Items of note…
1. The Johnny Bobbitt scam story continues...That heartwarming story I highlighted in an Ethics Hero post last year continues to deteriorate. Kate McClure, who conspired with homeless vet Bobbitt to persuade old softies to give over $400,000 to a GoFundMe campaign apparently blames her complicit boyfriend for the debacle. In a recording shared with “Good Morning America” by her lawyers, McClure is heard telling her now ex- ( I assume he’s now an ex…) Mark D’Amico, “You started the whole fucking thing, you did everything! I had no part in any of this, and I’m the one fucking taking the fall!”
I don’t understand the reasoning of people who make this kind of argument. McClure went on TV to tell her phony story, which was about her getting stranded and being rescued by Bobbitt. How can she accuse D’Amico of “starting the whole thing”? Even if the plot was his idea, all she had to do was say “no.” “He made me do it” was always a lame excuse, and when women use it to duck accountability today it is lamer than ever. Did D’Amico hold a gun to her head? Have her parents bound and gagged as hostages? Absent those forms of coercion or something equivalent, she has no argument for avoiding accountability.
2. “Sixteen Candles” ethics: Why didn’t anyone show this scene during the Kavanaugh hearings? Since I’ve been wiped out with my Three Year Killer Cold, I’ve been watching all sorts of strange things on TV. Late last night it was the John Hughes 1984 classic “Sixteen Candles,” now a special target of the Officially Offended and the Political Correctness Police. Ah, those golden, halycon days when a film could get laughs with a goofy Chinese character named Long Duc Dong who could be introduced with a gong sound every time he appeared and who inexplicably dived out of a tree shouting (in Japanese) “Bonzai!” Cringe-producing though it is, the film still provides valuable cultural perspective.
I had forgotten the scene in which awkward, scrawny, horny young teen Anthony Michael Hall jumps Molly Ringwald not once but twice in rapid succession, misunderstanding, somehow, her friendly demeanor as a come-on. She effortlessly pushes him away both times, he is abashed, she shrugs it off, and they continue talking. Hall’s actions nonetheless would be described by many today as a sexual assault, when in the film they were originally intended to represent—and did— a typical embarrassing experiment as a maturing child explores sexual norms.
I imagine that the “attempted rape” described by Dr. Blasey Ford might well have looked just as ridiculous if it had been filmed. I also imagined Ringwald’s character, now flushed with progressive fervor and “woke,” deciding decades later to reframe the absurd encounter all those decades ago as something it was not, and crashing a now mature Anthony Michael Hall’s reputation and career to the applause of the progressive echo chamber.
Anthony Michael Hall is just three years younger than Brett Kavanaugh. Here is what he looks like now, and how he appeared when he covered Molly Ringwald like an octopus in “Sixteen Candles.” . The time frame of the film is approximately the same as the alleged Kavanaugh-Ford incident.
How can anyone seriously—not just seriously, but self-righteously and angrily— argue that the conduct of the child in a completely different cultural context is relevant to the trustworthiness of the adult?
3. New Rules? The White House has now officially enumerated “new” rules for reporter conduct during presidential press conferences:
(1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;
(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;
(3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner;
(4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.
“Should you refuse to follow these rules in the future, we will take action in accordance with the rules set forth above. The President is aware of this decision and concurs,” the White House warned habitual miscreant Jim Acosta in a letter.
These rules were always the traditional and acknowledged norm at press conferences, and were universally observed before the news media, in lock-step with its partisan allies, decided that Donald Trump did not deserve the same institutional respect as prior Presidents.
4. Wait…WHAT? How hard is this???? For once, a CNN headline says it all: “Ivanka Trump used personal account for emails about government business.”
Idiot. There is no excuse for this. Thank-you, James Comey, for not “throwing the book” at Hillary Clinton (whose version of the offense was far worse), so now Trump administration personnel have a permanent pass to behave illegally and irresponsibly, not to mention outrageously, lazily and stupidly, given the degree to which the President criticized Clinton’s conduct.
The Washington Post reported that the White House confirms that the First Daughter, a Trump advisor, used her personal email address for much of 2017 to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants. The Presidential Records Act requires all official White House communications and records be preserved. No, she didn’t set up a secret server, making it clear that she was avoiding official record-keeping. No, Ivanka hasn’t, as far as we know, destroyed some of the emails, and she isn’t head of an agency. All true, and all #22 rationalizations. She broke the law. She knew about Clinton’s violations and their seriousness. There is no excuse for this, and there is no justification for excusing it.Until someone in a high office is seriously sanctioned for such conduct, the technologically inept and arrogant will keep doing it.
Lock her up.
5. “DEAD as we know it.” GOOD. The White House Correspondents’ Association announced yesterday that for the first time in 15 years, no comedian would crack bipartisan jokes (sorry, I couldn’t even write that without snickering) at its annual black-tie dinner in April. Ron Chernow, the historian and biographer of Alexander Hamilton and John Rockefeller, will speak on the First Amendment. The association had a good thing going as long as they held to the tradition of putting away the knives for a night and allowing the event to highlight professionalism and collegiality. Then it gave Presidents a chance to poke fun at themselves as well as deliver some muted barbs at journalists. The event was healthy for the country, the culture, and Washington, D.C. But it could not survive the news media’s open disrespect and contempt for President Trump, which mandated the President’s absence from the last two dinners. Then, last year, hard-left comic Michelle Wolff predictably crossed all lines of decorum and civility, using her appearance to savage the President, his family and staff as journalists hooted like summer campers. The President pronounced the event “DEAD as we know it” on Twitter, and he was right. Well, they did it to themselves.
Even now, they can’t play it straight. Chernow was vocally critical of Trump during the 2016 campaign, and his Hamilton biography was the basis for the hit musical where Vice President Pence was harassed last year. He’s hardly a neutral figure.