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Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

By Hillary Fields Archives

Is Craigslist Who We Really Are?

posted by hfields

Raise your hand if you’re familiar with Craigslist.org.  Chances are, there’s one that serves your community.  And it’s extremely handy for job listings, housing, dating, selling your old crap or buying new old crap. Really, it’s ingenious.  But why’s it […]

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How Do You Complain – Gracefully?

posted by hfields

So, I’m of the ethos that if you don’t like your meal, you send it back. It’s how I was raised, and I don’t have any sense of shame about that. When you pay for something, you should get your […]

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A Holiday Tipping Guide For The Terminal Grinch

posted by hfields

Paying a decent gratuity to each person on my list takes a huge chunk out of my funds just when I need money most to treat my family to a pleasant holiday. Honestly the whole practice makes me – and I’m not proud of this – just a bit resentful. Here’s how I overcome my Grinch attitude.

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Can There Be Morals Without Religion?

posted by hfields

For myself, I see ethics as easily separable from religion. Steve argues, if I’m understanding him aright, that we are accountable ultimately to God, and that that is the only true source of our morality and moral obligations. Without a supreme being, our actions are meaningless: ‘without moral weight’. If we are accidental, we have no need to concern ourselves with ethics.
I would argue, on the contrary, that our accountability to our fellow humans quite suffices to encourage our desire to behave in ways that ensure society functions properly. But more than that, I believe it’s in our nature as humans to want to do good (as well as bad).

What Not To Eat On A Date (Or A Business Lunch)

posted by hfields

Today, gentle readers, I had myself the most hilarious luncheon I can recall in many a day. ‘Twas racy, ’twas raunchy… ’twas vegetarian Indian cuisine. It began innocently enough…

I’m Still Pissed About Marriage Equality Not Passing In New York State. But Is It My Fault?

posted by hfields

Sure, I joined Facebook groups. I wrote passionately in support of it. But I’m wondering if, had I gotten more involved – joining protests, writing to my crappy, unsupportive state senators – I might have had some, perhaps miniscule, more influence on the outcome.

When Do You Act Like A Good Samaritan, And When Do You Avert Your Gaze And Keep Going?

posted by hfields

I’m saddened by my own lack of faith in humanity, and by my lack of charitable behavior. The instinct to help is still there, but I’m just too jaded to take much of a risk. How about you?

My Thanksgiving Gratitude List

posted by hfields

Right now, I could use to focus on what’s going right, when so much around me is about what is going wrong. My hope is that in doing so, I will remember to be the sort of person who appreciates her life and behaves in accordance with that attitude.

Are We Women Being Pressured Into Motherhood?

posted by hfields

Sometimes it sure feels like we are. In an essay I wrote for DoubleX.com’s “Your Comeback” blog, I discuss the fabled biological clock, why mine doesn’t seem to be ticking, and whether it’s ethical to bring babies into the world […]

Mooching Off Your Parents: An Adult Child’s Perspective

posted by hfields

In my family, love and money sometimes get confused, and I’m sure I’m not alone there. My folks have been known to show their affection and concern, though not exclusively, in the form of cold, hard cash.

On Black Friday, Would You Push Other Holiday Shoppers Out Of The Way?

posted by hfields

We all know what’s just around the bend: Black Friday! Even as I write out my shopping list of Thanksgiving cooking ingredients, I know that the day after, stuffed with turkey, I’ll be eyeballing the 2009 Black Friday sales. And this year, with the recession hitting so hard, there are sure to be incredible deals for those who can lift their somnolent selves off the couch (even to get to the computer and shop online) and engage in some hardcore retail therapy.

My “Oblication” Vacation: Holiday Survival Tips For That Stressful Family Trip

posted by hfields

I’m not the kind of gal who likes a whole lot of family togetherness. I live within city blocks of my whole family, so I get plenty – some would say too much – of it with my own side of the clan. And I’ve just never been comfy being on my P’s and Q’s with other people’s relatives. The idea of spending 7 days cooped up, smiling politely and nodding as we negotiate our way through decisions both great and small (who’ll grab up the check on dinners out, where we should souvenir shop), makes me break out in a sweat, and we haven’t even hit the beach yet. From the moment the idea of this family trip came up, I experienced panic, resentment, anger, then great steaming heaps of guilt and shame.

Habitual Lateness: An Ethical Or Etiquette Issue?

posted by hfields

We all have that one friend or family member who’s guilty–they say they’ll meet you for dinner at a quarter to seven, and seven-thirty rolls around before you catch a glimpse of their apologetic face. No matter how often you glance irritably at your watch as they breeze in, no matter how obviously it irks you, they simply cannot be on time.

I Support Same-Sex Marriage. Why Don’t You?

posted by hfields

I cannot imagine another ethical position to take other than supporting our fellow citizens’ right to marry. To criminalize love, to deny a portion of our society equal rights under the law, simply because of your fears, prejudices, or religious views, is despicable to me.

Sammy Sosa Bleached Skin Rumors: Sad, Scary, Or None Of Our Business?

posted by hfields

Is Sammy Sosa following in Michael Jackson’s footsteps? Recent photos of Sosa show the retired Cubs baseball star with dramatically lighter skin after what he calls ‘skin rejuvenation treatments’.

Kimberly Munley: One Brave Police Officer, And The Hero Of Fort Hood

posted by hfields

I’m not one of those people who tosses out the word “hero” comfortably. I feel that news accounts of folks who are just doing the decent, ethical thing in a moment of crisis sometimes blow the term out of proportion and devalue it. Not so with police Sgt. Kimberly Munley, the hero of the Fort Hood’s terrible incident yesterday. She, in my opinion, is the real deal.

The Box: Would YOU Push The Button?

posted by hfields

Cameron Diaz’s new movie (also starring Frank Langella and James Marsden) is out today, posing the moral question, “Would you kill a stranger to keep your own family well? Watch the trailer and let us know:

How To Get Out Of Jury Duty (Ethically)

posted by hfields

How is it that two days of jury duty can feel like two months in purgatory? Can sitting in a room with nothing to do but read a good book, away from the demands of one’s job, the ringing of […]

Losing The Halloween Spirit: Trick Or… Hide From The Kiddies?

posted by hfields

I, who think on Halloween so fondly, savoring everything from its sugary overload to its creepy crawly costumyness, have today crossed a line into fuddy-duddery that I never dreamed would come to pass. That’s right. When our doorbell rang, I hid from the trick or treaters.

Michael Jackson Autopsy Pictures: Innocent Curiosity Or Ghoulish Obsession?

posted by hfields

For those whose morbid curiosity is driving them to take a peek at Michael Jackson’s autopsy pictures, I say, if you must look, keep a moment of pity in your heart. Keep a spark of humanity in your mind. One day it will be you on the cold slab.

Jury Duty: Do You Try To Worm Your Way Out Of It?

posted by hfields

I’ve got jury duty – pleh! I seem to get called every time I vote, renew my license, or, heck, breathe too loudly while walking past a government office. This time ’round, I even got summoned for TWO courts at roughly the same time, so I have to juggle how to serve and which one takes precedence.

Daylight Savings Time 2009: Why Can’t We Keep It All Year Round?

posted by hfields

First off, no, it’s not today that you have to change your clocks. This year, we “Fall Back” at 2 AM on Sunday, November 1st. Secondly, I’d like to take issue with a whole society adjusting its schedule twice a year.

Rat Stuck In NYC Sidewalk Creates Quite A Moral Kerfuffle

posted by hfields

I was reading Gothamist this morning and saw what was, simultaneously, the saddest and most hilarious little ‘human’ interest piece posted last night: a rat got stuck in a crack in a New York City sidewalk and a reader snapped a photo.

Help, I Caught a Resentment! How Do I Throw It Back?

posted by hfields

Grudges. Not elegant, ladylike, or particularly admirable. Pour on the Pepto, bring on the Bismol, I’ve got a burning resentment. I won’t say against whom or what. I’ll just say it’s the kind where, when you wake up at 5AM when the cat mews to tell you she’s hungry, you roll over, accidentally have a stray thought about the issue, and boom! You’re burning, hopping, fiery mad.

Yours, Mine, And Ours: How Do We Decide How To Spend Marital Assets?

posted by hfields

Like most couples, my husband and I have limited funds. Deciding how to spend them can be a source of tension, to put it delicately. Last night, my husband and I had one of our “delicate” moments. My husband wanted to take a class at the local college. I wanted to repaint the apartment. To do either one would put off any number of other projects/pleasures we’d had in mind.

Medical Marijuana: Hey, Man, Does The Fed’s New Policy Bum You Out?

posted by hfields

Me? I think marijuana should be subject to the same laws as alcohol. The way I see it, they’re similarly dangerous–so regulate pot, make it aboveboard, (or, if that’s too radical, available by prescription only in every state), remove the stigma, take the drug cartels out of the equation. Oh, and also, how about making alcohol a bit harder for kids to get, while we’re at it? Or at least educating them better about its dangers?

Racy Halloween Costumes For Kids: Outrageous, Sad, And… Inevitable?

posted by hfields

Sexy Halloween costumes for kids are more fashionable than ever. Is this a trend parents can prevent? Should manufacturers be held accountable for marketing such costumes to tweens and even younger children?

Balloon Boy Charges Expected To Be Filed: Justice For The Family That Cried ‘Balloon’?

posted by hfields

Looks like it’s official: Balloon Boy was a hoax. Or at least, authorities are charging the Heene family with perpetrating one. Are you angry? Crying out for blood? Do you feel the Heene family exploited Falcon and their other children for gain, and is this a trend we’re seeing more and more in these reality-show-ridden times?

Small-Time Ethics: Are My Priorities In Life Out Of Whack?

posted by hfields

Ah, folks. In a world full of Louisiana officials who won’t marry interracial couples, celebrity chefs battling it out with their fiancees, boys failing to fly off in balloons, and politicians winning premature prizes, why is it I care so much more about my own little quibbles?

Falcon Heene: The Boy Who Cried ‘Balloon’?

posted by hfields

Questions are being raised about the Heene family. Apparently, they’re known for their showmanship, publicity seeking, and have appeared on reality shows more than once. Is Balloon Boy a hoax? Was this all a publicity stunt? Falcon Heene’s CNN comments leave one questioning.

Does Courtesy Fall By The Wayside During A Stressful Day?

posted by hfields

Short answer? For me, yes. And apparently, so does bloggery. I’d like to apologize for being light on the ethical pondering the last couple days, folks. It’s been a heckuva week at work, and I’ve been so swamped I’m literally […]

The Car Accident That Wasn’t

posted by hfields

Yesterday I almost got in an accident. Worst part was, it was pretty clearly my fault. I was in unfamiliar territory, and I realized at the last second that I needed to be in the left lane, the turning lane, […]

Should We Vaccinate Health Care Workers For Swine Flu Whether They Like It Or Not?

posted by hfields

Health care workers are on the front lines of the battle against H1N1 this year. So why not look at the question of whether it ought to be mandatory for them to receive swine flu vaccinations using a military metaphor?

NASA’s LCROSS Moon Bombing Mission: A Bit Egregious?

posted by hfields

Not content with the destruction on our own world, we now lob explosives at other celestial bodies. What a piece of work is man. Just kidding. I think it’s marvelous we’re studying water content on the moon, and I’m excited […]

Friday Failure: Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

posted by hfields

That’s one of my favorite sayings. Now, I’m not a slogan sort of a gal. I hate aphorisms as much as I love alliteration. But I really think it’s great advice in so many situations. Like: just because you can […]

Nice People Rock… And I Want Them To Know It!

posted by hfields

I just have to give a shout out to a woman named LuJean. I don’t know her last name, but I do know she’s the single nicest, most helpful sales lady I’ve ever run across at Macy’s.  We all know […]

Office Politics: How Do You Work With Someone Who’s “Impossible”?

posted by hfields

Ever wondered whether you’re speaking different languages (or inhabiting different planets) when you’re trying to communicate with a particular coworker-who-shall-not-be-named? Ever felt like tearing your hair out (or theirs) every time you’re forced to cooperate with a certain so-and-so on […]

Judge Not… Or Not?

posted by hfields

We shouldn’t make snap decisions, right? At least, that’s the message I believe one of our commenters was trying to get across when he (or she) wrote in response to our David Letterman post, “Hero Or Creep“: Might there not […]

Getting the Last Word: Petty, But So Desperately Satisfying

posted by hfields

Today in the grocery store checkout line, a regal-looking elderly woman gave me a hard time. It burned me up so much I walked out of there fuming and practically muttering to myself, rehashing the incident and thinking, boy, when […]

David Letterman: Hero Or Creep?

posted by hfields

By now you’ve probably heard: David Letterman’s been the victim of a blackmail attempt to extort $ 2 million to keep quiet about sexual affairs he had with female staffers. Instead, Letterman chose to go on the air and, well, […]

Child Adopted Then Returned: Did Anita Tedaldi Do The Right Thing?

posted by hfields

Oh, boy do I not want to blog about this. Talk about a topic where I know not whereof I speak… Anita Tedaldi, who first posted an essay about her experiences as the adoptive mother of baby “D” in the […]

Earthquake, Tsunami Strike American Samoa: Will You Reach Out A Hand To Aid Those Suffering This Faraway Disaster?

posted by hfields

It’s being reported upwardsof a hundred lives may have been lost in Samoa and American Samoa, tiny South Pacific islands far, far away from most of us (assuming you’re a continental American reading this). Closer to home, floods inGeorgia recently […]

Voting, Great And Small

posted by hfields

Today in NYC there’s a primary runoff election to decide who’ll be the next democratic candidates for city comptroller and public advocate. And, in a city of 8 million, something like a whopping 170,000 are expected to vote. As the […]

Save The Boobs: PSA Or TMI?

posted by hfields

I’m on the fence about in-your-face public service announcements, as my prior post on sugary soda indicates. But this one, called “Save the Boobs”, which you can watch on ABC News, really takes shock ads to a new level. Jiggling breasts, […]

Polanski Arrested En Route To Zurich Film Festival: Belated Justice?

posted by hfields

According to CNN, legendary film director Roman Polanski was on his way to receive a lifetime achievement award in Switzerland when he was grabbed up by police on a warrant issued in 1978. Said the Zurich Film Festival that is now sans […]

Here’s To “Justice!” Harvard Moral Philosophy Class To Appear On PBS!

posted by hfields

Fascinating news! I just read that PBS will air a series based on an edited version of a wildly popular Harvard philosophy class on ethics and morality. The class, called “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” is the brainchild […]

Fighting In Front Of The Kids: Never, Sometimes, Or… They’ll Get Over It?

posted by hfields

I’d like to pose a question for all the parents out there — and for all those who lived through tough family situations as they were growing up.  Is it OK for parents to fight in front of their kids? […]

Do We Need The Ten Commandments To Lead Ethical Lives?

posted by hfields

I’d have to say… no.  I mean, I had to look them up to be sure I knew them all correctly (I didn’t), and I still consider myself a fairly ethical person. Heck, even some of our most outspoken bible-thumping […]

What-If Wednesday: When A Friend Does A Disappearing Act, Should You Seek Them Out?

posted by hfields

Ever had a friend who simply vanishes from time to time? Well, I’ve got three. Yes, three. And not just acquaintances, but dear, close friends. We’ll be gabbing on the phone, emailing, hanging out and doing girl stuff like bffs […]

ABC’s “Cougar Town” Begs The Question: Are Cougars Victimless Predators?

posted by hfields

Yeah, yeah, guys have been robbing the cradle since before there were cradles. But do we like it when they’re the culprits? Noooo. We scorn “trophy wives” (a hideous moniker for women to throw at other women, IMO) and look […]

Pedicures: Why Do They Make Me Uneasy?

posted by hfields

Call it a case of white liberal guilt, but I’m uncomfy getting pedicures. I love how they look, and I’m hopeless at giving them to myself. Since I was a kid, I’ve tried; tongue caught fast between teeth, brow furrowed […]

Annie Le’s Murder: A Case Of Workplace Violence?

posted by hfields

As lab tech Raymond Clark III appeared in a New Haven court today to be charged with the murder of 24-year-old Annie Le, killed by “traumatic asphyxiation” just days before she was to be married and found stuffed in a wall of […]

What-If Wednesday: Would You Get In The Middle Of A School Bus Fight?

posted by hfields

In the news yesterday, a video surfaced of a kid getting viciously beaten on his school bus in Bellville, Illinois. Other children watched, some cheering, others standing by, others still laughing. One or two looked like they possible wanted to step in, […]

I Wish Everyone Would Shut Up About Patrick Swayze

posted by hfields

But it’s not because I didn’t like him. I actually loved the guy, as much as one can love an actor one doesn’t know personally. I thought he was great, sexy, funny, a man’s man and a woman’s heartthrob. I […]

If Obama Calls Kanye A Jackass Off The Record, Does It Make A Sound?

posted by hfields

It does if Terry Moran (Moron?) tweets it. So, the civility debate rages (ironically) on. And as everyone’s buzzing, the president’s now caught up in it, having remarked off the record in a CNBC interview that he thought Kanye West […]

Friends And Money: An Uneasy Mix

posted by hfields

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,For loan oft loses both itself and friend,And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. Polonius, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75-77 Good advice from one of Shakespeare’s flightier characters. This weekend a good friend […]

Failure Friday: I’m A Pessimist

posted by hfields

Is pessimism a moral issue? I am honestly not sure. I think it is a character issue, however, and for today, for me, that’s close enough. Why do I want to talk about it? Because “Failure Friday” is where we […]

“You Lie!” No, YOU Shame Your Country, Joe Wilson.

posted by hfields

Yelling “You lie!” at your president during an address to the joint session of congress. Just… wow. Does disrespect come any more egregious, more shameful, more heinous? If it does, I can’t imagine it. Is it because our president is […]

Is It Our Civic Duty To Watch President Obama’s Health Care Speech To Congress?

posted by hfields

Whether you’re for it or against it, odds are, you feel passionately about health care reform. But how many of us have even made the attempt to dive into the 1,000-odd page health care reform bill H.R. 3200 “America’s Affordable […]

Will You Still Eat Eggs? A Vegetarian Responds

posted by hfields

When I posted “Grist For The Mill” a few days ago, I expected it to be controversial. You can’t talk about the sad practice of grinding up male baby chicks in egg hatcheries and say you still plan to eat […]

People of Wal-Mart: Watch Your Backs

posted by hfields

“A whole website just to laugh at discount shoppers?” you scoff?  Why, yes. Apparently, so. I decided I had to run a mention of the site, PeopleOfWalmart.com, after a commenter on our own blog said: “Has anyone ever noticed this […]

Grist For The Mill: Knowing Male Chicks Are Tossed Alive Into Grinders, Will You Still Eat Eggs?

posted by hfields

Short answer? Yes, I will. An animal rights activist group, Mercy For Animals, broughtto light a video of unwanted male chicks at the Hy-Line Hatchery of West Des Moines,Iowa, being tossed alive into grinders because they are “of little value.” […]

Underground Ethics: A Subway Series. Part IV: Is Chivalry Dead? And If So, Are We Glad?

posted by hfields

Our fellow Beliefnet blogger and editor, Valerie Reiss, just sent me a link and a question: Is chivalry dead on the subway?  Why is she asking? Apparently, NY Times city blogger Lynn Harris has had a hard time getting a seat offered […]

Levi Johnston: At It Again

posted by hfields

Apparently, Levi Johnston is all over Vanity Fair, not having exhausted his 15 minutes (or our patience) *quite* yet. Or perhaps with Labor Day coming late this year, it’s just a slow news start for September? In any case, he’s […]

What-If Wednesday: Would You Skip Work On Your Birthday?

posted by hfields

When I ran the idea for this post by Paddy, she snorted and said, “Ha, do people really?” And I mumbled something like, “Er, I’m sure some unethical crumb bums must.” (Skip work on their birthdays, that is.) Truth is, […]

Do We Need To Be Shocked (Or Grossed) Out Of Our Sugar Habit?

posted by hfields

Public health announcements: they make me vastly uneasy. And none more so than the new NYC anti-soda campaign, which actually just makes me vastly queasy: Do we really need some in-your-face ad agency terrifying us with PSAs à la the text-messaging teenagers car crash video […]

Jaycee Lee Dugard: Should We Be Nosier Neighbors?

posted by hfields

One pictures the kidnapping of young Jaycee Lee Dugard, pictures the little girl snatched from her family, and the mind simply goes blank with horror. Worse–unimaginable even–is the 18 years of slavery and sexual torture she must have endured in that […]

Failure Friday: I Ignore Unpleasant Things

posted by hfields

At the risk of living up to our “popcorn” reputation, here’s a truly trivial confession: There are days when I walk right past stuff I simply don’t wish to see. Like the cat puke I don’t want to clean. We’ve […]

Can You Sue For Anorexia? Apparently, Yes. But Should You?

posted by hfields

Last week, the Associated Press reported the story of a Pittsburgh mother who is suing her daughter’s school district under Title IX after her daughter developed an eating disorder. The disorder, she claims, came about because of bullying by boys […]

Remembering Ted Kennedy: Are We Doing It Right?

posted by hfields

It is seldom that we lose someone of such legendary stature as Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Though the media may try to play up every death as a Cronkite or a Mother Theresa, I honestly don’t feel the need to […]

How To Say “I Quit”–And How NOT To

posted by hfields

First off, don’t do what I did. I think I have mentioned the mean boss I once had. Well, after several months of being browbeat, the day came when I couldn’t take it another minute.  What’d I do? I literally […]

Enjoying Chores *Is* Possible. Who Knew?

posted by hfields

The other night I was driving home with my husband from the cottage owned by my extended family. It was late, and we had a lot of Sunday stuff still to take care of: laundry, food to plan for the week […]

Caster Semenya: Should We Take “Her” Word For It?

posted by hfields

What is gender? Apparently, as the case of South African runner Caster Semenya is proving, it’s less absolute than penis versus vagina. As controversy swirls over whether the gold-medal-winning 18-year-old is wholly female, I wondered, should it even matter? Assuming this […]

“Skanks In NYC” Blogger Unmasked As 29-Year-Old Rosemary Port. Liskula Cohen Can Rest Easy Now, But Maybe The Rest Of Us Should Start Worrying.

posted by hfields

So much for my hopes the ‘unmasking’ of the anonymous blogger in the Liskula Cohen defamation lawsuit would remain between the two parties and their lawyers.   The blogger’s name was revealed today as Rosemary Port, a 29-year-old acquaintance of Ms. Cohen’s […]

Failure Friday: I Ratted Out Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem To A Paparazzi

posted by hfields

As a Native New Yorker, I pride myself on being cool when I have a celebrity sighting. But there was no being cool yesterday as I sashayed past Penny Cruz and her beau Javier Bardem on a Manhattan sidewalk. Not […]

Can Liars Become Leaders? Disgraced Reporter Jayson Blair Is Now… A Life Coach?!?

posted by hfields

The AP is reporting disgraced ex-reporter Jayson Blair – famous for plagiarizing (and in some cases, completely fabricating) the news while a New York Times reporter back in 2003 – has a new career these days: Life Coach. Blair, who was […]

Barney Frank Town Hall Video: Was His Response Appropriate or Unethical?

posted by hfields

I have to admit, I got quite an ethically-challenged guffaw out of Barney Frank’s comments to the woman who compared President Obama’s healthcare plans to a ‘Nazi policy’. Take a look at the video and see for yourself:   I […]

Google Forced to Reveal Blogger’s Identity After “Skank” Comment Riles Model: Ethical Or Anti-Freedom Of Speech?

posted by hfields

Liskula Cohen, a NY model whose face has graced the cover of Vogue, among other mags, didn’t appreciate being called a “skank” – and worse – by an anonymous blogger on the website “Skanks In NYC” (since defunct). So she […]

What-If Wednesday: Would You Steal Office Supplies?

posted by hfields

Studies show something like 60% of employees have stolen from the place where they work. Whether it’s something little like a box of paperclips or a Post-It pad, or something big like that awesome ergonomic chair the boss is always swiveling […]

Woman Pregnant With 12 Babies: Outrageous Or Awesome?

posted by hfields

Never mind the stretch marks; what on earth is this woman thinking? If the UK’s Sun can be believed, a Tunisian woman is vowing to carry all twelve fetuses to term after having several heartbreaking miscarriages in the past. Honestly, […]

Tasered Mom Sues Cop–I Should Hope So!

posted by hfields

According to this MSNBC article, Audra Harmon, a 38-year-old mother of three, was stopped, Tasered, handcuffed, and arrested while her kids were left frightened and unattended in her minivan for something like 40 minutes.  The incident began like this, Harmon told the […]

Failure Friday: I Jump To Conclusions

posted by hfields

Ass. U. Me.  Mostly me. This week I made a jerk of myself when, all impatient, I emailed a clothing company to which I had returned a couple pairs of jeans, wanting to know where my refund was. Now, I […]

Health Care Reform: An Ethical Issue?

posted by hfields

I’ve been hesitant to wade into any discussion of health care reform because, frankly, it feels too big for me. For a lot of Americans, I suspect. And besides, what exactly are the ethical angles to examine? Too many to […]

Dirty Laundry: An Open Letter to the Laundry Room Goniff

posted by hfields

An Open Letter to the Laundry Room Goniff:  WTF, lady (or gent)? Not only did you at one point apparently, inexplicably, open my dryer and let some of my socks and towels fall outside it in a heap, you then later […]

Moral Monday: Speaking Truth To Power

posted by hfields

Doing the right thing. Speaking up. Looking out for those less able to defend themselves. These are qualities embodied by a man I grew up knowing, and, throughout high school, was proud to call my friend.  In fact, he was […]

Failure Friday: Whining 101

posted by hfields

So, I whine. When I was a kid, my parents even had a name for my kvetching ways: “the wip.” As in, I would pooch out my lower lip as far as possible (which in my case was rather astonishingly […]

What-If Wednesday: Would You Stop A Crime?

posted by hfields

Thanks again are due to our Beliefnet Entertainment Editor for this one. She emailed me the other day with the following ethical dilemma. While shopping with her fiance, she saw a well-to-do woman with two preteen daughters ‘forget’ to pay […]

The Thank-You Note Nazi

posted by hfields

I have a friend I affectionately refer to as “the Thank-You Note Nazi.” No sooner does she return from a dinner party than she dispatches an elegant and exquisitely chosen card expressing the most effusive (and quite sincere, as far […]

How NOT To Behave At A Funeral: Ryan O’Neal Hits On Daughter Tatum At Farrah Fawcett’s Grave

posted by hfields

Sometimes a headline says it all. Or at least enough of it to make you mildly ill. Apparently, Ryan O’Neal freely admits to having accidentally propositioned his own offspring, estranged daughter Tatum O’Neal, during Farrah Fawcett’s funeral. Yuck. So much […]

A Wee Bit of Unethical Self-Promotion: Hillary’s In the Huffington Post!

posted by hfields

Forgive me, gentle readers. It is, perhaps, questionable to flog one’s external publications on a blog concerning itself primarily with ethics, but I simply had to share the news: An article I’ve written, entitled “90 Salads in 90 Days” is […]

What-If Wednesday: How Far Out Of Your Way Would You Go To Do A Good Deed?

posted by hfields

We’re rolling out another new feature here at Everyday Ethics… “What-If Wednesdays.” You know the game; you’ve probably played it with your friends a time or two, asking questions like, “What if you had to choose — Brad Pitt or George […]

New Feature! Moral Monday: A Tip of My Ethical Hat to Folks Fighting the Good Fight

posted by hfields

I get tired of always ragging on people for ethical faux pas. Sometimes I want to focus on what folks are doing right. So today I’m inaugurating a new feature: “Moral Monday.” From now on, on Mondays (whenever possible) we’re […]

Being Mean To Telemarketers: Unethical Or Understandable?

posted by hfields

I was just on my way out the door, rushed for time as usual, when the phone rang. Caller ID said, “000-000-0000.” I had a pretty good idea who it’d be (in a general sense) but I was expecting a […]

Did President Obama “Act Stupidly” or Speak Skillfully by Weighing In On Professor Gates’ Arrest?

posted by hfields

I don’t feel it’s my place to get into the rights and wrongs of Skip Gates’ arrest. I honestly think it’s a case of he-said, he-said, and while I tend to think there are very few times arresting a guy […]

Erin Andrews Peephole Video: Are Gawkers Getting What They Deserve?

posted by hfields

Today the New York Post reported that looky-loos trying to get an eyeful of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was apparently filmed in a state of undress without her knowledge or consent through the peephole of her hotel room, went […]

Chris Brown Apologizes To Rihanna…On Video Tape.

posted by hfields

Take a look at this videotaped apology Chris Brown just came out with to address the 2009 Grammy Awards Eve beating of his girlfriend, singer Rihanna.  I’m curious… after watching it, do you think he’s sincere? And, if you think […]

Mission To Mars: Mankind’s Next Giant Leap, Or The Last Thing We Need To Be Worrying About?

posted by hfields

As human beings, it’s in our natures to dream big. And as a species, we’ve done some astonishing things. Today, for instance, marks the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing and moon walk–a mission we achieved, in part, to […]

Amazon Kindles Outrage With Ironic Removal of Orwell Titles

posted by hfields

I’ve coveted the Kindle since Amazon first came out with them. My apartment is overflowing with books, and I’m forced to carry an ENORMOUS purse to and fro because I refuse to leave the house without a book. I literally don’t […]

Obama’s Speech to the NAACP: Preachy or Pitch-Perfect?

posted by hfields

President Obama spoke at the NAACP last night, thanking them for the work the organization has done that broke barriers and helped get him elected. He also urged African Americans to take responsibility for their own future success, saying, “Your […]

Is Internet Surfing at Work a Right, a Privilege, or a Big No-No?

posted by hfields

Hi all. A quick shout out here from Hillary land. I just started a short temp assignment on top of my other gigs, and while I was drumming my fingernails waiting to get set up with the internet so I […]

Assisted Suicide Tourism: A One-Way Trip With A Whole Lotta Baggage

posted by hfields

The case of British conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Joan, who, it was reported today, traveled to a Swiss clinic to avail themselves of legally assisted suicide, is raising ethical, legal and moral questions worldwide. Edward, 85, had […]

Levi Johnston: Media Whore Or Palin Family Confessor?

posted by hfields

Is he seeking revenge or defending his good name? To hear Levi tell it, he’s just clearing the air. Take a look at this clip from msnbc: Wow, he’s got a ton to say about the personal finances of the Palin […]

Journalistic Narcissism: Unethical or Merely Inevitable?

posted by hfields

Nar-cis-sism??[nahr-suh-siz-em]  -noun1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.2. Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development. Is it unethical for the news to become about […]

Kill All the Lawyers? Maybe Not…

posted by hfields

Is it ethical to sue? And if so, when? My husband and I were discussing this issue last night. I promise I’ll get to the reason for the picture you see to your left in a second, but let me […]

Obama Ogles Ass? Nah, but Sleazy Sarkozy Sure Did.

posted by hfields

There’s been a lot of back and forth in the office today about the proper way to appreciate a woman’s, er… ‘assets’. Naturally, it was brought on by the pictures of Presidents Obama and Sarkozy apparently staring at the rear […]

From Sotomayor to Swim Clubs, Are Exclusive Clubs Unethical?

posted by hfields

Apparently, in Philadelphia, a big scandal has brewed over a local day camp that contracted with a private club to use their pool facilities. After some members complained (and allegedly were heard uttering racist remarks in terrible fear of seven-year-old […]

Gal Throws “Abortion Party” to Pay For Abortion, Guy Blogs About It

posted by hfields

People keep sending me the oddest ethical issues. Like this one, which came by way of a pal living in Prague. She stumbled across a blog post written by a guy who had been invited to–get this–an abortion party. After […]

Is it Unethical to Live an Inauthentic life?

posted by hfields

Sorry, folks, I’m in an existential angst mood today, perhaps even an existential crisis mood. I’m feeling like a phony, if only in the sense that my day-to-day existence feels inauthentic. But by inauthentic, what do I actually mean? Well, I’ve […]

Washington Post Whores (Excuse Me, “Salons”) Itself Out For Profit?

posted by hfields

 I know the newspaper business is hurting, and hurting bad… but when it comes to journalistic ethics, the Washington Post is supposed to be among the finest institutions in the nation, if not the world. But now, the people who […]

Racism in the Workplace: What Do You Do When a Coworker Makes Off-Color Remarks?

posted by hfields

Recently, I put out a call amongst my acquaintance for their everyday ethical dilemmas. A friend brought me a great one–What do you do when someone at work is a racist? The gist of her email (which she asked me […]

Morality: Does It Come From the Heart or the Head?

posted by hfields

I came across an interesting argument today by way of a friend, who sent me a link to an article in Fast Company magazine. I thought I’d share it because it asks an important question: are we ethical for logical […]

Underground Ethics: A Subway Series. Part III: Would You Let Your Kid Ride the Train Alone?

posted by hfields

This mom did. She let her 9-year-old son ride the NYC subway alone, giving him 20 bucks, a map and a Metrocard, along with some words of advice. Why? Because he wanted to. Lenore Skenazy is a writer and mother […]

The Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, Reversals and Reverse Discrimination

posted by hfields

It’s hard for someone like me, with no legal background, to understand the intricacies of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision about the New Haven, Conn. firefighters’ discrimination (or so-called  ‘reverse discrimination’) lawsuit.   Obviously, there’s more going on here than just […]

My Sexist Doctor: A Love-Hate Relationship

posted by hfields

So I have this great doctor. He cured my migraines (well, made them a lot better) when no one else could. My mom, who’s suffered similar headaches for decades, swears by him. And he’s a really nice guy. He’s charming, […]

Are Michael Jackson Jokes Suddenly “Bad”?

posted by hfields

Come on… you know you’ve told one or two Michael Jackson jokes over the years. The self-proclaimed “King of Pop” has been such a startling public figure–with his bizarre plastic surgeries, his wild and wacky but undeniably trend-setting outfits, his […]

June 26 is “Take Your Dog To Work” Day. Cute. But is it Ethical?

posted by hfields

I don’t love dogs. Don’t get me wrong–I like ‘em fine. I may even coo over a particularly cute one (or a homely one–somehow the homely ones touch my heart more than the handsome ones), but I don’t have a […]

56 Star Tattoo Teen Comes Clean; Admits She Lied to ‘Save Face’

posted by hfields

Regrets, I’ve had a few. But perhaps none so visible as those of Belgian teenager Kimberley Vlaminck, who claimed last week to have ‘fallen asleep’ in the tattooist’s chair and woken up with 56 stars tattooed across her face when […]

Steve Jobs Liver Transplant–Is That Ethical?

posted by hfields

UPDATE: Interesting NY Times article asking some of the same questions as my original post about Steve Jobs’ liver transplant. Check the NY Times piece out! Because of this article, and because of the many comments I received on my own, […]

Blog Commenting Courtesy… Do Bloggers Have a Right To Expect It?

posted by hfields

I received a lot of flack for my last post. And I’m willing to admit I may just have deserved some of it. I was called out for failing to ‘do my research’ and ‘being ignorant’ when I drew a […]

Iran and North Korea In the News: Does Caring Oblige Us To Take a Stand?

posted by hfields

I was out of town for a couple of days, and apparently while I was away, Iran went (more) insane, and North Korea decided Hawaii might make a nice Fourth of July nuclear missile target.  Greeeaat. Maybe I should have stayed […]

Facebook: Is It OK to “Friend” An Old Flame?

posted by hfields

I know, I know–we talk a lot about Facebook on this blog. I suppose that’s because Facebook and other sites like it have become the engines of social interaction and social networking for our generation. And, out of everyday social […]

How Sacred Is the U.S. Mail… When It’s Your Husband’s?

posted by hfields

Here’s my quandary.  It’s been a long day.  I’m tired and grumpy.  My husband, who usually brings the mail upstairs, is home sick so I’m the one swinging by our building’s mailboxes on the way back from work.  This in […]

An Ethical Update–It’s Working! I’m Blogging My Way To Becoming a Better Woman

posted by hfields

Guess what? After my post on my failure as a recycler, I actually began to do much, much better at recycling. I now manage to remember semi-regularly to bring a ‘green’ bag with me when I shop. And, after I […]

World Science Festival Hits New York City–Yippie!

posted by hfields

No dilemmas today, just a shout-out to the second annual World Science Festival, being held this weekend here in New York. My hubby is SO excited. He loves anything connected to the world of ideas. And as a former philosophy […]

Do We Tip To BE Generous, Or To SEEM Generous?

posted by hfields

And does the intent matter? I’m settling in to do some writing at my local coffee joint, getting all prepared to talk…you know…ethics ‘n’ stuff. I make sure I buy enough (a black & white cookie and a large decaf latte) […]

Good Neighbors: Respect Privacy, or Leap In to Lend a Hand?

posted by hfields

My neighbor has OCD–a fact I just recently learned. For the longest time I believed she simply hated me, or that she thought I was a psycho, and here’s why: she wouldn’t get on the elevator with me. We’d wait […]

When Do You Tell a Friend Her Boyfriend’s a Jerk?

posted by hfields

When I say this happened to a friend and not me, I really actually mean it. My friend had a dinner party at her summer place with some old friends–two couples, plus herself and her own boyfriend. Drinks went around […]

Thai Rath Publishes Carradine Hanging Photo, Sparks Outrage

posted by hfields

I haven’t blogged about the David Carradine story up ’til now, because, well, I thought it was somewhat unethical to dredge the actor’s death into the public spotlight more than it already was (if that were possible). I’m of the […]

When Does Bad Etiquette Become Immorality? On the Subway, of Course.

posted by hfields

I’m pleased to announce that Part II of our Underground Ethics “Subway Series” comes to you from our very first guest blogger: Beliefnet’s own Entertainment Editor, Dena Ross. I asked Dena to write a post for us because, well, Dena has […]

The Great Guilt Debate: Is Using Emotional Blackmail to Get What You Want Unethical?

posted by hfields

“Not if you’re Jewish,” is my mom’s answer. And indeed, it’s been my experience that we Jews ingest guilt with our mother’s milk (not that I’d know, since my mother didn’t find it ‘convenient’ to breast-feed me [ha, see what […]

The Goode Family: Does Being Ethical Mean Being Annoying?

posted by hfields

Mike Judge’s newest animated sit-com, The Goode Family, which premiered last week on ABC, is all about the eponymous Goode family, do-gooders who are always trying to do the ‘right’ thing and be responsible. Their PC intentions lead to ridiculous scenarios […]

JD Salinger CATCHER IN THE RYE Sequel–Whether He Likes It Or Not?

posted by hfields

Word is spreading that reclusive author JD Salinger, author of the seminal book “The Catcher in the Rye,” filed suit in U.S. Federal Court in Manhattan yesterday over an anonymous author’s unauthorized so-called ‘sequel.’ The writer, going by the name […]

Dating Rules Follow-Up: When Is It OK to Stick Your Nose In?

posted by hfields

Paddy’s recent post about how to date honestly (or too honestly) got me thinking about relationships, intentions, and the perils of long-term commitment, particularly when cultural, religious, and social mores collide. Her post asks us whether ’tis better to be […]

Underground Ethics: A Subway Series. Part I: How the Emergency Gate Shames Me

posted by hfields

Welcome to Part I of our exciting new series, Underground Ethics. As the name implies, we’ll be talking about things that take place far below the day-lit realm, things dark and ugly, seamy and salacious, perhaps unholy. Yes, that’s right. […]

Controversy Over New Hugging Trend Among Teens Leads to Hug Bans in High Schools

posted by hfields

Yep, that’s right, now affection is illegal. The New York Times today reported on the new fad for hugging among teens in an article entitled For Teenagers, Hello Means ‘How About a Hug?‘ Kids these days are embracing all over […]

Is the Lottery Ethical?

posted by hfields

There’s a lot of chatter on the ‘net today about the lottery. Seems someone from South Dakota just won the Florida lottery, to the tune of 222 million dollars. Nice going.  I’m sure that unnamed person will suddenly have a […]

13-Year-Old Daniel Hauser Refusing Chemo On Religious Grounds; Court Orders Treatment

posted by hfields

Over the past couple of weeks, the news has been filled with headlines about 13-year-old Daniel Hauser, a Minnesota boy diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Citing religious grounds (the family are members of the Nemenhah Band of Native Americans, who are proponents […]

The Weekend Wuss-Out–Musings On the Ethics & Responsibilities of Friendship

posted by hfields

This Memorial Day Weekend has been a long and busy one for my family. My brother’s wedding took place (yippie! Mazel Tov, guys) so I spent the last three days in a flurry of bachelorette parties, rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, and […]

A Bernie Madoff Schadenfreude Story

posted by hfields

Schadenfreude-nounsatisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune. I once had a boss so mean I woke up in dread each morning, and lay awake every night fearfully, fantasizing about what terrors lay ahead for me the next day. She […]

Why Can’t I Recycle? A Case of Grocery Bag Guilt

posted by hfields

Why, oh why, am I so completely and utterly incapable of remembering to bring recyclable bags with me to the grocery store? It’s not like I haven’t got any…. Heck, I have canvas totes from conventions past and beach vacations […]

Pregnant At 66…?!?

posted by hfields

I was just watching this Diane Sawyer clip (see video embedded below) on ABC News about the 66-year-old British woman, Elizabeth Adeney, now 8 months pregnant and soon to become the UK’s oldest-ever mother. She’s a successful career woman who chose […]

Keeping the Tags On That Dress–Just In Case

posted by hfields

My brother’s wedding is right around the corner, and what do you know, I’m a bridesmaid. Luckily, my fantastic sister-in-law-to-be chose a great dress for her bridesmaids (thank you!), which is very wearable and wasn’t too expensive either. Just another […]

Oprah Apologizes to Memoirist Frey. Too Little, Too Late?

posted by hfields

I can’t believe Oprah Winfrey has apologized to author James Frey after the way she skewered him on her 2006 show for fictionalizing parts of his bestselling memoir. But that’s what Vanity Fair is reporting has happened, at least according […]

Credit Card Responsibility–Yours, Mine, and Theirs

posted by hfields

So I’m sitting at home watching President Obama’s Town Hall speech about credit card debt. Having just spent half the morning on the phone dealing with my credit card company, trying to get my card information straightened out, I’m fed […]

The Acupuncture Appointment From Hell–And How I Weaseled Out of Another.

posted by hfields

Today I took the coward’s way out.  Two days ago, I had an appointment with an acupuncturist–someone I hadn’t been to before. I’d been suffering from migraines, and was told the treatment might be a good holistic alternative to some […]

Swine Flu Ethics ?!?

posted by hfields

Here’s a sniffly, sneezy, gross, icky, potentially deadly (but thankfully so far mild) hot topic to talk about.  The ethics of swine flu.  Oh, excuse me, Obama administration and U.S. Pork Industry… H1N1 Influenza. Vice President Biden stirred up controversy […]

Dropping the F-Bomb–Or Not. Is it Sometimes More Ethical To Have a Dirty Mouth?

posted by hfields

I didn’t expect my first post to excite much controversy–from my friends, at least. But to my surprise, even my mother, who was in part the subject of it, had a criticism. “Nice post,” she said. “But it would have […]

Carrie Prejean–Role Model or Rogue Model?

posted by hfields

  Every day, it seems there’s another Carrie Prejean story in the news. For those who haven’t been paying attention (and I kinda wish I was one of you), she’s the Miss USA pageant contestant from California whose answer to […]

Manners or Me First? A Tale of Ethics and the Native New Yorker

posted by hfields

By way of introduction, I’d like to share a little about myself. (I’d promise not to do it again, but I undoubtedly will.) I was raised by a family who assumed I’d always instinctively understand the difference between right and […]

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New Years Resolutions: Are We Lying to Ourselves?
I know it's become popular, but I've become suspect of using traditional goal-setting strategies and business process techniques to change personal habits and pursue a meaningful life. While I can admit that there's something invigorating--even exciting--about casting a new vision, writing that list

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Is Craigslist Who We Really Are?
Raise your hand if you're familiar with Craigslist.org.  Chances are, there's one that serves your community.  And it's extremely handy for job listings, housing, dating, selling your old crap or buying new old crap.Really, it's ingenious. But why's it also so darn discouraging?  

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