The story of that Christmas classic, Bing’s last holiday hit and also the last popular Christmas song that references its religious origins, is here.
I almost called this post the Clinton Impeachment Anniversary Edition, but decided to be more upbeat. It was on this date that William Jefferson Clinton became the second U.S. President to be impeached. Like the first, the unfortunate Andrew Johnson, Clinton was acquitted in the Senate. Also like Johnson, Clinton was impeached for genuine reasons consistent with the Constitution’s requirements. The next impeachment—did you notice how Democrats never mentioned it during the 2020 campaign?—-was very different: the Democratic House just decided it wanted to impeach President Trump and contrived an excuse to do it after three years of searching.
As veteran readers here know, it was the near complete absence of ethical analysis from the news media during Monica Madness and the mountain of rationalizations and obfuscations employed by Clinton’s defenders that prompted me to launch The Ethics Scoreboard, which in due course led to Ethics Alarms.
1. A bar exam ethics train wreck in California. The ABA Journal reports that more than 3,000 law school grads who sat for the State Bar of California’s remote October exam had their proctoring videos flagged for review, and dozens report receiving violation notices from the agency’s office of admissions. The issues flagged appear to be largely technology-based, and many claim they had no indication of a problem until they received violation notices. The flagging will create serious problems for those involved. A Chapter 6 Notice, as it is called, allows an applicant to respond in writing before any finding is made. If there is a determination that a test-taker violated procedures, bar actions could include warnings, a score of zero for the flagged sessions or the entire exam and negative marks on character and fitness evaluations, endangering the applicant’s prospects of receiving a license.
An individual can challenge the office’s determination and request an administrative hearing, and an unfavorable outcome can be appealed with the Committee of Bar Examiners and the California Supreme Court. However, those applicants’ October bar exam scores will be in limbo while hearings and appeals are resolved, and they will not be able to take the February 2021 exam when determinations of previous scores are pending.
The violations cited include examinees’ eyes being intermittently out of view of their webcams, audio not working; and test-takers not being present behind their computers during the exam. In other words, this is another disaster created by pandemic hysteria and technology unsuited to the challenge of providing an adequate alternative to in-person activity.
2. The scary part is how many people who pay attention to racists like this. A TIME magazine article explored the career of the amazing Helen Keller, the deaf and blind woman who graduated from Radcliffe College (now Harvard University) in 1904, worked for the American Foundation for the Blind from the mid-1920s until her death in 1968, was an activist for schools for the blind and braille reading materials and co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. The article also included the verdict by black disability rights activist Anita Cameron that Helen Keller was “just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person.”
3. And speaking of racists...The Boston Red Sox have been deservedly embarrassed by Ernst Jean-Jacques Jr. who was honored by the team’s “Hats off to Heroes” program in August. The program was originally created to honor veterans, but team owner John Henry, a big-time Democratic Party donor who is addicted to progressive virtue signaling, allowed the program to expand its honors to “systemic racism” and Black Lives Matter activists. Jean-Jacques was praised by the team’s spokesman as a“pillar of the community,” for his participation in the “fight against social injustice.” His fight later included punching an 80-year old female Trump supporter in the face at a “Stop the Steal” pro-Trump rally in Swampscott, Massachusetts. This was caught on video, but we still have to say that the crime is “alleged.”
At this point, the difference between the NFL and Major League Baseball is that the former honors black criminals after they have committed violent crimes, whereas the latter honors anti-white racists before they commit the kind of violent crimes their rhetoric suggests they favor. [Pointer: James Hodgson]
4. From the Ethics Alarms “Who cares?” files: CNN thinks it’s newsworthy that Barack Obama liked a bunch of books. This is the news network that didn’t think evidence of a Presidential candidate’s son telling foreign officials that his father could put in a good word for their interests if they forked over enough cash was worth telling the public about before the election. Now the network is using its time and effort to promote Obama’s book (From the article: ‘I’ll start by sharing my favorite books this year, deliberately omitting what I think is a pretty good book — A Promised Land — by a certain 44th president,’ Obama joked.”) The same network, you will recall, treated the same 44th Presidents’ bracket picks in the NCAA college basketball tournament as worthy of broadcasting.
Why is Barack Obama’s book list news? He’s not a book critic or a scholar. He doesn’t give any reasons why he recommends those books. Nor have any standards been applied to the story: who has confirmed that Obama read them? How do we know the list wasn’t compiled by an intern who was told to find titles that sent the right messages and made Obama seem deep?
This is hackery. It immediately reminded me of the breathless stories about how President Kennedy read whole books in minutes. Years later we learned the claim was made up, but approved by JFK.
Here, by the way, is how one news aggregation site headlined the CNN story: “Last President that read books releases his favorites list for 2020.”
5. On the plus side in ethics milestones...Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol” was published on this date in 1843. I regard it as the greatest ethics story in English literature, and I read it, aloud if possible, every year.