Missing the Point

It is absolutely a tragedy what happened at the Empire State Building. Who can possibly predict that a guy who was laid off almost a year ago would come back and start shooting? Nevertheless, I’d like to digress for a moment to point out that it’s a lot safer to never hire a nutcase than to have to fire one. Screen your employees before you hire them, people.

So then let’s get into the nitty gritty, starting with this opinion piece talking about how NYPD officers use great restraint:

As a rule, it takes a lot to get NYPD officers to fire their guns at anyone. Despite a handful of isolated, but highly publicized, exceptions to this rule when officers have shot unarmed individuals over the past decade and a half, New York’s 35,000-officer force remains a worldwide model of firearms restraint and veneration for human life.


In rapidly unfolding and completely unpredictable situations, assessing the need to use firearms is often a split-second decision. It can mean the difference between life and death. Officers have to sift through confusion, fear and fragmented information.

In the incident outside of the Empire State Building, it is made more difficult because the street is one of the busiest in America. The officers had to take into account the risk of the gunman hurting potentially many people in the vicinity were he not stopped.

Look, nobody sane is disputing that they had to make sure this guy didn’t hurt anybody else. The man pulled his gun out and was clearly intending to shoot at the cops. This wasn’t a place to experiment with a taser.  What were they supposed to do, offer to buy him a latte and talk for a while??

The problem is not that NYPD had to shoot this guy. The problem is that out of the 16 shots fired, 3 hit the perp. All 9 innocent bystanders were shot by the cops trying to “protect” them.

Take aim at the real problem: aim.

In Closing: It’s the jobs, stupid; the important question is the one about whether his mom was born in Kansas; if no blacks support Romney and a minority of women and Hispanics and people under 35 support him, how can the polls possibly be as close as they’ve been? Are there really that many angry old racist men?; school internet safety; yep (so why are these guys still married?); if Republicans get their way, be ready for $10,000 per ounce gold; abused by the system; fake world leaders; can’t make this up; trash can babies; ok, but Goldman didn’t make the drought happen; over 20 serial rapists in Detroit so far; scary; probably not what life is like in Russia; and the old man speaks the truth.

Senate Republicans Acting Like Toddlers

Or, Senate Decides its Just Fine to be a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Fortune 500 and Special Interests.

Seriously. The Senate voted 57 to 41 on largely party lines to defeat what Harry Reid called “a bill whose principles both parties once supported and that 9 in 10 Americans want us to pass,” despite the fact that none other than the Supreme Court encouraged Congress to clarify the law on required disclosure of political donations.

Color me disgusted. They are in effect saying “NO! I want candy for dinner and you can’t stop me!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the disclosure requirements shouldn’t have loopholes for the NRA or unions. Then again, I honestly think you should have to demonstrate that you can actually legally vote for a candidate to give them money! Still, this act was a lot better than nothing. And as for Senator Snowe’s criticism that it was written too fast? How quickly she forgets how fast the mammoth pile of legislation known as the PATRIOT Act was passed. Where were her objections to swift legislative answers to problems then? Oh yeah, buried under a blanket of largely unfounded fear that the terrorists were going to try to get us again any moment now.

Got a Republican Senator? Remember come November.

In Closing: Goldman shows us where the money went; next time somebody talks about how great it would be to gamble invest Social Security money in the stock market, remember these 10 stock market myths from, of all places, the Wall Street Journal; No, I do not want bacon in my martini!; Susie‘s right again; “The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money.”; employees becoming as mercenary as their bosses (no wonder); housing consolidation; “Document Leak May Hurt Efforts to Build War Support” (no really? D’ya think??); open letter to Lindsay Lohan from the ACLU; Angle Update; health insurance and small business; and a pile of big yellow dinosaurs that won’t die.

Oklahoma Shitbowl

I do try to avoid unnecessary profanity, but what Oklahoma is doing is profane.

Maybe by now you have heard that any woman unfortunate enough to be pregnant in Oklahoma will find great obstacles to her care. For one thing, her doctor is allowed to lie to her about whether he has reason to believe there are fetal anomalies that will become birth defects. After all, she may decide that carrying a baby who will die soon after birth or require expensive, time monopolizing care is not something she wants to do. To some people, that makes her a “selfish slut,” but to most people that makes her “normal.”

Moreover, any woman seeking an abortion in Oklahoma will have to get an ultrasound, look at the pictures, and listen to a description of the embryo or fetus. And fill out a privacy-invading questionnaire. No exceptions for victims of rape, incest, or women who already know there is something seriously wrong with the embryo/fetus.

The ever brilliant (and very sarcastic) Digby points out how this bill will fail:

Sure the dumb bitches can’t be allowed to make their own decisions about taking on a lifetime of care or consider implications for their own health and well being. What the silly little twits don’t know won’t hurt them, right? But you’d think that the important members of society like insurance companies and employers would have a stake in something like this.

Here’s the thing. Failing to note fetal abnormalities on the ultrasound and still billing the insurance company is called fraud. Fraud, unlike medical malpractice, is a criminal offense. Do that to a patient whose care is paid for under a Federal program and it’s a federal crime with federal time. Fine, Doc can’t be sued for malpractice; he can go to prison instead.

Doc is also subject to ethics rules, and those would include telling patients the truth. Doc can lose his license if someone makes an ethics complaint with the state board of medical examiners.

If enough big employers lose enough Edna Employees to the care of severely disabled babies, they will find a way to sue doctors who hid those conditions. After all, big employers often have an entire legal department. And that would fall under general liability rather than med-mal.

So believe it or not, I think the insurance companies will provide the work-around for this. Remember that under the health insurance reform that was just passed, they can’t exclude children with pre-existing conditions. They have a vested interest in preventing severely disabled babies from being in their pool of insureds. What they will do is insist that ultrasounds be done in an independent imaging facility — not the doctor’s office or an affiliated facility — and insist that a full copy of the report be provided both to them and the mother-to-be. This will outrage obstetricians because they make good money on ultrasounds and the equipment is not cheap.

Oh well, maybe they should have objected to this bill before it became law.

In Closing Arizona Update: the smartest thing you are likely to read about illegal immigration this week; let the lawsuits begin; polls, demographics, and the future; boycotts are already underway; even some prominent Republicans think Arizona has gone too far; gee, who could have seen harassment of day laborers coming??; Hispanics vow to fight this law.

In Closing For Real This Time: Tell us what you really think about Goldman Sachs, Barry! (And why doesn’t your blog read like this? Maybe you should dictate your posts); high school graduates going to college rather than competing in the dismal job market, but does anybody really believe that 70% of the jobs that will be available in 4 years needs a college degree?; a security expert from one of the most secure airports in the world calls full-body scanners a waste of money; The Vaccine War; America doesn’t rule the world and shouldn’t be allowed to say what other nation’s product labels can include; reduce the deficit by expanding Medicare; get rid of “too big to fail”; and finally, if you are in a position to do something nice for J.P., please do.