Ethics Quiz: Marie Osmond’s Formula For Responsible Parenting When You’re Filthy Rich

Pop star Marie Osmond, seen above apparently being eaten by the same plant mass that devoured Barack Obama in his awful portrait that became a source of a scandal narrative, has announced that she will not be bestowing any of her current wealth, estimated to be about $20 million, on her 8 children or 8 grandchildren.

“Honestly, why would you enable your child to not try to be something? I don’t know anybody who becomes anything if they’re just handed money,” she said last month in an interview. “To me, the greatest gift you can give your child is a passion to search out who they are inside and to work. I mean, I’ve done so many things… I love trying. I wanna try everything,” she added.

Further parenting wisdom from Marie, whose plan is to spend what she has with husband Steve Craig and give whatever is left to charity when she goes to that big Osmond Reunion in the sky: “I just think all [an inheritance] does is breed laziness and entitlement. I worked hard and I’m gonna spend it all and have fun with my husband…” and she says she doesn’t want to set the stage for her heirs to fight over her estate. Marie has said that her role model in this conviction was actor Kirk Douglas, who reportedly left none of his wealth, estimated to be three times Osmond’s, to Michael (who was rich already).

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is… Continue reading

Bitter Harry: Famous Grandchildren Ethics #2

Part I is here.

A London pub has announced that it will be selling a ‘Harry’s Bitter’ beer in response to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tell-all Netflix documentary, “Harry and Meghan” as well as Prince Harry’s family dirty laundry opus, “Spare.” Well-played. For Diana and Charles’ youngest offspring is indeed Bitter Harry, and a weak and rotten Royal to boot.

Because the U.S. is in the throes of The Great Stupid, in part a hangover from the George Floyd Freakout, Harry and his gold-digger spouse Meghan are more popular here than in the UK. Some Americans just enjot seeing the Royal Family shat-upon; some are suckers for those who play the racism victim card, Meghan’s specialty (with Harry’s dog-like assistance), and some were so absurdly smitten with the late Princess Diana, herself often an unseemly publicity addict, that her sons can do no wrong in their eyes. Nonetheless, Harry’s exploitation of his family’s misplaced trust for cash and cheap celebrity is the mark of a royal asshole as well as one whose bitterness has rendered his ethics alarms useless.

What kind of person deliberately reveals—often with dark shading borne of dark agendas—private conversations and family secrets in a manner guaranteed to embarrass, insult and infuriate named relatives and stain the reputation of those who have expired? The answer is… a petty, untrustworthy person. Harry doesn’t need the money, but apparently he needs something else: revenge, probably. He evidently has adopted his late mother’s attitude toward the Royal Family, blames them for her demise, and is doing everything he and his wife can think of to cause them pain.

This is ironic, because the only reason anyone cares a twig for either Harry or his C-list actress wife is his membership in that family. Harry is the epitome of a celebrity who is famous without having done anything constructive, admirable, or praiseworthy. He doesn’t have to work; he was born with the metaphorical silver spoon, and nothing short of treason or murder could remove it—indeed, if British history is any guide, not even those things.

However, he has been relatively cut off, and his wife, at least, wants to make sure they have a bright future ahead of interviews with Jimmy Kimmel, guest spots on sitcoms and starring roles as infomercial pitch-nobles. Thus the plan is to tar King Charles, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Prince William and the rest as racists and creeps, even if it makes Harry and Meghan look creepy too. Creepy celebrities do quite well here.

Maureen Dowd, amusingly snarky with a drop of illumination as usual, writes,

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Gee, Can We Lock Up The Parents For THIS Shooting?

Ethics Alarms has always maintained that when a child gets control of a real firearm and shoots it, the parents must be held criminally responsible, not only for the consequences of the shooting, but for allowing the child access at all. I also believe that this should be strict liability: I don’t care if the child is a whiz at picking locks or a precocious little Michael Corleone. If you own a gun and your kid gets a grip on it, you’re the menace to society.

I can’t imagine a more perfect illustration of the need for this policy than the story out of Richneck Elementary School in Newport News Virginia. A 6-year-old boy shot and wounded his first grade teacher yesterday. He apparently did it intentionally—he had some dispute with her, we are told—and is a good shot: she is in critical condition.

The Washington Post story about the shooting is infuriating:

Newport News Police Chief Steve R. Drew said at a news briefing…’We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting.’”

Oh, the first grader wasn’t an active shooter then! We could guess that. What about the parents?

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Worst of Ethics Award 2022: Most Unethical Parent Of The Year…And More!

Kendra Licari was arrested this month and faces up to ten years in prison. In December of 2021, Licari informed police that her daughter and her boyfriend were being harassed, bullied and stalked online. Her daughter, she told them, was frightened and traumatized. Kendra and the boyfriend’s mother, she said, were working together to find the person responsible for the cyberbullying.

Police investigated, and discovered who was making Licari’s daughter’s life miserable. It was her own mother.

The investigators found that Kendra Licari had begun harassing her daughter online in early 2021, sending anonymous threats and insulting messages while pretending to be another high school girl. Though Mom tried to conceal her real identity, but FBI cyber-experts traced the messages to Licari’s IP address.

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The Entitled Working Mother’s Christmas Lament

For some reason I’ve been getting accounts of a lot of overseas ethics controversies of late, like the German hospital patient who shut off her roommate’s oxygen machine because it was “too noisy.” The source of this ethics quiz is the UK, where a frustrated mother argues on a parenting site that it was selfish for a childless colleague to compete with her for a day off on Christmas, because she was a mother.

“Ok I feel terrible about this,” the indignant mom wrote in a thread on UK-based parenting site Mumsnet, as she explained that their manager told the two women to work out their conflict themselves, and let him know their solution. Continue reading

What Shannon Epstein Does Is Not National News And It Is Unethical Journalism To Pretend It Is

From The Blaze:

On Thanksgiving Day, Shannon Epstein, 25, climbed aboard a Spirit Airlines flight headed from New Orleans to New Jersey. However, after the plane left the gate but before it could take off, Epstein allegedly began causing a scene, accusing a Latina family seated near her of “smuggling cocaine.”

Because of the wild accusation, airport officials decided to redirect the plane back to the gate so that Epstein could be removed. However, she refused to cooperate, reports say. When deputies tried to force her to deplane, she became “extremely combative,” said Capt. Jason Rivarde of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

During a scuffle with six deputies at Louis Armstrong International Airport, Epstein supposedly caused several injuries. She has been accused of biting one officer in the arm to such an extent that she broke the skin. She has also been accused of kicking another officer in the groin.

Many other news sources including NBC News, Yahoo! and The New York Post are headlining this story and giving it far more circulation and attention than the typical “wacko goes nuts on an airplane” tale.

Why do Shannon Epstein’s antics matter? They don’t. She’s irrelevant to the nation, national security, the economy and the culture. Thousands of more substantive crimes have been committed by similarly insignificant people since she had her meltdown.

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Good Father, Malpracticing Lawyer

Awwww. Lawyer Jerry L. Steering of California missed the deadline to file a response to a motion to dismiss the case that he had filed on behalf of a client. He had a good reason, he thought, having seen “Field of Dreams” a bunch of times. (OK, I’m guessing here.) U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton of the Central District of California, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, had already granted a deadline extension to Steering once, but he requested more time, he explained, because he was “presently in Chicago” to watch his son “play American professional baseball.”

What a good dad! What a bad lawyer! The judge didn’t grant the extension, and in an unpublished per curiam opinion that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued yesterday, her decision was upheld. The lawyer’s “excuse for not meeting a deadline that had already been extended 90 days at his request was frivolous: Counsel chose to attend a ballgame instead of timely filing his client’s response to the motion to dismiss,” the 9th Circuit said.

Frivolous? FRIVOLOUS??? Watching one’s son “have a catch” for money and supporting him from the stands is “frivolous”? Well yeah, it is. This is a flaming breach of to many legal ethics rules to list, but competence and diligence will do. I have to assume that Jerry is willing to accept the consequences for his choice, which will include a slam-dunk legal malpractice and maybe disciplinary action from his bar association as well.

When family obligations conflict with professional ones, it’s tough. Still, the professional standards leave a lot less wiggle room than family duties; I think Junior would have understood.

Even if Kevin Costner wouldn’t.


Speaking Of Democracy Being Saved, Why The Hell Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders Now Governor Of Arkansas?

At least John Fetterman had been a mayor and served as Lieutenant Governor. True, he’s brain-damaged…but I’m still tempted to rule that the most outrageous abuse of the franchise by a majority of a state’s voting age citizens was in Arkansas, where Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the governorship by a landslide.

Why? What qualifications does she have to run a state government from the executive chair? I assumed that there were aspects of her curriculum vitae I didn’t know about that explained why she was even nominated. Nope. Since graduating from college, she has essentially been a serial campaign worker, first on her father’s campaigns, then others. She started a consulting firm that assists Republicans in running for office. She was the executive director of a PAC, which I suppose counts as some kind of executive experience.

But her most visible job, and the only one not related to campaigns of one sort or another, was as Donald Trump’s second paid liar. She was marginally better than the embarrassing Sean Spicer, as in more competent at lying, but far less effective than her successor, Kayleigh McEnany. Moreover, the single most basic requirement of the job is that you don’t admit to lying. Sanders couldn’t even manage this low bar,

In the first volume of Mueller Report, it was revealed that Sanders had admitted that she lied repeatedly regarding James Comey, the former FBI director, as well as the firing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s connection to the Comey firing, and when she claimed that “countless” FBI agents had lost faith in FBI leadership and had contacted her to complain. She told investigators that she had made “a slip of the tongue” that was “not founded on anything”in “the heat of the moment.”


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Watermelon-Smashing Ethics: The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Gallagher

Prop comic Gallagher, once a college campus comedy superstar, died last week, reviving memories of a classic ethics family drama with many life lessons attached.

Gallagher (first name, never used professionally: Leo) was an acquired taste that I never acquired, but he had many TV specials, a famous bit (smashing things, especially watermelons, with a sledgehammer), and even ran for Governor of California. In 1987, researchers at Loma Linda University in Southern California took blood samples from medical students while they watched Gallagher’s antics. Their white blood cell levels increased the more they laughed at him. His comedy, the study concluded, strengthened their immune systems.

Why hospital staffs don’t smash watermelons in cancer wards, I don’t know. But I digress.

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Why There’s No Ethics “Dirty Dozen” This Election, And Those Wacky Shavers: Whatever The Truth Is, The Father Is Unethical And The Son Is Untrustworthy

This story reminds me that I used to have a post every election cycle listing my “Dirty Dozen”—a list of 12 candidates for re-election or office that I deemed ethically unacceptable. The list would include, in addition to automatic honorees like Rep. Maxine Waters, such oddities as Rich Iott, whose candidacy foundered when it was discovered that he had an obsession with dressing up as an SS officer. Usually I made an effort to include an equal number f Democrats and Republicans—it wasn’t hard.

It wouldn’t be hard this time, either. What would be hard, indeed, I decided, impossible, would be to keep the list to just a dozen. To begin with, “The Squad” would take care of all of the Democratic slots right off the bat. Every one of them (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri) is an embarrassment: incompetent, blindly ideological, and anti-American to the core. There wouldn’t even be room for Waters, or Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Majority Whip (and hypocrite “election denier”) James Clyburn, or the ridiculous Stacey Abrams. Then we have Nancy Pelosi, who has crossed more ethics lines with each passing year, and the truly horrible Adam Schiff (D-Cal). I couldn’t fit John Fetterman onto the list, or any of the awful Democratic governors running for re-election—and if I tried, then there would be no room for the Republicans who should never hold political office, like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), or (you knew this was coming) Herschel Walker, the creepy Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, who compared the Capitol riot to a “normal tourist visit,” and Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky) who thought this was an appropriate Christmas card…

Well, I could go on, but this is depressing me. The point is that there are far, far too many ridiculous, incompetent, unethical people making our laws for anyone to be able to trust the government….and I haven’t even drilled down to the state level, where it’s worse.

So meet the entertaining Shavers. Clyde Shavers, the Democratic candidate for Washington state’s 10th legislative district, claimed to be an officer serving on a nuclear submarine in the Navy for eight years. He wasn’t one. He also has claimed to be a lawyer. He isn’t a lawyer either; in fact, he doesn’t know what a lawyer is. On his website, Shavers writes,

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