Ethics Quiz: Barbra’s Cloned Dogs

Singing legend Barbra Streisand said a lot of questionable things in a recent interview with Variety. Things like…

  • She says she felt she was miscast in Gene Kelly’s bomb of an adaptation of “Hello Dolly!” for the screen. (As everyone noticed, anyone but Carol Channing would have been miscast.) She says “she tried to get out of it,” thus absolving herself from responsibility from the film some believe  killed the big-budget movie musical.

Nobody put a gun to her head: stars say “no” to projects all the time.

  • “By the way, who was called the father of film?” she asks. “D.W. Griffith. He made his first film in 1908. But a secretary named Alice Guy in 1896 started making films because she worked for Gaumont studios. She made the first film, and she’s not given credit.”

Google is your friend, Babs. The first commercial films are generally credited to the Lumière brothers‘ who had their short films screened in Paris in 1895 . Nobody has ever claimed Griffith made the first film; some credit him with making the first film with any art to it. But Barbra likes narratives better than facts.

  • She thinks Hillary won.

“I really believe she won the election,” Streisand says. “I’ve talked to senators from Michigan and Wisconsin. I do believe, like I believed during Bush, they were playing with those voter machines.”

Yes, Barbra’s a politics-addled idiot these days.

  • She blames Trump for the Parkland shooting.

“I think even that shooter was affected because Trump brings out the violence in people. He says, ‘It’s OK — rally, lock her up.’”

None of these cretinous and irresponsible statements bothered anyone too much, though–Barbra has been taking like this most of her life. She also said that she was never sexually harassed in Hollywood. Amazing! This revelation, however, set off ethics alarms: Two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs were cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of her beloved 14-year-old dog Samantha, who died in 2017. The third dog is a distant cousin. The two clones cost $50,000.

PETA immediately protested:

“We all want our beloved dogs to live forever, but while it may sound like a good idea, cloning doesn’t achieve that—instead, it creates a new and different dog who has only the physical characteristics of the original. Animals’ personalities, quirks, and very ‘essence’ simply cannot be replicated, and when you consider that millions of wonderful adoptable dogs are languishing in animal shelters every year or dying in terrifying ways when abandoned, you realize that cloning adds to the homeless-animal population crisis. And because cloning has a high failure rate, many dogs are caged and tormented for every birth that actually occurs—so that’s not fair to them, despite the best intentions. We feel Barbra’s grief at losing her beloved dog but would also love to have talked her out of cloning.”

Hey, as long as they don’t clone Barbra…but I digress.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz as the week runs out is this…

Is Streisand cloning her dogs unethical, or just stupid?

Continue reading

The Democratic National Convention Presents The Most Unethical Use Of Mothers Yet

Mothers

The Republicans exploiting the grief of Patricia Smith, the mother of a young man slain in the 2012 Benghazi attack, by putting her on the party’s convention program was irresponsible and ethically revolting, especially from a party that (correctly) labelled Cindy Sheehan a grief-addled nuisance when she was protesting the Iraq War. Smith’s emotional rant against Hillary Clinton was pure grief porn, and expanded the sensationalist  trend in the news media (and legislative hearings) to use the most conflicted and biased figures imaginable—the loved ones of victims of tragedy—to frame a controversial issue in complex events.

Naturally, the Democratic Party’s allies in the media returned the hypocrisy many-fold. Maureen Dowd of the Times, who had pronounced Sheehan as someone with “absolute moral authority”—because having one’s son killed instantly makes you an authority on foreign affairs, at least when a Republican President is in office—was silent about Smith’s moral authority as she was attacked by critics, including the Washington Post, Chris Matthews, and a GQ writer who wrote that he wanted to “beat her to death.”

Foolishly, I took these attacks as  a hopeful sign that the Democrats and progressives were maturing ethically, and had rendered the proper ethics judgment that by prioritizing emotion over reason, it was unfair, misleading, exploitive and irresponsible to use grieving mothers this way. No, it wasn’t hypocrisy. It was ethical growth. Democrats, unlike Republicans, now knew this was a cheap and tawdry tactic, and they would no longer stoop so low.

Boy, am I gullible.

It was hypocrisy, and the Democrats wouldn’t stoop as low as Republicans, they would stoop much, much, much lower.

Among those who appeared on the Hillary Clinton coronation stage last night were members of Mothers of the Movement, an offshoot of Black Lives Matter. Though the message spoken by these women appeared to be about police brutality, unjustly killed black men and the need to ban guns, their commonality was only this: all of them were mothers of African Americans who died violently, and all of them blame whites, police, guns, the justice system or the United States of America, regardless of evidence, the findings of juries, and investigations. That is a fair description.

Let’s look at the women who appeared on stage: Continue reading

Pay Heed Or Else: The Ethics Fiasco That Was The GOP-Trump Convention’s First Day

GOP convention

Just think: this was what having Donald Trump at the center and calling the shots did to a convention and a political party in a single day.

Imagine what can happen to  the country in four years..

Here are examples of what Trump’s leadership, values and “best people” bring, as illustrated by Day #1 at the 2106 Republican National Convention:

  • Before the evening program commenced, a rebellion of anti-Trump delegates (they wanted to pass a rule unbinding the delegates so they could, you know, vote to nominate someone qualified, at least comparatively) was suppressed with y strong-arm tactics by the Trump-controlled leadership, which blocked an attempt to require a roll call. At one point the podium was abandoned to stallthe uprising, leaving the session without a moderator. Conservative pundit and Weekly Standard publisher Bill Kristol said the proceedings resembled the strong-arm tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The clash resulted in the entire delegations from Utah and Colorado walking out, and reportedly they are both gone for good. The episode might not have descended into totalitarian territory had not Speaker Paul Ryan, who normally would have had the gavel, chosen to organize his sock drawer rather than attend the convention and fight for the integrity and honor of the party he is supposed to lead.

Brave, Mr. Speaker.

  • In the aftermath of this mess, Gary Emineth, a top GOP fundraiser who had joined the Trump campaign resigned in protest,  texting his resignation to RNC chair Reince Priebus.  “I was on the Trump finance committee and I just resigned because that bully tactic is absurd,” Emineth told reporters. “Why can’t the people be heard? …You don’t do this in America. You do this in other countries.”
  • It was discovered that washed-up and aging former teen heart-throb Scott Baio (“Happy Days,” “Charles in Charge,” and my personal favorite, the desperate, pathetic, self-flagellating reality show, ” Scott Baio Is 45…and Single” ) who inexplicably was one of the speakers last night (David Cassidy was apparently unavailable), had posted this on twitter:

Baio tweet

Stay classy, Chachi!  (See: “A Nation of Assholes,” 9/10/15)

A nation that regards the political views of Scott Baio as worthy of a national forum is too crude and trivial to survive, I fear. Continue reading

Michael Brown’s Parents Go Rogue

Why wait for U.S. Justice to work, when we can be dictated to by representatives of Chile, Senegal, Georgia, and Mauritius?

Why wait for U.S. justice to work, when we can be dictated to by representatives of Chile, Senegal, Georgia, and Mauritius?

Wherever the line lies where grief and anger no longer excuse irresponsible, irrational and destructive conduct, the parents of slain police shooting victim Michale Brown have charged over it.

On Veterans Day, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. addressed the United Nations Committee Against Torture  in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee supposedly works to address brutality by governments around the world, but based on this stunt, and stunt it is, the panel is just one more U.N. sham entity with an anti-American agenda. Whatever is going through the minds of Brown’s parents, their willingness to be part of this transparent attack on the U.S. is in the spirit of treason.

“We need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson,” McSpadden told CNN. It should be obvious that neither parent has any direct knowledge of what happened to their son, and would not be allowed to testify in any court proceeding held to determine the truth. That the United Nations would behave otherwise is proof positive of bad will and nasty intent, and for McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. to participate in this despicable effort makes them accessories to a plot devised by their own nation’s enemies. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “’Bang The Drum Slowly,’ My Old Friend, and Me”

Gus Grave

Extradimensional Cephalopod was kind enough to post this wise and evocative reflection prompted by my recent post following the sudden, but really not so sudden, death of an old friend over the weekend. His thoughts helped me a great deal, and I am grateful: here, without further comment, is EC’s Comment of the Day on the post, “’Bang The Drum Slowly,’ My Old Friend, and Me”: Continue reading

A Futile Ethics Request To Anti-Gun Activists: Don’t Exploit Richard Martinez

Richard Martinez

Richard Martinez

I am certain that plans are already in the works to trot out Richard Martinez, the grieving father of one of the victims of killer Elliot Rodger in his murderous rampage at the University of California in Santa Barbara, for service in hearings, at rallies, for fund-raisers, at protests and in anti-gun ads. The emotionally distraught father provided a ready-made media sound chomp in his CNN rant against anyone and anything that have, in his mind, prevented radical restrictions on guns, those who, in his view, contributed to the death of his son.

“What has changed? Have we learned nothing? These things are going to continue until somebody does something, so where the hell is the leadership? Where the hell are these people we elect to Congress that we spend so much money on? These people are getting rich sitting in Congress, what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids.My kid died because nobody responded to what happened at Sandy Hook. Those parents lost little kids. It’s bad enough that I lost my 20-year-old, but I had 20 years with my son, that’s all I’ll have. But those people lost their children at six and seven years old. How do you think they feel? And who’s talking to them now? Who is doing anything for them now? Who is standing up for those kids that died back then in an elementary school? Why wasn’t something done? It’s outrageous!”

I don’t blame Martinez for how he feels, but I will blame those who exploit him, and I know there is no chance that they won’t.

In 2013, we all saw how every Sandy Hook parent who was sufficiently enraged and camera-worthy fueled the shameless drive to use fear-mongering and exaggeration in the push to finally gut the Second Amendment, as anti-gun activists have so long wanted to do. Martinez is perfect, just as Cindy Sheehan, destroyed because her soldier son died in a war, was custom-fit for pacifists and anti-war advocates, just as a brain-damaged Gabby Giffords was ideal to have recite child-like generalities against firearms in Congress. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The SpongeBob Headstones

SpongeBob Gravestone Removed

You can’t make stuff like this up.

Apparently I was last one in the nation to learn about the surreal dispute between the parents of the late Kimberly Walker, a 28-year-old Iraq War vet who was  found murdered in a Colorado hotel room eight months ago, and the owners of Cincinnati’s historic  Spring Grove Cemetery, concerning the headstones erected over her grave on October 10.

The cemetery reversed its official approval of the twin monuments, apparently bestowed by someone who had momentarily been possessed by the spirit of Chuck Jones, saying that it would be inappropriate for a traditional and historic 19th Century pastoral cemetery that serves as the final resting place of Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, several Civil War generals including “Fighting Joe” Hooker, who lost the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Hall of Fame manager of the 1927 Yankees, Miller Huggins, and many others, to sport not one but two hideous 6-foot-high, 4-foot-wide, 7,000 pound slabs of granite lovingly carved to depict SpongeBob Squarepants in military gear, one of which displays Kimberly’s name on his uniform. (For those of you who are hopelessly estranged from popular culture, SpongeBob is a fictional deep sea yellow sponge who stars in a popular Nickelodeon cable TV children’s cartoon show. Kimberly, we are told, loved the show. SpongeBob is an idiot, by the way.)

The family is outraged, and feels abused. “I feel like, and we all feel like, SpongeBob should stay there. We bought the plots, all six of them. We put the monuments there, we did what we had to do and they said they could provide that service to us,’ said Walker’s twin sister Kara, who was looking forward to eventually being buried under the second headstone. “I thought it was the greatest thing in the cemetery. I even told the people there that I think this is the best monument I’ve ever seen. It’s the best headstone in the cemetery and they all agreed. It came out really nice.”

Yyyyyyyeah.

Still, putting considerations of taste aside—-and what American these days doesn’t do that daily?—the Walkers duly purchased the plots (they have four more…and just think of what might end up on them) and properly cleared the monuments.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for this lovely Fall day is this:

Does fairness dictate that the Walkers be allowed to erect whatever monuments they choose, including giant, garish sculptures of a cartoon character, to honor the memory of their daughter? Continue reading