Gooood Morning, Ethics Alarms!
1. And the grandstanding goes on. CNN’s HLN repeatedly played the Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon’s undoubtedly heartfelt and gratuitous “very special episode” where he condemned racism and bigotry and saluted the victim of the vehicle attack by James Fields, saying that she was standing up for “what was right.” I’m sure she thought she was. She was, however, in a group that stood for the suppression of free speech and political views they have decided don’t deserve First Amendment protection. That is NOT “right.”
Shut up and be funny, Jimmy. You haven’t been given that show to make half-baked and ignorant political pronouncements, That’s Stephen Colbert’s job.
2. The President came out yesterday with an unequivocal condemnation of racism, bigotry, violence and white nationalism. The Times headline today notes this, but that “some say it was too late.” Of course “some” do. And besides, says my allegedly rational liberal former Democratic Congressman staffer Facebook friend, it is obvious what he really believes. And besides, even if his statement hadn’t been too late, there were “dog whistles” in it, and his body language was suspicious.
I have to keep reminding myself that these people are ill, in the grip of a powerful mob mentality and to “hate the sin, never the sinner,” as Clarence Darrow said (but probably didn’t believe).
3. Related: from Investor News Daily, via Instapundit:
“Obama never mentioned the anti-cop sentiment fomented by Black Lives Matter — with an assist from Obama himself — in his brief statement after five police officers were assassinated in Dallas. Obama did find room in those remarks to mention racist cops. Did anyone on the left complain?”
Wait—is it too late for Obama to condemn anti-white racism now?
4. From the “Stop Making Me Defend Nazis” file: I don’t know how it will happen, or who will have the guts to make it happen, but it is becoming clear that internet service providers, including hosting platforms and social media, will have to be given public utility status, or the government will have to run some of them to ensure access to basic Constitutional rights. I don’t hold the amusing link and funny commentary site Fark to a hight standard, but it just gave its “Hero” tag to Google for this:
The Daily Stormer, deemed one of the most hateful websites by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was forced to move its content by GoDaddy after the website published a story about the woman who died after a car driven by a man tied to white supremacy groups rammed into a crowd, injuring others in the process as well. The website reportedly switched to a Google domain name, only to see its registration canceled by Google for the same reason.
We have seen this week what Google considers to be inappropriate content. The Daily Stormer is disgusting, and if you agree, don’t read it. I’s attack on the Charlottesville victim was hardly the most disgusting thing it has published, nor is it the most disgusting thing hosted by GoDaddy or Google by a country mile. The two companies were grandstanding. A group or a citizen could theoretically be blocked from speech on the internet based on content only. If the alleged “violation of terms of service” are not going to be fairly and consistently applied—again, who trusts Google, at this point?—then it is like a hotel saying that it won’t allow gay couple to book a room because the clerk says he doesn’t like the way they smell.
5. At a recent ABA program, lawyers were told that communicating with clients via e-mail while traveling abroad, indeed using any electronic devices at all could endanger client confidences. The simplest precaution is not to carry any confidential information across the border, a recent New York City bar opinion says. Fordham University law professor Bruce Green told the group that he doesn’t think anyone will be disciplined for taking devices with confidential client information out of the country until more lawyers become aware of the issue. Like Hillary Clinton skating because she was under the impression that the same risks of private e-mail Colin Powell faced applied to her, five years later? I guess so.
This issue has been well-publicized and taught (ahem) for well over a year. There is no excuse for lawyers who give up client confidences because they can’t be bothered to keep current on the technology they rely on. The sooner bar associations discipline such lawyers, and hard, the sooner they will make technological competence a priority.
6. A recent study found that “using smiley face emoji in work-related emails can make you seem incompetent – especially if you don’t know the recipient.”
Anyone who needed a study to figure that out is incompetent, and not using emoji won’t fool anyone.
7. Yesterday the question was asked here, in the context of the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue that the white nationalists used as an excuse to descend on Charlottesville, “After WWII, should Germany have kept up statues of Hitler?”
Interestingly, there apparently weren’t any statues of Hitler to remove. There were some busts, and streets named for Hitler in every city and town. Germany was going to raze his birth house, but decided not to, and it is being renovated “so that it can’t be used as a symbol of nazism anymore.”
My answer to the question is the same as my position on the Joe Paterno statue that was removed at Penn State (and is apparently coming back, if for the wrong reasons):
“The most compelling reason not to tear down the statues of tarnished heroes is that it abets one of human nature’s most destructive instincts, which is to forget, ignore and deny the events and episodes of the past that upset, embarrass, or frighten us. Ultimately this tendency becomes a cultural habit, one that removes the opportunity for future generations to extract wisdom from past mistakes. The fact that Joe Paterno’s statue is on a college campus is the best reason of all to leave it up.
Penn State should teach courses around that statue of Joe Pa, about the responsibilities of leadership, the opiate of success, the temptations of greed, the mechanics of corruption, and organizational dynamics. Future Penn State students need to learn the lessons of Joe Paterno’s rise and fall, and the university should embrace and institutionalize them. Paterno’s statue will guarantee that nobody at Penn State will ever forget what happened, no matter how much they would like to.
Letting Joe’s statue stay is the courageous and responsible thing to do, not because his legacy hasn’t been ruined, but because it has.”