1. If you want an instant reading on someone’s ethics alarms, or a quick diagnosis of whether he or she is a jerk, ask their opinion on yesterday’s episode in which New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got in the face of a Cubs fan who was harassing him during the Brewers-Cubs game. Instead of ignoring the fan, who was shouting insults at him, Christie walked over to him and said, among other things, “You’re a big shot!”
“Appreciate that,” the fan gulped.
It’s rude, uncivil and cowardly to shout insults at anyone who just happens to be attending an event as a private citizen. It doesn’t matter who the target is. The fan, Brad Joseph, assumed that he was insulated by the crowd and the setting from any consequences of being a jackass by setting out to make Christie’s visit to the ball park unpleasant. Bravo to Christie for behaving exactly as any other non-weenie would when subjected to such abuse. Brad was adopting the same false entitlement the “Hamilton” cast assumed when it harassed Mike Pence, though in lower case. Elected officials have an obligation to listen to the public’s complaints and positions. They do not have an obligation to accept outright abuse, and shouldn’t.
Joseph, heretofore to be referred to as “The Jerk,” or TJ, told a radio station, “I called him a hypocrite because I thought it needed to be said.” Then walk up to the Governor like a man, look him in the eyes, and say it, you chicken. Shouting from a crowd is a hit-and-run tactic, and you know it. You depended on it.
“This is America and I think we have the right to say what you believe as long as it’s not crude or profane,” Joseph then said. Wrong, Hot Dog Breath. You do have a right to be crude and profane, but as with those abuses of free speech, harassing someone, anyone, at a ball game is still unfair and unethical.
2. Then there were the ad hominem attacks on the Governor in the comments to the story. Did you know Christie was fat? Did you know that being fat proves his unfitness for public service or removes his human right to be treated decently when he goes to a ball game? These were the conclusions of easily 75% of all commenters, proving informally that 75% of internet commenters have the ethical instincts of 10-year-olds.
The news media was hardly better: check which sources make a big deal about the fact that Christie was holding a plate of nachos when he stared down TJ. This non-essential detail was even in some headlines. Newsweek, which is really just a left-wing supermarket tabloid now, actually headlined the story “Chris Christie confronts fan who wouldn’t let him eat nachos in peace.”
That’s not just fat-shaming, that’s an endorsement of fat-shaming. The problem with Chris Christie isn’t that he’s fat; the problem with him is that he is corrupt and sold out his principles and his country to help make Donald Trump President, none of which justifies abusing him when he’s at a baseball game.
Or watching “Hamilton.
3. The Chinese government is cracking down on the internet, and that good ol’ USA innovative tech giant Apple is happy to comply by removing all major VPN apps from availability in China. The apps help internet users overcome the oppressive country’s censorship, and Apple runs the App store. Apple pathetically explained in its statement that the app was removed because “it includes content that is illegal in China.”
Ah. So if there are big bucks to be made in China, Apple is justified in becoming complicit in human rights abuses. No, it’s really not. We saw a lot of this before World War II, when various U.S. companies were enabling Hitler while he was exterminating Jews.
It would be impressive if all the good, social justice warrior Apple-philes in the U.S. had the integrity to take this brutal and cowardly conduct into consideration when they decide what computer, phone or tablet to buy next. They won’t, of course.
Pop Quiz: Name the rationalizations Apple execs and Apple fans are using to justify the conduct. This is open book: just run down the list.
4. And speaking of open-book exams: Mark Tetzlaff is a lawyer who recently argued that his student loans should be discharged in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing because of undue hardships related to depression, being an alcoholic, and having various misdemeanor convictions. You will see a trend here. Now he is suing the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, claiming that its refusal to give him an open-book test with twice the time allotted to other applicants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act . Tetzlaff receives Social Security income for his short-term memory loss. Tetzlaff requested to take the July 2017 Illinois State Bar Exam in a semi-private room, over a four-day period, and consult a BARBRI Convisor Mini-Review Study Guide to help answer questions.
If turning down that request—why not just give him the answers?—is a violation of the ADA, then the ADA needs to be changed, pronto. Nobody should be given any special break in entrance exams, professional exams, or any other qualifying exams. If Tetzlaff can’t pass the exam like everyone else, then he shouldn’t be practicing law. ( “Your objection is over-ruled, Counsel.” “What objection?”)
There is no special category for depressed, alcoholic, criminal lawyers with short-term memory deficits, except the category “People who have no business being lawyers.” Those who think letting Tetzlaff have special lenient conditions while taking the bar exam is “fair” don’t know what the word means.
5. Today’s report on the weekly Anti-Tump Hate Porn section in the New York Times suggest that either sanity is dawning, or Times readers are getting bored reading the same angry screeds every week. The Sunday Times “Sunday Review” only had four Trump-Hate essays, though two of them were huge, as opposed to 14 non-Trump hate pieces, though I’m counting two Republican hate pieces in that latter group. This, for the Times, is “balance.”
The balance was somewhat altered this morning by the revolting Charles Blow’s weekly barrage of Trump hate, titled “Satan in a Sunday Hat.” Guess who Satan is! Blow no longer even tries to deliver reasoned analysis involving the President. Every column is like one of the John Belushi rants the late comic used to deliver on “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live, which would always end with him having a conniption and hurling himself to the floor. This particular Blow rant condemns the effort to ferret out leakers in the White House, despite the fact that leaking is per se unethical, disloyal, and often illegal. Why does Blow see stopping a wrong as wrong? Three reasons, I think. One is that the Times’ assault on the Trump Presidency has relied on unsubstantiated leaks from “anonymous sources.” A second is that Charles Blow doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, because his partisan biases rule his mind.
The third is that, like so many progressives, he believes that the ends justify the means.