Can Of Waning Work Week Ethics Worms: Race-Based Justice And Other Revolting Creatures [Corrected]

1. I hate to take pleasure in anyone’s career setbacks, but...the word that CNN’s unethical media watchdog, Brian Stelter, is about to get dumped is good news for everyone but him. It also means that CNN will have rid itself of its two most flagrantly partisan and dishonest talking heads, the other being Chris Cuomo. Stelter took over “Reliable Sources” from the flawed but qualified Howard Kurtz, who had covered media conduct for the Washington Post, and at least tried to be objective (and still does at Fox.) Stelter immediately transformed the Sunday show into a CNN-fawning, Fox News-bashing epitome of what a news ethics show must not be. The last hack standing among CNN’s worst is now Don Lemon, who because he is black, gay and cute apparently is immune from his just desserts. As Meat Loaf memorably observed, however, two out of three ain’t bad.

2. Wait, what? Tim Allen isn’t the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the new Pixar film? The Buzz origin film, which has Chris Evans as the new voice of the popular character from “Toy Story” 1-4 is already creating controversy because it features a lesbian kiss. You know: that’s Disney’s way now. The movie’s director Angus MacLane “explained” that the recasting was necessary because the new animated film called for a more serious Buzz. Does anyone believe that? Allen was replaced because he’s an outspoken conservative, and Disney/Pixar wanted a star who would vigorously defend lesbian smooches in a kids movie, because that is apparently it’s priority these days. If the director wanted Buzz to sound more serious, he could direct the voice actor to voice him that way.

3. Well, Washington. Still, this is not good…The Washington Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man who lied to police,There was no dispute that he lied, but the court ruled that the police officer’s questions were intrinsically coercive because he was an Asian/Pacific Islander. If he were white, the same lies would have been properly punishable. Palla Sum “gave the police a false name and birth date, drove off as law enforcement checked for warrants, and crashed into a nearby yard.” He was then “charged with making a false or misleading statement to a public servant, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, and unlawful possession of a firearm.” The court in in State v. Sum declared that “courts must consider the race and ethnicity of the allegedly seized person” when “deciding whether there was a seizure,” as well as a legal police stop.

So we will have different standards of justice for different races.

4. Ban vanity plates. In Hawaii, some boor is refusing to surrender this license plate…

… that was mistakenly okayed by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Nothing can stop him from plastering his car with vulgar messages to annoy other drivers on the street, but forcing the state to be a party to his jerkishness is even worse. Hawaii ordered the driver to surrender the plate after KITV reporter Tom George a viewer who saw it whiz by complained. George shared the license plate in a Twitter post that asked, “Racism on the road?”

No, you ass, insulting Black Lives Matter isn’t “racist;” the group deserves to be insulted. I assume George would have no problem with a “FCKPOLICE” plate. The ethics issue is the “FCK” part.

5. When will they ever learn? Montana governor Greg Gianforte (R) was vacationing in the Italian region of Tuscany when a “once-in-every-500-years” flooding disaster struck his state.  Gianforte has been hyper-active on Twitter since the disaster hit, but had been vague about his location, writing that he was ‘closely monitoring’ the situation. And you can’t govern via Twitter. Someone finally spotted him dining with his wife at a lovely little spot in Tuscany, and shortly thereafter, Gianforte announced he was returning to work.

This is as irresponsible as it is stupid. If you are the leader of anything—a country, a state, a city, a business—and disaster strikes when you are on a much-deserved vacation, the trip is over, or should be. There is no defense for Gianforte, no excuse. This was an abdication of leadership. Yet elected officials do this repeatedly.

However, the efforts of the news media and Democrats to compare Gianforte to Sen, Ted Cruz, who was pilloried for joining his family in Cancun, Mexico during last year’s Texas freeze, is unfair to Cruz. Someone please explain to these hacks the difference between a governor, who is responsible for dealing with state disasters, and a U.S. Senator, who isn’t.

16 thoughts on “Can Of Waning Work Week Ethics Worms: Race-Based Justice And Other Revolting Creatures [Corrected]

  1. 2. You know, I just assumed that Tim Allen was the voice of Buzz Lightyear the Toy while Evans was the voice of the real Buzz Lightyear. Makes sense they wouldn’t have the same voice.

    But, if the best Disney/Pixar can do is say that they wanted someone more serious, yeah, I believe they just didn’t want Allen back. He’s an actor. He can play serious.

    Seriously, they should have at least tried to say one was the voice of a toy and one was the real person, but I guess they’re not that smart.

  2. I think I need clarification on number 3. The court opinion started out excessively redundant and didn’t get to the point until page 33.

    If I understand correctly, the court is throwing out the charge of lying to the police, but not the other charges. They’re doing so on the basis that Sum was under the reasonable impression that he was being unlawfully seized. He was under that impression not only because of his ethnic minority status, but also because the officer was possibly allowing racial bias to take the encounter into unlawful seizure territory, both in the decision to question Sum (and to continue to question him) as well as in how the encounter was handled. Does that all sound like what they’re saying?

    If so, for all their long-winded talk about race mattering, the court seems to analyze the actual interaction when determining when the unlawful seizure took place, so I daresay that if a white person had been in the same situation and the interaction proceeded the same way, the court may also have ruled that an unlawful seizure. Or are police allowed to randomly ask white people if they own the cars they’re sitting in?

    That said, I’m not sure why Sum would think it was a good idea to lie to the police by giving a fake name, given that the police didn’t know about his apparently unlawful firearm and the vehicle would have turned up under his real name, meaning anyone who bought the fake name would think it really was stolen. There wasn’t a language barrier mentioned, but I’m wondering if that might have played a role in creating mutual misunderstanding and therefore distrust?

    However, I’m also wondering why the court is saying it was okay to lie to the police during an unlawful seizure, when they seem to implicitly acknowledge that the car chase was not okay, because they didn’t suppress that part.

    • Consider this, verbatim, from the opinion:

      “Today, we are asked whether “all the circumstances” of the encounter includes the race and ethnicity of the allegedly seized person.As the parties correctly agree, the answer is yes. Our precedent has always required that the seizure inquiry be made in light of the totality of the circumstances, and we have never stated that race and ethnicity cannot be relevant circumstances. However, we have not explicitly held that in interactions with law enforcement, race and ethnicity matter. We do so today. (my emphasis).

      I think the point is that the court appears to be saying, regardless of the facts, race and ethnicity are factors in the validity of a seizure. The way I read it, if a white person were asked for his ID in a way that suggests he may be under investigation for car theft and concocts a lie, that lie may be used as evidence. If the same set of facts occur for a minority, the lie must be suppressed.

      That is lawless discrimination, and attempting to correct discrimination with more discrimination in my view.

  3. “Someone finally spotted him dining with his wife at a lovely little spot in Tuscany… ”

    That may be the official story, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts (though in the current economy, the donuts are likely to hold their value better) that somebody, possibly on his staff, ratted him out. How many people in Tuscany would recognize the governor of Montana? The number has got to be close to, if not less than, zero. There probably aren’t a thousand people in Montana who would recognize him in a restaurant.

    Somebody got tipped off as to where he would be. Good. That means there’s at least one person in his administration who knows what the governor’s job is.

    Also, it was an ice storm that drove Ted Cruz to flee to Cancun, not a heat wave.

    • It would be known the governor was traveling to Tuscany (unless this were a South American redux), so when he failed to disclose his location when claiming to be closely monitoring the situation, it wouldn’t be too difficult to guess he was still in Italy.

  4. 3.) Starting from the last paragraph of page 33 (thanks E.C. for the pointer, I wouldn’t have had the patience to read from the beginning), I can’t see anything in the reasoning that relates to race, other than the offhand remark: ‘It is also “no secret” that “suspicionless stop[s]” are “disproportionately associated” with people of color’. Absent that one sentence, and the entire argument could apply to a white defendant.

    4.) Perhaps he could agree to trade the plate in for a “NO2BLM” plate or some other message that uses non-foul language.

    5.) At least he wasn’t “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” and the woman he was spotted with was his wife. My opinion of politicians is so low that I’m impressed.

      • Ethics Alarms had commenters on the ground, so to speak. Not in Tuscany, but in Red Lodge, Montana. Mrs. O.B. and I and a friend had rented a very nice, pretty new condo literally on Rock Creek. We arrived on Thursday afternoon. Rock Creek was really a river, more than a creek, at least to my eye. The water was filling the creek from side to side and running pretty quickly. But the water was clear, and we could see the bottom. As the weekend progressed, the water continued to rise and get faster. We watched the bank on the other side of the river gradually get eaten away by the water. The crick continued to rise, and the water became muddy. The boulders in the creek bed, probably a foot or more in diameter began banging around constantly and very loudly, as if they were in a clothes dryer. At Two A.M. Monday morning, a firewoman knocked on the door telling us we had to evacuate asap. The single street development we were in was on the far side of the Rock Creek and only accessible via two bridges the developer had built. The bridge downstream from us had washed out. If the other one, right out the rear of our house, were to fail, we’d be stuck and would have to be helicoptered out in the event of an emergency and our vehicles would be stranded. We packed up and took off post haste. The condos we were in were built on fill, so they were ten or so feet above even the heightened creek. We drove to Billings and went to plan B on our vacation, cutting it to one week rather than two and heading to Sheridan and Buffalo, Wyoming to see friends there. As many as a hundred and fifty houses were flooded in Red Lodge, although the bulk of the commercial district seems to have been untouched.

        The speed and volume of the water was CREEPY. An extremely unsettling experience all around for us, but a non-event compared to those whose homes were flooded and couldn’t just pack their luggage and drive away.

  5. Jack wrote:

    Allen was replaced because he’s an outspoken conservative, and Disney/Pixar wanted a star who would vigorously defend lesbian smooches in a kids movie, because that is apparently it’s priority these days. If the director wanted Buzz to sound more serious, he could direct the voice actor to voice him that way.

    More likely, they didn’t want to hear from their “woke” employees and Twitter about how they were all going to boycott the film and send letters to the CEO.


    So we will have different standards of justice for different races.

    File this under, “Saying the quiet part out loud.” Just another nail in the coffin of our country’s justice system. It says, “Let’s promote equality by using discrimination” because that worked so well in the first half of the 20th century.

  6. I love Mondays, I get to sift through the weekend posts (Sorry Jack, but I try to unplug as much Saturday and Sunday as I can)

    On 1.

    I have mixed feelings. On one hand, you’re right… obviously… That Stelter is a Hack, that it is good for the market that he’s on the way out, that Don LeMon is the last egregious hack standing…. Basically everything. Yes. But… Brian Stelter was hired to be Brian Stelter. He delivered exactly what his boss at the time required, for years, and it’s only now after a much needed management shuffle and culture shift that his product is no longer desired. While I don’t think I’ll be able to find it in myself to even feign sadness at his loss of gainful employment, perhaps we should all pour one out for another job made obsolete over time and reality, like the printing press or the psychograph;


    Brian’s career in many ways seems to embody the soul of a great quote from Abraham Lincoln; “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Now, in the twilight of that career, and now that enough people have caught on, it is probably time to wrap it up. May your cup forever be full, may the friends you have made bring you comfort, and may the bridges that you’ve burned light your way forward to a new, exciting life in retirement.

    Brian, Here’s to you and here’s to me, Friends may we always be!
    But, if by chance we disagree, Up yours! Here’s to me!

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