Memo to Jim:

Published: July 7, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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Scanning the papers, I’m passing along stories that could use your ethical input.

Front page of the NY Times, Ex-Teammate to Confront Clemens at Trial has former NY Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite testifying against friend and former teammate Roger Clemens in a DC trial beginning today. Charges stem from Clemens alleged use of steroids and his subsequent testimony before Congress in March 2008 in which Clemens may have lied. Based on the testimony of Pettite and others, Clemens could be guilty of perjury and land jail time.

Another front page story from today’s Times: Scandal Grows Over Hacking Of Girl’s Cell.  Rebekah Brooks of News Corporation in England allegedly okayed a plan that permitted one of their newspapers to hack into “the cellphone of a 13-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered… when Brooks was its editor,” the report said.

“ ‘It wasn’t a rogue reporter,’ Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party said… ‘This was a systematic series of things that happened and what I want from executives at News International is people to start taking responsibility for this.’ ”

Although a foreign story Jim, there are clear implications relating to privacy and the media here at home.

On another front, for years we’ve heard about students plagiarizing reports and cheating on tests. Page A-13 details another cheating scandal, this time involving 178 teachers from 44 schools in Georgia, (Systematic Cheating is Found in Atlanta’s School System).

“The cheating,” the Times writes, “showed a complete failure of leadership that hurt thousands of children who might have been promoted to the next grade without meeting basic academic standards. At the center of the… scandal is former Superintendent Beverly Hall, who was named the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year…”

However, I’d like to see you develop something on a story that came out last month. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ friendship with Dallas real estate mogul Harlan Crow might be “ethically sensitive,” the Times says due to the fact that Crow has, among other things, paid for a library dedicated to Thomas, given him a bible once owned by Frederick Douglass, valued at almost $20,000, and shelled out $500K for the Thomas’s wife to start a local tea party group.

But here’s the story’s kicker, Jim: “An optional ethical code for Supreme Court justices says they cannot fundraise…”

An optional ethical code?  When did ethics become an “option” for Supreme Court Justices?

This should be next on the EthicsStupid docket, Jim.

Always on it,

“Brainy” Jones, senior researcher, EthicsStupid.com.

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