Working today to train a Clarence Darrow understudy for my Darrow legal ethics seminars that my original Clarence, the estimable Paul Morella, can’t fit into his schedule. I’ll be doing one such seminar in New Jersey this month. You can never have enough Clarence Darrows!
1. On the matter of corporations caving to social media mobs..here’s something completely stupid. Earlier this winter, Delta Air Lines distributed cocktail napkins with message, “Be a little old school,” in small print on the napkin, advertising Diet Coke. “Write down your number & give it to your plane crush. You never know …” There was a space on the napkin where a passenger could write down his or her name and another space for their number. The larger print said, “because you’re on a plane full of interesting people and hey,” again, “… you never know.”
The harmless stunt was condemned by some flyers on social media as “creepy,” and that was enough to spark a dual company grovel. “We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January,” Delta told USA Today in a statement. Coca-Cola added: “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended. We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs.”
I think it’s creepy that I often find myself sitting next to someone on a plane who is so close I can count his or her moles, and that neither of us will say a word to each other for hours. I can’t fault Delta and Coke for trying to break the ice and encourage a more social atmosphere on planes, especially since the air travel experience has become increasingly grim and uncomfortable. I know more than one couple who owe their long marriage to a number scrawled on an airplane napkin. (Full disclosure: I once wrote a message to an attractive young flight attendant who was especially effervescent. She smiled, and I never heard a word from her.)
All attempts at human contact with strangers aren’t harassment.
2. Ew. Did the National Enquirer try to blackmail Jeff Bezos? It sure sounds like it. Bezos says that the tabloid threatened to publish “dick pics” from his social media output if he didn’t get his paper, the Washington Post, to back off from its accusation that the Enquirer’s coverage of the nasty Bezos divorce was based on political animus rather than good ol’ old-fashioned tabloid sleeziness. You can read the Bezos blog post here.
The theory seems to be that the Enquirer is doing the bidding of President Trump, Saudi Arabia, or someone or something equally nefarious. And yes, the head of the Enquirer’s publishing outfit really is named “Pecker,” and it has nothing to do with the Bezos junk shot. Bezos is apparently releasing the Weiner-like photos someone hacked from his account to foil the extortion attempt. Let’s see: a) Nothing could lower my opinion of the National Enquirer. b) Ethics Alarms subscribes to the Naked VIP Principle, which is that if you are a public figure and send pictures of Mr. Wiggly to ANYONE over the internet, you deserve no sympathy for anything unpleasant that happens to you as a result.
I don’t care if “everybody does it’ (and if everybody really is taking crotch selfies and mailing them to friends and strangers, I don’t belong on this planet any more), if you do this, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.
3. This is useful for things like the Green New Deal. From the National Review, Williamson’s First Law. “Everything is simple if you don’t know a fucking thing about it.”
4.Now THIS is rejecting the presumption of innocence. Again: the position here is that Justin Fiarfax cannot do his job while under suspicion of serial rape allegations from named accusers willing to testify under oath, and should voluntarily step down. Duke, however, is asking him to leave a board using the false principle of guilty until proven innocent and “believe all accusers” standards.
“I am writing to let you know that Justin Fairfax will be asked to step down from the Sanford School Board of Visitors pending the resolution of the serious and deeply distressing allegations that have been made against him,” Dean Judith Kelley wrote in an email to Sanford staff and students. “Sexual assault is abhorrent and unfortunately can occur right around us. I urge everyone to take survivors of sexual assault seriously, and to help build an environment that is safe and supportive for everyone,” she added.
Wrong. His presence does not make anyone “unsafe” because an unproven accusation has been made. Nor is it not taking sexual assault seriously to refuse to use a mere accusation to strip an accused man of his positions and honors. The board membership is mostly honorific. Duke is taking sides where it should be neutral.
Meanwhile, it looks as if Democrats are going to leave Governor “King of Pop” Northam to keep moon-dancing in the Virginia Statehouse, since polls show them wanting him to stay 2-1. Can it really be that the only one to lose his job over this mess will be the black guy? This is what is known as “the appearance of impropriety.”
But wait! There’s more from the Old Dominion here:
Ibraheem Samirah, the Democrat nominee in Virginia’s 86th district House of Delegates election on February 19th, issued a statement Friday evening apologizing for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic social media posts that were published Thursday by Big League Politics. Samirah, a Muslim-American born to Palestinian refugees, said that giving money to Israel is worse than giving money to the Ku Klux Klan and wished for the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to “burn,” in addition to other hateful screeds.
“This slander campaign is using my 5-year old Facebook posts from my impassioned college days, posts that upon reflection and with the blessing of time, I sincerely regret and apologize for. I am so sorry that my ill-chosen words added to the pain of the Jewish community and I seek your understanding and compassion as I prove to you our common humanity,” Samirah stated.
A “Hader Gotcha” is when someone searches old social media posts to embarrass a public figure. The vileness of the exercise diminishes according to the age of the posts and the relevance of the opinions discovered to the position of the writer. Finding high school tweets to embarrass a baseball pitcher like Josh Hader is indefensible. Flagging five-year old anti-Semitic posts by someone running for elected office is very defensible, and it certainly isn’t “slander.”
5. Res Ipsa Loquitur ( I hope) Yes, this is what is going on during Sunday talk shows. From CNN (Pointer: Ann Althouse):
On a panel about the mess in Virginia, Jake Tapper asked Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragan to confirm that she wouldn’t want the three Democrats to resign, since it would make the Republican speaker of the Virginia house of delegates governor. She ranted
No, but we need to think about doing what’s right and what’s right for Virginians and what’s right overall. I mean, the race issue in today’s day and age with the president at the helm who has been one of the most divisive presidents and, frankly, racist himself, is a conversation we do need to have. But looking at just the line of order and saying we’re not going to do that because of the consequence is not the right way to do this. And so for me, I would — I do think we need to have this conversation and we should continue to have this conversation, but it has to be front and center. And we can’t forget about the person who is dividing us and who himself is injecting this into the country to live up again and coming out again. We haven’t seen it be this bad in recent time until the president has really made this a race issue whether it’s about African-Americans, certainly he’s doing it all over the board with immigrants, but we need to have this conversation.
Then black CNN commentator Nina Turner ranted back…
Jake, I cannot. I just can’t. 1984, 1980, Gucci just a few days ago. This is not about President Donald Trump. This is about racism in the United States of America. Congresswoman, I hear you, but on this, we’re not blaming President Trump. …No, let me just say this… I am not going to continue to let politicians use this man as the excuse to deal with racism in this country. It’s been going on for far too long in the United States of America. We need some real truth and reconciliation. Yes, president Trump is a racist. There is no doubt about it. But as we have seen, Democrats delve in racism as well.We’ve got to stop making this about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat. I want to know who say humanitarian. I want to know who’s going to stand up for people’s lives, starting with black people’s lives. Because when you take care of black lives everybody’s life is taken care of. Everyone’s life taken care of. So no more about this — these three men. It had nothing to do with President Trump. What Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is going through don’t have nothing to do with President Trump. Northam wearing blackface don’t have nothing to do with Donald Trump. Herring, wearing blackface has nothing to do with Donald Trump. This is about racism in the DNA of this country. And I am over it. We are traumatized, Jake, and we are sick of it. Politicians need to stop playing games.
What’s res ipsa loquitur is how one-sided and biased even disagreements are on CNN; how there are members of Congress whose quality of thought is as incoherent and hysterical as Barragan’s; that CNN employs “journalists” who utter sentences like, “What Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is going through don’t have nothing to do with President Trump.” Why send children to school if they are going to hear adults talk like that on TV?
Here is what might no be so obvious: Jake Tapper just sat there like a smug frog on a lily pad and didn’t challenge a colleagues statement that the President is a racist. This is Big Lie journalism, as I have said before. Furthermore, the fact that two Virginia Democrats when they were students once put on black make-up does not indicate anything about the state of race relations in the United States in 2019.