Saturday Night Fevered Ethics, 12/4/2021: It Begins With A Hairless Cat…[Updated]

1. Where “Ick” and unethical become indistinguishable...Airlines have enough problems without having to deal with…this. A message was sent through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) alerting a Delta crew in Atlanta that a passenger in seat 13A was “breastfeeding a cat and will not put cat back in its carrier when [flight attendant] requested.” And she was. Every time the passenger was asked to cease and desist, she attached the cat, which was of the hairless variety, not that it’s relevant, to her nipple again. A flight attendant on board during the incident, wrote on social media,

“This woman had one of those, like, hairless cats swaddled up in a blanket so it looked like a baby,” she said. “Her shirt was up and she was trying to get the cat to latch and she wouldn’t put the cat back in the carrier. And the cat was screaming for its life.”

2. A you have probably heard by now, CNN canned Chris Cuomo. This is a classic example of doing the right thing for the wrong reason: Cuomo should have been fired because he’s a terrible, unethical, none-too-bright journalist. The fact that he also mishandled a conflict of interest, abused his sources and used his position with CNN to assist his brother as The Luv Guv tried to avoid accountability for sexual misconduct all flowed from CC’s incompetence and ethical dunderheadedness. A serious scandal of some kind involving “Fredo” was inevitable.

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Abortion Wars: It’s The New York Times vs. The New York Times!

fetal development

Stockholm Syndrome liberal David Brooks, once the alleged conservative pundit in the Times far-left array, was in one of his “pox on both your houses” moods as he condemned what he claimed were equally unethical (my word, not his) arguments coming from the pro-and anti-abortion camps. “Many conservatives focus on the fetus to the exclusion of all else, ” he wrote. “A lot of the progressive commentary, on the other hand, won’t recognize the fetus at all.” False equivalency, David (and you know it). Since the fetus is the party that’s killed in an abortion, many conservatives and anti-abortion activists take the completely defensible and classic Kantian position that “deference to women who become pregnant in terrible circumstances” doesn’t and can’t justify taking a human life. On the other side of the divide, however, refusing to acknowledge the existence of a life at all is to deliberately rig the debate. And it isn’t “a lot” of the progressive commentary that tries to do this; it’s virtually all of it.

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I Suppose It’s Sort of Comforting To Know That Princeton Is Just As Irredeemably Corrupted As Harvard And Yale


Yes, it’s Rittenhouse again.


The case has proven to be a revealing test on integrity, civic literacy and whether bias has led to stupidity for much of the nation, including its institutions. And much of the nation has flunked.

Take Princeton...please. Its woke dean, Amaney Jamal, sent out an email to the campus on November 20 (I’ve been telling you I’m behind!) about the Rittenhouse verdict.

“Last August, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protestors and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During his trial, he emotionally broke down on the stand, saying he was acting in self-defense. Today, he was acquitted of all six charges against him, including three of which were homicide related,” the email began.

Wrong, Tiger-Breath, as Johnny Carson might have said! First, there is little evidence those shot were “protesters.” They were all convicted felons, and what was going on wasn’t a protest, but rioting. Law-breakers like riots. Second, Rittenhouse’s emotional display on the stand isn’t why he was found not guilty by reason of self defense. The evidence is what acquitted him, and the applicable laws.

Then the Dean added that Rittenhouse was a “minor vigilante carrying a semi-automatic rifle across state lines, killing two people,” and stated that she “fail[s] to comprehend how he could be “declared innocent by the U.S. justice system.”

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Nah, Black Lives Matter Isn’t Racist! Whatever Would Give You That Idea?

BLM Boycott

Black Lives Matter is promoting a boycott of all white citizen-owned businesses, urging supporters to buy “exclusively from Black-owned businesses’ through New Years. “Move your money out of white-corporate banks that finance our oppression and open accounts with Black-owned banks,” the group said on Instagram.

“Racism” and “racist” have both been watered down to near meaningless by the Left’s wielding of them as all-purpose weapons against critics, but under any definition, setting out to harm a business because of the race of its owners is racist to the core.

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The Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Ethan Crumbley Are Charged…Good [Expanded And Updated]


With rights come responsibilities. I have never been able to understand why law enforcement has been so reluctant to hold the owners and purchasers of guns that are used in crimes criminally responsible when those weapons fall into the wrong hands. Maybe this case will finally be a tipping point, one that should have tipped long ago, and perhaps in other areas of parental negligence other than gun crimes.

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old accused of murdering four students at a high school in Michigan (we are supposed to say that, but there is no question, and no doubt, that he’s guilty) have been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. The prosecutor laid out the reasons in a detailed statement. It seems awfully persuasive to me.

Among the facts cited in Oakland County, Michigan’s prosecutor Karen McDonald: Continue reading

FDR’s State Department And The WWII Obstruction Of Jewish Refugees


Guest post by E2

[Introduction: I was pleased to see this addition today’s Open Forum by E2. I have seen “American Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference,” and intended to eventually do a post about this terrible episode in U.S. history. I was especially thrilled to see the references to Breckenridge Long (above). I have long considered building a page here of American ethics villains through the years, and Long deserves to be on it.]


I spent 90 excruciating minutes a couple of weeks ago watching “American Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference”– a PBS documentary which unlike other PBS productions actually tries to relate an unvarnished truth. It is a devastating piece, and oddly, seems to disappear and then reappear on Amazon.

I knew a fair amount about all this from my history reading, but this was much more. It has real photographic documentation (e.g., a photo of a document about Jewish immigration to the US, with a handwritten note: “Ignore… [signed] FDR”); and a detailed photograph of the State Department’s Breckenridge Long’s advisory to US consulates worldwide about ways in which they could delay Jews’ emigration to the US between 1940 and 1944 – not coincidentally when 6 million died at the hands of the Nazis.

Slavery, our original sin, is not the topic here. And yes, we denigrated and mistreated the Irish, Italian and Chinese immigrants, but at least they were allowed to come here and had a chance to live. Not so for the Jews in Germany and Eastern Europe when the Final Solution arrived. The horrible truth is that it was not a primary cultural or bias problem among the general population that condemned so many innocent Jews including children to death, but a persistent and sinister State Department policy.

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Ethics Villain: University Of California Prof. Michele Goodwin


Why does Ethics Alarms rate Professor Goodwin an Ethics Villain rather than the more common, and usually forgivable, status of Ethics Dunce? It is because in her op-ed for the New York Times, “I Was Raped by My Father. An Abortion Saved My Life,” she deliberately misrepresents the law and ethics of the abortion issue while using her status as a law professor to mislead readers. She also presents an argument that is purely an appeal to emotion, though as a scholar and teacher she is professionally obligated not to advance a position without basing it in reason and fact.

There is nothing unethical or inappropriate about Goodwin advancing a pro-abortion position if she does so honestlt. She is obviously committed on the issue as the founding director of the U.C.I. Law Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy and its Reproductive Justice Initiative, and the author of “Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood.” Terrific: make your case, Professor! I have an open mind; I look forward to reading it. You obviously have the skill, background, experience and erudition to be enlightening and persuasive on the topic.

But Goodwin doesn’t make a legal case, an ethical case, a moral case or even a logical one in her op-ed. Doing any of those require acknowledging counter arguments and rebutting them with facts and analysis. Instead, her essay goes straight for the heartstrings and viscera, bypassing the brain entirely. Goodwin was raped by her father when she was 12, you see. How horrible. She courts our sympathy, and, not inappropriately, receives it. However, she never makes the case that a young woman’s (or girl’s) misfortunes, however severe, justify taking the life of another human being.

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What Is The Ethical Response To Marcus Lamb’s Ironic Death?


Marcus Lamb, the evangelical founder of the Texas-based Christian television network Daystar, died on November 30. In an example of extreme cosmic irony/justice/retribution/satire, the cause was a virulent case of infection from the Wuhan virus. The previously healthy (though he had diabetes) 64-year-old was unvaccinated, and indeed was a vocal antivaxxer. Lamb, his wife (they were a Jim and Tammy-style team) and other Daystar broadcasters have been opposing the pandemic vaccines, presumably influencing many of the more than 108 million households the network reaches via cable TV providers to do likelwise On May 10, for example, the Lambs claimed that the vaccines “killed your immune system.”

“We want to warn you, we want to help you, we want to give you an alternative,” Lamb said. The alternatives he recommended were ivermectin, budesonide and hydroxychloroquine, all drugs that have not been proven to be effective or safe in the treatment of the virus, and, naturally, prayer.

Well, as Old Lodgeskins memorably says in “Little Big Man,” “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

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Open Forum!


The previous open forum, in the midst of Thanksgiving weekend, was a bit of a dud (though EA applauds those intrepid, dieting readers who posted), so I’m hoping for a rebound. This is especially true because I’m swamped all of a sudden with more ethics stories than I can cover with the thoroughness they deserve. And this morning’s paper added to the crisis with six new issues or revealed angles on old ones that need coverage.

See what you can do. I’ll be grateful.

Evening Ethics Exploration, 12/2/21: It’s Enron Day!


Yes, December 2 is the day Enron, one of the great corporate scams of all time, declared bankruptcy. On this date in 2001, the saga of the Enron Corporation began to unfold, and what an ugly story it was.

Formed in 1985 as the merger of two gas companies, Enron prospered under chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay to rise as high as number seven on Fortune’s Top 500 U.S. companies. By 2000, the company was employing 21,000 people and claimed revenue of $111 billion. But rumors of shady dealings caused Enron’s stock price to plummet, and by November 30, 2001, it was worth 26 cents a share. Lay sold off his Enron stock, while encouraging Enron employees to buy more shares, ssuring them that the company was on the rebound. Nice. Employees’ retirement savings accounts were wiped out, and by the end of the year, Enron’s collapse had cost investors billions of dollars, put 5,600 out of and rendered almost $2.1 billion in pension plans worthless.

Somewhere in my office I have a copy of an Enron employee ethics handbook with a touching introduction by Ken Lay about the company’s commitment to integrity, honesty, and transparency.

1. Bye! I was just in Shirlington Center in Arlington faced with time to kill as a service station fixed a tire. I was about to wander into a new establishment called “Damn Good Burgers,” but there was a prominent “Black Lives Matter” sticker on the door, so I went elsewhere. I don’t care about the politics of businesses or their owners, as long as they deliver what they advertise at reasonably good quality and prices. But if they require me to tacitly endorse a racist, violent, anti-American movement led by Marxists, they can bite me. If your business is going to engage in cheap virtue signaling, it better be actual virtue.

2.’This is the tragedy of Woke Hysteria. Won’t you help with a tax deductible to help people like this?‘ “The Ethicist” (in the New York Times Magazine) got a tortured inquiry from a young woman called “Name Withheld By Request.”

When my father died, I inherited a large trust fund and sole ownership of a family business. I was young and woefully unprepared, so I put my inheritance on the back burner and lived my life as if I was financially “normal.” However, since the pandemic, my portfolio has hit a new high. I am utterly distraught. I feel that I should have never gotten so wealthy when people are suffering so much.

I’ve been seriously considering giving a large portion away, but the more I talk to people, the more I realize that to give away large sums of money responsibly and ethically turns my life into a job that I never wanted. I don’t want my father’s money to become my life, my career or the most significant thing about me, even though I know that I benefit from it. I have privileges with it, it gives me options and frankly I could not afford to live in a big city without it.

My questions are these: How much money is it ethical to keep, and how much would it be ethical to give away? What is the best way to decide who should receive the money? And how much time and responsibility and rewriting of my life do I owe this gift that often feels like a burden?

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