Category: Ethics

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The Farmhouse

I continue to mourn loss of the Wilcox farm—the majority of which my father unexpectedly deeded to the pastors of his church during the last weeks of life. He died on April 16, 2024.

The deeding deed was kept secret from immediate family until after he had passed. I attempted to contact the main pastor—twice. He ignored me. Inaction has shaped, or reshaped, my perspective about the incident, which won’t be publicly shared here.

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Do you Feel…?

You may want to rethink that yes, if the answer. We have come to perilous times, where conspiracies make more sense than commonsense. Take, for example, Joseph Biden’s debate debacle with Donald Trump. An astute observer should have seen Biden’s cognitive decline years ago. I am no expert, and it was obvious to me—and plenty of other folks. Now, post-debate, Biden’s brain, and the continuation of his campaign, are the dominant topics seemingly everywhere. But something smells fishy here—and it ain’t good.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan organization, is responsible for organizing the face-off between candidates, which typically starts some time following each respective political party’s convention. CPD had scheduled four debates, with the first slated for Sept. 16, 2024, at Texas State University in San Marcos. In a statement, the organization explains that it received a “letter dated May 15, 2024 from Jen O’Malley Dillon, Campaign Chair for the Biden-Harris Campaign, in which the Biden-Harris Campaign informed the Commission that President Biden will not agree to debate under the sponsorship of the Commission during the 2024 general election campaign”. The B-H campaign decided to organize its own debates, and Trump agreed to participate.

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Requiem for the Farm

Two months ago, or thereabouts, on March 27, 2024, my father signed over title to a large portion of the family farm to the two pastors of his local church. The transfer of ownership was quite unexpected and was not disclosed—to my sister—until after he died on April 16. We all understood that he intended to will the property to the couple, but his estate would pass through the typical legal process first.

Since my grandfather’s will hadn’t been probated, the older document might supersede the other—something I presumed a lawyer and judge would sort out. That process would be opportunity to also open a discussion with the pastors about final disposition of the approximately 100 acres. The unexpected transaction nullified everything—unless the older will is legally enforceable. I wouldn’t know.

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Seven Movies Every Journalist Should See

Periodically, I update my picks for must-see movies about news reporting. More than eight years have passed since the last list, in February 2016—before the tumultuous Presidential election that thrust Donald Trump into the White House and precipitated disastrous changes across American newsrooms.

Editorialization of news, once taboo, is widespread. Many stories are subjective and slanted, pushing progressive—or, to lesser degree, conservative—values over impartial presentation of facts. The changes are evident in headlines or deks but more earnestly descriptive modifiers used for emphasis, where none should be.

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Games We (Poorly) Play

Yesterday, one my neighbors expressed surprise about filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office, where she was presented with choice of a dozen genders. I would think that a medical practice would stick to the science: Humans are biologically either male or female. How people feel about themselves is something else.

All through the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, we kept hearing about the science—physicians and researchers following it, and we should, too. In 2024, should a doctor’s office do no less? Meaning: Put basic biology before social culture?

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Clickbait, Misinformation, or Both?

I don’t write enough about the dreadful disdain that my profession deserves. But, occasionally, some story is so ridiculously egregious that I must admonish the story, its writer, and the editors. This afternoon, when turning on Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, Windows 11 Start menu teased with news that might interest me. I clicked mainly curious why our AI overloads would pick something about the Republican presumptive presidential candidate.

From Newsweek, headline: “Donald Trump Stung in Primary As Huge Number of Republicans Vote Against Him“. Lede: “Donald Trump suffered a blow in a number of primary votes on Tuesday, after thousands of Republicans refused to vote for him”. Well, yeah, that would be news if true. But, before proceeding, let’s dispatch any confusion caused by semantics.

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Whom Do You…

The answer related to the Featured Image is easy: No one. I am a fact-oriented journalist, who trusts nobody—nor should you in this era of mass misinformation. With perhaps the exception of Matt Taibbi, there isn’t a soul among my profession whose news reporting I would accept as factual—that is without some independent verification of my own.

We live at a time when commentary and editorialization—narratives, if you prefer—supplant real reporting. Everyone is an armchair analyst with an opinion, and not enough emphasis is placed on gathering facts and assembling them into a meaningful story that unfolds some current event or reveals something legitimately in the public interest.

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By the Grace of God

Along Park Blvd, barely outside my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, is a church I hadn’t stopped to regard—until yesterday. I simply don’t walk that way often enough to have noticed the stately structure.

Near as I can gather from the official website, Grace Lutheran is a family-oriented, traditional Christian church located in an area where other places of worship cater more to the licentious, cultural mob than to God.

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You Can’t…

Irony is sometimes what you make it—or not. You decide, regarding my explanation about the Featured Image. Yesterday, I walked by the Sun Bum display inside Ralph’s and gaped. Hillcrest is one of San Diego’s homeless hangouts, and the street folk have, ah, sticky fingers. Yes, thievery.

Local street sleepers are blamed. Meaning: The supermarket doesn’t trust the bum, which is why so many items for sale are in locked displays. Buying batteries? Ask a clerk. Personal hygiene products? You will need assistance getting access to some of those, too. I could go on, but you get the point—right?

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I Stand with Texas

The Featured Image might seem to you an odd choice for this post’s title but I must disagree. Suddenly, on my walks, I see many more American flags displayed—and in places that are new to my eyes, like this one outside a North Park market. Makes me wonder: Are some San Diegans quietly, but affirmatively, expressing their patriotic support for Texas’ standoff with the Federal government?

Under a program called “Operation Lone Star“, Texas seeks to “hold the line to defend the Southern border”. Bolstering that effort, Governor Greg Abbott has mobilized state national guard units as part of a vanguard laying razor wire and blocking U.S. Border Patrol agents from processing immigrants. A Supreme Court ruling favors Federal efforts to cut (and remove) the razor wire. Abbott and his attorney general are defiant.

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‘Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution’

These posters suddenly are all about my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Ah, do these people not know the killing machine that is communism? I did some quick Googling this evening seeking an answer.

Marking a century since the 1917 revolution, Wall Street Journal published, on Nov. 6, 2017: “100 Years of Communism—and 100 Million Dead“. Dek: “The Bolshevik plague that began in Russia was the greatest catastrophe in human history”. Same year, October 28, from Cato Institute: “100 Years of Communism: Death and Deprivation“.