Friday, September 25, 2009

Ethical worsts of the week

Jimmy Carter told NBC News, "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American." When people are saying hateful things (Obama’s Hitler-like, communist, destroying our America) condemn them. But calling them racist is unjustified, forfeits the moral high ground, leads otherwise reasonable people to come to their defense, and stirs up racial animosity.

Lane Kiffin, football coach of the University of Tennessee, wins this week’s bad sportsmanship prize. After the Florida Gators beat his UT Volunteers, the Florida coach said that several of his players had been suffering with the flu. Kiffen told the press, "I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick."

Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona says that “Republicans believe all Americans should have access to quality health care and that we must find ways to reduce health care costs.” His first example: root out Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The Senate plan calls for doing just that, to the tune of $500 billion. But when Democrats go after Medicare fraud, Kyl demagogues seniors, saying “This would ultimately lead to shortages, rationing and the elimination of private-plan choices—something our seniors rightly fear.”

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) wants to weasel out of the White House deal with PhRMA, the pharmaceutical lobbyist. The Administration cut the deal, which gave some concessions to the industry in exchange for their agreement to cut drug prices and support health care reform. Now Nelson and other Dems on the Finance committee are saying, we’ll take what you offered but we’ll take back what you were offered in exchange. Backing away from the deal is very popular: Nelson was quickly joined by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Schumer (D-NY), and Stabenow (D-MI).

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) joined up with two other Republicans and three Democratic senators to work out a health care bill. When the political temperature rose he decided to appease his base by “discovering” that the bill he had been collaborating on provided for death panels. Moreover it contained a mandate for individuals to buy insurance, which he could not support, even though he had long campaigned for just such a mandate.

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