That flyer above may tip-toe through the legal tulips adequately (though I would love to see it challenged), but it stomps its way through the garden of ethics.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison will host a “Welcome BBQ” on September 12, four days after the start of the academic year “intended” only for students of color. White, like everyone else, are “welcome,” of course, but they have been warned that the event isn’t “intended” for them. “We don’t want you white devils to come, but you’re ‘welcome’ if you do.” Boy, I bet the legal staff worked long and hard on that wording. They should have worked harder. If a “welcome barbecue” is only intended for one type of student, how are other students still “welcome”?
Well, I’ve solved the annoying traffic problem on Ethics Alarms: I’m not checking the traffic any more. It doesn’t affect anything but my ego and enthusiasm. My ego is a lifetime problem, but my enthusiasm is important, and there’s no reason to deliberately upset myself. I kicked the traffic in the metaphorical solar plexus by being such a health-weenie the last couple of weeks, but I have to just focus on content, trying to maintain variety, and staying dedicated to the mission here. William Saroyan, with whom I have more in common than is good for me, liked to say that an artist has not lived in vain if one human being sings his song. I’ve always tried to act as if I believed him, and it’s high time that I really did.
1. President Biden and I agree on this, at least. The President put the kibosh on President Trump’s half-baked—maybe 25% baked—National Garden of America Heroes project. Good. I explained why this was bad history and a waste of time and money here.
In Trump’s defense, at least his worst ideas didn’t cost trillions of dollars…
2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Most media outlets are parroting this, from NASDAQ:
“Consumer sentiment in the U.S. has unexpectedly decreased in the month of May, according to preliminary data released by the University of Michigan on Friday.The report showed the consumer sentiment index dropped to 82.8 in May from 88.3 in April. The decrease surprised economists, who had expected the index to rise to 90.4.”Consumer confidence in early May tumbled due to higher inflation–the highest expected year-ahead inflation rate as well as the highest long term inflation rate in the past decade,” said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.”
Unexpectedly? After the new administration has behaved as if the national debt was in Monopoly money,the Left slow-walking the opening up of the economy when it should never have been shut down, and the enthusiastic socialists who write the checks paying Americans not to work? Are economists that stupid, or do they just think the public is that stupid?
The boulder above weighs about 70 tons. Over 10,000 years ago, pre-Cambrian bedrock drift from Canada left it on what would become the campus of the Uiversity of Wisconsin in Madison, or so it says on the boulder’s plaque. The rock was extracted from the side of a hill in 1925, when Calvin Coolidge was President, and my father was five-years old, and placed in its current spot.
It was dubbed “Chamberlin Rock” after Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, a 19th century glaciologist and University of Wisconsin president, given its plaque memorializing him and placed at the university’s Washburn Observatory.
Suddenly, after 95 years, the rock has become racist, and black students are demanding that it be removed. You see, long ago, the term “niggerhead” was commonly used to describe large dark rocks. (This is the second Ethics Alarms post about a rock called “niggerhead.” That one is also stupid, but not anywhere this stupid.)
“You clearly see what the rock was called and you can’t deny the history. Additionally you can’t deny the way it makes some people feel,” Black Student Union president Nalah McWhorter told Madison.com. “If you’re not going to move the things that are disrespectful to us because other students love it, put something up that us Black and brown students can celebrate.” Continue reading →
To our campus community, Friday morning, what was intended as a protest to inspire action on environmental climate change had a very different and negative impact on many who witnessed it. Two students displayed nooses tied around their necks outside the Humanities Building.
The students involved have since apologized for their actions and committed to rectifying the impact they caused. We commend the university staff and members of our campus community who immediately intervened with the protesters and helped them understand the impact they were having. The protesters then removed the nooses.
The fact remains that members of our community were harmed. While the First Amendment guarantees the right to free expression, our community best succeeds when we express our views and promote a campus climate that is welcoming and safe to everyone.
We hope this experience can serve as a learning opportunity. Regardless of whether the display of a hateful symbol is based on a lack of cultural understanding or an expressed intent to promote fear, the lingering legacies of what these symbols represent create visceral and painful reactions among many. That harm is especially acute for people of color, for whom this history is very real.
Let’s be clear: ignorance is not an excuse. We can and must do better. For those of us who are members of majority communities, our campus offers many resources through Student Affairs and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement to learn about racism and injustice and about how to be strong allies.
And for those who are impacted by incidents like this, we want you to know that we support you and have resources to help….
I wrote, “The school would not make a similar statement if American flags were burned or an effigy of President Trump were set on fire, and those gestures are no less offensive to many than the symbolic use of a noose. Nor was anyone “harmed” by the student protesters. Opinions, symbols and gestures do not harm healthy, normal people. Forcing the students to apologize was wrong and a direct affront to their right of expression.”
Mrs. Q then picked up the baton. Here is her Comment of the Day on that issue:Continue reading →
September has always been my favorite month at the beach….not that I’m at one. But I can dream…
1. Dumbest Ethics Train Wreck of the Year. Incredibly, people are still arguing over whether the President “lied” about Alabama being at risk from Hurricane Dorian, and the news media is still writing about it as if it mattered. I wish I had the time to make a list of all the real news stories with actual impact on the nation that the mainstream news media has buried or ignored in recent years to contrast with this nonsense. Of course, the President is also at fault, since he is incapable of letting stuff like this go, as, say, a well-adjusted adult and responsible leader would. The latest (from the AP);
…The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement from an unidentified spokesman stating that information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to the president had demonstrated that “tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama.” The advisories were dated from last Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Monday, the statement read.
Friday’s statement also said the Birmingham NWS tweet Sunday morning “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”
The statement from NOAA contrasts with comments the agency’s spokesman, Chris Vaccaro, made Sunday. “The current forecast path of Dorian does not include Alabama,” Vaccaro said at the time.
Friday’s NOAA statement, released just before 5 p.m., points to a few graphics issued by the National Hurricane Center to support Trump’s claims. The maps show percentage possibility of tropical storm force winds in the United States. Parts of Alabama were covered, usually with 5% to 10% chances, between Aug. 27 and Sept. 3. Maps on Aug. 30 grew to cover far more of Alabama, but for only 12 hours, and the highest percentage hit 20% to 30% before quickly shrinking back down.
Alabama was not mentioned in any of the 75 forecast advisories the hurricane center sent out between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2. From Aug 28 to Aug. 31, a handful of locations in Alabama were mentioned in charts that listed percentage chance of tropical storm force winds or hurricane winds, maxing out at about 7 percent chance for Whiting Field to get tropical storm force winds.
Former National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read blasted NOAA leadership Friday night on his Facebook page calling the situation “so disappointing” and saying he would comment because NOAA employees were ordered to be quiet.
“Either NOAA Leadership truly agrees with what they posted or they were ordered to do it. If it is the former, the statement shows a lack of understanding of how to use probabilistic forecasts in conjunction with other forecast information. Embarrassing. If it is the latter, the statement shows a lack of courage on their part by not supporting the people in the field who are actually doing the work. Heartbreaking,” Read wrote.
Takeaways:This is only news because 1) so many people will grab on to anything if it will allow them to denigrate the President and 2) the President acts the way he does.
2. Least shocking ethics story of the week: Campaigning in Cedar Rapids, Joe Biden grabbed pre-school teacher Jessica Roman’s hands and held them while he double-talked around her question about his plans to help unionized teachers deal with Iowa’s collective bargaining laws. She later told the news media that his physical contact was “unwelcome”: Continue reading →
I didn’t want to write about this, as I am having to defend too many jerks of late,but multiple readers have flagged it, and besides, there hasn’t been a good Halloween costume controversy this year. This one isn’t good, but it will have to do.
During the University of Wisconsin football home game against Nebraska, one fan in faux prison garb wore a mask of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over his face, and a mask of Obama on the back of his head, as another person wearing a mask of Republican nominee Donald Trump held the end of a noose that was looped around the Hillary/Obama individual’s neck.
1. It was Halloween weekend. Costumes were not out of place.
2. It was a two person costume, and an incoherent one that would support multiple interpretations. Was it an attack on Trump, accusing him of being racist or wanting to harm Hillary? Was it an endorsement of Trump, arguing that Hillary should be punished? Was it intended to evoke lynching imagery? Was it saying that Hillary was the equivalent of Obama? A sign worn by Hillary/Obama, which nobody who wasn’t close up could read, concluded, “Bernie 2016.”
3. This was unequivocally political speech, whatever it was supposed to mean.
4. The University has some discretion to forbid expression and conduct at a sporting event that risk creating violence or that are objectively uncivil .
5. Anyone who uses lynching imagery in public, in any connection to a back public figure, or any African American at all, is an asshole at best. This is a public event intended to be entertaining and a family-friendly activity. Using it for political theater is obnoxious. The civil place for this costume, if anywhere, was in front of the stadium, on the sidewalk.Continue reading →
“Last night a disturbing racist post that was made to social media was brought to my attention. This post was hurtful and destructive to our campus community. While social media can certainly bring about positive change, it can also be a place that deeply hurts and harms others.”
—University of Wisconsin Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper, in the process of race-baiting, victimizing two innocent students, showing atrocious judgment, and proving herself to be an incompetent, hysterical fool.
This unforgivably unjust official condemnation of two students because some race-obsessed juvenile fanatics took offense at this photo of their facial treatmentswarrants immediate firing for cause, if not a lawsuit.
An investigation was launched ..let me repeat that: AN INVESTIGATIONWAS LAUNCHED because of an obvious photograph of two kids wearing facial masks!…and the two students were interrogated by college authorities because some idiots complained about a photo that was obviously no different from this..
First, some of the Social Justice Warriors who sometimes have valuable input (but not on this issue) here decided to attack the contention that Democrats, Progressives, and their allies comprise the only side of the political spectrum that openly favors word banning to suppress thought and speech, are “Orwellian” when they do this. They must have skipped this part of “1984”in Junior High:
’How is the Dictionary getting on?’ said Winston, raising his voice to overcome the noise.
‘Slowly,’ said Syme. ‘I’m on the adjectives. It’s fascinating.’
He had brightened up immediately at the mention of Newspeak. He pushed his pannikin aside, took up his hunk of bread in one delicate hand and his cheese in the other, and leaned across the table so as to be able to speak without shouting.
‘The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,’ he said. ‘We’re getting the language into its final shape — the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.’
This story made my cranium explode like Krakatoa, and it really scared my dog. If it doesn’t make your head explode, I am worried about you. I’m worried about you anyway. I’m worried about all of us.
UW Director of Community Relations Everett Mitchell, speaking at a University of Wisconsin Madison panel dealing with “Best Policing Practices,” argued that police should stop responding to shoplifting and thefts at Wal-Mart and Target in order to reduce what he refers to as “over policing” of the community. Yes, he really believes that enforcing the law regarding property crimes against retailers is “over-policing.” Mitchell, an employee of an institution that exists to enlighten the young and impressionable, said that communities should be able to decide for themselves what laws should be enforced, and that the ultimate goal of law enforcement is not the actual enforcement of law, but community safety as defined by the community itself. If the community thinks declaring open season on the local Walmart—looting, essentially—is just fine, then the police shouldn’t arrest anyone for it. Theft from big box stores, he explained, is an example of a crime that police and the community may view differently.
How the owner of the stores that get robbed, the employees that will lose jobs when the store leaves to relocate someplace that doesn’t think theft is “safe,” and the families that will have no place to shop might feel about his plan was not discussed. Mitchell, you see, is an irresponsible idiot.
He was also formerly an assistant District Attorney in the Dane County District Attorney’s Office. He must have been great at that job.
It is obvious that the mainstream media is determined to shoot down Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by any means possible, because Democrats a) hate him to pieces and b) fear him. The primaries aren’t even underway, and they are already outing their own bias with over-heated criticism of his refusing to be drawn into gotcha questions about evolution and President Obama’s religion (to which he gave essentially the same answer as Hillary Clinton did in 2008: he has no way of knowing for sure), dropping subversive reminders that he never got a college degree, and already are breaching Journalism Ethics 101 principles by running bogus accusations without checking the facts. This will continue—it worked with Sarah Palin and Romney, after all—until the American public figures out what’s going on. I’ll try to help the best I can.
New York Times star columnist Gail Collins, who detests Walker with a passion that apparently obliterates all professional ethics, wrote two weeks ago that Walker was responsible for Wisconsin’s 2010 cuts to education, resulting in teacher layoffs. Walker didn’t take office until 2011. The Times retracted—six days later!—but you know how it works, and so does the Times: a fraction of the readers who read the mistake—this was a reckless, biased, embarrassing mistake—see the correction. The Times is better than Fox News…barely. Collins and her editor should have been disciplined.
Then the progressive feminist website Jezebel printed this:
“Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget—which would cut $300 million dollars out of the state’s beloved public university system—has a non-fiscal bombshell tucked in between its insane pages.Under Walker’s budget, universities would no longer have to report the number of sexual assaults that take place on a campus to the Department of Justice. Under Walker’s plan, university employees who witness a sexual assault would no longer have to report it.There are no policy recommendations in Walker’s budget how or what would replace these reporting mechanisms. The Governor simply instructs that they should be deleted.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the bewildering force that is Scott Walker, know this: he is a small-time guy who is having a big-time moment by playing the conservative werewolf, a role Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are so far unwilling to play in their presidential bids.”
[Translation: “Small time” means “no college degree.” Ad hominem, naturally.]
The Daily Beast, which bleeds blue and has its own stable of wildly left-slanting commentators, uncritically picked up the story, as did many others. They kept it around, too, well after this was revealed: Continue reading →