Ethics Quiz: The Crystal Flute

The strange episode has everything: history, a President, music, bad taste, fat-shaming, historical ignorance, and more.

Lizzo, the defiantly obese pop singer, rapper and all-around musical whiz who is also a classically trained flutist, was permitted to entertain her Washington, D.C. concert audience this week by playing a crystal flute that a French craftsman and clockmaker had made for President James Madison in 1813. She was handed the sparkling instrument from Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford, a curator at the Library of Congress, then, as described by the New York Times, “played a note, stuck out her tongue in amazement, and then played another note, trilling it as she twerked in front of thousands of cheering fans. She then carried the flute over her head, giving the crowd at Capital One Arena one last look, before handing it back to Ms. Ward-Bamford.”

“I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s!” Lizzo told the crowd. “We just made history tonight.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is...

Was that an appropriate and ethical use of the historical artifact?

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Storm Ethics

I have to ask: is scientifically absurd climate change hype from the media now in Julie Principle territory, meaning that it is so predictable that it isn’t even worth noting of complaining about? CNN village idiot Don Lemon has been injecting climate change propaganda into his coverage at every opportunity, as have (going even lower down the intellectual scale) the Ladies of the View and others. When I read that Ian had been downgraded to a tropical storm, I wondered, “Hmmm…does that now mean this storm isn’t the result of climate change, since we’ve been told that we are facing more and more destructive hurricanes (which so far have not materialized as predicted, mirabile dictu)?” Then Ian was upgraded to a hurricane on the way to South Carolina—so Ian again owes his existence to climate change? Someone ask Don or Whoopie, quick. Continue reading

Dinner Bell Ethics Appetizers, 9/29/2022: Indigestion Edition

The post about Aaron Judge’s quest to be the American League’s record-holder for home runs in a season sparked some interesting baseball reflections in the comments, but I fell down on the job: yesterday marked the date in 1941 that Ted Williams became the last of the .400 hitters (whoever wins the AL batting championship this season will probably be under .320). And it’s a real ethics story! Told that his average, just under .400 but with enough past the decimal to be rounded up to the magic number in the record book, Ted was advised by his manager, Joe Cronin, to sit out the doubleheader that would close the season. Williams, in a famous demonstration of integrity (Ted was always an integrity stickler) insisted that he wouldn’t “back in” to a .400 average, and risked a place in history by playing in both games, though they were meaningless in the standings. With the same determination that allowed him to homer, as he had promised, in his final at bat in 1960, Ted got six hits in eight at-bats during the two games in Philadelphia, boosting his average to .406.

1. This is hard to digest: YouTube has demonetized a supercut video of Democrats claiming that Donald Trump’s 2016 victory was “stolen” or not “legitimate,” claiming that it “isn’t suitable for all advertisers” and “as a result, it will continue to run limited or no ads.” In fact, the video is not misleading in any way; it just shows the utter hypocrisy of the current Democratic Party’s condemnation of “election denial.” Here’s the video:

I remember all of this; its real significance is the degree to which Big Tech is determined to cover for the Left’s hypocrisy. Donald Trump’s entire four years in office were crippled by the effort by the “Axis of Unethical Conduct” to paint him as being elected by a diabolical alliance with Russia; it harmed the nation, our democracy, divided the country and directly seeded the current political chaos. These people should be ethically estopped from attacking Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was “rigged;” I can, but they can’t. Literally, they started it (and Trump has a better case than the Democrats ever did.)

YouTube election misinformation policies prohibit users from posting “misleading or deceptive content with serious risk of egregious harm” and “content interfering with democratic processes.” Videos that advance “false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in certain past certified national elections” as well as “content that claims that the certified results of those elections were false.” That video doesn’t do any of these things. It just properly exposes Google/YouTube’s political allies, who deserve to be exposed.

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Don’t Worry! Joe May Be Fading, But There’s A Strong Mind And Hand In The Wings….[Corrected]

The current theory is that the mainstream news media is suddenly questioning Biden’s gray matter because the grand scheme is to get him out of the White House and Kamala Harris in using the 25th Amendment so she can burnish her credentials before the 2024 election.

As always, Kamala rose to the occasion! Here is the “historic” but completely inept Veep in South Korea yesterday…

At least the President has an excuse for being confused: he’s old, feeble, and battling dementia. Harris has no excuses, unless you count being lazy, careless, and incompetent.

Naturally, the networks didn’t think the gaffe was newsworthy, like they would have if, say, Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle, or Donald Trump had made it. Do you think “Saturday Night Live,” or Colbert, or Trevor Noah will note this telling mishap? Nah.

[Notice of Correction: I chose…poorly. Noah was the only TV comic that did mock Kamala.]

Nonetheless, if Biden can’t hide his dwindling brain cells as President. Kamala will have no more luck hiding her lack of enough of them to begin with. If the Democrats really think having her front and center for a year or more will improve their chances of keeping power, they are even more deluded than I thought.

To be fair, being in the DMZ, Kamala had North Korea “on top of mind.”

Now Washington, D.C. Wants To Cheapen Citizenship

Of course it does.

this week, a D.C. Council committee unanimously approved a bill to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections, and just to make sure the intent was clear, an amendment was added including illegal immigrants to the voting rolls as well. Oh, the term used is “undocumented’ or some other cover-word to avoid the sorry truth, but you know what’s going on.

Several towns in Maryland and Vermont already give non-citizens municipal voting rights. Non-citizens vote in school board elections in San Francisco, and cities in California, Maine, Illinois and Massachusetts have similar legislation on the drawing board. The inclusion of illegal aliens is more unusual, but D.C.’s elected officials apparently felt the need to virtue-signal after reacting like stuck Swamp Creatures when a few hundred illegals were bused to their metaphorical shores. Like Martha’s Vineyard, the “sanctuary city”-preening District loves illegals as long as the vast number of them have to be cared for and paid for by Texas, Florida, Arizona…you know, the where Little People dwell.

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Occupy Democrats Is Just As Incompetent And Unethical As Its Memes Always Indicated…

That tweet of signature significance isn’t the topic of this post, but it is relevant. [Thanks to comment-master Humble Talent for passing it along.] This progressive group, much like the equally dim Move-On.org, represents shrill far-left ideological cant without nuance, facts, standards or restraint. All of my Facebook Friends who were addicted to posting disinformation and propaganda memes by Occupy Democrats have unfriended me by now I think; it’s too bad, because some of them once had functioning minds, but it’s just as well. Meanwhile, the always evident ethics and intellectual rot underlying OD is finally being recognized.

Occupy Democrats’ campaign finances over several cycles show that the group spent most of the money it acquired from charitable contributions— $577,000 of a total $797,000 raised this cycle—on “fundraising consultants,” with no—that’s zip, nada, zero— contributions going to candidates.

A quarter-million dollars of what the group raised over this past election cycle, did flow into the coffers of Blue Deal LLC, which is owned by Occupy Democrats’ founder Omar Rivero and his brother, Rafael.

Oh! So Occupy Democrats is like Black Lives Matter, then!

A scam.

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The President Sees Dead People: Ethics Observations

The most important observation may be that the mainstream media is covering this disturbing episode rather than burying it.

From the New York Times:

President Biden looked in the audience on Wednesday for Representative Jackie Walorski, Republican of Indiana, during a White House conference on ending hunger, apparently forgetting that Ms. Walorski had died last month.

“Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie?” Mr. Biden said as he thanked lawmakers who had sponsored legislation on the hunger issue. The president appeared to be confused at her absence and said something under his breath about whether she had planned to be at the event.

In fact, Ms. Walorski was killed on Aug. 3 in a car accident in her district, along with two of her congressional aides, when a vehicle she was in collided head-on with another. The driver of the oncoming car was also killed.

Mr. Biden did not correct himself during the remarks, but the incident quickly went viral on Twitter and other social media platforms, with some people seizing on the moment as evidence that Mr. Biden, who is 79, lacks the mental capacity to be president.

“Some people”? Not to throttle a theme, but why just “some people”? Isn’t forgetting that someone is dead (when you made a public statement about her death just a month earlier) a classic sign of dementia? And why is this a surprise to anyone who has been paying even a little attention to Biden since before he was handed the Democratic Party’s nomination?

Of course, after that straightforward and factual account, the Times slipped back into familiar “Republicans pounce” territory. “The president’s political opponents have been pushing that attack since he took office.,” the news item says. It’s not an attack! It’s a legitimate concern for any American when it becomes obvious that the leader of the nation is sliding into senility. Again: why aren’t Democrats and the President’s supporters equally alarmed? Integrity? Honesty? Responsibility?

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From The “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” Files…

Among the other horrible unintended consequences of the destructive response to the Wuhan virus pandemic is that it has made professionals lazy. I just completed my first legal ethics seminar in front of a live out-of-town audience in more than two years, and only my fourth with participants I could look at and talk to in that time. I am told that lawyers like the convenience of getting their Continuing Legal Education credits using Zoom, from the comfort of their homes or offices.

In the program two days ago, for example, ten lawyers attended by coming to the classroom, but over 190 watched remotely.

Well, as our children found out over the past two years of panic and fearmongering, remote learning doesn’t work. I know that many of those seminar attendees out in Zoomland are doing billable work, or playing with their dogs, or otherwise not giving the topic their full attention. Legal ethics is essential for a self-policing profession like the law, and ethics is hard; being an ethical lawyer takes practice. In trainings, that means being tested with tough questioning by the instructor ( that is, me). Now, however, most lawyers want to exert the least effort possible while getting their mandatory credits, meaning that they are not taking their responsibilities seriously. Many will suffer for this. More importantly, clients will suffer.

In this vein, I praised the attorneys who eschewed Zoom the past two days, and told them that I would reward each them of the with a gratis hour’s worth of ethics consultation over the next twelve months. I charge $390 an hour, so if the time is used, it will more than cover their fee for the seminar.

I then learned that two of the Zoom attendees complained bitterly to the state sponsors. They hadn’t known that I would be handing out that bonus, they said; if they had, they said they would have come in person too. There’s a flaw in this reasoning: I don’t receive the fees for the session, and the sponsoring group wasn’t giving out the free hours. It was a spontaneous gesture on my part.

Nonetheless, I agreed to let the sponsor tell the angry Zoomers that they could have a free hour too, even though they hadn’t earned it.

Baseball Ethics: Let Aaron Judge Hit! [Updated!]

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 60th home this season last week. Now Judge leads the majors in home runs, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, WAR and several other statistical categories. Judge is hitting .316/.419/.703  with 60 home runs, 128 RBI, 123 runs, 16 stolen bases and 9.7 WAR (that’s “wins above a replacement player”). The 60 homers tie him with Babe Ruth for the long-standing so-called “154 game season record,” and put him one behind Roger Maris for the American League season record for homers, 61 (set by Maris in ’61, and celebrated in Billy Crystal’s excellent film, “61”).

61 represents another landmark, though, a more important one. It is the most home runs hit by a Major League Player who was not jacked-up on steroids. The list ahead of Maris reads, Continue reading