1 “Rarrit!!” You will seldom see or hear as excellent an example of Authentic Frontier Gibberish than this word salad belched out by the leader of House Democrats on “Meet the Press” yesterday. Nancy Pelosi attracted so much negative attention with her “Rep. Conyers is too much of an icon to hold accountable” blather that this masterpiece was relatively ignored. Pelosi was asked by Chuck Todd whether she would support releasing to the public the full information behind heretofore secret settlements of sexual harassment accusations against Congressmen, even indispensable, virtuous icons like John Conyers. She said…
“Well, here’s the thing. It’s really important. Because there is a question as to whether the Ethics Committee can get testimony if you have signed a nondisclosure agreement. We’re saying we think the Ethics Committee can, but if you don’t agree, we’ll pass a law that says the Ethics Committee can, a resolution in Congress that the Ethics Committee can…. But there’s no– I don’t want anybody thinking there’s any challenge here to our changing the law and see how people– when we know more about the individual cases. Well, because you know what our biggest strength is? Due process that protects the rights of the victim, so that, whatever the outcome is, everybody knows that there was due process….”
If Chuck Todd wasn’t a partisan hack, he would have recognized his journalistic obligation to say, “That made no sense at all, Congresswoman. Please try again.”
Public pressure is increasing to force Congress to release the names of the members of Congress who paid taxpayer funds to settle with their accusers. Good. Democrats are obviously terrified, and presumably Republicans are as well.
2. That mean Trump Administration insists on enforcing the law. The New York Times had a front page story Sunday about the plight of illegal immigrants in Atlanta. The story, entirely sympathetic to the arrested, deported, and those afraid of being arrested and deported, saying in one headline that “immigrants” (that’s illegal immigrants, NYT editors, a material distinction) fear “even driving.”
“Even driving” without a license.
Here’s a quote to make any rational American’s head explode, about a local journalist who uses social media to warn illegal immigrants when ICE is lurking,
“Asked whether he had any reservations about helping readers evade immigration law, he said he preferred to think he was helping people with no criminal records stay in the country. “Honestly, I believe it’s an honor as a journalist if the people can use your information for protecting their own families,” he said.”
Translation: “I prefer to think of what I am doing as something other than what I am really doing.”
It’s kind of like a newspaper calling illegal immigrants “immigrants.”
3.Let’s visit “The Ethicist”! The current writer of the New York Times Magazine’s “The Ethicist” column is, unlike his predecessors, actual an ethicist, so I haven’t had many opportunities to take him to task. Kwame Appiah punted on this question, however:
I teach at a prestigious private art school. Every year, we take in 600 or so young people with little understanding of how the arts work as an industry. We charge a very high tuition, offer almost no scholarships and load them up with a lot of debt. Even though we claim to offer “career planning,” the illusions of our students are not addressed. Our graduates, even those with a degree in design, rarely find a job in their field. Those who do rarely last long before realizing that they are in a hopeless situation. Most have given up on art within a few years of graduation. When I encounter them, they convey a considerable amount of bitterness about student loans and the education they received. By preying on their naïveté and ignorance, I feel that we are essentially robbing our students. Some colleagues argue that we are not doing anything that Harvard or N.Y.U. isn’t doing — that we are simply a “special place for a certain kind of young adult.” I do not have tenure and have no influence in admissions or tuition policy. Without this job, I am virtually unemployable at my age. Is it wrong to take the “caveat emptor” approach and let these naïve young people continue to pay me through their student loans?
In his reply, Appiah properly notes that the “everybody does it” rationalization is garbage, but concludes,
“Are you obliged to take a public stand on this, at the expense of your career? You are not. Especially because it’s highly unlikely that the school will change its practices as a result. But you certainly shouldn’t mislead any students who ask you about their prospects. The trope of the “starving artist” got established for a reason.”
He’s ducking the real ethics issue, which is, “Is it ethical to continue working at a job after you realize that it harms people?” The answer is, “No.” The inquirer isn’t obligated to immediately quit without any alternate career options, but he ought to begin developing skills, contacts and credentials so he can move out of what he obviously believes is an unethical job.
4. Black Princesses Don’t Matter. From the Chicago Tribune:
“Palace officials announced Monday that Prince Harry is engaged to Meghan Markle, a Northwestern University alumna, confirming months of rumors that the couple was close to tying the knot. The announcement means another grand royal wedding is in the offing — the first since William and and Kate married in 2011. They will be married in the spring.”
This was the big news all over cable this morning as well. Mentioned nowhere that I have encountered thus far, however, is the fact that Markle, an actress, is black, at least by Barack Obama standards. She has an African-American mother and a white father. Even in Great Britain, her racial mix is being generally ignored, even though this is the Royal Family, which is all about bloodlines and heredity. Admittedly Markle is like Jennifer Beals of “Flashdance” fame: many people don’t recognize her heritage. She has never hidden the fact, however, and has spoken publicly about being black.
How healthy and encouraging this attitude is, if it holds! In Great Britain, a prince is engaged to a woman with an African-American mother, and nobody cares. There was more concern expressed over the fact that she is Roman Catholic.
This is the ethical way to regard race.
5. On the other hand…When off-duty NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs was acquitted this month of shooting an unarmed black motorist, there were no widespread protests, no riots, no Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Oh, the deceased’s brother told a reporter that the verdict “goes to show the system is not for black people. I don’t care how we look at it,” but the result did not ignite another round of claims that police were “hunting” young black men. Why? The reason is that that Wayne Isaacs is also black. Thus the usual presumption of racial animus any time a white cop shoots a black man couldn’t be sustained.
Nonetheless, Isaacs was probably acquitted for the same reason most white cops prosecuted in police-involved shootings go free. Juries think it’s important to give police officers, regardless of their color, the benefit of the doubt if any doubt can be found. If they say they were in fear of their life, that’s generally enough, because juries know that police must place themselves in harm’s way to protect law-abiding citizens.