Saturday Snow Day Ethics Drifts, 3/12/2022: Cackles, Negligence And Laziness

In Virginia, an unexpected chance to use Dean’s definitive rendition of this cheerful winter song for the last time (I assume) before “The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring (Tra-la!)” is more appropriate…

Dog-walking ethics reflections: one of these days, I am going to stop and admonish the dog owners I see walking their four-legged companions in any of the following ways:

  • Dragging the dog on the leash at a breakneck pace and not allowing it to stop and sniff, which is roughly the equivalent of forcing a toddler to walk blindfolded.
  • Walking the dog while engrossed in a bluetooth or cell phone conversation, not interacting with the dog at all.
  • Walking far in front of the dog, without ever making eye contact or physically interacting with it.
  • Riding a bicycle with a dog on a leash, forcing the dog to run along to keep up.

Dogs want to be close to their humans and be acknowledged. Spuds gets so excited about going out that he can barely contain himself. I talk to him on our walks, try to accommodate his whims and interact with him as much as possible. The practices I see with too many other dog owners come just short of animal cruelty. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but yesterday was especially bad, as I saw one neglectful walker after another.

Now I’m taking Spuds out. He loves to eat fresh snow.

1. This drives me crazy. The House voted last week to pass a multi-trillion-dollar “omnibus” spending bill that was more than 2,700 pages. Members of Congress received the 2,700+ page bill’s text in the early morning hours with the vote scheduled for the same afternoon.  Obviously, the vast majority of the House voted without reading the bill—-I’m pretty sure none of them read that fast. I have serious doubts about whether some of them can read at all.

Voting on mere summaries is irresponsible on the Members’ part, and not providing adequate time for Members to perform due diligence is unethical on the part of House leaders. Complains Brad Polumbo, “And, of course, if they voted against this bill, they will now be accused of opposing pay increases for soldiers and being obstructionists who shut down the government.”

Too bad: they still have an ethical obligation not to vote blindly. Each House Member should have to certify under oath that he or she has read any bill they vote for. If they are not given sufficient time, they should withhold their vote as a matter of responsible government.

2. Uh, the name of the incompetent law firm, please? Andrew Schnorr, 39, has been charged with the unauthorized practice of law and grand larceny in the third degree. He got himself hired as a lawyer by a Buffalo, New York law firm based on a completely phony resumé on which he falsely claimed that he had a JD and an MBA, that he had graduated summa cum laude from the New York University School of Law, that he had passed bar exams in New York and California, and that he had worked as a lawyer in two previous positions. These are not difficult credentials to check. Schnorr represented at least nine clients in civil matters after being hired in July 2019. He appeared at depositions and participated in settlement conferences before he got fired a month later; the firm finally figured out  that Schnorr wasn’t a lawyer. It had paid him $6,193. The  firm reimbursed the clients for the fees they paid.

What’s missing from this story, which is essentially the same in the ABA Journal and the publications that reported it? The identity of the lazy and incompetent law firm that let itself and its clients be scammed by this guy! Obviously the identity of the firm is known. Why is the news media and the industry media protecting it?

3. Cheap Shot Dept. The Washington Free Beacon writes, under the gag headline, “Hillary Clinton Donor To Serve Jail Time for Hate Crime Against Gay Black Man,”:

Jussie Smollett, a gay black man who donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, was also fined $25,000 and ordered to pay more than $120,000 to the city of Chicago. He was convicted in December on five counts of disorderly conduct for scheming to commit a hate crime against himself and repeatedly lying to police.

The headline is a rip-off of a funnier Babylon Bee spoof story describing Smollett as committing a hate crime against himself. The Free Beacon story is despicable: guilt by association at its dumbest. Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with Smollett’s fraud, and using the fact that he donated to her campaign to smear her is contemptible.

4. More from the Arts Integrity Initiative, which I stumbled across while preparing this earlier post: Genese Gee-Schmidtke, the Hyattsville (Md.)Middle School Theatre Arts Director, cancelled the school’s production of the musical “The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee” scheduled to be performed the first week in May, though the show was already in rehearsal. The reason, according to Interim CEO at Prince George’s County Public Schools, was that

…Teachers expressed concern given the extended use of profanity in the play even though it was play was identified as PG13 appropriate. The supervisor for Performing Arts, was then requested to review content during which time it was decided that the play should be cancelled since copyright laws did not permit the change in language when she reached out to the company. It was then deemed more appropriate for high school and not middle school.

The explanation added,

In addition, we will work with the central office Creative and Visual Performing Arts team to create a process for approval of plays prior to students practicing and preparing to ensure this does not happen again.

Wait:  Gee-Schmidtke, the Hyattsville Middle School Theatre Arts Director, didn’t already read the script and lyrics before approving the show? What are her duties as arts director if she doesn’t know what the shows being performed by students are like? The students were punished in this case because the administrator didn’t, or couldn’t, do her job.

The story wryly notes that her signature on the letter killing the production included the tagline “Respect Art, Create Art, Live art…Do good!”

She should resign or be fired, and everyone connected with the production, including parents, is owed an abject apology.

5. Is it beating a dead horse to keep pointing out that Kamala Harris defenders can only accuse her critics of being racist and sexist? No, because they keep doing it, and expose themselves as unethical shills and liars by doing so.

Harris’s latest debacle occurred after President Biden lost his mind and decided that she was the best representative to smooth over tensions with Poland following the U.S.’s refusal of its offer of fighter jets for Ukraine. During her  joint press conference last week with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Harris’s response to being asked about the refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how the U.S. plans aid Europe in dealing with it, Harris paused, looked at Duda, and said profoundly that “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” Then she burst into the strange, frantic laugh we now know so well.

The assorted idiots on “The View” rushed to Harris’s defense, and I call them idiots because they repeatedly prove themselves to be idiots and not because I’m sexist, which would be their claim. “I don’t see them making fun of Pence’s laugh or any of the guys,” said Head Idiot Joy Behar. Yes, Joy, that’s because Pence has never broken out in inappropriate laughter while addressing deadly serious topics, as Harris does habitually.

“This is based in racism. This is based in misogyny. And we’re talking about a woman that has extensive experience abroad, extensive experience as an attorney, extensive experience as the chief legal officer of one of our largest states in the country and I think this is just much ado about nothing,” Behar’s co-host Sonny Hostin said. It is not “much ado about nothing”: Harris is an embarrassment—to the U.S., to Biden, to women.

A male official who constantly laughed or giggled like Harris does would be pilloried. Luckily for Harris and her enablers, she is a cackler “of color,” so she can claim racism and sexism. Unfortunately, that is the only ploy they have, and it’s not enough. In fact, it’s pathetic.

In one respect, Harris is a victim. Too many girls in the U.S. are acculturated to use laughter as a defense for insecurity; it’s a terrible habit that undermines their efforts to be taken seriously later in life. My sister has never giggled or cackled like that; neither did my mother, neither has my wife, or her mother, or her three sisters. When I see teens and young women interviewed on TV who break up their statements with giggles for no reason, I usually turn to my wife and ask, “Why don’t parents, teachers and role models tell these women when they are young not to do that? It makes them look foolish and juvenile.” And she always says, “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

Well, this isn’t a mystery: Harris could fix that problem if she made the effort.

12 thoughts on “Saturday Snow Day Ethics Drifts, 3/12/2022: Cackles, Negligence And Laziness

  1. “In one respect, Harris is a victim. Too many girls in the U.S. are acculturated to use laughter as a defense for insecurity; it’s a terrible habit that undermines their efforts to be taken seriously later in life. My sister has never giggled or cackled like that; neither did my mother, neither has my wife, or her mother, or her three sisters. When I see teens and young women interviewed on TV who break up their statements with giggles for no reason, I usually turn to my wife and ask, “Why don’t parents, teachers and role models tell these women when they are young not to do that? It makes them look foolish and juvenile.” And she always says, “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.””

    Because most of us were taught to be nice and that being nice means not being ourselves and letting people walk all over us, otherwise we are not nice people. And nice people smile and laugh and make ourselves look attractive, even though we don’t all look attractive when we laugh.

    Personally, I would gladly laugh inappropriately sometimes if either of my parents had given me any any advice on choosing a career or that they’d encouraged me to choose a career at all. That’s another way parents fail girls.

  2. 3: Perhaps the satire used such cheap shot on purpose, to show the IIDJTDWJBD (or whatever the initialism is) regarding David Duke endorsing Biden this last election cycle?

  3. Regarding dog-walking ethics:

    I am in total agreement. I think most dogs love to explore, love tracking down new smells, and in general, just love being outside. For dogs that spend a lot of time indoors – like our dog Bailey – it’s crucial to allow them time outdoors to do those things they love and instinctively want to do. And like Spuds, Bailey is always excited when the leash rattles in our hands.

    There are a lot of dog owners in the apartment complex where we live, and I’m happy to say that a great many of them don’t do those frustrating things you listed…though I see some on their phones or listening to something with earbuds. Most, however, do pay good attention to their dogs, often talking to them and asking us if their animal can meet ours.

    Our new home – finished in October and an hour south of the apartment – is much more rural and therefore populated by squirrels, deer, fox, and any other number of small animals. She especially loves it when we’re there. The different smells are fascinating, so those meandering walks are so much fun for her.

    I appreciate your comment about dogs wanting to be acknowledged. Bailey loves to lead the walk and tends to walk more “tall and proud” when she’s in front. When it’s just me walking her, I sing the silly “Baiwee-Pup” song, which she probably finds terribly embarrassing. In the cold winter, we tend to keep her moving with fewer extended stops because she’s old and even with a coat on, her paws get cold and it’s hard for her to walk – she refuses to wear booties on her feet. But when the temps are above 25, she pretty much gets to walk as long as she wants.

    Nearly a year ago, I wrote that the vet estimated she had maybe six good months left. Once again, Bailey has defied the odds and will turn 15 next month. Having said that, her liver disease is advancing and this week’s blood work was a reminder to the reality of her age. Her bad liver number had risen nearly 50% in the last year, and is a little below the “decision-time” threshold. She is slowing down and beginning to revert to some of her youthful traits, suffering more separation anxiety and chewing up kleenex and toilet paper when we have to leave for several hours. But she’s happy, she’s eating, she’s friendly, she loves being petted and she’s not having accidents in the house.

    And she still loves her walks…and while she does we will walk her, letting her lead when she wants to. We will continue interacting with her. And we will be forever grateful for the time we’ve been blessed with her.

  4. Count me in as a sucker for dog relationship stories as well. I have one observation regarding dog owners who don’t give proper attention to their best friends–they’re just as irresponsible/uncaring with their children. Taking one’s child to an SF park (assuming the homeless haven’t taken over), the scene is just as disturbing. The children are playing while mom (it could be dad), is focused on her Ipad, smart phone or other device. The difference is that dogs have an innate ability for unconditional love regardless of how they’re treated. Unfortunately for these distracted parents, their mistreated/ignored children will return the same to their parents once they have their own distractions.

  5. I agree with most of your comments about dog-walking, Jack, except perhaps the bicycle part. Some dogs love to run, and a human without wheels can’t keep up. Our neighbors have such a dog, an energetic German pointer. He’s a couple years old and still exploding with puppylike energy. They could walk him literally all day long with virtually no effect on his rambunctiousness. When he gets to run with the bike, he’s clearly overjoyed, and gets the kind of exercise he needs. I would never do that with my terrier, but he’s not a runner. If I had a dog like a greyhound or ridgeback, though, I would have no qualms about exercising him in that way if he enjoyed it as much as my neighbor’s dog does.

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