Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2019, Because Nobody Reads The Blog On Saturdays After Noon

Have yourself a Merry Little Four Days Before Christmas!

1.  Miss America Ethics. Wait…the winning Miss America’s “talent” was performing a chemistry experiment? I read that, but Ann Althouse picked up on the absurdity:

Now, I think pouring those chemicals into flasks could be done by just about anyone. It’s not like playing the piano, singing, and dancing — all of which take at least some talent and a lot of practice, but the woman in question, Camille Schrier “has two undergraduate science degrees and is studying a doctorate in pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University.” She made a stage show out of real achievements that just happened not to be in the performing arts.

That wasn’t the main ethics problem with the whateveritis, though. The problem is that this thing is an archaic beauty contest pretending to be something else, just like the winner’s “talent” wasn’t a talent. Did you see (if you were foolish enough to watch it) any plain, overweight or unattractive women up on the stage? I didn’t. Does that mean there aren’t any smart, talented women who don’t look like they belong in a Victoria’s Secret special in feathers and wings? Gee, I guess so.

2. There has been a lot of comment here and elsewhere about this weird story…the man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing an LGBTQ flag hanging at the United Church of Christ in Ames near Des Moines, and set it on fire outside a strip club. Much of the commentary involves finding it inconsistent that burning an American flag is considered free speech, but this guy burned an LGBTQ flag, so he was sent to jail.

Weeelll, that’s not quite accurate. Flag-burners bring their own flags; this guy stole one. Flag burners do their conflagration in demonstrations; you can’t just burn stuff in public. Prosecuting this as a hate crime, however, nicely shows what’s wrong with hate crime laws. And 15 years is indefensible. I assume that sentence won’t stand. This isn’t a freedom of speech case, though.

3. “TBS has movies out the app.” Nice. How clever and appropriate to evoke a vulgar phrase to promote Christmas movies. Who busts a gut at these cheap slogans? Does the culture really need more gratuitous coarsening?

4. Totalitarianism watch. Jane Fonda was speaking at the Nationals Press Club when she concluded a hysterical rant over climate change (Short version: “We’re DOOMED ! DOOMED!”) with this:

“Now, because of the fossil fuel industry, it’s too late for moderation. And given the emergency, it’s those who believe in moderation, in pre-Trump business as usual, who are truly delusional. And those who lie and continue to lie about what they’re doing to the environment should be put on trial, not awarded tax cuts and made secretaries of state.”

Gee, I remember when Barry Goldwater was tarred by Democrats and the press as an unstable madman when he said that “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”  I also recommend you consider Jane’s words when all the Democratic Presidential hopeful means when he or she says that there will be a “national emergency” declared over climate change when Democrats reign.

5. Even older than Fonda, and slightly more lucid.. Justice Ginsburg, 86, was asked during a BBC interview about Republican senators who have already said they will vote to acquit Trump, before the trial has even started.

“The House indicts, and the Senate tries. Should a trier be impartial? Of course, that’s the job of an impartial judge,” Ginsburg said.

BBC News’ Razia said that it’s “problematic” that senators have already made up their minds.

“Well, if a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified from sitting on the case,” Ginsburg said.

Dumb exchange. The interviewer should have mentioned that all evidence suggests that the Senators on both sides of the aisle are biased. Juries and judges can’t participate in trials where the result has direct impact on their own interests, but that doesn’t apply to impeachments, and never has. Moreover, while the Senate part of impeachment is called a trial, it is also a political process. This kind of gratuitous pontificating  is improper and irresponsible by a SCOTUS justice, and many have pointed it out over the years. Ginsburg keeps doing it, because she knows she is immune from consequences.

It’s still unethical, though.

43 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2019, Because Nobody Reads The Blog On Saturdays After Noon

    • I can tell you that it is not easy to do such shows well. I didn’t watch the Miss America show, but I have done my share of chemistry demos. For good shows, it takes hours to prepare the chemicals, sometimes they don’t work well (elephant toothpaste is difficult sometimes to get to work well due to old peroxide, catalyst that isn’t ground up well. the soap is different than last time, etc) but I have found using a Florence flask instead of the more common graduated cylinder works much better. You also need to have a script. You are supposed to explain the chemistry behind the demo. “What does hydrogen peroxide look like in the bottle? (wait for answers) Does it have bubbles? (wait for answers) What happens when you put it in a cut? (wait for answers that include bubbles) It bubbles! But…how does it KNOW it is in a cut? (wait for answers) Does is bubble if you put it on your skin?(wait for answers that involve blood) Why does it bubble when it hits blood?(wait for answers) Catalysts are chemicals that make chemical reactions go faster. Biological catalysts are called enzymes. In the blood, there is a catalyst called catalase that catalyzes the reaction of peroxide to form oxygen. It is the oxygen that kills the bubbles. Today, I am going to use sodium iodide rather than blood as the catalyst for this hydrogen peroxide” Something like that.

      My favorite demo is the iodine clock reaction. I talk about yellow and blue making green and blue and red making purple. Then, I say I am going to make colorless and colorless make green. I tell them they all have to think about green and we can turn the colorless solutions green. I mix the colorless chemicals…nothing. I tell them to keep thinking green, think green. Then…it turns…blue. I then demand to know who was thinking blue (someone always fesses up). Then, I explain what really happened.

  1. #2 Even though he was a multi-offender this sentence was absurd across the board and the hate crime perception charge should be challenged. The perception is still one of freedom of expression as with burning the American flag, he was expressing his views just like those that burn the American flag are doing, to me the fact that it wasn’t his flag really is not relevant on that particular point.

    • Even though he was a multi-offender …

      That’s fantastic. There’s little more I have to learn about this man.

      They hate this enough to give a nonsense 15-year sentence for a reason. If these attitudes toward the pagan god of tolerance are allowed to continue unpunished, their disfigurement of society might be undermined. I hope to see some sort of fund created for his legal costs that I can pay into. The left deals exclusively in pre-rational symbols (what with their “ideas” having no rational basis at all), so counter-symbols would be effective weapons against them. It’s why they work so hard to destroy the symbols of their host civilizations rather than allowing them to coexist in the same space of “understanding” and “tolerance” they occupy. They’ve built a wall around that which is their own private space, so to speak.

      He’s a national hero, and he deserves a hero’s fanfare. Maybe we can have a day dedicated to rainbow flag burning. Maybe I can find his likeness, have it painted in oils, and hang it next to Jacques Cathelineau. Maybe we can direct some public funds away from the never-ending, never-progressing war on poverty toward the materially productive work of erecting statues of him in every town square in every blue state and penalize the vandals of those statues with forced labor. One thing’s for certain, when they react with draconian might and inhuman screeching, press even harder until it stops. #4 makes it clear that, even if we bent over backwards to accommodate them, they have no interest in peaceful coexistence, and the honest must say, at least by now, that it’s clear they never have. All of their precious folk heroes should be reinterpreted in light of this idea in public education – that they acted in only apparently good ways at calculated times only ever to undermine the public trust – and their manifold personal failings come to be recited daily and used to further chill anything they’ve done which could be called an achievement.

  2. #5 It’s interesting how the Democrats have rammed a 100% partisan sham of an impeachment through the House and they now expect others to not be partisan and throw their sham out of “court”? The Democrats are blatantly obvious hypocrites.

    • I wrote my Senators over a month ago and asked them to acquit Trump in a Senate trial immediately! I mean, if you can start an impeachment investigation before there is a crime, you can acquit before an indictment. I suggested McConnell should stand in front of the Senate and put a vote to acquit Trump of anything he did prior to that date that the Democrats might see fit to impeach him for. McConnell should justify this by saying that this continuous investigation of the Executive without any evidence of crimes needs to stop, the country has business that needs to be attended to, and then give examples of what Congress should be doing.

  3. Hmmm, why did Greta and her manipulators come to mind when I read Goldwater’s quote? “Extremism in defense of [nature] is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of [green living] is no virtue.”

  4. I’m reading it right now.

    I ran into the Miss America Pageant the other night. At first, I thought it was the debate. Make of that what you will.

    The trouble with the LGBTQ flag is that the media loves reporting these stories without explaining the real crime. They want Americans to just accept that some citizens are more valuable than others and it should be a crime to upset them.

    The trouble with Jane Fonda is that she has not been relevant for over 30 years. And she knows it.

    The trouble with Justice Ginsburg is that she suffers from the same problem as the media and LGBTQ flag. She should have explained that the entire impeachment process is supposed to be nonpartisan, that clearly hasn’t been the case in the House and won’t be in the Senate where we know exactly who will vote in favor.

  5. 5. Also, the “jury” here has already heard the prosecution’s full case. A jury that is unpersuaded at the end of the prosecutor’s case is correct to find the defendant not guilty.

    • Hah! This should be etched into the walls of the Senate after this is all over. It could be instructive to people who call every disagreement with their own ideas “bias.”

      Well, if they could be instructed in any way, anyway.

  6. 15 years for burning an LGBTQ flag and prosecuted as a hate crime!! I wonder is that means all flag burning could be prosecuted this way: This would include of course American flags, French flags, Pirate flags, and (gasp) Confederate flags. That’ll stop the haters.

  7. Re 5.

    Let’s see we have Harris, Booker, Klobachar, Sanders and Warren sitting in judgement in the Senate and they are making demands that McConnell recuse himself for bias? That’s chutzpah!

    • If they vote to impeach a presidential rival, are they using their office for political gain?

      Just kidding.

      The simple fact is that the jury in an impeachment case is set by the Constitution. It is not like a typical jury. So, trying to apply typical jury rules to it is foolish.


      • I would say “obviously,” but apparently this is not obvious to the Notorious Ruth B. She really needs to retire, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she lives forever, until she ends up chained to a wall in the SCOTUS cellar, like “The Dunwich Horror.”

  8. Clearly, Jane Fonda should have traded her 20-odd plastic surgeries for some, uh, reading, some therapy, someone to help her fact-check the outrageous beliefs she espouses, and loudly.

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