I regard people who contribute kidneys to near strangers as residing in a special category of Ethics Hero, in the exemplary ethics category….maybe the exemplary exemplary ethics category. Considering Don Bedwell, the first individual I learned about who engaged in this extraordinary act of sacrifice, kindness, and compassion, I began my 2005 post, “There are special and rare people whose ethical instincts are so pure and keen that they can make the rest of us feel inadequate.” Bedwell, a traveling businessman, donated his kidney to a waitress who often served him at his favorite Cleveland restaurant when he was passing through the city on business. The second altruistic organ donor was East Haven, Connecticut Mayor April Capone Almon, who gifted one of her kidneys to a desperate constituent she barely knew.
Wisconsin police officer Lindsey Bittorf is the most recent example of this special breed of ethics hero. She saw a Facebook post from a local mother pleading for someone to rescue might her 8-year-old son, Jackson Arneson, who needed a kidney. The boy’s family and friends had been tested and none were a match. Bittorf didn’t know the child or the family, but got herself tested on a whim. Doctors told her she was an unusually good match,considering that she was not related to the boy.
Last week, Bittorf rang the doorbell at Jackson’s home to surprise his family with the good news, ABC News reported. Jackson could have one of her healthy kidneys.The police officer told Jackson’s mom, Kristi Goll, that it was an “early Mother’s Day gift.” That’s a bit better than flowers, you’ll have to admit. Continue reading
Cognitive linguist George Lakoff, a far left academic (but I repeat myself), advises his partisan political brethren to build public opposition to the President’s regulation reform efforts by changing the word that we use to describe regulations:
President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?
The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public.
Imagine our minority President saying out loud that he intends to get rid of 75% of public protections. Imagine the press reporting that. Imagine the NY Times, or even the USA Today headline: Trump to Eliminate 75% of Public Protections. Imagine the media listing, day after day, the protections to be eliminated and the harms to be faced by the public.
Lakoff’s tactic is remarkable in its transparency. Increasingly, the Left has relied on misleading the public by injecting euphemisms and what I call “cover phrases” into policy debates and news reports to obscure the undesirable aspects of a favored measure, including its unethical nature, such as restricting individual rights. Thus abortion, which involves trade-offs between two human lives and sets of rights, is referred to as “choice,” eliminating the life-taking aspect of the problem from the discussion entirely. Thanks to the efforts of Democrats with the cooperation of the communications media, race-based admission to educational institutions and hiring that may discriminate against whites and Asian-Americans are covered by the benign-sounding term, “affirmative action.” The most brazen of these linguistic cheats is the widespread practice of referring to illegal immigrants as immigrants, thus allowing advocates of unrestrained lawbreaking by uninvited aliens to tar good faith opponents of open border and amnesty policies as xenophobes and racists.
Lakoff continues his cynical instruction for aspiring Big Brothers: Continue reading
Texas Monthly this month has a troubling profile of Edwin Debrow, who is 37 years old, has been behind bars since he was 12, and may have to stay there until he is 52. On September 21, 1991, Debrow shot a San Antonio school teacher named Curtis Edwards in the back of the head. Edwards’ body was found sprawled across the front seat of a taxi that he drove part-time at night. Edwin, police determined, had shot Edwards during an attempted robbery. Above is the photo of the 12-year-old in custody.
Texas law, you will not be surprised to learn, allows very harsh punishment for juvenile offenders.Other states will sometimes try 12-year-olds as adults. Last year’s documentary “Beware the Slenderman” tells the strange story of Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls who attempted to stab another 12-year old girl to death in 2014. Under Wisconsin law, Weier and Geyser will be tried as adults for attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and if convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 65 years in state prison.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:
Is it ethical for society to punish children with such long prison sentences, no matter how serious the crime?
Longtime Eau Claire, Wisconsin radio talk show John Murphy walked out of of his WAYY studio midway through his morning show this week.
He had just finished telling his listeners that he would not be chased out of the industry he loves but that, “I’m through doing this show as it is.” The sports talk show scheduled to follow Murphy started early to cover for his absence after a commercial break. The frustrated talk show host had been on Eau Claire radio for 34 years, for the past 14 years as a host of the “WAYY Morning Show,” a typical local call-in program where the callers discussed and debated local, state and national news. Murphy quit, he said, because the discourse this year gradually stopped being civil, and had degenerated into a partisan and ugly exchange of nastiness and hate.
“It started with a lot of Trump and Clinton stuff, but now that same kind of vitriol is starting to permeate our local races and local issues,” Murphy explained. “After a while, day after day and week after week, that starts to wear on you.” Murphy said he knows that many of the callers hurling insults “are educated, wonderful people who have become caught up in this hurricane of hate.” He says the frustration had been building up inside him for months, and that he was beginning to engage in some of the same behavior he deplored. Continue reading
Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, language, U.S. Society, Workplace
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has commanded students at high school basketball games to stop taunting, mocking or teasing the opposition, which as I recall was the only reason one attends high school basketball games. The WIAA has published a guide to sportsmanlike activities, and much of it is reasonable and wise. Not its specific prohibitions for fans, however. The content-specific bans are redolent of campus hate speech bans, but even sillier.They do teach future adult citizens the uses of censorship by authorities, however.
Maybe that’s the idea.
Here are the prohibitions on fan speech and conduct (1-23) and also athlete conduct (24-29) that are identified in the guide (I’ve rearranged them a bit), which means that schools not controlling such conduct sufficiently to satisfy their fun-hating overlords risk official sanctions. The inexcusably censorious prohibitions are in red. The overly strict or general prohibitions are in pink. Continue reading
For a judge, you just can’t get any more incompetent than this.
In Florida, Circuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox ordered the Palm Beach Post to scrub a previously published story from its website. This is prior restraint, or the government preventing publication based on content. The order violates the First Amendment; it isn’t merely unconstitutional, it is incredibly unconstitutional. Concluded Constitutional Law professor and blogger Jonathan Turley in his usual restrained manner, “The utter lack of legal judgment (and knowledge) shown by Cox in this order is deeply troubling.”
It’s not troubling. It’s ridiculous. Continue reading