Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/2019: A Drunken City Council President, A Head-Exploding Political Charity, NBC’s Strange Welcome To The New Year, And Facebook Calls Reality “Hate Speech”

Good Morning!

1. First candidate for “Incompetent Elected Official Of 2019”! The Troy New York City Council president got drunk and then went behind the wheel to chased another motorist at high speeds for nearly 30 miles last week . State police arrested Carmella R. Mantello, 53, after troopers received a call from a terrified driver who told dispatchers that some crazy person was tailgating him and driving erratically. When troopers  pulled Mantello over, she denied following the man and claimed he was following her—interesting, since  troopers stopped her when she was behind the complaining motorist. She also refused to take a breathalizer test.

Later, Mantello  issued this statement:

“I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I apologize to my family, friends and constituents and am deeply sorry that I let you down,” she said. “I expect more from myself. Finally, I would like to personally thank the New York State Troopers for their professionalism in this matter and the service they render every day to keep our communities safe.”

The best way for her to honor professionalism and keep communities safe is to resign immediately.

Oh—I assumed that Mantello was a Democrat, since the news story didn’t mention her party affiliation. Nope! She’s a Republican.

2. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!—get a load of THIS! Also, KABOOM! My head just exploded. Some ethics stories don’t need any analysis; they are res ipsa loquitur. I generally don’t devote pots stories when the despicable conduct is so obvious, but this one needs to be widely disseminated. From the New York Post:

A nonprofit run by state lawmakers to raise scholarship money for needy minority students spends most of the cash on its lavish annual soiree — including $6,000 on limos — and gave out no grants the last two years…The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators organizes a “Caucus Weekend” — a series of workshops, concerts and parties — in Albany every February for minority members of the Assembly and the Senate.

The group charges sponsors up to $50,000 for a chance to party with lawmakers at events that have ­included Grammy Award-winning rappers and high-profile speakers such as Hillary Clinton and Jesse Jackson. The Presidents Day weekend bash is capped off with a swanky black-tie Scholarship Gala where participants are reminded that they are “changing lives, one scholarship at a time,” according to the group’s Web site and literature.

But in the last two years there has been no cash for scholarships…Federal tax filings confirm that in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2016, the group gave out no educational grants — despite raking in contributions totaling more than $500,000.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Westchester Democrat and the longtime treasurer for the group. “I just sign the checks they give me to sign.”

While students went without scholarships, the lawmakers at Caucus Weekend 2016 spent $128,000 on “food service,” $36,500 on music and $56,494 on “equipment rental.” The group failed to furnish The Post with the subsequent year’s tax filings — October 2016 to September 2017 — despite a federal law requiring it to do so. The group had its charitable status temporarily revoked in 2011 by the IRS after it failed to file tax returns for three consecutive years, according to federal tax documents.

When asked why the group had not given out any money to students in either year — even though scholarships are the heart of its stated mission — the lawmakers who manage the nonprofit refused to answer. The group is chaired by a president who serves a two-year term.

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, a Brooklyn Democrat, the current chair of the nonprofit’s board, who is campaigning to be the city’s public advocate, said through a spokesman that she “does not have any knowledge of the matter.”

State Sen. Leroy Comrie, a Queens Democrat and second-ranking board executive, did not return phone calls and e-mails, and would not emerge from his St. Albans district office when a Post reporter visited Friday. Queens Assemblywoman Michele Titus, a Democrat and the former chairwoman in 2015-16, did not return messages seeking comment.

3. Fark may have encapsulated this story best: CBS: “Let’s watch the ball drop live.” ABC: “Let’s watch the ball drop live.” CNN: “Let’s watch the ball drop live.” Fox: “Let’s watch the ball drop live.” NBC: “Let’s have Christie Teigen talk about vaginal steaming.”  During its live New Year’s Eve coverage in New York’s Times Square, NBC missed the iconic ball drop and instead treated viewers–my folks used to let us stay up for the year change from about 10 on—  to host Chrissy Teigen’s explanation of vaginal steaming, which apparently involves—I’ve never tried it myself—  squatting over a bowl of steaming, herb-infused water for twenty to sixty minutes.

‘Watching NBC with my 12 year old 20 min before the ball drops and Chrissy Teigen starts talking about vaginal steaming. Really?! The host of NYE… vaginal steaming? Come on… have a little CLASS. Too many families watching honey. Not cute,’ one Twitter user said.  

Oh, I think that plea involves several metaphorical horses that have left the “class” barn: the networks—this New Year’s Eve, CNN Anderson Cooper got drunk on the air instead of traditional drunk Don Lemon—and late night TV.

4. Nah, there’s no social media bias! Gustavo Perez Arriaga, an illegal immigrant protected by California’s “sanctuary state” madness,  is the alleged killer California police officer Ronil Singh, who was a legal immigrant from Fuji. Facebook has reportedly informed multiple users that posts calling illegal immigrants Arriaga  an illegal immigrant or illegal alien violate the platform’s community rules for “hate speech.”

When a user posted a picture with Singh and Arriaga side-by-side with the contrasting (and accurate) labels “vetted legal immigrant” and “protector” and  “unvetted illegal immigrant” and “[alleged] murderer”by the appropriate photos, Facebook removed the image:

No wonder Ethics Alarms posts are being banned on Facebook. Maybe I should be proud.

5.  ‘Fess up! How many cases of CTE did you cheer getting started yesterday? (None for me!)








18 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/2019: A Drunken City Council President, A Head-Exploding Political Charity, NBC’s Strange Welcome To The New Year, And Facebook Calls Reality “Hate Speech”

  1. #5: Zero for me.

    Football is not allowed on in my house, and I almost hate going to my parents house because it is often on.

  2. 1. Swamp Dweller. Party does not matter. Note that an (R) in New York City is a (D) in Texas… actually, our (D) folks usually aren’t as far left as the GOP in California OR New York.

    2. Since the Elite Establishment are responsible, there were no ethics or laws broken. Two tiered justice system.

    3. Power without responsibility corrupts. Cooper gets a pass since Don Lemon has all these years.

    4. Still using Facebook?

    5. None. Did not watch football (or Soccer, or Rugby) over the Holidays

  3. 2. Didn’t we go through this a little while back with another high profile politician? I think they only gave out 1-2 scholarships in a few years with one of them being a relative. I want to say Maxine Waters, but I could be wrong.

  4. 2. The Assemblyman signed all the checks and, presumably, never noticed that none of them went to provide a scholarship…but doesn’t know what happened.

  5. 3) I somehow get the notion that Anderson cooper’s drunkenness was a kind of rally to Don lemon’s support to cover for his two years of blitzed coverage. To in some way retroactively normalize Lemon’s behavior.

  6. Just for grins, I tried to post this Facebook. This is what they said:

    This Post Can’t Be Edited: Posts that look like spam according to our Community Guidelines are blocked on Facebook and can’t be edited.

  7. #5. I will proudly share that I have not seen a college football game in over three years and just a couple of pro ones, in big part thanks to Jack’s encouragement. But I have to ask, does watching the Rose Parade count? Because I did.

    • No, it doesn’t count. I would have watched it myself, to further investigate my theory that the whole thing is a sham, and they just re-edit films of earlier parades, since they all looks the same. My wife wouldn’t let me.

      • Best theory I’ve ever heard about the Rose Bowl Parade. I salute you, Herr Marshall. Can I call you The Grand Marshall? Was Penny Marshall ever The Grand Marshall?

        • The official Marshall position is that Chief Justice John Marshall was the Grand Marshall, closely followed by General George C. Marshall. Then comes Thurgood Marshall, actor E.G. Marshall, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, “Munsters” theme music composer Jack Marshall, and US chess Champion Frank Marshall. After that, it’s pretty weak.

          My place on the list is still in doubt,

  8. 2. Aren’t “people of color” who are elected to office obligated to do better than their “people of not color” peers insofar as they are the vanguard of minority government officials and need to impress all people of their being more than worthy of the job? This is doubtless unfair, but isn’t it valid?

  9. #2. But it is OK because they raised awareness that there are minority students who go to college. Not only that, they also raised awareness that there are some minority students who want scholarships.

    Remember, making people aware of a problem is even better than find a solution to the problem.

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