Afternoon Ethics Warm-Up, April 2, 2019: Maddow, Schultz, Pugh, Fosse, AOC, And All That Jazz…

Good afternoon!

1. If anyone cared, this would do in Rachel Maddow. The fact that so many of my otherwise intelligent and reasonable liberal friends insist that Rachel Maddow is God’d gift to journalism was a mystery to me  when she first brought her perpetual smirk to MSNBC. It  perplexed me greatly as she so obviously hyped and twisted her commentary, and once she became the #1 Russia-Trump conspiracy theorist on TV, I admit that I have lost the edge of respect for anyone who still watches her. Rachel Maddow bottomed out, I’d say, yesterday, when she was saying this last week:

“It’s hard to believe that they’d leave the newly appointed Attorney General William Barr to himself to personally pick through the [Mueller] report to try to figure out which mentions in this 400-page report might pertain to an open case”They wouldn’t leave that to Barr to do that. Mueller would have done that!

Mueller’s team would have done that as part of producing anything that they handed over outside their own offices. They’ve done that with every other document they have produced in the course of this investigation. You’d assume they’d be able to do that for this document too. But William Barr says, [exaggerated sigh] it’s taking him a really long time because he’s having to do all that himself.”

While  was saying that it was suspicious that Barr wouldn’t seek Mueller’s assistance with the redactions, the chyron underneath her read,

“Barr: Special Counsel Is Assisting with Redactions”

Unlike the much-mocked Fox News gaffe, in which the talking heads were correctly reciting the story while  the chyron said that Trump was pulling aid from “three Mexican countries“, this time the chyron was right, and the talking head was wrong.  It might just be me, but I’d rather the actual reporters to be telling the truth, and graphics be messed up.

2. Well, that’s one more old white guy who won’t be President. This morning I heard Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO purporting to be running for President as an Independent, say that he absolutely believed that controlling illegal immigration at the border was essential, but that he believed that the issue of illegal immigration was more than just law but “humanity,” and that immigration was what made America great. Huh. So that’s what an independent is, is it: A candidate that advocates all sides of a controversial issue simultaneously?

As if that wasn’t enough, Schultz, whom I had never heard speak before, has all the charisma of Steve Forbes.

3. What this struggling, racially divided city needs is a corrupt African American mayor!  Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, whose self-dealing prompted  Gov. Larry Hogan to call for criminal investigation,, announced Monday that she will take an indefinite leave of absence because of her, ah, cough, cough, (eye roll) health. She had been revealed to have negotiated a no-bid deal with the University of Maryland Medical System  to purchase self-published books she had authored featuring a young girl named Healthy Holly, aimed at promoting exercise and good diet. Under the deal with the medical system, UMMS, which included Pugh on its board,  paid the mayor $500,000 for copies of the books, $100,000 in each of five transactions in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018, buying 20,000 copies  at $5 per book. to be fair, she wasn’t the only crook on the board: nine members of the 30-person UMMS board  had contracts or other business deals with the medical system.

The Democratic mayor’s office issued a statement yesterday:

“With the mayor’s health deteriorating, she feels as though she is unable to fulfill her obligations as mayor of Baltimore city.To that end, Mayor Pugh will be taking an indefinite leave of absence to recuperate from this serious illness.”

The statement did not address the scandal over the books, which I’m sure had nothing to do with the mayor’s decision. By not resigning but only going on “indefinite leave,” Pugh gets to keep receiving her salary.

4.  Even New York Times features are fake news now. In a piece headlined, ‘Fosse/Verdon’ Has Magic to Do. And Undo,” the New York Times explains that finally, the true story of how iconic Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse abused everyone in his life and himself:

 “[Verdon’s] inclusion…suggests a narrative informed by the #MeToo movement, a way to reframe the myth of the lone male auteur, of the man who behaves badly, but still, my God, those steps. If “Fosse/Verdon” succeeds, it could inform how we now tell stories about men like Fosse. Assuming we should tell these stories at all. Because if Fosse was a great man, he wasn’t necessarily a good one. He had genius, he had charm, but coercion and scapegoating colored his rehearsals, and he rarely met a chorus girl he didn’t try to bed. (Would he take no for answer? More or less. But his seductions often constituted an ugly abuse of power.)”

Hmmmm...that story sounds like one I saw in a movie once. What was it? It’s right in the tip of my tongue–oh yeah! The movie was called “All That Jazz,” which won four Oscars in 1980 while also being nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, and it was written and directed by Fosse himself as a brutal, self-damning indictment of his miserable conduct. Wouldn’t you think that a puff piece about a new series covering exactly the same ground with exactly the same intention might mention, for those not up on their theater history, that this has been done before, and not only that, that the film was an all-time classic that had the added authority of being made by the very man it was eviscerating? Even more bizarre is the fact that the Times piece refers to the film once without saying what it was, and in another place, includes the sentence, ” [Fosse’s} addictions — pills, sex, all that jazz — were legion.” 

What is this, a game? Blue’s Clues?The idea is to mislead readers into thinking the series covers new ground when it isn’t, but to leave little hints for those in the know?

5. Signature significance:








Anyone who thinks this is a cogent, logical or coherent argument is incapable of critical thought. The Congresswoman’s response to the widespread mockery her nonsense received? This:

“GOP taking every tweet so earnestly, making my point for me. It’s not an argument against the price of a croissant – it’s about the value of human worth. But I guess that idea is foreign to them since their policies treat people as disposable anyway.”

No, the issue is that it’s unethical for any elected officials, House members of Congress members, to issue stupid tweets that cause the public to think they are being governed by the brain-damaged.

14 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Warm-Up, April 2, 2019: Maddow, Schultz, Pugh, Fosse, AOC, And All That Jazz…

    • No, that’s just what he said, and it’s the old bait and switch. The discussion was about illegal immigration. Saying “the nation was built by immigrants” is either a non-sequitur, or it’s a deliberate effort to confound the issue by blurring the material distinction between legal and illegal. That’s wrong. Slimy, in fact.

  1. 1. Maddow

    It might just be me, but I’d rather the actual reporters to be telling the truth, and graphics be messed up.

    It’s not just you, let’s get that right. Of course, your so-called “friends” on Facebook might prefer the alternative just as long as it’s not their ox being gored, and Trump is getting his due dose of conspiracy theories and invective.

    2. Howard Schultz

    Huh. So that’s what an independent is, is it: A candidate that advocates all sides of a controversial issue simultaneously?

    Now you know.

    3. Catherine Pugh

    Sounds about right. How many Democrat mayors have been purveyors of rampant corruption in the last 12 months? Let’s see:

    1. Ed Pawlowski, Allentown PA
    2. Ed Murray, Seattle WA
    3. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago IL
    4. Megan Berry, Nashville TN
    5. Robert Meyer, New Roads, LA
    6. Joey Torres, Patterson NJ
    7. Luis Aguinaga, South El Monte, CA
    8. Ken Harycki, Stillwater, MN
    9. Catherine Pugh, Chicago, IL

    That’s a good start. I’ve probably left out a dozen or three.

    5. AOC

    No, the issue is that it’s unethical for any elected officials, House members of Congress members, to issue stupid tweets that cause the public to think they are being governed by the brain-damaged.

    You mean we’re not??

    I beg to differ…

  2. Howard Schultz was lamenting the fact that so many Americans are $400 away from a catastrophic event. When he starts suggesting that 5 dollar cups of coffee are luxuries these poor Americans should do without then I will pay attention to his proclamations about wealth disparities.

    He claims to be a centrist but has yet to suggest any common sense methods the average American can employ to increase their own personal wealth. One that works for me is not spending my income on things with short useful lives like expensive coffee or overpriced cellphones that give me the opportunity to increase the amount of time I spend on leisure relative to income generating time (work).

  3. Economists have long used an outmoded, complicated series of measures to determine the value of labor. I’ve been saying all along that we should go to the croissant system.

    • Perhaps AOC will promote the idea that employers need only to compensate the actual time the employee is creating value with their dedicated human labor.

      We can use time and motion studies to determine how much time it takes to do any particular task. Then we count the number of tasks completed and total up the time and then pay $15/hr for actual dedicated value creating labor.

      • Chris Marschner:
        Two things: you can’t pay just for the value creating part because there is still an investment of time, even if it is unproductive. A very important lesson I learned when I was 16 years old was: “sometimes, waiting is the job.” That lesson has given me solace while sitting in an hours-long courtroom cattle call.

        The other problem is that your analysis indulges her simple-minded thinking. You cannot simply isolate one factor for comparison. That $7.00 does not simply go to pay the labor that created it. It covers the materials purchased, the lease at La Guardia (how much do you think that is?), equipment costs; vendors, licenses, insurance.

        I suspect you know this, Chris Marschner; I expect she does too, but, like Jack said, she is leading the public to think she is an idiot.


    • First, let me be clear: Twitter is a swirling cesspool of nonsense and idiocy. But seeing people offer up to Ocasio-Cortez links to less-expensive croissants she can buy from Amazon almost makes the whole data-collecting, thought-policing, brain-deadening exercise worthwhile.

  4. “Barr: Special Counsel Is Assisting with Redactions”

    The sad thing is that you could show the segment with the chyron to a bunch of Democrats and most would insist that Barr was the only person reading and interpreting the report. I sat in a meeting once with 150 people. A person stood up with a spreadsheet of numbers behind them on the projector screen and proceeded to state the OPPOSITE of what the numbers on the screen stated. The data was unit and revenue data for the current year and previous year. The presenter stated that we brought in less money this year than last year, and the budgets were the same for the two years, so we couldn’t get raises next year either because of the shortfall. The numbers clearly showed a 15% increase in revenue over the previous year (less units, but higher price) and a fixed budget, therefore a surplus. Only one other person agreed with me that the numbers showed there was an increase in revenue. Because the presenter said so, that must be the truth. The large spreadsheet of numbers (prepared by the same person) must obviously be wrong.

    People will believe what they are told to believe, even to the point of not believing their own eyes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.