it is: “The Collective will tell you what you can and cannot say without sanction! Await further instructions.” Almost all of these are awkward, meaningless distinctions of the ” ‘colored people’ BAD, ‘people of color’ GOOD” variety. Continue reading

When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring: The Virginia Cankerworm Bill (and a Poll)

At this point it is superfluous to name Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran an Ethics Dunce. That’s obvious, both from extreme her pro-late term abortion position, and her disingenuous, cowardly back-tracking once her callous and unethical views went viral on YouTube. This, however, requires not merely malfunctioning ethics alarms but dead political survival alarms, melted human decency alarms, and rusted-solid “How can I look at myself in the mirror?” alarms.

The same day, January 9, that Tran introduced “House Bill No. 2491 — Abortion; eliminate certain requirements,” she introduced House Bill No. 2495 – Fall cankerworm; spraying prohibited during certain months.”

No, the bills aren’t really related, except symbolically. Tran’s abortion bill aims to strip virtually all legal protections for the unborn in Virginia. Tran’s other bill adds protections for caterpillars, though the objective of the bill isn’t really the welfare of the bugs. Nonetheless, the juxtaposition is ugly and to some, telling. To full-throttle abortion advocates like Tran, unborn children might as well be worms, except that they don’t object to restrictions on worm-killing. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/13/18: You Can’t Get Much More Ethics Issues Variety Than This!

Good Morning!

[Mickey is really playing that piano. Boy he was amazing…]

1 A Russian Jumbo!  And it worked! In Russia, Irina Kudinova was charged with mocking the Church after she  posted a photograph that prosecutors alleged was obscene and thus constituted the “deliberate desecration of a religious object” and “insulting the feelings of believers.”   Gee, I can’t imagine why anyone would think THAT..Here’s the photo:

The judge ruled that it was merely a photo of an Easter cake and nothing more. Elephant? What elephant? Or maybe “What elephant phallus?” would be more accurate. Kudinova was awarded 20,000 rubles in a court action for false accusations.

Few cases better illustrate the principle that in Bizarro World attempts at ethical acts become unethical. The problem is that Russia has laws that discourage free speech. In order to undermine an unethical law, the judge in this case made a ruling that is obviously contrary to reality, and what anyone can see with their own eyes. If judges can ignore evidence and deny reality to protect citizens from an unjust law, then they can do the same to unjustly punish citizens who break no laws at all.

I’m happy for Kudinova, but the Russian judge is a well-intentioned ethics dunce. His solution does as much damage as good.

2. “Thanks, Mom and Dad…and bite me.” The parents of GOP Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson each gave $2,700, the maximum allowed, to the primary campaign of the Democrat their son is challenging, Senator Tammy Baldwin. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/2/2017: Goodbye Baseball, Hello Incompetence, And Isn’t It Nice Of Twitter Look Out For Us?

Good Morning, Everybody!

(Goodbye, baseball…)

1 The 2017 World Series ended last night, with the Houston Astros winning a hard-fought and exciting seven game battle over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Otto Von Bismarck famously observed that providence seemed to be looking out for the welfare of drunkards, fools, and the United States of America, and Major League Baseball should be added to Otto’s list. With the NFL simultaneously alienating civilized fans who don’t like seeing their heroes crippled for their entertainment, and more bloodthirsty fans who don’t want their entertainment polluted by half-baked political protests, baseball, whose ancient status as “The National Pastime” had been mocked as wishful thinking, entered the Fall at its best, and showed TV audiences a wild, passionate game featuring diverse and likeable players who seemed genuinely proud and privileged to be Americans.

Now comes the long, bleak winter…

2. From one of my smart, informed, anti-Trump obsessed progressive Facebook friends:

“So… we can talk about visa regulations right after an immigrant kills people, but we can’t talk about rational restrictions on guns when someone uses a gun to kill people?”

Rushing to take political advantage of a tragedy, as President Trump did by immediately using the terrorist attack in New York to push for his immigration reforms is, indeed, exactly as reprehensible whether it is done by Democrats or Republicans. A tactic sure looks uglier when it’s done to oppose your interests than when its done to advance them, isn’t it? (By the way, my friend, restrictions on immigration are not prohibited by the Constitution; “rational restrictions on guns,” aka “incremental elimination of the Second Amendment,” because it is now clear that this is the goal, is.)

3. A few hours after Trump’s Cabinet meeting, CNN’s Jim Acosta  asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock?”

“That’s not what he said,” Sanders replied. “He said that process has people calling us a joke and a laughingstock.”

In fact, the President had indeed said at the meeting, “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now — because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughingstock.”

Observations: Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “In Which We Visit The Daily Caller To See….”

Businessmen fighting

Inspired by one of my periodic visits to the ethical, verbal and analytical wasteland of the comment section of major web news aggregators and political commentary sites, longtime Ethics Alarms participant and curmudgeonly philospher luckyesteeyoreman was moved to write a digression on what he calls the 5-la culture, a topic my dad was referring to when he said, “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.”

Confirmation bias is human problem, not a partisan one, but it is disturbing to see that partisan warfare has produced a dominent mindset where confirmation bias is regarded as an asset rather than a weakness. It is a weakness, you know.

Here is luckyesteeyoreman‘s Comment of the Day on the post, In Which We Visit The Daily Caller To See How Civil Discourse Is Proceeding On The Conservative Website…

It seems clear that large parts of public discourse in American society have been largely hijacked by diverse cults of non-thinking – but committed – self-righteously indulgent exhibitionists of what I call a culture of la-la-la-la-la, or “5-la culture.”

All of us reading here are probably very familiar with this – but where it started and how it became so popular, I don’t know. Picture: a person with their mind closed on a matter (usually, presumably), intent on blocking-out the entire world, firmly pressing the palms of his hands against his ears, elbows jutting out to their respective sides, rejecting any and all external input while making “counter-noise,” namely: “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!”

That little “5-la” gesture says so much with so little. It is such a convenient crutch for worshiping irrationality and anarchy, and so lazily. Ethically, it perpetrates, proliferates, and perpetuates much harm most insidiously.

Continue reading

In Which We Visit The Daily Caller To See How Civil Discourse Is Proceeding On The Conservative Website…

zombie bar fight

Well…not too well, actually.

Here is a representative segment of the comments on a recent post, describing Fox News’s Megyn Kelly admonishing Debbie Wasserman Schultz for demeaning Gov. Nicki Haley as being chosen by the GOP to respond to the State Of the Union message purely because she’s a woman.  Kelly suggested this was major glass-house stone-throwing, perhaps because the anointed candidate Debbie wants to run for President has little positive to offer but her lady parts, and, though Megyn was too polite to say so, the same goes for Debbie, who heads  DNC despite being a an inarticulate, dishonest dolt. Debbie, of course, retorted with gibberish, deflections and lies, her sole implements of communication. Little of this seemed to concern Daily Caller readers.

For as usual on The Daily Caller, The Daily Beast, Mediaite, Politico and so many others, here’s what the comment thread turned into after only five sort-of relevant-comments…

Ethics Dunce: Tucker Carlson (No, I Mean Seriously, This Guy Is Really, REALLY An Ethics Dunce!!!)

Oh NO!!! Tucker Carlson is trapped by a conflict of interest! I'm coming, Tucker...just hold on! I'M COMING!!!!

Oh NO!!! Tucker Carlson is trapped by a conflict of interest! I’m coming, Tucker…just hold on! I’M COMING!!!!

Tucker Carlson is the founder and publisher of the conservative commentary and news site, The Daily Caller. In this post, I recently discussed Carlson’s ethical obtuseness in pulling a column by a Daily Caller contributor because it criticized Fox News, where Carlson has a gig as a weekend host of the network’s embarrassing happy conservative talk morning news show. I wrote,

The conflicts of interest on display here, the insensitivity to them, and the lack of any pretense of journalistic fairness or integrity is staggering. Carlson has placed The Daily Caller in the same, discredited ethics no-man’s land of Media Matters, Move-on.org, the Daily Kos and other sites that blatantly distort the news and their commentary on it for specific, ideological and personal agendas, and a personal agenda is the most unethical and cynical conflict of all. Carlson likes his Fox paycheck, apparently. Well, then, his ethical obligation is to have an independent journalist edit his website. In the alternative, he needs to refuse to work for Fox unless the network agrees to allow him full reign to say and write what he believes on his website, and to allow others to do so as well.

Apparently Carlson doesn’t read Ethics Alarms—I am shocked and disappointed—and moreover, has the imagination and ethics problem-solving skills of a banana slug.  Mediaite reports that he was discussing his ethics problem with RealClearPolitics, and admitted that he was totally flummoxed about what to do, poor dear:

“I have two rules,” Carlson said, “One is you can’t criticize the families of the people who work here, and the other is you can’t go after Fox” because he works there. Sigh. “Yes, it’s a conflict, for sure…but I don’t know what to do about it.” Continue reading