“Miracle On 34th Street,”An Ethics Companion, Continued…Chapter 3: Kris Joins The Macy’s Family! [REVISED and CORRECTED!]

(The Introduction is here.; Chapter I is here.;Chapter 2 is here.)

 Kris takes Santa’s throne

Kris’s rave reviews as Santa in the Thanksgiving Day Parade are so good,  Doris hires him play Santa at Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street. He agrees, which is strange, when you think about how busy he should be at this time of year, supervising the elves and all. If he really is Santa, or even if he thinks he is, taking the job in New York is irresponsible.

His supervisor gives him a list of toys to “push”—toys that are overstocked. “Now, you’ll find that a great many children will be undecided as to what they want for Christmas. When that happens, you suggest one of these items,” Kris is told. “You understand?”

Kris says he understands, but later makes it clear in his comments to a co-worker, that he has no intention of “pushing” the merchandise.:

“Imagine…making a child take something it doesn’t want…just because he bought too many of the wrong toys.That’s what I’ve been fighting against for years!”

That being the case, there is exactly one thing Kris needs to do. He needs to quit. What he cannot do, and must not do, and has a clear ethical obligation not to do, is to accept a job when he has no intention of doing what the job requires. This is a sales job. If Kris doesn’t want to sell, then he will be accepting a pay check under false pretenses. This isn’t noble conduct, as the film would have you believe. It’s unethical conduct. It’s wrong.

Kris needs to put himself on his own naughty list. Continue reading

The Last Ethics Warm-Up of 2019…And I Finally Figured Out How To Get Ethics Alarms Links On Facebook

Ethical New Year!

1. Boy, am I slow. You can link to an Ethics Alarms article by using the Twitter link that every post has. This link works on Facebook, where EA has been banned with no explanation: I just tested it. So an interested reader clicks on that link, and is taken to a tweet that contains the Ethics Alarms link.

From now on, all posts will include the Twitter link to the post at the end.

2. Don Imus. The infamous “I-man,” Don Imus, died last week. He was one more example of the inherently unfair standard that shadows “shock jocks,” who are paid to be improvisational, outrageous, irreverent, and brave, but if they make one miscalculation and go too far (and what “too far” is changes quickly), their careers can end overnight. So it was that Imus and his on-air acolytes made demeaning and racially inflammatory comments mocking a college women’s basketball team, and Imus never recovered. That was even before social media mobs had reached their current strength. Imus was on AM radio and simulcast on TV; no shock jocks dare to do his act under such conditions now.  They wouldn’t last a week. From his Times obituary: Continue reading

The Life of James Dailey

Another of the periodic death penalty controversies is unfolding in Florida. The stay of execution for James Dailey expired yesterday. Governor Ron DeSantis now has to decide whether to grant him a new clemency hearing, or uphold his death sentence. So far, the Governor has not been sympathetic.

New evidence provided by the co-defendant in the Dailey’s murder case has been offered by Jack Pearcy, Dailey’s co-defendant in the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Pearcy was sentenced to life in prison, Dailey to death. Pearcy has written a letter declaring, “James Dailey had nothing to do with the murder of Shelly Boggio. I committed the crime alone.” A federal judge issued a stay until Dec. 30 to give attorneys an opportunity to file appeals.

As the New York Times argued in an editorial, Dailey’s conviction also depended heavily on the testimony of a repeat jailhouse snitch who had a cozy relationship with the prosecutors. The Times says, “The rank injustice of cases like James Dailey’s provides yet another reason, as if more were needed, that the death penalty must be abolished.”

No, it doesn’t. I haven’t studied the case, but based on what I’ve read, it certainly appears that Dailey might be innocent, and thus in his case, the death penalty is unjust. (I agree with the Times that jailhouse snitches are unreliable witnesses and should be regarded by juries with skepticism. On the other side, I don’t find a late claim of guilt exonerating a co-defendant especially persuasive. The guy is locked up for life; he has nothing to lose or gain. ) Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Pete Buttigieg

“The people who wrote the Constitution did not understand that slavery was a bad thing.”

South  Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in 2011, disgracing himself and betraying the trust of the a group of students who trusted him to tell them the truth. Instead, he made them ignorant while encouraging disrespect and distrust of the Founders, an especially sinister component of the Democratic effort to undermine the Constitution and to “remake” America.

I reluctantly concluded that Buttigieg was, to be indelicate, an asshole almost exactly a month ago, after he returned the contributions of two lawyers who represented  Justice Kavanaugh when Buttigieg’s party was attempting to destroy him using an unsubstantiated and conveniently recalled alleged episode when he was in high school. With Buttigieg, unlike, say, Joe Biden, I assume he is educated and intelligent, and thus I knew that this was dishonest grandstanding. Mayor Pete knows that lawyers do not personally endorse those they represent, even if much of the public does not. Worse, in justifying his actions, Buttigeig’s campaign declared that Justice Kavanaugh was guilty of sexual assault. I wrote,

Buttigieg rejects fairness, due process, logic and decency to declare a Supreme Court Justice with a history of  impeccable professional and personal conduct guilty of a crime without evidence, and further impugns the lawyers who helped protect him from a vicious political attack, all to suck up to the worst elements of the Democratic base. This is signature significance. Pete Buttigieg is an asshole. Good to know.

It’s also good to know that my assessment in November was accurate, as this re-surfaced episode confirms, and that the mayor didn’t just recently become an asshole as he pursued the Presidency (an occupational hazard) but has been one all along.

Good to know. Continue reading

Will The Democrats Really Let Someone As Obviously Addled As Joe Biden Be Their Nominee?

Doing so is per se irresponsible and incompetent.

Before someone tries to play “whataboutTrump” with me, I would remind him, her or it  that in 2016 I wrote that the Republicans had an obligation to refuse to nominate Donald Trump, having failed their obligation not to let him run in the primaries. I was right then, despite the fact that nominating Trump ended up well for the  party, and so far, on balance, for the country, especially when one considers what the Democrats have become. I’m also right about Biden now. If the Democrats expect to catch lightning in a shot glass like the GOP, they are taking a really reckless gamble.

Let’s look at what old Joe said just over the last few days…

  • During a December 29 campaign even in Peterborough, New Hampshire,  Biden completed an attendees question “If we don’t stop using fossil fuels…” with “We’re all dead!”

Now, what is that? Deliberate hyperbole? Outrageous fear-mongering?  Complete ignorance? Nobody has suggested that “we’re all dead” even under the most extreme projections of climate change doom. My guess is that Joe knows nothing about climate change, and that he’s just pandering to the substantial climate change nut-case component of the increasingly hysterical Democratic base. But he could be so stupid that he really believes this.

In addition to the undeniable fact that this is exactly the kind of statement that the mainstream media  pillories Donald Trump for even when it’s clear  s clear can be that he’s exaggerating, Biden’s over-the-top rhetoric feeds the rising Democratic drift toward totalitarianism. If we’re all going to die, then a dictatorship can be justified as a last resort. Continue reading

Monday Ethics Pot The End Of The Rainbow, 12/30/19: The Post Turns On Maddow, Second Amendment Rights In Action, And A Fast Food Fiasco

There‘s a huge rainbow outside!

Either its the sunshine coming through the just lifted rain, or the LBGTG army has taken over!

1.  But..but..the narrative! On Sunday, a man entered a church in White Settlement, Texas, and started firing on worshippers, until he was shot dead by a member of the church security team. Two worshipers died.  Thettacker was only able to get off two shots before being shot by a security guard ,reportedly an ex-FBI agent, who was an excellent marksman.

Several other armed congregants at the West Freeway Church of Christ grabbed their own firearms and prepared to shoot if necessary.

A 2017 law passed by the Republicans in the Texas legislature allowed church goers to carry licensed guns, on the theory that gun-free zones wouldn’t deter killers and criminals, which yu would think would be self-evident. Democrats and allies of Michael Bloomberg condemned the law.

Where’s that “if it only saves one life” rationalization that President Obama was so fond of? Continue reading

“Side hustle?” SIDE HUSTLE? 

Apparently Democrats think this is me

 “The Side Hustle is Increasingly a Fact of American Life” says the New York Times,  and progressives want to restrict them.  Of course, being a versatile guy who can do a lot of things people will pay to have done, I resent the “hustle” term, which makes me sound like “Seinfeld'”s Kramer with a law degree….and that, making what people like me do sound cheesy and even a little bit shady, is the idea. Legislators and Presidential candidates—guess which party!– have expressed great concerns about the so-called “gig economy,’ arguing that it is proof of  unhealthy capitalism.  (Amusingly, this is exactly what Elizabeth Warren did when she was litigating appeals while serving as a Harvard law professor, but that’s different.) The data does not support the latest argument for controlling your life and mine, however.

A recent poll of those who have more than one way of making money shows that 33% of them take on more than one paying job because they have to, while 48% so it because they want to.

Naturally, those who want to must be stifled for the greater good, and need to get with the program. California’s recently passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), set to take effect on January 1, 2020,  will make it illegal for contractors who reside in California to create more than 35 pieces of content in a year for a single company, unless the business hires them as an employee. Continue reading