More Inaugeration Ethics: The Hero, The Dunce, And The Weenie…Whoops, Make That A Dunce And TWO Weenies



The Ethics Hero was going to be Jennifer Holliday, the big-voiced diva who stopped the Broadway hit “Dreamgirls” with her solo, “I’m not going.” She had agreed to sing at the Inauguration, telling the Associated Press that her decision to participate was a way to welcome the American people to an event that should be about unifying the country.

Which is, of course, what it is.

She then faced a vicious response to her patriotic and principled decision, with critics calling for a boycott of her music, labeling her as an “Uncle Tom,” promising that her career was over and telling her to kill herself. Most vociferous of the bullies were those from the LGBT community, which has managed to convince itself that Trump is a foe despite the fact that nothing in his speeches or record suggest that he is. But he is a Republican, and thus presumptively biased. (Assuming anyone is less than admirable based on group membership is bigotry, but in this case, the argument goes, good bigotry.)

Rather than stand up for what she said was right, Holiday whined, and capitulated:

“How could I have this much hate spewing at me, and I haven’t even done anything? I guess it’s not like those old days when political views were your own and you had freedom of speech. … We live in a different time now and a decision to go and do something for America is not so clear-cut anymore.”
The way to stand up for the values you claim to embrace, you sniveling coward, is to refuse to be bullied out of supporting them, and opposing the forces of divisiveness and hate.Ah, but performers who are willing to resist peer pressure and the howls of the mob are rarer than Florida panthers, so Jennifer grovelled instead, in a nauseating open letter:


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The Ethics of Singing For Muammar…No, Wait, I Mean José

Mariah-CareyIt is seldom that an ethics controversy repeats itself so exactly that I am tempted to re-run a previous post word for word with just a couple of names changed, but the flack Mariah Carey is getting from human rights activists and others for accepting a million bucks to perform for Angola’s dictator is just such an instance.

I wrote about this situation in 2011, when Nelly Furtado (and Carey) were under fire for performing for the late Muamar Gaddafi, when he was dictating to Libya.  I officially incorporate said post into this one, in full.  Just read it here, with “Mariah” substituted wherever I wrote “Nelly,” “Carey” for “Furtado,” and the name of Angola’s president, José Eduardo dos Santos, wherever the dead Libyan leader’s name appears.It all still applies. To sum up for the large percentage of people who, surveys say, can’t be bothered to click on links, it’s completely bogus criticism. Continue reading

How to Tell Whether A Service Provider Will Cheat You, in One Easy Step!

Call. It won’t do you any good, but do call….

I was waiting at a stop light in the left lane when the light changed, and suddenly the boxy little truck with printing all over it look a sharp left turn from the right lane across mine, narrowly missing my car and requiring me to slam on the brakes. After laying on the horn, I saw that it was a truck for a local cleaning service, and voila! There, on the back door in bold print, was the legend: We care about safe driving! 1-888-555-SAFE. And the vehicle’s number, “515 DI.” For once I could actually use one of those numbers to report a reckless jerk on the road!

I have trouble memorizing numbers, so I repeated the information over and over again, out loud, as I drove home: it helped that the little truck was right in front of me most of the way. I reached home, ran up stairs to my office, wrote down the number to be sure, and dialed it.

It was a fake number. it wasn’t even a disconnected number. It didn’t connect to anything.

Now I’m wondering if any of those “How am I driving?” numbers are real, and I’ll say this: if your phone number is a lie, I’m not letting your employees clean my house, especially if they drive like that.

If only the name of the company had been on the back of the truck.

Never mind, though.

I’m going to find it.

Ethics Quiz: Is An Online Dating Service Ethically Obligated to Screen for Sex Offenders?

Your perfect computer match!

Hollywood screenwriter and author Carole Markin sued the leading Internet matchmaker,, for not screening its applicants to eliminate sexual predators. She was raped by one that the online dating service had designated as her “perfect match.” This week the company settled the lawsuit  by promising to perform security background checks on all current and future members.

Markin, who is an Ethics Hero, said “If I save one woman from getting attacked, then I’m happy.” She waived monetary compensation and gave up all rights to pursue with further claims. Continue reading

The Ethics of Singing For Muammar

Sing, Nelly---and charge him through the nose.

Singer Nelly Furtado has been attacked recently for accepting a million dollars in 2007 to entertain Muammar Gaddafi and his family. The idea seems to be that, as ringingly put by screenwriter Mark Tapper,

“It is quite simply willful blindness to claim that there is no moral dimension in the choice to perform privately for a monster like Gaddafi, and in being paid exorbitantly from funds no doubt stolen from his own people, or misappropriated from foreign aid or dirty deals.”

Furtado isn’t the only one who crooned for the Libyan dictator, apparently. Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé and other performers also accepted big bucks to give Muammar and his family a good time.Furtado is donating her fee to charity in the wake of criticism like Tapper’s and Beyoncé has also donated the million that she received to charity, apologizing profusely. Mariah Carey is begging for forgiveness.

I’m glad that the stars are giving their money to worthy causes, and no doubt it is a good public relations move in a society where half-baked ethical notions become conventional wisdom before much thought has been applied to them. Nevertheless, Furtado and the rest did nothing wrong by entertaining Gaddafi. Continue reading