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Sunday, November 01, 2009

SOUND OFF: PANTS ON FIRE?

Of the readers responding to an unscientific poll on my column's blog, 81 percent believed that Rep. Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) was wrong to shout "You lie!" when President Barack Obama recently addressed Congress on health care. Wilson later apologized to the president for his outburst.

"Rep. Wilson was wrong to make the outburst in the joint session of Congress," one reader writes. "That he was correct - the president did not tell the truth - does not make the impulse appropriate."

"Wilson's apology does not make right his wrong outburst," writes William Jacobson of Cypress, Calif. "It was a breach of decorum that was wholly uncalled for."

The final word belongs to editorial cartoonist Randy Bish of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, whose cartoon was sent to me by Max Maizels of Richmond, Va.: "If a man yells `You lie' in a room full of politicians, how do they know who he's talking to?"

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2009 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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