Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

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

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…)

Kagan was wrong to oppose military recruiting, her defenders are getting it wrong

May 11, 2010

President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan is expected to breeze through the Senate, largely because of the absence of a “paper trail” –written opinions that a nominee who is a judge would have left for inspection. For example Republican opposition to Sonia Sotomayor crystallized around her opinion in the New Haven firefighter suit, which was wrongly characterized as Sotomayor favoring unqualified minorities over hard-working qualified whites. Kagan has left no signed opinions to be swift-boated about.

Her only sin, it appears, is to have refused to allow Harvard Law School, which she headed, to cooperate with military recruiters because the military discriminated against gays with its “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy.

Administration officials give an energetic lawyerly defense of Kagan’s position: she didn’t draft the policy and it was in place before she became dean. The military was allowed to recruit at Harvard, they just couldn’t get help from the law school’s career services office.

Kagan explains that DADT discriminates against gays. Surely it does. She opposes it. So does JCS Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and probably the 90 percent of the military under the age of 25. So do I. So what.

DADT is not—and never was—merely anti-gay policy of bigoted generals. It was the law of the land, enacted in 1993 to prevent President Clinton from allowing openly gay people to serve. When Harvard—and Kagan—opposed cooperation with military recruiters they were opposing legitimate national defense activity, being carried out in accordance with the law.

Or perhaps Harvard policy trumps law? I hope that’s not the explanation of a Supreme Court nominee. Stay tuned.

Read The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World

The Phoenix Suns become Los Suns for a day to support Arizona’s Latino community

May 9, 2010

If you’re in business you don’t want to offend your customers. Not even half of them. That’s why you avoid taking a public position on controversial issues. If asked you just say, “I don’t know about that,” or That’s politics, my game is basketball,” or whatever.

So what do you do when you think your state has acted against “our basic principles of equal rights and protection”? If you’re in business in Arizona you keep your mouth shut. Why alienate the 70 percent of Arizonans who favor the state’s new legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants and those who help them or hire them? Or else why alienate the majority of Latinos who despise the new law?

Why? Because you believe in something and you believe it’s your duty to speak up. Robert Sarver, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns, had his team wear special jerseys emblazoned with Los Suns for the playoff game on May 5, Cinco De Mayo, the day that Mexican Americans celebrate their Mexican heritage.

Amid the rancor over the new law, Sarver said he was taking the controversial action “to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation.”

Hooray for Sarver and Los Suns.

I want to write now, but…

March 26, 2010

I’m dying to write about anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-democratic talk and sportsmanship in the NCAA tournament, but (sob) I have to take two weeks off. I’ll get back to blogging around April 9.