Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Sportsmanship at the Olympic women’s soccer final: smiles and hugs all around

August 11, 2012

 

Hope Solo, Team USA’s goalkeeper, saved shot after shot on goal to preserve the miniscule USA lead in the Olympic women’s soccer gold medal match, won by the Americans, 2-1. As Abby Wambach, Team USA’s superstar, declared after the final whistle,Hope saved the day literally five times.”

In sports parlance we’d say that Solo broke the hearts of the Japanese team. But remarkably hearts weren’t broken. As far as the losing Japanese women were concerned, losing isn’t  like death, as the late great football coach, George Allen, famously said. And the Japanese are the defending World’s Champions, not losers. Both sides were joyful at having had the chance to play in the gold medal game.

The photo of three of the Japanese players smiling with their silver medals and embracing Hope Solo, with her gold, is the picture of sportsmanship, too rare in today’s big-money sports but refreshingly present in Olympic women’s soccer.

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Photo Copyright (c) 2012 Hope Solo

 

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Penn State: do the sanctions punish the innocent?

July 24, 2012

 

The ESPN telecast showed student reaction (photo) on a split screen as NCAA President Mark Emmert ticked off one harsh penalty after another against Penn State’s football team. Clearly these horrified Penn State students were being punished for the sins of the formerly sainted coach, the university president, and other senior members of the administration. Their future autumn Saturdays, their social lives, and their pride in their university were being stripped from them.

Accountability for wrongdoing often brings down the innocent along with the guilty. Think about the workers at Enron, Arthur Anderson, or MCI-Worldcom, who lost their jobs when their bosses’ malfeasance destroyed their companies. Or think about innocent children of illegal immigrants who are wrenched away from their world when their parents are deported.

Is it all right to punish the innocent? First, there is no way of punishing the guilty without harming people close to, or dependent on them. Even a mass murderer–when he is sent away his mother suffers along with him. When Al Qaeda militants are killed, their family members often die with them.

Still we mustn’t be blasé about collateral damage to innocents. It was painful to watch the students as their innocent college years were stripped of top-quality football. But in a sense they’re not innocent. They share a nation-wide belief that football is more (more…)

What Obama said about who built your business; or, there goes Romney, lying again

July 20, 2012

 

Romney is at it again, doctoring what Obama said, and saying that the doctored version shows that Obama doesn’t understand or believe in America. Sadly a lot of people have bought Romney’s falsification.

Here’s what Obama said in Roanoke, Virginia on July 13:

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something: There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

The Romney commercial doctored the quote, dropping all but the underlined part, to change Obama’s meaning (more…)

America at our best: John McCain. America at our worst: Michele Bachmann and her four Congressional lap dogs

July 18, 2012

Americans welcome people who are different. They enrich our culture. They bring new energy to our society. They do us proud as a melting pot of cultures.

Americans shun people who are different. They debase our culture. They take our jobs. They seduce our children. They talk like foreigners.

So it was with Germans and Irish in the early 1800s. So it was with Jews and Chinese in the late 1800s. Italians in the early 1900s. Africans forever. And so it is with Muslims today.

At our best we befriend the stranger and his children, we treat them kindly, we hire them, and we defend them. At our worst we demean them, discriminate against them, exploit them, and attack them.

America at our worst is five House Republicans, led by Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who have accused countless American Muslims who work for the U.S. government of being secret agents (more…)

Republican legislators abandon any pretense of to ethical behavior: House pretends to repeal Obamacare for the 33rd time, Senate renounces its Constitutional role to advise and consent

July 12, 2012

House and Senate Republicans have forfeited any claim to ethical behavior. They were sent to Washington to do the people’s business; they make a mockery of their oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and to “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.”

Congressional Republicans are doing anything BUT “well and faithfully discharging the duties” of their offices. They have now voted 33 times to repeal or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). Yesterday every one of the House Republicans voted for repeal, along with five Democrats. Before any of the hours of sham debate and the wall-to-wall press and TV coverage, every last one of them knew that their vote would have no effect. None. Nowhere. Never.

For to repeal the ACA, they well knew, after the bill passes the House it would have to be passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, then signed by President Obama. Did any of them expect that the President would sign repeal of his (for better or worse) signature legislation?

 Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans are keeping pace with their House colleagues’ renunciation of their Constitutional oath. (more…)

Obama’s an ethical hero for creating a virtual Dream Act to give a million young Americans a path to a productive life, free from fear of deportation

June 17, 2012

 

Joanne ____ is one of America’s twelve million illegal immigrants. She was brought to the United States from Mexico as a baby by her parents.  She has a younger sister and brother who are American citizens because they were born in the United States. Her sister is in her last year at Harvard; her brother is in high school.

Five years ago alumni of the North Hollywood High School Class of 1957 decided, as part of their 50th reunion, to give a scholarship to a deserving senior. The school’s top choice was Joanne, and so she was awarded the scholarship. With that financial help and her own tenacity and hard work Joanne got her degree from the California State University, Northridge, a year ago. She’s spent much of the past year looking for work, but it’s been a hopeless case because she can’t produce the necessary papers.

Until yesterday, when President Obama announced that the United States would no longer consider deporting people like Joanne—people who had been brought here illegally as children, earned a high school diploma or GED, or served in the military, and had behaved well—had what we would call a record of good citizenship, were they citizens. Moreover the government will give them permits to work in the US for two years, renewable indefinitely.

In effect the President granted by executive action much of what the Dream Act—stymied only by an especially ugly Republican filibuster (more…)

Ethicists practice jihad, along with Buddhists and Muslims

April 29, 2012

On Being is a public radio program and podcast hosted by Krista Tippett, and dedicated to conversations about religion, meaning, and ethics. Tippett often finds commonality and conjunctions among a variety of religions and philosophies, and recently she outdid herself with a conversation among:

  • ·        the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people
  • ·        Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University,
  • ·        Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the British Commonwealth, and Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

During a wide ranging conversation about happiness, the Dalai Lama observed, “One of my Muslim friends explained to me one interpretation of Jihad, not only sort of attack on other, but real meaning is combative attack your own wrongdoing or negativities.”

 “The greater Jihad*, the bigger Jihad, is to combat your own negative forces within you. Yes, yes,” Dr. Nasr agreed enthusiastically.

The Dalai Lama made the connection: “So in that sense, the whole Buddhist practice is practice of Jihad.”

“Exactly, absolutely,” concluded Dr Nasr.

In the same way one could say our struggle to be ethical is the practice of jihad—an inner struggle to be the virtuous person that we know how to be, but sometimes fall short of. It’s easier (more…)

Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart

April 21, 2012

After Top-Level Struggle Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found. 

The headlines are from Saturday’s New York Times. The news article details how Walmart de Mexico—that nation’s largest employer—regularly paid huge bribes to Mexican government officials to approve permits for new stores; how senior management of the Mexican subsidiary was party to the bribery; how Walmart headquarters in Arkansas investigated the allegations of bribery, and how, when the investigations turned up hard evidence, hq proceeded to bury it.

“It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” So goes the conventional wisdom, but in this case it was both: the crime was committed by top management of the Mexico subsidiary, and the cover up was by top management of the parent company.

In my business ethics courses we use Walmart as a case study: Is the company ethical or unethical, and is it good or bad for America.

On the plus side Walmart gives employment to hundreds of thousands (more…)

Marco Rubio courageously and compassionately supports DREAM Act II

April 21, 2012

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a darling of the Republican right, so much so that many pundits have tagged him as a front runner for the #2 spot on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. If Romney were to choose Rubio, goes the reasoning, it would solidify his position with the party base that has always mistrusted him. And as a bonus, Cuban-American Rubio might help Romney with the growing numbers of Latino voters who have been turned off by his unbending anti-immigrant position.

Immigration is the one issue on which Romney and the right are together: seal the borders and hunt down and deport everybody who isn’t here legally, all 12,000,000 of them.

Rubio showed he’s not one who goes along to get along, in all likelihood forsaking any chance at the VP spot on the Romney ticket. He just announced his sponsorship of a modified version of the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States.

Some on the Left have rejected Rubio’s proposal as a betrayal of American values, but chalk that up to hyper-partisanship. Rubio clearly wants to help young people, brought here illegally when they were small children, to stay in America legally and to get an education and a job.

Rubio’s is a story of courage and compassion, and of a too-rare politician who rejects ideology in favor of solving a serious national problem. Hooray.

 


 

Nobody ever loses a wallet in Turkey. It always gets returned

April 17, 2012

 

I’ve visited Turkey eleven times, and always return in awe of the honesty of Turks. I’ve written here about the lengths Enver Beyazyuz went to in order to return my wallet, which he had found in the men’s room at an Istanbul Starbucks. And here, about the Gaziantep cab driver who trusted us to call him for a return trip so we could pay him after he had been unable to change the TL 20 bill (about $12) I had offered.

On my latest visit my daughter, Susan Le, was lingering over breakfast coffee when Johann, a fellow guest at our hotel in Cappadocia (the Esbelli Ev—visit Cappadocia and stay there if you can!) sadly recounted how he had lost his wallet, stuffed with IDs and credit cards, at the huge Goreme Open Air Museum (photo).

“No problem,” Sue replied cheerfully. “Nobody ever loses a wallet in Turkey. It always gets returned. Tell Atıl (our guide, Atıl Cuce of Middle Earth Travel, hire him when you visit Cappadocia), he’ll know what to do.”

Two minutes later Atılhung up the phone. “They have your wallet.”

My friend Arzu Tutuk (best guide in Istanbul, hire her when you go there) says if you lose your mobile phone in Turkey the finder will first refill with additional minutes, then track you down and return it. I wouldn’t be surprised.