This is a mercurial story, several in fact, but one of its most valuable uses is to allow us to sort out various individuals and institutions for their trustworthiness and character based upon their words and conduct regarding the multiple scandals hurtling around Washington.
- Fool: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Mn). Bachmann is talking impeachment, which has signature significance: any elected official who brings up impeachment now or anytime before hard evidence turns up proving that President Obama personally delivered a bag of gold to the IRS leadership to make sure proprietary tax information was leaked is an utter, irresponsible dolt. 1) No President has ever been convicted after their impeachment, and heaven knows we have had multiple Chief Executives factually guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It is a waste of time, an all-encompassing political warfare glut that this nation can’t afford at this point, especially when the U.S. Senate is in control of the same party the impeached POTUS belongs to. Yes, I agree with the principle that corrupt Presidents should be punished; I’m glad Bill Clinton got his just desserts, but I also know that if he and the rest of the government had been concentrating on what was going on in the world rather than hiding blue dresses, the Twin Towers might be standing today, and 3000—10,000?—-Americans wouldn’t be dead. Impeachment is like using a nuclear bomb: it’s a useful threat, but the reality is too horrible to permit. 2) Anyone who thinks making Joe Biden President is a solution to anything is certifiable. 3) There is nothing at this point that would support a legitimate impeachment. 4) Putting the scandals in that context just supports the agreed-upon White House and media spin that this is all about politics. Shut up, Michele.
Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Public Service, Philanthropy, Charity, Rights, War and the Military, Workplace
It has been a rotten week in every way. My good friend and mentor, legal ethics expert/ attorney/ professor/performer David Austern died, leaving me with memories of how much he meant to my life, and how inadequately I thanked him. My son has been off on his first extended road trip without us, giving his mother and I a preview of how much we will miss him as he prepares to leave the nest. And, of course, I simultaneously watched our government fulfill my most pessimistic predictions as it appeared to fairly shamelessly embrace lies and abuse of power as legitimate tools of governance, and lost respect for many, many people I had once thought better of for not only excusing the inexcusable, but embracing a looming threat to democracy.
Depressing, discouraging, frightening, and rotten through and through.
I need a break.
I need hope.
Thank you, Miss Jo, whoever you are. Continue reading
I am pretty certain that actress Angelina Jolie could have undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy and never revealed it, She could have had reconstructive surgery and continuing to appeal to the sexual fantasies of moviegoers, which has been a significant aspect of her movie career. She had no need to disclose the operation, which she underwent last month, and no obligation to. Nonetheless,Jolie revealed her choice to the world in an eloquent, powerful, and courageous op-ed in the New York Times this week, and undoubtedly saved lives by doing so. She also made a critical cultural statement about the worth of women and how they are devalued by being reduced to their body parts in popular culture, the media, and the minds of men.
I think it is one of the most courageous acts by an entertainment figure that we have ever witnessed.
Jolie writes in part… Continue reading
Angel Cordero, unsung hero. And in good company.
Apparently a Cleveland man named Angel Cordero is every bit as deserving of accolades in the rescue of the three kidnapping victims of Ariel Castro [of alleged kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro, that is. Reflect on this case the next time someone puffs themselves up to reprimand you for a missing "alleged" and lectures you about how the accused are "innocent until proven guilty." Yes, we know---and that means we can't lock them up and throw away the key until they have had a fair trial and been officially proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the judgment of a jury. It does not mean, in a situation where there is literally no possible interpretation of the facts that would not end with the conclusion that the man who owns the house where three women have been kept prisoner for ten years and who have told interviewers that he beat them, starved them and raped them, that to state the obvious is some kind of human rights violation. By the way, O.J. is guilty too.] as the more colorful, more publicized–and more ridiculed—Charles Ramsey.
I want Cordero to receive the credit and admiration he deserves. I don’t want him to feel bitter and unappreciated. If the media, public and popular culture is inclined to bestow its goodies on the heroes of this horrible story, I hope he gets his fair share. Still, I also hope that he would be sufficiently large of soul and solid of values to adopt the attitude that what is important is that the women were rescued, and not who gets credit for it, now or in the future. Continue reading
Nice—he saves the women, and they mock him. Who’s the real jerk here?
Charles Ramsey is a hero without qualification. He saw someone in peril and acted, kicking in his neighbor’s door to help a woman and a child who were strangers to him. This assertive and proactive conduct led to the rescue of three young women missing for a decade. Yet because Ramsey is unrepentantly expressive in the manner of his community and peer group, and is not the typical white, middle class American who tends to dominate the internet, videos of his account of the event, replete with colorful slang and vernacular and his own expressive flourishes, have become objects of mockery and ridicule on the web, with a nasty racist edge. He is now a viral meme, especially his signature quote about knowing something is wrong when “a little pretty white girl” runs into “a black man’s arms.”
Wrong. I love Ramsey, and love his open, clear, emotional, story-teller’s manner. He is articulate in the true spirit of the word—interesting, vivid, clear and genuine. John Kerry should communicate so well. Mitch McConnell should hire him as a coach. If Al Sharpton could convey such sincerity, we’d all be in trouble. Continue reading
In this universe, a hero…and in an alternate one? I wonder…
University of New Hampshire senior Cameron Lyle, a Division I college track and field competitor who excels in the shot put and hammer throw, has chosen to end his collegiate athletic career to save a stranger’s life.
He will donate his bone marrow today to a 28-year-old man suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Doctors told Lyle the man who will receive his marrow will live only six months without a transplant, and that there was a only one in five million chance for another non-family match. Yet the odds came up in his favor, thanks to Lyle having his mouth swabbed to join a bone marrow registry two years ago. He was a perfect match.
Lyle says he never hesitated in his choice, once he was informed. “It’s just a sport,” he said. “Just because it’s Division I college level doesn’t make it any more important. Life is a lot more important than that, so it was pretty easy…It was kind of a no-brainer for a decent human. I couldn’t imagine just waiting. He could have been waiting for years for a match. I’d hope that someone would donate to me if I needed it.”
“He made his decision. He gave up his college season to do this. He’s a gentle giant,” Lyle’s mother said of her 6-foot-2-inch, 255-pound son. “He’ll do anything for anybody.” Lyle’s coach Jim Boulanger, was also completely supportive, and, according to Lyle, came up with an instant Ethics Quote of the Month when the shot-putter told him of his plans.
“Here’s the deal,” Boulanger told Lyle. “You go to the conference and take 12 throws or you could give a man three or four more years of life. I don’t think there’s a big question here. This is not a moral dilemma. There’s only one answer.” Continue reading
The pop singer whose ear-worm of a 60′s hit, “Sweet Caroline,” inexplicably became a Fenway Park crowd sing-along tradition made a surprise appearance at the Red Sox-Royals game this afternoon, apparently voluntarily and at his own expense, to contribute to the festivities as Boston celebrated the end of a violent and frightening week. The song has been played at other ballparks in recent days, even at Yankee Stadium, in a show of solidarity with the besieged city and its residents.
Neil Diamond flew to Boston and contacted the Red Sox slightly before game time, saying he was eager to sing along with himself in the seventh inning. Surprised club officials assented. So he wandered out onto the field, looking paunchy, old and happy, and sang into a microphone while his ancient record played—since this was all impromptu, there was no other accompaniment available. And the crowd loved it: you can watch and listen here.
Unlike David Ortiz, Diamond didn’t have to resort to obscenity to give his appearance emphasis. He gave an unsolicited gift to Boston and Red Sox fans, lending his talents to the celebration without compensation because it was a caring and classy thing to do. It didn’t matter that singing along with his 44 years younger self was hardly flattering, or that the sound was lousy, or even that “Sweet Caroline” is hardly Gershwin or even Billy Joel (I always preferred “Cracklin’ Rosie,” myself). A big, wealthy recording star simply helped the city’s healing along by a generous gesture when there was nothing in it for him.
Neil Diamond is a good guy.
Marc Lamont Hill—biased journalist, honest man.
While much of the mainstream news media has been floating rationalizations and excuses for its failure to cover the Gosnell trial, a cynical process nicely dissected by James Taranto here, at least one liberal commentator has the integrity to admit the obvious. He is the Huffington Post’s Marc Lamont Hill, and on a live webcast, he said this:
“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights. Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.” Continue reading
Annette died yesterday after a long, painful decline triggered by the onset of Multiple Sclerosis 25 years ago. To understand why she was an Ethics Hero, one need only read the New York Times obituary, which captures her essence well. One is an Ethics Hero if one goes through life caring about others, being loyal, responsible and fair, never inflating one’s own value and worth above those you live and work with, and having integrity.
If you can do all this while being a celebrity, TV star, teen idol, recording star, movie star and adolescent lust object, you are more than an Ethics Hero. You are a miracle. That was Annette. Continue reading
I don’t think I’ll have to explain why Dick Hoyt is an Ethics Hero.
Rick Hoyt has cerebral palsy and has been a quadriplegic since childhood. When he was in middle school, he told his father, Dick, that he wanted to compete in a charity marathon for a basketball player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Dick Hoyt agreed to push his son’s wheel chair in the race. When it was over, Rick told him, “Dad, when I’m ‘running,’ it feels like I’m not handicapped!” Touched and inspired, Dick Hoyt, 72, went on to push his son, now 51, in 1,091 events, including 252 triathlons, 70 marathons, 94 half marathons, and 155 five-kilometer races. They have never finished last. The father-son team is preparing to compete in their 31st Boston Marathon next week.
When they compete in the triathlons, Dick pulls his son in a boat tied to a cord as he swims, and pedals for him on a tandem bicycle for the cycle round. In 1989, the family set up the Hoyt Foundation which has the goal of helping disabled youths participate in activities that their disabilities would normally preclude.
Rick says his only wish is that he could make his dad sit in the chair and push him for once.
Every now and then, I learn about people whose kindness, selflessness and ethical instincts place me in awe.
Dick Hoyt is such an individual.
Facts and Graphic: Opposing Views