Goooood Morning, Pennsylvania!
(That’s where I going for the next four days, on a rural Pennsylvania ethics CLE speaking tour!)
1. Aretha Franklin Ethics If I can say right now without question that I will never voluntarily listen to an Aretha Franklin record, does that make me a racist? Her death triggers the “recognition but not admiration” impulse I reserve for artists whose skill and importance to the culture I acknowledge and honor, but whose art I never enjoyed and won’t miss. ( Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand and Joni Mitchell are in the same category for me, restricting the list to pop female singers.) However…
- It certainly is incompetent for Fox News to mix up Aretha and Patti Labelle, walking right into the “all black folks look the same to them” canard.
- Since the news media/resistance collective has decreed that anything the President does of says is proof of a depraved soul, we had this yesterday: a White House press pool member for Buzzfeed told another reporter—she didn’t even tweet it!— that the President’s reaction to Franklin’s death was that he”Described her as a person he knew well and who worked for him.” This became more proof that President Trump is a racist: his immediate reaction to the death of a black woman was to think of her as a subordinate.
Will the sane and fair members of the public, which I assume is, if not a majority, a large group, ever turn on such people? A. The statement was hearsay, and not even a quote. B. Franklin did work for him, signing a contract to sing at at a Trump casino. C. What does “knew well” even mean in this context? He didn’t say that he knew her personally, or that they were pals, though who knows? I know her well too: she’s that famous soul singer I couldn’t stand listening to.
2. A spontaneous outburst of integrity...from the unlikely source of professional magician/loudmouth Penn Jillette. Jillette is an asshole, an assessment that I doubt he would dispute himself, but when the vocally-progressive entertainer (aren’t they all?) was asked in a recent Vulture interview to weigh in on Omarosa’s claims about the kind of language Donald Trump used behind closed doors, he responded,
“If Donald Trump had not become president, I would tell you all the stories. But the stakes are now high and I am an unreliable narrator. What I do, as much as anything, is I’m a storyteller. And storytellers are liars. So I can emotionally tell you things that happened racially, sexually, and that showed stupidity and lack of compassion when I was in the room with Donald Trump and I guarantee you that I will get details wrong. I would not feel comfortable talking about what I felt I saw in that room….
I will tell you things, but I will very conscientiously not give you quotations because I believe that would be morally wrong. I’m not trying to protect myself. This really is a moral thing.”
Good for Penn. He’s also a very creative and entertaining magician, as is his mute sidekick, Teller.
3. My Facebook “resistance” friends are fuming...over President Trump’s following through on his threat to pull John Brennan’s security clearance. In the history of the nation, no former national security figure has issued such sweeping and partisan personal attacks on a President of the united States while wielding his prior position and current security clearance as credentials. We discussed this in some detail here.
Ongoing security clearance is a privilege, and indicates that the individual is still regarded as a trustworthy member of an elite group of trustworthy potential public servants. If they have demonstrated that they are not trustworthy, as not only Brennan but also Clapper, Comey, McCabe and others have beyond a reasonable doubt, then they are no longer worthy of that privilege. Is personal animus also part of Trump’s motivations. perhaps even the decisive part? Sure it is, but we just discussed this, too. Bad motives for doing the right thing do not change the fact that an action is still right.
4. Today’s baseball ethics note. This has been a fascinating season for baseball ethics. The latest issue to raise its horsehide head is the increasing frequency of position players coming in to pitch during blow-outs, like yesterday’s 24-4 Mets victory over the Phillies. Rather than waste a relief pitcher whose fresh arm may be needed the next day in a game with a more competitive score, managers are increasingly resorting to putting non-pitchers on the mound in the late innings. Usually their batting practice serves are clobbered, or they can’t get the ball over the plate. Sometimes batters come out of their shoes swinging at pitches 20 miles per hours slower than what they are used to, and whiff.
Several ethics-related questions are being raised by this trend:
- Is this damaging to the integrity of the game? No, of course not. Baseball’s rules permit any player to play any position, and always have.
- If the practice is increasing, should baseball limit or restrict it? Ugh. This is like the shifts argument. Again, of course not. Strategies come and go, and the game evolves. Let managers use the roster the way they think will win the most games.
- Isn’t it damaging to the game that the pitchers-for-a-day don’t take the role seriously? It’s fun for them, sure. Most players were pitchers at some point on their journey to the majors. Rocky Colavito, when he played for the Yankees, was famous for having an incredible throwing arm. He couldn’t wait to get a chance to pitch, and when he finally had the chance, twice, he was unhittable. He smiled a lot on the mound though, and was obviously having the time of his life. Meanwhile, the fans get a kick out of seeing a player try to do something outside of his usual skill-set, especially since the results of these games are not in doubt.
- There is some statistical evidence that some batters aren’t trying as hard as they might to do their worst against the emergency pitchers. Maybe the players are being kind, and employing the Golden Rules. Maybe they are tired of running around the bases. Is this baseball etiquette, or another breach of integrity?
5. Ick, ethics, or the creeping lunk-headedness epidemic? As of September 17, Southwest passengers will be able to fly with their miniature horses as trained service animals. As of September 17, I will try to fly by flapping my arms before I will buy a seat on Southwest Airlines.
Nobody needs to fly with a horse. If you really have to have an animal with you to fly without freaking out, choose an animal that isn’t livestock. Southwest is inconveniencing all of its passengers to accommodate a silly few.
A previous post on this annoying topic is here.
Officials announced the policy change, via a statement on its website on Tuesday. In the statement, officials name miniature horses, along with dogs and cats, as some of the most common service animals that will be accepted onboard. Passengers, however, will need to be able to provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.