Happy Day Like Any Other Day.
Well, not “happy,” exactly…
I’m on record on Ethics Alarms as detesting April Fools Day, as well as regarding April Fools stunts by professionals, like lawyers and journalists, unethical though usually not sanctionable. It should be a children’s day, like Halloween, but adults are determined to co-opt all such days, ruining it for everybody.
1. I lost a good friend yesterday. It’s more than that really: the human race lost one of its finest representatives. His name was Dennis Nollette; he was a lawyer, a writer and a bon vivant, but most of he was one of those amazing people who made you feel good just by being around him. I knew him in laws school, where he was my room mate for a year; he also was a member of the casts of the three productions I staged when I was a student. Since graduation, I think I saw Dennis six times, never for long, but with him it seemed like the time melted away: he was always the same, always emitting his powerful positive energy, optimism, and love for those around him, and I always felt as close to him as ever.
And just like that, he’s gone. There was no warning; it all happened so fast. All I have now is an overwhelming feeling of loss, along with an acknowledgment of my duty to let as many people as possible know that he was here, that he made the world a better place by being here, and that those of us who remains should follow his example by making the best out of life, and encouraging others to do the same by our example. That was Dennis’s genius, and attention must be paid.
2. Maybe the Constitution IS a suicide pact…Justice Robert H. Jackson’s famous line in his dissenting opinion in Terminiello v. Chicago, a 1949 free speech case, has come to mind many times in the past few weeks, as the news media and online sources have churned out some of the most irresponsible and outrageous essays in memory, many of them about how this period will “change America forever,” usually in undesirable ways. 90% of these screeds are nonsense and based on flawed reasoning. My current leader for the worst idea is this piece, by conservative gadfly Roger Simon: “Should We Postpone the Presidential Election One Year?”
It’s an incompetent question. Not only shouldn’t we, we can’t, and any suggestion from Republicans that we ought to even think about it would be instantly condemned as the attempted dictatorship by Donald Trump that Big Lie #3 has warned us about. We also know that if the President did get an extra year, it would spent all of it defending himself against one impeachment attempt after another.
3. The media screed: always assume the worst. The site where I found this story snarked that it was another U.S. government cover-up. Quick now, why might the Pentagon tell military bases not to publicize how many Wuhan virus cases it has? Come on…guess.
4. Covidiots of the Day! A couple from Quebec, whose names are being withheld to keep angry mobs from hunting them down and feeding them to squirrels, were frightened of the pandemic. They decided to sell all their early possessions and decided to travel to the most remote locale they could find. First they drove over 3000 miles, then caught a small plane to take them to the tiny Yukon community of Old Crow, population 250, a fly-in, self-governing community about 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. Old Crow has asked people not to come there to keep the pandemic away. The Yukon government, meanwhile, had just declared a state of emergency requiring any visitors to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. This couple hadn’t done that.
They said the decided on Old Crow after one of them had a dream pointing them there.
These clueless fools were met at the airport by Old Crow’s emergency management coordinator and escorted to a small apartment at the local Co-op store, and put them on the next flight out.
5. Reminds me of the “St Louis,” and I don’t like being reminded of the “St. Louis.” [About the “St. Louis“: “Voyage of the St. Louis…”]
What is the ethical way to deal with cruise ships with infected passengers that are desperate to dock somewhere?
Passengers on board the “Zaandam”want to get off at Florida, but Governor Ron DeSantis said the state’s health care resources are already stretched too thin to take on another ship’s Wuhan Virus cases. The U.S. Coast Guard said yesterday that the decision would be passed off to Washington if Florida remains adamant.
“There are no great choices left. These are all tough outcomes,” Coast Guard Captain Jo-Ann Burdian told Broward County commissioners at an emergency meeting. Two deaths on board the Zaandam have been blamed on the virus, and another nine people have tested positive. 450 guests and 602 crew members are currently on the Zaandam, including more than 190 who claim to be sick. Many are U.S. citizens, but far from all. “We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources,” DeSantis told Fox News.
Meanwhile, Holland America President Orlando Ashford authored an opinion column in the South Florida Sun Sentinel begging officials and residents to let the passengers disembark from ships owned by his company. But although Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony called the situation a “humanitarian crisis,” he warned that allowing the Zaandam to dock would burden the local health care system and put residents at risk.
“This ship has been turned away from several countries already,” he said. “We are in some very, very critical circumstances where we as a county are going to have to determine are we willing to take on this responsibility.”
Another Carnival-owned ship with passengers who may be infected is now sailing toward Fort Lauderdale, and scheduled to arrive in April. Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich urged officials to come up with a plan, saying,
“These people have been turned away from so many countries, one after the other. We are their last hope. What are we going to do? Let this ship go back out to sea and float around and let people die? I don’t think so.”