Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bad AND GOOD from Charlottesville

August 15, 2017

Swastika Charlottesville.jpg

What is one to make of the events at Charlottesville last week and of Trumps reactions, different as they were on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday? The sights of the night march with torches and the Nazi Flags should have shocked any American with any sense of history. But the sight of Nazi flags and torches weren’t what shocked our President. On Saturday he condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

He followed with words about American values and unity, mixed in with talk about how well the economy is doing under his leadership. But his denunciation of “many sides, many sides” drew all the attention. And deservedly so.

Here’s his full statement.

Trumps denouncement of “many sides” on Saturday provoked extremely strong reactions not only from the left but more importantly from all over the right, Senators Hatch, Cruz, Rubio, Grassley, Gardner, Scott, and others.

Uncharacteristically, in the face of this criticism Trump changed his position Monday, denouncing racism and standing up for American values as strongly as Presidents should.

Then on Tuesday he flipped back to his equivocating position of Saturday, insisting that many of those who marched along with the torches, and Nazi and Confederate flags were good people who only wanted to keep the statue of Robert E. Lee in the park.

So what does all this mean about our President and what does it mean about America?

Trump’s first reaction was designed to avoid offending his racist supporters, although on the evidence available it’s probably unfair to call Trump himself a racist. Then on Monday under pressure from Republicans of all stripes he denounced the vile marchers’ cause. And on Tuesday he was back to equating bad people on both sides.

So should we assume the Trump learned a lesson, that he’s turned a page? Certainly not. One should never assume the Trump has learned a lesson or turned a page. Those are things he doesn’t do.

But he did denounce the extremists in no uncertain terms. That is at least a cue to his civilized supporters to steer clear of the hate groups. That’s a good thing, although he seriously weakened that position on Tuesday

The good news from all this is that America is healthier than it has seemed to many of us on the Left. Our Constitution protects protesters, even in causes as vile as white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and Nazism. And the vile protest was allowed to proceed even though, as Fox News pointed out, protesters don’t normally march with helmets, shields, and baseball bats, unless they’re looking for violence.

But more importantly, and reassuringly, we saw many key Republicans, especially in the Senate, stand strong and say, “No, this is not my America, this is not who we are.” Thankfully, they spoke for me too.

You’ll like Walks in Europe

February 23, 2017

I’ve written often about my experiences exploring Turkey with “Walksinistanbul.com,” aka Arzu Altinay, as my guide. Now she’s opened http://www.walksineurope.com, a successful walking tour company for Rome, Venice, Florence, Athens, Jerusalem, Dubrovnik, Tallinn, Wroclaw, and Amsterdam. I recommend her service to anyone who wants to experience, not just see, any of those cities.

A Black Day for Ethics: DeAndre Jordan and the LA Clippers

July 10, 2015

This is a black day for ethics. A popular basketball star went back on his word, and leading sports journalists argued that it was just fine, he broke no written contract, it was his right to do what’s best for himself. Fans of the Los Angeles Clippers swallowed their ethical principles and cheered. Youngsters all over America—and beyond—got a wrong-way lesson in ethics: your commitments aren’t binding.

The star big man for the Los Angeles Clippers, DeAndre Jordan, became a free agent on July 1, 2015. On July 3 he agreed to sign an $80 million four year contract to play for the Dallas Mavericks for. On July 9 he signed an $87 million, four year contract to stay with the Clippers.

On my favorite TV sports show, “Around the Horn,” respected commentators were unanimous: Jordan had done what was best for him and he was perfectly within his rights to do so.

Not by me, he wasn’t. Shame on him for breaking his word. He caused serious damage to the Mavericks’ prospects, because they had factored his commitment into other personnel actions they made. And shame on the Clippers for mounting a campaign to get Jordan to break his word.

I rooted for the Clippers last year, but no more.

Phone scammers target PC users with phony virus reports

November 7, 2011

Watch out for this and warn your less tech-savvy friends about it. It hit my family already
http://goo.gl/x6kE6

Wow! Rory McIlroy eagles to go 10 under at U.S. Open. Ethical fans cheer extra loud after letdowns from Canucks, Lakers, and Buckeyes

June 17, 2011

Sport is often depressing. We were depressed Monday when Vancouverites rioted after their thuggish Canucks lost the National Hockey League championship to the Boston Bruins. We were depressed last month when the Los Angeles Lakers degenerated into dirty play as they were swept in four games by the Dallas Mavericks. And we were depressed by the news that Ohio State’s All-American quarterback Terrelle Pryor and super coach Jim Tressel were long-time cheaters.

But sport is more often elevating, as when tennis star Andy Roddick corrected an umpire’s wrong call to his own disadvantage and it wound up costing him a championship, or when 22-year old Rory McIlroy gave  everybody a lesson in  grace and sportsmanship after his game totally disintegrated as he was on the verge of claiming one of golf’s major prizes, the Masters Green Jacket.

So I was delighted to read in this morning’s paper that McIlroy had a three stroke lead after the first round of golfdom’s #1 prize, the 111th U.S. Open. As I sat down to blog about this exemplar of ethics in sport, Google popped up with this breaking news from Reuters that McIlroy had holed out his approach shot on the par-four eighth hole for a rare eagle to go 10 under par, the earliest any player had ever reached 10-under in the Open. Ethics fans hope he keeps it up this time.

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.

Mike Singletary fired, steps down with class and grace

December 27, 2010

Mike Singletary could have taught violence and intimidation during his twelve year career as a perennial All- Pro middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears. But most of all he was known for his intensity and determination to beat you on every play.

Yesterday he taught grace and class after he was fired by the San Francisco Forty-Niners following two unsuccessful seasons as head coach. His statement:

“One of the greatest experiences of my life was having the opportunity to coach the San Francisco 49ers. What made it so special were the players. They were some of the most outstanding men I have ever been around in my life. The coaches were truly professionals. I wish the 49ers nothing but the best. I am thankful to the York family for having given me the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. I am indebted to them for that. I am also thankful for the faithful fans, I am just sorry I couldn’t give them more.”

 

Ann Coulter strikes a blow for civility. (Of all people!)

August 25, 2010

Ethics Bob doesn’t often get a chance to speak up for Ann Coulter and Mitch McConnell, but here goes.

On Meet the Press Sunday, host David Gregory was exploring the implications of the Pew poll that showed that thirty-one percent of Republicans polled think that President Obama is a Muslim. Here’s his exchange with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate minority leader:

MR. GREGORY: As a leader of the country, sir, as one of the most powerful Republicans in the country, do you think you have an obligation to say to 34 percent of Republicans in the country–rather, 31 percent who believe the president of the United States is a Muslim? That’s misinformation.

SEN. McCONNELL: The president says he’s a–the president says he’s a Christian, I take him at his word. I don’t think that’s in dispute.

MR. GREGORY: And do you think–how, how do you think it comes to be that this kind of misinformation gets spread around and prevails?

SEN. McCONNELL: I have no idea, but I take the president at his word.

The liberal media went bananas. Chris Matthews dedicated his entire Hardball show to McConnell’s words, saying. “I take him at his word,” was a “pitch-perfect dog whistle to the haters.” Matthew’s guest, Howard Fineman of Newsweek, pitched in, helpfully explaining that in McConnell’s Kentucky “the nativist appeal outside of Louisville really works (more…)

Fareed Zakaria says build the Ground Zero mosque

August 11, 2010

I’ve been writing in favor of Park 51, the so-called Ground Zero mosque, because ethics demands that we treat others as we would be treated, and because religious freedom is a precious American birthright.

But sometimes the ethical thing is also the best strategy. Fareed Zakaria, one of America’s most insightful political commentators (and an Indian-born, Yale- and Harvard-educated Muslim) writes in this week’s Newsweek that encouraging groups like the one behind Park 51 is part of a “lasting solution to the problem of Islamic terror.”

Zakaria has been tagged by New York Magazine as a possibility to be the first Muslim Secretary of State. All his columns are worth reading, but this one is a must for understanding the national security reason for supporting Park 51 and other efforts by moderate American Muslims.

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A wallet-sized code of ethics

May 11, 2010

There’s something about bureaucracy that violates my sense of ethics. Bureaucracy represses one’s humanity. Humans want to make a difference in their lives, but bureaucracy forces conformity and sameness. One definition in the American Heritage Dictionary is “an administrative system in which the need or inclination to follow rigid or complex procedures impedes effective action.”

The bureaucratic system is founded on rules, supervision and enforcement by specialists and inspectors to make sure workers follow the rules, even when the rules deviate from common sense.

We need to move beyond it, but moving beyond it means shifting to a different form of control, one based on a strong sense of mission and a culture of trust, with authority and responsibility shifted from the few at the top to the many front-line workers.

This shift also requires that the organization have a strong ethical grounding. Ethics must replace the missing rules, but in many organizations what passes for ethics is merely another set of rules to comply with, and ethics training usually consists of badgering workers about bribery, conflict of interest and favoritism.

Enron had a nice 65-page code of ethics. The International City/County Management Association has a pretty good code of ethics except that it’s 2000 words long, has a 3200-word supplementary “Rules of Procedure for Enforcement,” and is written by lawyers or at least by people who have mastered esoteric, lawyerly writing. Most people can’t live by the ICMA code because they simply can’t remember any of it. (more…)