Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/3/2018: Lists, Lust, Tweets and Twits…[UPDATED!]

Good Morning, Ethics Lovers!

1 Fake news or just bad journalism? These year-end lists are sometimes very valuable. The Washington Examiner has published what it calls “our catalogue of the shoddiest political reporting beginning Jan. 20, 2017,” It’s no surprise that most of the items appear to spring from anti-Trump bias, but not all. I’m certain the list is not complete; I’m very certain that Fox News is treated far too leniently. It’s still a useful list.

This example from the list is the kind of misleading spin that Ethics Alarms will continue to label fake news: anti-Trump distortions designed to further a Democratic constituency’s false narrative. This one was generated by a reporter’s confirmation bias that the White House was hostile to LGBT citizens, then not checked, and given a pass by an editor who was also influenced by confirmation bias:

March 29: The Golden Easter Egg

The Claim: In a first for the White House, the eggs used for the annual Easter Egg Roll will be gold instead of the usual rainbow and pastel colors.

The Source: A New York Times reporter.

The Facts: This was not the first time that the White House has used golden eggs for the annual hunt. The Obamas had golden eggs as did previous administrations.

Hell, I knew about the golden eggs. It would have been easy to check, but the journalists leaped to the conclusion that would support anti-Trump fearmongering.

2. Add it to the list! Ann Althouse caught this one:

I’m reading “Trump’s claim that he prevented air-traffic deaths is his most questionable yet” by Philip Bump at the Washington Post (and similar attacks on Trump elsewhere). But what Trump tweeted was:

“Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

Those are 2 separate sentences. They do create the impression that they have something to do with each other, but he’s only claiming that he’s been “very strict on Commercial Aviation.” (Don’t get me started on the capitalization.) He never says because of my strictness there have been zero deaths. If you see a claim, you made an inference.

Bingo. And inferences should not be published in major newspapers as facts. Trump did not claim that he prevented air-traffic deaths, and even if he had, it certainly would not be “his most questionable yet.”

3. He just can’t help himself.  I wonder how many extra approval points President Trump would have if he just had a smart, savvy, responsible tweet editor with veto power. Stupid tweets like yesterday’s retort to “Rocket Man”…

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

…are nothing but destructive. a) This kind of flippant talk involving nuclear war is per se irresponsible. b) It reinforces fears that the President is reckless and untrustworthy. c) It is childish, and reduces international diplomacy to playground taunts. d) It shows a flat learning curve and a frightening lack of discipline and judgement. e) It’s crude, and unpresidential.

But you knew that without me having to explain it, right? So why didn’t he?

This morning commenter Steve-O-in-NJ used a three-word verdict at the end of a comment “Dead ethics alarms.” I’ve used that before, but I’m adding it now to the list of Ethics Alarms terms and concepts, and will be routinely employ the shortened version, DEA.

Trump’s big button tweet? DEA.

4. Speaking of crude…I have never heard of this kind of thing happening.  In Austin, Texas, police arrested a couple after the manager at a North Austin restaurant noticed them engaging in oral sex at a booth in front of customers, including children, according to an arrest affidavit. Jonathan Hightower, 31, and Lashanda Fisher, 28, were arrested and charged with public lewdness.

What? How in the wide, wide world of sports could any civilized person think this was acceptable, not to mention legal, public conduct? I don’t understand the cultural and community influences that could produce such an episode. It shows utter disrespect for others and the establishment, defiance of societal standards, and an absence of prudence, decorum, and good citizenship.


Almost as disturbing are the 95% racist comments at the linked source. I also don’t understand a newspaper website allowing these to stay up. If you have commenters, you have to moderate the comments. Why would any African-American read or trust a news source that shrugs off comments like–oh! I just checked again, and since yesterday, all the comments have been taken down.

Too late, unfortunately. Nice place, Texas.

UPDATE: texaggo4 points out that not only has this happened before, but I posted about it, here. At least I’m consistent: about the Florida couple that started copulating on their table at a Florida restaurant, I wrote,

If anyone has any theories how two adults could be raised in a civilized country and think this is responsible, respectful, tolerable behavior, please pass them on. My assumption is that anyone with this little respect for others and civilized norms is dangerous, and certainly not trustworthy. Outside of a purveyor of live sex shows in Vegas, what sane employer would hire either of these creatures? The question of most import is whether they are just outrageous outliers with no greater significance, or whether public manners are in the process of reaching depths we never thought possible?

Note to those racist commenters at The Statesman: the Florida couple was white.

5. Speaking of racism AND year-end lists…Tucker Carlson tweeted out his “100 Racist Things from 2017.” These were mostly examples of outrageous race-baiting from the news media and activists, and they deserve to be mocked. Carlson’s effort, however, has an unpleasant smugness about it–you know, like Tucker–and creates serious dissonance when considered after reading those now-vanished comments on the Austin restaurant incident. Yes, there is a lot of race-baiting for cynical political purposes, and yes, playing the race card indiscriminately has become a reflex strategy by progressives. There is also a lot of ugly racism out there.

6. DEA I. A current TV ad for Rice Krispies Treats features an 8-year-old kid in a full football uniform, with helmet and pads, being urged to go out and play by his father. The child runs bellowing out the locker room to begin the series of concussions that will render him a vegetable in his 50s. Studies suggest that the earlier kids start getting  repeated head trauma from colliding helmets, the sooner brain damage sets in.

DEA, Kelloggs.

7. DEA 2. Yesterday Al Franken resigned from the Senate because of unsubstantiated accusations that he got “handsy” in photo ops. His demise was brought about by fellow Democrats in search of Plan J, the latest unethical effort to prematurely end the Trump Presidency using similarly unsubstantiated accusations against him dating from before his campaign to create overwhelming public demands that the President resign, like Franklin. To be clear: this was so urgent, so justified by ends justify the means rationalizations, that Democrats jettisoned due process and a popular Democratic Senator.

In a year-end  interview, former DNC chair Ed Rendell told  New York’s AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis, that former Vice-President Joe Biden is the Democrats’ “superstar” and and is the “one person I can say who will definitely win the election and has a superstar appeal in almost every state in the union, and that’s Vice President Biden.”

You know...this Joe Biden:


And this…

and this…

…and, of course, this…

Right, Ed. He’s a winner! Have Kirsten Gillibrand run as his VP.



34 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/3/2018: Lists, Lust, Tweets and Twits…[UPDATED!]

  1. 7- ” ‘one person I can say who will definitely win the election and has a superstar appeal in almost every state in the union, and that’s Vice President Biden.’ ” (bolds mine)

    Perhaps EA’s AZ & TX contingent would like to weigh in?

    Anywho, hidden deeply within that quote just miiiiiiiight be the answer to why Ed Rendell is referred to as the former DNC chair.

    That said, catastrophically poor campaign manager & eminently punchable Robby Mook seems to disagree.

    ”Robby Mook Won’t Rule Out Hillary Clinton Running in 2020”

  2. I can’t find the linked source. Are you referring to the link about the couples very bad restaurant behavior? I suspect that both of them were on some kind of a street drug.

    • Yep. I commonly have had to evaluate patients who have been Baker Acted (involuntarily committed) to the hospital for behavior so bizarre the police thought they must be mentally ill. It turned out almost 100% of the time that they were not crazy but too stoned on alcohol, drugs, or both to be capable of any form of rational thought.

  3. Regarding #4, I am hypothesizing that you have not seen the third American Pie movie (American Wedding? Those movies cost me so many brain cells that I dare not even Google them to find out if I’m using the right titles.). The main character, in his greatly embarrassing moment early in the movie, receives oral sex from his girlfriend under the table at a fancy restaurant where he intends to propose to her.

    I know that there’s not a strong correlation between movies people watch and subsequent behavior, but I couldn’t help thinking that the American Pie movies were popular when the couple in question were in middle school or high school… I would certainly have ranked those movies as ethics corrupters.

    • Only for those who can’t grasp the difference between a movie and reality. I’d love nothing better than to beat those who disrespect me senseless, which happens regularly in the movies, but I can’t do that and I would not take a substantive step towards it. Honestly, if you think of doing something out of the ordinary, you better write out what you plan to do and read it out loud. If that doesn’t make you see sense, nothing will. “I plan to have my girlfriend go down on me in full view of strangers” should make you see sense.

      • Only for those who can’t grasp the difference between a movie and reality.

        I’d argue that for some, the movie is a nice escape from reality, an outlet for fantasies, expressions, etc. For others, I’d say that movies (and TV shows, and so on) give them ideas they didn’t have before in which now they desire to participate.

        Honestly, if you think of doing something out of the ordinary, you better write out what you plan to do and read it out loud

        I love this advice. Nothing like adding a cold splash of pre-frontal cortex to dampen the ardor of the amygdala…

    • “The main character…receives oral sex from [a] girlfriend under the table at a fancy restaurant…”

      Saw the same thing with Warren Beatty in “Shampoo”…which was released in…[checking IMDB]…1975 (I should’ve figured, over 40 years ago). The only reason I watched that movie was because I was curious about (1) Goldie Hawn’s role and (2) the directness and recklessness of the teenaged daughter (played by Carrie Fisher) – I don’t know – maybe I had fantasized about some random chick talking to me like that someday.

  4. Might I humbly suggest to our host to make a slight revision of “DEA” to “D.E.A.”…?

    There’s no need to tarnish the work done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.


    • DOA: 1) Department of Agriculture 2) Dead on Arrival.

      Then there’s one I use in my business: LOA.
      LOA Law of Attraction
      LOA Location avec Option d’Achat (French: Rent with Option to Buy)
      LOA Letter Of Authorization
      LOA Leave Of Absence
      LOA Library of America
      LOA Letter of Approval
      LOA Letter of Authenticity (collectible memorabilia)
      LoA Legends of Aranna (game)
      LOA letter of offer and acceptance (US DoD)
      LOA Length Over All
      LOA Loss of Appetite
      LOA Letter of Agency
      LOA Life Of Agony
      LOA Love One Another
      LOA Line of Accounting
      LOA Letter of Authority
      LOA Lack of Attention
      LOA List of Abbreviations
      LOA Lords of Acid (band)
      LOA Law of Averages
      LOA Letter Of Apology
      LOA Letter of Award (architects/developers and contractors)
      LOA Level of Awareness
      LOA Level of Abstraction (research)
      LOA Letter Of Appreciation
      LOA Library of Alexandria (game)
      LOA Level of Assessment
      LOA Leif Ove Andsnes (classical pianist)
      LOA Last of All
      LOA Linear Optical Amplifier (Genoa)
      LOA Level Of Authority
      LOA Letters of Assurance
      LOA letter of assist (US DoD)
      LOA Lysis of Adhesions (surgical procedure)
      LOA Limit of Advance
      LOA Line of Authority (insurance law)
      LOA Loss of Attachment (periodontal disease)
      LOA Logistics Officers Association (formerly Maintenance Officers Association)
      LOA Living Out Allowance (housing)
      LOA Light Off Assessment
      LOA Legend of Ares (online game)
      LOA Letter of Admonishment
      LOA Loss of Alignment (SDH or Sonet Technology)
      LOA Letter of Administration
      LOA Line of Affiliation
      LOA Left Occipito Anterior (fetal position)
      LOA Love on Arrival (Dan Seals song)
      LOA Lead Operational Authority
      LOA Losers of America (gaming clan)
      LOA Local Overseas Allowance
      LOA Legion Of Apocalypse (hacker group)
      LOA Light Observation Aircraft
      LOA Loan Officer Assistant
      LOA Loyal Orange Association (Canadian fraternal organization)
      LOA League of Awesomeness
      LOA Land of Atlantis (band)
      LOA Lease-Option Agreement
      LOA Late Onset Asthma
      LOA Loss of Aircraft (logistics)
      LoA Legacy of Assassins (PS3 clan)
      LOA Looseness of Association
      LOA Limited Open Authorization
      LOA Limited Operational Availability
      LOA lodgment operational area (US DoD)
      LOA Leadership Opportunity Awards
      LOA Letter of Abandonment
      LOA Lesbians Of America
      LOA Limited Operational Assessment
      LOA Line Of Appropriation
      LOA Length of Association
      LOA Link Occupancy Analysis
      LOA Letter Of Agreement/Acceptance
      LoA Lords of Arograth (online game)
      LOA Limit of Allowance
      LOA Lower Open Auxiliary
      LOA Lead Out Advantage
      LOA Luck of Aleia (emo band)
      LOA Lube Oil Additive
      LOA Love of Animals, Inc (Visalia, CA)
      LOA Love of Anime
      LOA Least Objectionable Activity (Big Bang Theory TV series)
      LOA Logistics Operations Analysis (McHugh Software International)
      LOA List Of Acronym(s)
      LOA logistics over-the-shore (LOTS) operation area (US DoD)
      LOA Lands of Acheron (Neverwinter Nights game server)
      LoA Lambs of Abortion (band)
      LOA Lorry Owners Association (India)
      LOA Leaf Over Axle (Motor Vehicle Suspension Design)
      LOA Letter of Amendment (various organizations)
      LOA Lening Op Afbetaling (Dutch: Installment Loan)
      LOA Limit of Authority
      LOA Laboratory of Archaeology (Canada)
      LOA Level of Acculturation
      LOA Logistics Operations Area
      LOA Lernen Ohne Angst (German: Learn without Fear)
      LOA Lights on Afterschool (Afterschool Alliance)

      As for DEA, we have…
      DEA Drug Enforcement Administration (US Department of Justice)
      DEA Drug Enforcement Agency (various organizations; not to be confused with the US Drug Enforcement Administration)
      DEA Domestic Energy Assessor (UK)
      DEA Data Envelopment Analysis
      DEA Diethanolamine
      DEA David Evans and Associates, Inc (Portland, OR)
      DEA Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
      DEA Data Encryption Algorithm
      DEA Draft Environmental Assessment
      DEA Digital Economy Act (UK)
      DEA Department of Economic Affairs (India)
      DEA Designated Examining Authority (finance)
      DEA Division of Extramural Activities
      DEA Development Education Association (London, UK)
      DEA Drilling Engineering Association
      DEA Dance Educators of America
      DEA Department of Elder Affairs
      DEA Dissociative Electron Attachment
      DEA Data Exchange Agreement
      DEA Differential Evolution Algorithm
      DEA Diakonie Emergency Aid
      DEA Disposable E-mail Address
      DEA Direct Electronic Access
      DEA Distinguished Educator Award
      DEA Davis Education Association
      DEA Detective’s Endowment Association
      DEA Data Exchange Annex
      DEA Drink Every Afternoon
      DEA Dominant Economic Activities (Master of Orion III; video game)
      DEA Detector Electronics Assembly
      DEA Distributed Evolutionary Algorithm
      DEA Differential Educational Achievement (sociology)
      DEA Distributed Enforcement Architecture (Sonicwall)
      dea aerospace drift error (US DoD)
      DEA Division of Environmental Affairs
      DEA Dell-Elmedlaoui Algorithm
      DEA Deus Ex Assassins (gaming clan)
      DEA Direct Eigenspace Assignment
      DEA Downtown Everett Association
      DEA Défibrillateur Cardiaque Entièrement Automatique (French: Fully Automatic Cardiac Defibrillator)
      DEA Double-Element Antenna
      DEA Design and Environmental Analy
      DEA Double-Electrode Applicator
      DEA Development and Environment Association (Baladna Cultural Center)
      DEA Directly Earthed Appliances
      DEA Director Enterprise Architecture
      DEA Driver Evaluation Assembly
      DEA Directeurs d’Etudes Associés (French: Associate Director of Studies)
      DEA Distinguished Engineering Alumni (various schools)
      DEA Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (French: Diploma of Advanced Studies; various locations)
      DEA Diploma de Estudios Avanzados (Spanish: Diploma of Advanced Studies)
      DEA Droit Économie Administration (French: Law Economics Administration)
      DEA Diplôme d’Etat d’Ambulancier (French ambulance driver certification)
      DEA Dardilly Environnement et Avenir (French: Dardilly Environment and Future)
      DEA Discovery Educator Abroad

      and now, “Dead Ethics Alarms”

      • Jack, PLEASE tell me you used copy and paste to post those lists!*

        The value-per-keystroke of what you post is too incalculably high to me, for you to have typed each one of those acronym decodings here on the spot.

        *I KNOW you HAD to have used copy-and-paste.
        Because of so few if any spelling errors. (especially all that French!)

  5. Jack,

    Biden is super-creepy, but so far none of the women featured in those photos (or elsewhere) have complained. In other words, it’s hard to call a touch inappropriate when the person receiving it didn’t feel the same (or didn’t express those feelings).

    I’m not saying what he did is justifiable, but the wave of sexual harassment allegations (like most such things) falls under the 11th Commandment about not getting caught. So far, he hasn’t been — so, in the eyes of the public, he’s clean.

    No one on the left even says “fake news” anymore unless reporting about something Trump (or someone on the right) said. Perhaps you should leave yourself a reminder in the pocket of your Members Only jacket. …

  6. Jack wrote, “I’m adding it now to the list of Ethics Alarms terms and concepts, and will be routinely employ the shortened version, DEA.”

    I thought you were adamantly opposed to using acronyms?

    Are you…


  7. #2 I saw this on the news last night and yelled at the friggin’ TV, yes I actually yelled at the TV, “That’s not what he said! Why the hell can’t you people tell the truth?”. My wife has rarely seen me pull out the Infantry Instructor face and then pile on that “in a firefight” voice; she was quite startled and looked at me like I’d lost my marbles. Of course in typical Mrs. Zoltar fashion, she pulled herself together in a short second and blurted out, “do we need to call an ambulance to get some emergency drugs to prevent a brain aneurysm?”

    The problem we have is that our narcissist President, the anti-Trump media, and a vast section of the public simply do not understand that correlation doesn’t equal causation.

    • Reagan also once made an unexpected silly face quickly that he thought no photographers would catch. But one did.

      I saw some conservatives comparing Trump’s tweet to Ronnie’s joke. No comparison. Reagan didn’t intend his joke for Russia. It was dumb, and careless, as I’m sure he would have agreed. The frightening thing is that Trump was aiming his statement at Kim, and doesn’t see why it was wrong.

  8. Just an F.Y.I….Austin is, indeed, the Capital of the Great State Of Texas, but most of us consider it a colonial outpost of California. Nothing and nobody could ever cause me to ever again live in Austin. Travis County is an island of blue in a sea of red.

    • That made me remember that time we got a flat in Austin. The garage owner, an older gentleman, said it would take a while and described our options for lunch as ‘yuppie fern bars’ in one direction, and ‘real food’ (BBQ) down the block.

  9. Regarding #4, my response is a complete lack of surprise. When I first moved to Austin two decades ago, it was a nice little city. Kind of unusual around the edges, but with a pretty mellow live-and-let-live vibe (which is probably a necessary condition if you want to have a liberal-leaning city in the middle of Texas). Over the past five or six years, the city has been rapidly sinking. I don’t know if it’s too much growth, poor city management, or what, but there is an ugly side to Austin that is growing alarmingly. The city keeps getting meaner and nastier, filthier and more chaotic. A couple years ago I bought a small farm about an hour away with an eye to eventually retiring out there. At the time, the plan was maybe ten years out. Now, with the skyrocketing expense of living here and the hard edges of the city getting sharper every day (not to mention the upcoming changes to zoning and city codes that will absolutely destroy what’s left of the city’s charm), we’ve accelerated that to hopefully just a couple years.

    So, yeah, somebody having sex in a booth at Baby Acapulco on I-35? I would have been shocked by that in 2008. Same for the racist comments on the Statesman’s website. In 2018, neither would probably even make it into the top ten most disgusting things that happened in town that day.

    • It’s the damn yuppie Californians moving in because it’s oh so costly to live in West LA, Santa Monica, and the desirable parts of Orange County (in which I live). Good riddance to bad rubbish!
      Jack, do I get anything for Rant Of The Day?

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