The Turkeys are Back!

Published: November 26, 2015

By Jim Lichtman
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With an avalanche of serious stories occupying most of the news cycle, I’ve decided to go light. And what better way to celebrate turkey day than to reconnect with The Ethics Stupid Turkey Awards – honoring the strange, outlandish and just plain, well… you decide.


* (Still honorable mention) – ‘Rudy’ (the tweeting) parrot: Still alive and kickin’!

…and feistier than ever. Witness this tweet to the Aflac duck.
“DEAR @aflacduck: YOU ARE A CORPORATION. You are not a real bird. Corporations are people, my friend. I am still the Top Feather up in here.”

5. Coca-Cola’s Top Scientist on Obesity is History

Rhona S. Applebaum, with a Phd in microbiology, “stepped down” (that’s code for resign or we’ll fire you) after it was discovered that Coke gave a $1 million grant to the University of Colorado medical school to conduct research that would tell the public to focus more on exercise and less on calories from food and beverages that contribute to obesity. The good news: the University did return the money.

4. Company Refuses to Lower Price on $750-a-Pill Drug

Martin Shkreli, a former hedge-fund manager and current chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals changed his mind after agreeing to lower the price on their drug Daraprim, a medication commonly used as an anti-malarial drug as well as other protozoal infections. While Shkreli did announce a price reduction, according to the New York Times (Nov. 24), he never specified how much.

“Turing, a start-up based in New York,” The Times writes, “acquired the drug in August for $55 million and immediately raised the price about fiftyfold, to $750 per tablet from $13.50.”

Great, now drug companies are run by hedge-fund managers. What’s next, a real estate loud-mouth as president?

3. Rudeness is Contagious like a Cold

According to Scientific American (Nov. 24), “New research by Trevor Foulk, Andrew Woolum, and Amir Erez at the University of Florida …demonstrate that being the target of rude behavior, or even simply witnessing rude behavior, induces rudeness. People exposed to rude behavior tend to have concepts associated with rudeness activated in their minds, and consequently may interpret ambiguous but benign behaviors as rude. More significantly, they themselves are more likely to behave rudely toward others, and to evoke hostility, negative effect, and even revenge from others.”

Got it! Now, get out of my face!

2. Girls to Boys

In a report airing on CBS News (Nov. 25), six young girls are claiming discrimination based on gender after being refused admission to a local Boy Scout troop.

The “girls teach themselves things they didn’t learn in the Girl Scouts, like building a campfire.

“I got jealous of what my brother got to do because he’s a Boy Scout …,” said 10-year-old Ella Jacobs.

“They got so good at competing with the boys,” CBS says, “this past spring they won second place in a major scouting competition with other Boy Scouts groups.”

That’s great, but they already have an organization targeting girls. It’s called the Girl Scouts. If the girls feel the programs offered aren’t challenging enough, why can’t they petition for change within the organization?

1. Another Trump-up Story

Not satisfied with amassing a record of recent factual errors, Trump decided to invent his own Civil War history at a renovated club in Lowes Island, Virginia.

As reported by The New York Times (Nov. 24), “Between the 14th hole and the 15th tee of one of the club’s two courses, Mr. Trump installed a flagpole on a stone pedestal overlooking the Potomac, to which he affixed a plaque purportedly designating ‘The River of Blood.’

“Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot,” the inscription reads. “The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ ”

Fact: “No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there,” said Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, a historical preservation and education group devoted to an 1,800-square-mile section of the Northern Virginia Piedmont, including the Lowes Island site.

“ ‘The only thing that was remotely close to that,’ Mr. Gillespie said, was 11 miles up the river at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in 1861, a rout of Union forces in which several hundred were killed. ‘The River of Blood?’ he added. ‘Nope, not there.’

“Mr. Gillespie’s contradiction of the plaque’s account was seconded by Alana Blumenthal, the curator of the Loudoun Museum in nearby Leesburg. (A third local expert, who said he had written to Mr. Trump’s company about the inscription’s falsehoods and offered to provide historically valid replacement text, insisted on anonymity because he did not want to cross the Trump Organization by disclosing a private exchange.)”

Memo to Trump Supporters: With so many fabrications, cock-and-bull, and lies, can you really trust this guy to tell the truth when he’s president?


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