Tag Archives: conspiracy theories

Ethics Dunce: Phylicia Rashad

COSBY-AND-RASHAD

Phylicia Rashad, the African American actress best known for playing “Claire Huxtable,” Bill Cosby’s wife on his legendary sitcom, was resolute about not be dragged into the crisis facing her on-screen hubby, as woman after women has come out with allegations that she was raped, sexually assaulted or drugged by funny, ol’ Bill. She should have stayed that way. Unfortunately, she allowed a Hollywood celebrity reporter to pull some quotes out of her, and now she has a crisis of her own. Now we know she values loyalty, group identification, show business protocol and her own financial interests over decency, fairness, honesty, justice, compassion, respect for women, and truth.

Or, I suppose, she might be an idiot.

Rashad’s take on Cosby’s problems was also odd, as it focused very little on the man being accused of such heinous acts. She didn’t say, or at least such remarks weren’t reported, that he was a wonderful human being, or that she could not imagine the man she worked so closely with all these years doing what so many alleged victims claim. She said that she “loves” him. In show business, this is like the host of a TV talk show saying a guest is a close personal friend: it is routine, and means nothing.  Rashad’s defense of Cosby consisted of dismissing his victims’ stories as baseless, and this:

“What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture….Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled…This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”

Why. Huh. That’s a head scratcher isn’t it? Yes, why would the entertainment value of family situation comedy about a wise, loving father , the wife whom he adores and his brood of adorable, normal, kids, including three, and ultimately four, teenage girls be diminished in the least by overwhelming evidence that the actor playing said father is a sick, ruthless, sexual predator and the King of Hypocrites? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture, Workplace

KABOOM!* Ethics Dunce: Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch Fame

warning-brain-explosion-zone

While we are on the topic of ridiculous ideas that are a waste of energy, pixels, and hot air:

Here’s a headline from the web:…not from 2009, but from today:

“Could Barack Obama Be Deported Over Using a Fraudulent Birth Certificate? Yes, Says Former DOJ Attorney”

This is of a piece with such headlines as…

“Can World Hunger Be Solved with Edible Cotton? Yes, An Expert Believes”

“Was George Washington a Martian? It’s Possible, Historian Claims”

‘”I Am Marie Of Rumania!’ Virginia Ethicist Declares After Latest Judicial Watch Effort Causes His Head To Explode, Killing Three”

What is the matter with Larry Klayman? The former head of Judicial Watch, the conservative public interest law firm that has occasionally broken through partisan government stonewalling, has jumped the shark for all time by filing what he calls a “deportation petition” against President Barack Obama, asking authorities to begin the process of removing Obama from the country. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement

A Puzzlement! Non-Lawyers Desperately Need A Legal Education, And Unemployed Lawyers Think Theirs Is Worthless

 

Quick, get a non-lawyer to pay you to teach him about the law, then you will have  rent money, and he'll be unemployable!

Quick, get a non-lawyer to pay you to teach him about the law, then you will have rent money, and he’ll be unemployable!

From the Fordham Law Review comes an article making an important point about American life: it is so intertwined with laws, regulations and procedures that citizens are overwhelmed, and at risk of serious adverse consequences. This provides a function for lawyers, indeed an essential one: allowing citizens of a democracy to be protected and served by laws rather than victimized by them. That is a function lawyers often serve, however, after legal ignorance has raised the specter of harm. From the abstract of Bridget Dunlap’s “Anyone Can Think Like a Lawyer,” which argues for “legal empowerment” for non-lawyers, and the duty of  lawyers to provide it: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society, Workplace

Grassy Knoll Ethics: How Deception Breeds Distrust

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We once again must squarely face the hoary  quote from Walter Scott’s epic poem Marmion: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” It is hoary because it is true, and this month’s Smithsonian Magazine reminds us of how true it is, recounting how well-intentioned deceptions by the news media regarding evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy helped create a conspiracy theory that will not die, and that may have begun the slow, relentless deterioration of America’s trust in its own government that has reached dangerous proportions today.

Frame 313 of Abraham Zapruder’s accidental record of one of the pivotal moments in U.S. history gave him nightmares, and when he sold the rights to his amateur movie to Life Magazine, he insisted that frame be withheld from the public, and not published. “We like to feel that the world is safe,” documentary maker Errol Morris explains in the article.“Safe at least in the sense that we can know about it. The Kennedy assassination is very much an essay on the unsafety of the world. If a man that powerful, that young, that rich, that successful, can just be wiped off the face of the earth in an instant, what does it say about the rest of us?” I understand, but withholding the truth is not the way to make the world seem safer. As the story of the conspiracy shows, it is how we end up trusting no one. Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Life, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Quotes, U.S. Society

What An Untrustworthy National Media Has Brought Us To: The Sandy Hook Truthers

One big wedge is missing.

One big wedge is missing.

Until recently, I was happily unaware that an active conspiracy theory has metastasized around the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, what can be thought of as the soot and sludge of the still-rolling ethics train wreck created by that tragedy, except that this is unfair to soot and sludge. The internet is abound with theorists, including at least one professor, who believe that the shooting was an elaborate hoax, possibly engineered by the Obama administration to facilitate gun confiscation and the repeal of the Second Amendment.

In a recent incident reported by Salon, a Newtown man who sheltered some students from the school after the shooting has been relentlessly harassed by Sandy Hook Truthers who have accused him of being part of the government plot. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Ethics Quiz: Conspiracy Theories and the Disrespect Follies

One of the problems with the hateful, vicious, hyper-partisan politics that now grips the nation is that its most severe sufferers, inevitably the so-called “bases” of the two political parties and their most vocal advocates, end up making themselves look like fools because of it. Their fervor drives out rationality, and by refusing to assign decent and reasonable levels of  respect to their political opponents, they devalue their own credibility, sometimes to the vanishing point. They may not really be fools (though some of them are), but in a real sense, they have been driven insane…by hate, by lack of proportion, and a respect deficit that banishes both fairness and responsible conduct.

Crazy Accusation A: Republicans/Conservatives… Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, The Internet, U.S. Society

The Difference Between Unemployed Scientists and Unemployed Lawyers

A front page story in today’s Washington Post casts interesting perspective on an Ethics Alarms rumble that broke out here a couple of weeks ago. One of the many websites where underemployed, over-indebted law grads hang out to commiserate—sites with pathetic names like “butidideverythingrightorsoithought”—discovered a post from the days when people were taking Occupy Wall Street seriously, in which I chided a protester whose sign blamed his law school  for his failure to  find a job, without giving due weight to the fact that sitting in a park whining about his plight wasn’t doing him any good either. Suddenly Ethics Alarms experienced an avalanche of indignant and often personally insulting comments introducing me to the strange world of the JD conspiracy theorists, who maintain that law schools engaged in an intentional conspiracy or “scam” to gull naive college grads into believing that a law degree was a sure-thing ticket to Easy Street and six-figure starting salaries.

In the Post’s report, we learn that other advanced degree-holders, namely PhDs in scientific fields, are also unable to find work or toiling in fields unrelated to their degrees. The Post says:

“Traditional academic jobs are scarcer than ever. Once a primary career path, only 14 percent of those with a PhD in biology and the life sciences now land a coveted academic position within five years, according to a 2009 NSF survey. That figure has been steadily declining since the 1970s, said Paula Stephan, an economist at Georgia State University who studies the scientific workforce. The reason: The supply of scientists has grown far faster than the number of academic positions.”

Sounds a lot like the legal market to me! Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology, U.S. Society, Workplace