1. The Florida Bar, protecting us all against unethical zombie lawyers...Last month, the Florida Supreme Court approved that Florida Bar’s decision to disbar Sabrina Starr Spradley, a 41-year-old attorney in private practice in Delray Beach, Florida. She died more than a year ago. The rules do not require another attorney or family member to tell the bar when a lawyer being disciplined has died, so poor Sabrina had to suffer the post mortem indignity of being labeled an unethical lawyer.
“We do have 108,000 lawyers in Florida,” a Florida Bar spokesperson explained. “There are a lot of individuals that we regulate. We rely on people to inform us.”
Why? How hard is it to routinely check the obituaries before wasting the Supreme Court’s time?
2. For the fake news Hall of Fame. Because President Trump is “reportedly” (whatever that means) “considering” flying to Scotland instead of attending Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the Independent reports that Scotland won’t allow him in, because it wouldn’t be “essential” travel. Can a news headline (“Trump not allowed into Scotland to escape Biden inauguration, Sturgeon warns” ) be built on fewer facts than this?
Incidentally, there’s no law requiring an outgoing President to attend the inauguration of a President, and if Trump declines to do so, he would not be the first. He’d be the fourth, following John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson. A gracious transfer of power is always in the best interest of the nation, and Trump would do himself a favor if he just sucked it up and pretended to be a statesman. I doubt that he will.
3. Tales of dead ethics alarms! Phyllis McGuire, the lead singer in the iconic 50’s trio The McGuire Sisters (“Sincerely”), died this week, reviving memories of her epic ethics alarm malfunction. At the worst possible time, just as the group was battling for its professional life as musical tastes were moving away from Lawrence Welk and Mitch Miller to “Shindig” and “Hullabaloo,” Phyllis shattered her sisters’ carefully maintained wholesome image…
… by being revealed in 1965 as the girlfriend of Sam Giancana, an infamous Chicago mobster. The couple had been followed by federal agents for several years, and eventually were called before appeared before a grand jury. Sam refused to answer questions and was jailed for contempt. She testified that she had met him in Las Vegas in 1961, traveled with him to Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere and accepted his gifts in a continuing relationship. She was, she said, aware that he was a reputed gangster, she said, but insisted that she knew nothing of his underworld activities.
Right. This is a perfect example of contrived ignorance, or wilful blindness. McGuire knew she was endangering not only her career but her sisters’ as well. Indeed, the act was dead withing three years of McGuire’s outing as mob moll. Phyllis continued to rationalize her relationship with Giancana to the bitter end ( he was assassinated in 1975). “Sam was the greatest teacher I ever could have had,” she told Dominick Dunne in a 1989 interview published in Vanity. “He was so wise about so many things.”
4. Facepalm...Two days ago, the Trump campaign asked its 4.6 million followers on social media to call two Michigan state lawmakers and demand that they vote to decertify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. It posted the phone numbers and emails for Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and former Michigan House speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans. Then President Trump shared the post to his more than 35 million followers.
Not only had the campaign erroneously identified Chatfield as the current speaker, it also gave out the wrong number for him.
And so it was that a 28-year-old disabled Michigan man was bombarded with thousands of angry phone calls. He’s giving up his current cell phone number. The victim said (the Times article says he prefers “they”—I won’t call a single human being “they’ even when I’m hanging from my heels in the public square) that the President’s campaign should have taken the time to double-check the numbers before posting them online.
I’s say that’s a fair assessment.