Pre-Baseball Season Ethics Warm-Up, 4/6/2022 (Before I Am Distracted For the Next 7 Months)

The 2022 baseball season starts tomorrow; the Boston Red Sox will play the New York Yankees. This will elevate my mood and lessen my stress until the ned of October, absent unforeseen disasters. It will also provide yet undetermined fodder for ethics posts, for baseball is and ever has been an ethics cornucopia with relevance to the rest of the culture and society. I’ve often considered starting a baseball ethics blog—there isn’t one— but even fewer people would read that blog than this one.

1. The Times spreads misinformation about the Wuhan virus while accusing a doctor of spreading misinformation about the Wuhan virus. Apparently the news media fearmongering about the pandemic will never end. In a front page article earlier this week, the Times told readers that the virus and its close family members have “now killed nearly one million people in the United States.” That’s an inflated figure, how much so we may never know. It does not distinguish between those who died from the virus and those who died with the virus” to the CDC, which set out to maximize fear of the infection so the government could take liberty-squelching measures and get away with it. The next day, the Times had another front page article that provided clues to the previous article’s deliberate deceit: Covid and Diabetes, Colliding in a Public Health Train Wreck. A married couple both got the virus; the woman recovered easily, the man is now confined to a wheelchair. He has diabetes, and the article tells us ” several studies suggest that 30 to 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the United States have occurred among people with diabetes.” Other studies find that that being obese my triple the likelihood of death during the pandemic. Here is the photo from the article:

I find the comparison with how the news media handled AIDs in the 80s fascinating. AID crippled the immune system, and sufferers were often killed by opportunistic infections that they would have fought off before acquiring the HIV virus. Yet these people were always described as AID victims, and their names added to the list of those who had perished “from” AIDS. But when a Wuhan virus infection adds to the health risks of diabetes or obesity, it’s the virus that gets credit for the death—because that’s what the the new media wants the public to fear. Continue reading

“President? What President?”

Over the last week it has become clear to me that the nation’s #1 Democratic Party propaganda organ, the New York Times, is trying out a new strategy to mitigate the damage being inflicted on the party’s prospects by the daily botches of the Biden Presidency. I was struck on Sunday that the Times print edition, following a dreadful week for Biden including his bumbling press conference and the continuing fallout from his “Bull Connor” speech in Georgia that was roundly condemned by member of both parties, included no stories about Biden’s performance at all.

There was alleged good news for Biden—Omicron was “easing.” This was in the far right, above the fold column that during the Trump years was almost always some kind of attack on President Trump. There was a story about Russia’s nefarious plans regarding Ukraine (but no mention that Biden had virtually invited him to attack, as long as it was incremental) and China’s offensive Olympics (which Biden refused to boycott); there was the obligatory story about the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” and, at the bottom, a story headlined.” Did the Stimulus Fuel Inflation Rates? A Growing Policy Debate.” This one at least mentioned the President, once. None of the others did.

Today, President Biden’s name doesn’t appear even once on the front page of I don’t have the resources to check, but I doubt there was ever a day during the whole four years of the Trump administration when Trump’s name was not on the front page, usually in a negative headline. I doubt this has happened very often since World War II; maybe never.

To be fair, nothing happened yesterday that would reflect badly on…no wait. There was.

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More “West Side Story” Ethics Weirdness: “The Jet Song”

If you read Ethics Alarms often, you know about my objections to euphemisms, which I also call “cover words” since their intent is to deceive readers and listeners about the real nature of what is being discussed. My ethical objections to using “cover words” for words that are considered taboo in various settings follows similar lines, except those cover words don’t fool anyone, and thus are not just efforts to deceive, but silly and insulting efforts. If “f-word means “fuck” and everyone knows it means “fuck,” then it’s ridiculous not to just say “fuck.” The same, of course, goes for “n-word.” When we discuss that word here, we use the word. There are no “banned words” under the First Amendment, and I don’t grant anyone the right to tell me what words I can use to express what I want to express when those are the best words to express them..

Civility is, as a cornerstone of the ethical value of respect, important to societal comity. In dramatic works and literature, however, civility isn’t the issue: ideas, emotion and expression are. The bleeping out of “bad words” or shoving mild substitutes into the actors’ mouths on television constitute artistic vandalism; it’s less common now, but still happens too often. The archaic practice is offensive and insults the audience’s intelligence: the first time I hear a character in a film say “Forget you!,” I turn the channel.

Movies, we all know, stopped worrying about such delicate matters decades ago, and let TV stations worry about their language (and sex scenes, and graphic violence) later. Imagine my surprise, then, to hear Steven Spielberg’s redo of the 1961 “West Side Story” movie begin with the same version of “The Jets Song” that was required by the prevailing stage language requirements of the 1950s. The new, updated, woke-minded, spruced up musical with re-written dialogue still starts with the teen-aged, switchblade-carrying gang of punks singing,

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On The Censuring Of Rep. Gosar

Gosar

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday voted along party lines, meaning the vote was close and NeverTrumps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger voted with the Democrats, to censure Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, for posting a juvenile animated video that portrayed cartoon violence against Democrats and illegal immigrants. This was the first censure since 2010 and only the 24th in the history of Congress. The vote also stripped Gosar of his committee assignments.

In a vacuum and in principle, Ethics Alarms applauds the move. When I wrote about Gosar’s moronic stunt ten days ago, I headlined the story “Why Do We Let People Like This Idiot Into Congress?” This naturally assumes that I would not be sorry to see this idiot kicked out of Congress. I also wrote, in conclusion,

“This isn’t the kind of video a member of Congress should be having made, or put on social media. It’s an embarrassment to Congress, his party, his state, and his country. By what bizarre concept of public service and the House ethics rules could anyone conclude that such an assaultive, offensive, infantile piece of agitprop belongs in the public square?”

Gosar should have been censured, BUT… Continue reading

Yet Another “A Nation Of Assholes” Update, On Ice…

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I wish that I was as prescient all the time as I was in 2015, when I warned of the cultural rot relating to basic societal civility that would surely come if the United States elected a leader as habitually vulgar and nasty in his rhetoric as Donald Trump. True, I mistakenly predicted that the effects would be concentrated in the young, when in fact Mr. Trump’s lack of restraint and taste was quickly adopted by his political foes as well as entertainers and pundits.

The most recent evidence of my prognostication powers, however, comes from the group I originally signaled were most vulnerable: high school students. During a hockey game last week between the Armstrong River Hawks and the Mars Fighting Planets in Pennsylvania, a number of Armstrong Junior-Senior High School students began chanting “she’s a whore” and “suck our dicks” at the Mars goalie. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League announced last week that Armstrong students would be prohibited from attending games for the remainder of the season, including during the playoffs.

What possessed these students? I grew up in hockey-crazy Greater Boston, and my high school was state hockey power. I never heard chants like that. What changed?

The President of the United States changed, that’s what. Trump is no racist and he wasn’t Hitler, but his disrespect for woman and his verbal misogyny cannot be denied, nor can his vulgar rhetoric, though much of the worst of that was leaked by staffers who betrayed his trust in ways no previous President had to endure. Moreover, the despicable chants at the hockey game come while half the media is rationalizing and excusing a coded “Fuck Joe Biden” chant, and at recent sporting events, not even coded. That chant too flows directly from Trump’s un-Presidential boorishness.

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Dress Code Ethics (Again) From The “Oh, Come ON!” Files: The Immodest Fitness Model

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Two days ago, American Airlines denied boarding for Deniz Saypinar, a Turkish-born fitness model traveling from Dallas-Fort Worth to Miami because, the carrier explained to her, its conditions of carriage require all customers to dress “appropriately,” and her outfit wasn’t appropriate.

Ya think? That photo above shows how she presented herself at the gate.

“The customer was advised of our policy and was rebooked on a subsequent flight. The customer has since arrived in Miami,” the airline’s rep said.

Deniz is in great shape; I wonder why, if she was going to grandstand like this, she didn’t just wear a g-string and pasties and go all the way with it. I do not believe for a second that she expected to be allowed on the plane dressed like that. She wanted to set off a controversy and win herself Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame, while giving feminists something to shout about.

“You will never believe what happened to me at Texas Airport,” first non-American citizen to win the US National Bikini Fitness Competition in 2021 wailed to her 1 million followers on Instagram as she posted her attire.

Oh yes I will!

“I am an athlete, and now I have to wait here until the morning,” she wrote. “I like to wear feminine clothes that reveal my femininity, but I never dress in a way that will offend anyone. I’m mature and civilized enough to know what I can and cannot wear. I don’t deserve to be treated like the worst person in the world for wearing denim shorts What separates us from animals if humans can’t control even their most primitive impulses? I feel insulted. They wouldn’t let me on the plane because I wore these shorts in the United States.”

Uh, I wouldn’t call that an exactly fair description of what happened. She wasn’t treated “like the worst person in the world,” although she should have been treated as a narcissist and ruthless self-promoter who deliberately wasted the time of airline staff and caused a pointless controversy just to get her name and figure publicized. And she wasn’t rejected as a passenger for “wearing denim shorts.”

” What separates us from animals if humans can’t control even their most primitive impulses? ” has to win an irony award: it is the model who can’t control her primitive impulse to display herself in places where such displays are rude and disruptive. Decorum and manners in public also separate us from animals. Wearing reasonably modest clothing in public is basic civility, showing respect for others.

What do you want to bet that she wears that kind of outfit and then, when some little fat guy stares at her, gets indignant?

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Unethical Email Of The Month: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot email

That obnoxious, bullying, uncivil and unprofessional memo from Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, is signature significance. Competent and effective managers don’t write and send memos like that, not even once. As a subordinate, I would resign after receiving such an email. As a supervisor, I would place a staffer who sent that memo on probation after requiring her to apologize to the recipient.

Chicago is one of the most difficult American cities to govern. Lightfoot is currently facing legal problems as a consequence of her discriminatory announcement that she would only do interviews with “journalists of color.” The email, just another of many pieces of evidence showing Lightfoot’s arrogance and incompetence.

This is what happens when voters elect officials based not on their management experience and revealed leadership skills, but on their gender and skin shade.

[Instapundit’s Ed Driscoll had a funny line about the email: “CHICAGO’S MAYOR MORPHED INTO JACK TORRANCE SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED…”

No, Civility Is Not “Bullshit”

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I’ve been tempted for some time to challenge Ann Althouse’s “civility bullshit” argument, which she has proclaimed for years and even has a tag on her blog for it. Her claim that civility is bullshit is bullshit, and obviously so: she runs a civil blog, and if she really thought civility was bullshit, she wouldn’t. Today she used her argument again, this time in the fisking of a rationalization-filled Karen Tumulty defense of Neera Tanden in the Washington Post. Althouse writes,

I’ve been writing under the tag “civility bullshit” for years. It represents my longstanding opinion that calls for civility are always bullshit. Certainly in the area of politics, calls for civility always come out when the incivility is hurting your people. When somebody is deploying incivility effectively for your side, you hold your tongue and enjoy the damage. 

That’s a shockingly bad argument for a lawyer, never mind a law professor. Saying that many people cynically use complaints about civility to silence dissent doesn’t mean that civility itself is an invalid value. One could say the same about lying, or adultery. Althouse is complaining about hypocrisy.

Furthermore, I don’t comprehend how anyone could have observed the last four years and not admit that civility is crucial. That was at the core of my warning in 2015 that electing a President like Donald Trump would turn the country into a nation of assholes. The President is always a powerful role model, and it was clear that a President Trump, given his habits and proclivities (and lack of self-control), would do terrible harm to civility in American society, and as the many follow-up pieces here track, he did.

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“Duty To Confront” At The 7-11

Well, your friendly neighborhood ethics scold, unlike Democratic mayors and governors, is dedicated to doing what he urges others to do. In tonight’s case, I was obliged to follow through on the duty to confront (or the duty of confrontation), which has been a frequent theme here. I think it all came into focus for me when two jackasses at a Washington Nationals game were taking up two parking spots in the lot so they could “tailgate.” When I pointed out that they had only paid for one spot and were blocking where I wanted to park, their answer was “What are you going to do about it?” They chose…poorly. But I digress.

Tonight I was running an emergency errand to the local 7-11, and for some reason—free beer?—the parking lot was packed. Cars were double-parked, and I witnessed two near-accidents; it’s always been a badly designed lot. I had to cicle the block twice before I saw a space. And in the middle of it all the whole time, as other vehicles also searched for places to park, was a car with its hazard lights flashing, squatting in a spot right outside the store’s door, as the woman at the wheel blithely played, texted or whatever on her cell phone.

I went into the 7-11 and pointed her out to the two employees there. “You know, she’s preventing your customers from parking,” I said. “Oh, she’ll leave in a minute,” I was assured by one of the clerks, who obviously wasn’t looking forward to a confrontation. Neither was I: I was late getting home, I was hungry, and it was raining. By now, there were some empty spaces, including the one on the driver’s side of her car.

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40th Anniversary Ethics, 11/23/2020…

That was the recording the lovely and brilliant Grace Bowen Marshall and I danced to at our wedding reception. An old fashioned tune, you say? Hell, it was old-fashioned then. After an uproarious party featuring the combined talents of my two performing groups, The Showstoppers and The Music Lobby, seasoned by my cherished friend Jay Silva’s saxophone rendition of “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart.” I performed “Let a Woman in Your Life” (from “My Fair Lady”), and it was off to the historic Hay-Adams hotel (across from the White House) and from there to a cozy Civil War era inn near Charlottesville, where the charming host brought us breakfast in bed, and his cat and dog slept with us. As I said: cozy.

And thus began a great adventure that still has some twists and turns, battles, defeats and triumphs to reveal.

What a wonderful day.

1. Stay classy, Jenna!

Micropenis

You know, once upon a time a public utterance like this would be viewed as a breach of legal professionalism, if not an outright ethics violation. By the standards of past Trump lawyers like Michael Cohen, however, it seems positively quaint.

This kind of thing is why I caution lawyers to avoid Twitter.

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