Wait, where are my clothes???
1. When will Mrs. Q make her debut as a regular contributor to Ethics Alarms? I’m working out the details. She’s ready, I’m behind, we’ll get it done. Very excited.
2. If everything is going to be done online, is it reasonable to expect those companies who force us to interact that way to be competent? Case Study: The Boston Globe just offered me a 6 month digital subscription for a buck. But an old password connected to my email address prevented me from entering the new one necessary to accept the deal. All links went to current subscription or subscribing at the regular price. It took 40 minutes of online chats with robots and a human being (who disconnected me one) to fix the problem, which was in how the Globe set up the offer acceptance page. I ended up using a password made up by “Sherry” because I couldn’t reset my password myself. This kind of thing happens all the time. I wouldn’t have a clue how to set up a website response system, but if that was my job, I would be obligated to do better than this.
3. What good are movie critics whose opinions and tastes aren’t shared by their readers? My view: not much. The job of a critic is to let readers know if readers would appreciate the movie or not. A critic who can’t or won’t do that, and most don’t, is useless. I was thinking about this when I encountered this article in The Guardian listing the films for which audience ratings and critical ratings diverged the most.
Much of the disparity today is caused by critics who allow their ideological biases to dominate their judgment: yes, bias makes them stupid. Another problem, harder to over-come, is that the judgment of people who see hundreds of movies a year and who are often steeped in the art of film-making often has no relevance to the movie average audience member at all. Yet another is the unavoidable fact that few critics are equally qualified to review all genres. Horror movies are especially frequent victims of this problem.
Incidentally, yesterday I watched a new horror movie, “A.M.I.” that exploited the inherent creepiness of online personal assistants like Siri and Alexa. It was pretty bad, but the final scene was so ridiculous (and predictable) that it almost justified the film. Almost.
4. How can we trust hospitals when they even consider doing things like this? In April, 61-year-old Darryl Young was in a vegetative state in the intensive care unit of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. He had been this way since September. His medical record stated, “He follows no commands. He looks very encephalopathic,” meaning brain damaged. Suffering from congestive heart failure, Young, a Navy veteran and former truck driver with three children, received a heart transplant but didn’t wake up after the operation.
Cardiologist Dr. Darko Vucicevic was recorded asking about Young’s status in April, and was told Dr. Mark Zucker, director of the hospital’s heart and lung transplant programs, that the hospital needed to keep him breathing by artificial means until June 30 “at a minimum.” Pro Publica explains,
The recordings show that the transplant team was fixated on keeping him alive, rather than his quality of life or his family’s wishes, because of worries about the transplant program’s survival rate, the proportion of people undergoing transplants who are still alive a year after their operations. Federal regulators rely on this statistic to evaluate — and sometimes penalize — transplant programs, giving hospitals across the country a reputational and financial incentive to game it. Newark Beth Israel’s one-year survival rate for heart transplants had dipped, and if Young were to die too soon, the program’s standing and even its own survival might be in jeopardy.
June 30, Zucker explained at the meeting, was the date of the next report by a federally funded organization that tracks transplant survival rates. “If he’s not dead in this report, even if he’s dead in the next report, it becomes an issue that moves out six more months,” he said in the recording. Zucker cautioned the staff against offering Young’s family the option of switching from aggressive treatment to palliative care, which focuses on comfort, until September, which would mark one year since his transplant.
Let’s see, how many ways is this unethical? It is deliberately failing to inform the family of its options. Presumably, it is defrauding an insurance company. It is exploiting a human life for an agenda, a pure violation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative, and it is falsifying statistics required by the federal government.
5. How long will the Democratic Party’s refrain that President Trump always lies survive exposure of the major lies uttered by his opponents? Here’s an example your favorite mainstream media new source is probably ignoring: in Carson City, Nevada last week, Elizabeth Warren told, not for the first time, the story about how she was fired from her job as a special needs teacher because she was viably pregnant, saying that the “principal did what principals did.” She’s claimed in some versions of the story that had it not been for her being fired for being pregnant that she’d still be teaching today.
Now that old bugaboo, a forgotten video, has surfaced from March 8, 2007, when Harvard professor Warren was interviewed on University of California Television (UCTV), and she told a completely different story about how she left teaching:
“I was married at nineteen and then graduated from college [at the University of Houston] after I’d married, my first year post-graduation, I worked — it was in a public school system but I worked with the children with disabilities. I did that for a year, and then that summer I actually didn’t have the education courses, so I was on an ’emergency certificate,’ it was called. I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, ‘I don’t think this is going to work out for me,’ I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ My husband’s view of it was, ‘Stay home. We have children, we’ll have more children, you’ll love this.’ And I was very restless about it.”
It will be interesting to see how she tries to weasel out of this one. Not only has she been repeating a phony story, she also has been slandering the principal involved, whose name could be easily found.