Morning Ethics Warm-Up: The “I Should Be At The Beach” Edition…

Good Morning!

Is everyone vacationing this week but me? I can detect such things from blog traffic—this week has been sparse. Unfortunately this is the legal ethics CLE busy season, so I have been furious preparing materials for three new three-hour programs: “The Legal Ethics Mine Field,” “Legal Ethics Squeeze,” and a new musical ethics seminar for the New Jersey Bar Association, “Ethics Blues,” with the talented Esther Covington. It features legal issues-stuffed parodies of such songs as “Copacabana,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Piano Man,” “You Made Me Love You,” “Isn’t It Romantic” and “Let it Be,” among others. I’ve been writing parody song lyrics since I was 9, and much as I enjoy it, it is mentally exhausting in a way nothing else is.

1.  The anti-Trump news media is all a twitter because former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh might challenge President Trump for the nomination. Joe Walsh!  He’s the only member of Congress ever designated a fick by Ethics Alarms, in this post, about how Walsh, a Tea Party fiscal responsibility hawk who once lectured Barack Obama about how he was placing a burden on the backs of Walsh’s children, owed  $117,437 in unpaid child support to his ex-wife and those already burdened, kids, three of them. For this and other transgressions he was defeated for re-election, and Joe’s now a talk show host, presumably with the same audience that took guidance from former radio bloviators Ollie North and Gordon Liddy.

2. On the innocent until proven guilty front…there has been a spate of defamation lawsuits lately in which priests accused of sexually molesting boys accuse the Catholic Church of ruining their reputations based on publicizing unsubstantiated accusations of pederasty.

A Fresno, California priest,  Craig Harrison, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual abuse, is suing an established  Catholic watchdog group Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF). seeking “unlimited” damages as a result of RCF President Stephen Brady’s “appearance at a press conference in Bakersfield” that addressed “allegations of sexual misconduct” made against Harrison. The lawsuit and summons were filed this month after the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) concluded an investigation that it said  exonerated Harrison. Brady says that the lawsuit may be intended to discourage other ongoing RCF investigations. Continue reading

The War On Gays: “Fair and Equitable” in Corpus Christi

Some day, one hopes not too far in the future, when U.S. culture has unequivocally abandoned the ancient fear of gay human beings, when understanding, fairness and respect has banished ignorance and hate, when same sex marriages are recognized as manifestations of loyalty, commitment and love rather than perversions of nature, and when no American feels the need to hide his or her sexuality, and thus feels no compulsion to trumpet it either, we will look back on such societal embarrassments as the Flour Bluff Intermediate School District as we do now on past purveyors of child labor, forced sterilization, involuntary human experimentation, mistreatment of women, and racism, and wonder, “What was the matter with those people? How did they get that way?”

Or, come to think of it, we could ask that question right now.

Seventeen-year-old Bianca “Nikki” Peet, a senior at Flour Bluffs High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, high school senior requested the she be permitted to launch a Gay-Straight Alliance in her school. The Equal Access Act, a federal law passed in 1984, requires schools receiving federal funding to offer “fair opportunities for students to form student-led  groups, regardless of their religious, political and philosophical leanings.” If the school district was going to allow any extracurricular groups, it had to allow Nikki’s.

So it shut down all extracurricular clubs at the school. Continue reading