Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SAVE Act: The Follow Up

As usual on such matters, the hat tip goes to Numbers USA. They are all over such matters. Here is the latest coming from them.

Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC) is expected to introduce the Secure America with Verification and Enforcement Act (SAVE Act) November 5th. NumbersUSA
believes this immigration enforcement-only bill is just the vehicle to give us a chance to pass immigration legislation through the Democrat-controlled Congress that would actually improve the lives of most Americans.

Your Democratic U.S. Representative could quickly improve his/her immigration-reduction grade (click here to his/her see ABI gradecard) by becoming an original co-sponsor of the SAVE Act. He/she needs to hear from you TODAY. Call your representative and urge him/her to sign on as an original cosponsor to this important legislation, which would immediately begin to reduce the magnet for illegal immigration.

Once again, the SAVE Act would create a system where each employer can verify the status of each and every employee and potential employee. My main potential problem with this bill is that it sounds good in theory but may wind up being a scary monstrocity in practice. This bill would no doubt create another massive government bureaucracy and that almost never works. I want to hear some details about how this will be addressed, however that is what a full and fair debate is for, and everyone should be for that. Here are some more details.

We know Attrition Through Enforcement works because, in states that have passed tough new laws to penalize employers of and deny public benefits to illegal aliens, the illegal aliens began to move out of those states, often before the new laws are even implemented. As it currently stands, almost 200,000 illegal aliens self-deport from the United States every year, but imagine how many more would leave if our government refused to award illegal aliens another amnesty, mandated all employers to verify a person’s eligibility to work here, cracked down on identity fraud and enabled local police to easily transfer illegal aliens in their custody to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Among many detailed border security provisions stressing more agents and better technology at minimal operating costs, the SAVE Act would: increase border patrol agents by 8,000, utilize new technology and fencing to secure the border; expand specialized enforcement programs, such as the "Tunnel Task Force"; and, address the "jobs magnet" by strengthening The Employment Verification Program (E-Verify) to close security gaps, address loopholes, and make it mandatory for employers.

The E-Verify program provides employers with an inexpensive, quick, and accurate way to verify employee eligibility. E-Verify has already achieved tremendous success, but is currently voluntary and offers little incentive for employers to participate. This puts users at an economic disadvantage when it is only being used by a fraction of U.S. employers and competitors continue to hire illegal aliens.

Last, but not least, the SAVE Act would address interior enforcement by employing more ICE agents, training additional state and local law enforcement personnel, and expediting the removal of illegal aliens by expanding detention capacity and increasing the number of Federal District Court Judges. Furthermore, this legislation would begin a targeted media campaign to inform illegal aliens of new laws and penalties, while also informing employers of penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.

Again, this all sounds great in theory and I hope it can be worked out but it needs to be debated fully first. The political dynamics on this are very interesting. While Shuler is a Democrat, he is also a Blue Dog, or quite moderate. The far left hates the Blue Dogs almost as much as they hate the Republicans. Don't look for any Soros disciples in Congress to back this up. They won't need to if the Reps get behind it in unison, but since he is still a Democrat, will they allow politics to trump policy? Only time will tell if that will happen. Please go here, find your representative and let them know that this bill needs a full and fair hearing.


Here is my email to my Representative Rahm Emanuel.


Your colleague Heath Shuler is about to present the SAVE Act on the floor of the House within a week. This bill creates a system in which every employer can identify the status of everyone of their employees,. I think we finally have some sensible legislation with a lot of potential to do some real good in ridding this country of the Cancer of illegal immigration. More than once I believe your party has played politics with this issue rather than looking to make good policy. A couple weeks ago your Senate colleagues voted against making cities like ours, sanctuary cities, illegal. All but one Democrat voting against this bill. That is frankly reprehensible.

I don't know if the Democratic leadership is pandering to the Hispanics, trying to create a new base of current illegals, or simply bowing down to your puppetmaster, George Soros. Either way, your party has shown that it is more interested in compassion for law breakers than it is for the rule of law. I hope that will change with this bill.

This bill is being introduced by a fellow Democrat. I have one major problem with this bill. It appears to create a new huge government bureaucracy and that is almost never good. I believe with the proper debate this can be addressed and resolved. I hope that as a leader in your party and in the House in general, you will show that leadership in doing your part to make sure that this bill gets the debate it needs.

Now, it is your turn to do the same.

Rudy The Enigma

Only Hillary Clinton is more hyperanalyzed as a politician than Rudy Giuliani. It irks and confuses the talking heads and pundits that given his record on social issues, three divorces, and Northeast roots he continues to lead in the Republican field. The analysis is almost always absurd and from time to time, as I have pointed out, it is nothing more than a hatchet job. Once in a while the analysis is excellent like this piece by Tom Bevan and this one by Michael Barone, but most is nonsensical garbage. Speaking of garbage we have this piece from the Politico entitled, Right Fears Giuliani with Good Reason. Make no mistake, there are plenty of nervous folks on the right in lieu of a Giuliani candidacy, and many of those fears are addressed in the article, even so the article is no less garbage.

The punditry could never understand Rudy's appeal among Republicans. I remember Dick Morris professing in March that Rudy was only leading because his stances on the social issues hadn't yet been made public. I found this to be a peculiar statement then given Rudy's star power and celebrity. It turned out to be one of Morris' worst predictions because Rudy continues to lead seven months later despite all of the supposed baggage. Now, either people still don't know about his divorces and socially liberal stances or they just don't care as much as the punditry thinks or wants them to care.

As his candidacy went from pipe dream to reality, the analysis shifted. Now, most of the pundits wonder what his candidacy will do to the party. The real answer is no one knows. For instance, George Bush running as a compassionate conservative did nothing to the party. On the other hand, when compassionate turned into big government programs, that turned off much of the fiscal conservative base. The same goes with Rudy. His stances on abortion and gay marriage are not the issue. His policies will be.

If Rudy chooses liberal judges a la Ruth Ginsberg and promotes a legislative agenda that is friendly to Planned Parenthood, then that would tear the party apart. On the other hand, if Giuliani picks strict constructionist judges, like he has promised ad nauseum, and focuses his agenda on lower taxes, crime fighting and the GWOT, then the party will be fine. So, while the pundits and talking heads choose to focus on the liberal end of his personality, Rudy has chosen to focus on the Conservative things he wants to accomplish. Here are Rudy's 12 commitments.

I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us.

I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation.

I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.

I will impose accountability on Washington.

I will lead America towards energy independence.

I will give Americans more control over, and access to, healthcare with affordable and portable free-market solutions.

I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.

I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges.

I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.

I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.

Granted some of these are vague, however, nowhere in any of these commitments is anything that would turn off any SoCon or Conservative of any stripe. Thus, if Rudy, as he always does, sticks to accomplishing these narrow set of goals, the Republican Party will not only survive a Giuliani Presidency but thrive as a result of it.

Politico, on the other hand, has decided to pre empt any policy initiatives and moves immediately to a political civil war. I pick it up here.

Others take a longer view. If Giuliani wins the nomination and the presidency, it will be very difficult for him not to dilute the Republican Party’s anti-abortion image, even if he does not intend to.

For starters, the media will portray a Giuliani win as a victory for the right to choose and the final defeat of the religious right. The GOP is filled with politicians who oppose abortion only because it is the path of least resistance. President Giuliani would alleviate the pressure. Republicans who aspire to the presidency have always been well-advised to become anti-abortion. A Giuliani defeat of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would advertise that such conversions are no longer required.

A Republican office seeker will be able to offer less to anti-abortion voters. If anti-abortion activists complain, the candidate can always point to President Giuliani. Giuliani would also make it more difficult for Republicans to bring up social issues in future elections.

There is so much wrong with this analysis that I don't know where to begin. First, the Republican base has about as much use for the narrative of the MSM as Brittney Spears has for twelve step programs. While the rest of the country long ago convinced itself that Iraq was lost, poll after poll had the Republican base supporting the war fairly overwhelmingly. Second, Rudy is a unique politician the likes of which this country may never see again. He may very well be able to run as a socially liberal Republican and win but that will not necessarily make it the conventional wisdom.

There is no doubt that SoCons will take a hit if Rudy wins. So what. This won't be the first time a niche group took a hit. How come sports teams everywhere can take embarrassing losses and come back to fight another day, while political movements see doom every time they lose? If the SoCons want to stay relevant in the Republican Party then their best option is to find a quality candidate that fits their ideals to run in upcoming elections.

The smear job on Rudy continues with this.

A Giuliani nomination would be revealing in two ways. First, it would show
where social conservatives’ concerns really sit on the Republican agenda.
Economic conservatives haven’t allowed election-year concessions to allay their
concerns about Arizona Sen. John McCain or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s fiscal records.

Does the religious right care about abortion less than economic conservatives care about campaign finance reform or Arkansas’ gas tax?

It will also reveal whether those who speak on behalf of “values voters” know what they are talking about. Giuliani has previously donated money to Planned Parenthood, praised Margaret Sanger and advocated taxpayer-funded abortion. He remains in support of abortion rights and in favor of domestic partnerships.

If he can still attract the values vote with this record, almost any Republican can.

The Politico sees the SoCons as this monolithic group that uses abortion as a litmus test. They aren't and abortion is NOT a litmus test for all of them. Besides the issue of abortion, there is plenty for SoCons to get excited about with a Rudy nomination. He cleaned up the streets of New York City and made them safe for families again. Politico may not realize that too is important to SoCons, but it is. He stood up when an artist attempted to display a sacreligious painting in a New York public exhibit. Abortions decreased and adoptions increased while he was mayor as well. None of these things are lost on SoCons anymore than his well publicized stance on abortion. Yet, they are never mentioned when discussing his candidacy or his effect on the party.

As Power Line once astutely pointed out vis a vis SoCons

It's possible that a group of social conservatives could support a fringe third-party candidate--Gary Bauer, say, as the nominee of the Constitution Party--and it's certain that a few social conservatives would stay home if the Republicans nominate Giuliani or, perhaps, Romney or McCain. That number would be about equal, in my opinion, to the number of anti-war zealots who would stay home rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.

Contrary to the assumption of many liberals, religious conservatives (a group in which I include myself) are not stupid. As President, Rudy Giuliani would nominate judges who will support rather than usurp the Constitution. That's the only significant role the President plays with respect to social issues. James Dobson et al. wish that they controlled the Republican Party, and Salon wishes they controlled it, too. But they don't.

Politico not only misreads Rudy's candidacy but the motives of the SoCons as well as primary politics in general.

Their anti-Giuliani campaign has already yielded one practical result: It has forced the Republican front-runner further to the right on social issues than ever seemed likely. Giuliani has gone from supporting taxpayer-funded abortion to pledging to veto attempts to weaken the Hyde Amendment. He has gone from opposing a “partial-birth” abortion ban to being in favor of one. He has gone from outspokenly opposing a constitutional amendment to block same-sex marriage to saying he would consider one if the courts interfere with the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

This is wrong on so many levels. First, SoCons like every other niche group has as its only goal to convince everyone else to see the world the way they do. They aren't happy just to see a candidate pay homage to them on a couple issues but rather to see a candidate that agrees with them on their core. The far left is not happy merely seeing Hillary Clinton backing off sanctions with Iran. They want promises that the war will end the day she is inaugurated. None of these groups are playing to win sometimes, but all the time.

Second, it is a well established fact that all candidates on each side, run to the edges in the primaries and in the middle in the general election. Politico is acting as though Rudy taking on some new Conservative ideals is somehow different than any Presidential candidate appealing to the so called base during the primaries.

Finally, I should mention that Politico slipped in that dig about Rudy contributing to Planned Parenthood. There is absolutely no analytical value in that fact and Politico knows it. They could only hope to create the sort of negative visceral reaction that such a thing would cause with many card carrying members of the party. Planned Parenthood is a long time adversary of most Republicans and Politico plays on that. It won't work. Anyone who decides to vote against Rudy simply based on that knowledge was never going to vote for him in the first place.

What strikes me about this analysis as well as most vis a vis Rudy is what they all miss: leadership and effectiveness. Those are the reasons that I am supporting him and the reasons that many others are. People seem to have a lot of trouble understanding his candidacy when really it is very simple. Presidents need to most of all be leaders and be effective and in this race on those two fronts, one candidate stands out.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

L.O.S.T Coming Up For a Vote

I have to admit ignorance vis a vis the L.O.S.T. treaty. Thus, my go to guy is Mark "Snooper" Harvey over at Take Our Country Back. The vote is coming and L.O.S.T. threatens our sovereignty and sounds like exactly the sort of thing that George Soros would love.

Theoretically, all we need is for 34 Senators to be against this retarded "treaty" for it to be quietly removed from the Senate calendar.Get on the phones...jam the email servers.JUST SAY, "HELL NO!" TO GIVING AWAY OUR SOVEREIGNTY AND NATIONAL SECURITY to a defective, defunct and waste of an organization such as the United Nations. The ONLY thing the United Nations is united for is to be against the United States.Paul Weyrich has a must read column at Townhall. We have until 11/1/2007 to swamp our Senators as we did with the Shamnesty deal.Get off your rumps and make your voices heard!Cliff Kincaid has an article at The August Review as well and it also is a must read.

Can the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Treaty not only be delayed but defeated outright in the Senate? That's the question that conservatives are delightfully pondering as a remarkable series of events has put the pact, supported by the Bush Administration and the liberal leadership in the Senate, in serious jeopardy. Perhaps the most significant development is the announcement by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that he will oppose the White House and vote against the treaty.As opponents of the treaty make their case in advertisements and on cable TV and talk radio, Republican senators are increasingly hearing from their constituents that they don't want the treaty ratified because it will undermine American Sovereignty and hand more power over to the United Nations.[...]Read the two articles and I also have a herd of pieces on LOST right here.

Dr. Andy: The Follow Up

I will give a very big hat tip to Pharma Fraud. Last week, I published a piece on Dr. Andrew Agwunobi. Dr. Agwunobi has had quite a wild professional ride in the last few years. He took over a subpar hospital in Atlanta called South Fulton and two years later, under his leadership, the hospital went from being merely subpar to failing the standards of the governing board. He then moved onto Grady Hospital, the biggest hospital in Georgia and one of the biggest in the Southeast, and within about a year the HHS finished an investigation of that hospital. The findings concluded this,

an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of the patients.

Despite a pattern of incompetence or corruption or both, Dr. Andy moved on cross country to run a chain of hospitals in California called St. Joseph's. Despite moving cross country to California, his stint there was short, only about a year, though it is unclear why he left such a lucrative position.

I picked up the story with Dr. Andy now in charge of the AHCA in Florida, which is a government bureau who's job it is to provide quality health care to the poor.

Pharma Fraud found another employer in between St. Joseph's and the AHCA. They pick it up here.

Last December, Andrew Agwunobi ended a brief stint on WellCare's board to become the top healthcare regulator in the company's home state of Florida . Agwunobi now leads the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which has partnered with the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit - a participant in last week's raid on WellCare - in an effort to stamp out corporate wrongdoing.

Agwunobi foreshadowed things to come, when on Friday October 19, just 5 days before the WellCare raid, he said in a Miami press conference that he commissioned a tough new look at fraud when he took over as secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration. ''We targeted South Florida,'' he said, "the area with the single largest amount of Medicaid fraud in the country.''

Agwunobi declared that it was now ''open-season'' on anyone committing Medicaid fraud in South Florida. (More Medicaid fraud suspected in S. Fla.)

Here is the most interesting part from Pharma,

Upon leaving WellCare, Agwunobi cashed out options and stocks for a $1 Million profit.

Let's review what Pharma has uncovered. Dr. Andy left a fairly short stint at St. Joseph's to take on another fairly short stint at WelCare. After six months, he leaves and simultaneously cashes out about a million dollars in options. He moves to a position in the state government, and promptly turns around and begins an investigation of the very organization he just lef.

There are three words and phrases that come to mind when reading this: conflict of interest, appearance of impropriety, and in spades. This makes five employers in under six years for Agwunobi and the circumstances of his departures from all of them is well peculiar. Maybe someone in Florida can start asking some questions about his fitness for his job.

Hillary's Grown Up Foreign Policy?

I have made it one of my missions as a blogger to find as many incidents of MSM bias and expose them. The most egregious example came with this hatchet job that masqueraded as political analysis of Rudy Giuliani from a Midland, Texas paper. The Washington Post shows its bias in many ways however burying good stories about Iraq while highlighting negative ones on the front page is one of their favorites. In fact, the bias can be so overwhelming that reporters will openly admit that when combat deaths fall in Iraq they don't consider it news but when they rise that is news.

Which brings me to this puff piece entitled Foreign Policy Grown Up about Hillary Clinton's supposed acumen in foreign policy. In reality, her acumen is measured against the rest of the Democratic field. There were a couple of questions that came to mind when I read this piece. The first is who is paying this guy's salary, and the second is who is paying that person's salary.

The thesis of the piece is that unlike her rivals Clinton bucked the far left and voted for sanctions against Iran.

Begin with the Iran debate. All the Democratic presidential hopefuls know that a nuclear Iran is scary. They know that the Europeans have been patiently negotiating with Iran to secure a freeze of its program and that the Iranians have been stalling. But Clinton is the only Democratic candidate who unequivocally embraces the obvious next step: Push hard for the sanctions that might change Iran's calculations. Unlike all her opponents, Clinton supported a pro-sanctions resolution in the Senate. Ever since that vote, Obama and the rest have attacked her mercilessly.

He then goes into a long winded explanation of the extreme pacifist philosophy of the far left. He also explains how sanctions do not mean a rush to war. Now, while I am happy that the Senator voted for sanction against Iran, it is hardly something that should be commended. In fact, by design or accident, Mallanby actually exposes the amazing power and radical agenda of the far left. I would say that slapping sanctions on Iran isn't courageous but rather obvious.

Let's go over what Iran has done just in the last year or so. They are responsible for the alphabet soup of explosive devices blowing up soldiers in Iraq. They started a proxy war in Lebanon with Israel. They went into international waters grabbed fifteen british sailors and held them hostage for propaganda purposes. They started another proxy war in the Palestinian territories. Wait, oh yeah, I haven't even talked about the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. Now, Mr. Mallaby thinks we should be impressed because Hillary Clinton rounded up the sense and courage to actually vote for sanctions against this country.

I am reminded of the pinnacle scene in Quiz Show. Right after Van Doren confesses to his deeds the Senators one after another praise his candor, honesty and courage. Finally, one Senator brings things back some sanity.

I'm happy that you've made the statement. But I cannot agree with most of my colleagues. See, I don't think an adult of your intellegence should be commended for simply, at long last, telling the truth.

The same way here I don't think Hillary Clinton should be commended for doing what anyone with any intelligence can see is the sensible and obvious thing to do. Like the Senator, I am happy that she voted for the sanctions, but slapping sanctions on a country that has committed dozens of acts of war all over the Middle East just in the last year isn't corageous or "grown up" but obvious.

Mallaby then goes on to laud Clinton's position on Iraq.

Clinton's rivals are contemplating history and deriving only a narrow lesson about Bush: Don't trust him when he confronts a Muslim country. But the larger, more durable lesson from Iraq is that wars can be caused by a lack of confrontation. The Iraq invasion happened partly because the world had lost the stomach to confront Saddam Hussein by other means. By 2002, the sanctions on Hussein's regime had been diluted, and there was pressure to weaken them further. Hussein was no longer "in his box," to use the language of the time: If you believed that a resurgent Saddam Hussein presented an intolerable threat, it was worth taking the risk of unseating him by force, sooner rather than later.

Alone among the Democratic candidates, Clinton has the honesty to insist that the case for war was reasonable at the time -- even if, with the benefit of hindsight, the invasion has proved disastrous. In sticking to that politically difficult position, Clinton is saying that, despite its awful risks, war can sometimes be the least bad choice. She is not running away from military power, even in a political climate that makes running attractive.

To this, I am not even sure what he is impressed with and frankly I don't care. Mallaby is a Bush hater, and he says as much.

Bush's record is disastrous, and on an emotional level, Bush hatred is understandable. But what we need in the next president is a vision of the world that's not distorted by the bitterness of recent times: a vision that accepts the limits of military force but also acknowledges that Americans face real threats, that feckless foreign powers can sometimes make the ideal of multilateralism unattainable and that war can sometimes be the least bad option.

He appears to be impressed by Clinton because despite her hate she has enough sense to slap sanctions on Iran and see sense for war at times. Frankly, the article is derelict not only in what it says, but frankly what it doesn't say. For all of the grown up talk, Mallaby doesn't seem to mention the multiple and muddled positions Hillary has on both Iraq and Iran.

In July, Clinton called Obama naive for suggesting he would negotiate with Iran with no pre conditions, but by October she was herself saying she would also negotiate with Iran with no conditions. As Rudy Giuliani rightly pointed out, Clinton refused whether or not Israel has the right to defend herself against Iran, and Clinton is not clear as to whether or not war is ultimately also an option for her own administration when dealing with Iran.

On Iraq her position is even more muddled, in the beginning of the year she was strenuously in favor of pulling out of Iraq as soon as possible.As we've come to the second half of the year, she has suddenly taken the position that she can't promise all forces will be out of Iraq by 2013. This continues a long and tortured evolution for Clinton on Iraq. Hillary Clinton was enthusiastically behind the effort. As the war turned for the worse, and public opinion turned for the worse, she turned against the war as well. She's even claimed that her vote for the Authorization to Use Military force in Iraq wasn't an authorization for military force but rather more diplomacy.

None of these shifting and muddle positions is ever addressed by Mallaby when he calls Clinton a grown up. In Mallaby's world, changing your position as often as the weather changes is perfectly fine and still being a grown up as long as you can muster up the good sense to vote for sanctions against Iran.

Finally, I would like to draw a metaphor. In my fantasy football league, every year all the teams that don't make the playoffs play in their own pseudo playoffs that we call the toilet bowl. Now, no one is lauded for winning the toilet bowl, we just all love fantasy football and want everyone to play as long as possible. To say that Hillary Clinton is the "grown up" among the Democrats vis a vis foreign policy is really the equivalent of congratulating the toilet bowl winner in fantasy football.

Let me end my analysis of Mallaby's piece with one word. I will clean it up since this is a family show and simply say: bolderdash.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What if John Gotti Headed Up the Task Force To Stop the Mafia

Robert Brown's tenure as head trustee for Grady Hospital is eventful for sure. Upon taking over in the mid 1990's the hospital faced a series of issues from budget problems, to corruption, to egregiously poor health care. In 1998, Grady Hospital settled with the state of Georgia for $4.5 million dollars in a suit of Medicare fraud. The investigation covered four years and several of those involved the tenure of Robert Brown. While the Attorney General found no criminal violations, the sheer number of the settlement speaks for itself. Had this been the only run in with the law that Grady had under his tenure, it frankly wouldn't be an issue. It wasn't though. The most egregious case of criminality came when State Senator Charles Walker was charged with 137 separate offenses and convicted of 127 of those counts. (unbelievably Walker, his daughter and the companies they ran were the only ones charged or convicted) Grady was one of a handful of hospitals that was the target of much of this criminality.

This criminality began in the late 1990's and lasted all the way until his indictment in 2002. As I have already pointed out, a source told me that the chief prosecution witness, Joyce Harris, accused Robert Brown of several incendiary crimes along with pointing a huge finger at Walker. Harris accused Brown of such things as witness intimidation and accepting sexual favors for contracts at Grady. Harris is not the only one to point the finger at Robert Brown as far as corruption goes. Here is what Ron Marshall of the Grady Coalition had to say about Robert Brown, (from an article emailed to me. I can't seem to locate it online)

It was Robert Brown who insisted that no-bid contracts be given to former Senator Charles Walker, who is now serving ten years in prison for 127 felonies, many of which were committed at Grady with Brown's knowledge.

Furthermore, I am holding onto a 223 page report filed with the Dekalb Ethics Committee that charged Robert Brown with among other things: quid pro quos, retaliation, kickbacks, and obstruction of justice.

Since corruption doesn't exist in a vacuum, Brown's tenure was often met with financial woes. While the current financial woes facing Grady are the most extreme they have ever been, this is not the first time Grady has faced financial turmoil. For instance, here is how things looked in 2001 for Grady.

Board members of the state's largest public hospital want to know how the struggling charity-care provider plans to dig itself out of deepening financial trouble.

Grady Memorial Hospital's 10-member board is scheduled to meet July 23 to, in part, review recent audit results showing the hospital suffered a $17.2 million loss last year and is now operating in the red.

"We were told [Grady] would have an $8 million shortfall this year and that [CEO Edward Renford] would come up with a proposal in July to fix it," said board member Bill Loughrey.

Grady leaders have remained tight-lipped about specific plans for a recovery, but a spokesperson for the hospital said discussions are under way and that any changes would be cleared through patients and employees of the hospital first.

In fact, the current plethora of editorials and analysis that can be found in any current Atlanta area newspaper have a familiar ring to them.

Finally, and most importantly, the Center Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Department of Health and Human Services did an exhaustive investigation of Grady Hospital that ended right around the time that Charles Walker trial ended. Here is the scathing conclusion of that investigation. (Again, I hold onto a hard copy myself though I cannot find it online) They identified...

an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the

It was after this scathing report came out, that finally Robert Brown was forced out of his position at Grady. Not to worry, upon leaving Grady, Robert Brown was able to snag a lucrative position on the state's transportation board MARTA.

Now, let's get back to the unconventional title of my piece. In my opinion, if there things weren't rotten at Grady, Emory University, and Atlanta at large, along with investigating State Senator Charles Walker, the powers that be would have investigated Brown to see if he should occupy the cell next to Walker. If things weren't rotten at Grady, Emory, and Atlanta at large, the powers that be would investigate Brown's architecture firm R L Brown & Associates and see if he ever gave his own company any sweetheart deals while he served as the Chief Trustee at Grady Hospital. If things weren't so rotten though, someone besides Walker would have been charged with some crime, because I find it impossible to believe that one person could be convicted of so many crimes and no one else did anything wrong.

Things are rotten, so instead of being investigated, Robert Brown finds himself as a prominent member of the Grady Task Force. The task force was set up the come up with solutions to the current fiscal crisis. Robert Brown, who oversaw Grady as it tumbled into financial crisis, is now one of the people in charge of getting it out of the crisis. Excuse me, if this doesn't seem like John Gotti being asked to come up with solutions to dealing with the Mafia.

The problem is this. Grady Hospital is a public hospital and so it is run with tax payer money. Grady's financial woes will probably take an influx of roughly 100 million dollars of tax payer money. If the funds are being directed by the very people that created the problem, then each tax payer is about to sink more of their money into a black hole of corruption and incompetence.

The SAVE Act: Finally Some Sensible Legislation Vis a Vis Illegal Immigration

Another hat tip goes to Numbers USA for bringing this to my attention. Heath Shuler, of North Carolina, has come up with a bill that may in fact be some sensible legislation to deal with the illegal immigration mess. The SAVE Act (Secure America with Verification and Enforcement) creates a system where employers can easily verify the status of all their employees. Here is how Numbers put it.

SAVE would eventually require every employee in America to go through the E-Verify system. This internet system provides employers with an inexpensive, quick, and accurate way to verify that employees are not illegal aliens. The rules for use are such that no employee or employer suffers if there is a mistake in the system because there is ample time to correct errors on the employee's side and on the government's side.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the loan again according to Numbers.

require during Year 1 that all government agencies, government contractors, plus all businesses with more than 250 employees run all NEW hires through E-Verify.

... require during Year 2 that all businesses with 100 or more employees use E-Verify for new hires.

... require during Year 3 that all businesses with more than 20 employees use E-Verify for new hires.

... during Year 4 add businesses with fewer than 20 employees so that all businesses use E-Verify for new hires.

... also during Year 4 require all businessese to run all their previous hires through E-Verify.

There is a huge potential pitfall that I see with this bill. As my favorite quote goes, "the nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help''. This looks like the beginning of a massive new bureaucracy and for it to work the government would need to stay streamlined without being bloated. While this is certainly a concern, I also look forward to Shuler explaining the logistics of the system.

On the flipside, almost everyone agrees that without the temptation of jobs illegal immigration dries up. This deals with that temptation head on, and it isn't just some token measure. Shuler's plan at least appears deadly serious.

Currently, Shuler's own website has no information about this bill. That is problematic and besides Numbers USA there are very few resources touting this bill. That is also problematic. This bill has a lot of potential and I believe that with the proper debate it can be turned into one that deals with the problem of illegal immigration correctly without bloating government in an unnecessary way. Please contact your representative here and demand that the SAVE Act get a full and fair debate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Barney Frank Thinks You Don't Sign Enough Documents When You Close on Your Mortgage

The way that the politicians are trying to tinker with the mortgage market in response to the crisis, gives me visions of me, a mortgage broker, going to my friend's lab and mixing chemicals. It is stunning how people who know so little about the actualy business can be in a position to affect the business so much. I want to give a lukewarm hat tip to the New York Sun for bringing this to my attention. The reason the hat tip is lukewarm is that while the author goes on to excoriate Barney Frank throughout the piece they show an astounding lack of knowledge of the issues themself. Now, the author correctly points out that Frank's policy idea is vague and full of holes. Here is the idea.

Take Mr. Frank's bill. Section 103 prohibits "mortgage originators from steering, counseling, or directing a consumer into any residential mortgage loan that is not in the consumer's interest." And Section 104 requires originators "to act solely in the best interest of the consumer, including finding the residential mortgage loan that best meets the needs of the borrower…"

Now, everyone must keep in mind that whenever policy makers create a law that is vague the practical effect is another useless piece of paper for everyone to sign when they close. The reason is simple. That is the way banks cover themselves against any said law. If Frank's policy idea is implemented there will be another disclosure vaguely mentioning the best interest of the client. Thus, what Frank is really saying is that the borrower hasn't signed enough paperwork yet when they close their loans. The irony is there is already such a disclosure at least here in Illinois. It is called the Net Tangible Benefits Disclosure and it basically provides the reason for taking on the loan (reasons include paying off debt, lowering rate, getting a fixed rate, shortening term, lowering payment, etc.) Now, to deal with this new law, there will be yet another document created that covers the bank in case someone wants to sue on these grounds.

The second irony is that it is really not possible to act in the BEST interest of the borrower. The lower the rate the borrower gets the less the mortgage broker makes. Thus, in order to act in the BEST interest of the borrower, the mortgage broker would need to never make any money and hypothetically lose as much money as possible (yes it is theoretically possible for the mortgage broker to lose money on a given loan though none would for obvious reasons ever actually do it). Thus, how does such a law get enforced. There are already maximums in many states that mortgage brokers can charge. Would these maximums get lowered? None of these issues are addressed by the article.

The article goes on to reference another so called expert,

Desmond Lachman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former strategist at Salomon Smith Barney, argues that what is needed is a framework that harnesses markets. He proposes requiring originators to be capitalized and to hold a percentage of the mortgages that they originate. This would induce them to exercise greater due diligence in originating loans since they would now have a direct stake in those loans' long-run performance. This elegant proposal, by aligning the interests of the different players, succeeds in minimizing invasive regulation while protecting consumers and investors.

This is all good and well in theory however the practical effect is to put almost all mortgage originators out of business. Most mortgage brokers don't have the capital to hold onto the mortgages themselves that is why they are brokers not bankers. I dont' know if this so called expert is really just not much of an expert or worse if this expert is trying to put mortgage brokers out of business and is finding a politically correct way to do it.

The problem is this. My industry, the mortgage brokers, has a terrible, fairly given, reputation. Thus, we are not sympathetic. In fact, as I have analyzed, we have taken the most amount of blame for the crisis. In my analysis, I had no love loss for the overwhelmingly sociopathic industry that I am in, however I pointed out that we are the same now as five and ten years ago when there was no crisis. By putting the blame on us, what politicians are really doing is finding a good villain and attacking them. That of course will probably work politically however it isn't necessarily good policy.

None of the policy that policy makers have proposed makes any sense, and there is a perfectly good reason for it. The first reason is that the market has long ago fixed whatever defficiencies were in it. Markets are very pure that way. Politicians want to go in and eliminate and restrict certain problematic loans when in reality the market on its own long ago did that for them.

The second reason is that there isn't anything the policy makers can do. A lot of irresponsible people got loans they shouldn't have and now they owe so much that it is more than their homes are worth. Now, policy makers can pretend that they can fix this problem but they can't.

The reality is that the market fixed whatever loop holes the irrational exuberance caused, and as for the immediate, problem even politicians can't actually turn the irresponsible into responsible, and if someone is in a house they can't afford, that is not something a politician can fix.

The Echo Chamber of the Right Blogosphere

Let's go over what has happened vis a vis SCHIP over the last month plus. For over a month the Democrats have used SCHIP as a bludgeon to create the perception that Republicans are mean and heartless war mongers who care more about a needless and endless war than they do about poor little kids. They have been able to do this because while the Republicans have relied on facts and reason to argue their case on SCHIP the Democrats have appealed to raw emotion. Reason and logic maybe the better arguement for those that are sophisticated but for the masses raw emotion works best. So, while the Republicans were meticulously breaking down the numbers on SCHIP, the Democrats were busy employing a poor twelve year old to get their message out. Guess which one is most effective. Here is the latest polling on SCHIP.

Now, we in the right blogosphere can continue to pretend that the Democrats are hapless however polls are scientific. Still, every single day the right blogosphere continues to snicker at the Dems. They pick apart each and every political stunt as though that is what is important.
Let me let everyone in on a little secret. The longer this goes the better it is politically for the Dems. I don't know if they realize it or not, however they are much better off politically losing each and every veto and constantly bringing this up for debate over and over again. The longer this stays in the public consciousness the better it is for the Dems.
Right now, the narrative is that the Reps are heartless warmongers who can find money for an endless war but cannot find money for poor little kids. The reason this is so is because the Republican leadership allowed itself to be painted as such. The reason they allowed themselves to be painted as such is because instead of countering the Dems proposal with an aggressive media blitz of their own proposal they allowed the MSM to carry on the narrative that they are against SCHIP. They aren't against SCHIP. The Reps have their own alternative however no one knows it because the Reps apparently want to keep it secret.
Meanwhile, the right blogosphere continues to act as an enabler to the Republican leadership by constantly snickering at each and every Democratic stunt and cheerleading the Republicans for standing firm. I am all for standing firm against this bill because it is an abomination that is a small step toward socialized medicine, however you cannot merely sit there and be against this bill and hope to win politically. If the Reps have any hope of winning politically, there base must stop cheerleading their actions, and start to insist that they fight back and present their counter proposal to the public aggressively.
Which brings me to the latest hit on the blogosphere. It seems that much of the right blogosphere has grown fascinated with the word amygdala. It is a part of the brain that affects emotions and apparently a Democratic operative used it in reference to strategy in presenting SCHIP.
First, the operative is right. In order to win the political battle, each party must appeal to the most primitive emotions. Second, and most importantly, who cares? The Republicans are getting crushed, crushed politically. They are losing two to one. In the meantime, the Democrats continue to milk the issue. They bring in a new cute little kid to act as victim of the week every single week, and it works. I know it works because the polls leave no doubt who the public sides with on the issue.
What is the right blogosphere fascinated with? That's right some scientific term for a part of the brain that sounds funny. Talk about being irrelevant. What is funny is not only how popular this part of the story is but how the leadership in the right blogosphere is driving this part of the story as though it is important. Both Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey have each done major work ups on this. With all due respect to much more successful bloggers from my end of the spectrum, you couldn't have possibly found anything more trivial to make an issue of. If any of you actually thinks it matters at all to anyone but the echo chamber which you clearly have found yourself in that some operative referenced a funny sounding word, you really need to get out of this echo chamber.
The Dems are crushing the Reps on SCHIP. They have now milked it for two vetos and they will probably milk it for many, many more, and each veto will be looked at as sympathetic to the Dems. Come November of 2008, the Dems will paint each and every Republican who voted against SCHIP as a heartless war monger who cared more about an endless war than they did about poor kids, and at the same time, the right blogosphere is utterly ignoring that part of the story. At the same time, there is an orgy of coverage over a funny sounding word used by some unknown Democratic operative when talking about a strategy that the operative is right about.
Wake up folks unless you hit on the right part of the story, you will continue to follow the Republican leadership into the deep dark wilderness of politics where most of the rest of the country finds your position abominable. Unless you insist that your leadership stand up for themselves and finally present their side properly, they won't do it. You can keep cheerleading and pretending that you are on the right side, but you aren't doing yourself or your party any favors.

The Abomination of H.R. 505

First a very important hat tip goes out to Senator Lamar Alexander for bringing this to my attention. H.R. 505 would allow Hawaii to create a sovereign government of their own and not on that it would be a race based government. Here is how the Senator summarized it.

The question the bill poses is thus one that is fundamental to the very existence of our nation. It creates a new government based upon race. Our constitution guarantees just the opposite: equal opportunity without regard to race.

Hawaiians are Americans. They became United States citizens in 1900. They have saluted the American flag, paid American taxes, fought in American wars. In 1959, ninety-four percent of Hawaiians reaffirmed that commitment to become Americans by voting to become a state. Like citizens of every other state, Hawaiians vote in national elections.


America is different because, under our constitution, becoming an American can have nothing to do with ancestry. That is because America is an idea, not a race. Ours is a nation based not upon race, not upon ethnicity, not upon national origin, but upon our shared values, enshrined in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, upon our history as a nation, and upon our shared language, English. An American can technically become a citizen of Japan, but would never be considered “Japanese.” But if a Japanese person wants to become a citizen of the United States, he or she must become an American.

This is yet another bill that the Dems have tried to pass under the cover of darkness. This follows a pattern that includes ENDA, the DREAM Act, and the abomination that was the NON BINDING resolution to condemn the genocide from 100 years ago of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.

There are two important things to keep in mind with regard to this bill. The first is that in the aftermath of the Revolution our own founding fathers initially set up the nation so that all states had the same power that the House has given to Hawaii. That didn't work and thirteen years later we had the Constitution we have now. Second, the tenth amendment gives power to the states to decide anything not enumerated in the Constitution. Thus, the states by nature, already have a lot of power. Any bill that creates extra powers not only goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitution but it threatens to very fabric of the dynamic of the system we have set up.

This bill tries to follow the same logic of protection that this country gives to the Indian tribes. Of course, the Indian tribes receive special protections because of the sordid history that this country has with them. It is nothing short of terrible policy to start allowing every minority group special sovereignty rights. By doing so, the United States no longer exists and we revert back to the Article of Confederation, our first constitution.

Here is how another blogger viewed it.

What is one to make of that? The whole justification for the Akaka Bill rests on the Indian precedent. There is no doubt that the Akaka Bill provides for a new government in the midst of federal, state, and city & county jurisdictions. And there is no doubt that the Interior Department has a key role (as it does with Indian tribes).

So some people in Hawaii are going to have a new government to report to. This government is going to pass laws because that is what governments do. Then it is going to enforce those laws. Thus members of the new Hawaiian nation will have to obey four governments while others obey three (city & county, state and federal).

What is the advantage for anyone subjected to such a complicated scheme? If we are not to look to the Indian model, where are we to look? And if the Indian model does not apply, why are Indian tribes so much in favor of the Akaka Bill? The people who keep pushing this construct never have any details. Most are from the government, as in, "I am from the government and I am here to help.” Please trust them, they accept responsibility. But they never will be held personally accountable. Not possible. Cheap talk.

There is no doubt that this bill is bad policy. So, how did it pass through the house? The same way all bills pass that make no sense. The folks don't know about them. There is a long way before this bill becomes law so there is time to act. I urge everyone to contact their Senator. So, please go here and find your Senator and let them know how you feel.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Re Examining the Case of State Senator Charles Walker

For more than a decade State Senator Charles Walker was among the most if not the most powerful politicians in the state of Georgia. His reign came to a humiliating end in June of 2004 when he was indicted on 142 separate counts of corruption related charges. His indictment read like an alphabet soup of terms straight out of your favorite law or cop show: wire fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion, extortion. If it was on your favorite lawyer show, he was probably charged with it. Of those 142 charges, he was convicted on 127 counts.

The scope and breadth of his crimes was staggering, shocking, and ultimately it is the back bone of the widespread corruption that is currently leading to the potential closing of Grady Hospital. Walker used a network of power and influence to either get into bed with powerful people or strong arm those that refused to play ball. For instance, Walker ran a newspaper and anyone that wouldn't play ball would be threatened with negative publicity from his newspaper. He used his ability to procure government funds as a string to get hospitals to hire temps at his temp company.

Here is where the case gets shocking. After being convicted on 127 counts he was sentenced to ten years in jail. Now, normally, when someone receives such a light sentences after being convicted of so many things, we would assume that he flipped on others. In this case, he didn't. In fact, besides Walker, his daughter, and the companies they ran, NO ONE, NO ONE, was charged or convicted of anything. Furthermore, the authorities would have us believe that the proper sentence, without ratting out anyone, for 127 separate convictions is ten years. There are people busted with drugs that are serving more time than that. It seems the corruption that Walker pulled off was nothing compared to the corruption involved in investigating and executing his case.

In fact, we don't need to speculate as to whether or not others were involved in the corruption. One only needed to be in the courtroom on the day that Joyce Harris, the chief prosecution witness, testified. According to a source that was there when she testified, she accused Walker of demanding a quid pro quo. Grady is a public hospital. Walker, who again was one of the most powerful politicians in Georgia, was able to influence just how much money they received. He demanded that the temp company he ran hire up to 50 people per day (if you read the link Grady normally hired a handful per day) in order to receive funds. Harris testified to a lot more than just Walker. She accused Grady CEO Ed Renford, and Tim Jefferson Chief Legal Counsel of Grady, of threatening her safety if she blew the whistle. She accused Robert Brown, President of the board of Trustees of Grady Hospital, of accepting kickbacks and sexual favors. She accused William Casarella, Chief Medical Officer at Grady, of looking the other way. Yet, despite these incendiary accusations and 127 separate convictions of Walker, the powers that be at Grady were never investigated.

In other words, first, the authorities would have us believe that this guy was able to pull off so much criminality that it lead to the conviction on 127 separate counts, and that he pulled all of this off on his own. Furthermore, the authorities would have us believe that a proper sentence for the conviction on 127 separate charges is ten years in prison.

Furthermore, right around the time that Walker's trial was ending, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Dept. of Health and Human Services issued a report on Grady. Here is the conclusion of the report.

the conditions at your hospital pose an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of your patients

You think that is shocking. What is really shocking is what happened to all of the players that were not only involved in the corruption of Walker but the conditions that lead to the scathing conclusion of that report.

The only one to lose their job as a result of the Walker scandal was Joyce Harris the one person who tried to stop the corruption. Ed Renford retired with a pension that pays him six figures per year. Tim Jefferson continues in the exact same position. William Casarella was actually promoted within Emory University. Robert Brown did eventually lose his sweetheart position but that was due to a separte scandal.

The reason this is important is because Grady is on the verge of collapse and its collapse threatens the entire medical system in Atlanta and Georgia. As a friend and Atlanta resident recently told me, the people the are the most scared are the other hospitals because Grady treats the patients no one else wants. Now, the legislature is debating whether or not to feed Grady with millions of more dollars. Make no mistake, Grady is in this mess because it is obscenely corrupt, and the exact same people that caused the corruption continue to be in power now. If they are fed more money, that is the ultimate throwing good money after bad.

If people are serious about saving Grady the first thing they need to do is clean house. You cannot save Grady if the same people that put it in this mess are in charge of getting it out. I hope the good people of Georgia will wake up to the obscene levels of corruption that have put this essential hospital on the brink of collapse and that they demand that the resolution is once and for all no longer the same old same old.


Much of the story about Grady Hospital is so confusing that anyone that winds up in the middle is likely to be confused. I don't believe that this particular one is an example of this, however, you should also know how State Senator Charles Walker fits into the entire puzzle so to speak. Thus, I have put together a summary of the entire fiasco that tries to put all of its moving parts together in one piece. Please read it for guidance. Also, please check out the recommendations that I and my colleagues have put together for fixing Grady Hospital.

Also, please follow this link so that you can hear me and a colleague discuss the Walker case along with several other matters related to Grady and Emory.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Clinton and Obama Show Their True Colors on Illegal Immigration

Last week, the Senate debated a bill that would have ended sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities are those cities that instruct their police force not to find out the legal status of suspects and criminals. In other words, if the cops arrest someone, and they are illegal, that person is not reported to immigration authorities, and after the case is resolved the criminal illegal alien is free to roam our streets. The link provides several instances of tragedy as a result of criminal illegal aliens. Now, that vote failed 52-42. Two of the Senators that didn't vote at all were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Today, there was a vote on the Dream Act. This is a bill that would legalize the children of illegal aliens, who of course are illegal themselves. Of course, this bill allows for many legislators to play to people's compassionate side. No doubt many Senators see the children of illegal aliens as helpless victims who did nothing wrong themselves. This is all true, however problems don't get solved by merely finding a victim that is easy to empathize with. They get solved by reasoned and logical solutions. You cannot reward illegal behavior with a free pass and expect to lessen that behavior. That is what this bill did. While the two Senators couldn't be bothered to show up for the previous Amendment to end sanctuary cities, they did vote on this one and they both voted to pass it. Fortunately, it didn't have the votes.

There are two other votes that are important in understanding where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama really stand vis a vis illegal immigration. These votes came during the contentious immigration debate this past summer. The first one would have permanently barred criminals, gang members, and terrorists from entering our country. That means members of MS 13 and others would no longer be allowed into the country. It seems unbelievable that anyone would vote against this however both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did.

The second one would have simply committed our legislature to enforcing the laws already on the books. It is hard to imagine that anyone that who's job it is to make laws would vote against enforcing already existing laws, however both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against this amendment.

Here are some things that Hillary Clinton said vis a vis illegal immigrants.

Speaking at a rally of Irish immigrants, Clinton criticized a bill the House passed in December that would impose harsher penalties for undocumented workers.

"Don't turn your backs on what made this country great," she said, calling the measure "a rebuke to what America stands for."

It's clear that Clinton equates those that came here illegally with the millions of immigrants that followed the laws to get here. We have a phrase for that type of a view, open borders.

Obama is even more radical in his statements. Here is what he said to La Raza, the separatist, open borders group.

And I will never walk away from the 12 million undocumented immigrants who live, work, and contribute to our country every single day.

There are few better examples of how broken, bitter, and divisive our politics has become than the immigration debate that played out in Washington a few weeks ago.

So many of us - Democrats and Republicans - were willing to compromise in order to pass comprehensive reform that would secure our borders while giving the undocumented a chance to earn their citizenship.

We knew that the American people believe that we are a nation of laws - that we have a right and duty to protect our borders. And we should also crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers so that we can protect jobs and wages.

But the American people also know that we are a nation of immigrants - a nation that has always been willing to give weary travelers from around the world the chance to come here and reach for the dream that so many of us have reached for. That's the America that answered my father's letters and his prayers and brought him here from Kenya so long ago. That's the America we believe in.

These two Senators, and Presidential candidates, have no intention of addressing illegal immigration. In fact, by word and deed, they fall in line with their puppet master, George Soros, on this issue. It is clear that vision that these two Senators have for America's border is one where the border is wide open.

DREAM Act Update:

It looks as though the DREAM Act will come up for a vote today. Senator Reid is trying to fast track this bill through the Senate and is looking for a cloture vote later today. He will need sixty votes in order to accomplish that. Now, according to Michelle their side is having trouble with logistics,

it looks like Dick Durbin is worried about senators showing up for the vote: “Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the legislation’s chief sponsor, said Tuesday that his biggest challenge was ensuring that supporters, including five senators — four Democrats and one Republican — running for president, make it to the Capitol for the roll call. Another question mark: Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who are trying to return to California to review wildfire damage…Durbin needs 60 votes to allow the bill to be debated. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the DREAM Act amounts to a ‘ratification of illegality’ and could provide an incentive for more illegal immigration. ”

Whatever their problems are, now is not the time to rest. Unlike last summer this bill has flown under the radar a la the Vitter Amendment to end sanctuary cities that failed a couple weeks ago. It is time to give it the attention it deserves. Here are the instructions from Numbers USA

Hi, my name is xmxmxm xmxmxmx. I am calling about S. 2205, the DREAM Act amnesty. I urge the Senator to vote NO on cloture today and kill this amnesty. Thank you." It is going to take a lot of first-timers to pull out a victory when the Senate is expected to vote by mid-day. How about calling and saying something like: "I would like for you to tell Senator xmxmxmxm that giving the DREAM Act amnesty to 2.1 million illegal aliens will send the wrong message to the rest of the world. Ask him to please vote NO on cloture on S. 2205. We don't need to entice a larger wave of illegal immigration." Or this: "There should be no amnesty of any kind until Congress passes laws to stop the hiring of illegal foreign workers. S. 2205 would just invite a lot more illegal aliens to come. Please ask Sen. xmxmxm to vote NO on the DREAM Act amnesty."

Here is the view from the rest of the blogosphere

At one level, it’s understandable that pro-amnesty politicians would be reluctant to invite the press to what was in effect a lobbying session with illegal aliens in the Capitol building. After all, the American people have made it abundantly clear that they disagree with Washington elites on illegal immigration and the in-state tuition. The Dream Act was included in the bipartisan amnesty bill pushed by the White House and Sen. Edward Kennedy that imploded in late June, after Americans deluged their senators with telephone calls, e-mails and faxes protesting the legislation. Last month, Mr. Durbin, with the support of Mr. Hagel and Mr. Lugar, tried to attach the Dream Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. But once again, America protested, forcing Mr. Durbin & Co. to shelve the legislation — until today.


The DREAM Act positively conveys the benefits and contributions of immigrants to America. Its passage would send a clear message across the country that immigration is a valued American tradition that is badly in need of a makeover. Senate support of the DREAM Act promotes hardworking immigrant students while expressing a commitment to repairing our broken system.If the
DREAM Act Fails to Pass the Senate...

and finally,

2205, which is cosponsored by long-tenured Republicans Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), is, essentially, the same amnesty offered up for consideration by Durbin as an amendment (SA 2919) to H.R. 1585, the Defense Department (DoD) authorization bill for fiscal year 2008. The Senate passed that bill October 1 without ever taking up the DREAM Act amendment or amendments concerning increased worker importation.In this most recent iteration, the DREAM Act authorizes DHS to cancel removal for, or adjust to lawful permanent resident status (in other words, grant amnesty to), an alien who is inadmissible or deportable in cases where the alien demonstrated that he/she: * has maintained continuous presence in the United States for five years and was not yet 16 years old upon initial entry, but is no older than 30 years of age;* is of “good moral character” and is not inadmissible or deportable on certain criminal grounds or on the basis of being a risk to national security;

It really comes down to whether we become compassionate to law breakers or we are people that believe in the rule of law. It is your choice. Here is a way to reach your Senator. Let your voice be heard.


Here is my email to my Senator Barack Obama

Today there will be a vote on the so called DREAM Act. I suspect, Senator, that you support this bill which would legalize millions of people that came here illegally. Since the illegals in question are children and minors, I suspect that this is a great opportunity for you to flex your compassionate credentials.

When you let emotion interfere with making policy, what we all get is bad policy. Illegal immigration is a cancer on our society and our elected officials must do everything to encourage less of it. This bill would encourage more of it and that is unacceptable. Your record proves that you have more sympathy for people who came to this country illegally than you do for the rule of law.

While it maybe good politics to find a poor helpless teenager and get behind them and their plight, it isn't good policy and we, the American people, are onto all of you. We will hold all of those who perpetuate illegal immigration responsible for their actions.

Last week, you missed a vote to make sanctuary cities, like ours, Chicago, illegal. I am sure you had an important rally or townhall meeting, however your non vote contributed to the amendment failing and now my fair city can continue to ignore criminal illegal aliens in its borders.

I believe that George Soros is the puppet master for your party and he is a strong proponent of open borders which eventually lead to one world government. Your actions and words lead me to conclude that your position is very little different from his. You said you stood with millions of illegal immigrants when they marched for rights they had no business receiving. You voted against an amendment that would have barred all criminals, gang members, and terrorists from entering our nation, and you even voted against an amendment that simply would have committed our government to finally follow the laws already on the books.

You have an opportunity to show me that I am wrong and that you are not a puppet of George Soros by voting against this bill and I hope you take it.

Now, it is your turn, call, fax and email and pass along your own thoughts on the matter and any responses from the powers that be.


One for two everyone, according to Michelle Malkin the cloture vote has failed, so the forces against illegal immigration have won this round, however all we have now is the status quo. We had a chance last week to outlaw sanctuary cities. Keep in mind all Democratic Senators buy Mary Landrieu either voted against it or didn't vote at all. Contact each and every Senator and tell them that sanctuary cities are unacceptable and that the amendment must be looked at again.


Here is the roll call.

There are a few names of note. Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama rushed back to Washington to vote in favor of amnesty. This is important because they didn't even bother to vote on the Vitter Amendment that would have outlawed sanctuary cities, like the one Senator Obama lives in Chicago. They are obviously paying homage to George Soros and his open borders, one world government philosophy and I will leave it up to the folks to decide if that is the vision of America you have.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Answering Richard Cohen vis a vis Iran

Anyone who wants to read an eloquent explanation of the way in which George Soros would like to see our foreign policy run at least as it concerns Iran should read this piece by Richard Cohen. Cohen starts with a long winded and quite condescending assessment of Rudy's confrontational style. Now, Rudy gains as many enemies as he does friends, and it should come as a surprise to no one that an ideological opposite like Cohen doesn't like Rudy's style. That is fine and irrelevant and it needs not be quoted for he doesn't deserve such esteem. The meat of Cohen's arguement is here.

War with Iran would be ugly. An airstrike would undoubtedly cause Iran to unleash Hezbollah, Hamas and other extremist groups, causing no end of trouble in the Middle East. It could close the Persian Gulf to shipping, producing an oil shock. It could foment serious trouble in Saudi Arabia's oil-producing region, which has a significant Shiite population.

and here,

Rather than enhance Ahmadinejad's standing in his own country, rather than put Iran up against a wall and dare it to back down, rather than make Iran the hero of anti-American Islamists everywhere, why not attempt to engage in direct talks and treat the country not as a pariah -- one-third of the ludicrous and illogical "axis of evil" -- but as a fellow state? Why not, as it were, treat Iran as we once did the Soviet Union or we now do China? We talked to the former; we talk to the latter.

The meat of Cohen's arguement is that such talk only props up Ahmadinejad among his own people, war with Iran would be messy, and so what we really need to do is talk to them. All veterans of my work will know that this is a similar arguement to one made by Joe Conason. Just like Conason, Cohen is long on rhetoric and very short on evidence and facts to back up his rhetoric. For instance, he claims that Rudy's incendiary and confrontational tone props up Ahmadinejad among his own people. I find it highly unlikely that the words of any single Presidential candidate does much to change the opinion of the Iranian people toward Ahmadinejad one way or another, but more importantly, according to polling, the Iranian people put the blame for this confrontation where it belongs, at the hands of their own leaders. Here are some results from a poll done this summer

Iranians want nuclear power more than nuclear weapons. Suffering under gasoline rationing and falling energy exports, three-quarters said that developing nuclear power, without weapons, was “very important.” By contrast, only 37 percent said developing nuclear weapons was a similar priority. Since the Iranian regime says that it wants nuclear power, not nuclear weapons, its stated position accords with its people’s views. (The government, of course, is lying and wants to get a bomb.)


Iranians would gladly agree to “full inspections and a guarantee that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons” if other nations would increase overall trade and investment (80 percent), increase investment in the energy sector (79 percent), give humanitarian assistance (80 percent) or assist in helping Iran develop peaceful nuclear energy (80 percent).

* Only 33 percent said supporting terrorist proxies Hezbollah or Hamas was a priority, and 55 percent are ready to endorse full recognition of Israel and of a Palestinian state if they could get “normal trade and full recognition” from the United States. Almost two-thirds - 64 percent - said that they are willing to end Iranian assistance to armed groups in Iraq and 51 percent would forgo nuclear weaponry and accept full international controls and inspections in return for normal relations with the United States.

The polling says they see their own government as the aggressor and merely want normalized relations with our government. It seems to be a stretch to say that they will then back Ahmadinejad if their own government's aggression leads to confrontation.

Cohen says to other important things. First, he proclaims that war with Iran would be messy. Well, I agree war with Iran would be messy, but not nearly as messy as allowing them to get the bomb. He also proclaims that we should sit down with Iran the way in which we sat down with Russia and China. There is a difference between Iran and those other regimes. Those regimes practiced the rule of self preservation. In other words, there was some reason to them because ultimately they wanted to avoid their own annihilation. Iran would gladly get annihilated if that is in pursuit of destroying the infidels.

Now, I am not against sitting down with Iran per se, but certainly not the way Cohen sees it. He seems to think that sitting down with them would solve all our problems. The Iranian regime is a collection of sociopaths. They only respond to threats that they take seriously. The only negotiations that would work are those in conjunction with an action that lets them know that the alternative is their own destruction, and even then negotiations may very well not work.

Thus, unless the real and clear threat of all out war is on the table, negotiations are not only fruitless, but frankly counter productive. I, myself, have devised a three point plan for bringing the regime down peacefully. My plan and any plan that has any hope of success must be done in conjunction with the real and unmistakeable threat that if all else fails, we will go to war with Iran before we allow them to get nukes.

Rudy is not war mongering as Cohen is suggesting, but rather making it clear to the regime that if they push him, he will destroy them. Like all sociopaths they will only respond nicely to force they know they can't match.

Why is this man working? (UPDATED)

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi took over at Atlanta area hospital South Fulton, a fairly small hospital specializing in providing services to poor folks. in mid 2001. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCOHA) issued its first report toward the beginning of his tenure. This report was critical of South Fulton however they did give the hospital a passing grade though with conditions. The JCOHA issued the final report of his tenure a few months after he left in mid 2003 and this report did not just find South Fulton to be sub par in some areas but in fact no longer in compliance with their standards. Here is a list of the policies and procedures that South Fulton was no longer in compliance with.

1)Competence to perform job responsibilities is assessed, demonstrated, and maintained.

2)The leaders develop and implement policies and procedures for care, treatment, and services.Informed consent is obtained.

3)The organized medical staff oversees the quality of patient care, treatment, and services provided by practitioners privileged through the medical staff process.

4)Medications are properly and safely stored throughout the organization.

5)Emergency medications and/or supplies, if any, are consistently available, controlled, and secure in the organization’s patient care areas.

6)Medication orders are written clearly and transcribed accurately.

7)There is a process for granting, renewing, or revising setting-specific clinical privilege

8)Medications are safely and accurately administered.

9)Patients are reassessed as needed.

10)The organization fulfills the expectations set forth in the Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong site, Wrong procedure, Wrong person surgery and associated implementation guidelines

In layman's terms, he took over a fairly subpar hospital and by the time he left the sub par hospital had turned into a hospital that could no longer meet governing body standards for compliance.

As a result of his performance at South Fulton, he was rewarded with the CEO position at Grady Hospital, the largest hospital hospital in Atlanta, one of the largest hospitals in the country, and also a hospital that specialized in providing health care to the indigent. His tenure ended as a result of the conclusions of yet another government report. I have no doubt that medical professionals will look to pick apart my analysis of his tenure at South Fulton and try and spin his performance in a more favorable light. That is fine, however there is no spinning the conclusions of the report of the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) of the Department of Health and Human Services leaves absolutely no doubt. (I couldn't find the report online though I have one in hard copy) Here is the conclusion of this report.

Based on the findings, we believe that the conditions at your hospital (Grady Hospital) pose an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of your patients.

The specifics were broken down into four different categories.

#1) Serious medical errors and complications resulting in deaths or adverse outcomes were not investigated and the Chief Medical Officer, William Casarella
ignored them
#2) The Governing Body of the hospital was ineffective and ignored quality assurance standards mandated by law.
#3) There was a lack of accountability and required supervision of medical staff that resulted in deaths and serious adverse outcomes.
#4) There were violations of medical note/record keeping rules and standards.

In other words, the leadership Agwunabi, was totally absent in fulfilling any of the responsibilities of being a leader. If we are keeping score, Dr. Agwunobi took over one hospital that was sub par and left when the hospital failed to meets its requirements for even being in compliance. After that he took over a hospital that was deemed to pose an immediate and serious threat to its patients.

Now, the details of the report are of course more complicated. For instance, the report laid most of the blame on this man, William Casarella, who was Chief Medical Officer at Grady and in charge of all of the clinical departments. (as you can see from the link not only was Casarella not reprimanded but in fact he has since been promoted) Of course, ultimately, as the head person, which Dr. Agwonabi was, he takes the responsibility for everything anyway. That also gets into semantics and speculation. The bottom line is that this report was scathing. The hospital wasn't merely run poorly. It wasn't just below average or even failing to meet requirements for being in compliance with standards set by a governing body, but rather it was in such bad shape that

the conditions at your hospital pose an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the patients.

If you are in charge of a hospital, as Agwonabi was, it doesn't get any worse than that indictment. Since he was the only one that faced any punishment as a result of this report, some could speculate that he took the fall or fell on the sword if you will. That may or may not be true, but at this point it doesn't matter. If he took the fall and he was the only one, then his employer, through their actions, said that he was the one responsible for

the conditions at your hospital pose an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the patients.

Thus, an honest observer would expect that after such a finding that Dr. Agwunobi's career could and should be over. One could say that for Dr. Agwunobi, his future career path could be describe by these famous words from A Few Good Men

teaching typewriter maintenance at the Rocko Clubbo School for Women

One would be wrong. Agwonabi then resurfaced as the COO of St. Joseph's Hospital System a fourteen unit conglomerate of hospitals in California. That's right everyone after being ultimately responsible for the scathing findings of two separate government inquiries, this man was essentially given a promotion. He moved from a small hospital in South Fulton, to a large hospital in Grady, to a group of hospitals at St. Joseph's. In other words, whoever was in charge of hiring either read this

the conditions at your hospital pose an immidiate and serious threat to the health and safety of the patients

and was impressed, or just simply didn't bother to find out how the hospital was run when Agwunobi was there.

While I still haven't gotten the whole story here, his career path takes another curious route. He left this conglomerate after about a year or so and is now in charge of the AHCA in Florida. The reason this is curious is because he moved cross country from Atlanta to California to a job that paid well. It seems odd that after only a bit more than a year he would uproot his family again and move back across the country one more time.

Now, what is the AHCA you might be wondering? Well, the AHCA is a Florida bureau part of the Department of health whose goal is to provide quality health care to poor folks. That's right, all you Floridians, the man in charge of the government bureau who's purpose is to provide quality health care for the poor has run two separate hospital's that specialized in providing such health care, and both of those hospitals were the subject of scathing government reports relating to his tenure there. How did he get this job? Only the powerful know, however this is interesting. It turns out Dr. Agwunobi's ran Florida's department of Health under Governor Jeb Bush.

I know what some of you cynics are thinking right now. That is just how the game works, Volpe. True, however, it doesn't have to. Things don't have to work out so that someone fails and fails and constantly has that failure rewarded. It doesn't have to work out like this and we can start here.

Is this the best we can do? Is this how things work among the powerful? Perform your job in a totally incompetent manner and you eventually get rewarded with promotions? I don't know, but I would like to find out. If the good people of Florida are happy to have someone running the department that provides quality health care to the poor despite failing to do it when ran two hospitals for the poor, then don't read any further. If you are happy having your tax payer money go to this incompetent don't read any further. If you aren't then please make your voice heard. Here is a link to the Florida Department of Health, and here is another one to the Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. Please ask them how running two hospitals into the ground qualifies anyone to run a department dedicated to providing quality health services to the poor.

UPDATE: For the most part the story behind the mess that now engulfs Grady is extremely confusing and complicated. Thus, if you were to find your way to any of the many stories I have written on it, and it was your first exposure, you would likely get confused. I don't believe this is one of those stories. You should be able to follow this one regardless of your exposure to the mess in general. If not, let me know. That said, I have put together a summary of the entire fiasco that tries to put all of its moving parts together in one piece. Please read it for guidance.
That way, you can see how Dr. Agwunobi fits into the entire nightmare. Also, please check out the recommendations that I and my colleagues have put together for fixing Grady Hospital.

The New Amnesty Nightmare?

Last week, the Senate voted down an amendment that would have outlawed sanctuary cities. This week the Senate is planning on taking a vote legalize millions of illegal aliens under a new bill called the DREAM Act. This bill would legalize all minors who came over illegally with their parents.

What is dirty and underhanded about the DREAM Act is the manner in which Harry Reid, the leader of the Senate, is trying to push this bill through the Senate. Harry Reid is using an obscure Senatorial procedure to push this bill through without the sort of debate and scrutiny it requires. The leader is using Senate rule fourteen to push this through. While this gets very technical, in layman's terms Rule 14 allows Reid to fast track the bill for a vote without much debate.

Let's recap what has happened since the contentious Senate debate over illegal immigration in the summer. While the Legislature authorized that roughly seven hundred miles of fence be built barely more than twenty miles have actually been put up. As I mentioned, last week the Senate killed an amendment that would have outlawed sanctuary cities. Now, the Senate wants to introduce and pass a bill that will legalize millions of illegals.

The reason that there was uproar this past summer over the illegal immigration bill wasn't because there was too much enforcement, too tough a penaties, and not enough consideration for the illegals themselves. The reasons were the exact opposite. The people didn't trust the government actually follow through on the border enforcement at the same time they were legalizing millions of people that crossed the border illegally.

Senator Reid either has no idea what the pulse of the American people is, or he simply doesn't care. Rather than taking care of the business of enforcing the border as the people demanded very forcefully this past summer, Senator Reid has decided to skip border enforcement altogether and move directly along to making lots and lots of illegals, or as he calls them undocumented Americans, legal.

Senator Reid either thinks the American people are too dumb to realize what he is up, to apathetic, or he simply doesn't care. Everyone can stand by while this bill passes and do nothing or we can mobilize and email, fax, and call until we shutdown the switchboard at the Senate. I think the second option is the best option. I implore everyone to follow this link and find your Senator and Senator Reid and tell them what you think of amnesty without enforcement. If you stand by and do nothing, you WILL get the government you deserve as a result. Please prove Senator Reid wrong.