A grateful pointer to Althouse for finding this photo, which raises automatic ethics questions. I am viscerally opposed to putting sweater, clothes and costumes on dogs, in part because all of our dogs have hated it, and one, our feisty Jack Russell Dickens, would twist himself like a contortionist to get out of any garb, whereupon he would rip it to shreds. Several of her commenters make a great point, however: it is unethical to force dogs bred for warm and dry climates to live in wet, cold ones. I have dog-lover friends who insist that dogs are humiliated by being dressed up, like Ralphie in his bunny pajamas. That, I think, is a stretch.
1. Don’t blame Disney. Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, California decided to raise money for the PTA by selling tickets to a screening of The Lion King. CNN explains,
“One of the dads bought the movie at Best Buy,” PTA president David Rose told CNN. “He owned it. We literally had no idea we were breaking any rules.” While the school doesn’t know how exactly the company discovered the movie was played, Rose said the school’s PTA will “somewhat begrudgingly” cover the cost of the screening. An email sent to the school by Movie Licensing USA informed Emerson faculty that the company had “received an alert” that “The Lion King” was screened during an event on November 15. Movie Licensing USA manages licensing for Disney and other major studios. And since the school does not have a license with the company, it’s been asked to pay $250 for the screening — and $250 per showing of the movie at any future events at the school.”
What? “Somewhat grudgingly”? They had “no idea” charging for tickets to see copyrighted material broke any rules? Those rules are well-displayed on any DVD, and any duty of reasonable intelligence should be able to figure out what’s illegal about doing what they did. There weren’t any lawyers among the organizers and attendees?
In its story about this episode, Boing Boing, an entertaining site with an annoyingly “woke” staff, implies that Disney is being an greedy old meanie, and that the PTA was an innocent victim of another evil corporation. Wrong, and stupid. If companies don’t protect their copyrights and trademarks, they can lose them. Disney has been overzealous in this area, but not on this occasion.
2. KABOOM! Chris Matthews suggested yesterday that the Democrats should consider nominating Adam Schiff for President.
3. From the “How did I not know about this?” department: A documentary is out about an outrageous scam, and a movie starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck is being made about it.
Jerry Jacobson, an ex-cop turned security auditor rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly game promotion for a decade, stealing millions of dollars and building a vast network of co-conspirators across the U.S. From 1989 to 2001, there were virtually no legitimate winners of the McDonald’s nationwide promotion. McDonald’s corporate executives were defrauded as were trusting McDonald’s customers.
Jacobson’s associates included members of the Mafia, and they won almost all of the top prizes, including cash and cars ,in the McMillions McDonald’s giveaways. In total, the scam netted over $24 million. the Daily Beast has a thorough account of the amazing story here.
4. YouTube says it will police election-related content in the year ahead. Just as the Iowa Caucuses were descending into chaos, YouTube announced it would…
- ….ban videos that gave users the wrong voting date or that spread false information about participating in the census.
- ….remove videos that spread lies about a political candidate’s citizenship status or eligibility for public office,
- ….including vieos that falsely indicated that a government official was dead. And it will…
- ….terminate YouTube channels that tried to impersonate another person or channel, conceal their country of origin, or hide an association with the government.
These all seem reasonable in that they do not rely on subjective interpretations of what constitutes “lies.”
I don’t trust the social media an tech platforms, because they have lied so often before.
5. Have editorials always been this bad? Maybe they have; I usually don’t read editorials. When I do, I am usually depressed at how poor the logic and ethical instincts of those in charge of our newspapers are.
Here’s one by the Miami Herald Editorial Board headlined, “Parkland dad Fred Guttenberg had a right to shout during Trump’s State of the Union speech.”
That’s a poor start: no, in fact he doesn’t have that right. Nobody has the right to disrupt a government proceeding. We are told that “Fred Guttenberg‘s act of rebellion” came from the heart, a heart in pain, a heart irrevocably broken. Oh. Is there some kind of exemption from the law if one is sufficiently broken hearted? Is this really the fatuous level of progressive thought in 2020?
Then the editors claim, “it seemed particularly heartless for him to be removed from the balcony gallery by security after he shouted out in the name of his slain daughter when Trump failed to address any attempt on his part to confront gun violence in America.” It would have been particularly irresponsible to allow one disruptive guest to interfere with the efforts of everyone else and attendance as well as millions viewing on TV to hear what the President of the United States had to say. What would the editors suggest as an alternative? Gagging him? Just let him shout out stuff as the mood struck him?
Apparently. The rest of the editorial takes the useless and lazy position that Guttenberg was justiviably enraged because “mass shootings have continued; so has the day-to-day deadly gunplay in our cities. Neither Congress nor the president has offered real solutions to crack down on either.”
Oh. “Real solutions.” And what might those “real solutions” be? The editorial notes,
In Florida, three weeks after the shooting, then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, a comprehensive bill that included provisions that raise the age to purchase a gun, ban bump stocks and allow law enforcement, with the approval of a judge, to confiscate the gun of a person deemed dangerous because of mental illness…
…and seems to concede that these typical “do something” regulations don’t work. Thus, agreeing with Guttenberg, the editors find it outrageous that the President of the United States, sworn to uphold the Constitution, says that he will protect that Second Amendment.
Editors whose though processes are this flawed and whose writing is this emotional without mooring in reality are unqualified to oversee news reporting. Citizens who abuse individual rights are one of the unavoidable costs of having those rights.
Conservative blogger Charlie Martin wrote today, regarding the Iowa fiasco, “If it seems stupid, it probably is stupid.”
I like that rule, and I have been trying to find out if there is a name for it. If not, I’ll be calling it “Charlie’s Law of Stupidity.” While doing my research, I uncovered this useful document, “The Basic Laws of human Stupidity,” by Carlo Cipolla.