We end up with bad laws and disrespect for law enforcement because the public keeps electing officials who need mittens with a string attaching them through their sleeves.
Freeman, a Republican state lawmaker from Indianapolis, has submitted a bill to eliminate state penalties for failing to use turn signals before turning or changing lanes. Senate Bill 124 would allow drivers not to have to use turn signals 200 feet before changing lanes or turning, nor would they have to use turn signals 300 feet before changing lanes in a 50-mph zone. I think that’s what it says. In addition to being mind-numbingly irresponsible, the bill is also confusing. Freeman claims that his bill was intended to end confusion about turn signal requirements. Here’s a rule of thumb: when your bill to eliminate confusion causes confusion, it’s not a good bill.
And you’re an incompetent idiot.
What is confusing about turn signals? You turn one on when you are about to make a turn or change lanes. Not as you have already started to turn the vehicle—before. Long enough before that other drivers can react. This isn’t hard, even though it seems to be for an astounding number of drivers on the roads.
Once again, I don’t understand how this episode could happen. But let me back up.
Today, while walking my dog on a glorious fall day in Alexandria Virginia, and observing the odd juxtaposition of virtue-signaling lawn signs, Biden-Harris signs and Halloween decorations (Spuds was quite unsettled by 8 foot standing models of a ghoul and his love wearing Trump and Melania masks), I passed one neighbor with a lawn sign grand slam: a Biden sign, the thing above, a straight Black Lives Matter sign, and a sign that read, “End Racism Now!”
I already noted the questions I would like to ask anyone with the BLM sign here. The virtue-signaling extravaganza above is almost too easy, since it’s one flaccid, intellectually lazy generalization without substance after another, and to my mind, is signature significance for a dolt. (“Love is Love, for example,is Rationalization 23 A. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”)
But what precisely is the entreaty “End Racism Now” demanding? It appears to contradict Black Lives Matters, which involves demonizing whites and white society, as well as requiring an end to race-based preferences. What is racism? If it’s an attitude, the sign seems to be advocating brain-washing, indoctrination and re-education camps. If the sign refers to conduct, then I need a definition. Many “systemic racism” complaints consist of African Americans preferring to have “someone who looks like me” on a court, on a board, in a movie cast. Isn’t a preference for those who are like us one of the definitions of racism being advanced? (It’s not racism, or if it is, it’s racism for anyone, not just whites.)
This story, however, is an example of racial discrimination oozing from racism, and not only should we be able to end such incidents now, I’m stunned that this kind of conduct hasn’t been wiped off the face of the U.S. map.
How can organizations, especially schools, think this kind of thing is acceptable, much less ethical? Who are the lawyers advising these people? Where do they think they’re living?
In Indiana, the North West Hendricks School Corporation’s “Parent Code of Conduct ” says that parents should not use social media to make “rude or offensive comments” regarding school staff members or the school itself. Parents also cannot use social media to “campaign against or fuel outrage against individual staff members, the school or policies implemented by the school or district.” Violating the policy means that a parent can be removed from the school premises and banned from entering school grounds forevermore.
This is one of those unenforceable provisions that exist to intimidate and deceive those ignorant parents who were so badly educated (perhaps in the North West Hendricks School Corporation ) that they can’t spot an unconstitutional rule when they see one. No public school can tell parents what they can or can’t say on social media. This is a pure First Amendment violation, so blatant that it even roused the local ACLU from its accustomed slumber.
“I think this is flagrantly unconstitutional. The overarching problem is you have the government saying if we don’t like what you’re saying, we can punish you — but the government is not allowed to do that. That’s why we have the First Amendment.”
The rule has been in the Parent Code since 2016, but nobody reads these things. It is coming to the fore now because the district is currently keeping a teacher on its payroll despite allegations of sexual misconduct toward a student. Some parents have been discussing the situation on Facebook, and wonder about the school’s response. The district made a point of handing out copies of the Parent Code of Conduct at a December school board meeting, and it was taken by many as a warning. Continue reading →
Last night we managed to watch both “The Longest Day” and “Saving Private Ryan,” which especially amused me as I recalled the places my father shouted at the screen. Especially after “The Longest Day,” the complete absence of any sense of what the D-Day invasion was about or why we were fighting at all is particularly irritating, but then that’s Spielberg all over.
I also recalled the story about John Wayne’s participation in “The Longest Day.” (The Duke is really good in it, though if there is a star of “The Longest Day”, it is Robert Mitchum as Brigadier General Norman Cota, Assistant Commander, 29th Infantry Division, the man who was also a primary hero of D-Day itself. )
You who else is surprisingly good? Paul Anka, in his small role. He was only in the movie because he wrote the title song, but the singer shows a genuine talent for projecting his character on screen.
[Correction note: I originally wrote, “As far as I can determine, it was Anka’s only film appearance.” Wrong, Ethics Breath! Reader VinnyMick points out that Anka has several other, less successful, screen appearances. I regret the error.]
This was a passionate, emotion-and-patriotism- driven project by Darryl F. Zanuck, and he was betting everything on its success: the studio, his personal finances, his love life (Zanuck’s girlfriend at the time had the only female role in the movie), everything. The producer realized that he had to have Wayne in the film for credibility, as the Duke had been the Hollywood face of the American fighting man in World War II. Wayne knew it too, but was angry with Zanuck, who had mocked Wayne’s equivalent project of the heart, “The Alamo.”
He refused to do the film for scale (then $25,000) like the many other Hollywood stars in the film, and insisted on receiving $250,000 as an expensive crow-eating exercise for Zanuck. (That was what Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger, Red Buttons, Richard Burton, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Wagner and Robert Ryan received combined. ) Even though the producer had Charlton Heston lined up to play Wayne’s role if no deal could be struck, he agreed to the punitive fee, as well as giving Wayne special billing in the credits, an out-of-alphabetical order “and John Wayne” at the end.
Yes, that was revenge…but Zanuck didn’t have to agree to it. The lesson is worth remembering: don’t spite anyone gratuitously, or make an enemy casually. You never know when you might need them.
1. Biden flip-flops, but at least he flipped in an ethical direction. Joe Biden is not modelling a lot of integrity as he desperately tries to appease the radical Left in his party so they might hold their noses and vote for an old, sexual harassing white guy to run against President Trump. His latest reversal was to repudiate the Hyde Amendment, which he had once supported and indeed voted for in the Senate. That’s the law that forbids any taxpayer funds from being spent to fund abortions.
The Hyde Amendment never made any sense. If abortion is a right, and it has been one for decades, then government support for access to that right ought to be no less a requirement than with any other right. The Hyde amendment stands for the proposition that if enough Americans don’t agree with government policy, they should be able to withhold financial support of it. That, of course, wouldn’t work as a universal principle, so the Hyde Amendment is an ethical and legal anomaly. I doubt Joe’s flip-flop is one of principle rather than expediency, but it’s still the right position to have.
2. Nevertheless, Joe’s not going to make it. The New York Times—it wants someone else to get the nomination, so it is reporting negative things about Biden that it might bury with another candidate—revealed once again that Biden repeatedly lied about participating in 1960s civil rights marches, despite being warned by aides not to do it. Such straight-out falsehoods are debilitating for a candidate who will be claiming to be the champion to elevate the Presidency beyond the incessant petty lies of Donald Trump; this was one reason Hillary Clinton was unable to exploit candidate Trump’s mendacity. She’s a habitual liar too.
“I do think that the argument can be made that the case law establishes that there is one and onlyone reason that must be the reason for there to be a constitutional right to an abortion (other than to protect her own life or health): The woman must actually believe that what she is destroying is not a person.”
The Supreme Court rendered a split decision on Indiana’s contested abortion law. The Justices upheld part of Indiana’s 2016 law placing restrictions on the disposal of fetal remains after an abortion, but left the part of the law overturned that would have prohibited women from choosing the procedure after of a diagnosis or “potential diagnosis” of Down syndrome, “any other disability,” or because of the fetus’s gender or race.
Justice Thomas wrote a dissent taking issue with the latter, writing in part, Continue reading →
1. Facebook Conduct I Could Do Without Dept. A friend who happens also to be on Facebook just posted his opinion about a matter and added, “If you don’t agree, don’t respond, just unfriend me.” I’m tempted to unfriend him for that. What a cowardly, lazy, arrogant stunt.
2. He’s also dead wrong in his opinion, which has to do with this “good illegal immigrant” news item. My friend thinks that the wife of a Marine should get a pass despite being in violation of immigration laws because her husband served his country. I don’t disagree with the principle he’s espousing, but it’s not the law. If there should be law that gives some kind of leniency to the spouses of military personnel, then draft it, debate it, and pass it. The Marine fought for a nation of laws, not a nation where law enforcement makes up the laws as it goes along. This was the Obama approach: we just won’t enforce the laws against this particular group of law-breaker that we like.
3. How dumb can “cultural appropriation” complaints get? This dumb:
In women’s mag “Marie Claire,” Krystyna Chávez argues that deciding to pluck your eyebrows so that they are very thin is “cultural appropriation.” writing that she was was horrified when she saw a photo of Rihanna with her new, skinny eyebrows. Chávez writes in a piece titled “I’m Latina, and I Find Rihanna’s Skinny Brows Problematic.” Unfortunately, as Katherine Timpf points out, a Louisiana State University student named Lynn Bunch wrote an op-ed last year declaring that thick eyebrows that cultural appropriation:
Boy, the outbreak of such serious statements of idiotic opinions makes me feel unsafe…because I’m afraid that I am surrounded by lunatics, in a culture that is encouraging warped values and reasoning to such an extent that for a disturbing number of Americans, no idea sets off the Stupid Alarms.
I may have to start a sister blog…
4. And you thought Trump Derangement Syndrome was silly.New York-based UMA Health, an online mental health marketplace, is providing free, confidential therapy sessions to Mets fans who are in emotional turmoil as a result of the team’s disappointing season, which cratered is last week’s 25-4 loss to the Washington Nationals, the worst loss in Mets history—yes, even worse than any of the embarrassing drubbing the team received in its first, horrible season in 1962, when “the Amazin’ Mets” lost a record 120 games.
UMA says its tongue in cheek promotion is meant to bring attention to the important role of therapy, and to eliminate the stigma of going to a therapist.
That’s odd: I think the promotion does the opposite, suggesting that therapy is self-indulgent, useless, useless bunk, which it too often is. I have an amusing personal story that explains my bias here, which I will leave for another time. If something is important your profession is to enlighten the world about its benefits, however, is it competent to promote it like this?Continue reading →
1 Oh, let’s begin the day with Roy Moore, the former Alabama judge and present wacko whom Alabama Republicans voted to represent the GOP in the 2018 U.S. Senate election, thus proving that there are a lot of deplorables in the state. As was completely predictable given his record, Moore recently told his drooling followers (after being introduced by Abraham Hamilton, Alexander Lincoln being unavailable),
“Somebody should be talking to the Supreme Court of the United States and say, ‘What gives them a right to declare that two men can get married?. . . Tell the Congress: Impeach these justices that put themselves above the Constitution. They’re judicial supremists and they should be taken off the bench.”
So Moore believes that he should not have been removed from the bench for putting his personal religious beliefs above the Constitution, but justices should be removed if they interpretation the Constitution in a way that contradicts his religious beliefs. This, he insisted, would ‘solve the problem….such a view would violate not just fundamental principles of judicial review but it would violate the impeachment clause. As the last lead counsel in a judicial impeachment case (in defense of Judge Thomas Porteous), Moore’s view is deeply troubling. As I have previously written, the Good Behavior Clause of Article III was designed to protect the independence of the judiciary and insulate it from political pressures. It was meant as a guarantee of life tenure against precisely the type of threat that Moore is endorsing.
But it’s pointless to make genuine legal and historical arguments against someone like Moore. He’s a theocrat, a fanatic, a bigot and a demagogue. The Republican Party should endorse his opposition and campaign against Moore. This fiasco is their fault, and someone like Moore should be kept out Congress at all costs.
2. Now to someone who is, incredible as it seems, somewhat less ridiculous, this gentleman, Christopher Wilson…
No, that’s not a botched tattoo on his forehead: the blurry words are “fuck” and “sluts”, making the whole, eloquent message, “I’m a porn star. I fuck teen sluts.” This roughly translates into “Look at me! I’m an idiot!” The newspapers that refused to print the blurred words (the police had the mugshot altered) that are essential to the story, meanwhile, are telling us, “We don’t understand our profession.” The story is incomprehensible if the actual words aren’t clear, literally or figuratively. Fox News and the NY Post, for example, say, “The Cincinnati man has the words “I’m a pornstar” tattooed on his forehead” and “another vulgar message” tattooed below.” Since the issue is whether the message on his FACE is going to prejudice the jury in his trial for sexual assault, this is juvenile coverage omitting key information to avoid “giving offense.”
Ethics Alarms to the news media: Grow up.
Turley (again…he loves the tattoo stories) writes,
“The court will be left with a question of whether the tattoo is too prejudicial or whether it is unavoidable as a personal choice of the defendant….Yet, these tattoos contain an admission to the crime at issue in the trial. In the end, a judge could legitimately conclude that this falls into the category as bad choices bringing even worse consequences.”
What? First, the defendant is not charged with fucking teen sluts while acting as a porn star. That conduct could well be consensual and legal. Turley is also wrong that the judge could “legitimately” allow the jury to see his message. In both cases involving a defendant’s prejudicial tattoos, the judges agreed that they had to be made invisible, in one case using make-up… Continue reading →
I need an uplifting ethics story about now. How about you?
Fort Wayne, Indiana sixth grader Phil Mick’s was dreading his his first day of sixth grade last week. The 11-year old was routinely a target of bullies at DeKalb Middle School. Family friend Brent Warfield of KDZ Motorcycle Sales & Service learned about the child’s problem over the Christmas holidays last year, and vowed to help him solve the problem…a solution that did not involve, as it so often does with bullying, a slippery slope-courting suppression of free speech principles.
Warfield used his connections in the biker community to promote a motorcade for Phil that would show any ill-wishers that he had friends that could reform bullies in a memorable and emphatic manner if so required. Getting the word out on Facebook and elsewhere on the web ( there is a non-profit organization called Bikers Against Bullies), Warfield attracted about 50 bikers from around the state. They gathered at a local restaurant for the motorcade, and the roaring throng took a thrilled Phil Mick to his first day of school. School principal Matt Vince said that the sound reverberated off the exterior brick walls.
Vince told reporters that he commended the motorcyclists for supporting Phil while making a statement against bullying “in a positive way.”
My father, who had to change schools often during the Depression as his single mother sought work and affordable lodging, told me that as a chubby, unethletic-looking, quiet kid who refused to be submissive to anyone he was bullied at every single new school he attended. It was a ritual of his childhood, and Jack Sr.’s only available response was to fight his larger tormentors using his fists.
“Oh, I always lost,” he told me. “But I got some good shots in, and that was enough. Bullies don’t like to keep bothering the kids who fight back;’ it’s too much trouble.”
“Plus they were afraid of my dog [a big Airedale named Bumbo].”
[Earlier installments of “The Good Illegal Immigrant” are here,here and here.]
Not to creep into General Sheridan’s territory, but there is no such thing as a “good illegal immigrant.” The term is an oxymoron. In illegal immigrant in the United States is breaking the law every day, hour and minute he is here. Breaking the law is not good. Breaking the law every day is especially not good. Good people do not break the law every day.
Roberto Beristain is the owner of a popular restaurant in Granger, Indiana called Eddie’s Steak Shed. He came to the United States illegally from Mexico City in 1998. Somehow he obtained documentation to work in the country, even a Social Security card, and checked in with ICE each year. In 2000. Roberto and his wife, Helen were visiting Niagara Falls—such an American thing for a couple to do!— and accidentally crossed into Canada. When officials realized he was in the U.S. illegally as he tried to return, Roberto was detained. Released on bail, he was told he had to voluntarily leave the U.S. within a month. Beristain says he did not leave because Helen was pregnant.
Ah. All should be forgiven then! This is known as “making up your own exception to the law.” Also not good.
When Roberto checked in with ICE last month, that 2000 episode finally came up. ICE took Beristain into custody because when he failed to deport himself, his voluntary order reverted to a final order of removal. Why did it take more than a decade for Immigration to notice?
Thomison alleged in his “I quit! Write your own damn parking tickets!” letter that the town board asked him to be involved in “illegal, immoral and unethical conduct,” as well as cutting police support and refusing to communicate with the officers. The Bunker Hill town council issued a statement denying the accusations, but it doesn’t matter what the provocation was. The police were in the wrong. This was settled long ago, by a wise man who clarified a bedrock principle of public service. Doing so helped make him President of the United States.
In 1919, as America recovered World War I, prices were rising faster than wages. With soldiers returning from Europe flooding the U.S. labor market, the burgeoning labor movement seized the nation. One-fifth of the country’s workers went on strike that year. New York’s harbor workers, textile workers in Massachusetts, dressmakers, phone workers, elevated train workers— a general strike in Seattle closed all businesses from February 6 to 11. Some feared a Communist take-over.
The Boston police force was at the end of its forbearance. Starting pay for new officers had not risen in 60 years; police wages were lower than those of unskilled factory workers. Officers worked seven days a week, with a day off every other week. They could not leave town without special permission. The typical work week for police was between 72 and 98 hours, and officers were required to sleep in the station houses, where conditions were uniformly horrible, with sub-standard sanitation, baths, beds, and toilets.
By June of 1919, with their legitimate grievances unaddressed, the police tried to unionize. The Massachusetts governor and his attorney general put forward legislation to make unionization illegal for public employees. The police responded by voting 1,134 to 2 in favor of a strike, and scheduled it to start at evening roll call the next day.
On September 9, 1919, the Boston Police Department officers went on strike. Boston descended into lawlessness, with everything from petty crimes to looting and riots, and the harassment of the striking officers. The mayor and the governor called out the State Guard, with the governor being adamant that there would be no settlement of grievances until the police returned to their jobs. To show he wasn’t bluffing, he eventually had 5,000 State Guards guarding the city with mobile units using machine guns. His blunt and unequivocal statement made him nationally famous:
“There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.”
The police strike collapsed. By mid-December, the police commissioner had hired a new police force with higher pay, better working conditions, and additional holidays.
Police didn’t even have to pay for their own uniforms any more.
The next year that stalwart governor was nominated as Vice President on the Republican presidential ticket. By 1921, he was Vice President, and by 1923, President of the United States. His famous pronouncement about strikes against the public safety was one of his least concise statements. He was, of course, Calvin Coolidge.
Silent Cal was right in 1919, and he’s still right. Whatever the provocation and however just their cause, the Bunker Hill police were harming the public when they quit without notice or warning, and violated the public trust.
Meanwhile, Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller says that county deputies will patrol the town and respond to calls until a new police department can be hired.