A Brief But Significant Addendum To “I’ve Looked And I’ve Tried And I Believe In Civility, But The Only Fair Descriptive Word For These People Is ‘Asshole'”

Nice!

Mollie Hemingway, editor at the National Review, had an admirably understated reaction to this tweet from Mrs. Clinton, saying,Fully acknowledge I’m biased here, but my advice would be that if your politics are giving the impression that you’re rooting against your fellow Americans and for a deadly virus attacking them, you might want to reassess.”

My observations are not quite as understated:

  • What an asshole! But we knew that. By “me” I mean everyone who has observed this awful, awful human being’s behavior and statements since at least 1992.
  • The actual form of assholery that the spectacularly failed aspiring  first female President models here is not a variety examined in the post referenced in the title above, but in this post, item #4, in which I noted, “You can mark down any pundit (or Facebook friend) who gloats about the official U.S. tally of Wuhan virus cases making it the most infected nation in the world as fitting neatly into the topic of this recent post.” She’s not a pundit, of course (nor my Facebook friend, thank god); she is, by about 20 laps, the most ungracious, unethical, whiny, nasty, divisive and pathetic losing political candidate for national office in American political history…and she just happens to be the only woman to be on the ballot for President. Continue reading

It Isn’t Easy Being FDR, And Other Early Morning Musings…

FDR at State Capitol, Topeka KA 9.14.42. Source: FDRL

After the requisite grandstanding and obstruction that the Democratic Party’s hard left base demanded, a deal was finally struck for a Wuhan pandemic rescue bill. Some complexities in getting it done remain, but it looks like there will be vital government support for the most vulnerable in this bizarre disruption.

Observations:

  • Nobody is going to talk about it now, but this is why the irresponsible spending presided over by both parties throughout the past many administrations was spectacularly wrong. The nation will suffer for it too. The debt was already unsustainable; the reason political leadership has to address that problem when there isn’t a crisis is because it’s impossible to address it when there is one. The new “stimulus” bill now inflates that debt by 2 trillion dollars. It isn’t that the amount may not be worth it: sure it is, psychologically if for no other reason. The problem is that we can’t afford it. Nor will any party have the guts to raise taxes to pay for the bill any time soon.

Meanwhile, our roads, bridges, waterways, railroad tracks, sewer systems and water pipes need urgent repair and expansion that will also cost a couple of trillion dollars or so. Adding Medicare for All, college loan forgiveness and free tuition to that…well, it’s fiscal fantasy land, and wildly dishonest and irresponsible for any political leaders to imply it can be done without making a dire situation worse. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Afternoon Ethics Warm-Up, 3/23/2020: Examining The—OH NO! I TOUCHED MY FACE!!”!

This masterful epic by Comment of the Day auteur Steve-O-From-NJ needs no introduction, so I’m just going to say, here is Steve-O-From-NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Afternoon Ethics Warm-Up, 3/23/2020: Examining The—OH NO! I TOUCHED MY FACE!!”

I just read this on Facebook. Frankly it made me angry, but not for the reasons you might think. I don’t believe for a minute a real doctor wrote this. I have a few comments of my own to add, and then I’ll have more to add at the end.

“CDC recommending hospital staff use bandanas when masks run out. Hospitals are asking the public to sew masks. Here is a physician responding:

“Please don’t tell me that in the richest country in the world in the 21st century, I’m supposed to work in a fictionalized Soviet-era disaster zone and fashion my own face mask out of cloth because other Americans hoard supplies for personal use and so-called leaders sit around in meetings hearing themselves talk. I ran to a bedside the other day to intubate a crashing, likely COVID, patient. Two respiratory therapists and two nurses were already at the bedside. That’s 5 N95s masks, 5 gowns, 5 face shields and 10 gloves for one patient at one time. I saw probably 15-20 patients that shift, if we are going to start rationing supplies, what percentage should I wear precautions for?”

Comment 1: Your job is to save and treat patients, using whatever means necessary. If supplies run out in the middle of something, then you make do until they can get you more. If the single-use nature of things is no longer tenable, then get those that can be used repeatedly until the supplies can be replenished. Oh, and cut the drama. The Soviet Union went out of existence 29 years ago, maybe even before you were born. You don’t know what went on there, except maybe by what you read.

“Make no mistake, the CDC is loosening these guidelines because our country is not prepared. Loosening guidelines increases healthcare workers’ risk but the decision is done to allow us to keep working, not to keep us safe. It is done for the public benefit – so I can continue to work no matter the personal cost to me or my family (and my healthcare family). Sending healthcare workers to the front line asking them to cover their face with a bandana is akin to sending a soldier to the front line in a t-shirt and flip flops.” Continue reading

“Dark Waters”

“Dark Waters” is another ethics movie, and a very good one. Like all ethics movies involving real events, it is also educational—disturbingly so.

The film, which was released late last year, dramatizes the story of attorney Robert Bilott and his nearly two decades of battling DuPont over its deliberate (okay, “negligent”) poisoning of citizens and the entire nation with the chemicals used to manufacture Teflon. Yes, “the entire nation”: that’s not hyperbole. It is believed that the unregulated and toxic chemical called PFOA is in the system of everyone living in the U.S. as a result of DuPont’s conduct.

The movie has not been a prominent success, perhaps because is treads along the well-worn path of earlier movies about similar corporate scandals and class action law suits, like  Julia Roberts’ “Erin Brockovich” ( Pacific Gas and Electric Company ) and  John Travolta’s “A Civil Action” (Beatrice Foods and W. R. Grace and Company). The star (and producer) of “Dark Water,” Mark Ruffalo, isn’t quite in the same star category as Travolta and Roberts, but an A-list cast was assembled to back him, including Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins,  Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, and Bill Pullman.

“Dark Waters,” horrifying to say, is mostly accurate. It was also one of those films where I was left wondering, “How did I miss this? Was it me, or was the story under-reported? If it was the latter, why was it under-reported?” The film was based on the 2016 New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” as well as that lawyer’s memoir. Exposure,” giving  Bilott’s perspective on his 20-year legal battle against DuPont. In the end, the company paid over $600 million  in a settlement, which was far less than they should have paid; I’m sure the company regards this as a victory. (Its stock went up after the announcement.)

Imagine: Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Warm-Up, 3/23/2020: Examining The—OH NO! I TOUCHED MY FACE!!!

1. From the “Futile isn’t Ethical” files. The hectoring over face-touching is annoying at a time when we need less annoyances. Here’s a useless article that gives elaborate strategies for eliminating face-touching only to admit toward the end that you probably can’t stop. I’ll wager that nobody can stop, since we do it thousands of times a day, often for good reasons, and that with all the other things we have to think about, thinking about NOT doing something natural all day long—which is essentially the strategy the three professors of psychology credited with the article recommend—will do more damage than it addresses.

Here’s a typical passage:

“Now that you are aware of the behavior you want to change, you can replace it with a competing response that opposes the muscle movements needed to touch your face. When you feel the urge to touch your face, you can clench your fists, sit on your hands, press your palms onto the tops of your thighs, or stretch your arms straight down at your sides.”

Here’s another idea that I’m sure everyone will want to adopt while they worry about their jobs, their friends, and where their next meal is coming from:

Self-monitoring is more effective when people create a physical record. You can create a log where you briefly describe each instance of face-touching. For example, log entries might say:

—Scratched nose with finger, felt itch, while at my desk
—Fiddled with eyeglasses, hands tingled, frustrated
—Rested chin on palm, neck sore, while reading
—Bit fingernail, nail caught on pants, watching TV

2. Baseball ethics fix: While there’s no baseball for an undetermined period, baseball continues to spark ethics consideration. Continue reading

Movies To Keep You Happy, Inspired And Optimistic , Part I

This is a very subjective and personal list. The main requirement was that they all must be, in the final analysis, upbeat. I also have seen all of them more than once.

I left out some obvious choices that I have already devoted full posts to on Ethics Alarms, like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas.” Some of the films on my ethics movies list appear here, but not for the same reasons. Obviously, I encourage you to see those movies too.

Below is approximately the first half of the list. The rest will be along eventually.

Rocky (1976)

It still holds up as one of the most exhilarating sports movies of all time.

The Natural (1984)

Great score and a happy ending, unlike the novelette it was based on.

True Grit (1969)

This is the John Wayne version, with two of the go-to scenes I’ll play when I want to feel better.

E.T. (1982)

Other than the unforgivable rainbow at the end, a near perfect feel-good film.

Stand By Me (1986)

One of two Stephen King movies on the list. Does anyone not love this film?

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

And the other King movie. has any suicide in a film been quite this satisfying?

Erin Brockavich (2000)

More or less a true story, which makes it especially inspiring.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

If Donald O’Connor walking up walls doesn’t get your heart pumping and your mouth smiling, nothing will. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/20: I See Terrible People.”

I’m embarrassed that I didn’t come up with “Fu Manchu Flu”…

Yesterday, Chris Marschner set an Ethics Alarms record with two Comments of the Day in a single day. His riff on (yecchh!) “Imagine’ was #1, this more traditional COTD is #2. I’m equally grateful for this one, because I had eschewed mentioning the small matter of the Obama response to the 2009-2010 H1N1 virus and the press coverage of that response. Why? Well, I get tired of being accused of mouthing conservative talking points, even when they are only conservative talking points because the left-wing mainstream media unethically ignores them. It also seems like whataboutism, though it is not: if resistance-allied pundits are going to tell the public that President Trump’s response to the Wuhan virus pandemic is deadly and incompetent, then they are obligated to explain why the previous President’s unquestionable worse response to his virus challenge was considered just fine, thanks. Nonetheless, the “Wait, how can you square your criticism of Trump with your Obama cheerleading?” refrain has become a cliche, even though it has done so because it has been a legitimate question so often.

Thus, twice in a single day, Chris Marschner saved me from a task I was not eager to complete. His starting point was the note in my post about Joe Biden planning on a regular feature online second-guessing the President’s response to the Wuhan virus.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/20: I See Terrible People.”

We actually have a pandemic that Biden’s actions can be measured against. The 2009 breakout of the pH1N1 flu.

“Final estimates were published in 2011. These final estimates were that from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010 approximately 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (8868-18,306) occurred in the United States due to pH1N1.”
https://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/estimates_2009_h1n1.htm Continue reading