Thank God It’s The Friday Ethics Tune-Up, 12/9/2022, And Speaking Of Tunes…

It was awfully gutsy of Michael Bublé to set up that time-traveling duet with Bing, especially with that song. But he’s so obviously moved by the whole concept of singing with his idol, it works. Bing sings rings around him, of course.

I skipped mentioning the significance of the last two December dates on the calendar, both of which are days that shall live in infamy: the attack on Pearl Harbor on the 7th, and the assassination of John Lennon by a lunatic on December 8. There’s enough going sour right now without looking for bad memories.

1. I can’t justify naming Arizona Senator Kristen Sinema an Ethics Hero for it, but the news this morning that  Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party and changing her party affiliation to Independent has some ethical resonance. It’s just too early to tell what she intends the practical effect of the change to be. It sure looks like a shot across the bow of an arrogant party that has consistently clashed with he principles regarding how a republic should work. As Ethics Alarms has held before, an elected official who switches parties is ethically obligated to resign and run again under her new designation, otherwise this is a betrayal of the voters. The only time a politician did this the ethical way that comes to mind was when Phil Graham of Texas resigned when he left the Donkeys for the Elephants, and that was a long time ago. One result of Sinema’s defection: while Republican have 49 Senators under their banner, Democrats now have only 48, with three Independents padding their forces. Democrats have lost the House, and their President is a bumbling, manipulated failure. In other words, they have a mandate!

2. Ron Burgundy smiles… Diverse but incompetent White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre embarrassed herself again  when she  read the wrong scripted response to a question this week during a White House press briefing. The really disturbing part was that it took her so long to realize it. She is, indeed, an idiot, but a female, black, lesbian immigrant idiot, so as Tony the Tiger would say, “Sheeee’s GREAT!”  A reporter asked for the White House’s reaction to Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.) claiming that moving South Carolina ahead of New Hampshire in the Democratic primary schedule would make her state “vulnerable for her party.” The Most Inept Presidential Paid Liar Ever checked her pre-scripted notes and said,

So, look, we honor — we honor the Hatch Act, as I mentioned many times before, here, as we are talking about a potential election — a 2024 presidential election. But, looking backward, it is the ultimate irony, you know, that the 2020 election was — was proven by the Trump administration’s Homeland…

Then perhaps tipped off by the reporters looking like the audience in “The Producers” at the conclusion of “Springtime for Hitler,” Jean-Pierre called an oopsie, and said, “Oh, sorry, I think I got ahead of myself there,” and giggled. This isn’t funny, though. It’s tragic and insulting.

3. More ethics zugzwang in the public schools! In January, Ethics Alarms discussed the Moline-Coal Valley School District in Illinois approving an after-school club called “The Satan Club,” sponsored by the satirical, religion-mocking Satanic Temple. Now a school in in Chesapeake, Virginia announced that it too will offer an “After School Satan Club” beginning on December. 15, according to a flyer promoting the club. Parents, religious leaders and conservatives are furious, but as Leo Bloom said as he was perseverating (second “Producers” reference of the day!), “No way out…no way out…no way out.”

Churches and religious parents and activists thought they had found a loophole to the Supreme Court’s banning of religious teachings in public schools by offering after school, voluntary activities like the Good News Club, an after-school child evangelism fellowship group. The problem is that if that club is approved by the school system, it can’t reject another club that is anti-religion, or, in my view, even one that promoted Satan worship or Wicca. The objective of the Satanic Temple, which is based in Salem, Mass (Hahahaha!) is to get religious after school groups kicked out of schools, and it may succeed. The group is ethically ruthless, using children as props to make its legal and secular points while attracting publicity as well as new members. Still, there is no way a school can accept religious group-sponsored clubs and not accept anti-religious clubs. The religious seekers of a loophole in the Establishment Clause and the First Amendment should have seen this coming. They were incompetent at Ethics Chess.

4. Surprise! The NFL, in addition to willfully crippling its players, has no integrity! During a Dallas Cowboys game last month, tight end Peyton Hendershot scored a touchdown. Three Cowboys three teammates ran over beyond the end zone and jumped into a giant Salvation Army kettle. They took turns popping up and down as Hendershot whacked them on the head. See? Whack-a-Mole!


But this has been a Cowboys tradition since 2016, when Ezekiel Elliott became the first player to hop into the Salvation Army kettle. The stunt led to a significant spike in donations to the organization: the Salvation Army said it received $850,000 in online donations in less than 24 hours after Elliott’s bucket jump, so the NFL chose not to fine Elliott for his celebration. Big mistake, but an easy one for an organization that can’t spell “ethics,” much less operate with any. What happens after a clear rules violation is moral luck, and deciding on the punishment for such conduct based on what happens after it is consequentialism. Still, ever since 2016 Dallas players have been jumping into the bucket around the holidays. The NFL, however, decided to change its mind, and fined Dalton Schultz $13,261, Jake Ferguson $4,895, Peyton Hendershot $3,944 and Sean McKeon $4,994 for their Whack-A-Mole celebration, at least until, I’m guessing, the Salvation Army says it made more money than ever after the idiotic display, in which case the NFL will decide it was “all for a good cause.” (That’s The Saint’s Excuse, Rationalization #13).

5. No, this doesn’t help a bit. Thanks to Barack Obama, Mike Brown, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd and Derek Chauvin, hostility toward police and public distrust of police departments is the worst it has ever been. Tom Selleck’s “Blue Bloods” has highlighted the problem many times over the past decade, including how the situation has triggered a spike in police suicides. Police, and especially police leadership, have to avoid triggering the cognitive dissonance scale as never before. Nevertheless, Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor was a passenger in a golf cart that was pulled over for driving on a road without a license plate tag, according to footage of the November 12 incident from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. She responded with a classic “Do you know who I am?” ploy, asked the officer to let her go and showed him her badge. Then she gave him her business card, saying, “If you ever need anything, call me. Seriously.”

“Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has requested and received the resignation of Police Chief Mary O’Connor, following the completion of an Internal Affairs investigation into a recent traffic stop involving O’Connor,” said a statement from the mayor’s office. Good.

15 thoughts on “Thank God It’s The Friday Ethics Tune-Up, 12/9/2022, And Speaking Of Tunes…

  1. #1 I think the move by Sinema is more a cover your butt thing than some True Principle thing. She covers herself from having Dems primarying her with some hard left progressive, and signals to McCain Republicans and/or independents that she’s moderate, reasonable, etc. She’s still a Democrat in essence and will most likely caucus with them. I mean, Bernie is an “independent”, and he was running for president from the Democrats. So whatever. Sinema is no Tulsi. I think it’s a political parlor trick, and I am not impressed.

  2. #1: Sinema said one of the things she’s fed up with is the parties not working together. What are the odds that she (unlike the two other “independents”) will caucus with the Repubs to try to force cooperation?

  3. 1. I can’t justify naming Arizona Senator Kristen Sinema an Ethics Hero for it, but the news this morning that Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party and changing her party affiliation to Independent has some ethical resonance.

    Yeah, maybe. To me, it looks as much tactical as anything. She was always going to get “primaried,” and would quite possibly lose the primary. By declaring herself independent, she makes that impossible, although she also alienates yellow-dog Democrats and has to win on a coalition of independents and centrists from both parties who can’t stomach the likely ideologues they’ll nominate. That’s smart from a tactical standpoint given the contrarian bent of Arizona, but also it fits better with the political persona she has cultivated while in the Senate. And in a three-way senate campaign in Arizona, I’d say she has a fair chance of keeping her seat, a sum she has certainly done as well as I.

    So I guess, from the standpoint of truth in advertising, she has made an ethical move. Clearly, she’s not in sync with the current iteration of the radical Democrat left, and she’s in no way a Republican, which places her athwart both parties. I am inclined to think the radicalism of the current Democrats was a major factor in her decision, but it also may have been mostly a self-serving tactical move. I have no way of knowing. I guess each of us has to judge for ourselves whether or not we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

    • She’s a mystery to me. I see her term is up in 2025, so she’s only got two years left. Of course, Arizona is now a mystery to me. I don’t know what’s happened to the state we moved to in 1981. It may be young lefties from all over the country and people fleeing the West Coast moving here that’s turned Arizona into a virtual Democrat stronghold. Frankly, I’m surprised by the move. Arizona just elected a Democrat social worker as governor! I think she would have been re-elected by the current Arizona electorate running as a Democrat. Christ, Mark Kelly got re-elected! I can’t help thinking she’s more than a bit of an attention hound. She’s also a political science professor, so I think she’s often too clever by half in the stunts she pulls. I simply cannot imagine her not voting as instructed by Chuck Schumer on every vote.

      • For the most part, she has voted in lock step with the Democrats. But not totally, and most importantly, not on the filibuster. Plus, she doesn’t seem wedded to the kind of rampant, uncontrolled spending that the Dems deeply desire.

        • I’d like to think good things of her, Glenn, but she’s just too erratic for my taste. I don’t see any electoral advantage for her not to be just another reliable Dem vote. Mark Kelly II.

  4. 5. How hard would it be to just take the ticket, say, “Thank you, officer,” and go on your way? These senior management police people are just CHEAP!

    • Since the chief was reportedly merely a passenger in the stopped golf cart, rather than the operator, she did not actually have a horse in the race. Saying ANYTHING to the officer beyond “Good morning!” was inappropriate. If she wanted to help out the driver, she could have offered to pay the citation, if one were issued. Another moron!

      • The Arizona Department of Public Service (highway patrol) pulled the “do you know who I am?” routine when he was pulled over for speeding on the interstate. Dumb beyond belief. Do cops really protect their own? Or expect to be protected by their own. Not a good look.

      • I think she was probably trying to show off to whoever was driving the cart. “Don’t worry, I’m a big shot, I got this.” Talk about a miscalculation.

  5. … as Leo Bloom said as he was perseverating (second “Producers” reference of the day!) …

    And there I was thinking it was a James Joyce reference.

  6. While I am impressed with the technology, I shudder when live contemporary singers do duets with long-dead stars. I despaired when Natalie Cole infringed on the eternal rest of her father. This Buble-Crosby thing is frightful, not delightful. Both cases, however, prove that the originator was better than the intruder. As the prayer says, “eternal rest be granted to them. . .may their souls rest in peace”

    • Oh, I agree completely. At least in Nat’s case, his consent could be fairly presumed, since his daughter needed a hit at the time (and got one). The mitigating factor in this one is that the current day singer regarded it as an homage to his hero.

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