One Dog Night Ethics Warm-Up, 8/18/2022: I’m Dreaming Of Reusable Toilet Paper…

Spuds is feeling needy, or something, and though he usually sleeps on the sofa in the breakfast room, he decided to creep up to our bedroom and slam himself against me. Even though I’m exhausted after a three-hour legal ethics seminar last evening, I just can’t get to sleep, and don’t want to kick him out: something’s troubling him. So here I am in the office…

Because of all the prep yesterday for that seminar, which was not only brand new but also covered a lot of complicated issues, I missed an ethics milestone that Ethics Alarms cannot ignore. I started my first ethics website, The Ethics Scoreboard, in disgust at the ethically ignorant and inert commentary by the news media regarding Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Something must have been lurking in my brain, because I alluded to Clinton’s practiced deceit in last might’s program, describing a lawyer’s technical excuse for unethical conduct as “Clintonian.”

On August 17, 1998, President Clinton becames the first sitting president to testify as the subject of a grand-jury investigation. His testimony came after a four-year investigation into Clinton and his wife Hillary’s alleged involvement in several scandals. One could argue with some fairness that Clinton was the first President targeted with a long prosecutorial fishing expedition by partisan foes determined “get him” one way or another.

The independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr,  uncovered an affair between Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, as well as evidence that it had been covered up by a coordinated effort.  Clinton famously denied that he “had sex with that woman,”, which prompted Starr to charge the him with perjury and obstruction of justice. After his August 17 testimony, Clinton addressed the nation on live television. He admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with Lewinsky—it was, in fact, sexual harassment under the terms defined by Clinton’s own feminist supporters— but insisted that he had given “legally accurate” answers in his testimony. Later the President claimed that while he had not been “helpful” to the grand jury, he hadn’t lied.

Balderdash.

1 How can supporters of the Democratic Party look at themselves in the mirror? CNN correspondent John Harwood, as openly partisan a reporter as one can find, admitted this week that the “Inflation Reduction Act” title to the massive tax and spending bill just signed into law by President Biden was a “marketing device” designed to gull Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) into supporting the bill. “No, it doesn’t live up to its name,” Harwood said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Let’s be real: They called it the Inflation Reduction Act as a marketing device, in part to lock down the vote of Joe Manchin or to reassure Joe Manchin that they were focused on his issue.” “It is going to have a negligible effect on inflation,” Harwood said, now, after the trick had worked. “If it does anything, it might reduce inflation a tiny, tiny bit, but that’s not what it’s about.”

So the new euphemism for lying is “marketing device,” eh? Economists and candid commentators have admitted that the law will do nothing about inflation and wasn’t designed to. The deliberately misleading title of it presumes that either Manchin is stupid (and hasn’t read the bill, which he probably hasn’t) ,the public will believe anything, or both. Bills from both parties have been given absurdly exaggerated names, but this is a new and dastardly low: pick an issue the public is concerned about, and slap it on a bill that has nothing to do with that issue, simultaneously deceiving the public about what the bill really is, and lying by pretending that bill will address their concerns.

Why didn’t the news media research the bill and blow the whistle on this deception? How can a political party get away with treating the people and the system so cynically and dishonestly?

2. Unethical Pastor of the Month. Carlton Funderburke, the senior pastor at Church at the Well in Kansas City Missouri, was angry that his flock didn’t show its appreciation by buying him an expensive watch, and told them so. In a video clip of his sermon posted on the web, Funderburke berated his church members for not properly honoring him with a Movado watch. “This is how I know you’re still poor, broke, busted and disgusted, because of how you been honoring me. I’m not worth your McDonald’s money? I’m not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain’t worth your St. John Knits — y’all can’t afford nohow. I ain’t worth y’all Louis Vuitton? I ain’t worth your Prada? I’m not worth your Gucci?” Funderburke tells the congregation that a Movado watch can be bought at Sam’s Club. “And y’all know I asked for one last year. Here it is all the way in August and I still ain’t got it,” he said. “Y’all ain’t said nothing. Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters.”

Nice.

When my father became disgusted with priests or ministers, he got up from the pew and walked out. He would have bolted on this jerk—in fact, any churchgoer who didn’t is a fool. Busted himself, Funderburke said this week that his comments do “not reflect my heart or my sentiments toward God’s people.” Ah! He was possessed then!

3. What the hell is going on in baseball? Earlier, Ethics Alarms cited the absurd case of the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros standing by as a player was given four strikes by an inert and incompetent umpire. Now we learn that during a game between the Angels and Mariners this week, home plate umpire Laz Diaz forgot the count and let a player walk to first base after only three balls. As in the Braves-Sox game, neither the players, nor the coaches nor the other umpires noticed. Ugh. Unprofessional, incompetent, lazy, disrespectful to the game and embarrassing.

Baseball fans know Laz Diaz as one of the very worst umpires, not just currently, but of all time. The only conceivable reason he hasn’t been fired—and won’t be now—is “diversity.” This is what such policies reap. [Pointer: JutGory]

4. Tales of the Great Stupid! Ezra Miller, star of “The Flash, has been charged in recent months with disorderly conduct in a barassault after allegedly throwing a chair at a woman, and felony burglary after allegedly stealing alcohol from a Vermont home. Miller “identifies” as non-binary, so when he woman Miller allegedly choked was sharing her account with “Variety,” the magazine’s concern was that she wasn’t using her attackers favored pronouns, writing, “At the time of the interview, it was unclear whether the woman was aware Miller uses they/them pronouns.” Then it edited what she said to make certain it read sufficiently “woke.” Thusly:

“I think it’s just fun and games — but then it wasn’t,” she said. “All of a sudden, [they’re] on top of me, choking me, still screaming in my face if I want to fight. My friend who’s filming sees [they’re] obviously not joking and it’s actually serious, so he stops filming, and pushes [them] off me as [they’re] still trying to fight me. Two guy friends of mine are actually holding [Miller] back as [they’re] screaming, ‘This is what you wanted! This is what you wanted!’”

Heck, why not interpolate “that sick son-of-a bitch” for the pronouns?

5. And now for something completely deranged.…Net Zero Co is offering a “washable and reusable toilet paper” for protecting the environment and battling climate change. It’s a reusable cloth towel to be used instead of toilet paper. A piece can be pulled out of the dispenser, folded in thirds and used after wetting it with water. Afterwards the piece of toilet cloth is to be folded inwards, stored in a wet basket or bag, then thrown into the washing machine. After that, it is to be re-folded and reused! “These washable and reusable toilet paper provides a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to clean yourself without creating waste or spending a mini fortune over time,” the company website states.

Like so many other measures devised to change the environment if only everyone would engage it but won’t, this disgusting innovation will just make those who use it miserable while allowing them to puff up their chests and feel virtuous by “doing something” to save the planet, even though it won’t. Meanwhile, most people will not so engage, thus rendering the heroic efforts of those who do futile and pointless.

This earns a Sidney Wang:

28 thoughts on “One Dog Night Ethics Warm-Up, 8/18/2022: I’m Dreaming Of Reusable Toilet Paper…

  1. Reagan may have been the first Teflon president, but Bill Clinton was the second. But hey, one of the feminists said that every woman should get out there presidential knee pads and be ready to go down on him for guarding abortion jealously and pushing sexual harassment laws. Ironically, the last few Democratic presidents have all been pigs when it came to sexual harassment except for Carter.

    1. You asked how the Democrats can look in the mirror? It’s simple. They are hypocrites who have no moral compass. They may talk a good game, but in the end it’s all about the ends justifying the means. Why should they change their ways? After all, it seems to work. That’s one of the things the Republicans need to learn, is it when your opponent is going to fight dirty, you have to decide whether you want to win or whether you want to lose with your morals intact.

    2. A greedy pig hiding behind the word of God, nothing more. I’ve heard those b******* arguments also, but they’re usually pitched at demanding more for whatever charity the demander is pushing. Why don’t you eat out a couple less nights a month, why don’t you cut your vacation by a couple of days, why don’t you forgo one or two events and instead donate the money here? Hmmm, maybe because I work hard and I think I should be allowed to enjoy life instead of giving money to someone who will just be back next year asking for twice as much?

    3. Reminds me of the Dunkin’ donuts clerk who I asked for two dozen donuts who asked me whether that was 22. 😀 higher stupid people, get stupid work back.

    4. Uh, no? It’s bad enough that sometimes you throw some underwear with skid marks on it into the washing machine together with your white socks and white shirts. I am NOT throwing cloths heavily contaminated with human waste in. Not no way, not no how.

    • No, you will need to put them in a special wash all on their own. Saves on paper but very expensive on water. Environmentally friendly? NOT!

    • Our former parish priest, when transferred in from another state, received donations for a car, as our parish was described as ‘semi-rural’. He bought a china cabinet to house his pottery collection, and thanked the original parish for the car.

      Another one had a tempestuous affair with a local housewife.

  2. 3. Kinda funny – I googled walking on only three balls because (how could it happen?) I missed the Sox-Astros game, and Google presented me with the same thing happening more than a year ago in a Yankees-Tigers game. The third ball was the ninth pitch of the at-bat, so anyone could lose track of the count when the numbers get that high. Vic Carapazza was the guilty umpire in that case, and, apparently, everyone else who should have known forgot the count as well. Robots calling balls and strikes will fix this kind of thing, right?

  3. 5. Reflecting, perhaps, my simple up-bringing, I favor the eco-friendly corn cob. Swipe, rotate, swipe, rotate. Pitch it into the bin for re-cycling yard waste (or down the outhouse pit if you’ve really returned to yesteryear).

  4. 1. This was inevitable. Just like Nancy Pelosi called the PPACA (Obamacare) a “Jobs Bill” when Americans were worried about jobs, so the Democrats and their allies in the news media called this the Inflation Reduction Bill so that they could trick Americans and shame their opponents.

    2. Am I a bad person for speculating that the pastor was black before I clicked on the link? Turns out he is. I can’t say that there aren’t white pastors out there who are far too materialistic for their chosen profession, but the need for bling is starting to coalesce in my mind as a problem for black clergy.

    Or, perhaps, I am too reminded of the example of my former senior pastor (retired ten years) who once explained how, unfair or not, ministers are judged more heavily by the community than the laity.

    One time, when he was a young pastor with a young family, his car stopped working. A member of the congregation offered him a car for free. It was about 20 years old and had mileage in the 6 digits. But it was free. It was also a Cadillac.

    He knew he could not accept this car. It wouldn’t matter if it was free, how old it was or how many miles were on it. All that would matter is that it was a Cadillac and people in the community would look at it and say, “All those clergymen driving luxury cars! That’s what your offering money goes for!”

    In the end, he was offered another car for a discount price that wouldn’t cause the same judgment as the other one would.

    It should go without saying that he never ever asked for any specific gift, much less chastised the congregation from the pulpit about what he didn’t get.

    4. It’s only a matter of time before his antics affect the release of his film when it inevitably comes time to release it. I have a hard time understanding why it hasn’t been canceled yet, but the Powers That Be must think it’s a much better film than the recently axed “Batgirl”.

  5. (2) Several years ago, some students were discussing a minister who wore expensive suits and drove expensive cars. One student didn’t think that was appropriate. The others countered that the minister worked hard and had built a large congregation of wealthy parishoners. I asked them, “Do you think God likes ministers more when they preach to a lot of people, or a few people”. Unfortunately, they answered ‘a lot of people’. Then I asked them ‘Do you think God likes it better if you preach to rich people, or poor people?’ and they said “ohhhhh’.

    In church this Sunday, my minister jokingly asked (all 30 of us) why we hadn’t bought him a jet yet. I answered “Because Hot Wheels is backordered!”.

  6. 1) The best parody analogy I’ve seen is:

    “Check out the new Everyone Gets Free Ice Cream Act that Congress just passed!”

    “Cool, when do I get my ice cream?”

    “Lol – you don’t get ice cream, the Act actually makes dogs illegal.”

    • Although “The Inflation Reduction Act” is preposterous, I really hate them calling bills “Reconciliation Bills.” What a joke. It’s a bill that’s going to be snuck past the Senate’s supermajority requirement by saying it’s just a taxing and spending bill. “Let’s hide what the bill’s actually doing by referring to our use of an arcane procedural sleight of hand to get it passed.”

  7. 2. While I’m rarely gobsmacked, this example dropped me for a 10-count.

    So what type of tag-teaming, grifter-led organization is being run here? Well, the webpage (https://www.thewellkc.net/who-are-we) probably speaks for itself. I mean, what sort of “prophet” refers to himself as

    “Pastor Carlton Funderburke I

    Senior Leader”? “The First”!? AYKM!? But wait … it gets better.

    In acknowledgement of his service and commitment to ministry, Overseer Funderburke received a doctorate of divinity (honoris causa) from the Atlantic Coast Theological Seminary, Daytona Beach, Florida.

    For those who aren’t familiar with the lingo, “honoris causa” is an honorary degree.
    And what is the key requirement for receiving an honorary doctorate from this fine academic institution?

    Now, you don’t have to wait years completing a Bachelors and Masters degree in order to carry the title of “DOCTOR”. NO PREVIOUS EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE THESE COVETED DEGREES.

    These new degrees have just been approved, and are being offered at an affordable awarding fee of only $649, which includes the $599 Diploma fee and $50 Registration fee; or, $1,248 for both degrees combined. This awarding fee is an introductory offer and is likely to increase in 2023. To take advantage of this opportunity and carry the recognized title of “Doctor,” call the Admissions Director NOW at (386) 405-7866 to provide your life learning experience and review the information to receive your Doctoral degree.

    https://atlanticseminary.org/honorary-degree-programs/

    TL;DR – “Did the check clear? It did? Congratulations ‘Doctor'”
    This sort of place gives diploma mills a bad name.

    • The fools – on their website, they have images of their doctor of divinity and doctor of sacred music degrees — so, image downloading, a bit of Photoshop touchup, and Boom! I’m a double doctor. Saved about $1248, and now Jill must address me as Doctor.

  8. I don’t think the cloth TP isn’t as facially absurd as I think we’re making it…. We only began using disposable diapers in the 50’s, before then they were almost entirely cloth. How did we manage then?

    That said…. I think it would take a *hell* of a sea change for something like that to actually catch on. I mean, there’s a reason we had basically entirely transitioned from cloth to disposable in less than a generation.

    And I wouldn’t trust public facilities as far as I could throw them.

    • As a member of the older generation, I can tell you how we managed then. We took that poopy diaper, dowsed it in the toilet a few times to remove some of the stuff, put it into a diaper pail, and when that was full enough, dumped the contents into the washing machine. Normal cycle wash, then dryer, all good. I don’t recall holding that newly clean diaper up to my nose to verify the quality of the job, but, yeah, we survived that (and more). And, yes, we moved on. Disposables, less friendly to the environment but more friendly to moms and dads.

  9. #1: I’ve long been of the opinion that, when they finally pass the Being Nice to Fuzzy Puppies Act, one should head for the hills with as much canned food and ammunition as you can carry.

  10. Re: No. 3; Baseball’s Recent Blunders.

    In line with the 4 strikes the other day and a 3-ball walk, Astros Alex Bregman “stole” second base on a foul ball against the Rangers the other day. Bregman was on first, Perez fouled down first base line, but Bregman left first base thinking it fair and headed to third. Foul ball called, and Bregman returned to second and stayed there. The umps didn’t catch it nor did the Rangers. Bregman scored on a long left field drive off the wall. Odd.

    jvb

  11. 1. You know, maybe it’s time, past time, for current/younger generations to learn about inflation. None of these people were alive during the Carter years. They’ve never had a 12 percent mortgage and a 14 percent “carry-back” to pay. (Remember “carry-backs?” Sellers had to finance a portion of the down payment to get lenders to make first mortgage loans!) If young people want to believe there’s any cure for inflation other than making money more expensive, I say let ’em at it. If they’re dumb enough to think increasing the money supply via legislation will reduce inflation, they deserve what they’ll get. This stupidity of Old Testament Biblical proportions.

    • “If they’re dumb enough to think increasing the money supply via legislation will reduce inflation, they deserve what they’ll get. ”

      The problem with this policy is that the rest of us, who understand basic economics and how money works, will also get what those idiots deserve. And it isn’t younger people who are most damaged by inflation, it’s the older population that’s living off retirement savings.

  12. 0. Bill Clinton bending the interpretation of “sex” and quibbling about what the definition of “is” is demonstrate two different ways of questioning the meanings of “copula”, as it were.

    1. I wonder if legislation would get better if each bill was required to justify each dollar spent in terms of investment, preparation, transcension, or ethics, and to compare the final plan to the alternatives like an engineering project proposal would do. We need to hold people accountable for effectiveness rather than the mere illusion of effectiveness.

    2. “How dare you allow your materialistic desires to outweigh my materialistic desires!”
    A while back, I actually wrote a whole spoof wristwatch commercial as a satire of conspicuous consumption.

    3. So… what are the consequences for when an umpire violates the actual rules of the game?

    4. I’m actually somewhat surprised that the media is willing to show antisocial behavior by someone from a protected minority. It turns out nonbinary people can commit crimes just like anyone else.

    5. I’m 90% sure that a bidet uses less water over time, and it doesn’t even require any cloth to be manufactured, let alone washed, dried, and folded.

    This idiocy is what happens when humans allow themselves to be taken in by the illusion of effectiveness rather than paying attention to the criteria for actual effectiveness. See also the “play-pumps”: water pumps in Africa that were disconnected from regular pump mechanisms and attached to merry-go-rounds instead.

  13. Why didn’t the news media research the bill and blow the whistle on this deception? How can a political party get away with treating the people and the system so cynically and dishonestly?

    Partially because of the news media that did not “research the bill and blow the whistle on this deception”.

    Mostly because a huge chunk of the electorate do not have ethics alarms.

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