Posts Tagged ‘Jack Marshall’

Americans should wholeheartedly support the Egyptian anti-Mubarak demonstrators

February 5, 2011


The videos from Cairo show happy peaceful demonstrators by the tens of thousands, interspersed with videos of Mubarak supporters battling the demonstrators in a chaotic scene. When the action dies down the TV talking heads ruminate over what outcome would be best for America. Or as Joe Scarborough put it, “Who is behind Door #2?”

Jack Marshall explains in his Ethics Alarms blog why Americans should be uncompromisingly for Egyptian freedom from the Mubarak dictatorship. Simply stated, America’s very meaning is about the rights of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t assert these rights for Americans, it asserts them for all men.

So what’s best for America is an Egyptian government by the people. Whether that government follows the superficially pro-American policies of Mubarak is irrelevant. The Declaration of Independence is what’s relevant. That’s why all Americans should cheer the demonstrations.


Ethics Reality Check: Elizabeth Edwards Was No Hero

December 11, 2010

When Elizabeth Edwards died I thought of a phrase I learned long ago in Latin class, “De mortuis nil nisi bonum,”—Of the dead, nothing unless good. And I read and watched on TV all the paeans to her courage and heroism. And gritted my teeth.

Until I read the piece on with the above title. Jack Marshall writes about how her fierce ambition led her to cover up her husband’s lying and cheating at the risk of “catastrophe to her country.” If you admire her, read the piece. It’ll remind you, as it reminded me, how easy it is to misjudge a person’s character from her (or his) public appearance.

Which is more unethical: Nancy Pelosi staying on as Democratic leader or Nancy Pelosi sabotaging the bipartisan deficit commission?

November 11, 2010


Nancy Pelosi is labeled an “ethics dunce” by Jack Marshall, in his Ethics Alarms blog: “Pelosi’s refusal to step aside places her own ego above the needs of public service and country, and is as blatant an example of power corrupting judgment as one can imagine. At a time when all ethical considerations argue for her to swallow her pride and let others take over, she is willing to jeopardize not only her party’s comity, unity and image but her own legislative achievements.”

Marshall reserves the dunce label “for those individuals and organizations who display a complete ignorance of ethics through their persistence in, defense of, or comfort with blatantly unethical conduct.”

But Pelosi’s behavior this week is even more deserving of the “ethics dunce” label than her unseemly clinging to her leadership position. Yesterday, within minutes of the release of the President’s deficit commission’s draft report, she blasted it as “simply unacceptable.”


Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is a tax cheat, an extortionist, and probably a bribe-taker. But so are a lot of people. Why am I so disturbed with Rangel?

July 30, 2010

With all the criminality in public life, why am I so disturbed with Charlie Rangel? Jack Marshall put his metaphorical finger on it in his EthicsAlarm blog: Rangel is an ethics corrupter. Marshall defines it this way:

“An ethics corrupter is a public figure of high accomplishment, a hero who encourages his admirers and followers to allow the hero’s achievements to excuse his flawed character and values…The ethics corrupter…weakens the public’s resistance to corruption and misconduct, and encourages a culture of privilege in which an individual is allowed to break the law and rules in direct proportion to his or her perceived value to society.”

As I’m disgusted by Rangel’s conduct, I’m alarmed by the people defending it. The only hopeful sign is that the House ethics committee, comprising four Democrats and four Republicans, brought charges against Rangel, and will try him on these charges, with the possible penalty upon conviction ranging from admonition to expulsion from the House of Representatives.

If Rangel had the tiniest sense of public responsibility or honor he would resign. But he doesn’t and he won’t. He’ll probably cost the Democrats control of the House in the coming election but he doesn’t care. And if they let him, neither should we.

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Ethics Hero and Ethics Quote of the Week: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

July 22, 2010

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was the only Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote for the confirmation of Elena Kagan as Supreme Court Justice. I can’t improve on what Jack Marshall (who I believe to be a Republican) headlined and wrote in his blog. Anybody who hopes the American government can work again should read it.

“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) delivered the following remarks as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Obviously Ethics Alarms approves of Graham’s vote and reasoning, as it is consistent with what I believe is the most ethical, fair and responsible course for all Republican senators. His statement, however, is extraordinary in its appeal to the best instincts of ethical public servants, and rather than just a link (the text comes from The Hill), I think proper respect and admiration dictate a full presentation. It embodies fairness, civility, professionalism. respect and dignity, as well as the ideals of collaborative government.”

Here is the entire Marshall posting.

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Sorry: EthicsBob got it wrong about Lane Kiffin and Seantrel Henderson

July 8, 2010

I credited USC’s football coach, Lane Kiffin, with ethical behavior for releasing top recruit Seantrel Henderson from his commitment to play for the Trojans. I praised Kiffin for putting the player’s welfare first.

Jack Marshall pointed out that I had it wrong. His comment:

“But Bob—doesn’t that just encourage student athletes to renege on their commitments, or suggest that the “right thing to do” is allow students to break their agreements while the institution is held to them? Doesn’t sound right or fair to me. What happened to teaching students that a word is a bond, and that living up to a promise sometimes requires sacrifice?”

I stand corrected.

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Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC) batters questioner, Dems defend the attacker, mainstream media do their job

June 17, 2010

Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC) was walking down a Washington sidewalk when a short (half-a-head shorter than the Congressman) young man in a suit approached him with a camera—perhaps in a cell phone—and asked him if he supported the Obama agenda. “WHO ARE YOU?” the Congressman demanded, before he lunged at the camera, grabbed the young man’s arm, and then his neck, before letting go.

My favorite ethics blogger, Jack Marshall, labeled Etheridge an “ethics dunce” in his Shamefully, some in the liberal media, including MSNBC’s Chris Mathews the Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza, and the Charlotte Observer, defended Etheridge. Worse, Politico reports that the DNC is blaming the Republican party.

The story on the right from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and their friends, is that the mainstream media don’t cover bad behavior on the left. Not so in this case: The incident was immediately covered by CBS News, CNN, National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, the (more…)

Lena Horne, battler for civil rights in Hollywood, dead at 92. (Oh, yes, she sang and acted too)

May 17, 2010

Lena Horne died last week at 92. I only knew of two prominent African-Americans when I was growing up in segregated Wilmington, Delaware. One was heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, and the other was singer Lena Horne. I knew she was a good singer, and quite beautiful, but I didn’t know anything else. I’m indebted to Jack Marshall’s blog for educating me about her groundbreaking role in the civil rights movement.

Marshall called Horne “Ethics Hero Emeritus” for her relentless fight against segregation and her principled refusal to play demeaning roles in the racist Hollywood environment of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Her career suffered, and she finally left Hollywood for Europe, where people didn’t seem to care much about her skin color.

There’s a fascinating PBS Fresh Air program, broadcast on May 14, that replays an interview that host Terry Gross conducted with Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Horne, in 1986. Listen to it for an inspiring story of this heroic woman.

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If you’re up to here with fracking, read on

March 10, 2010

I was puzzled, amidst all the craziness about ex-congressman (Oh, I hope it’s ex) Eric Massa (D-NY), by his early suggestion that he was being forced out of his seat for saying “I should be fracking you” to an aide. I wasn’t certain what fracking meant until I read Jack Marshall’s wise blog on “Fracking Ethics.”

I recommend this provocative analysis of obscenity, euphemism, and straight talk. Don’t miss the string of comments.

The New York Times “Ethicist” is at it again

February 21, 2010

More shockingly blatantly unethical advice from the New York Times “The Ethicist” column. Jack Marshall  exposes “The Ethicist” again in his “Ethics Alarms” blog.

Recommended reading, especially if you’re a fan of the New York Times