Trying to get back to normal here. I hope it isn’t age, but I suspect it is: for quite a while now I have found myself foggy and exhausted up to three days after a period of stressful travel combined with one or more three-hour seminars. One reason is that I never can sleep in hotels; another is all the walking around airports lugging two heavy bags, since 1) I cannot risk checking luggage 2) My presentation materials alone weigh more than ten pounds and 3) I object to bringing rollerboards on airplanes as inconsiderate and unfair to other passengers. The side effects right now include a sprained wrist and a swollen knee.
Speaking of side-effects, one of the unfortunate ones of the craven abandonment of the field of battle by the blogs’ “resistance” participants is that traffic collapses quickly without new posts. Over at Popehat, Ken sometimes goes weeks without posting anything. Then again, maybe he’s smart enough not to pay any attention to daily, weekly and monthly fluctuation in traffic, unlike me. Once, if travel and schedule snafus stopped me from posting, I could count on Chris, deery or Charles to have a long-exchange of contentious opinions with other commenters as they maintained that there was no media bias, that Trump should be impeached because he violated “norms,” and the FBI was as professional and uncorruptable as Elliot Ness, or at least Elliot Ness as portrayed by Robert Stack. Now they have retreated into the comforting warmth on the left-wing echo chamber.
1. Tipping ethics. I was going to include this in yesterday’s salvage operation, but literally had to end the post so I could take a nap. The following tipping dilemmas occurred during my trip, not for the first time:
- Should I tip a limo driver who is being entirely paid for by my client? I don’t know what he or she is being paid, in most cases. If I do tip the driver, is that an expense I can be reimbursed for? I usually do not ask for reimbursements of discretionary expenditures during business trips.
- At the Newark arirport’s computer-run restaurant, the bartender handed over the food I had ordered by punching in the order myself, and an 18% tip was added to my bill, though I could reduce it (or raise it.) The man virtually did nothing, and was raking in automatic tips from everyone there. Is 18% fair? (I paid it.)
- What do you tip an Uber driver on a 250 buck fare? He was a very lively, interesting driver. I gave him $50. Is that ethically reimbursable? I think not.
2. Melania’s parents. In a classic example of how journalists frame the news to suit their partisan agendas, we have the recent story of how the First Lady’s Slovenian-born parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, recently became United States citizens. Here’s Yahoo’s take, headlined “The Stunning Hypocrisy Of How Melania Trump’s Parents Became U.S. Citizens.”
President Donald Trump has made it his goal to slash both legal and illegal immigration to the United States, calling repeatedly for the end of what he disdainfully calls “chain migration.” This policy, better known as family-based immigration, allows U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their close relatives so they can come to the country — and it’s exactly the path to citizenship the parents of first lady Melania Trump used. On Thursday, the Slovenian-born Viktor and Amalija Knavs officially became United States citizens in a private naturalization ceremony in New York City thanks to the program their son-in-law has repeatedly vowed to end.
Through the demonized process of “chain migration” Melania, who became a citizen in 2006 and whose immigration history is sketchy at best, sponsored her parents for a green card. In February, it was reported they were close to obtaining their citizenship — just a few weeks after the president announced in his State of the Union address a proposal that would allow only spouses and minor children to be sponsored.
Do note that the news isn’t that Melania’s parents became citizens, but that it was “stunning hypocrisy” for them to do so. Since it was not hypocrisy, much less stunning hypocrisy, by any definition, this article is fake news. (Gee, I wonder if Facebook will block it? Somehow, I don’t think so.) I also is smoking gun evidence that neither the writer, Andrea González-Ramírez (I’m sure she has no pre-determined views on immigration), her editors, nor Yahoo execs are sufficient bright or objective to report on the matter. It also shows they don’t know what hypocrisy is, but that they are dedicated to spin innocuous facts into attacks on the President.
It is not hypocrisy for anyone to take full advantage of a law that that person opposes. If the speed limit on the interstate is 65, and I think it should be 55, I am not hypocritical if I drive at the posted limit. If I think that the mortgage interest deduction is a middle-class entitlement, I am not a hypocrite if I still deduct what the law permits. I strongly believe that the age where Social Security and Medicare kick in should be raised, but I am not going to be a martyr and pointlessly refuse my benefits when it won’t have any impact on the nation’s fiscal health unless the policy is changed for everyone.
3. They can’t help themselves. In the New York Review of Books article called “Troubled Waters,” Jeff Goodell reviews two books about the Flint water crisis ethics train wreck, which occurred, you will recall, under the watchful eye of Barack Obama’s EPA. Never mind: as I was reading, I wondered, “Now this has to be twisted around somehow to make it an attack on Donald Trump. Sure enough, here was the final paragraph:
“But perhaps the best way to read these book as a preview of America’s future. Many of the factors that led to the tragedy in Flint—the disregard for the environment, the unwillingness to invest in rotting infrastructure, the distrust of science, the lying officials and, above all, the racism that shapes many state and federal policies—are the guiding principles of the Trump administration. The sad truth is that we are all living in versions of Flint now.”
Total number of times President Obama’s name is mentioned in the review about an environmental catastrophe that occurred during President Obama’s administration? None. You should be able to apply your own Partisan BS Meter that junk yourself, but to provide some hints, “unwillingness to invest in rotting infrastructure’ has been a bipartisan scandal for more than 50 years, and only the most biased myopia could assign responsibility for the crisis to Donald Trump, who has only neglected the infrastructure for 19 months, while Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama neglected it for their entire terms of office. Untrustworthy scientists were among the villains in Flint, and lying officials are hardly a new innovation in the Trump administration.