The Dark Ages are alive and well.  They always have been.  They always will be.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  For a relevant modern example, one needs to look no further than the debate about Human Pregnancy Abortion.  For one side of the debate this is a matter of a woman’s health.  A choice to opt-out of the ravages and health risks that natural reproduction imposes on a woman’s body.  For their opponents, it is the protection of the growing human baby inside of the womb, dependent on their mother to be a hospitable host.  As with any debate, there are those on the fence who sympathize with both sides and simply want the best of both worlds – safe access with responsible limits.

Since the fence sitters can often be 20 percent of the vote or more on any given issue, the debate about Human Pregnancy Abortion often comes down to laws that define “Safe Access” and “Responsible Limits”.  The first part, Safe Access, generally guarantees that Human Pregnancy Abortion will never be made illegal entirely.  The second part, Responsible Limits, generally guarantees that it will never be commonplace at a pharmacy in the 39th week of pregnancy.

With each proposed law and the ensuing debate, participants in this perennial debacle will debate the merits of these concepts.  Human Pregnancy Abortion opponents consistently define “responsible limits” more strictly while supporters look for ways to remove barriers to “safe access”.  Our fence sitters are the ones who have defined the debate with their own opinions and protecting the general population with careful contemplation with which ideologue to cast a supportive ballot.

However, one of the basic premises of this debate seems to me to be a lynchpin for the future.  The premise that a growing human baby, a fetus, an embryo, an egg, requires their host, not only to be a hospitable host, but at all; that an abortion of pregnancy necessarily results in death.

Pregnancy is something that will always end.  If it ends too early (elective abortion or miscarriage) loss of life is unavoidable.  If it ends later in the pregnancy and the baby breathes, it is said that “birth” has occurred.

What if an elective abortion resulted in birth?  What if, scientifically and medically, we could save every fetus through the abortion process and complete gestation in an artificial womb?  It’s a bit of a science fiction scenario, I know, but that’s where most of our modern marvels begin:  Science Fiction.

Under this scenario, the fetus transfer abortion would not be any more invasive to the woman patient than any other in-clinic abortion method.

So the following questions about this crazy hypothetical science fiction situation are up for discussion:

1)       Given that current birth-givers can give up their newborn for adoption with no financial burden, who would foot the medical bills to artificially gestate the fetus to independence?

2)      Would society pick and choose which fetuses to save?  Or would it only be used in situations where the father fought for his child against the abortionist mother?

3)      Would there be psychological effects to a person gestated artificially?  A mother’s baby generally has a bond and connection through sounds, emotions, and movement.  Would the result be a more chemically balanced person or someone that appeared “soulless”?

4)      Do women currently and/or in the future have authority to doom their fetus to death/non-existence, or is that simply coincidental to their authority to no longer be pregnant?

5)      What other questions would make for a good discussion?

Are you Ethical?

Posted: August 6, 2012 in Standard

Image

I’ve been thinking about communication a lot lately.  Without any formal training or education, I find it difficult to describe or put words to the thoughts in my head.  With the last month, I’ve found a couple of successes that I’d like to share with you now in the first half of this post and some discussion about the successes in the second half of this post.

***

My first success is related to how a person who desires to “call out” poor behavior should do so in an ethics framework.  I fully believe a person should never (and I do mean never) refer to another person as ethical or unethical.  It is impossible for a person to BE ethical or unethical because a person makes thousands of decisions a day, some of which are ethical and some of which are unethical.

So if you want to be the one who calls out another person for a perceived transgression, be respectful of the person and put your focus on the transgression.  By focusing on the transgression and putting labels to the action or decisions that led to the transgression, you avoid making a “personal attack” on the subject.

In words, my first success:  “Ethics is a description of a thing (Actions / Decisions).  A person cannot be ethical or unethical.  A person can only choose to ACT ethically or unethically.”

***

My second success is related to how one responds to being “called out”.  When commenting on your poor conduct, realize that your poor conduct is a result of your motivations.  Your motivations form the reason that you conduct your actions.  The reason for your actions might be justified by other reasonable people who would have acted similarly in a similar situation.  Regardless of the level of justification for your conduct, you may be excused from the expectations of others placed upon you.  However, this is not for you to decide.  Only those that hold expectations of you can decide if the reason for your conduct is justified enough to excuse your conduct of the expectations.

In words, my second success:  “Regardless if your action is ethical or unethical, it may be justifiable and even excusable by explaining the motivations behind the reason for your action.”

***

DISCUSSION:  There are a lot of comments to be made to further explain both of my successes.  For the 1st, while someone might say you have acted unethically in a certain situation, ethics are tied to Ethical Systems.  Everyone has an ethical system, but most people’s ethical system is different.  Each ethical system is based on a mix of morals, values, faith, religion, society, and laws and everyone’s inputs and mix of those inputs is different.

EXAMPLE:   If someone were to say to you: “It is an unethical action to consent to an abortion,” they mean in their ethical system the action is unethical.  In their system, they are right.  In your system, the statement might not be right.  Only you can know.

The next step in this exchange is to determine the following:  1) Does this action actually violate your ethical system, i.e. are they right?  2) Do you owe an explanation of your reason for this action to your critic, i.e. what are your motivations?  3) Beyond ethical systems, are there legal or quasi-legal systems that govern your actions?

If you feel the need to continue the exchange, your response should be to respond to the criticism, explaining your reason.  Some will agree it is justified (i.e. they might have done the same) and some will not.  Regardless of the explanation of your reason and whether your critic held your actions to be justified or not, the critic still decides with this information whether they will excuse your conduct.  Depending on your critic, this can be a big decision.  If your critic is an internet blogger, you might not care, but if it’s a person of authority applying your conduct to a legal or quasi-legal construct of rules, excusing your conduct might save you from penalties.

CONCLUSION:  We all make many decisions each day.  Some of those decisions are ethical and some are unethical, and the perception of those decisions can match or differ depending on the viewer.  Don’t take offense to being called out.  It simply means that the critic doesn’t understand how you justified the action.

As a critic of another’s actions, you must focus on the specific actions and not apply labels intended for the action upon the person.  (It only riles them up.)  When they respond to your criticism of their actions, keep an open mind that they might 1) agree with you, or 2) justify their action and deserve an excuse.

Finally, be prepared for the eventuality that they might not earn an excuse for their action or don’t care about consequences and leave it as an unethical action.  If you have a duty to do more, then do it.  If not, let it end.

[Apologies if my concepts are scatter-brained or inarticulate.  These are original personal views written by me, Tim LeVier.]

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Standard

Just one of many great articles to be written over the weekend and a great opportunity for me to see how the “reblog” feature works.

Ethics Alarms

One thing that the public just doesn’t understand about lawyers is that their job sometimes involves fighting for the most despicable people imaginable, because those despicable people have legal objectives they have a right to pursue as citizens, and because the principles underlying the fight are important, even if the particular clients—and often their objectives too–are blights on humanity.

Over at Popehat, Ken has chronicled a classic example, in which First Amendment specialist Eugene Volokh (he of the Volokh Conspiracy) and the Electronic Freedom Foundation are backing blogger Crystal Cox as she appeals a $2.5 million defamation judgment against her, in which an Oregon judge ruled that bloggers did not have the same protection against defamation claims under the First Amendment as journalists do. Cox, of whom I was blissfully unaware until Ken’s post, is clearly the kind of person who is a menace on the internet, lacking basic decency…

View original post 667 more words

A Fair Movie Ticket Price

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Standard
Tags: ,

$6.75.

After taking on opportunity this weekend to view “The Hunger Games”, I wanted to revisit Movie Ticket Prices.  As a 31 year old man who formerly worked a 2nd job at a movie theater for 8 years, I am about as price sensitive to movie ticket prices as one can be without becoming “unfair”.

Image

As an employee of a theater, I used to see every movie I desired (and some I didn’t) for free.  This is my basis for being price sensitive.  Any amount I pay today is painful compared to free.  Another reference point you can see comes from my earlier post on ticket inflation.

Keeping in mind that inflation for federal minimum wage, the 1965 dollar, and the average movie ticket have traditionally been relatively close, I have to look at where things are at this point in time.  First, the caveat.  While “Dollar Inflation” is what I consider “a defined metric” (meaning that the 1965 dollar has a single value in terms of today’s dollar), the minimum wage metric is only for the Federal level.  In states where the minimum wage may be higher, a higher movie ticket price may be warranted.  However, in no state can the minimum wage be lower than the federal, so the reverse is not true.

Current Price

The current average movie ticket price is near $8.00 a ticket  $1.00 over monetary inflation and $0.75 over Federal Minimum Wage.  However, the key here is  average movie ticket price.  Who here can go see a first run movie in a theater for $8.00?  The reality is that Weekend Evening Prices are easily $11.00 for an adult in a smaller market like Denver and can top $17.00 in large cities such as New York.

So, how does the industry only have an average ticket price of $8.00 when it’s gouging it’s most loyal audience during peak times?  I don’t have an answer for you, but I’ll give you some obvious tips.

1) Don’t go during peak times.  Movie theaters generally have tiered pricing for certain days and times.  A matinee discount before 4pm, an early bird 1st show, or a designated weekday.  One chain near me has $6 weekend shows before noon, regardless of release date.  Even better, another chain has two separate theaters, one with a $5 Tuesday, the other with a $5 Sunday…regardless of release date or time of movie.

2) Plan in advance.  Large chains typically will sell movie passes at grocery stores or online for a discount.  In Denver, AMC sells unrestricted Gold Passes for $8.50, so stopping at a Kroger store on the way to the theater will save you $5 for two.

3) Sign up for rewards.  Generally, each chain will have a point accumulation program that rewards you for your spend.  If you go frequently enough anyway, you should sign up for these programs so that you aren’t leaving money on the table.

If nothing else, if the high ticket prices are getting to you, stay at home and rent a movie from Redbox or stream a movie from Netflix.  If the selection isn’t good enough, you can always stream in HD for $5.00 a movie from your cable/satellite provider, Apple, Google, Amazon, Vudu, or some other schmuck and you can pack as many or as few people on your couch as you desire.

Colorado provides data starting in 1990. Watch Colorado as the rates increase over time.

Video  —  Posted: March 22, 2012 in Standard
Tags: ,

Movie Ticket Inflation

Posted: March 22, 2012 in Standard
Tags:

Image

Heading through some of my old files, I decided to update a graph I created a few years back.  This is an interesting look over 70+ years at the Value of U.S. Money vs the Value of a Minimum Wage Hour vs the Price of a Movie Ticket.

All three typically stay in lock-step with each other, but you’ll notice that around 1993, the movie ticket started making a dash to catch up and eventually surpass the monetary inflation around 1999.  Today, Movie Ticket Inflation sits $0.91 above monetary inflation.

Note that the best time to be a movie-theater going minimum wage earner was between 1974-1984 when Minimum wage was above the dollar’s inflation and the average movie ticket price.  Since then, minimum wage has struggled to keep up with ticket prices.

Vote Now! Marc Randazza

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Standard

In the spirit of the moment, I’ve created something that I’d like to get the public’s feedback.  Vote as many times as you like! If you need help in deciding how to vote, check out the links below:

The Fraud Files Blog
The New York Personal Injury Blog
The Trial Warrior Blog
Philly Law Blog
Popehat

Marc J. Randazza is an amazing individual.  For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Randazza, he is an attorney who specializes in First Amendment issues.  For the purposes of this article, I ask that you do not focus on my technical ability to write coherently, and embrace the ideas that I put forward.

Marc Randazza is, what might be considered, an American Bad-Ass.  Marc Randazza has been there for a number of my on-line friends when faced with legal issues such as “take-down” threats that silence their right to publish a blog.  Marc Randazza also sparks discussions on his “The Legal Satyricon” blog.

Marc Randazza’s awesomeness even extends to CNN.com where he’s contributed several special opinion articles, most recently one regarding Rush Limbaugh.

Even Marc’s picture on Wikipedia is awesome.

But don’t take my word for it.  If you want to truly see how awesome Marc Randazza is… just head over to Popehat and get the real scoop.

All my best to the 1 person who reads this.  Me.

Open Comments

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Standard

Welcome: This my un-popular place where we can share a simple dialog or work on our HTML tags in the comment sections.  I’d much rather not be popular, so shhh!