More Than a Fool: Bachmann, John Quincy Adams, and Wikipedia

John Quincy Adams, Sixth President, slavery foe, and time-traveling Founding Father

I will strive a bit longer to avoid concluding that Michele Bachmann is as irresponsible, dishonest and dangerous as I strongly suspect that she is, though my determination may not last the time it takes to write this post. I won’t wait any longer to conclude that she is a fool.

In one short week since the controversy erupted over Fox News anchor Chris Wallace daring to ask her on the air, “Are you a flake?” and her subsequent botching of both her answer and the question’s fevered aftermath, she has stumbled into two flaky episodes. One—her mixing up Western movie star icon John Wayne with serial child killer John Wayne Gacy—was at least funny. The other, far less forgivable—her claim that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States”—has signature significance. Continue reading

NBC Tries a Hit on Trump, and Exposes Its Own Incompetence

“Trump Fumbles Abortion Question” trumpeted “The Daily Beast” under the label “Confused”. It caused my heart to leap: could The Donald have stuck his foot in his mouth with an obnoxious-presidential-campaign-flirtation-destroying gaffe so soon?  Callooh! Callay!

I rushed to the link, which was on the NBC News site, only to have my hopes dashed. Trump hadn’t made a gaffe at all. Some biased, ignorant NBC reporter, who has decided that it is her life’s assignment to show the American public just who is and who isn’t qualified to run for President of the United States, tried a deceitful and unfair trick question on Trump, who promptly identified it as such. Then, completely mistaken about her assumption that his answer was disqualifying at all, she smugly sat back while her colleagues in the media attempt to present the exchange as a “gotcha.” In  other words, Trump is going to get the Sarah Palin treatment, and this was the first, jaw-droppingly stupid attempt at it. Phooey! It’s bad enough that I keep having to stand up for Palin; now I have to stand up for—ughhh!–-Donald Trump!

Here is part of NBC’s Vaughn Ververs’ account of the exchange between NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and Trump: Continue reading

Staten Island Ethics Quote of the Week: Hate—Bad; Greed, Disrespect and Envy—Meh

“I don’t think it’s a hate crime, it’s just a recession out there.”

A Staten Island neighbor of 17-year-old Yashua Plair, who has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for shouting anti-Latino epithets while attacking a 15-year-old Mexican boy to take his i-Pod.

Oh. Well, I guess it’s OK then. Continue reading

Illinois: A Clash of Law, Ethics, Christmas and Festivus

Any one with lingering doubts about whether law is capable of navigating the nuances of ethics should ponder the Christmas display at the Illinois State Capital, where an effort to avoid state support of religion has resulted in an offensive mockery of it that is inappropriate for any season.

The collision of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause (and the Supreme Court’s  broad interpretation of it) with the cultural, traditional. historical, artistic and commercial aspects of Christmas have created an annual fiasco that looks silly, irritates everyone, and accomplishes nothing constructive. It would be better to have no Christmas display at all, and that fact proves the limitation of law, and the subordination of ethics. Continue reading