Open Forum Drill!

Today was loused up by more dental adventures, but I learned something valuable that should have occurred to me long ago: Don’t assume your dentist is right, especially when he or she advocates expensive procedures. Today I visited my third tooth expert in a month, following the debacle of a week ago when I arrived at the elite oral surgeon my new dentist referred me to for three extractions, one of which he had added to my dentist’s original assessment. After I walked out of that appointment following what I felt was an unethical jerk-around by the staff, I decided to try another dentist who came highly recommended by a friend. To my surprise, and after enough x-rays to have me worried about mutating into an axolotl, today’s dentist said he thought I needed only one immediate extraction for sure, and that he could save one of the teeth while the other one could wait. This dentist, unlike the oral surgeon, also accepted my insurance. What a concept! A second opinion! And one that might save me thousands of dollars!

But I digress.

Let’s see if we can have a lively Friday Open Forum as last week, which was outstanding.

I expect second, third and fourth opinions on everything ethics.

29 thoughts on “Open Forum Drill!

  1. I noticed something this week and I don’t know if it is ick or unethical. While working at my desk I normally have some kind of podcast up. Normally its some people talking about MTG (Kind of strange for a minister I know, but I don’t really want to have to pay attention to it, I just want it to be interesting enough, but not consuming where I can’t focus on my work). Anyway, I decided to do something different and clicked on one of my kids videos of a guy playing Mario. It started with a guy talking about how Mario 35 (apparently it is where 35 people play the first Mario at the same time) was going to end in a few days and he was doing a special run of playing that game. About two minutes after this someone donates $350.00 to the guy playing. This same person would later go on (in the 90 minute video) to donate $35, $3.50, and $0.35. However, it was not just this one guy making donations. While I’m not sure, this guy made somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 just in this 90 minutes.

    The guy wasn’t doing it for charity or anything, he was just doing it for his own pockets meaning people were just paying him to watch him play video games. I don’t think I realized this is a thing, but the more I looked into it, it is actually quite common. Am I just overthinking it, or is there something ethically wrong here?

    • As long as they know that they’re giving money, how much they’re giving and who they’re giving it to. I don’t see anything unethical about it.

    • Video game streaming is a popular form of modern entertainment. There are a ton of streamers, but only a few who are entertaining enough to make money at it. Some streamers are very good at teaching people how to play the games, and provide a useful service to people seeking to improve at their favorite hobby. Other streamers are simply entertaining. There are individual streamers who might be unethical (half-naked female streamers who are basically producing porn and calling it a video game stream, for instance), but in general I don’t think it is any more unethical than paying to watch a comedian or an informational video.

      The upside is that you are not required to pay for any of it. It is kind of like street musicians, where anyone can throw a couple bucks in the tip jar, but everyone on the street gets to hear the show for free. People who throw hundred dollar bills in the tip jar are sort of bizarre, but they do it to make themselves feel good, not because they have to.

      Just keep an eye on what your kids are watching, and make sure it is age appropriate. Video games are no longer primarily made with children as the target audience. Adults are usually the primary target audience of video games, and adults are usually the target audience of video game streamers. There are a lot of streams that are inappropriate for children, and parents should monitor their children’s online activities.

      • One of my musician friends, whose substantial living suddenly disappeared with the reign-of-covid, took to his YouTube account (and Facebook also, I think: I don’t use that) to give free weekly two-hour live concerts – ragtime, popular and movie music thru the 30s and 40s, and narrates a fun history as he goes along, also taking live requests of same and chatting with his video audience from many festivals. He has a “virtual tip jar” on the piano for those who care to contribute. It started small, but now at least puts food on the table. He refers to it once, very briefly, during the show – and once forgot to mention it at all. Thus we adapt!

    • I play a number of different games on my computer, some of which are popular online and some as multiplayers games.

      There seem to be a decent number of folks who post videos on those games, from tutorials to what are called ‘Let’s play’ videos showing that person’s playthrough of a given game over a number of video episodes.

      The people who do that and are popular, that are good at it, do seem to have Patreon accounts and folks who follow them and contribute to their Patreon coffers. I don’t now how much of a living they might make, but it helps enable them to do the videos.

      I also follow a guy who does military history videos, who has said that his supporters enable him to purchase the various books he needs for his research (and military history books tend not to be cheap).

      And I’ve run across other examples — it would seem that Patreon can be quite a useful tool for people trying to monetize their work on the internet.

      I’ve never seen a problem with the practice and I am actually considering following some of those folks and perhaps chipping in a bit myself.

      If it’s kids donating, one would hope that this is with their allowance (or whatever the 21st century equivalent might be). And, of course, porn is not something that kids should be watching in any case.

      So I don’t think paying (or tipping) people for entertaining me by playing a video game is really a problem. That is, as long as I am actually entertained.

    • I have second hand experience with this. My friend and I both suffered through years of school and grad school to obtain well paying jobs.

      My friend’s sister married a guy who she met at work, who streamed video games on the side. A few years after the wedding, he quit his job with his wife’s blessing because he was making more playing Pokemon on the side than in marketing! He started making more than $200K a year, and they bought a $500K house. When my friend’s niece came along, the sister quit her job, and they recently bought a $1M house. My friend and I are incredulous.

      Now, in his defense, he probably works 60-80 minimum each week streaming. He also travels to comic-cons and conferences and constantly promotes special events. I think he may have picked up a few sponsors along the way. He has essentially become a professional entertainer, leaning strongly on his marketing background. But between bough’s he’s right at home with his family. On reflection, there is nothing wrong per se, but it is hard to not turn green looking at this from afar.

  2. As a baseball fan, I am embarrassed by our sport for pandering to the woke social justice warriors. The gutless commissioner did nothing but reiterate the foolish remarks by President Biden on the law – remarks that earned Biden a well-deserved four Pinocchios from the Washington Post.

  3. Looks like MLB is moving the All-Star game out of Atlanta because the Georgia legislature expanded the hours of some polling places for future elections and also requires that absentee ballots only go to actual people.

    Why can’t sports businesses stick to sports and stay clear of politics?

    Our host’s assessment of this should prove interesting.

    • I have to say that I am pleased the Georgia governor does not appear to be backing down or apologizing for this. One thing I saw him doing was to compare Georgia early voting laws to Delaware (to pick a state at random, of course). Delaware does not come off looking good in comparison to Georgia.

      I hope the Georgia GOP uses this to beat the Democrats over the head with next year in the Senate (and, I believe, governor) races. They have simply got to confront the Democrats every time they lie and distort the truth, as they have done here.

      • Give it a week or two and then get back to me.

        Kemp has not exactly distinguished himself when faced with sufficient pressure from the Left and the media. It’s easy to stand up early, when passions are high and defenders are outraged, but if we know nothing else about the woke Left, it’s that they are persistent as well as loud and ethically indifferent.

        If Kemp follows previous form, he will eventually cave and demand changes to the law. He fears Stacey Abrams like kids fear dark, open closets at night. Sadly, he won’t be alone, either.

    • This is kind of a meaningless gesture.

      If the MLB really wanted to take a stand, it would tell the owner of the Braves, “move your team out of Georgia or we will throw your club out of the league.”


    • O’Rourke knows he can’t beat Abbott, even with the power outage debacle in February. The US Senate seats are safe for it least four more years and Bob O’Rourke is a blithering idiot. He was a useless Representative and had lost twice for high positions (President and US Senate) and his nonsense sealed statewide offices for Republicans for the foreseeable future. I suspect his ability to raise money has dried up.


    • Beats having the frozen toilet waste package from a 747 crash thru your roof (it’s been at least 30 years since it happened, but still…..). It isn’t likely to make headlines until somebody gets wasted from it.

  4. I’m curious what people think of the ethics of Lester Holt declaring that “fairness is overrated” in the news, and that “the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.”

    The mainstream media has held this belief for some time now, but only recently have they begun admitting to, and advocating for, these beliefs.

    Turning the “news” into propaganda is destructive to the nation. Admitting they have turned the news into propaganda is…in some ways good, but advocating for turning the news into propaganda is just plain evil. I see many rationalizations in the idea, including: 1B. The Psychic Historian, 2 A. Sicilian Ethics, 3. Consequentialism, and 12. The Dissonance Drag.

    • There is a tipping point, of course. Obviously, Lester Holt shouldn’t try to present Charlie Manson in an equal light with his victims. However, fairness and objectivity are essential now more than ever when one side is being misrepresented.

      Look at the sudden attention being given to discrimination against Asian-Americans. The same side that approves of limits on Asian admittance to Harvard is now wringing its collective hands blaming white supremacists – the new boogeyman – for recent high-profile attacks on Asian-Americans, even when the attackers are not white.

      They are deliberately manufacturing a crisis that doesn’t really exist to the level that they claim it does, expanding the definition of white supremacy to include far more people that it actually does and dismissing any evidence that doesn’t fit the narrative. I don’t expect professional journalists to treat the KKK fairly, but I can’t endorse Holt’s rejection of fairness when Leftist dogma now considers anyone who believes affirmative action has run its course the equivalent to a KKK member.

      I can’t remember who it was, but, about a decade ago, one of the retiring news anchormen – I’m thinking it was Brokaw – commented on how he didn’t think journalists should be objective. This is close to your assertion that they’ve always been that way, but are now more comfortable admitting it.

      • Half-Persian elitist Christiane Amanpour came out against objectivity nearly 30 years ago during the Balkans conflict, when she said:

        “Some people accused me of being pro-Muslim in Bosnia, but I realized that our job is to give all sides an equal hearing, but in cases of genocide you can’t just be neutral. You can’t just say, “Well, this little boy was shot in the head and killed in besieged Sarajevo and that guy over there did it, but maybe he was upset because he had an argument with his wife.” No, there is no equality there, and we had to tell the truth.”

        E.R. Murrow was not exactly a paragon of objectivity when he went after Joseph McCarthy. I’m not going to defend McCarthy himself. He was a valor-stealer, a destroyer of lives, and a budding tyrant that never quite blossomed. However, what Murrow did to him was a political hit job, and it paved the way for other political hit jobs to be done on other officials. Somehow those officials that got targeted almost always seemed to be from one party, though. I’m sure that’s just coincidence, right?

        Then there was Dan Rather and Mary Mapes’ attempt to slime George W. Bush based on a fake memo regarding his National Guard Service. At least the 2004 leadership at CBS had the integrity to fire Mary Mapes and ah, hasten Rather’s retirement. These days they’d just bury the fact that it was fake until after the election.

        I think it’s good that they’re finally admitting what they are doing. Let people know what they are getting and decide for themselves whether they want to buy it, and let this country become another East Germany.

    • It is not irrational or unethical to take the position that two sides of an argument are not always worthy of equal treatment. In the broad sense, if one side takes a clearly nonsensical, empirically inferior argument, it is perfectly reasonable that it should be treated with suspicion and even scorn. It’s not ethical to argue the news media must always treat two sides of an argument the same no matter their relative quality or support.

      The problem is in how this rational, straightforward position is currently applied. Being ethically justified to note a profound mismatch in argument quality does not extend to closer questions, as the media has done. In fact, Holt’s rather benign position is only alarming because we see the media pick sides, and then defend the side they choose both unethically and unfairly on very closely divided questions of relatively equal quality.

      So against that backdrop, Holt’s position seems sinister to those of us not on the Left, and justifiably so. On matters of public debate where both sides have defensible positions, it should be the job of the media to present both fairly for the consumer to decide on the merits. Alas, journalistic quality and integrity have declined so far that they are no longer competent to make the kind of judgments Holt is defending.

      So in a real sense, his position is unethical because his chosen profession is incompetent to ethically execute it.

  5. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green made this statement on women athletes seeking better pay:

    “I’m really tired of seeing them complain about the lack of pay, because they’re doing themselves a disservice by just complaining. They’re not laying out steps that they can take to change that. It’s coming off as a complaint because the people that can change it are just going to continue to say, ‘Well, the revenue isn’t there. So if you don’t bring in the revenue, we can’t up your pay.’ They’re going to keep using that, but the reality is, as true as that is, it’s an excuse. Because everyone says, ‘We support women. We support women’s empowerment. We support women in the workplace. We do this for women. We do X for women. Blah, blah blah. And everyone uses it to their advantage, yet these women are not using these people who are saying these very things to their advantage.”

    • To me, this sounds like authentic frontier gibberish.

      There are no steps to be laid out, and Green should know it. A sport is popular or it is not. If women’s sports becomes more popular, there should be more money to go around and compensations should naturally rise.

      The argument that women deserve equal pay for an inferior (as far as the gate is concerned) product is just one more irrational bit of economic insanity. The fact that so many women fall for it is instructive all by itself.

      Green is unfit to offer informed commentary on this subject. As such, his comment bears no weight with me at all, one way or the other. It is, in fact, a nullity.

  6. I have one troubling incident, one troubling incident with a potential ethics hero, and one Captain Obvious Award Nominee.

    The first incident: A judge gave the FBI the go ahead to search and seize the contents of every safe deposit box of a private safe deposit box company in Beverley Hills, CA. The FBI says some of the customers were involved in criminal activity, so they seized everything. Customers now have to make a case as to why they should get their property back.

    Possible Ethics Hero: The minister and people at the Polish Church that would not give in to government intimidation during Easter. One source identifies the pastor as Pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church. All Christian churches need to do this. I have seen the woman in the video at other churches, arresting the pastors for daring to worship. I’m sorry, if you are even modestly Christian, you should stand up for worship at Easter, of all times. How can you just let the police come in and shut your churches down? Look at how many times this minister told those officers to leave. Without a warrant or a legitimate reason to be there, they are trespassing. If that happened at my church, I think I would have called the police to report a group of armed trespassers who refused to leave. They have no warrant, no legitimate reason to be there (or they would have fined or arrested someone), yet they refuse to leave. We need to enforce the concept that the police need to obey the law and that our judges need to obey the law (see 1st part of this post).

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    Captain Obvious Award Nominee: Alex Mooney (R, WV) has introduced a bill to end federal taxation of precious metals. This bill has been described as ‘Legalizing the US Constitution’.

    Article 1. Section 10. Clause 1 of the US Constitution.
    No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

    Currently you have to pay capital gains tax on ‘income’ made from the ‘sale’ of precious metals, including legal US currency. So if you buy a US Silver Dollar (currently ~$40) and you ‘sell’ it next year for $50, you are supposed to pay capital gains tax on this. You also pay for selling quarters, dimes, etc. However, if you ‘sell’ a $20 bill to a store and get a $10 and 2 $5 dollar bills, you don’t pay tax. Even though American Silver Eagles, gold Eagles, and silver coins are legal US currency, the IRS treats them as collectibles, not currency. When you ‘sell’ an American Silver Eagle, you are merely changing from Private Bank Notes (Federal Reserve Notes) to US Currency. You aren’t really buying or selling anything.

    Basically, this law recognizes currency that is legally currency as currency. OK, it does more than that by recognizing other precious metals, not minted by the US mint as currency as well, but it does bring the interpretation into harmony with the US Constitution.

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