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Everything posted by Hephaestus

  1. I hope for the Republican's sake that it is someone that isn't on the radar yet. To me, the only current viable option is Romney. I think that Sarah Palin is out, and I don't understand why people keep bringing her name up on the radio. I also think Mike Huckabee is a major moron. I am surprised people don't look at exactly what this guy is saying about taxing consumer spending and call bullshit on it. Huckabee reminds me of that guy that used to be on the Coors beer commercials - you wonder whether there is any brain activity at all. Why people ignore content, focusing on whoever sounds the most like Andy Griffith, is beyond me. 'I'm an old man. The only thing I like is Matlock.' (Grandpa Simpson)
  2. The analytic/synthetic distinction I am familiar with is from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, which has nothing to do with ethics or morality. I understand the difference between 'the right' and 'the good.' I think in common usage, however, the terms ethics and morality are used interchangeably, as suggested by John Deigh. Peter Singer suggests morality and ethics are different in the sense that morality has religious overtones. This is a new one on me. If there is a distinction, the one I am most familiar with is the difference between 'right action' and the search for 'the good life.' In common usage, however, when someone says 'I think this is unethical', I don't think that they mean 'you aren't arranging your actions in correspondence with a conception of the good.' From what I've heard, Letterman was having a sexual affair with Stephanie Birkett for about a year in 2004. This was completely unbeknownst to Halderman and Lasko. I brought up the issue of divorce to shed light on infidelity as grounds for divorce. From what I have read, David Letterman has been dating Regina Lasko for more than 20 years, and that they just recently got married in 2008. They had a child already. I never suggested that any boyfriend or girlfriend were getting a divorce.
  3. I think we do. Letterman stated himself that he was very sorry about the enormous pain that he caused Regina Lasko. Plus, since the extortion plot was launched by Halderman it's fair to say that Halderman knew nothing about it until he read Stephanie Birkett's diary. So all of this stuff about 'not knowing the nature of the relationship' is a bunch of bullshit, like it almost always is. There is a such things as a swinging lifestyle, and I have personally met plenty of husbands and wives that have sex outside their marriages with the full consent of their partners. It does happen. It isn't happening here, though. I think that the public world is playing liar's poker with itself on this one, just in the same way it was with Michael Jackson. First off, I know that I normally use the terms ethics and morality interchangeably. Here is a link that quotes John Deigh, a man that I had for C Level ethics about 20 years ago. He suggests that the two terms are often used interchangeably. Peter Singer, the famous writer of Animal Liberation, suggests that the term morality can often bring with it a religious connotation. I know that I myself am not trying to reference or suggest a religious position. I just recently read Singers 'Writings on an Ethical Life.' http://www.philosophyblog.com.au/ethics-vs-morality-the-distinction-between-ethics-and-morals/ If I catch what you are saying here, you are saying that it is more immoral for me, Hephaestus, an anonymous blogger, to judge Letterman, than it is for Letterman to cheat on his girlfriend, and at the same time roast every national figure on national television, for doing the same damn thing. I do completely disagree. I don't think that there is anything at all wrong with me posting this, period. I am not, by doing so, limiting anyone's first amendment rights, and I am certainly not actually 'cock-blocking' David Letterman. Particularly, I am also very suspect of the notion that once something falls into the realm of 'entertainment' that we shouldn't be critical of it. Entertainers have first amendment rights. So do I. It's interesting that there is this huge influential sphere, entertainment, that is so universally immune to any moral judgement. Obviously, I don't know Letterman or any of the people involved. To be honest with you, I have both hurt people and been hurt by these types of situations over the years, and when you get older, you look back and you wish that you would have had a more clear sense of ethics. That's the reason I put up this post. The situation with Letterman is a cautionary tale. I guy I know from high school feels you should be able to 'get your dick wet' whenever he wants to. He has been in prison for armed robbery, and has at least 5 children from 3 different women that he doesn't pay a penny for in child support. It would probably behoove him to have himself a good talking to about sexual morality, but it might be too late for him psychologically. I don't know anyone period that thinks there aren't some sort of limitations on sexual morality. The courts certainly enforce rules - read any family law book. Whether someone can divorce you, whether you gain custody of your children - you will be judged on whether you can be trusted in an amorous relationship. I have a friend of mine that is an attorney that went to NYU law school that agrees with me completely on this. He was already critical of Letterman after seeing the film 'American Splendor.' I am with you on this one, McCheese. I don't think that having sex with a woman is per se disrespectful. It is a question of whether he was cheating, which he was. Infidelity is grounds for divorce in most states. People kill people over infidelity every day. I think it is a big deal, and I think you should have a strong reaction to cheating. I would say that (1) you shouldn't cheat on your lover, and (2) if they do it to you, you should take it seriously and get rid of them ASAP. I think this shit is important to think about, and think about seriously.
  4. Really? Have you ever heard the expression 'that's the pot calling the kettle black?' I sincerely doubt that the underlying understanding in Letterman's comments about Madonna, Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin's daughter, or anyone that he has lampooned for cheating or excessive sexual encounters brought with them the notion that 'yeah, but I did them too, and were all just in it together.' Letterman clearly thought that he would never be 'outed' (to apply a Barny Frank term) and was cranking along in total inconsistency, only to be uncovered through a multi-million dollar extortion plot. There is certainly an underlying judgment behind Letterman's jokes, and we know now this judgment is wrought in some pretty profound hypocrisy. No, Letterman didn't pay for sex, so the 'running his show like a brothel' is an untrue exaggeration on my part. What we do know for sure, is that (1) David Letterman was cheating on his long time girlfriend with whom he had a child. (2) He was sleeping with Stephanie Birkett in 2004. This means that Birkett was cheating on Robert Halderman at this time, and that Letterman was cheating on Regina Lasko at the same time. There are also at least two other women that have come forward, and I believe that both of these were instances of him cheating on his girlfriend. I saw clips of the show last night. He made plenty more jokes about people in politics and show business that slept around. I think it's wrong to cheat on your girlfriend. Perhaps it's not illegal, but it's still wrong. And to be doing it as his age demonstrates a pretty powerful case of arrested development. Add to the equation that he makes a fortune blasting people for sexual indiscretion. David Letterman is bemoaning the fact that he is being 'brow-beaten.' I don't think he should be brow beaten. I think he should be incinerated.
  5. It's nice to know what constitutes sexual harassment. But I was more interested in a discussion that didn't involve law. I was interested in finding out whether people thought it was morally permissible for Letterman to make a fortune lampooning every sexual indiscretion of every politician in Washington while at the same time basically running his own brothel at his studio unbeknownst to his 20-year girlfriend and later wife.
  6. One other point that should be noted is that there are extra elements that must be met for a public figure (such as Letterman) to win an invasion of privacy suit. William Statsky, Torts Personal Injury Litigation, 4th edition, 2001 'Media defendants in an action for appropriation or for public disclosure of private fact often have the defense that the information was a matter of legitimate public interest, which the media has a constitutional right to make public. In an action for false light against a media defendant, the plaintiff who is a public official or a public figure must prove that the defendant knew the statement placed the plaintiff in a false light or acted in reckless disregard of whether it did so.' This is not to say that you can say and publish anything you want about a public figure, only that you can do more than a normal private citizen. ................................. We really don't know the exact ins and outs of what happened with Letterman. We don't know, for example, (1) whether he was cheating on his long term girlfriend, or (2) whether the women that he was sleeping with were cheating on their husbands/boyfriends. The wikkipedia on Letterman says that he has been with his current wife (whom he married last year) since 1986. I actually am not that interested in the legal aspects as I am the ethical aspects of it. People say 'so what if he cheats on his girlfriend or wife, it's not our business to judge.' We have to ask ourselves as a culture whether it's ok for a media icon like Letterman to tear apart pastors or political figures for their sexual misgivings, while they themselves are left entirely unchecked. Somehow, the 'yeah but they aren't preaching celibacy' argument doesn't seem to wash that well with me. Making jokes about someone's sexual behavior is judging them, and Letterman has made a fortune on it. And why is a 'comic styling of a confession. ' If you ask me, David Letterman is not too different Jimmy Swaggart - one cried about it, the other joked about it. It doesn't change anything.
  7. OK - I am wrong about it being 'any' advances. If the advances are welcomed, that it is not harassment (which makes sense). Sexual harassment does deal specifically with employer/employee relationships. As Letterman described it, he said 'I had sex with women that were working for me.' Perhaps he himself is mistaken about whether he was in an employer/employee relationship. Here is the definition........ Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment is a form of Sex Discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Persons who are the victims of sexual harassment may sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.), which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace. The federal courts did not recognize sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination until the 1970s, because the problem originally was perceived as isolated incidents of flirtation in the workplace. Employers are now aware that they can be sued by the victims of workplace sexual harassment. The accusations of sexual harassment made by anita f. hill against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his 1991 confirmation hearings also raised societal consciousness about this issue. Courts and employers generally use the definition of sexual harassment contained in the guidelines of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This language has also formed the basis for most state laws prohibiting sexual harassment. The guidelines state: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when 1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, 2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals, or 3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. (29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 [1980]) A key part of the definition is the use of the word unwelcome. Unwelcome or uninvited conduct or communication of a sexual nature is prohibited; welcome or invited actions or words are not unlawful. Sexual or romantic interaction between consenting people at work may be offensive to observers or may violate company policy, but it is not sexual harassment.
  8. I would be surprised if it turned out that it was only one woman. I do know that the woman he married was also his girlfriend since 1986 (unless I misread something.) Perhaps he had an open relationship with her, and that the woman that he had sex with at work was single. I bet these things are highly unlikely, though. While it is legally sexual harassment, I don't know if I see a boss having sex with a worker is wrong per se. However, the high likelihood of infidelity and the abuse of one's position helps to put that law on the books, which I think is a good idea. It's what it is legally, Dim. There might not be any abusive behavior, but the law of the land states that you can't have sex with an employee when you are an employer. It is the legal definition of sexual harassment. The reason this story interests me is that it represents a lot of unfinished business middle America seems to be ignoring in the realm of sexual ethics. I listen to this speech, and he says 'anyone who knows me knows that I carry around a lot of Methodist guilt.' It makes me want to ask 'ok, well are you guilty or not?' The ways that our culture reduces ethics to psychology bothers me.
  9. Here is an old thread on the abortion debate. I am also non-religious and pro-life. I respect the pro-choice position, although I am not a big fan of pro-choice rhetoric. Particularly the line 'Why can't I have an abortion, it's my body.' My retort is 'why can't a shoot an abortionist, it's my gun.' http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=984265&highlight=abortion+hephaestus
  10. Does anyone have a link to Obama's plan on the internet? It is 1000+ pages as I have been told, so perhaps there is no total text of the plan. If there isn't, does anyone have any links to at least a particular page range of the plan (say, p.10-30 of the plan). Please don't post any summaries of what the plan said or opinions. I have found plenty of them. I really am looking for the actual text or at least part of the actual text.
  11. If anyone needs a policy debate judge for the 2009-2010 season, just let me know. I am located in the Saint Louis area, and I have extensive judging experience in all facets of debate.
  12. I don't know, but I think some kind of better package, some kind of minimum program should be offered to all. I always hear these horror stories about the emergency room situation being exploited by the homeless and people that can't afford care. If it's true it's gotta change.
  13. I have health insurance, but I buy it myself because I work for a couple of smaller places. There are a lot of things in life that people in their 20s don't quite understand. Some of that has to do with the economy, but there are other forces at work - forces that are beyond your control. These are some of the things that scare me about people in their 20s in the debate community that are espousing alternative lifestyles, marijuana smoking, etc. The world has a way of punishing you for things that your college buddies wouldn't. All of those guys that were too dumb for the debate team, got their 26s on the ACT, went to church, and are with the wives kids and mortgages and are all ready to crucify the ex-philosophy majors and debate team pot smokers when you start competing for jobs. You probably think I am painting too bleak a picture, and I probably am. Truth be told, I like the life that I lead - I like my lower profile. I wouldn't go so far as to say that anyone could get health insurance if they just tried a little harder, though. There are a lot of forces at work. What I always tell myself is that we all die, health insurance or not. You should try to get yourself insured, but you also shouldn't let the way you die consume the way you live.
  14. The older I get, the less I buy this argument. What I keep seeing is people get jobs with benefits based on things other than intelligence and responsibility. Now, I am not talking about doctors, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, or people that have spent years educating themselves to qualify for certain jobs. I am talking about the human resources people, the admins, paralegals, recruiting coordinators, people that work for Robert Half International. I am also talking about people that get management positions at department stores, or sales departments. I was chit chatting with a paralegal the other day, and I noticed that she thought Cleveland was on Lake Michigan. Cute hair, though. The key trait is the ability to practice the politics of exclusion. Responsibility and good choices aren't nearly as important as being at the right lunch table when whip comes down. I have worked for so many fat, smoking, asshole bosses in my life, that getting a speech about responsible behavior is a joke to me. Right now I work for an overweight maniac man at my night job. I get twice as much work done as he does. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, but he is dim witted, out of shape, and about as efficient as a drunken sea turtle. But he's an asshole. So he gets health insurance. I think we should all have access to care. If the transfer to a new system fucks it up for everybody, than that's another story.
  15. What kind of beer is Barack Obama going to have?
  16. I don't agree, in fact, I think that Obama could have stuck with what he said from the get go, and I would have backed him on it. In this case, Gates didn't 'go find' a cop, a cop came and found him, trying to get into his own house. Plus, if a 60 year old, salt and pepper haired, bearded, glasses wearing, short-sleeve collared polo shirt wearing white guy is jimmying a lock on a door, people don't call the police, and if they do, the police come over to help them into their house, not arrest them. This whole sequence seems to remind me of the opening scene in the movie Anger Management where Adam Sandler freaks out while talking to a stewardess and a flight attendant. If you have seen this movie, you will know what I am talking about. It's baiting. You can patronize the hell out of someone, warp the truth, treat them like a child, wait for them to lose their temper, and then arrest them if you want to. It doesn't make you a better person, it just makes you a cheap manipulator. I bet that the Harvard crowd probably wears pretty hard on those cops, though, and makes them feel pretty small. I think that people in higher academia do make it a habit to disrespect the law. This is part of the Ivy League affect discussed by Anonymous Negro, or whatever your name is. The discussions I myself have had on this website with people that are so thoroughly convinced that the law is something to be ignored gives evidence to that; marijuana? sex with minors? Only in higher academia, particularly the liberal arts, is there this persistent and wholly agreed upon ambivalence toward the law. I is definitely a good idea to not get agitated with a cop. It's also a good idea to keep your eyes open - there are a lot of shitty cops out there, you would be amazed.
  17. Conspiracy Theory: The whole Gates controversy was contrived by the Obama Democrats. I don't know about you, but I was shocked and flabbergasted by the Michael Jackson coverage. Not the amount of coverage, but the fact that no members of the black community came forward to say 'yo, brother or not, this guys a ped.' Also, the City of Los Angeles gives $1.4 million of taxpayer money for his funeral? What a joke. To distract voters and member of Congress from the lingering affects of this spectacle of the absurd, Obama gets on the phone with his buddy Henry Gates, and pays off a couple of Cambridge Cops to engage in a theatrical expose of the dangers of racially charged police misconduct. He then has a bunch of black reporters go on television to actually side with the police, as to make the black community look open minded and color blind. He throws in a black police officer that sides with Crowley to complete the effect. Just a thought. Maybe I never should have watched Capricorn One.
  18. I don't blame Gates for reacting the way that he did. I think that it might be a question of whether he was taking that particular opportunity to lay into the Crowley in light of the fact that Crowley kind of stepped on a bear trap. Crowley was called for a possible breaking and entering, and it happened to be a prominent Black professor from Harvard trying to get into his own house. What a nightmare! A lot of this has to do with how it escalated, and I wasn't there, so it's hard to comment. I do tend to agree with Gates that he was not out of line thinking that it was racially motivated. If Gates was white, the breaking and entering call to the police would have never been made in the first place - that's my guess.
  19. Arrested in Massachusetts for Disorderly Conduct or Disturbing the Peace? A disorderly person is defined as one who: * with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or * recklessly creates a risk thereof * engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or * creates a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose. Conviction for Disorderly conduct in MA can be punishable by imprisonment for up to 6 months. Disturbing the peace also falls under Chapter 272, with similar penalties. Some Massachusetts towns also have specific ordinances relating to disturbing the peace. I am in different criminal courts across the state everyday, defending my clients rights and freedom. If you need someone on your side against the legal system, call me and I'll offer my experience and advice to you, with no obligation. If you are charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace or another criminal offense, call me now at my office in Dedham, MA at (781)326-2700, or my Brockton office to schedule your free first appointment now. MGL CHAPTER 272. Mass General Laws, excerpt. Section 53. Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
  20. I have been following this case, and I would like to look up exactly what you can say to a police officer and when. What constitutes disorderly conduct? From the angle I get from the police officers, the question is whether the person is agitated. I don't think you have to prove that you are a threat to get cuffed for disorderly conduct. I watched an incident that happened a couple of months ago outside a club. A guy was trying to park his car across a busy city street, and some city cops (not private security guards) were assigned to watch the outside of a 3am bar in St. Louis that is a hotspot in the wee hours. The guy was driving a little slow, and someone had just taken the spot he was waiting to parallel park into. The cops started yelling at him, going 'hey, there is no spot there, etc.' It seemed that the cops were just kind of fucking around when they did this. The guy parked his car, and about 2 minutes later, walked up to the cops. While pretty agitated, the guy called the cops 'dickheads.' They proceeded to cuff him and lecture him for a good half an hour, and then let him go. They did not arrest him. He did not pose any kind of threat. What I gather from this and the Gates case, is that you can't call cops 'dickheads' or other things in an agitated way, be they considered 'four-letter words or not' even if you aren't posing a threat. It does make some sense. While I feel that you should have the right to speak your mind to a government official, if everyone mouthed off to cops in a hostile and agitated way in every interchange, and the cops couldn't do anything about it, there would be chaos.
  21. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-robinson/the-savaging-of-sarah-pal_b_227416.html Sarah Palin didn't quit because of the ethics charges. She quit because she is an emotional wreck due to the bashing she has received from a number of different places - Letterman, the Porno, etc. etc. I think the state trooper thing is a lot bigger deal that the media even realizes, and I also think that she is way underqualified for the national spotlight. Sarah Palin. Dan Quayle. Harriet Miers. Why does the GOP send up these cuddly/unqualified candidates that are supposed to represent Middle America/the American Dream? It's backfiring big-time.
  22. Speaking as a vegetarian, I know that every time I get worried that I am not getting enough of something, it never ended up being a big deal. I am quite sure than any problems your daughter might be having are psychological in nature. I just got back from the doctor, and my blood count is good, my cholesterol levels are astronomically good, and I don't have diabetes, which is damn good news to me as it runs in my family. I respect the idea of being cautious when trying something new. While we know the risks of meat eating, the risks of being a vegan might not reveal themselves for years to come. One thing about vegetarianism, though, is a large percentage of the population is vegetarian and has been historically. I sincerely don't think your daughter has anything to worry about being a vegetarian. I don't eat any meat or cheese.
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