Bulletin: No More Sex. [Corrected]

Extreme, unrealistic, impractical advice from health “experts” is not useful nor effective, and because it undermines trust in such experts (not that there has been any shortage of statements that do that), it is irresponsible and unethical.

The University of Georgia has told students that they really should  wear masks while having sex. Heavy breathing and panting can further spread the virus, after all.

“You are your safest sex partner. Practice solo sex, or limit the number of sexual partners you have,” says the University of Georgia’s recommendations. Continue reading

Emergency Open Forum!

 

I just can’t mount the energy or mental acuity to post anything coherent right now, but if I don’t at least open the lines, I may go nuts. I actually just had a WordPress nightmare…I’m serious.

If anyone wants to use this as an opportunity to play “Ask The Ethics Man!,” that might be fun. I think I could respond to direct questions and inquiries I often feature a song called “The Ethics Man” in my musical legal ethics seminars. Sung wittily and well, as always, by my partner Mike Messer, it’s a singalong. There are several versions; I keep updating it. I’m pretty sure you know the Billy Joel classic song it parodies:

Continue reading

Ethical Quote Of The Month: Will Middlebrooks

“Don’t take one thing for granted. Not a single thing. Because when it’s gone it’s gone. Love and enjoy your teammates. You’re surrounded by some of the best players in the world and guess what, you’re one of them kid! Believe in your abilities day in and day out and never, ever let off the gas. Play this game like you know someone is coming for your job and today could be the last time you ever put on a big league uniform.”

—Former Boston Red Sox rookie sensation Will Middlebrooks, now retired, giving advice to current Red Sox rookie sensation Michael Chavis through an interview with Boston radio station WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Although Middlebrooks’ sage advice was given in the context of playing Major League Baseball, it applies equally well to all passions, pursuits, opportunities, privileges, jobs, pleasures, honors, relationships, and  professions, as well as love, youth, and life in general. It is the present day Will Middlebrooks telling his younger self what he wishes he had understood before it was too late. Continue reading

Comment of the Day #2: Advice From A Father To His Hypothetical College Freshman Son, In Reaction To “Ethics Observations On The Old Dominion University Signa Nu Fraternity Freakout”

Judge Hardy would have approved.

Judge Hardy would have approved.

As with the first Comment of the Day posted today, Steve-O-in-NJ  takes an Ethics Alarms essay in a new direction, as he uses my post about Old Dominion University’s treating an ill-considered episode of frat boy sexual innuendo as the equivalent of threatened rape and sexual violence. His Comment of the Day is his advice to a college-entering hypothetical son, in light of the dangers inherent in the modern campus culture.

It also begins with an assertion that is vital but that none of the Presidential candidates—or the President— discussing the issues of student loans and the cost of college ever seem to make, which is that the purpose of college is to learn to think, become educated, broaden intellectual horizons and be socialized as a blossoming adult and productive citizen. Instead, we, and they, are told that a degree is essential to get a job and make as much money as possible, regardless of whether or not that piece of paper stands for any increased knowledge and skill. Often it doesn’t. Usually it doesn’t. It was over this issue—promoting education as a work credential rather than as a life enhancement and necessity—that I resigned as president of an education promoting non-profit many years ago. The situation has only gotten worse since. This warping of purpose also warps student ethics: if the piece of paper is without substance, why not cheat to obtain it?

Here is the Comment of the Day by Steve-O-in-NJ on the post Ethics Observations On The Old Dominion University Signa Nu Fraternity Freakout: Continue reading

The Harvard Law Student’s Formula For An Ethical Life

Yes, I hate my job, and yes, my clients are the scum of the Earth, and yes, my life sucks. But think of all the kids I can help get de-wormed!

Yes, I hate my job, and yes, my clients are the scum of the Earth, and yes, my life sucks. But think of all the kids I can help get de-wormed!

When I heard about the Harvard Law Record’s essay by law student Bill Barlow titled “Want To Save The World? Do Biglaw,” I mistakenly  assumed that he had made a persuasive, or at least coherent, utilitarian argument. After all, some fairly distinguished blogs took notice, and set about rebutting him. I was shocked when I actually read the piece. From what I can tell, Barlow understands nothing he was writing about—not the profession of law, not charity, not careers, not values, not law firms, not ethics, not money, not life. Why is someone who thinks like this in law school? What are law schools accepting people capable of writing this? Why is Harvard allowing someone this naive and shallow to display a Harvard degree?

This is literally all there is of substance to the article:

“So there you have it—be a corporate lawyer, donate 25% of your post tax income to charity, and save 150 lives a year, or de-worm 25,000 kids.  Alternatively, go into Public Interest, Government, or Academia, and feel warm and fuzzy about yourself.  Sadly, when people at this school talk about public service, they mean the latter, rather than the former.  If only people applied the same amount of cognitive skill used in just one LSAT logic game to the most critical question of what to do with their law degree, hundreds of lives could be saved.”

Ugh. Where to begin? Continue reading

The Fifth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2013 (Part Two of Three)

Snowden

The Ethics Alarms review of a truly disheartening year in ethics continues with fallen heroes, ficks, fools and follies with Part Two of the 2013 Worst of Ethics awards….and there’s one last section to come. Be afraid..be very afraid:

Fallen Hero of the Year

Edward Snowden, whose claim to civil disobedience was marred by his unwillingness to accept the consequences of his actions, whose pose as a whistle-blower was ruined by the disclosure that he took his job with the intention of exposing national secrets, and whose status as a freedom-defending patriot lies in ruins as he seeks harbor with not only America’s enemy, but a human rights-crushing enemy at that. The NSA’s over-reach and mismanagement is a scandal, but Snowden proved that he is no hero.

Unmitigated Gall of  The Year

Minnesota divorce lawyer Thomas P. Lowes not only violated the bar’s ethics rules by having sex with his female  client…he also billed her his hourly fee for the time they spent having sex , a breach of the legal profession’s rule against “unreasonable fees.” Yes, he was suspended. But for not long enough…

Jumbo Of The Year

(Awarded To The Most Futile And Obvious Lie)

Jumbo film

“Now, if you had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

—–President Obama

2013 Conflicts of Interest of the Year Continue reading

Cher’s Ethics Tweets

Lan 159

Earlier this week, Cher used her interview with USA to take some well-aimed pot-shots at Miley Cyrus’s universally loathed “twerking” antics on the MTV Awards show. She said of Cyrus

“”I’m not old fashioned. She could have come out naked, and if she’d just rocked the house, I would have said, ‘You go, girl.’ She could have come out naked, and if she’d just rocked the house, I would have said, ‘You go, girl.’ It just wasn’t done well. She can’t dance, her body looked like hell, the song wasn’t great, one cheek was hanging out. And, chick, don’t stick out your tongue if it’s coated. If you’re going to go that far, then think about it before you do it.

These are wise words from a veteran and proven performing star to a young one on the way up, or heading for a crash. Essentially, Cher is stating the principles of professionalism: whatever you do, do it right, do it well, and respect your constituency. Cher has the bona fides to offer such an opinion since she has stretched the lines of sexual propriety on stage more than once, but it was always used as an additional enhancement on the way to her “rocking the house.”

The legendary pop diva was apparently surprised that her comments became a one-day sensation on the gossip websites and cable entertainment shows, and  had second thoughts about them, which she communicated in a couple of tweets to the Twitterverse. In Cher-ese, they are all about ethics:

Chers Tweets

Translation: Continue reading

Dear Sincerely Shallow: “It’s True, You’re Horrible. Show Your Fiancé Your Letter, And Go Pimp Yourself Out Like Anna Nicole.”

This could be you, SS!

This could be you, “Sincerely Shallow” ! Go for it!

Emily Yoffe is Slate’s stunt advice columnist, who in her “Dear Prudence” column answers questions reminiscent of the freak-show howlers they used to concoct for the “Penthouse Forum” (or so I’ve heard.) Sometimes Emily’s advice has me convinced she is the consort of Pazuzu, and other times her advice is measured and wise. This time, she sided with the demon, and I’m about finished with her.

Here is the query sent by “Sincerely Shallow” in its entirety. I’m sure it’s viral by now:

Dear Prudence,
I’m recently engaged to the most honest, thoughtful, and loving man I’ve ever met. He has supported me through many hard times, including losing my job and being assaulted. Here’s the but about him: He makes no money. He has ambitions, and he’s smart, but will likely only bring a middle-class income at best. I have an OK job and I’m self-sufficient. Now here’s the but about me: I’m really, really pretty. My whole life people have told me I could get any man I want, meaning a rich man, and are shocked that I’m engaged to my fiancé, nice though he is. I’ve never dated a rich man, but it does make me curious. So part of me thinks I’m squandering my good looks on this poor man, and the other part of me thinks that I’m so shallow that I don’t even deserve him or anyone else. Am I a fool for thinking that a poor man can make me happy, or an idiot for believing a sexist fantasy?

You can read “Prudence’s” annoying answer here, which concludes with this: Continue reading

Professionism 101: What Not To Do At Your Desk

desknonos_1

A confused commenter who wanted to take the side of that potty-mouthed TV broadcaster fired for making his first words on the job “…fucking shit” has argued that A. J. Clemente should be re-hired because “it could happen to anyone.” Wrong. It could not “happen to anyone,” I explained to her, because civil professionals don’t say “fucking shit” in public or on the job. A.J. is further displaying his cluelessness and gray matter deficit by trying to exploit his 15 minutes of infamy, appearing on Letterman and thus bidding to be known forever as “the guy who said ‘fucking shit’ in his first seconds on TV.”  Why would he think this is the way to start anew and make potential employers believe in his professionalism? Is he bidding to be a reality show cast member?

Who is advising this poor guy? Politicians, like Texas governor Rick Perry, go on shows like Letterman after a well-publicized gaffe to show they are good sports and that they understand that they messed up, but these are celebrities who are already famous for the mistake. For them,the  tactic is designed to remove the sting by laughing along with everyone else. For an unknown like Clemente to do this is self-destructive: it makes far more people aware of the embarrassing incident, it looks like he is exploiting his incompetence, and suggests that he doesn’t understand how serious his conduct was. Letterman doesn’t care if A.J. wrecks his future on the show; Dave just wants some cheap laughs. Not only is A.J. not professional or bright, he apparently has no friends or family members who are, either.

Well, enough of A. J. He has offered a vivid example of one kind of career-killing job conduct, and Salary.com has some more, in a feature it calls “Crimes in the Cubicle.” The list by Heather Dugan suggests 15 varieties of conduct to eschew at one’s desk, and it is all about professionalism, as well as etiquette, civility, decorm, dignity, office demeanor, respect for others…ethics, in short. It is a good collection: send the link to the young man or woman of your acquaintance who is starting their first office job. Or send it to A. J. Clemente.

Perhaps he should start here.

_______________________________

Source and Graphic: Salary.com

Ethics Dunce: Susan A. Patton

Oh, yeah, ladies, if you can't hook one of these gems, you should just kill yourself...

Oh, yeah, ladies, if you can’t hook one of these gems, you should just kill yourself…

Ethics are built by values, and those whose values are warped and flawed are very likely to engage in unethical conduct consistent with their rickety ethical foundation. Thus it is that I have serious doubts about Princeton grad Susan A. Patton, who in a letter to the Daily Princetonian not only proclaimed her own lousy values but did so as “advice” to co-eds. (I hope the link starts working; it was not earlier today.) In her letter, she wrote…

“Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out … Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there…. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.”

How misguided, jaded and warped is this advice?

Allow me to take inventory. Continue reading