Category Archives: Quizzes

Ethics Quiz: The Memories Pizza Stunt

Memories Pizza, you will recall, rushed to let everyone know that it supported Indiana’s short-lived “Let’s discriminate against gays” law, which Pope Francis would have approved of, apparently.  The poor, naive little establishment, which was about as likely to cater a gay wedding as a White House state dinner, became the immediate target of social justice warrior bullies, who nearly succeeded in running them out of business.

On September 25, 2015, comic Robin Trevino, a member of the gay theatrical ensemble GayCo, drove to Walkerton, Indiana, bought pizzas at  Memories Pizza, , and served Memories Pizza to all the guests at his September 26, 2015 same-sex wedding reception, then released a video to alert the world that Memories Pizza had unknowingly catered a gay wedding  after all.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Was it ethical to do this?

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, Quizzes, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: The Conundrum Of The Wrong Color Baby

mixed race child

[ I wrote about this case last fall, before the decision in the case. This Ethics Quiz is a follow up. No fair cheating by going back and reading the older post until you have your answer]

Jennifer Cramblett, one half of a white same-sex couple that wanted a child, went to Midwest Sperm Bank and chose adeposit from donor No. 380. The sperm bank made that ol’ “8 looks like 3” mistake, so instead of the white donor the couple wanted, they were given sperm from donor No. 330, a black man. Cramblett filed suit against the sperm bank in 2014 for damages because she gave birth to a mixed-race daughter, and that was not what she paid for.

The sperm bank apologized but refunded only part of the cost to Cramblett and her partner Amanda Zinkon, and denied that damages were warranted.  Cramblett’s suit alleged that the mistake caused her and her family stress, pain, suffering and medical expenses, and that she feared that her daughter, Payton, now 3, would grow up feeling like an “outcast.” Attorneys for the sperm bank argued that “wrongful birth” suits should only apply to cases where a child is born with a birth defect that was predictable. In this case, the girl, Payton, is normal and healthy. Being black, of course, is not a defect.

The judge threw out the case, but headlines have been misleading. The original suit—why, I don’t know—failed to allege negligence, which I would think would be a slam dunk. The suit can and presumably will be refiled with a negligence claim, and that’s res ipsa loquitur.  (If a black child is born to a white couple, someone goofed somewhere.) There will be damages, but the question is how much and on what basis.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Would it be ethical for a court to hold that having a child that is the “wrong” color is a hardship, injury, or misfortune worthy of damages?

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Filed under Childhood and children, Family, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Quizzes, Race, U.S. Society

Further Thoughts And Questions On “The Lottery Winner’s Sister-in-Law” (Part 2)


As promised, here are some proposed lines regarding the ethics quiz on the lottery-enriched brother and whether his financially-challenged sibling  should ask for a cut—and had a right to expect one. (Part 1 of the “Further Thoughts” is here)

All of the following assume that the lottery-winner does not have a personal emergency or crisis of his own that would require him to spend all or most of the money.

1. The wealthy brother is ethically obligated to offer financial assistance, if he can afford it without excessive hardship, without being asked, if his brother or his brother’s family is facing a health crisis of other catastrophe.

This is true regardless of whether his new financial resources come from luck, planning, work or skill, and regardless of how much money he has. Offering a loan rather than a gift is still fair and ethical. Charging interest under these circumstances is not, unless the poor brother has a record of not paying back earlier loans.

Possible exceptions: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Family, Finance, Love, Quizzes, Romance and Relationships

Ethics Quiz: The Lottery Winner’s Sister-in-Law

_rich_man_poor_man“Dear Prudence” (a.k.a Emily Yoffe), my least favorite advice columnist (who answers weird questions from weird people at Slate), received an ethics quiz worthy query from a woman whose husband has had some business reverses and now, as he near retirement age, is looking at two jobs and tarnished golden years without a pension or vacations. Meanwhile, her husband’s brother (let’s assume this is true: it sounds like a hypothetical to me) won 50 million bucks in the lottery a few years ago, and is having a ball. The two brothers are on good terms and speak often. She asks,

“What I don’t understand is how he can stand to see his little brother so stressed and working so hard while he has more money than he could spend in a dozen lifetimes. Obviously he is under no obligation, but he does not seem to realize how hard it is to see how he spends his money on travel and amusements. I think he should help his brother out. What do you think?”

Prudence  thinks the poor brother should ask the rich brother for money, and that if he won’t, the wife of the poor brother should: Continue reading


Filed under Family, Finance, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Quizzes

Ethics Quiz: “Rear Window” Ethics At The Ball Game


The New York Daily News recounts the tale of two sisters attending an Atlanta Braves game who exposed a man’s cheating wife by taking photos of her as she apparently sexted another man with her arm around her husband. Delana and Brynn Hinson posted photos of her texts on Twitter.

The sisters said they slipped a note to the woman’s suspected husband as he was leaving, which read,

“Your wife is cheating on you. Look at the messages under Nancy! It’s really a man named Mark Allen.”

You can read the details—accurate or not—here.

I don’t care if the story is exactly as it was reported. Let’s assume it is.

The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for the day is this:

Did the sisters behave ethically when they informed the husband about his wife’s secret texting?

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Filed under Quizzes, Romance and Relationships, The Internet

Ethics Quiz: The Obamas’ “Private Party”


President Obama and his wife, Michelle invited about 500 guests to a White House party where pop icons Prince and Stevie Wonder entertained guests. Among the guests were Al Sharpton, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his date, singer Ciara, Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor, Tyler Perry, Connie Britton, Angela Bassett, Gayle King, Tracee Ellis Ross, fashion designer Naeem Kha, American Express exec Ken Chenault,  former Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, as well as about 480 others of doubtlessly equal glitter who didn’t squeal about the blow-out on Twitter or Instagram or who weren’t mentioned by other guests who did.

The party was not mentioned on the President’s official schedule, and it almost managed to occur without publicity until the White House news briefing on Monday afternoon, when Josh Earnest was grilled about it. The White House spokesman said two interesting things, one audacious in its blatant dishonesty and Orwellian logic, and the other ….interesting. The first:

“I think the fact that we’re talking about a private event and the fact that details of this are known is an indication that the president is committed to being transparent. At the same time, the president and first lady are going to reserve the right to host private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime.”

Further proving how transparent the President was, Earnest announced that no guest list would be provided to the press or the public. Now that’s transparency. The other statement:

[T]”he President and First Lady are going to reserve the right to host private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime. I think that’s consistent with the kinds of values that they have talked about.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

“Are there any ethical problems with the Obama’s “private party”?

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Leadership, Quizzes

Ethics Quiz: Hillary And Margaret

Making Ayn Rand seem like Shirley Temple...

Making Ayn Rand seem like Shirley Temple…

Many organizations find themselves conflicted when they accord proper respect and gratitude to their founders. The older an organization is, the more likely that its founder, however brilliant and accomplished, had scary skeletons in his or her closet, and worse, espoused views that modern minds find repugnant. The United States is awash in such founding dilemmas, beginning with Thomas Jefferson, whose private life, and some of his public life too, hardly met the high ideals and aspirations that lit the way for our nation’s creation. Revolutionary hero and “Father of the American Navy” John Paul Jones was an infamous pederast, and the man who built the F.B.I, J. Edgar Hoover, was a racist and extortionist who would have been right at home, perhaps more at home, with the KGB (except for his hatred of communists). There are many more, founders and creators of institutions in every sector of American life.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), however, is an especially hard case. The founder of the predecessor of Planned Parenthood openly and vigorously espoused beliefs that would make her a pariah today, and an embarrassment to the pro-choice movement. She was a racist, a white supremacist, a believer in eugenics, forced sterilization, and government prevention of the proliferation of the “unfit.” It is true that many of her most repulsive beliefs were considered acceptable and even progressive among intellectuals and activists of the time. It is also true that she was vocal in espousing them, and the work she is most honored for as a birth control advocate and an early feminist cannot be easily separated from her other, less admired positions.

Here are some of her more alarming quotes; you can research her writings and speeches more deeply here. Personally, I think she makes Ayn Rand look like Shirley Temple: Continue reading


Filed under Bioethics, Character, Childhood and children, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Quizzes, Quotes, Race, Rights