Suppertime Ethics Delicacies! 1/12/2022: A Suspicious Email! A Mean Family! A New Kind Of Discrimination! And What The Hell Is A Türkiye?

Ugh. I have about seven half-finished posts, and today was only saved by having some excellent Comments of the Day on the runway. I spent most of it alternating between walking Spuds and working out a fascinating but difficult legal ethics question from a client, in one of a surprising number of areas where the legal profession hasn’t decided what’s ethical yet.

1. Was this really necessary? Turkey, showing no respect whatsoever for geography books, mapmakers, poor spellers and English speakers, decided to change its name from Turkey to Türkiye, which is the English spelling, believe it or not. “The phrase Türkiye represents and expresses the culture, civilization and values of the Turkish nation in the best way,” an announcement explained. Wait, it’s a phrase?

2. Hey! A new kind of discrimination! Over at Practical Ethics, Charles Foster complains about “the bias in favour of consciousness, and the consequent denigration of the unconscious.” Here is a sample:

“…we see it supremely (and supremely self-servingly) in philosophy, because philosophy is all about the exercise of those ‘higher cognitive functions’. When modern philosophers agree with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living, they really mean that if you can’t think in the focused, highly cognitive way that they do, you might as well bow out – a conclusion on all fours with the decisions of the judges in PVS cases. Lay people might think that philosophy is a no-holds-barred search for the truth about the universe: it’s not; it’s based on the assumption that the universe perceived and perceivable by our quotidian consciousness is all that there is, and that that consciousness is therefore the only tool available for probing the universe….

3. A scandal? A smoking gun? MaybeIn newly obtained emails between National School Boards Association board members Marnie Maldonado and Kristi Swett dated October 5-6, 2021, Ms. Swett, who is an officer of the NSBA, seems to say that Biden’s Secretary of Education,  Miguel Cardona, solicited the association’s infamous letter asking the Justice Department to sic its agents on CRT-protesting parents as “domestic terrorists.” Justice then relied on the NSBA letter to send out its own threatening  memo directing the FBI to mobilize in support of local education officials who had to deal with these citizens who insisted that they should have a say in what their children were being taught.

The Department of Education spokesperson denied that Cardona solicited the NSBA letter, though I’m not exactly sure what this response means: “While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associations.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress under oath that he based his memo solely on the NSBA’s letter, which the association later retracted. If the Biden Administration used the association to justify its own effort to intimidate parents,that would be pretty diabolical. Here’s the recently discovered email:

I’m not certain this is the smoking gun Fox News is making it out to be, and besides, how could it be? After all, it’s the Democrats who are trying to save democracy from totalitarianism, like the governmental manufacturing a reason to surveil troublesome parents…

4. You know your family doesn’t like you very much when….they don’t report you missing for a year. Pennsylvania State Police in Bradford County are looking for 48-year-old Godfrey Jefferson Heath, who was finally reported missing on Dec. 30, 2021. A family member of Heath’s reported that he had not been heard from or seen in over a year. The news story adds, “Several other family members expressed similar concern for Heath’s well-being.”

Yeah, they seem real concerned. Nice family. I wonder what he’s like?

5. George Will calls this “condign justice.” In 2020, I posted an ethics quiz about the former governor of Alaska, GOP candidate in 2016 to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, and once aspiring conservative pundit Sarah Palin’s appearance on the idiotic “The Masked Singer” TV show.

Disguised as a teddy bear, or somethings (the photo ablove was after she ‘unmasked.’ Palin sung,

Oh, my, God Becky, look at her butt
It is so big, she looks like
One of those rap guys’ girlfriends.
But, ya know, who understands those rap guys?
They only talk to her, because,
She looks like a total prostitute, ‘kay?
I mean, her butt, is just so big
I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like out there
I mean gross, look
She’s just so, black
I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung, want to pull up tough
‘Cause you notice that butt was stuffed..
Etc. Classy stuff.

I wrote at the time (in disgust),

You want to know why Americans have less and less respect and trust in our leaders’ judgement, seriousness, character and motives? One of the reasons is that the narcissists who we elevate to leadership positions too often appear to be more interested in cashing in and feeding their grotesquely swollen egos than being statesmen, role models, and people America can be proud of.

The news media was terribly biased and unfair to Sarah Palin when she ran for Vice-President in 2008, but they weren’t, I now realize, wrong. She’s a low-life and an attention whore, as well as an ethics corrupter.

Well now Palin’s lawyers want jurors in her defamation case against the New York Times to be barred from seeing footage of her appearance on “The Masked Singer.”  In a court filing in the Manhattan federal suit, attorneys for Palin listed a proposed exhibits she wants hidden from the jury because they could cause “unfair prejudice and confusion.”

Why would her self-debasement on arguably the most moronic show on TV be relevant? I can only guess, but since Palin’s suit is for defamation, with her damages being harm to her reputation, I assume the Times would want to show the clip to raise the reasonable question, “What reputation?” This isn’t  serious public figure, and she has regularly demonstrated that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says about her.

I don’t think that’s a particularly persuasive defense, but it is pleasing to see Palin’s reckless disregard for the public’s view of its leaders come back to bite her.

32 thoughts on “Suppertime Ethics Delicacies! 1/12/2022: A Suspicious Email! A Mean Family! A New Kind Of Discrimination! And What The Hell Is A Türkiye?

  1. Whew. I think I prefer Snoopy as mute. Much like Bunny Rabbit. The production number is hilarious but better for something other than Peanuts.

  2. 1.) Well, with a year-on-year inflation rate of 36% in December, and with a president who thinks the solution is to pressure the central bank to lower interest rates in response, they need some sort of a distraction.

  3. I had the opportunity to perform “Suppertime” in an area production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown many years ago, then a few years later I directed a production of the show for a different theatrical company. It’s a fun show.

  4. My favorite was always this sequence, where Linus and Snoopy get into a down and dirty tussle over the blanket during which Linus grabs Snoopy’s nose and tweaks it really hard, twice, with appropriate silly sound effects, of course. Is about 8:00 and my brother was about six when we first saw this, and we were rolling on the floor yukking it up and holding our pants to keep from peeing in them. 😀

  5. #4 Until the last couple of years while our elderly Mother’s health was deteriorating, it wasn’t so uncommon to go many, many months (I’m sure that stretched out to a year or more sometimes) without having any direct contact with my Father or my brothers and sisters, even the ones that lived relatively close. Of course we’d send our annual birthday, Christmas, etc cards but that’s a one way street and most of the time you never know if they got the card. Years ago the only way to communicate at a long distance was to write a letter that took some time to get where it was supposed to go, and then when the telephone came along it was expensive to call long distance and talk for any length of time, now we have may forms of instant gratification methods to communicate and many people don’t seem to be using them to have much more direct contact than we did before. It’s really easy to get stuck in the bubble of your own day-to-day lives and loose contact for quite a while without even really realizing it, family life can be rather impersonal in that way.

    I’m not going to judge Godfrey’s family without knowing many more details; after all, Godfrey might have intentionally isolated himself from his family and this wasn’t something that was perceived as being very unusual.

  6. #3 Viola Garcia, the President of the NSBA who sent the letter September 29 was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board that controls the ‘Nation’s Report Card’ to a term that began on October 1. The Education Department didn’t release the appointment until Oct 13, when the controversy had shifted away from the NSBA. I’m sure it is just a coincidence.

  7. #5 I don’t think the video has any relevance to the defamation case that’s being presented to the court and the video didn’t even exist back when the accused defamation took place, in my opinion it shouldn’t be allowed.

    It’s interesting how far a narcissist politician will go to project to the public that they are just a regular human being with a sense of humor just like the rest of us.

    • Steve,
      I am reminded of Mayor William Donald Schaeffer, a widely respected Democrat, masterful politician and skilled executive. He often engaged in silly stunts to promote Baltimore. It really takes a special breed of executive who can do these things without losing the respect of the people he leads.

    • Oh, I agree that it shouldn’t be allowed. But it’s delicious that Palin put herself in the position of trying to hide it—even while she was suing the Times. When ethics alarms don’t ring…

  8. Re: 3
    The only element of a smoking gun is that “Chip” was responding to a request from the secretary of Education. Without knowing what exactly was included in the request, I cannot make any assessment.

    What I derived from reading that email was that two members of the Board of the NSBA are discussing the need to develop communication policies which became manifest when Chip responded to the request independent of Board input.

    Seems like a perfectly acceptable response to what could be characterized as a PR debacle that often occurs when the organization allows everyone to communicate the organization’s point of view on various matters.

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