52 thoughts on “First Open Forum of 2020!

  1. Pelosi Statement on Urgency for Fair Senate Trial
    San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement calling on Leader McConnell to hold a fair, impartial trial in the Senate that exposes the truth for the American people:

    “In December, the House upheld its Constitutional duty to defend democracy For The People, honoring the vision of our Founders for a Republic. In an impeachment trial, every U.S. Senator is required to take an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’

    “For several months, the House has subpoenaed documents and witnesses which the President stonewalled. These cases are now in the courts. While the House nevertheless was able to obtain compelling evidence of impeachable conduct, Leader McConnell knows full well that the President’s obstruction of the House impeachment inquiry is unprecedented and in defiance of our system of checks and balances.

    “Today, Leader McConnell made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up.

    “Leader McConnell is doubling down on his violation of his oath, even after the exposure of new, deeply incriminating documents this week which provide further evidence of what we know: President Trump abused the power of his office for personal, political gain.

    “The American people deserve the truth. Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution. The GOP Senate must immediately proceed in a manner worthy of the Constitution and in light of the gravity of the President’s unprecedented abuses. No one is above the law, not even the President.”

    Source: https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/1320

    Beyond what I conclude as Pelosi being a liar, I think there’s enough “stuff” in that to discuss. I particularly “liked” how Pelosi’s totalitarian brain wrote “Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution” and how she has the gall to talk about “proceeding in a manner worthy of the Constitution” after the partisan circus she allowed in the House impeachment hearings?

    Pelosi, and her kind, are a cancer inside our government they will bring down the entire system as long as they can get President Trump.

    • The story is told of Air Marshall Harris standing outside, watching bombs fall on London during the Blitz. He turned to the man standing next to him and said, “The Germans are sowing the wind.”

      That seemed strangely appropriate here…

    • The great orator, Daniel Webster, gave the following speech on the Senate floor during the intense debates over the westward expansion of slavery:

      “In all such disputes, there will sometimes be found men with whom everything is absolute; absolutely right, or absolutely wrong. They deal with morals as with mathematics; and they think what is right may be distinguished from what is wrong with the precision of an algebraic equation. They have, therefore, none too much charity towards others who differ from them. They are apt, too, to think that nothing is good but what is perfect, and that there are no compromises or modifications to be made in consideration of difference of opinion or in deference to other men’s judgment. If their perspicacious judgment enables them to detect a spot on the face of the sun, they think that a good reason why the sun should be struck down from heaven. They prefer the chance of running into utter darkness to living in heavenly light, if that heavenly light be not absolutely without any imperfection.”

      • Last night, one of the Fox News shows – not sure which since I caught it for only on a minute as a drive-by, but either Carlson or Hannity – showed a montage of Chuck Schumer clips from Clinton impeachment. Eerily hypocritical…one could not have scripted it to be more so.

    • “Leader McConnell knows full well that the President’s obstruction of the House impeachment inquiry is unprecedented and in defiance of our system of checks and balances.”

      There’s a couple different ways to look at this….

      First off, saying that something in an impeachment hearing is “unprecedented” is asinine and meaningless…. There have only been four American Presidential Impeachment proceedings. It would be more noteworthy if nothing was unprecedented.

      Second… It’s not true. Administrations have taken presidential privilege to all kinds of extreme places before. Most recently before Trump was Obama, famously in regard to the Fast and Furious scandal. In an impeachment setting, Nixon’s administration was similar. Pelosi isn’t an idiot, this isn’t a matter of scale, or opinion, she’s just lying here.

      Third, even if it were true, it would be irrelevant. The average turnaround for SCOTUS rulings on presidential privilege in the Nixon trials were three to four months. The house didn’t even take that long to hold their hearings! There is every indication that had they waited for these rulings to come down and held their hearings in the spring, they would be good to go. But no, they *had*, for reasons no one can really put into words, to finish up their vote by Christmas.

      It takes a massive amount of gall for Nancy to strut out and say that Cocaine Mitch owes America a better process than she herself was willing to give.

  2. Today’s Miss Manners features a letter regarding one of my pet peeves:


    In a nutshell, the letter writer is tired of bringing presents for her three-year old niece only to watch the child’s six-year old sister open them for her and hand her the opened presents. She believes each child should have the joy of opening her own presents. She has been told the three-year old is now doing the same to her younger sister. The mother of the children doesn’t see anything wrong with it. When the letter writer asked the six-year old to allow her sister to open the present the letter writer brought herself, she was told the child was later upset and crying over why she couldn’t open her sister’s presents for her.

    I have been in the letter writer’s shoes more times than I care to have been. It’s frustrating to attend a young relative’s party and watch some random kid plaster himself to the birthday child, getting in every photo and “helping” the child open his presents. Inevitably, the Birthday Mooch, as I’ve dubbed him, will be half-heartedly cautioned by his parent (think, “No…stop…don’t” a la Gene Wilder in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”) only to have the Birthday Kid’s Mom jump in to say, “It’s alright!”

    No, it’s not. Look at your child’s face and see how excited he is to have his presents opened by someone else, Mom, before you give another kid free reign to usurp the Guest of Honor.

    This goes beyond the frustration of watching young children destroy wrapping, separate cards from the packages so that no one knows who brought what or think that every hoto has to include him, too. I’ve seen this same behavior at adult parties, such as bridal or baby showers, with young children grabbing heavy packages and dropping them, pulling items out of gift bags and strewing them all over the place, blocking photos of the Guest of Honor because they’re handing over half-opened gifts…one mother-to-be wasn’t even given a second to thank the people who gave her each gift because a little girl continually shoved packages into her hands and interrupted, “Don’t you want to open your presents?”.

    I may have been allowed to help a baby open a present when I was young, but never a child perfectly capable of doing so him or herself. I would have been told in no uncertain terms to keep my hands to myself and get out of camera range at someone else’s party. I understand that some kids are even given gifts on a sibling’s birthday so they don’t feel “left out”. That would never have flyed in my home.

    Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? What would you do if you had to sit there and watch a present you spent time shopping for, buying and wrapping being torn open and dismantled by some random four-year old you don’t even know with only haphazard attempts by a parent to stop it? What kind of kids are being raised here that they can’t handle someone else having the spotlight for a single afternoon? Don’t parents have an ethical obligation to ensure their children know when an event is not about them and behave accordingly?

    • I was at a very large 4th birthday party in August for the one of the little girls in the neighborhood. I thought the girls’ parents and the parents of the other kids did a great job keeping the focus where it belonged. When it came time to open the gifts, only the little girl was allowed to open them, along with Cinderella, the princess hired for the event. Other little hands were kindly, but firmly, kept at bay.

      I’ve been at parties like the one you described, and it’s frustrating (and a little uncomfortable) to watch. You are exactly right. Parents should explain to young children ahead of time proper behavior at the party. If they don’t, then any correction from the “birthday person’s” parents is to be expected and is completely justified.

    • That sounds like an absolutely frustrating situation. Sadly, there is virtually no way to correct the behavior of someone else’s child without it becoming a big kerfuffle in today’s society. I am fortunate that I have been able to structure my life in such a way that I very, very rarely find myself at children’s birthday parties, so I have been spared this experience. You’ve given me yet another reason to continue to avoid them…

    • Matthew, the satirical headline is perfect. It’s what they should say but they’d never, ever say it. How do you tell an Iranian government spokesman is lying? His lips are moving. The Bee is not problematic, it’s brilliant, first rate satire. Satire only works if it’s realistic and plausible. I was brought up on Evelyn Waugh’s early, viciously satiric work. “A Handful of Dust,” et al. It wasn’t until a few years ago and after seeing how the British upper class actually acts that I realized Waugh wasn’t making stuff up, he was almost simply writing it down. Let’s just let satire be satire. The only requirement is that it be GOOD satire.

    • And by the way, if someone believes the Bee’s headline, whose fault is that? It’s certainly not the Bee’s, it’s the Iranians’ fault. If you don’t want to be satirized, stop acting like an idiot. It’s not that hard.

  3. Yet again, someone calls for stringing up “climate deniers”.


    There has never been a verified instance of people being murdered over disagreements regarding a scientific question. (It is not clear among historians whether or not the person who proved that the square roots of 2 are irrational was actually thrown overboard.)

    I wonder why this seems unique to climate science.

    when Pythagoras proved his theorem, none of those who disagreed with him were strung up.

    When Euclid published his theorems (including the infinitude of primes), none of thiose who disagreed with him were strung up.

    When Einstein’s theorems regarding general relativity were proven right, none of those who disagreed with him were strung up.

    When Watson and Crick proved the existence of DNA, none of those who disagreed with them were strung up.

    When Andrew Wiles proved Fermat’s Last Theorem, none of those whio doubted Fermat’s last Theorem were strung up.

    When Christophe Brueil, Brian Conrad, Fred Diamond, and Richard Taylor proved the Modularity Theorem, those who believed in the existence of immodular elliptic curves over the rationals were not strung up.

    Why does this principle only apply to climate science?

    • In answer to your last question: The reason it applies to client science (I’m not quite sure “only” is accurate) is because the Church of Climate Change has convinced its flock that the Earth faces an existential threat to its human habitability.

      Anyone with a smattering of scientific understanding knows this is extremely unlikely. While it is certainly possible, if the worst fever-dreams of the climate alarmists become reality, that man will suffer some significant inconvenience and property damage/loss, it is highly unlikely to produce mass starvation or death from proximate causes.

      But sadly, that doesn’t fit the narrative they want, nor the urgency they feel the issue deserves. In order for a threat to be truly existential, it must:

      a) Have demonstrable consequences that are truly catastrophic to more than just property and human comfort — the survivability of the human race must be at stake, and;
      b) Be urgent to the extent that failure to take immediate and drastic action to correct it will be ultimately fatal.

      Neither of these things are even theoretically likely according to any respectable scientific analysis. So they have decided to simply make them a matter of faith, and accuse all those who don’t accept that faith of being heretics — only their term for “heretic” is “denier.”

      We all know what the penalty for heretics is — depending on your moment in history, it is excommunication and/or death. In the Church of Climate Change, because we are talking about the fate of humanity, death seems to some of the true believers as an acceptable, perhaps even desirable punishment for heretics, much like some Christians even today would support death for heretics.

      More proof, if any was actually needed, that “Climate Change” or “Global Warming” or whatever has become a religion, not science.

    • It’s worse than that, of course, because the climate alarmists haven’t actually proved their hypothesis correct. They have assembled some data (of questionable reliability) that at best shows a correlation of two elements in their hypothesis. The critical link that one (atmospheric CO2 levels) causes the other (higher temperatures) remains to be shown in the real world. Yes, they’ve constructed plenty of computer models that show this to be the case, but those models have a very weak resemblance to real-world behavior.

      So the answer to your question is probably something like, “They need to eliminate the skeptics, because they’re not on very solid footing scientifically.” If they had irrefutable proof and unassailable data, it wouldn’t matter what the “deniers” think, because the only ones denying it would be crackpots anyway. Thus, they have to rely on unscientific nonsense like “consensus” and trying to shame skeptics into silence.

      I’ve always been of the opinion that hitching their wagon to the single horse of global warming was a huge mistake for the environmentalist movement. There are plenty of reasons to be “green”, like cleaner air and water, less waste and pollution, etc, etc, without considering climate change at all, but they’ve all but abandoned those arguments in favor of “we’re all gonna die in 8 years, 4 months, and 22 days!”. Now they’re in a hard spot – if the planet really isn’t warming, or if it’s not attributable to fossil fuels, or if such warming isn’t actually a bad thing (the Earth’s climate has been much warmer than this for most of the past billion years or so), the whole movement looks like a sham, because they’ve put all their eggs in that one basket.

      • That’s a really interesting analysis, Jeff. Hair shirt ecologists have been thrashing around for a horse to ride on since the first Earth Day. They may have made a mistake with “climate change.”

        • I think some of them realize it, too, which is why they don’t ever want to talk numbers and data, they want to talk about how it “feels” like there are more hurricanes and fires.

          It’s become rather obvious that most of the climate-change religionists have the “health of the planet” as a distant secondary objective, while “eliminating capitalism” is their primary goal. You can’t radically reshape the entire global economy on a platform of reducing mercury emissions and cleaning up rivers, so you need a bigger villain. They chose CO2 as that villain, in spite of a direct connection between it and global temperatures being shaky at best. But eliminating fossil fuel use is the only objective enormous enough to require the authoritarian control that is their real goal.

          • As a visual experiment, fill a giant tub with 9,997 white marbles and 3 blue marbles. The blue marbles represent C02 levels back in the 1930s. Now remove 1 white marble and replace it with a blue one. Michael Mann, James Hansen, and all of their followers believe that one additional marble – equivalent to C02 levels of today – is the existential threat to humanity.

            C02 comprises 0.04% of the atmosphere. The largest greenhouse gas, by orders of magnitude, is water vapor.

            Climate alarmists chose their villain very poorly.

            • Soooooo; regulation of the most prevalent (H20 vapor), AND the most heat-trapping (CH4 methane) takes a back seat to regulating a trace gas which is both essential to all life/living and a bi-product/involved with all activity on Mother Gaia.

              Why CO2………WHY???

          • My longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, once described the Green new Deal as “a mashup of the Holodomor, the Nazi “Hunger Plan” for the Soviet Union, Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”, and Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” that will starve millions to death and leave millions more in medieval levels of poverty, squalor and disease”

  4. Impossible foods CEO wants to eliminate the meat food chain while using the terminology “pork” “beef” and I suppose “chicken” will be next. Similar to the soy, almond and other “milk” that isn’t milk, and beef and pork that was never on the hoof, the infusion of old words with new foods is common place.
    I think it’s dishonest and false advertising to take a moral high ground while poaching long term standard names for specific food.

    “The mission of Impossible Foods is very simple. It’s to completely replace animals in the food system by 2035.”

    Okay Pat, if it’s so bad, it needs to be eliminated, why are you not inventing your own name for the plant slime you are selling? Oh I know, because it’s harder to sell something foreign and weird.

    • ” ‘It’s to completely replace animals in the food system by 2035.’ ”

      Flora are FAR more SOPHISTICATED than the paltry credit they receive might imply.

      Damn high in the queue when you google search plant’s sensitivity? PETA.org & mercyforanimals.org.

      Perhaps to no one’s surprise, neither is overly convinced that verdant verdure suffers much in the larger scheme of things. Even if they do, seems the prevailing attitude is that consumable produce needs to, you know, like, take one for the team!

      I must confess that as an organic gardener, I’m not immune seeing things a certain way and with a certain bias.

      That said; when I look at a frond of Lacinato or Prizm Kale, a Giant Red Marconi or Gypsy Pepper, a Mountain Merit or Namio Heirloom Tomato, or a Daikon Radish at their perfect peak?

      Trust me; they’re askin’ for it!

    • Sheen called Fonda “one of my heroes nearly all my adult life” and said that, “Clearly, the world will be saved by women. Thank God they outnumber [us] men,” according to Deadline.

      Marty, Marty, Marty. Come on, buddy. Trying to get laid by Barbarella? Wait, you’re older than I am. You couldn’t have been a teenaged boy when Barbarella came out, right? You must have been about her age. What would Fulton Sheen think of your pandering?

      Wait, you’re 79 and she’s 82.

  5. I’m currently at the DMV. You have to take a numbered ticket and wait for your number to be called. A few minutes ago I watched a woman give another woman (who arrived 45 min after I did) her ticket number because she had to get to get family.

    By giving this ticket away she let the other woman essentially cut in line by about 45-60 min. Was it ethical or unethical to give away or take the numbered ticket? It certainly seems unfair.

    • The place in line was hers to give away, if she chose to do so. I assume they just swapped places, so the giver got put back further in line, so not really a line “cut”, where somebody jumps ahead and everyone else now has one more person in front of them. Nobody else in the line would have been affected other than the giver and recipient, right? Seems ethically neutral to me, if that’s how it went down.

    • Hard to tell. She may have given the ticket to someone who missed their place earlier due to a phone call or simple neglect and had to grab another.

      Speaking of missing your place, my DMV calls out the vacant ticket number repeatedly for a good minute before advancing to the next. This wastes everyone’s time. Assuming the person who now holds two tickets pays it forward, then everyone wins until a new arrival gets the remainder.

  6. Dear Ethics Alarmists,

    Today, I bring sad news. We learned that, this past Tuesday, we lost an amazing writer, lyricist, thinker, drummer, musician, father, husband, friend, and person.

    Neil Peart, drummer for Rush, passed away after a three battle with brain cancer. We, the Rushinati, grieve for him, his family and friends, and the musical world. Rush officially retired from performing in 2015, going out at the height if their game. Little did we know the reason.

    Though his death diminishes our world, we can celebrate his contribution over 45 years. In all those years, Pratt gave everything he had. He was a man of highest integrity, professionalism, fierce individualist, and passionately committed to his craft, never wavering from desire to be the best at what he did at all times. He is an Ethics Hero par excellence.

    Rest in Peace, Professor.


    • I’ve been reading about Rush and Pratt after hearing about his death: he and Rush are among the hold in my cultural literacy. Couldn’t name a single Rush song, and my drummer expertise stops at Buddy rich and Ringo. But he sounds like a fascinating guy.

      • I sincerely belief that Rush represents the best of us. They never compromised their values, their integrity, or their dedication to their craft. Like their music or not, but you can’t deny what they did. Watch “Beyond A Lighted Stage,” and you will get an idea what drove them as a band. My wife, a virulent anrlti-Rushinatus, admires them having watched the film.


  7. This is a little late to the game, but is a hot issues right now in the IT world, especially in IT security:

    Basically the government wants a backdoor way for law enforcement to decrypt communications that may be part of illegal activity. Most in the IT security world are concerned because a back door can be used (or abused) by bad guys just like law enforcement. I personally also think that the government doesn’t have a right to my communications, even if they think it’s being used for illegal purposes. I agree with Ben Franklin and don’t want to trade freedom from a small measure of safety.

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