Way, way too much ethics-related politics this past week. I keep getting complaints about all the political content, and it annoys me too, but I don’t know what kind of alternatives I have. Back in the sane days, the idea of a House Speaker planning on tearing up the official copy of the State of the Union speech would have been the stuff of Saturday Night Live…when SNL would make fun of Democrats, anyway. I’m trying to keep the politics to a minimum. I swear.
1. The Astros cheating scandal, cont. Would you wonder about this answer? A.J. Hinch, the ex-Houston Astros manager who was fired and suspended by Major League Baseball for allowing an illegal sign-stealing scheme to be used by his players for the entire 2017 World Champion Astros season, finally sat down for an interview. When he was asked whether Houston players had utilized buzzers in their uniforms to receive signsduring the 2019 season as some have claimed based on inconclusive evidence and rumors, Hinch only would answer, “The Commissioner’s Office did as thorough of an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible.”
Why not “No”? That was what reporters term a “non-denial denial.”
2. If they advised her to run her sick child through the washing machine and he drowned, would that be their fault too? The death of a four-year-old boy named Najee is being blamed on an anti-vaxx Facebook group.
The boy had been diagnosed with the flu and the doctor had prescribed Tamiflu. His mother sought advice from the Facebook group “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” on how to treat her son’s’ illness. The members told her to give the boy vitamins, botanicals, zinc, fruits and vegetables, and to skip the medicine.
“Ok perfect I’ll try that,” she responded. Later that night, Najee had a seizure and died.
The mother is responsible. It’s her child. The fact that she got deadly advice from non-medical personnel she should not have consulted anyway does not relieve her of absolute accountability, any more than if she had taken the advice of a phone psychic a raving homeless man wearing a cat on his head. This isn’t Facebook’s fault or the idiotic anti-vaxx movement’s fault. Her ignorance and gullibility killed her child, and we should be saying so, clearly and emphatically.
3. Update: The incredibly uncivil lawyer. Remember California lawyer Christopher Hooks, the plaintiffs attorney who told Allstate’s lawyers to “eat a bowl of dicks”?
In the hearing before U.S. District Judge Otis Wright to determine whether his clients’ (now former clients’) case would be dismissed because of his threats and insults, Hook began by arriving late and lying to the judge about how late. Eventually he caused the judge to snap. First Hook argued that his incriminating emails could not be authenticated, prompting a warning from Wright, who said, “This is not the day to be cute. And I am not the guy.”
Then Hook argued that the emails were zealous representation, designed to get Allstate to discuss a settlement after theywouldn’t return his phone calls. Hook conceded that he had failed to conduct himself in a professional manner, and that it was wrong. He told the judge that his emails were protected by the First Amendment and the litigation privilege. That did it.
“You honestly believe the First Amendment extends to anything?” Wright replied. “You did go to law school, right?” Wright told Hook that he had threatened people and behaved like a gangster, and declared that the legal profession didn’t need lawyers like him.
“I am going to do what I can to remove you from this profession., the judge said, and demanded that Hook surrender his law license.
“I will not do that,” Hook replied, as Wright cut him off. “Shut up!” the judge said. “I want you to resign from this profession.”
“We’re out of here!” Wright concluded. And he ended the hearing.
4. Another update: Disney and the unauthorized “Lion King” showing. As related here, Disney received (ignorant) bad publicity when it demanded a copyright fee from an elementary school that charged money to watch a DVD of “The Lion King” as a fundraiser. Treading the this line between good public relations and legal necessity, Disney CEO Bob Iger tweeted an apology to the school on behalf of the company, and announced that he’ll personally donate to the school’s fundraising initiative, presumable more than enough to pay for the $250 Disney demanded for the school’s flagrant copyright infringement. Disney can’t waive the fee: if it did, that would create a precedent that could undermine the company’s rights in the film.