(My Dad was from Kentucky. He couldn’t stand Tom T. Hall…or Mitch McConnell)
1. I have been working on a legal ethics seminar for lawyers who represent seniors (I was told that the politically correct term among the groups was “older clients.” Older than what?) It is one of those areas of the law in which the usual ethics rules don’t work very well, or sometimes not at all. This anomaly requires a lawyer practicing in the field to be ready to embrace the Ethics Incompleteness Principle: to violate the letter of the professional ethics rules in the best interests of the client. For example, what does a lawyer do whose aging client lives with a son or daughter, and the lawyers sees signs of elder abuse? When the lawyer asks the client, he makes various excuses for his caretakers, and finally says that while he has been abused, it’s not serious and will only get worse if the lawyer says or does anything in response to it. Now what? The fact of the abuse, under the usual construction of the rules, is a confidence controlled by the client.
The emerging consensus is that the lawyer can ethically use the exception to confidentiality that allows an attorney to reveal a client confidence to prevent death or serious bodily injury to a “third party,” the client becoming “the third party” for his own protection.
2. A federal lawsuit was filed last week alleging that a Tennessee judge and sheriff violated inmates’ constitutional rights by instituting a program offering reduced jail time for criminals who agree to undergo vasectomies or get contraceptive implants. The suit claims the White County program amounted to “eugenics with a twist.” I don’t think it’s much of a twist; I’d say it’s eugenics, straight up. I’d assume CBS will love it: after all, eliminating criminal types is even better than eradicating Down Syndrome babies. Isn’t it?
3. Lots of people sent me this horrible story, about the cheerleader camp at a Denver area high school where young girls were being forced to do splits (it hurts me even thinking about doing splits) , with the camp’s instructor shown in a leaked video pushing down on the shoulders of a 13-year-old as she screamed for him to stop.
Boy, there is a lot of child abuse out there.
The Denver Board of Education said in a statement: “As the elected representatives for Denver Public Schools — and as the moms, dads and family members of D.P.S. students ourselves — we are deeply disturbed by the videos of cheer practices at East High School that came to our attention yesterday.”
Gee, it’s good to know that you are all disturbed that children are being tortured at schools that you are supposed to be overseeing.. This must mean you are competently doing your jobs. No, actually it doesn’t
“As the investigation continues,’’ it states, “our focus must be entirely on our students, families and educators.”
The school superintendent also said: “We have sent notification to our athletic directors emphasizing that D.P.S. does not allow the use of ‘forced splits’ or any other activity that puts a student’s physical or mental health at risk, or in which a student is forced to perform an exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop.”
An Ethics Alarms note to that school system: Any athletic directors who have to be reminded that abusing children in their care, and continuing to make them perform painful acts after they have said that they don’t want to, is not something they should be doing shouldn’t be employed in the first place.
4. Garrison Keillor, the mercifully retired, so-plummy-it-make-you-want-to plotz NPR star, had an op-ed in the Washington Post that said in part,
“And now, a new anxiety that our history has not prepared us for, a fear that we have elected George III to the presidency and we may not survive three and a half more years of his madness. For the first time in our history, we are looking to generals to save us from democracy…And now we think about the man picking up the red phone instead of Twitter and ordering fire and fury like the world has never seen and the death of 10 million people. We trust the order will be disobeyed, a de facto military coup, and the man will be packed off to Walter Reed and what then?”
I’m pretty sure that the defense of this despicable and un-American essay will be that it’s a joke. After all, Keillor has no more qualifications as a pundit than the typical 7-11 clerk, and his business is, or was, satire and bad renditions of folk songs and blue grass classics. His Post entry begins,
“Anxious times in America. There was a news story a few weeks back, “Interrupted Sleep May Lead to Alzheimer’s,” and next to it, a wine review with the line “Vivacious and well balanced, with chewy tannins and flavors of fresh red fruits.” You know and I know that a vivacious beverage will not compensate for losing your marbles. And now, driving to California, I find that I must enter a password in order to change the time zone on my laptop clock. Evidently, someone is out to mess up my schedule and my clock must be secured.”
Now you have to admit, that’s hilarious! The problem is that this isn’t in the features section, but the op-ed page, and is under the banner of “opinion.” I don’t care how many faux old-time radio shows the guy has hosted in Kenosha, the position that a military coup would be good for America isn’t funny or responsible no matter whose hateful face it issues from.
Why is the Washington Post publishing op-eds calling for a military junta? What qualifies Keillor, an English major who has never run a business, served in office or evidenced any insight or skill in public policy whatsoever (he’s a performer; you know, like Rosie O’Donnell, Pauly Shore, Alec Baldwin and Mo-Mo the Worm Man), to write op-eds in the Washington Post, especially op-eds that casually call for an end to our extraordinarily successful experiment in democracy because the very same people Keillor mocked in his show for 50 years elected someone of whom he disapproves?
Now that it has published this indefensible crap, te Washington Post and its staff are estopped from bristling the next time President suggests that mainstream media journalists are anti-American. You can’t get much more anti-American than calling for a military take-over, and the Post’s editors felt Keillor’s bitter lament was a sufficiently respectable opinion to parade before its readers eyes.