Tip: Showtime’s “Billions” is streaming. It’s an excellent ethics series, with a plot-driven clash between legal ethics, business ethics, marital ethics and workplace ethics.
And Paul Giamatti (“John Adams”) remains the best actor related to a (late, much missed) Commissioner of Baseball ever.
1. AOC set up her reflex defenders to look foolish (not that they don’t deserve to) First, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) denied that her arrest outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday was “performative art,” and claimed, risibly, that she was not pretending to be handcuffed for the cameras. However, about 30 minutes before the arrests of pro-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court including 17 Democratic House members, a staffer for AOC’s fellow “Squad “member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) let a metaphorical cat out of the bag. Jeremy Slevin tweeted, adding that the stunt would be live-streamed,:
“Members of Congress, including @IlhanMN will be participating in a civil disobedience at the Supreme Court, potentially including arrests, shortly. 1 PM ET/12 PM CT,”
After her indignant denials, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram, “This was an activist-led civil disobedience, where activists & organizers from [the far-left Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund ] + others asked members of Congress to submit themselves for arrest in front of the Supreme Court.”
In other words, it was indeed “performative art.” Moreover, it is unethical for members of Congress to allow themselves to be recruited as advocacy props for other organizations. That’s not their job. It is particularly not their job because the Supreme Court is not constructed to conform its legal determinations to public protests or the desires of elected officials…nor should it or can it,
On a technical note ( which Ann Althouse, being the way she is, focused upon mightily), civil disobedience is when a protester violates the law they are protesting, and accepts the penalties for doing so. AOC and the rest were not arrested for performing illegal abortions, but for blocking traffic.
2. And now, an update on something completely stupid: First, Uber-Nerds started up leagues and teams to play Quidditch, the flying broom team sport in the “Harry Potter” books and films. This was nuts because Quidditch, even in the books, is a ridiculous sport, but it’s especially dumb when the players pretend to be riding on flying brooms. Then Warner Bros cracked down on local “Harry Potter” fan festivals around the US, making it a copyright violation to evoke the movies, including in a Quidditch tournament. Somehow this money-grab got resolved, but after “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling had the effrontery to insist in public that men don’t become women, absent magic, of course, by just deciding that they are, US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch —I know, I know—announced last year that they will change their names, and thus the name of their sport, as a rebuff to the woman who is the only reason they have their silly hobby at all, because she’s insufficiently in thrall to trans activism.
Well, they finally decided what the new name will be: Quadball.
It took them seven whole months to come up with that.
3. At least the NBA doesn’t pretend to support free speech! Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob was a guest on a sports podcast and described the National Basketball Association’s current luxury tax system as unfair. As his penalty for speaking out, Lacob was fined $500,000.
4. Ethics Villain: Dr. Deborah Birx. The primary architect of the Trump administration response to the Wuhan Virus has a book out, in which she admits that she misrepresented the “science” supporting the disastrous U.S. lockdown in order to have the White House’s support in executing it. Here, for example, is her description of how the “10 people or less in social gatherings” standard was established:
The real problem with this fifty-versus-ten distinction, for me, was that it revealed that the CDC simply didn’t believe to the degree that I did that SARS-CoV-2 was being spread through the air silently and undetected from symptomless individuals. The numbers really did matter. As the years since have confirmed, in times of active viral community spread, as many as fifty people gathered together indoors (unmasked at this point, of course) was way too high a number. It increased the chances of someone among that number being infected exponentially. I had settled on ten knowing that even that was too many, but I figured that ten would at least be palatable for most Americans—high enough to allow for most gatherings of immediate family but not enough for large dinner parties and, critically, large weddings, birthday parties, and other mass social events….if I pushed for zero (which was actually what I wanted and what was required), this would have been interpreted as a ‘lockdown’—the perception we were all working so hard to avoid.”
Birx’s credibility and character are amply demonstrated by this feature of her pandemic memoirs: she omits entirely any mention of the scandal that led to her resignation! You remember, don’t you? Ethics Alarms wrote about it here. Before Thanksgiving in 2020, she warned Americans to “assume you’re infected” and to restrict gatherings to “your immediate household.” But Birx headed to Fenwick Island in Delaware to have a traditional Thanksgiving celebration with four generations of extended family. After this classic (but during the pandemic, hardly rare) example of the elite violating their own rules they inflicted on the peasants, Birx resigned.