Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/28/2021: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Jack Marshall Sr Army portrait

I’ll be visiting the Major (and Mom) at Arlington National Cemetery this weekend.

1. Well, let’s start the morning and end the week with evidence of progress…Mickey Callaway, the former manager of the New York Mets and recently fired pitching coach of the California Angels, has seen his baseball career implode because of what appears to be a habit of harrassing women in his workplace, which is Major League Baseball. Callaway, who has been banned from the game at least through 2022 after an investigation of the complaints made by more than five women, released a statement that is as close to a Level One apology on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale as one is likely to see. That’s this one:

An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.

Here’s Callaway’s version:

“My family and I fully support MLB’s strong stance against harassment and discrimination and are grateful to the Commissioner and his office for their thorough investigation. I apologize to the women who shared with investigators any interaction that made them feel uncomfortable. To be clear, I never intended to make anyone feel this way and didn’t understand that these interactions might do that or violate MLB policies. However, those are my own blind spots, and I take responsibility for the consequences.In my 25 years in professional baseball I have never taken for granted the privilege of being even a small part of this great game of ours. To say I regret my past poor choices would be an understatement. I remain hopeful that I can return to baseball when eligible at the conclusion of next season, but for now, I plan to work on my own shortcomings and repairing any damage I have caused with my colleagues and, particularly, my family.”

Joe Biden could have made that exact apology, without the baseball reference, of course. He never had to.

2. Incompetent question, perfect answer:

Monica tweet

Those are eye-roll emojis. Monica also gets points for brevity. She just missed tying author Victor Hugo for the record for shortest published message, in his case, a telegram to his publisher regarding the fate of his submitted manuscript for “Les Miserables.” Hugo wrote “?“. The publisher replied, “!“.

I won’t even take away ethics points from Monica for pandering to the Worst of the Woke by listing her preferred pronouns.

Continue reading

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/28/20: Happy Birthday, Woodrow Wilson!

2020 end

As 2020 staggers to a conclusion, Ethics Alarms wants to express its gratitude to the core of devoted Alarmist commentators who kept the dialogue going during what is always an annual cratering of blog traffic. I appreciate it. I also appreciated the many kind holiday wishes, in what has been a muted Christmas for the Marshalls for a number of reasons I won’t bore you with.

In case you were among the missing, I draw your attention to…

…among other hopefully edifying and entertaining posts.

1. After signalling otherwise or perhaps just trolling, President Trump signed the truly awful pandemic relief and omnibus spending bill, really sending the national debt into orbit. One theory is that doing so was necessary to avoid a Democratic sweep of the two Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia. I will file the event as one more car on the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck, and one that will do more damage in the long run than most of them.

2. In Nevada, Gabrielle Clark filed a federal lawsuit against her son’s charter school last week for refusing to let him opt out of a mandatory class that promotes anti-white racism. It claims that Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus forced William Clark “to make professions about his racial, sexual, gender and religious identities in verbal class exercises and in graded, written homework assignments,” creating a hostile environment, and subjecting he son’s statements ” to the scrutiny, interrogation and derogatory labeling of students, teachers and school administrators,” who are “still are coercing him to accept and affirm politicized and discriminatory principles and statements that he cannot in conscience affirm.” The lawsuit includes nearly 150 pages of exhibits documenting the curriculum in the graduation requirement “Sociology of Change,” which promotes intersectionality and critical race theory, in breach of what was promised when the Clark’s first sent their son to the school.

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Mostly Non-Baseball Ethics Musings While Nervously Watching The World Series [UPDATED!]

1. Dave Roberts did indeed get a standing ovation from the Boston fans when he was introduced in the pre-game ceremonies. As I promised…

2. Another family has written an attack letter against a member running for office. This is the second instance of this ugly campaign tactic this election  cycle. I don’t care what party is involved, or who the candidates are. Amy family members who would do this are contemptible.  The Laxalt family members, the culprits this time, even wrote that they didn’t know their target very well. If they don’t know him, why do their opinions matter?  Have they no decency? Has no one any decency?

3. I thought my left-wing echo-chamber addled Facebook friends were kidding when they suggested that President Trump and the Republicans were paying for the herd of illegal aliens marching on our borders. No, apparently some progressive pundits and journalists are actually claiming this, with a Blasey Ford level of evidence. You know, none. So illegal immigrants, encouraged by open-borders rhetoric from American progressives, Democrats and the biased news media, set out to force themselves past our laws and borders, and because this display risks enlightening the public about just how irresponsible and dangerous the left’s romanticized fantasy about illegal immigration is, they are denying that it’s real, and blaming it on Trump. Amazing.

4. Now here’s a campaign controversy you don’t see very often: the Democratic  candidate for the Minnesota State legislature may have married her brother. I  might argue that such incest is not necessarily relevant to her qualifications as a legislature, except that there is evidence that the marriage was a factor in possible immigration fraud and student loan fraud. Continue reading

Now THIS Is “Conduct Prejudicial To The Administration of Justice”!

The late Joe Jamail, role model...

The late Joe Jamail, role model…

Almost all jurisdictions include in their lawyer ethics rule a catch-all provision, Rule 8.4 (d), that says that is is professional misconduct for a member of the bar to

(d) Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

Virginia is one state that omits this prohibition as too vague; D.C.’s version says that a lawyer must not engage in conduct that is seriously prejudicial, whatever that means. My position is that such a rule is necessary, since no set of rules can cover every situation, and lawyers, I have found, are especially creative in finding new ways to be unethical.

Texas Super Lawyer Joe Jamail (who died last December) established the proposition that a lawyer could prejudice the administration of justice by his spectacular incivility in this deposition:

The Delaware Supreme Court condemned Jamail’s conduct as “rude, uncivil and vulgar,” saying that it abused the privilege of appearing in a Delaware proceeding,” and showed “an astonishing lack of professionalism and civility.” (The immortal quote from the video is Jamail telling his adversary counsel that he “could gag a maggot off a meatwagon.” The deposition deteriorated into a Trumpian insult-fest, with Jamail calling the other lawyer “Fat boy” and being called “Mr, Hairpiece” in return.) The court went on to call Jamail’s unprofessional behavior “a lesson for the future—a lesson of conduct not to be tolerated or repeated.”

Following the judicial reprimand,  Jamail said,  “I’d rather have a nose on my ass than go to Delaware for any reason.”

But even Joe never did this. Continue reading

The Rot Begins

A perfect VP for The Donald. Kill me now.

A perfect VP for The Donald. Kill me now.

Although it appears to have substantially eluded our political pundits, one of the major reasons Donald Trump’s presidency would be a disaster for the culture is that he would further degrade political discourse by validating vulgarity, boorishness and bullying as legitimate and acceptable conduct by elected officials. That contagion will spread to the public at large, decreasing the likelihood of substantial communication and persuasion, and increasing bitter divisions with a likelihood of violence.

In fact, the process of rot is starting already.

Nevada’s GOP state representative Michele Fiore—she’s the one who sent out the Christmas card with her whole family, including toddlers, holding guns—is running for a Congressional seat. Her opponent, Annette Teijeiro, criticized Fiore for her comments about “flying to Paris” to  shoot terrorists there herself. This prompted the honorable rep to stand up and challenge Teijeiro, saying, “You want to have a fight with me?” She challenged Teijeiro to put her microphone down and acted like she was ready to rumble.

A video of the incident was posted on Facebook, and Fiore is getting encouragement, presumably from Trump fans…you know, morons.
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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Week (And Worst Christmas Card Of 2015): South Carolina Rep. Christopher Corley

xmas card

South Carolina lawmaker Rep. Christopher Corley (R- Aiken) decided to take on the daunting challenge of topping Las Vegas Assemblywoman Michele Fiore’s entry in the “Most Tasteless Christmas Card That Proves Its Republican Politician Author Is An Idiot” competition. You saw that one, right? It  features Fiore, her husband, her adult daughters, their husbands and one of her grandchildren…


…holding guns, with a useful note in the corner denoting which models the are each planning on using to bag a reindeer and Santa too, I suppose, since there are ten Fiores.

There is a lot wrong with the card, beginning with the fact that, as the Bible says, there is a time for every season, and regardless of one’s faith or lack of it, this season is and has always been about peace and love, not shooting things. Fiore uses children as props for political grandstanding, which is ugly and an abuse of power.

The card also says “I am an idiot,” but that arguably is a good thing, since as many people should know as possible. (Either her constituents are idiots, or they like them for some reason.) Still, the silly card is relatively harmless, except that Fiore embarrasses her party and gives anti-gun hysterics another excuse to portray all those who resist the obvious progressive goal of banning guns entirely as lunatics.

Corley’s card, however, is much, much worse. Continue reading

How Can This Be Unethical, When All Lawyers Are Whores Anyway?

(I just wanted to get this joke out of the way right at the start.)

"Need a lawyer? Here's my card..."

“Need a lawyer? Here’s my card…”

Well, we have read about all sorts of unusual lawyer avocations in Ethics Alarms—the dominatrix lawyer, the hypnotist lawyer, the superhero lawyer, the illegal immigrant lawyer, ethicist lawyer—but I didn’t expect to see this one in my home state.

An already suspended Massachusetts lawyer,  Karen Andrade, has been charged with prostitution after a police investigated a report by a suspicious neighbor and  found online reviews of both the lawyer’s legal services and her escort services. Using the name of “Rose,” Andrade frequently hosted middle-aged men her home, prompting the neighbor’s complaint. One of the men told police that he paid Andrade $150 for sex.


  • I knew the legal profession was in a slump, but I never thought it was this bad.
  • Yes, this is an ethics violation. It is breaking the law, assuming she is found guilty.
  • Hooking calls her honesty and trustworthiness into question only because it is illegal. Would she have legal ethics problems if she were a Nevada lawyer, and no law was violated? I don’t think so. Back in 2007, I wrote about Traci Bryant, a.k.a.Anita Cannibal, the porn star who worked her way through law school at a legal house of prostitution. I conclude that if the activity is legal, nothing about prostitution appears to violate legal ethics.

See why I made that joke before you could?


Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Storey County,Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)

Note to Assemblyman Wheeler: you were not elected "genie." Or "mindless idiot." Or...never mind, you wouldn't understand anyway.

Note to Assemblyman Wheeler: you were not elected “genie.” Or “mindless idiot.” Or…never mind, you wouldn’t understand anyway.

The word “idiot” is widely and correctly regarded as uncivil on the web, but sometimes its is simply descriptive, as in the sentence  “Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is an idiot.”

Before a local Republican gathering, Wheeler told of an email inquiry he had received asking if he would vote to reestablish  slavery if his constituents supported it. He said he replied in the affirmative.

“Thank you, Assemblyman! We’ll have your resignation now, thanks!  Please commence your new career as a bait shop proprietor.”

Naturally, after Republicans, Democrats, the governor and the media unanimously condemned his statement, Wheeler protested that his comment had been “taken out of context,” and he was only making the point that he was elected to represent his constituents. …thus again making the point that he still doesn’t comprehend representative government. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: The Nevada Ethics Commission, Which is Pretty Depressing.

An X-Ray of Caren Jenkin's head, ethics sector

Here at last may be the answer to the riddle of why state ethics commissions have so little effect on the persistent problem of unethical government.

The people who make up the membership of such commissions may not know the first thing about ethics. Take Nevada, for instance:

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Nevada Ethics Commission, its executive director, Caren Jenkins, organized a party at a Carson City restaurant.  She invited current and former commissioners and staff, and also the state’s top elected officials, whose conduct is reviewed by the commission, which can fine them substantially or even seek their removal from office and prosecution for violating state ethics laws.
The invitation included a request for $33 to pay for the event.

“It never even crossed my mind that this would be seen as questionable,” said Jenkins. Never crossed her mind. eh? The event has elected officials whom the commission has to objectively oversee socializing with their state-appointed watchdogs. The Ethics Commission chair solicited money from officials who must depend on the commission for discretionary ethics calls. Jenkins has apparently never heard of appearance of impropriety, conflicts of interest, or interference with independent judgment. The Chair of the Nevada Ethics Commission has ethics alarms about as well-maintained as those of Charlie Rangel or Marion Barry. And since none of her fellow members bothered to raise any objections over her plan, their ethics alarms are in similar disrepair.


Or all too believable, come to think of it.

Ethics Quiz: “The Graduate” Variation—Illegal Yet Ethical?

Except in THIS version of "The Graduate," it's Benjamin Braddock's MOTHER banging on the window. Come to think of it, Dustin Hoffman couild play her, too!

For your weekend Ethics Quiz, Ethics Alarms asks your assessment of a situation that may be that rarity, conduct that is illegal but ethical, by far the rarest in the spectrum that is…

Legal and EthicalLegal and Unethical—Illegal and EthicalIllegal and Unethical

In Nevada, Justin Lew Harris’ wedding at the Carson Valley United Methodist Church was underway when his mother burst on the scene, Dustin Hoffman-style, and loudly objected to the ceremony. As she protested, Harris physically carried her out of the church, which constitutes battery. Mom’s tactic worked, though: that stopped the wedding, at least for now.

Now Harris, 35, faces misdemeanor charges  for disorderly conduct and coercion, presumably being pressed by his loving mother. He was released from the Douglas County Jail on his own recognizance.

No doubt about it: his conduct was pretty clearly against the law. But was it ethical? Continue reading