Leadership Ethics: The First Lady’s Ignorant Whine

Dr. Jill is having a difficult month. I almost put her latest post-breakfast taco remarks under the “Unethical Quote” heading, but her infuriating comments during a private Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Nantucket, Massachusetts qualify as more ignorant and incompetent than anything else.

Attempting to defend her husband’s miserable performance as President over the past 18 months and to rebut the public’s overwhelmingly negative assessment of his Presidency so far, the First Lady whined—and yes, that is a fair characterization—

“[The President] had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment…He’s just had so many things thrown his way. Who would have ever thought about what happened [with the Supreme Court overturning] Roe v Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn’t believe it. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We didn’t see the war in Ukraine coming.” 

Awww, poor Joe! He’s had to deal with the same challenge as every other President since the beginning of the Republic! Damn! It’s just one thing after another! Who could have predicted it?

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/11/2022: Twitter Wars And More

But first, a cheerful song, because it’s all downhill from here…

Speaking of music, some opening notes are in order:

  • Yesterday was the anniversary of the much-heralded Scopes “Monkey Trial,” a 1925 ethics train wreck that I wrote about extensively last year, here and here.
  • Today, July 11, marks two of the most vivid examples of how random chance changes everything—history, culture, values, traditions– in ways that cannot be imagined. The first was the foolish duel in 1804 between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that resulted in Hamilton’s premature death (but ultimately in a boffo Broadway musical!). The second was Count Claus von Stauffenberg’s close-but-no-cigar assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in 1944.
  • Nearer to the present, the apparent collapse of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is disappointing, because it would make reporting on various Twitter-Twiggered ethics issues a lot easier if I could start an account again in good conscience, as I was prepared to do once the service got out from under the clutches of its current censorious and progressive-biased masters.
  • I also haven’t felt like participating in Facebook of late, as the Woke Hysteria among my once rational friends there over the recent SCOTUS decisions is too great a temptation–as in “target”— for me. Right now they just want an echo chamber to scream in, and that’s what they have. Someone somewhere on the web opined yesterday that late night talk shows,  “Saturday Night Live” and its ilk were no longer primarily about comedy, but rather therapy sessions for angry and depressed progressives and Democrats, with the shows using mockery and insults to reaffirm their convictions about “the others”—those dumb, evil, racist conservatives. I think that may be a perceptive analysis. “Saturday Night Live” is a particularly vivid example: the show that once reveled in portraying Gerald Ford as a bumbling klutz and George W. Bush as an outright moron week after week while they were in the White House now hesitates to exploit the comedy gold represented by Biden’s misadventures and Kamala Harris in general. It proves that SNL is more interested in hanging out with the cool kids than actually being funny—which is supposedly its mission. This is a conflict of interest, and the producer and writers aren’t even attempting to resolve it ethically.

1. Twitter Wars #1: @Ka1zoku_Qu0d, an idiot of the sort that literally clogs Twitter, posted this: “Hold on I want to make sure I say this carefully. Yeah Anne Frank had white privilege. Bad things happen to people with white privilege also but don’t tell the whites that.” This caused so much static on the platform that “Anne Frank” ended up “trending.” Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Ethics Warm-Up: “Ya Gotta Love Ethics!”


I’m going to see if I can get through this entire post without mentioning yesterday’s acquittal of Donald Trump. There’s a whole other post around the corner for that. Let’s see.

I was sorely tempted to post the simple word “Good!” to my Facebook feed, but resisted the temptation. All it would have accomplished was to trigger some genuinely, or at least formerly, nice and reasonable people….who have nonetheless been smug, abusive, irrational, nasty, obsessed, hateful and harmful to the culture and society since November 2016. And as much as the Duke in “McClintock!” is an inspiration…

…I won’t. At least, not right now.

1, And the audacious hypocrisy continues! To a ridiculous and childish extent, too. Here’s Dr. Jill Biden’s kindergarten-style, “do as we say not as we do,” signaling-virtue-while-not-actually-engaging-in-it White House lawn display.

Biden diaplay

How nauseating.

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Further Observations On The Jill Biden “Dr.” Kerfuffle

Biden Dr

It’s been five days since I wrote about it here, and a week since Joseph Epstein made the point in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, thus getting him “cancelled” at the institution where he had been a lecturer for two decades. Nevertheless, the arguments over the appropriateness of the First Lady insisting that she be called “Dr.” are still roiling, with several essays hitting the web yesterday. Adding to the noise is Jill Biden’s—she won’t call me “doctor,” and I’ll be damned if I’ll call her that on my own site. Now, if we meet, that’s different. I call people what they want to be called, because it’s a Golden Rule thing—-dissertation, which is now widely linked so anyone can see how truly Dr.-worthy it is.

Ethics Alarms has been going through another one of those periods where readers irritate me by carping, “Why did you write about that? Why don’t you write about what I want you to write about?” (This is even covered in the comment guide, which I can summarize on this point in two words: “Bite me.”) Thus I will (again, as I did in the initial post) explain what interest this trivial matter has to an ethicist. THAT can be summed up in eleven words “So this is the way it’s going to be, is it?”

After never giving the Trumps any credit, praise, sympathy, gratitude, generosity, respect or a break for four years, the mainstream media is now going to defend every bit of criticism of the Bidens like Travis, Bowie and Crockett battled the Alamo. Wow. They aren’t even pretending to be objective and fair any more, and why should they? They pulled it off; they abused their role sufficiently to warp public perception and manipulate the election.

But we all know, even if the students being educated in our current excuses for public schools don’t and won’t, what happened to Travis,Bowie and Davy. This extreme partisanship and dedication to propaganda will not end well. The public trust of the media is already near rock bottom, with more than 50% of the population permanently alienated. We need a strong and trustworthy journalistic presence to survive as a democracy, and foolish choices of when to spin will only doom it and us.

Further observations:

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Of COURSE Jill Biden Calling Herself “Dr.” Is Pompous And Misleading, But The Mainstream Media Will Defend Her Anyway


Let me stipulate that I detest titles, and I distrust people who insist on using titles. My father was particularly contemptuous of non-medical doctors who used the appellation “Dr”. I had a history professor in high school who made us call him “Dr. Arthur,” because he had a PhD in history. My father was so annoyed when he heard that that my mother wouldn’t let him go to the parent-teacher meeting with the “Dr.” for fear Dad would say something. I have a number of friends with PhDs, and none call themselves “doctors.” Who would they be trying to impress? Who would they be trying to fool?

I guess I could call myself “doctor”; I have a juris doctor degree, after all. As arrogant and smug as so many lawyers are, I have never known any who dared put “Dr.” before their name. It’s bad enough that so many put “Esquire” after it. The incoming First Lady, however, feels compelled to call herself “Dr.” and have others do so, and she isn’t a PhD: at most, she’s as much of a doctor as I am. Her degree is an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware. I’m so impressed.

Actually, I couldn’t care less. If someone is so determined to put on airs or be deferred to that they insist on being called “Dr.,” I’ll accommodate them, though they might not like what I’m thinking. I even called “Judge Napolitano” “judge” when I met him, though he’s not a judge.

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Afternoon Ethics Points, 4/30/2019: New Developments In Old Stories

Pardon if I sound distracted—I’m still giggling about Kate Smith.

1. Kate, Robert E. Lee and the King of Pop. It’s ironic that this comes up as I am debating on Facebook with rabid Robert E. Lee statue-topplers, because this episode perfectly illustrates why they are wrong, and not just wrong, but stupidly and obnoxiously wrong. No historical figure is honored for everything in his or her life. They are honored for their importance, influence, good deeds, finest moments and best traits. The growing totalitarian mob on the Left wants to erase the memory of anyone who failed to meet their current standards of virtue decades or even centuries before those standards existed, when many of the standards  are unreasonable even now.

Great achievers are, with the tiniest sliver of exceptions, flawed, strange, obsessed and abnormal people, and those who would hold them to impossible levels of perfection guarantee a hollow culture, a sanitized and boring history, and a shallow society.

Thus I found myself surprising myself by sympathizing with the decision of an elementary school in Hollywood to keep Michael Jackson’s name on its auditorium, despite the growing likelihood that he was a child molester, as the Los Angeles Times reported. The majority of parents and staff of Gardner Street Elementary School, which Jackson briefly attended, voted to keep his name above the auditorium. Ick, but maybe that was the right decision. Jackson was a great and influential performer, and that’s what he’s honored for. Continue reading