Posts Tagged ‘Jack Marshall’

These heroes saved the Union 150 years ago today

July 2, 2013

little round top summitAn important responsibility of citizenship it to understand our history and acknowledge our debts to the people who came before us. My friend, Jack Marshall  (ethicsalarms.com) reminds us that today, July 2, is the 150th anniversary of the second day of the battle of Gettysburg.

We Americans are taught that Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. Yes, he did, but it was about to be lost on July 2, 1863, until the Twentieth Maine Volunteers, commanded by Col. Joshua Chamberlain, defeated a major Confederate attempt to turn the Union’s flank at Little Round Top. Many historians believe the desperate counterattack by the Maine unit is what really saved the Union. Read about Little Round Top here.

 

In today’s Ethics Alarms column Jack Marshall describes how the credit really needs to be shared with the heroic First Minnesota. Read and marvel at what we owe to the unquestioning valor and sacrifice of these American citizen soldiers.

The supreme significance of Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2012

 

Jackie Robinson played his first Major League baseball game 65 years ago today. We’ve long become inured to stories of “firsts,” since our society has come so far on the road to judging each person by the content of his character, but in a century of firsts, Jackie Robinson was extra special. Nobody has explained his significance as well as Jack Marshall in his Ethics Alarms blog. Read it here.

 

Reflections on Martin Luther King, Jr., and on heroism

January 15, 2012

 

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It’s been a holiday in all fifty states only since 2000, when Utah finally adopted it. MLK was a hero, and the holiday dedicated to him is a good time to reflect on his life and on the meaning—and especially the limits—of being a hero.

If we venerate some of our Presidents for their accomplishments, then we surely should venerate King. He arguably did more to make America a better nation than anyone since Lincoln. He dreamt that “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

America is not that nation yet—not quite—but we’ve progressed awfully close to it since King’s 1963 speech at the Lincoln Memorial. And the progress has been largely inspired by King. His insistence on non-violence sealed the commitment of African-Americans to it, and his description of what justice meant captured the conscience and then the heart of much of white America.

Yet when his birthday was first proposed as a national holiday in 1979—just eleven years after his death—it was so controversial that it failed to win a majority vote in the House of Representatives, and it took another twenty-one years for the fiftieth state to recognize it. Many reasons have been cited for the resistance, but surely a major reason (more…)

America’s shame: our treatment of sex offenders who have served their sentences

September 16, 2011

America’s criminal justice system consists of arrest, indictment, trial, and sentence. After serving out the sentence, the offender goes back to society with another chance. Unless that is, he was convicted of a sex offense, anything from violent rape to “sexting” a nude photo.

Sex offenders can never finish paying their debt to society, in spite of the fact that recidivism rates for sex offenders, especially for child molesters, are far lower than for other convicted felons. After serving their sentence they face crushing restrictions on where they may live–as of 2007, some 27 states and hundreds of municipalities had enacted laws that bar sex offenders from residing within up to a half mile of schools, parks, playgrounds and day care centers. Their homes are listed on the internet, and some even are subjected to humiliating signs like the one shown here. This even though the vast majority of sex offences are against relatives or friends, not strangers.

Besides the residency restrictions, sex offenders find it all but impossible to ever find gainful employment. It’s impossible to get a job with any employer that’s  big enough to have a human relations department, because once they have—easily—checked the national registry of sex offenders the answer is no.

Jack Marshall’s EthicsAlarms.com treats this issue, along with the larger issue of treatment of prisoners in general, in his blog entitled America’s Untouchables. I recommend it.

Two ethicists consider Gov. Rick Perry, the audience at the Republican debate, and the death penalty

September 13, 2011


Jack Marshall raises an interesting ethics issue here, as he does so often in his Ethics Alarms. This time it’s the conflict between empathy and justice. He explains how the Golden Rule can get us into some uncomfortable ethical conflicts. He writes,

‘Empathy is considered an ethical virtue for good reason: it is at the core of the Golden Rule. A person without empathy is less likely to put himself or herself in the other person’s place. The criminal justice process, however, is not a good fit for the Golden Rule. In the place of a guilty criminal, I would still probably want to be pardoned, set free, and given a second—or third, or fourth—chance to be law-abiding.”

Marshall defends Gov. Rick Perry’s answer at last Wednesday’s Republican debate to moderator Brian Williams’s question whether Perry was troubled by the idea that there might have been some innocents among the 234 people executed while Perry was Governor. After the audience cheered the grisly tally, Perry answered:

“No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which — when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, (more…)

An Ethics Can of Worms, All Named “Nike”

August 26, 2011

Jack Marshall writes in his EthicsAlarms.com blog that I was “open[ing] an ethics can of worms” with the piece about Nike and its $4-a-day workers. He raises a terrific set of questions that need to be argued over before deciding whether a company doing international business is behaving ethically. They’re not easy to answer. I guess I’ll try them out on my business ethics students next month. Here they are

 Q: If workers agree to work for a given price, is the company’s obligation to pay them more?

 Q: Should any company pay less than a living wage for full-time work, whether or not desperate workers assent? (more…)

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) defends Muslim judge Sohail Mohammed, calls opponents “crazies.” Hooray for an ethics hero

August 4, 2011

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has been criticized for appointing Sohail Mohammed, an American Muslim, to a New Jersey superior court. Yesterday he defended Mohammed, using words like ignorant, crap, baloney, and crazy to describe Mohammed’s critics. His statement was strong and inspiring for its passion and plain English.

Defending Muslims as patriotic Americans, and ridiculing the notion that Sharia law is a threat to America, is sadly rare in today’s Republican Party. Christie is an up-and-coming Republican politician, and his spirited defense of an American Muslim appointee will cost him many friends on the Republican right. America badly needs leaders who will stand up—like Christie—to the extremists in their parties.

Thanks to Jack Marshall and his Ethics Alarms blog for anointing Christie an ethics hero.

Morning Joe Scarborough is an unethical coward for letting his friend Mark Halperin take the fall alone

July 1, 2011

It’s always upsetting when one of your heroes turns out to be an unethical creep. I was sick when I learned—for certain—that Bill Clinton had lied to me on national TV, sad when I learned that my Dodger hero, Manny Ramirez, had used banned substances, and devastated when my biggest hero of all. Greg Mortensen (of Three Cups of Tea fame) had not really built girls schools in Taliban country and had in fact stolen millions from his non-profit.

Still, I’m not getting used to my heroes falling. Not even after the latest, Joe Scarborough, conservative ex-congressman (R-FL) and host of the fun morning political conversation, Morning Joe.

I posted yesterday about how Joe and his co-host, Mika Brzezinski, had goaded and cajoled Mark Halperin into expressing his honest opinion of President Obama’s performance at his press conference Wednesday. They assured him that any off-color remark would be bleeped by way of a seven-second delay. When the show’s producer pressed the wrong button, Halperin’s opinion, “I thought he was kind of a dick,” went out into the ether for all to hear. More giggles from Mika and Joe, then a heartbroken apology from Halperin, then Halperin was “suspended indefinitely.”

In urging him on, Scarborough had promised, “You fall down I’m going to catch you.” But he didn’t catch him. Not a word protesting the suspension or owning up to his responsibility. (more…)

Don’t Knock “The Code of the West”! (from EthicsAlarms.com)

March 8, 2011

Jack Marshall writes that Republicans in the Montana State Legislature have proposed “The Code of the West” as  Montana’s State Code . Not a bad idea. See Jack’s Ethics Alarm column here.

An opposing opinion from EthicsAlarms: Republican leaders DON’T have a responsibility to speak out against Glenn Beck and the birthers

February 15, 2011

While I believe that political leaders of all stripes have an ethical obligation to speak out against hate speech, distortions, and lies coming from their own side of the political divide, I have to respect the opposite opinion of Jack Marshall in his excellent blog, EthicsAlarms.com. Jack is often right and has often clarified the ethical issues for me. Just not this time.


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