Her blog at www.phylliskae.com has tackled Charlie Sheen, Camden police layoffs, cyberbullying, and, inevitably, that certain member of Congress from Brooklyn, N.Y. (the headline: "Liar, Liar Pants on Fire Anthony Weiner").
"Ethics is certainly about right and wrong, but there are personal judgments involved, too. It's not one size fits all," says the high-octane Woodbury resident, offering me a Danish at her downtown Camden headquarters.
Named for the late Robert DePersia, Kae's longtime friend and business partner, her building on Market Street has offices upstairs for lawyer Russell DePersia, Robert's son. A stray cat named Bailey reigns in Kae's suite on the first floor, where a photo on the wall shows her working undercover wearing a nun's habit.
"I really believe we can all live better through ethics," Kae says, eyes intense, like her lipstick. "I believe ethics can change lives. It changed mine."
Kae grew up Phyllis Krichev in East Camden, in the days when Baird Boulevard held the homes of the city's elite. Her father owned a grocery store at Eighth and Ferry, and her mother - "my role model" - rose from a clerk to a manager at the Camden Housing Authority.
Not long after graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1963 ("I never went to college"), Kae fell ill with an autoimmune condition that threatened, then derailed, her life.
Being told at 19 that she was likely to die taught Kae a thing or two about perseverance. "Never give up," she says. "Never."
Kae eventually recovered and went to work in the office of Camden County Freeholder Director M. Allan Vogelson. In 1975, she became one of a handful of female investigators in the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
"We were treading on hostile lands," Kae recalls, describing sexist indignities up to and including a defense attorney so aggressively dismissive of her concerns about a witness that she ended up pushed against a wall.
The city's streets could be even tougher; her first homicide case took place on the block where she once lived. But Kae loved the work, retiring in 1987 to enter private practice.
"I thank the code of ethics I learned from my mother. She was a woman of extraordinary character," says Kae, who established her ethics consulting business about a year ago.
Running an enterprise that includes bail services offers a reminder that all sorts of people, not just those many of us dismiss as common criminals, make choices - ethical mistakes, if you will - that range from bad to worse.
"We've had doctors and lawyers in here," Kae says. "I tell my employees, 'Do not judge who comes through that door. That's someone else's job.' "
I resist another Danish and instead ask Kae whether her ethics code reflects a particular spiritual, philosophical, or perhaps political orientation. "I stay away from that, because it's too easy to segue into preaching, and I have no business preaching," she says.
"What my mother taught me is you have to do the right thing. So I always treat people with respect. I ask them to look at what they're doing, the choices they're making, and make a choice to do the right thing for themselves and the people they love."
Doing right also means stopping and thinking . . . before hitting the send button, for example. "People are shooting their mouths off" in cyberspace, Kae says. "It's like the Wild West out there."
Which brings us once again to Twitter and Mr. Weiner.
"Don't lie," the Diva of Do Right declares. "Confess and move on, pal. It's over."
Contact Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the metro columnists' blog at http://www.philly.com/blinq