We Have To Talk About Velma…

I wish we didn’t.

I wouldn’t raise the issue except that the conservative blogs and commentators seem to be horrified by this most minor of pop culture developments—the sexual orientation of a five-decades-old Hanna-Barbara cartoon character?–and the usual progressive suspects are awash with joy. (Well, I guess you have to take your victories where you find them, however minuscule.)

The ethics issues are encompassed in the routine question, “What’s going on here?”

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The Failure Of “Bros”: Why Don’t Minorities Accept The Right Of Majorities To Feel Like They Do?

Gee, what a shocking development! Non-gay audiences haven’t flocked to see a romantic comedy that advertises itself like that!

I’m a movie fan. I have lots of gay friends, family members and associates: I worked in the theater for decades. I respect them all; I support their right to live and love and marry whomever they please; I want them to be treated like any other law-abiding Americans in all things as they are judged solely on the content of their character, and regard discrimination and bias against them as despicable and unconscionable.

But I don’t enjoy watching gay sex and related activities.  I have every right to feel that way. I would no more pay, or take time out of my sock drawer duties, to see “Bros” than I would watch an NFL game, or attend a one-man show by Alec Baldwin. So sue me. But I think there are millions of Americans with similar tastes, and they span the generations.

Apparently the makers of “Bros” convinced themselves that non-gay (I will say “cis” when there is a loaded gun at my head and not before) Americans, who are, believe it or not, the majority, would go to see a romantic comedy about gays because they have been told that they should, and are bigots if the don’t comply. Non-gay America replied, “Bite me!,” and good for them. Continue reading

October Surprise! Ethics Observations As Herschel Walker’s Past Strikes Back…

The first observation is that neither of the surprises should surprise anyone at all. Former NFL football star Herschel Walker is about as vulnerable a political candidate for high office as one can imagine, even in the “Get Trump!” era. I’ve covered much of this already. He’s exaggerated his scholastic achievements, hidden the fact that he has several children conceived without the formality of marriage, admitted bouts with mental illness and a suicide attempt, and vaguely acknowledges committing domestic violence.

Walker has no political experience or relevant achievements that would make him a qualified candidate for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. He’s a local celebrity and has personal charisma; he is also an African-American in a state with a lot of black voters (and football fans). That’s about it. In the United States of America in the Age of the Great Stupid, that can also be enough.

It was irresponsible for the Republican Party to present such a cynically-chosen nominee to the voters of Georgia, incompetent for voters to check his name in the primary, and certifiably stupid for the GOP to store a substantial amount of their chances of taking back control of the Senate on such a shaky vessel.

Yesterday, they all got what they deserved… Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Criminal Defense Lawyer/Blogger Scott Greenfield

Scott Greenfield’s post yesterday on his blog Simple Justice was fortuitous, coming as it did shortly after my musings (item #2) about a trusted and respected legal ethics colleague whose ugly past ethical breach I only recently learned about. Greenfield isn’t quite discussing the same issue—my dilemma involves trusting someone’s judgment and integrity, his involves pure friendship—but his post is helpful nonetheless, and admirable.

In fact, it reminds me of my father.

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On Ghosting, Ducking, Evading, And The Duty To Explain

One of my best and dearest friends is currently distraught because someone he has been very fond of and close to for many years suddenly stopped communicating with him, or in the parlance of the day, has “ghosted him.” All of a sudden, for no reason he can imagine, his vanished friend refused to answer his phone calls, texts, emails or social media entreaties. It’s driving him nuts. No, his friend hasn’t died or been kidnapped. He’s just been cut out, dropped like the proverbial hot potato.

I thought about my friend’s pain during a recent work mystery: I was supposed to review an agreement for ethics issues, and time was supposedly of the essence. The company that had proposed the deal, however, kept stalling in sending the draft. First it was an email with the infuriating missing attachment; next it was the wrong file. Time was ticking: my client wanted to know what was causing the delay on my end.

I called everyone on the conference call that had ended with the document review as being agreed upon as the next step: nobody answered. Nobody answered my emails either. I called the lawyer orchestrating the deal. He was “out” but would call me later that day. He didn’t. I called again, telling his secretary that this was not making me confident about the company’s worth as my client’s business partner. I was told the lawyer’s assistant would call me “quickly.” Two hours later, after receiving no call, I called again. I was, shall we say, sharp. The secretary apologized and connected me to the lawyer’s assistant. She was professional, understanding, cooperative. She said there was no reason for me not to have received the document. “I’m going to storm into his office right now, and you’ll have the agreement to review in five minutes” were her exact words.

I never received the file, and I never heard from the assistant again.

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I Think We Can Safely Conclude That This Was Unethical…

In Brazil, a culture where respect for women is comparable to the U. S. in the early 19th Century, Gabriel Coelho forced Tayane Caldas, his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend, into his car as she was walking home from school.  He drove her to his home, and the 20-year-old Coelho then tattooed his full name on the girl’s face, as you can see above. Coelho claims that Tayane consented.

So I guess she wants to get back together with him…

Actually, that seems unlikely. For one thing, she had requested and received two restraining orders against Coelho, one in 2021 and another this year.  Still, Tayane’s mother had to encourage her daughter to press charges against her ex-boyfriend, as she was initially inclined to simply hide her new face tattoo with make-up. The fact that she even was thinking this way shows how primitive female self-esteem can be in Brazil.

Gabriel Coelho is under arrest, though his father backs his ridiculous defense that she consented to be branded. Of course he does. Men like Gabriel don’t turn out believing women are property without a role model.

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife”

I guess I should apologize for using that clip to introduce DaveL’s sensitive and wise Comment of the Day, but I couldn’t resist: just leaped into my head. Otherwise, his superb observations need no introduction.

This is DaveL’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife.”


I lost my first wife at a young age. She was 30, I was 26, we had been married a little over two years. I’ve since remarried, and have been so for nearly 13 years.

Widowhood seriously messes with people’s heads when it comes to timeless ideas of true love and fidelity. Divorce they can cope with – clearly that person wasn’t “the one”. It “wasn’t meant to be.” The pledge you made to love them for the rest of your life has been ruptured, no more need be said about it. But widowhood, particularly in the young who remarry, screws it all up because they feel they must choose one spouse to be “the one”, the “real” spouse, the “love of one’s life”, and the other one denigrated to understudy status. Continue reading

Is This The Most Unethical Job In The World That Isn’t Illegal?

Carolina Lekker, a Playboy model, says that she charges women up to $2,000 to approach their boyfriends on social media to test how faithful they really are.

She approaches unsuspecting men whose spouses or lovers suspect of being potentially unfaithful using Instagram and other social media platforms. After  enticing exchanges, she invites them to meet with her, and if they do, they are busted. Lekker then keeps the money and exposes their perfidy to their partner. If they resist their charms and prove their faithfulness, she returns the fee to the client.

Nice. (Incidentally, this is similar to the plot of Netflix’s “Clickbait,” on which I still have not managed to arrange the promised Zoom colloquy.) Continue reading

Welcome To The Weirdest Ethics Quiz Ever: Biden’s New Deputy Assistant Secretary At The Department of Energy

No, I am not making this up, it is not a hoax, and I have verified the facts.

The latest Biden Administration hire is one Sam Brinton, the new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy for the Department of Energy. Brinton announced his hiring on LinkedIn, writing that “In this role I’ll be doing what I always dreamed of doing, leading the effort to solve the nation’s nuclear waste challenges” and would “even be (to my knowledge) the first gender fluid person in federal government leadership.” Here’s Sam:

This is also Sam, in his drag queen persona “Sister Ray Dee O’Active.”

Sam says describing “her”: “I am the slutty one. And the nerdy one.” But Sam is more versatile still. That’s him on the left in the photo under the headline acting as a “handler” in the leather culture sub-set called “Puppy Play.” Handlers help human “puppies” like this good boy…

… behave like dogs while being treated as dogs, including, as far as I can determine, having sex while “being” a dog. Continue reading

The Jeff Zucker Scandal’s Emerging Details Confirm The Long-Time Ethics Alarms Verdict: This Is And Has Been A Corrupt, Untrustworthy News Organization

And it, meaning its unethical and unprofessional leadership, management and employees, was allowed to manipulate public opinion, national politics, and the nation. Think about that.

We didn’t need more to know CNN President Jeff Zucker was a slimy, ruthless hypocrite—his network was proof enough— but the unfolding scandal has certainly provided spectacular confirmation. You need to thoroughly update yourself at the links, but here are some basics:

  • CNN’s President Jeff Zucker announced on February 2, 2022, that he was resigning from the company, over his illicit affair with subordinate Allison Gollust. The spin on this includes calling her a “colleague.” No, she worked for Zucker. That makes the relationship toxic, not just “inappropriate.” Both Gollust and Zucker left their marriages during the affair.

Who knows what employees, or female or minority employees, were passed over so Zucker could advance his lover’s career? That’s a major reason why the boss having affairs with subordinates is always wrong, always destructive, and must be addressed.

  • CNN talking heads and execs are making excuses for Zucker. One CNN executive told The Daily Beast, “People are pissed. No one thinks the punishment fits the crime.” And that proves how thoroughly ethics brain-dead Zucker has left CNN. When the head of any organization is caught violating that organizations rules and policies, he or she must resign of be fired.

The punishment does fit the crime. Continue reading