Believe It or Not

Mitch Daniels is the outgoing Governor of Indiana and the incoming President of Purdue University. I find it amazing that Daniels has negotiated a compensation arrangement that is based on the performance of clear cut goals. Those include: graduation rates, student affordability, faculty hiring and achievement, and philanthropic support. If Daniels meets all of his goals, and collects a 30% bonus, he will still be ranked tenth in compensation among the Big Ten Presidents (See Wall Street Journal, Jan. 9, 2013, page A12).

According to the Journal, “nationwide the number of [academic] bureaucrats has increased ten times faster over the last decade than people hired to do the actual teaching and research.” At Purdue over the past eleven years, the number of administrators has increased 62% while the number of professors increased by only 8%.

Is it surprising that our American student loan debt is now over one trillion dollars? Mitch Daniels deserves a gold medal for placing the financial wellbeing of Purdue above his own.

Unprepared to Teach?

Randi Weingarten, the President of the American Federation of Teachers wrote an Op ed. piece in the Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2012, entitled “How About a Bar Exam for Teachers?”. Her proposal was to require teachers to pass a certification exam before allowing them into the classroom, for which, in most cases, they are ill prepared for success. The next day in the Journal there were several letters to the editor ranging from mild approval to strong opposition.

I have never been a fan of Ms. Weingarten’s “take no prisoners” approach to union leadership, but I do believe she has made an important suggestion. Teachers who are fresh out of college are not prepared to handle students effectively without improved training. If they had to pass a Teaching Bar Exam, this would force colleges to modify their curriculum to accomplish a higher level of preparation.

Another goal that could be achieved would be to include as a significant section of the exam, the demonstration of the ability to teach ethics. The missing element in our school systems is the teaching of ethics to our future political leaders, as well as our potential leaders in every other aspect of our American society.

Misconduct in the Military

In my book, “Ethical Meltdown,” I did not cover the military in order to limit the book to two hundred pages. However, in light of the news that hit the media after my publication date, it is clear that the lack of ethics in the military is part of our national moral disintegration.
General Petraeus, the Commander in Afghanistan, and until recently, Director of the CIA, made news all over the world because of his affair with Paula Broadwell and his emails to her. We then learned that Marine General John Allen, presently the top commander in Afghanistan, had emailed between 20-30,000 pages to his girlfriend, Tampa Socialite Jill Kelley.  Both men are married and not to these women!
Next we find out that the US Air Force is taking broad measures to prevent sexual misconduct against female recruits during basic training. The Air Force said it had identified twenty-three instructors that had unprofessional relationships with, or committed sexual assaults against forty-eight trainees. Five of the instructors have been court-martialed and convicted, and one staff sergeant was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Apparently, this conduct has been going on for some time, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Obviously there is an epidemic of unethical behavior that is reaching staggering proportions in our military, which only reflects the country as a whole.
This unethical conduct is only a small part of the military story. A growing number of career soldiers have confessed to siphoning millions of dollars from defense contractors in Iraq and Kuwait. Stay tuned for my next blog.

Birth of a Book

Thursday, October 11, 2012 was a special day. At 1:30 p.m. a Conway Truck pulled up in front of our home in Scottsdale and delivered several cartons of my book “Ethical Meltdown.” Interestingly, the driver’s name was Frazier.

After two years of thinking, outlining and writing this book, I now know how women feel at the birth of their first child. It was truly an exhilarating experience. But now comes the second challenge of marketing the product that looks so appealing with its well-designed cover, and content that will inform and educate my readers.

Most important, I hope you will agree with my solutions to recovering the vanishing values that we once had, thus diminishing the negative influences that have infected our society over the past decades.

“World Peace” Misnamed

Metta World Peace, better known as Ron Artest has played professional basketball for twelve years and for a number of different teams. In several of those years, he was suspended for a variety of different violations of basketball rules, plus a number of off-court embarrassing legal issues. His most famous suspension occurred in November 2004 when he charged into the stands to beat up a man who supposedly did something that irritated him. As it turned out, he beat up the wrong man and was suspended for 86 games, the longest suspense in NBA history.

In a playoff game several weeks ago, Artest who is strong as a bull, swung his elbow into the side of the head of James Harden, a star player of the Oklahoma Thunder and then walked away pounding his chest as if to say “I am the King of this Court and will do whatever I decide to do regardless of the consequences.” Harden suffered a concussion and had to leave that game. The next blow could have killed him.

The commissioner of basketball suspended Artest for seven games. He should have been suspended from the league for life! Enough is enough. The NBA does not need a terrorist masquerading as “World Peace.”

Intentionally Injuring Football Players Needs to Stop

In my forthcoming book, Ethical Meltdown, I indicated that the most serious scandal to rock the sports world in the past twelve years was the use of illegal performance enhancers (steroids and other drugs) by players. Today, I am not so sure that was the most serious scandal after learning that some professional football coaches were paying bonuses to their defensive players to intentionally knock opponent players out of the game.

New Orleans defensive coordinator Greg Williams established a bounty system for the last three years that offered $1,500 for a total knockout and $1,000 if the player had to be carried off the field. If the “knockout” or “carry-off” occurred during the playoffs, the awards doubled or tripled in size.

This is exactly what happened to Kurt Warner in 2009 and Brett Favre playing against the New Orleans Saints bounty hunters. Warner’s injury was so serious, he never played another game in the NFL.

Fran Tarkington, an outstanding quarterback in the NFL for eighteen years, argues that Greg Williams should never be seen in the NFL again. But, what about New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis, both of whom know about the bounties but do not stop them? In fairness, the penalties for all three should be the same. In my view, it should be immediate termination and no chance to be rehired in the NFL for at least two years.

 

Another Public Figure Scandal

Often, the most amazing source of bad behavior occurs in your own city or state. In this instance, the news emanated from Tucson, Arizona.
Paul Babeu has been Sheriff of Pinal County and has established a strong reputation in attempting to keep our border with Mexico safe from illegal immigrants and dangerous drug gangs. Now Sheriff Babeu is now running for Congress. An illegal immigrant who was a male campaign assistant to Babeu went public that he had a sexual relationship with the sheriff. He further alleged that Babeu threatened him with deportation if he revealed this relationship.
Much like Representative Weiner from New York, Babeu had partially dressed pictures of himself with his male friend on the internet.Sheriff Babeu now complains that he is being targeted for being gay. Rather, he is being targeted for bad judgment and hypocritical behavior.
My advice to the sheriff is: write a letter of apology to your constituents and campaign staff and then resign as a Congressional candidate and as Sheriff of Pinal County. You have lost your credibility.

Google’s $500 Million Settlement

According to the Wall St. Journal (11/25/12), Google was caught in a criminal sting operation that the company recently settled for $500 million. Question: Was the punishment enough when top Google executives were knowingly involved?

Larry Page, Google’s Chief Executive admitted in a U.S. Attorney investigation, that he knew the pharmaceutical ads on Google websites were illegal. Those websites were not licensed pharmacies, but were selling such narcotics as oxycodone and hydrocodone. it was also discovered that a Google sales office in China was selling Prozac and Valium to U.S. customers without a prescription.

Further, it was found in an investigation by Consumer Watchdog that a large number of companies selling loan modification schemes on Google were fraudulent. In November 2011, the Troubled Asset Relief Program said it had shut down 85 alleged online modification schemes that defrauded homeowners through Google ads.

In light of the above facts, was the Google punishment adequate? I would vote “no.” A half billion dollars is a large forfeiture, but Google presently holds cash of $45 billion. Secondly, purchasers of illegal drugs could cause serious harm to the health of sick online customers. Third, I doubt the punishment will deter other online sellers who will probably continue pushing illicit drugs.

Welcome to Ethical Meltdown

Welcome to Ethical Meltdown. The purpose of this site is to provide commentaries on vanishing ethical values in America. It seems so apparent that ethics in this country are melting away like a glacier. Just look at Wall Street, for example. The ethical base of Americans  is quickly crumbling in just about every facet of our society…business, legal, media, medical, political, education and sports.

In this book, Frazer explores the major portions of our society and what’s happening to our ethical behavior. Simply knowing about the trend of ethical behavior is not the answer, but, instead, it is only significant if we look at how we can change our behavior through our education system.

I have written a book that details many examples of the vanishing values in America, and plan to provide commentary and blogged articles on this site.