• Category Archives Ethics
  • The Science of Arousal and Rape: Popular Science

    Worth your time to drop over here and read this article.

    An excerpt:

    Rape is not always violent. Some survivors surrender to protect themselves or their loved ones. Some are intoxicated, drugged, physically or mentally incapacitated, or in a position without power. Some (doubly horribly) are children. Rape does not always include penile penetration. Some rapists are married to their victims. Some rapists are women. Some women rape men. And sometimes, in the middle of an act that is always a violation, a rape survivor will experience increasingly intense physical sensations leading to climax – an orgasm.

    Judges, juries, prosecutors, all in the legal system need to be aware. An orgasm during rape does not imply consent. In fact, it only makes the shame greater.

    Worth your time.

  • On Conservatives and Safety Nets: Robert Reich

    Robert Reich on conservatives and safety nets:

    Conservatives don’t like safety nets because they allegedly make people lazy and careless. But what about safety nets for top executives who fail? Yahoo’s recent decision to pay its chief operating officer $96 million for 15 months of work before firing him is just the latest example of handsome rewards for failure in corporate suites.

    At least safety nets for the poor help those in need. Safety nets for corporate executives give them no reason to work hard because even when they fail they can vastly increase their wealth. One way to discourage these is to prevent corporations from deducting generous executive severance payments from their taxable incomes. What do you think?

    So, what do you think?

  • Can I Say That I Love The Pope? After This (Video), I Certainly Do

    What you see here seems so simple.

    So simple.

    But remember this…

    What you see is anything but simple…

    This man "proves" by example.

    "Teaches" by example.

    "Loves" by example.

    This pope understands the teachings of Christ.

    And none of those teachings stipulate that Christ never, ever said, "DO NOT LOVE."

    On the contrary.

    First, there is no ordination in the Catholic Church higher than bishop.

    Cardinals are appointed. Popes are elected.

    The Pope is Bishop of Rome, and has an incredible amount of authority, power, whatever.

    Which is why this is so striking.

    The pope confessed his sins to "an ordinary priest."

    Wow. Wow. And, Wow.

    Love this guy, forever.

    Francis should be the Patron Saint of Popes, moving forward.

    I love him.

  • Man Framed by New York Detective to Get $6.4 Million



    And more wow.

    From the New York Times:

    A man who was framed by a rogue detective and served 23 years in prison for a murder he did not commit will receive $6.4 million from the City of New York in a settlement that came before a civil rights lawsuit was even filed, lawyers involved in the case said on Thursday.

    A $150 million claim filed last year by the man, David Ranta, was settled by the city comptroller’s office without ever involving the city’s legal department – which the lawyers involved in the negotiations described as a “groundbreaking” decision that acknowledged the overwhelming evidence the city faced.

    More here.

  • Newark Archbishop John Myers Is America’s Bishop of Bling

    The previous winner of the “Bishop of Bling” awards was Germany’s now-disgraced Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg.

    America has own contender for this ungodly award.

    Meet Archbishop John Myers of New Jersey:

    Newark, N.J., Archbishop John Myers’ decision to expand his summer residence cum retirement home — already a model of luxury with five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, an elevator, a three-car garage and a large outdoor pool and valued at nearly $800,000 — is nothing short of an assault on the goodwill and trust of the people of God.

    The 3,000-square-foot addition, at a minimum cost of $500,000 (it is reported that furnishings, architectural costs and landscaping are not included in that figure), will bring the total area of the residence to 7,400 square feet and the total value to at least $1.3 million.

    More at the National Catholic Reporter

  • IHSA Disqualifies H-F Girls Basketball, Says Coach Is A Cheat

    So it turns out cheaters will not win this year, at least one in particular from H-F.

    I especially feel bad for the kids affected, and, again, for those who were honest from the get-go.

    From Joe Biesk at the Sun-Times:

    Homewood-Flossmoor’s girls basketball team was scheduled to play T.F. North Wednesday. Instead, the Illinois High School Association has disqualified the team from the state playoffs over bylaw violations.

    The Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball team and its acclaimed first-year coach Anthony Smith were top contenders for the state title this season. Now, they won’t even play a game in the tournament. In a decision Wednesday, issued about an hour before H-F was to play its opening game in the tourney, the Illinois High School Association dashed all hopes of the team’s postseason glory. Citing several violations of its bylaws, the IHSA banned H-F from competing and forfeited its 21 victories this season. The Vikings, ranked No. 1 by the Sun-Times, was scheduled to play T.F. North at 6 p.m. in Calumet City.

    Read more here.

    From the Chicago Tribune:

    Just hours before the top-ranked Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball team was to take the floor to begin its playoff march, the state high school athletic association delivered a bombshell Wednesday, suspending the entire team and its highly regarded coach for rules violations.

    The sanctions by the Illinois High School Association come just weeks after a lawsuit rocked the highly touted program, accusing coach Anthony Smith of improperly recruiting star players from other school districts in his first season at H-F. That prompted the school district to conduct an internal investigation that led it to acknowledge it had violated rules, though none for improper recruiting.

    More here at the Trib

  • Video: Texas Sports Anchor Delivers Jaw-Dropping Speech On Gay NFL Players

    Hat Tip to the Huffington Post:

    Sports broadcasts are typically known for their punchy lists of best plays, epic goal countdowns and testosterone-fueled commentary.

    Which makes Dale Hansen’s address Monday night all the more remarkable. The Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA took a break from the standard script to address the issue of Michael Sam, a defensive lineman poised to become the first openly gay player in the NFL.

  • Palestine: A Land Forgotten; Isreal: The One Forgetting

    Peace in Palestine!


    How much thought have you given Palestine recently?

    We live in a country (USA! USA!) where celebrity news trumps news of the suffering in the world. News of the starving in the world. News of those still facing genocide. Still facing abuse. Still lacking basic human rights.

    And we thrive to news of celebrity arrests, as if they matter one damn.

    At all.

    Had lunch with a now old friend, my friend is very young (comparable to my scalp line), but very, very wise.

    And very empathetic.

    My friend just returned from a half-month trip to Israel and Palestine (notice I’m naming them separately, as the two separate states the are, should be, shall be, Insha’Allah.

    God willing, that is.

    I will share with you in this space some of the amazing, alarming, and jaw-dropping things I learned from my friend today.

    Israel, the state (not all Israelis, not all Jews), but Israel is persecuting the Palestinians.

    And this must be stopped.

    Did you know, for example, that Israel controls all water and electricity into Palestinian regions?

    And, did you know, that Israel frequentlly cuts off all water and electricity if one Palestinian “misbehaves?”

    Did you know that it is illegal for an Israeli to enter Palestine? Did you know that, on average, Israel demolishes four Palestinian home a day?

    Did you know that Israel will not do trash pick-up in any region inhabited by Muslims, whether in the Old City, or Palestine?

    Did you know that the Israeli government then uses that reality to refer to the Palestinians as filthy, dirty animals?

    In short, did you know that Israel, to put it mildly, discriminates against the Palestinians, that the officials of the Israeli state refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists.”

    Did you know that, at the Dome of the Rock, Israeli soldiers guard the entrance, allowing only a certain number of Muslims to enter each day to pray?

    And did you know that Palestinians just want to live?

    To own property?

    To build homes (which is illegal now)?

    To be human?

    Thank you to my friend.

    More to follow.


  • NYTimes: Third-Quarter U.S. Growth at 4.1% Rate in New Estimate. Good News?

    Underemployment BLS June 2013
    Source: BLS

    The economy is improving, and has been for years under President Obama.

    It’s just been sluggish, and there are plenty of people out of work still. There are even more who are underemployed (above graphic is from June 2013). According to Forbes, the "official" underemployment rate does not count discouraged workers who have settled for part-time jobs, or have just given up. These people, properly tracked under what’s called the "U-6" rate, showed underemployment at 14.3% in June 2013.

    So, what exactly are we to infer from the revised estimate, reported today by the New York Times, that third quarter estimates for the economy showed 4.3% growth? The NYTimes reports:

    The United States economy grew at an astonishing 4.1 percent annual rate, the federal government said Friday in its third and final revision of gross domestic product for the third quarter.

    The rate was the fastest in almost two years.

    The Commerce Department said business spending was stronger than it originally thought, leading to the revision up from 3.6 percent. Economists had expected the final estimate of growth to be unchanged from that 3.6 percent.

    According to the Times, the growth rate for quarter two was 2.5%.

    So, this is good news, right?

    Not so certain, given the underemployment rate and other factors. Those of us in the middle and lower are making less, therefore spending less.

    Consider the rise in companies buying back their own shares of stock, to the tune of $211 billion.

    Enter Robert Reich from December 17, via Facebook (emphasis added):

    A big reason why CEOs are about to rake in big year-end bonuses even though their sales are lousy (after all, America’s vast middle class and poor aren’t earning enough to buy much) is CEOs been using their companies’ cash, plus whatever they can borrow at rock-bottom interest rates engineered by the Fed, to buy back their own shares of stock. This maneuver raises the price of the remaining shares, thereby giving the CEOs – whose pay is tied to share prices – huge rewards. This year, the 30 companies listed on the Dow Jones industrial average authorized $211 billion in buybacks, lifting the Dow (and CEO pay) to record heights.

    This $211 billion could have gone instead to American workers in the form of higher wages – which would have come back to companies in the form of higher sales. McDonald’s, for example, spent $6 billion on share repurchases and dividends last year, the equivalent of $14,286 per restaurant worker employed by the company.

    It’s a vicious cycle as long as CEO incentives are directed toward raising share prices rather than sales, and as long as the economy is organized around the stock market rather than good jobs.

    Since many of our pensions were shifted to the stock market via crapshoot 401Ks, we have learned that the stock market is not a safe environment for our retirement funds to exist. Know anyone who was unable to retire because his or her 401K lost half its value or more — just when that person was planning to exit the work force?

    I do. Too many, in fact.

    So, yes, a 4.1% growth in the economy is good news. However, as long as the corporations are defining growth based on the stock market as opposed to job growth, most of us in America will have to wait — and work — for a paradigm shift in the outlooks of corporations.

    Or, we will have to fight for it, just like we did in the early 20th century.

    Let’s begin by organizing the Service Industry.

    More on that to come.

  • Get Rid of Corporate Rule! Direct TV Parody Compilation

    Get rid of corporate rule!

    The full campaign spoofing the Direct TV commercials, produced by Acronym TV for Move To Amend. All six spots, each about 30 seconds, are included here in this single video. 

    Written by Lee Camp and Dennis Trainor, Jr, and Directed by Trainor, these spots aim to hijack a popular meme to shine a seriously unserious light on the issues of corporate personhood and money as free speech. 

    Move to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

    We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

    Over 300,00 people have signed the Move To Amend statement that states:
    We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. 

    Links to each video as a stand-alone piece are below. We encourage you to share these far and wide.

    Move To Amend, Direct TV Parody Campaign:
    Don’t Be A Naked Hulk http://bit.ly/1eMqmeQ
    Don’t Do Interpretive Street Corner Dance http://bit.ly/IKi65g
    Don’t Miss The Supermodel Love Letter http://bit.ly/19fbNwm
    Don’t Get Ducked Taped To A Chair In The Yardhttp://bit.ly/1g3IG7b
    Don’t Do Cats http://bit.ly/1bdJL8P
    Don’t Be A Loser With No One At Your Birthdayhttp://bit.ly/18YCOI2

    Move To Amend’s Direct TV Parody Compilation
    Written by Lee Camp and Dennis Trainor, Jr
    Directed by Dennis Trainor, Jr.
    Editing, graphics, keying and color correction by AJ Russo
    Associate Producer Christopher Webb
    Costumes Lara de Bruijn

    Corporate personhood, Supreme court, Super Bowl Ad, Super Bowl parody ad, Super Bowl spoof commercial, Douche waffle, Douche Waffles, Money free speech, corporations are not people, corporate personhood, Lee camp, Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV, parody, satire, comedy, spoof, Direct TV, Move To Amend, Amend the constitution, Legalize Democracy, End Corporate Rule.