The Ethical Take

Published: August 8, 2014

By Jim Lichtman
Queen Elizabeth with Horse
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Before my summer recess, The Take needs to acknowledge the Summer of Discontent – from the bizarre to the… bizzaro!

A horse is a horse, of course of course…

…except when the horse belongs to the queen of England.

Queen Elizabeth with Horse

According to a report by The Associated Press (July 12), “[Estimate] A racehorse owned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II that won the prestigious Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last year” is the latest sports figure to fall under a cloud of suspicion regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs.

A spokeshorse for Estimate said, “We’re sick and tired of these allegations and we’re going to do everything we can to fight them. They’re absolutely untrue.”

Pushing through a horde of handlers, the media finally heard from the horse’s mouth.

“I have never doped,” the royal horse said. “How many times do I have to say it? It can’t be any clearer than ‘I’ve never taken drugs.’ Absolutely not!”

News Flash: Estimate “tested positive for the banned substance morphine!”

“Buckingham Palace says that early indications suggest that the five-year-old filly consumed the substance as a result of contaminated feed,” the AP reports.

“All the fault and all the blame falls on me,” Estimate told Oprah in a recent interview. “I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. I am sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I’m sorry for that.”

The Ethical Take: Taking responsibility is one thing, now let’s return the trophies and prize money, Big E!

Spider-Man punches New York City Cop –

No, it’s not another phony tabloid story.

“Spider-Man punched a police officer in the face in Times Square over the weekend,” The New York Times reports (July 28), “in the latest episode of children-friendly characters displaying R-rated behavior in front of stunned tourists in the heart of Manhattan.

“Mickey and Minnie Mouse stood dumbfounded… and Elmo placed a red mitt to his cheek as the officer and Spider-Man grappled on the sidewalk before falling to the ground. …A second officer assisted in finally getting the ersatz superhero into handcuffs on Saturday. …

“The altercation on Saturday began about 2 p.m. on a tourist-clogged walkway at 42nd Street and Broadway after a man dressed as Spider-Man, in a black skintight suit and a mask, posed for a picture with another man and a woman who offered him $1 in exchange, the police said.

“Spider-Man refused to accept the bill, the police said, telling the couple that he would accept only larger sums. At that point, the officer, Eduardo Molina, stepped forward from his post on the corner and told the woman that she could give whatever amount of money she wanted.

” ‘Mind your own business,’ the Spider-Man told Officer Molina, punctuating his point with a profanity. The officer then asked for identification; Mr. Bishop said he did not have any. Officer Molina and a partner moved in to arrest him.

” ‘The defendant did take a fighting stance, in that he raised his arms in front of him and made fists with his hands,’ the officer said, according to the criminal complaint. ‘The defendant then punched me.’ Officer Molina was treated at NYU Langone Medical Center and released.”

The E.T.: Let’s see how Spidey and the rest of his merry band of characters do in civil suits for unauthorized use of trademarked characters.


“…I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody. Help! You know I need someone…”

Unfortunately, a tree planted in L.A.’s Griffith Park and dedicated in the memory of Beatle George Harrison died from an attack by… beetles.

According to a story in (July 22), Councilman Tom LaBonge told the Los Angeles Times that the memorial tree, located in L.A.’s Griffith Park, had grown to more than 10 feet tall as of 2013 before it was overwhelmed by the onslaught of tree beetles.

“The tree was planted in 2004 near the Griffith Observatory in memory of Harrison, who was an avid gardener and spent his final days in Los Angeles before his passing in 2001.

“LaBonge said that a new tree will be planted at the memorial site at a yet to be determined date.”

E.T.: When planted, let’s hope the beetles will just Let it Be.

Our long, national nightmare is over! –

In Los Angeles, it’s over! Donald Sterling lost. Shelly Sterling won the battle to control the sale of the NBA franchise Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Quoting Rochelle Sterling’s lead lawyer Pierce O’Donnell, The New York Times writes (July 29), ” ‘This is a new day in Los Angeles and a new day for the Los Angeles Clippers. And we want to go forward understanding that it was one woman who stood up against her husband, who had the courage to go to court and prevailed. So for the cynics out there, sometimes it works out O.K. This is a Hollywood ending.”

Ending? Not quite.

“Donald Sterling’s hopes of halting the Clippers’ sale rely on two legal maneuvers. The first could come in the next two weeks. The judge is expected to sign a statement of decision Tuesday, and Donald Sterling would have 10 court days to file an objection. If it is overruled by Levanas, as expected, Donald Sterling’s lawyers say that they would file a writ, essentially an expedited appeal asking to overturn Levanas’s decision to allow the sale to be completed while the case is being appealed.

“The other is a federal challenge filed last week by Donald Sterling asserting that Rochelle Sterling no longer has the authority to complete the sale because Donald Sterling became the sole shareholder after he revoked the trust June 9.”

The Take: Don’t pop the cork on the champagne just yet, Shell. Hollywood always follows one outrageous piece of entertainment with sequels.

Et Sue, Brute? –

Congress has left Washington for their annual 5 week vacation, and The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart (July 29), summed it up brilliantly.

“Congress has a lot to do before their summer recess, which starts, uh, now.”

In a video, Stewart ticked off just a smidgeon of some the important bills Americans have been waiting for: immigration reform, a highway funding bill, student loan reform.
Texas Senator John Cornyn told his peers that if they don’t make some progress “by the time we leave here for the August recess, we will have failed.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Stewart said. “When you guys suck, it is not failure. It is just you living up to our extremely low expectations.”

What did the House accomplish before their vacation?

They voted to sue President Obama for taking executive action to delay implementing portions of The Affordable Care Act in order that corporations can better prepare. This is an almost identical move that President Bush did when he took executive action to waive penalties for low-income seniors who miss Medicare sign-up.

Let me see if I understand this: The same people who are fighting to overturn the Affordable Care Act are now suing the president for giving corporations more time to implement key provisions.

Let’s go to the clip (scroll down and click on the second image).

The Take: Maybe a 5 week vacation is what they need. Maybe by September cooler heads will prevail and get back to working for the people and drop the political agendas.

I will return after Labor Day; after I’ve cooled off.


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