Category Archives: Romance and Relationships

Ethics Observations On The King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges Decisions And Their Aftermath

supreme-court

 Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court considered whether states had to recognize a right to same-sex marriages, and King v. Burwell, in which the Court was called upon to clarify some incompetent drafting in the Affordable Care Act, could not be more dissimilar in terms of issues, topics, and significance. Nonetheless, because the two decisions involved hot political issues and arrived on consecutive days, and because they ended up favoring the positions that Democratic and progressive partisans support, they have been conglomerated in public discourse to fit several general themes, all, to varying degrees, misleading, simplistic, and biased. The decisions have also launched some of the most hysterical and embarrassing commentary in recent memory.

Some ethics, as opposed to legal, observations:

1. Anyone who hasn’t read the majority opinions and the dissents, who just skimmed them—believe me, if law school taught me anything, it taught me that skimming court opinions was a sure road to error and humiliation—or who read them but could not understand them, should be ignored, and perhaps gently mocked, for expressing any view at all about whether the decisions were the “right” ones. Quite simply, such people are not qualified to hold an opinion. They can have, and express, an opinion regarding whether the Court’s calls on Burwell or Obergefell are consistent with their own needs, desires, belief or political orientation, but they have no basis for asserting that either decision is wrong, or, right, on the law.

2. One can find it troubling and ominous, as I do, that the votes on the two cases were as predictable as they were. Objective legal scholars with integrity should be capable of ruling in ways that are not congruent with the personal political philosophies. A Democratic Presidential appointee who favors expansive government activity in health care control should be able to look at a statute designed to accomplish that purpose and still conclude, “Nope, the law mean what they want it to mean,” or “Sorry, the damn thing is unconstitutional.” Similarly, we should be able to trust a politically conservative justice to examine a statute that he objects to on principle and still conclude, “Yup, it passes the test.” Maybe all the Justices are capable of meeting this standard, but these two cases don’t suggest that. They suggest the opposite. Continue reading

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Filed under Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

Introducing The Ethics Stooges: Bristol, Geraldo, And Dan

three-stooges

They are the perfect  2015 replacements for Larry, Moe and Curly. So diverse! Bristol Palin, a conservative woman; Geraldo Rivera,a Hispanic liberal who works for a conservative news network, and Dan Savage, a progressive gay scold!

Too bad they aren’t funny.

In fact, they are pathetic, and, of course, ethically inert. They also make “Porcupine” and the Howard Boys look classy by comparison, and they showered in their clothes.

First, yecch, Bristol Palin. She is the epitome of a worthless celebrity. Arguably, she is worse that a Kardashian. Her claim to fame is embarrassing her mother by turning up pregnant and unmarried in the middle of the 2008 Presidential campaign. That’s it. That got her a slot on “Dancing With The Stars” and a reality show where she became the poster girl for unmarried motherhood as a clever career move. Then, mind-blowingly, she became a paid advocate for teenage abstinence before marriage, that is, unlike her. In 2011, Palin was paid more than a typical Hillary Clinton college speaking fee—over a quarter million dollars—to be the abstinence spokesperson for the Candies Foundation.

Naturally, she got pregnant sans wedding ring again.

Soon after her engagement to former Marine and Medal of Honor awardee Dakota Meyer ended, Palin announced on her blog this week that she was once more with child, but without husband. “I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant. Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one,” wrote Palin. “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you,” she wrote. “But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”

Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!

No sympathy? Deal. But here’s the lecture: you owe the Candies Foundation—which, frankly, deserves this embarrassment for hiring a feckless reality star as a role model for impressionable teens–every cent you accepted as part of your con. But then your life is a con. You have no talent, no integrity, and no excuse for your conduct. Get an education, grow up, and go away. You degrade the culture and America’s values by your very existence. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture, Romance and Relationships, Social Media

Let’s Take The “Deranged And Unethical Ideologues” Test!

keep-calm-it-s-only-a-test-2

Recognizing insanity shouldn’t be that difficult, or impeded by political orientation. Yet as the Rachel Dolezal fiasco proves, it can be. (Now that we know that she previously claimed to be discriminated against because she was white, and heard her tell Matt Lauer that a black man was her father because she thought of him as her father, will all the loyal left culture warriors who chose to die on that silly hill after I warned them that they would regret it learn anything? I doubt it.)

Now, in the interest of improving everyone’s non-partisan wacko-detection and rejection skills, I offer these two examples, one from the left, and one from the right. If either seems reasonable to you, you flunk.

First, from the right, we have… Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, Rights, Romance and Relationships, Workplace

Incompetent Elected Officials Of The Month: The Connecticut State Senate

The Connecticut Senate this week approved a probably unconstitutional bill requiring all Connecticut colleges and universities to adopt the “yes, means yes” policy when it comes to sexual consent, similar to California’s cypto-fascist law. The bill dictates a completely unenforceable standard for sexual consent It was bi-partisan fascism, and passed 34-1. Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, was the lone vote against it.

According to the bill’s champion, Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly,  it is “is redefining the definition of consent.” She explains that under the law, college students would be required to “say yes” or indicate nonverbally through “physical cues” that they are willing to have sex with another college student. And what “physical cues” would qualify? How about eye contact, and the kind of communications that we celebrate in the arts and literature? What about the “look of love” that Dusty Springfield sang about? Enough, Mae? How would schools enforce such a law? Cameras in every room? A panel of “physical cues” experts, watching every possible sexual encounter? Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Romance and Relationships

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Law Professor Orin Kerr

“If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy. Yikes.”

Prof. Orin Kerr on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Hatert as coachI thought more highly of Prof. Kerr, who belongs to the left end of the group of provocative libertarian legal scholars who make up the commentariat on the erudite blog, recently annexed by the Washington Post, than to believe him capable of abusing his authority with this kind of hackery. He is endorsing  the deceitful “logic” of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Well no, Professor, I guess you don’t understand history properly, or government, or ethics for that matter. Clinton was not impeached for lying about a sexual affair, though that was the tactical spin placed on the impeachment by Clinton’s defenders.

Bill Clinton  was impeached for lying about a sexual affair under oath, before a judge, in court, an act that would get you, as well as any other lawyer, disbarred. If you don’t obey the law enough to be a lawyer, you don’t respect the law enough to be trusted to defend the laws of the land as President of the United States. He was also impeached for lying to a grand jury, another crime, and using his high office, his appointees and his staff to cover up his lies, which is obstruction of justice.

He was also impeached because he was President of the United States, the role model and exemplar for good citizenship, lawfulness and good behavior for the entire nation, and because the relationship in question occurred during his tenure in office, during the working day, and  with a low-level employee in violation of the principles under lying the sexual harassment law he had signed into law himself.

None of this was true of Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, and Dennis Hastert, the three GOP Speakers Kerr is referring to. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, Romance and Relationships, Unethical Blog Post, Workplace

The Conundrum Of The Tolerant, Excessively Honest Jeweler And The Gay Couple’s Rings

rings

It’s not a photographer, chapel, baker or pizza place this time, indeed not even a business that discriminates or that said that would ever discriminate. As for the allegedly aggrieved gay couple involved, they did not choose the establishment looking for a fight or to make headlines, nor do they claim they were treated differently than any other couple would be, or that they were discriminated against.

Yet here we are again.

Canadians Nicole White and Pam Renouf, a same-sex couple, went shopping for engagement rings a few months ago, and eventually  found Today’s Jewelers in Mount Pearl, in Newfoundland, which specializes in custom-made rings. Everything went well as they ordered their rings and agreed on a price—the service, the atmosphere, the professionalism was all as it should have been. “They knew the two of us were a same-sex couple,” White said.”I referred some of my friends to them, just because I did get some good customer service and they had good prices.”

One of her friends took such an endorsement and went in to Today’s Jewellers to buy a ring for his girlfriend. There he saw a recently posted sign in the store. This sign:

sign

He took a photo, and sent it to White. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Marketing and Advertising, Rights, Romance and Relationships, The Internet

Ethics Dunce: GoFundMe

“DESTROY THE EVIL CAKE DISCRIMINATORS!!!!”

If GoFundMe isn’t going to have the integrity to avoid taking sides in complex political and cultural disputes, it is functionally useless.

Perhaps it should change its title to “GoFundMyPoliticallyCorrectCause.”

Pusillanimous GoFundMe caved in to pressure from vindictive gay marriage activists and pulled the crowdfunding campaign on the site that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery,  Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

The cake shop in Gresham, Oregon, became ground zero for the same-sex marriage debate  in January 2013, when it turned away customers who wanted cakes for a same-sex wedding. The spurned couple filed a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming their civil rights under the Oregon Equality Act had been infringed. In defense, the owners of the business stated that they  refused to cater  the wedding because of their religious beliefs, and thus their decision was protected by the U.S. Constitution. They subsequently closed the shop, and carried out their business from home. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries proposed a damages award Friday of $135,000 against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners, for being in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination law. The award, which is not final, would provide $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination.”

After taking down the page raising money for the bakery in the belief that they have been unfairly targeted, victimized and mistreated, GoFundMe said in a statement that the campaign violated the site’s policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

Continue reading

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