Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

From The Ethics Alarms Lost Files: The Ballet Dancer, The Man On The Tracks, And The Duty To Rescue

September 29, 2017

I don’t usually copy other people’s columns, but I couldn’t resist copying this one from my friend Jack Marshall’s EthicsAlarms.com.

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[This story is several months old, but I missed it.  Luckily my friend, long-time Ethics Alarms reader and commenter Ethics Bob did not, and sent it to me. Then I missed his e-mail. Until today.]

Ethics Alarms often writes about the duty to rescue, but has also often discussed the reasonable limitations on that duty. You are ethically required to do what you can to prevent a tragedy if you have the power to do so, and instant presence of mind to do so. There is no ethical duty to act like Batman, unless, of course, you are Batman.

Gray Davis is Batman.

Well, that’s not quite right.

Let’s call him “Ballet Man,”

In June, a 58-year-old homeless man fell or was pushed onto the subway tracks at the 72nd Street Broadway-Seventh Avenue station in Manhattan. People began screaming and shouting for someone to help. Davis, 31, told reporters that “At first I waited for somebody else to jump down there…. But nobody jumped down. So I jumped down.” Actually he leaped down. Davis is a ballet  dancer with the American Ballet Theater. He had not performed that night, a Saturday, because he was recovering from a herniated disk. He had just watched his wife, soloist Cassandra Trenary, dance in both the matinee and the evening performances of “The Golden Cockerel.”

After Gray’s graceful assemblé from the platform onto the tracks, he lifted up the man, following a temps leve, although the carry itself was not standard and had several technical flaws by ABT standards, forgivable because ballerinas are not typically dead weight, and unconscious homeless men are not typically ballerinas. Gray deposited his temporary partner on the platform, where he was immediately attended to by others.

Then the dancer heard a train in the distance, and for the first time realized how high it was to the platform from the tracks. “Luckily, I’m a ballet dancer,” he said. Luckily for everyone. Lifting his let up over his head is a breeze.

Ballet dancers are much-maligned, and increasingly unappreciated as artists despite the fact that they are among the most skilled athletes in the world. Batman would have to have ballet training; Daredevil too. Unfortunately, they aren’t real. Graey Davis, Ballet Man, is real, and when a life was at stake and everyone else was calling for someone else to he a hero, he was one, because he knew he had the skills to pull it off.

Bravo!

Encore!

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NFL Protests and the First Amendment

September 25, 2017

Kaepernick kneeling

We’re up to our hips in hogwash about the First Amendment rights of protesting NFL players. They have no such rights. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply to football. It applies ONLY to Congress, and by legal extension, to all lawmaking bodies in the United States.

Here’s what it says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So the owners are not prevented from firing players by the First Amendment. Arguably, they are as free to fire a player for taking a knee for the National Anthem as Google, for instance was free to fire James Damore for taking public exception to Google’s diversity efforts. And for the same reason: damaging the employer.

Not to say firing a player would be good business. Players have a way of sticking up for each other, whatever their color or politics. So even if an owner disagreed strongly with the protests, they’d be unwise to fire the protester.

Protesting by display against the National Anthem raises questions of ethics and comity, but don’t bring the First Amendment into it.

Ethics Beyond the Obvious at Charlottesville

August 19, 2017

Christopher Cantwell supremacist.jpg

In 3rd grade, or maybe it was 7th, Miss Finestein made me write on the blackboard 50 times “I will not pull Joanne’s hair.” I think that was overkill. Making an example of me in front of the class and perhaps making me write it three or four times would have been enough. After that it just made me hate Miss Finestein.

So too with President Trump. We get it. Trump committed an ethical monstrosity when he equated pro-Nazis with anti-Nazis, and when he said that there were “very fine people” marching in Charlottesville alongside those carrying torches and Nazi and Confederate battle flags, and chanting “Jews won’t replace us.”

Trump was wrong wrong wrong. That’s an easy call, and anyone in public life who doesn’t make it is also committing an ethics disgrace. But let’s move on.

Some of the protesters came equipped with helmets, shields, baseball bats, and pepper spray. And used them, as shown in the photo. From the L.A. Times:

University of Virginia student Isabella Ciambotti: “I was on Market Street around 11:30 a.m. when a counter-protester ripped a newspaper stand off the sidewalk and threw it at alt-right protesters. I saw another man from the white supremacist crowd being chased and beaten. People were hitting him with their signs. A much older man, also with the alt-right group, got pushed to the ground in the commotion. Someone raised a stick over his head and beat the man with it, and that’s when I screamed and ran over with several other strangers to help him to his feet.” (more…)

Tear Down the Statues

August 17, 2017

Caesar_Rodney_square.jpg

I like history. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, where the main square of the city, Rodney Square, was dominated by the equestrian statue of Caesar Rodney above), who rode seventy miles through a thunderstorm from Dover to Philadelphia on the night of July 1-2, 1776, to cast Delaware’s vote for Independence. I read Hamilton before it was cool. I still stop along country roads to read historical markers.

So I like statues and monuments that remind us of history. Even unpleasant history. I admire the German decision to preserve the remnants of Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, with plaques describing the horrors perpetrated by the Gestapo. And the preservation of the concentration camp of Dachau, just as it was in the 1930s and 1940s.

I didn’t like the current movement to remove statues of Confederate generals, even the one of the slave trader/Ku Klux Klan founder, Nathaniel Bedford Forrest. I thought these statues were just history, although some of them were erected in the 1960s, as a sort of f-you response to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The trouble with the statues as history is that, to many African-Americans, and to a not-insignificant number of whites, they’ve come to idealize the “good old days” of white supremacy. So when the statues cease to represent history it’s time for them to come down.

 

Will Trump’s Outrages ever Break the Camel’s Back?

August 16, 2017

camel straw Flickr The.Rohit_.jpg
I commented yesterday that criticism of Trump’s softness toward white supremacists and Nazis by key Republicans was an encouraging sign of America’s health.

I’ve gotten pushback, pointing out that many of these same Republicans blasted Trump for denigrating John McCain’s war record. “This time Trump went too far,” optimists on the Left pronounced. But Trump thrived.

Then Republicans blasted him for claiming that Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel could not judge fairly because he “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” (Curiel was born in Indiana.) “This time, etc”, we said. But Trump continued to thrive.

The last straw was when he belittled Gold Star parents Khizr and Gazala Khan. Now, we said, “now he’s really crossed the line.” Many Republicans agreed. Trump thrived.
Then Republicans jumped all over him for the Access Hollywood tapes, in which he told Billy Bush, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” Now Republican criticism boiled over, with Republican women especially furious over his casual admission of repeated sexual assaults. Trump continued to thrive.

And then came the really, no fooling, last straw. In the final debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump refused to say he’d accept the result of the imminent election. Days later he clarified his position: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win.”

That outraged people of every political stripe, challenging, as it did, the very foundation of the American experiment. “He’s finished now,” we all thought. (more…)

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.

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 (more…)

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.