Unethical Quote Of The Week: Joe Biden

“You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier!”

—-Fading Democratic Presidential nomination front-runner Joe Biden, lashing out at a New Hampshire voter whose questions annoyed him.

First, the important question: what the hell is a “pony soldier”? The answer is “nobody knows.” Nor does anyone know why this insult, epithet, whatever it is, leapt into Joe’s mind, but then it’s Joe Biden. Who can say what vestigial RNA from his prospector ancestors are knocking around in Biden’s gray matter? He thinks “malarkey” is hip slang; I’m waiting for him to start shouting “By crackie!, “Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!” and “Tarnation!”

I found a website that attributed “pony soldier” to a John Wayne movie—no, you morons, the Duke’s movie was “The Horse Soldiers.” “Pony Soldier” is a forgettable 1952 Western starring Tyrone Power. Nobody, but nobody, quotes  Tyrone Power movies, and Power had as much business starring in a Western as David Niven. So it looks like this is just a spontaneous nonsense insult, like in “A Few Good Men” when Tom Cruise shouts, “You’re a lousy fucking softball player, Jack!” at Kevin Bacon after an argument  that has nothing to do with softball.

Now on to the incident itself. Today Biden was handshaking and chatting at a pre-New Hampshire primary stop in Hampton. A woman asked him,“How do you explain the performance in Iowa and why should the voters believe that you can win a national election?”

It’s a fair question, since the only reason on God’s green earth that anyone would seriously  consider a doddering, blathering, fading and rapidly aging old pol like Biden as a  rational nominee is that he would be preferable to the Doomsday Meteor.

“You ever been to a caucus?” Biden replied. When the voter said she had,  Biden snapped, “No you haven’t. You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier!” Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/8/2020: “Procrastinating To Delay Writing About Another Debate” Edition [CORRECTED]

Good morning.

Way, way too much ethics-related politics this past week. I keep getting complaints about all the political content, and it annoys me too, but I don’t know what kind of alternatives I have. Back in the sane days, the idea of a House Speaker planning on tearing up the official copy of the State of the Union speech would have been the stuff of Saturday Night Live…when SNL would make fun of Democrats, anyway. I’m trying to keep the politics to a minimum. I swear.

1.  The Astros cheating scandal, cont. Would you wonder about this answer? A.J. Hinch, the ex-Houston Astros manager who was fired and suspended by Major League Baseball for allowing an illegal sign-stealing scheme to be used by his players for the entire 2017 World Champion Astros season, finally sat down for an interview.   When he was asked whether Houston players had utilized buzzers in their uniforms to receive signsduring the 2019 season as some have claimed based on inconclusive evidence and rumors, Hinch only would answer, “The Commissioner’s Office did as thorough of an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible.”

Why not “No”? That was what reporters term a “non-denial denial.”

2. If they advised her to run her sick child through the washing machine and he drowned,  would that be their fault too? The death of a four-year-old boy named Najee is being blamed on an anti-vaxx Facebook group.

The boy had been diagnosed with the flu and the doctor had  prescribed Tamiflu. His mother sought advice from the Facebook group “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” on how to treat her son’s’ illness. The members told her to give the boy vitamins, botanicals, zinc, fruits and vegetables, and to skip the medicine.

“Ok perfect I’ll try that,” she responded. Later that night, Najee had a seizure and died. Continue reading

The Limits Of Graciousness: The President Rejects Nancy Pelosi’s Hand

The President in 2018 wearing a different tie.  Pelosi’s hand is the same

Though she offed it, President Donald Trump declined to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s  hand prior to delivering the 2020 State of the Union address tonight. (I’m watching the State of the Union Address as I write this.)

Perhaps those who are frequent readers here expect me to chide the President. He should remember that political disagreements aren’t personal, after all. As America’s leader, he should model the ethical virtues of forgiveness, civility, grace, and the Golden Rule. Our elected officials should always stand for the principle that though we may disagree as a people, we should never be disagreeable. In this case, such symbolic comity is especially essential. The nation has seldom been more divided, or more contentious in its division. Shaking the Speaker’s hand would be a step, albeit a small one, toward healing the rift.

Although this would be my ethics prescription under normal circumstances, this is not such a circumstance, and everyone knows it, or should.  Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the partisan opposition of the Democrats to this President has breached all political norms and ethical traditions. The attacks on him, and not only him, but his family as well, have been directly personal, with Pelosi and her lieutenants using savage and unconscionable rhetoric to embarrass and insult him and, if possible, disable the President’s influence and lawful power. During the reprehensible impeachment burlesque, still ongoing,  the President has been denigrated as no Chief Executive before him, and as no leader of the United States should ever be denigrated by members of Congress, or any citizen. Continue reading

Cancel Culture Ethics: Two Gaffes, Two Polls

Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden, a husband and wife team, co-hosted the “Chuck and Julie “show  on KNUS AM TalkRadio in Denver. Riffing about the impeachment this week, Bonniwell said,  “All right, here, a little after 1:30, talking about the never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump. Then he added, chuckling, ” You know, you wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt the impeachment news….”  Julie quickly jumped in, saying, “No! No! Don’t even — don’t even say tha!. No, don’t even say that! Don’t call us. Chuck didn’t say that!”Still laughing,  Bonniwell tried a save, finishing his handing sentence with “in which no one would be hurt.”

Jason Salzman of the Colorado Times Recorder, who said that after hearing Hayden’s plea for listeners not to call their complaints about her husband’s joke, he “called anyway.” Sandy Phillips, who lost her daughter in the Aurora theater shooting, posted on Twitter: “This guy should be fired. Total ignorance. Shootings hurt us all … just ask witnesses and first responders. You don’t have to be shot to be wounded.”

Bonniwell isued an apology the next evening after 24 hours of criticism on the “Chuck & Julie” Twitter feed, saying,  “I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke. I’m sorry it was not received that way.”  Too late. KNUS fired Chuck and Julie later that evening:

Was this a fair decision?

I’m not sure it was. As I have held here on other occasions, those who take extemporaneously for a living, especially when they are expected to be amusing, are constantly walking a high wire. Occasional gaffes, including moments when certain metaphorical landmines are tread-upon or lines are crossed, are inevitable, and the more creative and bold the talent, the more likely such events are. A no-tolerance policy is unreasonable, and it is virtually always the ethical approach to treat the first such error with a warning or punishment short of dismissal. Virtually, because there may always be single gaffes that are so terrible and potentially destructive to the talent’s employer that firing is the only response.

Thus the question here is whether Chuck Bonniwell’s comment falls in the latter category. My view si that it does not: Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/2019: Defending Bette, Not Defending Cuba Or The Giant Christmas Penis….

Good Morning!

1. Regarding the President’s military pardons. This story is now a month old, and my post about it got derailed, so let me be brief. The uproar over these pardons was overblown, and yes, by the media. I never read any mention in the various reports, for example, about how Jimmy Carter, then Governor of Georgia,  announced his outrage when Lt,  William Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre . Carter instituted American Fighting Man’s Day in support of Calley, and asked Georgians to drive for a week with their lights on.  Calley only served seven years of his sentence.

It is important for the military to insist on discipline, and I think President Trump was wrong to interfere with it in these cases. Each of them has a different set of facts, but the President’s statement about the inherent unfairness of training human beings to kill, placing them in deadly situations and unimaginable stress, and then punishing them when their fury and programmed violence erupts in illegal violence and other acts (like posing in a photo with a dead enemy  combatant) has validity. My father, who had been in combat in World War II, regarded such crimes as the equivalent of “battle fatigue.” He hated General Patton for slapping the GI suffering from what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in a field hospital, and felt that harshly punishing soldiers for the kinds of incidents Trump’s beneficiaries engaged in was wrong and hypocritical.

Any time any convicted American is pardoned, there are arguments that clemency undermines the justice system. In the end, this is a policy dispute. The military has good reasons to object to such pardons, but President Trump’s decision is defensible, and would probably be considered so if he were anyone else.

2.  Cuba Gooding, Jr. is now in Bill Cosby territory. Seven more women have come forward to accuse the popular actor of sexually assaulting them. This brings the total number of accusers up to 22.

In one court filing, a woman alleges that after she met Mr. Gooding at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in 2009, he took her to a concert, where he began to kiss her in a secluded hallway as she was attempting to leave. Then he placed his hands on her buttocks, and pushed onto her crotch so forcefully that her tights ripped.  The woman bit Mr. Gooding’s cheek so she could escape. Another woman accused the 51-year-old Gooding of sliding his hand down her pants and grabbing her buttocks at a restaurant in 2011. Yet another accuser says that he grabbed her vagina twice at a restaurant in  in 2016, according  the court filings.

Gooding’s legal team argues that the new claims are from women looking to cash in  due to his celebrity status. maybe, but history and experience suggests otherwise.

Whatever the culture is that gives men the idea that they can act like this and that there is nothing wrong with it needs to be rejected, since it obviously came special delivery from Hell. I would no more have done any of those things, even in the prime of youth, than I would have ridden a pogo stick into church with a wombat on my head. I assumed everyone was raised like that. Continue reading

Now THIS Is An Unprofessional Lawyer!

And juuuuust a bit uncivil, I’d say. I  may be wrong…

In a motion to dismiss an insurance law suit, Allstate’s lawyers revealed this remarkable conduct on the part of plaintiff’s attorney Christopher Hook in his communications during the case. According to the declaration of those attorneys in their motion, Hook said or wrote…

  • “Fuck you crooks. Eat a bowl of dicks.” (Declaration of Peter H. Klee, Ex. 1, p. 5)
  • “I’m going to let the long dick of the law fuck Allstate for all of us.” (Id., p. 7)
  • “Hey Klee you Cumstain the demand is now 302 million. Pay up fuckface.” (Id., p. 8)
  • “Peter when you are done felating your copy boy tell Allstate the demand is now 305 million.” (Id., p. 9)
  • “[Other Sheppard Mullin attorneys] may not be too smart but at least they have some fucking dignity and honor unlike you two limp dick mother fuckers.” (Id., p. 10)
  • “What is Wright going to do when he finds out Allstate is using people who are borderline retarded to adjust complex claims. That’s what I’m going to do. Demand increases tomorrow.” (Klee Decl., Ex. 1, p. 11)
  • “Anytime now faggot.” (Id., p. 13)
  • “I want my clients’ money gay boys.”

Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 11/19/29: Rushing Around Hotel Rooms Edition

Started this post in a DoubleTree this morning, finishing it (I hope) this afternoon in a Hyatt.

1. Nauseating. The ACLU awarded Christine Blasey Ford the Roger Baldwin Courage Award.

There is no excuse for this, and it shows how deeply the once pointedly non-partisan Bill of Rights defense organization has allied itself with the political Left. The attack she fostered on Brett Kavanaugh violated the principle of due process and her unsubstantiated accusation of a dimly recalled sexual assault when the Justice was a teenager is the kind of abuse of justice that the ACLU once opposed. Writes an outraged Nina Bookout on Victory Girls,

What exactly did she do that could be defined as courageous?

  • Was it her allegations of rape that were never verified?
  • Was it her throwing high school friends under the bus?
  • Was it changing her stories in mid-stream, and then changing them again while testifying?
  • How about the fact that she needed Mark Judge to verify the date she was attacked because she can’t remember?
  • How about her beach conversations, the polygraph, and the weirdness about the second door?

If that’s today’s definition of courage by the ACLU, then we have yet another word with its meaning distorted in order to fit a desired narrative.

What Christine Blasey Ford did, with the tacit approval of the Left and encouragement from the likes of Diane Feinstein, is the very opposite of courage. It is spiteful cowardice.

Obviously, I think, Blasey-Fordis being lionized by the ACLU for applying the ends justifies the means approach by being willing to expose herself to deserved ridicule in order to smear a Trump SCOTUS nominee deemed to place the right to abortion at risk.

In this she is reaping the same benefits that came Anita Hill’s way when she ambushed Clarence Thomas with distant accounts of alleged sexual harassment.

2. Speaking of undeserving “heroes,” pundits are saying that it does not seem as if the NFL “trusts” Colin Kaepernick. Well, of course they don’t. The way he has packaged himself as a martyr for “social justice,” there is literally no chance that if signed as a back-up quarterback, he would devote his full attention and energy to playing football.

What I find amazing is the news media’s constant description of his kneeling stunt as “raising public awareness to police violence against African Americans.” How does a football player kneeling during the National Anthem call attention to anything other than a football player kneeling during the National Anthem? It doesn’t. My attention is drawn to police violence against African Americans when I learn about a genuine example of it, like the shooting of Walter Scott in the back as he fled an arrest. When inarticulate publicity-seeking  race-baiters like Kaepernick say their actions are meant to raise public awareness of police violence against African Americans and they cite Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, and other complex episodes, then they only call attention to their ignorance and unethical desire to demonize whites and police. Continue reading