The Ugly Truth About The Teaching Profession: Orlando Public Schools Division


Magnify this news report about public school teachers disciplined in the Orlando area, what, 10,000? 100,000? times, and the complete untrustworthiness of the U.S. teaching profession should come into sharp focus.


  • The teaching certificate of Jeanne Michaud, who taught math at Longwood’s Lyman High was permanently revoked in a settlement agreement approved last month by the Education Practices Commission, quasi-judicial group that levies penalties against educator’s certificates.

Michaud showed students a crude wooden carving of a penis and testicles. Michaud also kept an umbrella that students “regularly used to strike each other with,” according to the evidence. She spread gossip about teachers and administrators in class, denigrating them in front of students.

  •  Gregory Alan Sims, a former science teacher at Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, was accused of putting tape on a girl’s mouth and taping her belongings to a pole. Sims claimed that he only mimicked putting tape on the girl’s mouth. Sims’ settlement agreement calls for two years of probation and completion of a classroom management course if he returns to teaching. He also was fined $750.

Continue reading

The Unethical—But Useful!— White House “Oopsie!” Doctrine

rotting fish head

In a—oh, hell, I’m out of adjectives to describe “This is so ridiculous it makes me want to throw myself into a woodchipper”—move that will transform U.S. culture, the White House has pioneered a new and refreshingly simple way for wrongdoers and law-breakers to take responsibility for their misconduct.

Just say, “I forgot to obey the law. Sorry!” Let’s call it the “Oopsie!” Doctrine.

Yes, this is how the White House bravely owned up to intentionally violating the statute, the National Defense Authorization Act, that requires the Executive Branch to alert Congress of the pending release of prisoners from Guantanamo at least 30 days in advance. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken called Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to officially say that the White House was sorry it failed to alert her, and therefore Congress, in advance of a decision to release five Taliban prisoners from the prison in Guantanamo in exchange for American deserter, and quite possible traitor, Bowe Bergdahl. The Obama Administration is calling this “an oversight.”

That’s right. The White House breaking the law is an oversight. Never mind that the President was well aware of this particular law, having stated that he regarded it as unconstitutional when he signed it. It was an oversight! None of the foreign policy experts and advisors, neither the Secretary of State or Defense or all their little deputies, nor the hoards of lawyers that Defense, State and the White House employ, remembered that there was a little matter of a relatively recent law that had to be followed in cases like this one. They all missed it, had a brain fart, whiffed, were day-dreaming, took their eye off the ball, goofed, tripped up, pulled a boner. It can happen to anyone! Continue reading

Government Ethics: Luxury On The Taxpayer’s Dime

And the best part is, those poor suckers in coach are paying for all of this! Bwahahahaha!!!

“And the best part is, those poor suckers in coach are paying for all of this! Bwahahahaha!!!”

The Washington Examiner acquired records of federal agency travel through the Freedom of Information Act, and made an interesting discovery:

“The federal government spent millions of dollars on thousands of upgraded flights for employees in 2012 and 2013, paying many times more for business and first-class seats than the same flights would have cost in coach or the government-contracted rate. Premium travel reports from 14 federal agencies documenting the flights show these agencies alone spent an estimated $8.7 million on 1,903 upgraded flights in those two years. That was about $6.4 million more than the same coach and government-rate flights would have cost. The agencies spent $5.7 million in 2012, almost double the $3 million they paid for premium travel in 2013. The cost of coach and government-rate flights is approximate because several agencies either reported estimates for some coach fare or didn’t report them at all.”

There is just no excuse for this. None. I can conceive of some rare situations when first class travel would be called for, but not many. The accommodations in coach for most international air travel is perfectly endurable, and the huge difference in price isn’t justified unless you have serious back problems or some other malady. The basic ethical question every public servant should ask himself or herself is this: would I fly First Class if I had to pay for it? Almost always, the answer will be “no,’ and even if the answer is yes, the standard for buying luxury seating on the public’s tab should be more stringent.  It’s not their money. That’s really the answer to the threshold “What’s going on here?”  ethics query in this instance. What’s going on is that the public’s trust is being abused by officials casually using scarce taxpayer resources for their own comfort and convenience. Continue reading

Re: Obama’s NSA Speech—Ralph Lopez Is Right. So Was James Otis. So Why Aren’t More Liberals, Progressives And Democrats…Wait, Didn’t I Just Write This?

James-Otis-Quotes-1A political writer from the alternative media wrote a clear, well-researched, pretty much irrefutable 0p-ed for the Digital Journal , crystallizing an issue that should have been obvious all along. The NSA’s incursions on the privacy of U.S. citizens are a bright line violation of the Fourth Amendment, one of the bulwarks of American individual rights. Yesterday, President Obama rationalized and embraced those unconstitutional acts and policies. The writer, Ralph Lopez, is angry and outraged. Why isn’t everybody?

In particular, why isn’t the very same group that compared the less obtrusive Patriot Act measures imposed by the Bush administration to “1984” and fascist regimes screaming bloody murder? That group would be, in case you’ve forgotten, liberals, progressives and Democrats. The technical terms for this are “hypocrisy,” “absence of integrity,” “dishonesty,” “blind loyalty,” “misplaced priorities,” and “foolish.” The technical term for the consistent Republicans who support the NSA’s over-reach is “wrong.”

Unfortunately, Lopez’s piece is burdened by a ridiculous title (“Should Obama be tried for treason after his NSA speech on Friday?,” indicating that either Lopez or his headline writer has been infected by the signature delusion of this President and his enablers—that giving a speech is the same as doing something), but its main points are as solid as granite:

  • “The language of the amendment, which embodies the sentiment in Patriot speeches of the American Revolution that “a man’s house is his castle,” is beautifully crystalline in clarity as all the Founding Fathers’ declarations were. The Fourth Amendment guarantees:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“In modern times, electronic communications such as emails and telephone calls have been held to be an extension of a person’s “papers and effects,” from a time when the only non-verbal communication was written letters, i.e. “papers.” This means, quite simply, that all private communications of private citizens are none of the government’s damned business, unless it can show “probable cause” that they involve a crime, and the government can prove it to a judge. In the real world judges already tend to give wide latitude to police and prosecutors who are convinced they have “probable cause,” a fairly low standard which might consist of a mere hunch based on the most circumstantial of evidence, like a man rooting around in a dumpster where, the day before, the cops found a cache of drugs.” 

In his speech yesterday, the President said, …in an extraordinarily difficult job, one in which actions are second-guessed, success is unreported and failure can be catastrophic, the men and women of the intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people. They’re not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls or read your emails.”

Really? They are collecting private data that can allow them to do that when and if they choose, and that is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading

Unethical Column of the Century: CNN’s L.Z. Granderson

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating.

But not much.

L.Z. Granderson’s role model. I’m not kidding.

In a horrifying opinion column, the regular CNN political pundit L.Z. Granderson evoked the virtues of public apathy and unchecked government conduct with warped logic and unethical rationalizations, to make the case that the public should merely shrug off scandals like “Fast and Furious.” I was only able to finish reading it without retching it by imagining Granderson’s motives for writing such mind- and culture-poisoning swill. At least, as an African-American journalist, a liberal and a Obama supporter (I know I repeat myself), he has the self-respect, fairness and integrity not to claim that critics of Attorney General Holder’s Waterloo are being racist. Like the race-baiters, however, he is in denial, and willing to throw principle to the wolves to protect the first African-American Attorney General, though far from the first corrupt and incompetent one.

In a column with the descriptive and idiotic title, “Don’t be nosy about Fast and Furious,” Granderson argues…

“…Times have changed. Yet, not everything is our business. And in the political arena, there are things that should be and need to be kept quiet…..there comes a point where the public’s right to know needs to take a back seat to matters like national security and diplomacy. Heads should roll because of the Fast and Furious debacle. We don’t need every detail of that operation to be made public in order for that to happen. If it were an isolated sting, maybe. But it is at least the third incarnation of a gun-running scheme stretching across two administrations, which means we could be pressing to open Pandora’s Box. We do not want to open Pandora’s Box, not about this and certainly not about a bunch of other potentially scandalous things the federal government has been involved with.” Continue reading

The Congressional Black Caucus Walkout: Racial Bias, and Nothing But

Of course, they would also be staging a walk-out if a white AG was being held in contempt.

The Congressional Black Caucus  plotted to walk out of Thursday’s contempt of Congress vote regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s stonewalling regarding legitimate oversight of the deadly Fast and Furious fiasco, and did, taking most of the other Democrats along. In so doing, the CBC, as if there was any doubt, unequivocally demonstrated its virulent racial bias, which interferes with its ability to discharge its duties in a fair, honest and legitimate matter.

The CBC had circulated a letter explaining its supposed rationale, which oddly manages never to mention that Eric Holder is African American. Yet it is unimaginable that the Congressional Black Caucus would stage a walk-out if Holder was the white Attorney General appointed by a white President. This is politics, but it is also dishonesty and naked tribalism. It should not be, pardon the expression, whitewashed, or allowed to proceed without calling it what it is—racial bias in the halls of Congress, where none belongs.

Here is the offensive and disingenuous letter being circulated by the CBC—with some commentary by me in brackets: Continue reading

Fast and Furious: AG Holder’s Ethics Train Wreck

Let’s get a few things settled.

If you look closely, you can see Eric Holder in his engineer cap.

Fast and Furious is a true scandal, not a trumped-up distraction, just as Watergate wasn’t a “third-rate burglary.” When the U.S. government intentionally allows laws to be broken, secretly seeds violent crime in a neighboring country and gets both foreigners and Americans killed as a result, that’s a scandal any way you cut it. The U.S. Congress has an oversight role to play after such a fiasco, and getting to the bottom of what went sour is its duty, regardless of how much enjoyment partisan Congressmen appear to have making Administration officials sweat. Any politician or member of the media who suggests otherwise is trying to manufacture a cover-up and intentionally misleading the public. The mantra that “this is a waste of time when Congress should be doing the nation’s business” was used by Republicans during Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Valerie Plame affair, and by Democrats during Whitewater, Lewinsky, and now, as Fast and Furious is finally bursting out of the hole of obscurity where the biased media tried to stuff it. A badly managed, law-breaking Justice Department isn’t trivial, and when utterly stupid, reckless operations like Fast and Furious come to light, it is essential that there be full disclosure and accountability. The voices trying to bury this scandal do not have the best interests of the United States or the public at heart. Let’s start with that.

Fast and Furious was so jaw-droppingly dumb that its very stupidity is almost a boon to defenders of Attorney General Holder’s department, since the normal reaction to such facts is that some crazy Republican must have made up the whole thing. Unfortunately, this really happened.  In 2009, the US government allowed Arizona gun sellers to illegally sell automatic weapons to suspected criminals. Then ATF agents (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)  were directed to  allow the guns to “walk” across the border and be delivered to the Mexican drug cartels. The House Oversight Committee’s report explains, “The purpose was to wait and watch, in hope that law enforcement could identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case…. [The ATF] initially began using the new gun-walking tactics in one of its investigations to further the Department’s strategy.”

Gee. What a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, only everything.

1,608 weapons ended up in the bloody hands of Mexican criminals. The ATF lost track of them, until they turned up at shootings and crime scenes. Many Mexicans, though we don’t know how many, died from being shot by the planted guns, and when a US federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by one of them in battle with drug-runners, the fiasco became public. (ATF whistle-blower also helped.) In a sensible, fair, ethical system, the next steps would follow like Summer follows Spring:

  • The news media would give the story major coverage  and do its own, unbiased, competent investigation.
  • The Administration would express horror and regret, and set about its own internal investigation.
  • Both parties of Congress would aggressively seek answers, and make certain that systemic failures were exposed and responsible individuals were identified.
  • Those responsible would resign or would be fired.

But we do not have a sensible, fair, ethical system, at least as it is currently functioning. As a result, the Fact and Furious mess has become an ethics train wreck that appears to be gathering steam. The evidence so far: Continue reading

As News Media Sinks To New Ethics Lows, Some Friendly—And Urgent— Advice

One of many news story warning labels devised by Tom Scott (

The profession of journalism has now sunk to a point of incompetence and untrustworthiness that constitutes a serious threat, not only to itself, but also to the United States, which must have honest and reliable news sources to function and thrive. As currently constructed, the profession of journalism does not possess the tools or the will to address its crisis. Two recent examples should suffice.

The Saturday before Joe Paterno died, a tweet from a Penn State student-run website erroneously announced that Paterno was already dead. The tweet was immediately picked up by CBS Sports, and subsequently by the news web sites The Daily Beast and the Huffington Post. Howard Kurtz, supposedly the preeminent  media ethics watchdog, re-tweeted the false news himself. Many other journalists did the same. But it was all based on a hoax.  Paterno was still alive. Continue reading

The Hard-Working Mr. McLaughlin

Michael E. McLaughlin resigned as Chelsea, Massachusetts housing director last month, after it was revealed that he had manipulated his way into a $360,000 salary. Now it is being discovered, thanks to some investigative reporting by the Boston Globe, that McLaughlin wasn’t merely overpaid as perhaps the highest compensated state housing official in the nation. He apparently worked only 15 full days in Chelsea for the entire year, in an epic example of official deception and sloth at taxpayer expense.

The Globe’s smoking gun evidence consists of interviews and phone records, which clearly show that McLaughlin went to extraordinary lengths to avoid performing much work related to his job managing low-income housing in Chelsea. He didn’t appear in Chelsea for half the working days in 2011, choosing to spend 47 weekdays in Maine and Florida with his top assistant and “close personal friend” (ahem!), Linda Thibodeau. Then there were another 21 work days spent at conferences in warm cities like Phoenix to Miami, also usually with the comely Thibodeau to keep him company. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Huffington Post Blogger Mike Elk

Correctionmake that fired Huffington Post blogger Mike Elk, and here’s why: Elk, a 24-year-old freelance labor journalist, used his press credentials to get labor union demonstrators unauthorized access to a Mortgage Bankers Association event, where they  protested and disrupted the proceedings. He gave his credentials to one of the union organizers. Continue reading