WBEZ | ethics http://www.wbez.org/tags/ethics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en FBI agents say indicted state rep took them to get bribe cash http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-agents-say-indicted-state-rep-took-them-get-bribe-cash-110027 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/derricksmith.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Federal prosecutors say indicted Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith took FBI agents to his house and turned over cash he had allegedly taken as a bribe. But Smith&rsquo;s attorneys are trying to make sure that information does not come up at his pending trial.</p><p>Smith was arrested more than two years ago and charged with taking $7,000 in exchange for writing a letter of support for a daycare operator applying for a grant.</p><p>In a new court filing, federal prosecutors say Smith repeatedly told FBI agents after he was read his Miranda rights that he &ldquo;f***ed up&rdquo; -- and never should&rsquo;ve written the letter or taken the $7,000.</p><p>&ldquo;Smith stated that it was all about getting money to put money back out on the streets in the hands of his campaign workers,&rdquo; FBI agents Bryan Butler and Timothy Keese wrote in the report, made public Monday, that is a government exhibit in his court case.</p><p>The agents wrote that Smith even took FBI agents to his house and turned over the remaining $2,500 from the alleged $7,000 bribe. Smith, before he was arrested, had already given some money to the campaign worker who had secretly recorded him, as pay for the assistant&rsquo;s work, and to another individual not identified by FBI agents in their report.</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s defense attorneys say the comments he made to the FBI following his arrest should not be allowed at trial because Smith thought they were part of his plea negotiations.</p><p>Prosecutors say Smith made those comments before an attorney entered the room. And even then, they say, the federal prosecutor did not negotiate a plea deal with him.</p><p>Smith was appointed to the Illinois House in 2011. The agents write Smith was &ldquo;going crazy&rdquo; about a primary challenger he faced in the March 2012 election. They say Smith told them he did not want to lose the election, but needed money to pay campaign workers so they would stay loyal to his campaign.</p><p>Smith, who represents parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West and North sides, defeated Tom Swiss in the 2012 Democratic primary. Other Democrats had encouraged primary voters to support Smith despite his arrest, claiming that Swiss was a Republican running as a Democrat.</p><p>After Smith won the primary, Illinois House members voted to expel him from the chamber -- in an act that had not been done in 100 years. But Smith had already won the primary, remained on the ballot and won election back to the state House that November.</p><p>Smith, however, will not be returning to Springfield next year. He lost his bid for another term in office to attorney Pamela Reaves-Harris in the Democratic primary last month.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Ftonyjarnold&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFPSylltvw6suohIk5BgHodNjZYxg">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-agents-say-indicted-state-rep-took-them-get-bribe-cash-110027 Loyalty, critique or exit? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-04/loyalty-critique-or-exit-106456 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fork%20in%20the%20road%20flickr%20michael%20stevens_0.jpg" title="Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I . . . ? (Flickr/Michael Stevens)" /></div><p>In 1970, economist and&nbsp;business theorist Albert O. Hirschman published a book entitled <em>Exit, Voice, and Loyalty</em>.&nbsp;</p><p>As a student of business ethics, this book helped to shape my intellectual and philosophical perspectives on a person&rsquo;s real life options when confronted by organizational mistakes, mismanagement, or mischievousness. I&rsquo;m not sure if Professor Hirschman would agree with my interpretation of his overall thesis, but it&rsquo;s a model I&rsquo;ve been effectively using in the classroom for years.</p><p>When an organization makes a mistake, starts moving in the wrong direction, or does something blatantly illegal, I think members of that organization, from top to bottom, are forced to make a choice about what they should do.</p><p>The first choice is loyalty: On one hand, loyalty suggests agreement. &ldquo;Whatever the company is doing, I see no problem with it!&rdquo; Loyalty can be the product of fear: &ldquo;If I speak up, will I lose my job?&rdquo; It can be a product of indifference: &ldquo;What do I care? I just want to get paid.&rdquo; Or loyalty can be the result of genuine uncertainty: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m unwilling to cast the first stone.&rdquo;</p><p>The second choice is critique or criticism: To criticize does not necessarily mean to be negative or to deny; to be critical means to evaluate. Criticism implies taking something apart in order to understand it and make it better. To criticize is to add one&rsquo;s voice to the conversation. To critique is to be engaged, concerned and responsive to the situation.&nbsp;</p><p>Finally, there is the option to simply exit: To leave or move on can be either a demonstration of character or cowardice. If one has argued for correction but has seen those efforts fail, then the choice to exit is a demonstration of integrity and strength. But to leave out of fear of personal reprisal or recrimination, without due concern for others who might be innocently involved. . . that is the act of a cad.</p><p>Hirschman taught me that in trying times we are all tested. The choices we face are tough ones, but choices must be made. Neutrality, as Dante pointed out, is never a viable option: &ldquo;The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-04/loyalty-critique-or-exit-106456 Mayor Emanuel strikes a blow for ethics, cans lazy board http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/mayor-emanuel-strikes-blow-ethics-cans-lazy-board-102886 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wbez_head_rahm.jpg" title="Mayor Rahm Emanuel (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)" /></p><p><strong>Lead story:</strong> In case you missed it Wednesday among all the debate hubbub, Mayor Rahm Emanuel <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-replaces-ethics-board-102864">gave the entire ethics board the heave-ho</a>, once again doing something I have to give him credit for. Take, for instance, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-emanuel-revamps-city-hall-ethics-board-20121003,0,5970338.story">the fact the <em>Tribune</em> points out</a>:&nbsp;The board has never investigated any aldermen for violations even though nearly two dozen have been convicted. Of course, the board was lax during the entire Daley The Second administration, which probably shocks absolutely no one and is another way in which Emanuel has cut ties with the past administration (no matter how similar he&rsquo;s seemed to Daley at times). And just to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same: It was recently revealed that Ald. Ed Burke&rsquo;s law firm <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/15350394-418/ald-burke-okd-gum-company-tax-breaks-then-got-90000-in-legal-work-from-wrigley.html">got plenty of work from the Wrigley company</a> after Burke and the City Council gave the company a sizable tax break. To his (small) credit, Burke abstained from the vote &ndash; not that it really mattered &ndash; because of, well, conflict of interest.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><strong>Also</strong>: Yes, the first presidential debate has come and gone. While it wasn&#39;t exactly a clear-cut knock-out, GOP candidate Mitt Romney <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/polls-show-a-strong-debate-for-romney/#more-35501">appeared to come out on top last night</a>. Jetisoning the divisive rehtoric that&#39;s gotten him in trouble recently (like &quot;47 percent&quot;), he was sharp and made calls for bipartisanship. Meanwhile, President Obama seemed a little too releaxed at times in a debate that got fiesty, particularly over the economy. Still, like the replacement refs in the NFL, this debate will probably be most remembered for moderater Jim Lehrer&#39;s complete inability to control the discussion, letting the candidates blow through time limits and, at many points, outright ignoring Lehrer. There were also plenty of missed opportunities to talk about things besides the economy and health care at this, the &quot;domestic issues&quot; debate. Granted, those are the most pressing issues, but why, with the two candidates standing just a few miles from Aurora, Colo., was gun control and the recent spate of mass shootings never mentioned? Where was the discussion over birth control and womens reproductive rights that have spurred so many arguments across the country? Perhaps Obama is playing rope-a-dope and will come out swinging big at the next two debates, but, for now, Romney has made a dent in the president&#39;s lead.</p><p><strong>And then: </strong>A new <em>Sun-Times</em> report shows that areas on the South Side <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/15514246-418/south-side-left-without-power-more-often-than-north-side.html">are left without power longer</a> than areas on the North Side, challenging ComEd&rsquo;s ability to restore power in a timely manner. The report follows <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/6759123-418/power-drain.html">similar accusations</a> made last year by residents in the suburbs. When faced with the data, the power company claimed that race and class had nothing to do with it, saying instead that the South Side has a higher tree density and overhead power lines, as opposed to the North Side, where many power lines are underground. Residents the <em>Sun-Times</em> talked to countered this by pointing to equipment neglect also haunting the South Side. In related bad news for ComEd, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-comed-rate-formula-ruling-puts-smart-grid-jobs-at-risk-20121003,0,6009824.story">a ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission</a> has thrown a wrench into the power company&rsquo;s plan to spend $2.6 billion implementing a new &ldquo;smart grid&rdquo; across the area. ComEd plans to appeal the ruling.</p><p><strong>RIP: </strong><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/arts/music/r-b-greaves-of-take-a-letter-maria-fame-dies-at-68.html?ref=obituaries&amp;_r=0">R.B. Greaves</a>, R&amp;B singer of the hit &ldquo;Take A Letter, Maria,&rdquo; at the age of 68. Greaves was the nephew of Chicago&rsquo;s own soul legend, Sam Cooke.</p><p><br /><strong>Elsewhere</strong></p><ul><li>While much of America&rsquo;s focus was on the skirmish on stage last night, internationally, <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/10/syria-turkey-artillery-shelling-attack-bashar-assad-nato.html">tensions between Turkey and Syria are on the rise</a>.</li><li>New research indicates one of the most effective painkillers now available <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19812064">may be the venom of the black mamba snake</a>.</li><li>The Chick-Fil-A controversy is <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/03/162250567/chick-fil-a-chief-we-support-biblical-families">still a thing</a>.</li><li>Also still a thing: <a href="http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/tennessee-fraternity-denies-buttchugging-charge-in-press-conference-that-really-happened.php">buttchugging</a>.</li><li>Shocking: Long before his now-infamous comments about &quot;legitimate rape,&quot; Rep. Todd Akin <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/03/942451/in-2008-akin-claimed-women-who-are-not-actually-pregnant-get-abortions/?mobile=ncclaimed-">said even stupider things about abortions</a>.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Looking Ahead</strong></p><ul><li>The Chicago-area-based DVD renter system Red Box is now extending its reach into <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121003/NEWS07/121009911/redbox-branching-out-into-live-events">selling concert tickets</a>.</li><li>A recent investigation by the <em>Sun-Times</em> into police officers who abused disability <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/15536923-761/feds-investigate-disabled-chicago-cops-in-wake-of-sun-times-reports.html">has prodded federal investigators</a> to look into the matter.</li><li>A huge field of pot the size of multiple football fields has been growing on the South Side and <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/10/03/huge-marijuana-field-found-on-chicagos-south-side/">police are just now noticing it</a>.</li><li>The City of Chicago <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/stew/chi-chicago-announces-foodtruck-parking-locations-20121003,0,876722.story">has announced locations</a> where food trucks will be allowed to operate. If you&rsquo;re hoping for locations on the South Side or in the Loop, don&rsquo;t hold your breath.</li><li>The new exhibit at the Art Institute? <a href="http://blog.artic.edu/blog/2012/10/02/now-on-view-paperweights/">Paperweights</a>!</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Sports</strong></p><ul><li>An added twist of the knife to Sox fans: the Detroit Tigers&rsquo; Miguel Cabrera became the first Major League player in 45 years to win baseball&rsquo;s triple crown.</li><li>Now that the 61-101 season is over, the Cubs have begun letting folks go, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-cubs-let-listach-go-after-finale-20121003,0,64308.story">starting with third base coach Pat Listach</a>.</li><li>Apparently, the Jaguars&rsquo; Maurice Jones-Drew and Jay Cutler <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/story/_/id/8456829/jacksonville-jaguars-maurice-jones-drew-wants-keep-jay-cutler-controversy-past">had a Twitter fight in 2011</a> that the media is trying to make relevant for this weekend&rsquo;s game.</li><li>The Philadelphia Eagles&rsquo; Lesean McCoy <a href="http://deadspin.com/5948742/lesean-mccoy-sort-of-confirms-that-he-says-his-last-name-while-juking-people">comes close</a> to topping Brandon Lloyd for <a href="http://deadspin.com/5947946/heres-brandon-lloyd-smiling-for-the-camera-while-diving-for-a-touchdown">awesome showboating</a>, but not quite.</li><li>For Cubs, Sox, and Blackhawks fans that are looking for another team to invest in this fall, consider the <a href="http://www.chicago-fire.com/">Chicago Fire</a> who seemed locked in for another playoff run in the MLS.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Finally</strong></p><p>A fascinating look at going undercover as a Mexican drug lord.</p></div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zQBo79O4Uhg" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/mayor-emanuel-strikes-blow-ethics-cans-lazy-board-102886 A new controversy over free will http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/new-controversy-over-free-will-99424 <p><p>Do we or don&rsquo;t we have free will? It&rsquo;s not a new question. But now we have a new take on the question from philosopher/neuroscientist (and bestselling author) Sam Harris.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fork%20in%20the%20road%20flickr%20michael%20stevens.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="Do we have the power to choose one path over another? (Flickr/Michael Stevens)" /></div><p>Harris is best known for work which argues on behalf of scientific knowledge and secular values. In <em>The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason</em> he argued against our capacity to &ldquo;suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs.&rdquo; Now, in <em>Free Will</em>, he denies that individuals possess this much-debated capacity. I think Harris is both right and wrong.</p><p>The doctrine of free will argues that humans are conscious, rational beings, and therefore responsible for the character of our mental lives and all subsequent behavior and choices. Being an autonomous person capable of free choice, Harris says, is at the core of everything we care about as individuals and a species: morality, law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, feelings of guilt and personal accomplishments.</p><p>Without our belief in free will, Harris argues, how do we deal with problems of responsibility, success and failure, praise and punishment? Without free will, sinners, saints, criminals and heroes are, in some sense, all alike &ndash; or are different only by accident and not by conscious choice.</p><p>Like it or not, Harris argues, we are not the authors of our own thoughts and actions. Rather, we are the sum total of prior causes we did not create or contrive: our genetic package, our biochemical make-up, normal experience, ecological happenstance, the accident of the moment, etc. We are the conscious witness of our choice making, but not the deep cause of it. In essence, Harris argues that the only choices we can make are the choices we&rsquo;ve been &ldquo;programmed&rdquo; to make, because of our inherited make up and the sum total of our experiences.</p><p>Like I said, I think Harris is both right and wrong. Yes, we are, in a very real sense, the product of our genes and an accident of experience. It is true that we are never totally free from what has been given to us and what happens to us. It is true that we cannot will or wish away a genetic proclivity for cancer or a disposition for depression and moodiness. Nor can we simply deny, overlook or totally override the effects and impact of what we have experienced in our lives.</p><p>But even with all this, we do have moments of free will in our lives. William James argued that we are never totally free. All of us are limited, hemmed in by factors and circumstances in our lives. &nbsp;But for James, free will never meant the ability to do anything we wish to do. It meant the ability to <em>try</em> to deal with/handle/make the best possible choice of the alternatives that confront us. No matter what our ethnicity, genetic history, education, religion or family background, we do have the freedom to <em>try</em>&nbsp; &ndash; to choose the attitude we take in regard to the world.</p><p>For James, there are moments in life where we have no choice: moments when we are boxed in by circumstances, moments where no choice is really available. But there are also when, if we have the courage, we can make life-altering choices to be on one side of the fence or the other. We can choose to be, in Benjamin Disraeli&rsquo;s words, &ldquo;on the side of the angels,&rdquo; or in Darth Vader&rsquo;s words &ldquo;on the dark side of the force.&rdquo;</p><p>Although scholars continue to debate the meaning of free will, there is no escaping the simple fact that when choice is possible and when we choose, our choices define who we are.</p></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 10:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/new-controversy-over-free-will-99424 'Why Have Children?': How to decide, ethically http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/why-have-children-how-decide-ethically-98737 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flickr%20aloveletteraway%20babies.jpg" title="(Flickr/aloveletteraway) A baby massage class for young mothers in the Netherlands"></p><p>Recently, I <a href="http://thehairpin.com/2012/04/drinking-pets-and-babies">read </a>an advice column on the popular women’s issues website The Hairpin called “Ask a Married Dude.” The posts regularly get hundreds of comments (this one has almost 500), and is one of many popular columns on the site, including “Ask a Queer Chick” and “Ask a Bowl of Hummus.”<br><br>In the most recent installation, a woman writes in to ask about having kids.”When did you and your spouse feel ready to have a baby?” she asks. “Did you have a steady job? Did you feel like a grown up? How did you know you could take care of a human for at least two decades?”<br><br>Well, according to A Married Dude, having a baby is really no big deal. “Sometimes you just never really know,” the advice-giver writes, warning, however, that “[h]angovers are much more painful once you have a baby.” Your life changes forever once you have a baby, but not in a dramatic way. “Basically, it's like having a pet. So, yeah, the best way to prepare for having a kid is to have pets for a while.”<br><br>Okay, so, A Married Dude is not claiming to be an expert on parenthood. In fact, he’s pretty upfront about the fact that his only qualification for giving such advice is Being Married. Still, the popularity of the somewhat flippant recurring feature reveals how young people -- or at least, people of a reproductive age -- are approaching their reproductive futures. Their concerns focus around the questions: &nbsp;How will my life change? Will I be able to go out with friends? Will I miss spontaneous vacations? Can I still get drunk?<br><br>Christine Overall, a philosophy professor at Queen’s University, Ontario, says the people who ask those questions are going about it all wrong (and she’s not just referring to those who are preoccupied with that last one). In her new &nbsp;book, <em>Why Have Children? The Ethical Debate</em>, Overall argues that people should be thinking much less about themselves and much more about society at large when deciding to have kids. On Wednesday, she sits down with Tony Sarabia on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to outline her argument and talk about the book.<br><br>Overall concludes that the ratio of one adult to one child makes the most ethical sense. The strongest reason to have a child, she says, is that it creates a unique kind of relationship -- one that lasts for life, and the only kind in which we create the other person. She denounces all other reasons as inadequate. Having a child because you like the idea of someone there to take care of you later in life, someone to bear your name, or as a method of strengthening a relationship, for example, are ethically irresponsible.<br><br>A human being’s environmental footprint in the developed world is immense. Yet Overall notes a strange contradiction in contemporary Western culture, one in which the burden of justification falls on those who choose not to have children rather than on those who do. This backward thinking, she argues, needs to be adjusted. Overall’s not saying we should never have children. She’s just asking us to consider the impact a child might have beyond our weekend plans for the next 18 years.</p></p> Wed, 02 May 2012 12:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/why-have-children-how-decide-ethically-98737 Emanuel pushes for more ethical City Hall http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-pushes-more-ethical-city-hall-98689 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says City Hall ethics laws are in need of "a real scrubbing".</p><p>An ethics task force, appointed by Emanuel, announced recommendations Monday to increase transparency and accountability. Emanuel said he'll work with Ald. Will Burns, 4th, to make sure that report goes before the city council.</p><p>Emanuel admitted the city has a long history when it comes to ethics.</p><p>"I think our city, our public employees are not where we were, 30, 40, 50 years ago. I wouldn't be doing this if I thought we were perfect," Emanuel said.</p><p>The ethics committe made 34 recommendations, including whistleblower protections, capping gifts for city workers at $50 dollars per individual source, a "reverse revolving door" provision and swift punishment when abuse occurs.</p><p>The committee is made up of Cynthia Canary, Ald. Burns, Sergio Acosta and Dawn Clark Netch. Canary said they expect to have a second part of the report coming out in late July.</p></p> Mon, 30 Apr 2012 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-pushes-more-ethical-city-hall-98689 Morals vs. manners: The great divide? http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-13/morals-vs-manners-great-divide-96778 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-13/table manners_flickr_sam dreilinger.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rarely, if ever, do we equate manners with morals. Most of us think they’re two entirely different endeavors.</p><p>But I’m convinced the divide isn’t as great as we think it to be. At their core, both manners and morals consciously reflect concern for members of our community.</p><p>I explain in the video below:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TnJqhPf1dSk" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em>Al Gini is a professor of business ethics and chair of the department of management at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of&nbsp;</em>Business Ethics Quarterly,<em>and the author of several books, including</em>&nbsp;My Job, My Self&nbsp;<em>and</em>&nbsp;Seeking the Truth of Things: Confessions of a (catholic) Philosopher.</p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 14:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-13/morals-vs-manners-great-divide-96778 Reflections: The dignity of lust http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-21/reflections-dignity-lust-96598 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-21/kissing_Flickr_Makena Zayle Gadient.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In his book <em>Lust</em>, the philosopher Simon Blackburn argues that traditionally we lump sex and lust together, giving both a bad name they do not deserve. For Blackburn, lust need not be excessive, illicit or dehumanizing: Lust can be a virtue and not a vice.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-21/kissing_Flickr_Makena Zayle Gadient.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 449px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="(Flickr/Makena Zayle Gadient)">Lust, when properly understood and performed, is, in the words of David Hume, “useful or agreeable to the personal himself and to others.” Lust is about desire that is felt. Lust is about the pursuit of sexual ecstasy.</p><p><em>But, but, but</em>, says Blackburn, the full pleasure of sexual activity requires the presence of another-- a partner, a fellow traveler. There must always be an object of lust who is not treated as other, but rather as someone you “desire to please” as much as you “desire to be pleased.”</p><p>Citing Thomas Hobbes, Blackburn argues that lust is about two drives or two appetites together: <em>To please</em> &lt; --- &gt; <em>To be pleased</em>. “I desire you, and I desire your desire for me… A pleases B, B is pleased by what A is doing and A is pleased at B’s pleasure.” And so on, and so on, and so on.</p><p>For Blackburn, true lust must be more than one-sided. Lust is about communion, harmony and completion. “The subject is not centrally pleased at himself,” says Blackburn, “but at the excitement of the other… There are no cross-purposes, hidden agendas, mistakes or deceptions. Lust here is like making music together, a joint symphony of pleasure and response. There is a pure mutuality.”</p><p>Blackburn believes that we should not be “enemies of lust.” “Lust,” he contends, is not merely useful, but essential. “We would none of us be here without it.” Moreover, he suggests that lust, if properly pursued and applied, is an ethical act because it requires us to step outside of ourselves and take into the consideration the feelings, needs and desires of others. It behooves us, says Blackburn, “to speak up for lust,” “to restore lust to humanity,” to lift lust “from the category of a sin to that of a virtue.”</p><p><em>Al Gini is a professor of business ethics and chair of the department of management at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of&nbsp;</em>Business Ethics Quarterly,<em> and the author of several books, including</em>&nbsp;My Job, My Self&nbsp;<em>and</em>&nbsp;Seeking the Truth of Things: Confessions of a (catholic) Philosopher.</p></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2012 19:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-21/reflections-dignity-lust-96598 Charter-school agency’s funding raises questions http://www.wbez.org/content/charter-school-agency%E2%80%99s-funding-raises-questions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-14/Namaste_charter_SCALED.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-14/Namaste_charter_SCALED.jpg" style="margin: 8px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 302px; height: 238px;" title="Namaste is among 109 charter schools in Chicago. Suburban and downstate districts are less eager for such schools. (AP/File)">A new government agency could boost the number of charter schools in Illinois. But the way the agency is financing itself raises questions.</p><p>The Illinois State Charter School Commission, created by a law enacted this summer, can authorize charter schools that fail to win approval of local school districts. The per-pupil state funding for the charter schools comes at the expense of the districts. The commission will also monitor the performance of schools it authorizes.</p><p>Despite the commission’s responsibilities, the state has not provided it any startup money. The only public-funding mechanism won’t be in place until next July, when the commission can begin collecting a fee from schools it authorizes.</p><p>Greg Richmond, the commission chairman, said his agency will need between $100,000 and $200,000 to operate until then.</p><p>The law that set up the commission allows it to raise private money. The commission’s sole funding so far is a $50,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation, which supports several Illinois charter school operators and their state trade group.</p><p>Told by WBEZ about this financing, Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery said it created a conflict of interest.</p><p>“This is really the rubber hitting the road — why we thought this was a bad law,” said Montgomery, whose union includes most K-12 teachers in Chicago. “The state should reconsider this. I don’t think the people of Illinois would stand for the gaming industry, say, to have the right to reverse a community’s decision not to allow a race track in its town. I don’t know why we wouldn’t give at least the same protections to the children of Illinois.”</p><p>A spokesman for the Illinois Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union, echoed Montgomery.</p><p>But the law’s chief sponsor, state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said providing taxpayer funds for the commission’s launch would have been unpopular. “It was not going to make folks happy [to take] dollars away that could be going to the traditional public schools,” she said.</p><p>Other states have allowed charter school commissions to launch with private funding, Steans said.</p><p>The Illinois State Board of Education doesn’t see a conflict with the commission accepting foundation money, according to board spokeswoman Mary Fergus. “If we had any information that specific strings were attached to the donation/funding, that would be a problem,” Fergus said in a statement.</p><p>Before the commission’s creation, charter school operators that failed to win authorization from local school districts could appeal to ISBE. That state board received dozens of appeals but, according to Fergus, it reversed a district and authorized a charter school just three times.</p><p>Charter schools are independently run but depend on public funds. Most of their taxpayer support would otherwise go to local school districts.</p><p>Chicago officials have encouraged charter schools. On Wednesday, the city’s Board of Education approved a plan for 12 new charter school campuses. Chicago already has 109, a district spokeswoman said.</p><p>Elsewhere in Illinois, only 14 charter schools are operating. Officials in many districts say charters would weaken other schools by taking away students and resources. Those officials have been reluctant to authorize charter schools.</p><p>The nine commission members — recommended by Gov. Pat Quinn and appointed by ISBE — are already holding official meetings and overseeing a staff member, attorney Jeanne Nowaczewski.</p><p>The commission this month handled its first case, an appeal from a charter school operator spurned by school officials in west suburban Maywood. That operator withdrew the appeal last week after meeting with Nowaczewski, according to Richmond, the commission chairman.</p><p>The money for the commission’s staffing and other expenses so far comes from the Walton foundation. That family started Walmart and Sam’s Club. Other recipients of Walton grants include the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, a statewide umbrella. The foundation reports that it gave the network more than $1 million in 2010. Andrew Broy, the network’s president, said the amount for 2011 is about $950,000.</p><p>The network also serves as an intermediary — a “fiscal agent” in nonprofit parlance — for Walton’s funding of the state commission. Richmond said Nowaczewski receives her paychecks from the network, not the commission.</p><p>Richmond acknowledged that the Walton money could create the perception that the commission has a conflict of interest. But he urged the public to withhold judgment on the financing until seeing how the commission performs.</p><p>“We’re going to do everything possible to do the right thing, to act ethically, to make decisions based on the merits of what’s in the interest of kids, what’s in compliance with the law,” Richmond said.</p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office hasn’t issued an opinion about whether the commission’s funding meets legal and ethical standards, a spokeswoman said.</p><p>The Illinois Association of School Administrators, which represents most school district superintendents in the state, declined to comment about the commission’s financing.</p></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 11:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/charter-school-agency%E2%80%99s-funding-raises-questions Ethics Moment: What we've learned about leadership from Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-10-27/ethics-moment-what-weve-learned-about-leadership-blagojevich-93538 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-27/AP110715140676.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This week, the Illinois legislature voted to strip former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his ability to practice law in the state. This, of course, comes as no surprise in the continuing saga of the disgraced politician. Soon, we should know how much time he'll serve in prison.</p><p>Professor Al Gini wonders (aloud) about what Blagojevich's impact is on our collective impression of leadership:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LjmEcwGLOxQ" width="450"></iframe></p><p>Al Gini is a professor of business ethics and chair of the department of management at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of Business Ethics Quarterly, and the author of several books, including <em>The Importance of Being Lazy</em> and <em>Seeking the Truth of Things: Confessions of a (catholic) Philosopher</em>.</p></p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-10-27/ethics-moment-what-weve-learned-about-leadership-blagojevich-93538