Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/30/2019: “Happy Birthday Little Sister!” Edition

Good Morning!

Today marks the birthday of my younger sister, whom I have referred to here frequently. Growing up with her and following her life and career imbued me with an early and ongoing appreciation of the effects of sexism and pro-male bias in society, and I’m indebted to her for that. She has always equaled or surpassed me in ability and enterprise, yet often watched me receive more credit or praise for the same things she could do and did without similar acclaim. I know she resented me for that (probably still does—she won’t read Ethics Alarms, for example), and it frequently bruised our relationship over the years. She also taught me about moral luck: in general, I have been persistently  lucky, and she has not, and the difference was so evident that I learned very early in life not to congratulate myself for how the dice fell. She is finally happy in retirement, is about to welcome the first grandchild for this generation of Marshalls, her two adult children are healthy and prospering, and her beloved Nationals just forced a Game 7 in the World Series. She will have a happy birthday. Good. She deserves it.

1. Tales of the double standard, and the imaginary double standard. MSNBC and much of the progressive noise machine has decided to paint Rep. Katie Hill as a victim of a “vast right wing conspiracy,” in Hillary’s immortal phrase, and a vicious husband. If he indeed was the one who shared the salacious photos of Hill involved in various sex acts,  vicious he certainly is. But how can anyone say, as lawyer Carrie Goldberg does, that  “Katie Hill was taken down by three things: an abusive ex, a misogynist far-right media apparatus, and a society that was gleeful about sexually humiliating a young woman in power…None of those elements would be here if it were a male victim. It is because she is female that this happened’? Nonsense, and deceptive nonsense.

Hill resigned because a House ethics investigation was underway regarding her admitted sexual affair with a Congressional staffer and an alleged affair with her legislative director. She was not going to be kicked out of Congress for either or both; she probably resigned in part because she knew the investigation was going to turn up more and worse. The Naked Congresswoman Principle also played a part, as I discussed here. Does anyone really believe that equivalent photos of a male member of Congress displaying his naughty bits in flagrante delicto (my late, great, law school roomie loved saying that phrase) with both sexes would be shrugged off by his constituents and the news media? Who are they kidding?

Hill was arrogant and reckless, and is paying the predictable price, though she was not smart enough to predict it. Trail-blazers—I’m not sure being the first openly bi-sexual member of Congress is much  of a trail to blaze, but never mind—are always under special scrutiny and have to avoid scandal at all costs. Did Hill ever hear of Jackie Robinson? Allowing those photos to come into existence showed terrible judgment; using her staff as a dating resource was hypocritical for a member of the  #MeToo party and workplace misconduct too.

The fact that she is being defended tells us all we need to know about the integrity of her  defenders.

2. Here’s a despicable columnist…Times op-ed writer Jennifer Weiner writes that it felt good to see the President of the United States publicly booed at a World Series game. I refer readers to this post, in which I noted that it was increasingly undeniable that liberals, progressives, Democrats, “the resistance,” and the Left have become the “bad guys” in our society and culture. How rotten a human being do you have to be to 1) take joy in the attempted public denigration of your nation’s leade,r 2) to endorse what is rude and obnoxious conduct at a baseball game when directed at a player, never mind a spectator, 3) reject the Golden Rule in its entirety and boast about doing so?

Let me add that if I read or hear one more Democrat or progressive spew the innately dishonest mantra (from Michelle Obama) “When they go low, we go high,” I might have to track the responsible party  and fart in their general direction. The only way the Axis of Unethical Conduct could possibly describe their conduct since November 2016 as “high” is if they are standing on their heads and don’t know it.

3. And speaking of the World Series, a couple of ethics notes:

  • The level of sheer excitement, happiness and community connection fostered by the Washington Nationals win last night, forcing a decisive Game 7, is palpable here. People are wearing Nationals caps and jerseys, they are smiling and chatting, a stranger gave me a thumbs up in the 7-11 parking lot. The D.C. area is not usually like this. This is why sports teams matter to a community.

I’d like to say baseball particularly, but that’s not true.

  • Because the Nats won handily, baseball was spared an ethics controversy. In this play…

… that the umpires got right, Washington batter Trey Turner was called out for interference.  See that lane to the right of the baseline? That’s where the runner is supposed to run to first on a play like that so he doesn’t interfere with the fielder’s attempt to throw him out. Runners often do what Turner did to steal a base hit or force a throwing error, because the interference is not always called when it should be.

A distressing number of commentators last night, however, claimed that it shouldn’t have been called because it was a World Series game. Nothing about the officiating in a post-season game should vary one iota from how it is in the most meaningless game in the regular season. It’s called integrity.

21 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/30/2019: “Happy Birthday Little Sister!” Edition

  1. I think youre wrong on the call. I dont follow baseball and I dont really care about the world series unless the Rays are losing, all of which is to say I’m dispassionately objective. I watched the play and didn’t see anything that was obviously a foul so I did a deep dive into the subject and the consensus I found is that the interference call is a judgment call and as such is not a mandatory call (which is why it’s usually not called). With discretion built into the rules this was pretty clearly an error ins ref discretion. The dude runs a bog standard line to the base . You can literally see the trail worn into the clay by the other batters (!) and if you’re running a standard line and not swinging your arms around to mess with the first baseman then I don’t see how anyone can credibly claim interference.

    • The fact that umpires usually don’t have the guts to call it doesn’t mean it wasn’t correctly called. Of course the line to teh base is the usual course: in 95% of all plays, there is no reason not to run directly to the base. But again, what do you think that lane on the left is for? That exact play, when a pitcher or catcher has to field the ball and the runner will obstruct the play if he doesn’t use the lane. it’s worth it for the runner to take a shot: Turner would have been out if he used the lane. As Smltz said last night, pitchers are taught to try to hit the runner with the throw to draw the interference call.

      Another rule like that is the strike call when a batter doesn’t try to avoid being hit by a pitch, or actively tries to get hit. It’s called one out of a thousand times, but that doesn’t mean when it is called, it shouldn’t be.

      • Joe Buck and John Smoltz were terrible on this. They said Turner has the right to be inside the foul line and only had to get over the base at the very last step. They were dead wrong. The last step is to be taken from the three foot wide corridor to the outside of the base line. They made the call seem controversial because they misrepresented the rule. The call was not controversial. It was simply correct. If that’s controversial, there’s a problem.

        • Joe Buck is just plain terrible. His objectivity as a play-by-play announcer must have been checked at the stadia doors. Sheesh. Oh, by the way: Do you know how old Soto is? Joe does. And every time Soto was anywhere near anything even remotely considered relevant to baseball, Buck gushed over his young age. I was going to tell Joe to get a room with Soto but I didn’t want to assume his proclivities.

          Oh, and Gerritt Cole announced that he is no longer an Astros employee. That was quick. But, we don’t know Cole’s age, do we Joe? Can you tell us Joe? Please? We need to know!


  2. The Hill thing just proves that the media has more than one standard. It’s really a strata of standards which goes like this:

    Non-heterosexual minorities — Immune from bad conduct criticism
    Non-heterosexual women — Immune from bad conduct criticism unless it impacts a minority
    Non-heterosexual men — Immune from bad conduct criticism unless it impacts a woman or minority
    Heterosexual minorities — Partially immune from bad conduct criticism unless it impacts the above
    Heterosexual women — Partially immune from bad conduct criticism unless it impacts the above
    Heterosexual men — Targets for criticism whether or not their conduct is bad

    The Hill affair just demonstrates this stratification in action. Her husband gets the most criticism for outing his wife, who was having affairs at his expense, subjecting him to ridicule. When he exposes her affairs, he is blameworthy and she is a victim.

    Day is night, up is down, right is wrong, and ethical values don’t apply to favored groups.

    • When he exposes her affairs, he is blameworthy and she is a victim.

      He committed grossly betrayed her trust and potentially committed a crime. She is a victim.

      That she also grossly betrayed his trust by having an affair does not mitigate the response.

      • Has it been proven that he has? Last I looked he posted a bunch of her pictures to adult ‘show off your wife’ sites as part of their mutual kink and someone put two and two together.

      • What trust? How can there be trust when he was exposing a betrayal? Is he supposed to honor the relationship that she transparently dishonored?

        Both of them betrayed each other. From what we know, he did so in revenge, which is no doubt unethical. But she is not a victim. What you sow, that shall you also reap.

  3. 1. I will admit, I do feel some temptation to vote “not guilty” on the basis of the photographic evidence int he case of Representative Hill. I say this because if I were single, and about the age of some younger congressional staffers, I admit that if she made a pass at me, I would probably not decline the advance regardless of the rules.

    That being said, Hill’s actions did cause this situation. Were I the editor of Redstate, I would not have published the photos, though, but would have provided some description.

    2. Progressives like to believe they have a moral right to rule – that somehow they deserve power because of their self-proclaimed virtue.

    3. The whole point is that Turner made contact with the fielder and the contact sent the glove flying off the Astros defender.

    If that is not a clear case of interference, I don’t know what is.

  4. The batter ran inside the baseline, violating a rule. The fielder has absolute right to the inside half of the bag. (This is partly to prevent the runner ‘spiking’ the fielder while running by, a tactic once considered ‘fair’ in baseball)

    Usually this is not a problem, if no contact is made. There was contact. The batter is out. End of story.

    Everything else is rationalization and emotionism.

    • To me, it was an easy call – the runner knocked Gurriel’s glove when he passed to get to the bag. Interference, in my mind. Kind of like sliding into second base high to disrupt a double play.


  5. Re: No. 1: The Bi Standard.

    Wait. Rep. Hill is a trailblazer? Really? An openly bi-sexual member of Congress is now a trailblazer? Well, that didn’t take long. What’s next? A transpeciesist in Congress will trailblaze for biologically humans who think they are aardvarks?


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