Friday, November 30, 2007

No Mike King...You're Out of Touch (UPDATED)

Here is the latest column by AJC columnist Mike King.

It takes a special kind of arrogance for the Fulton-Dekalb County Hospital Authority to stiff Emory and Morehouse medical schools out of $63 million and then demand the schools keep sending doctors to Grady Memorial Hospital. As a condition of turning over the hospital to professional management, the authority demanded that Emory and Morehouse give a written guarantee they will continue their residency and teaching programs at Grady. The money for those programs comes almost entirely from the state and federal governments, but the Grady board has kept much of it in recent years to use for other expenses. The hospital's mismanagement is now threatening the quality of on-the-job training both schools offer. It's one thing to ask Emory and Morehouse to renegotiate the debt, which both have said they are willing to do. But demanding it, as well as a promise that they won't cut back their programs, reveals how truly out of touch with reality the authority can be.

Now, really quickly, here is a run down for those that haven't been following this story. He is speaking of Grady Hospital, which is one of the largest hospitals in the country. It services the poor and is in such dire financial shape that it needs somewhere in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars to stay afloat. Emory and Morehouse provide much of the staff at the hospital (with Emory providing most between the two) and each university gets paid for providing the staff. According to King, Grady wants to not only be relieved of their yearly obligations but they insist that each university's staff remain on duty. Grady is a public hospital so ultimately it is "owned" by the folks. Lastly, and this is quite important, Grady is designed for the very poor or indigent, and by its sheer size it services almost all of the poor folks in Fulton, Dekalb and frankly many other counties. Without it, all the nice hospitals that treat wealthy folks in the area would have to treat these poor folks as well.

Now, I won't argue that arrogance is a trait exhibited by several folks in this mess, however if this is what he is focused on, he really is out of touch. First of all, there are plenty of people out there that believe that Emory and Morehouse should be paying Grady for use of their hospital, not the other way around. (for a full summary on this story including an explanation why Emory and Morehouse should be paying please follow this link) Thus, by demanding that staff continue to work without payment, seems, to many, only fair. Second of all, Grady is near financial collapse and it may take up to half a billion dollars in order to save it. Given that staggering figure, is the important point really whether someone is asking or demanding that debts be forgiven. After all, if Grady needs half a billion dollars, Emory and Morehouse can get in line with a plethora of creditors.

Ah, but unlike most creditors, Grady expects, not asks, these two to continue providing services. Of course, they expect that Emory and Morehouse staff continue to work. Emory and Morehouse account for almost the entire staff. Without them there is no hospital. Without Grady, the poor in Fulton and Dekalb have no place to be treated. If Grady is no longer the whole entire medical system in Fulton, Dekalb and beyond is in serious crisis. (Without Grady some of the hospitals for the affluent would actually have to treat these folks and no one can have that now can they)

Second Emory and Morehouse need Grady a lot more than the other way around. First, Grady is a public hospital so it really belongs to the people. If the folks want it kept open, they WILL infuse it with cash one way or the other. On the other hand, Morehouse uses Grady for nearly all of its medical school and residency training. In other words, without Grady there is no Morehouse medical school. Emory maintains several for profit hospitals however the bulk of their training is also conducted at Grady. Furthermore, Grady is the main selling point to perspective Emory medical students. Grady is one of the biggest hospitals in the country and the world, and going to Emory medical school allows perspective medical students to train there. In other words, without Grady, there is not Morehouse medical school. While there is an Emory medical school, it goes from being an elite school, to the equivalent of EastWest Texas State Community College Medical School. (please, no one be offended, I made the school up but we all know that the more words before and after the State in question the worse the school is)

Thus, of course the powers that be at Grady expect that debt not only be forgiven but that staff continue to work. They hold all the power.

Given all this we can see why they are so arrogant, but frankly this is all besides the main point anyway. King's piece is frankly most atrocious, in my opinion, because it focuses on side issues like demands over requests. King refuses to examine why Grady insists on going private and how that will impact the hospital and the tax payers. (Fortunately, you can count on this blogger to give you the straight scoop on all issues related to Grady and their plan for going private is just one of those issue. So for more info on the plan to go private please click here) By focusing on the arrogance of a group that has frankly shown nothing but arrogance for more than a decade, he really shows a total lack of understand of the issue.

The issue isn't whether or not some people are arrogant. They are and it matters very little, except to explain past, current and likely future behavior. The issue is what to do going forward. It appears obvious to me at least, that the reason the powers that be want to go private is so that their malfeasance can be even more easily hidden. Yet, that possibility isn't even mentioned. In fact, Mike King contributes absolutely nothing of substance to a debate that should be at the front of most Georgians' minds. It should be the AJC leading on this story. It isn't. In fact, if I am right, the AJC is actively participating in the corruption. That may explain why King's only contribution to this debate so far is well, so lame.

Finally, I have heard from the grapevine that Ron Marshall, of the Grady Coalition, wrote a piece that was supposed to counter King's in the AJC, and the AJC refused to publish it. No such refusals will be here. Here is Marshall's piece...

It does not surprise me that Grady voted to go private. This has been in the plan to privatize all major funding resources in America to control how money is being spent and who receives it. Look at Iraq, since when do we hire a private force to protect public interest? This has never happen in the history of war. Who benefits from privatization?

Grady changes have started the wheel of genocide. A whole community will parish (poor people and poor accident victims) in the name of profits. Not to mention the land deals that will be made. We have put a price on human life. Not only have we put a price on the life of an individual we allow the health care system to pick and choose who get’s treated and how much treatment they as humans receive. Animals get treated better than people. Throw a dog in the street and see what happens.

Our Governor had the nerve to pray for rain. The prayers should be for humanity as well as for the salvation of human life and for the protection of our planet. Now we have really fallen off the path of survival.

What’s still hidden in all of this is how did this happen and who is responsible for what happen. This has never been asked. If it has there sure has been very little said about the accountability of the officials who oversee Grady and the official who appoint the board that put Grady in this position. Why is the public being denied
access to records that will show where all the money went or is going and who is receiving it? This is not new and it seems to happen like the migration of geese heading south every year.

Only one person was sent to prison for stealing from Grady, Charles Walker. Walker did not steal all that money by himself. He had to have help. Somebody signed the checks and somebody got paid to keep it quiet. Why wasn’t there an investigation
conducted to find the accomplices. This is like a private (secret) Mafia, they sacrificed one to save the rest. I notice Walker has not turned on his accomplices. Is there money waiting for him when he is released?

Is having cover-up money pay for a pass as Emory has shown. They have clearly had their way with Grady’s funding with a sweet heart contract. Does being a politician automatically give you a pass when crisis’s after crisis’s shock after shock that cost tax payers millions without having them be accountable time after time.

Now we had an explosion in south Georgia and Grady no other but Grady is in the front again. The needs are clear, human lives are at stake. Is there no other real time event that shows Grady at its best.

So to feel anything is like watching killings and brutality between 6-11pm live on the news or a television program. You get use to it. The fight for justice and accountability has only hit a bump in the road, we must be protectors of justice and righteousness and we will accelerate ahead of corruption. Buckle-Up.

Many of the things he says have also been said here. It's too bad that Marshall needs my blog in order to get his message out. You can contact the AJC here about any of the plethora of issues I have raised.


I realize that anyone that tries to pick up the story of the crisis at Grady Hospital is likely to get lost in its many mazes. Thus, if this story is your first exposure to it, it is likely you have dumbfounded look on your face. 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. Then, the dumbfounded look will be removed. Also, please check out the recommendations that I and my colleagues have put together for fixing Grady Hospital.

CNN and My New Favorite Latin Phrase

I received an email from the conservative blog, Redstate, entitled "Heads need to roll at CNN". Here is the article that Redstate linked to in the email.

Our own Dan Spencer made USA Today today in an article by Jill Thompson.Only
if you check our front page, we don't have a contributor named Dan Spencer; well, we do, but he does not write under his name. You actually have to dig around on the web to find out Dan's real name. Good for USA Today for being competent.

Contrast that with CNN last night. Not only did they allow Keith Kerr's question, they invited him to the debate. Had they bothered to research, they would have discovered his connection to Hillary Clinton's campaign. He's a member of the LGBT Americans for Hillary Steering Committee and co-chair on Hillary's National Military Veterans group. He also was an active John Kerry supporter in 2004.

And last night Anderson Cooper willingly gave Mr. Kerr the Democratic activist a soapbox. Anderson has yet to apologize for either his willing participation or incompetent handling of the situation and failure to research.

The fallout from this story continues. Michelle Malkin reports today that the muslim girl that claimed that our reputation in the Muslim world has suffered as a result of the invasion of Iraq was a previous intern at CAIR. The number of non Republican questioners continues to grow each day.

For anyone not following, during Wednesday's Youtube debate hosted by CNN, several questioners turned out not to be Republicans or Independents, but in fact supporters of Democratic candidates. The most infamous was the gay general that scolded the candidates for not believing the military wasn't professional enough to serve with openly gay officers. His situation was even more peculiar because he was in the live audience and he spoke after the candidates answered his video question.

What is most embarrassing for CNN is that bloggers discovered most of the malfeasance in nearly real time. If the story is accurate, Anderson Cooper was told by Bill Bennett during the debate that bloggers had discovered the error.

To me, it really matters not whether or not CNN knew ahead of time that these questioners weren't Republicans. There are only three possible scenarios as far as this situation is concerned vis a vis CNN. They were either corrupt, incompetent, or even both...res ipsa loquitur. None of those scenarios shines anything but a terrible light on CNN. A couple months back CNN took a terrible ratings hit when when they tried to create controversy where none existed when they claimed that comments that Bill O'Reilly made about a Harlem restaurant were racist. They had a special about Iraqi insurgent snipers that many called nothing short of a snuff film. They even admitted soft balling the Hussein regime for years in order to gain access.

Suffice to say, their reputation doesn't need anymore hits. The simple fact of the matter is that heads absolutely need to roll on this and plenty of them. If we don't see heads roll, they will perpetuate the perception that this creates that they have a liberal bias. To me there is nothing to think about here. It isn't as though someone was late for a meeting or spent too much time on personal phone call one day. Several people, who weren't supposed to be asking questions at a major Presidential debate, were allowed to ask questions. Anyone who was responsible for vetting the questions and their superiors hve to be fired. There are no second chances for embarrassing the network on live television. If bloggers can figure these things out, then paid staffers have to or be removed. Like I said Res Ipsa Loquitur.

The other part of this story is the near blackout of its coverage by the rest of the media. I couldn't find anything on MSNBC. I couldn't find anything in the New York Times, There was something in the Washington Post though it is on conservative blogger's Ramesh Ponnuru's blog...not exactly top billing. I also found nothing in the Boston Globe. I could probably do this with most MSM newspapers and networks and if I had the time I would. I think you all get the idea. Most newspapers and networks have stayed relatively away from this story.

The New York Times for instance had a negative story about Iraq, Rudy Giuliani, and a story about the teacher in Sudan, on the front page. I won't say those aren't important, however a major network allowing multiple people to slip by their radar in a live debate is just as important. For their to be a near blackout of this story in the MSM...well that goes by the same Latin phrase, Res Ipsa Loquitur.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Does the Administration at Emory Get Paid For? (UPDATED)

Introduction: Yesterday, I published this piece. It is a detailed summary of the continued and growing scandal going on at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are unfamiliar with the details I suggest that you check out link.

Also, I have a stat counter on my site. It allows me to track in detail who, identified by IP address, comes, where from, which of my pieces they read, and all sorts of other details that turns it into Proprietor Nation's version of big brother.

The following piece is in regards to the aftermath of that piece (which received a fair amount of traffic) and one specific IP address that I have been able to identify. So, without further adieu...

I am not sure however if today is like other days then they are paid to surf the web. I know this because IP address, (administration's IP address, probably this man) has been on my site for hours today. In fact, this IP address is by far my biggest fan. I know this because they check with me usually at least once a day, however today they have taken an unusually large interest. (I wish they would click to Amazon once in a while and buy one of their fabulous books though) Here is a run down of today's activities...

28th November 2007
No referring linkProprietor Nation
29th November 2007
No referring linkProprietor Nation
29th November 2007
No referring linkProprietor Nation
29th November 2007
12:52:29 Nation: An Updated Summary on the Fiasco at Emory, Grady, and Beyond
29th November 2007
No referring linkProprietor Nation
29th November 2007
13:04:34 Nation: A Murder, A Suicide: Connecting More Dots in the Culture of Corruption
29th November 2007
No referring linkProprietor Nation
29th November 2007
13:04:45 Nation: The Incredible Disappearing Story... (UPDATED WITH A VERY SPECIAL SHOUT OUT)
29th November 2007
No referring linkProprietor Nation
29th November 2007
14:58:32 Nation: Emory University
29th November 2007
15:00:01 Nation: Who Is The Real Sociopath??
29th November 2007
15:07:39 Nation: The Fox Guarding the Hen House
29th November 2007
15:07:53 Nation: Corruption
29th November 2007
15:08:23 Nation: A Plea to John Sugg of Creative Loafing

Let me explain what all of these names and numbers mean. This is the full detail of the IP address I spoke of ( If you click the link it is identified and also identifies its server, Emory University. Everytime anyone visits here the date and time (Central time that is) is recorded. Those are what the dates and times mean. If a link was used to come to my site, that is also identified (for instance the one starting blog.creativeloafing is a site from which this IP linked from). If no link was used, then the words, no reference link appear. (this generally indicates the the address was typed out by the party using the computer. Thus it was likely that was entered into the address field in order to reach my site.) The specific web page is the web page that the party landed at. Sometimes, a party will travel within my site and so if you see two proprietornation pages, that means th party went from one page to another.

As you can see, not only is this IP visiting my site, but they are they are also visiting this story from October. (this is another story that doesn't necessarily paint Emory U in the best light)

The ongoing Grady Memorial Hospital crisis is bringing to the surface many complaints about Emory’s medical school role. In the past, Emory’s response to internal criticism has been to bully and crush the critics, and then try to keep the records sealed.

The latest on the blogosphere is about the persecution of Kevin Kuritzky, who was 41 days from graduation when Emory expelled him from the medical school. Kuritzky claims Emory was retaliating for his blowing the whistle on patient safety — or the lack thereof.

Now, I can assume that as the head of PR, one must know what is being said about their school, however isn't the work of the AJC, the New York Times, where they would want to spend their time predominantly. If I am getting this much traffic from PR, they frankly have very little time left for the AJC et al. Either that or the PR department is now exclusively focusing on surfing the internet for stories related to Emory. Why is my blog, with only several hundred hits daily, getting so much attention in the PR Department at Emory (if it isn't the PR person then frankly they really need to be fired because they are just surfing the internet to waste time then)?

I have already concluded that the powers that be at Emory removed a story from the internet archives at the AJC. I pointed out in a previous diary that this article, and more importantly Emory's response, was damning to Emory in three serious ways. (I won't rehash the story so please go to the links to catch up) I know that the article was removed in the aftermath of me publishing the piece because it is no longer there. I also know that reference to the same article was also removed from a page on Emory's own medical school site. (go to this google link and click on the top link found and see for yourself)

Now, I know that part of PR is damage control but isn't removing archived stories and web pages taking damage control a bit too far. I know that in PR you must know what the media is saying about you, but isn't obsessing about what a small blog says also taking things a bit too far. Unless of course, what that small blog is saying is true, and in that case, you probably would be obsessed. I have recently fallen in love with the phrase Res Ipsa Loquitor (the facts speak for themselves). You can call me crazy, an ego maniac, or suffering from delusions of grandeur, but I believe the fact that Emory's admin IP has become my biggest fan, shows that they know what I am saying is true.

If that is the case. Let's review what that means. Emory is operating as an all powerful sociopathic entity. They are criminally liable in providing medical services to poor folks at Grady Hospital and veterans at the VA hopsital and they have expelled a student, 41 days prior to graduation, for daring to expose their criminality. They have also paid off multiple professors with their silence who also tried to expose the corruption. Furthermore, since Grady Hospital, the subject of much of this corruption, is a public hospital that means that ultimately Emory University has committed all of these crimes and lapses in ethics and morality on the public.

Now, all of this is my supposition only, however, if my supposition is lunacy, why is the admin spending so much time on my blog? Don't take my word for it go and ask the admin yourself. I have provided the link and it has said person's email. See, what they have to say about all of this.

UPDATE: is back. It is nothing short of surreal to update a piece about a party as that party is reading the piece themselves, however that is how it is in the internet age. Here is an updated link to what the stat counter calls the magnified user, a detailed summary of the movements of this particular IP address on my site (including the most recent and probably current visit) The only other thing I will point out is that while I have had much traffic from this IP there has been no contact by email or otherwise. There have previously been some peculiar anonymous messages, however anonymous speaks for itself, and it was also before I became savvy enough to track things down.


I realize that if someone were to pick up this story somewhere in the middle they would get lost in its many mazes. Thus, if the first story you read regarding Grady Hospital is this one, you are probably confused. So, 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.

News and Views from Iraq

Here is Michael Yon's latest.

One of the controversies I intended to explore on my second embed with the British is the claim that EFPs are flowing into Iraq from Iran, just miles down the road. Iran’s support for international terrorist groups is well established; and here in Iraq, Iran is believed to have intimate contacts with terrorists groups providing them with “lethal aid.” EFPs fall within that category, because they can destroy any vehicle in Iraq, including America’s and Britain’s best tanks. Warriors are fine vehicles [although they do need real air conditioners for Iraq] but an EFP can slice through the Warrior’s armor like bullets through beer cans. Webb became known for personally inflicting heavy casualties among the enemy, but today it was his Warrior about to rumble over an EFP.

Here is the latest from Michael Totten reporting on the ground from Fallujah.

Nobody was shot last night in Fallujah. No American has been shot anywhere in Fallujah since the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment rotated into the city two months ago. There have been no rocket or mortar attacks since the summer. Not a single of the 3/5 Marines has even been wounded.

“The only shots we've fired since we got here are warning shots,” said Lieutenant J.C. Davis. Another officer didn't agree. “We haven't even fired warning shots,” he said. “It's too dangerous.”

It's dangerous because anti-American sentiment still exists in the city, even though it is mostly passive right now. It isn't entirely passive, however. Someone has been taking pot shots at Americans. A few days ago somebody threw a hand grenade at Marines. Two weeks ago an insurgent was caught by Iraqi Police officers while planting an IED near the main station. He freaked out, accidentally connected the wires, and blew himself up. “That's what he gets,” Private Gauniel said...

Here is Omar's latest.

This is a great find by any standards but the timing makes it all the more significant.The significance comes not only from the quantity of bombs, cars and other resources that al-Qaeda has been denied the ability to use. It comes from the amount of frustration they have to deal with right now that all these preparations and resources are lost.

What makes me think that this will indeed frustrate them is that al-Qaeda chose to mass this great number of VBIEDs instead of deploying them to the streets one, or a few, at a time fresh from the factory. Two possibilities arise here; they either couldn't find the means and safe routes to deploy the bombs and so they had to wait for more favorable circumstances, which is good news since it means their ability to conduct missions has really been reduced to a great extent.

Bill Roggio talks about the continued hunt for AQI.

"Despite the recent loss of numerous cells across Iraq, the media wing of al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) has produced a second video product, which the al Fajr Media Center posted Tuesday night on the main Jihadi message boards," Nick Grace of Threatswatch reported. "The one minute video, called 'Destruction Of An-American Hummer Vehicle,' is the latest in the ongoing ISI media series 'Roman and Apostate Hell in al-Rafedain Land' and, according to the accompanying Web statement, shows an IED attack on a hummer in the az-Zobayer bin al-Awaam region of Diyala Province." The first video released showed the brutal execution of nine Iraqis, purportedly Shia who served in the Interior Ministry’s police commando unit in Diyala province...

Here is one from a different perspective. The L.A. Times is very upset that Bush is trying to negotiate a deal for bases in Iraq.

Despite the show at Annapolis, this week's main diplomatic initiative has concerned Iraq, not Israel. Without any fanfare, the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced that the United States and Iraq will begin negotiating a long-term agreement that will set the terms of Washington's Iraq policy for "coming generations."President Bush is again in legacy mode.

His White House "czar" on Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, explained that the administration intends to reach a final agreement between the two countries by July 31, 2008. In describing the negotiations, he made a remarkable suggestion: Only the Iraqi parliament, not the U.S. Congress, needs to formally approve the agreement.

Finally, the DOD has this story about a successful operation in Tajj.

Coalition forces captured a wanted individual during operations in Tarmiyah while targeting a foreign terrorist facilitator and associate of senior al Qaeda leaders. They also detained two other suspects without incident. --

Coalition forces captured a wanted individual north of Samarra during operations targeting foreign terrorist facilitators and senior terrorist leader associates. The wanted individual is believed to be an al Qaeda leader in the area. --

Coalition forces detained four suspects while targeting al Qaeda members responsible for assassination-style murders in Hawija. Coalition forces also targeted their associates in Mosul, detaining three suspects without incident.

To sum up, we remain cautiously optimistic about an ever improving though incredibly complicated situation. God bless our troops, stay safe, you are our best.

Post Debate Wrap UP

My alma mater played Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last night, so priorities had my attention in other places for most of the debate. Thus, one might say that I am the wrong person to give anyone a post debate wrap up. I disagree. Since I have acknowledged that I didn't see much, I can't make a claim to a winner (which is invariably the candidate that I was supporting). Instead, I will act as a sort of weigh station for post debate stories and analysis.

First, the right blogosphere is ablaze with stories of Democratic plants asking questions.

Michelle Malkin's got the roundup: turns out that the woman framing abortion in terms of penalties for women was an Edwards supporter; the guy trying to gay-bait by asking about Log Cabin Republicans is going to vote for Obama (see also Six
Meat Buffet
and JunkYardBlog), the woman brandishing her adopted child on a badly-veiled screed for protectionism is a union organizer and aide to an Edwards supporter (see also the Autopsy); with a h/t to the aforementioned The Autopsy we see these two Jason Coleman links, one of which indicates that Corn Subsidy Boy was an ex-intern for Jane Harman and that the guy asking about why the GOP doesn't attract more African Americans is an Edwards supporter who likes to make fun of actual African-American Republicans. And then, of course, there was Hillary's guy. No doubt there'll be more*.

Since I didn't see most of the debate I don't know, I did see some sort of general actually claim that openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military. I am certain he was a plant and likely that CNN thought his credentials would play. My guess is no. The MSM continues to exhibit the height of hubris when they think such stunts actually change public opinion.

The pundits appear to be continuing to swoon over Huckabee and his performance last night. There is nothing new there. Huckabee is, in my estimation, by far the best debater of any Presidential candidate on either side. I have long pointed out his charm and charisma. His momentum appears to be continuing if you believe the pundits. Of course, pundits said Rudy would NOT still be leading at this point.

By far, the most interesting piece is from Jay Cost. He breaks down who attacked who, how much and on what. By his account, Rudy is still the front runner. Immigration is the most important primary issue. Thompson is in trouble. Romney sees both Rudy and Huckabee as a threat. McCain has issues.

I saw the last half hour and I turned the channel when the cartoon asked a question. I thought the most interesting question was about why African Americans don't vote more for Republicans. It turns out that was a plant as well, so there is an example of my radar.

The folks at Power Line also have the round up of the debate. Here is the analysis from Richelieu who, like most Conservatives, saves most of his ire for CNN.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Updated Summary on the Fiasco at Emory, Grady, and Beyond

I just realized that anyone that picks up this story in the middle would get lost in its many mazes and connections. If anyone reads every single story in the Emory University tag, they would get a full picture, however that maybe beyond reason. First, I must disclose some things. There are things that I can prove. There are things I can assert and there are things that I believe. Finally, there are things that follow the Latin phrase, Res Ipsa Loquitor (the facts speak for themselves). I use different language for each.

So, let's start at the beginning. Emory University's Medical School runs a network of hospitals in the Atlanta area. There are five in all if my facts are right. Three are actually owned by Emory and service predominantly the affluent making them quite profitable. The other two are public hospitals and Emory has sort of contracts to staff them with their professors and students. This is no different than many teaching hospitals and if there are any ER fans, the fake hospital in that show runs in a similar manner.

That said, I want to focus a bit more on the two public hospitals with little profit potential. The first is the VA since veterans get set bills, and the second is Grady. Grady is a hospital for the indigent or very poor. Since poor folks rarely have money or insurance, it is much more difficult to make a profit on them. Grady is also a public hospital meaning that the tax payers ultimately are the ones that finance it. (as most indigent hospitals would be for the reasons that I mentioned. No one is going to want to bankroll a hospital that has no hope of making any real money so it is left to the government) Grady is also massive, one of the biggest hospitals in the country, and so while it provides little profit, it provides a bulk of the training.

Here is where things get interesting. Emory enjoys a lucrative relationship vis a vis Grady (I will explain as I go along how that relationship get consummated so to speak). For instance, they get a fat yearly fee of about 50 million dollars to provide staffing at Grady. Keep in mind that Grady is the training vehicle for most of its medical students. Emory already charges its medical students tuition and uses Grady for a lot of the training that this tuition is supposed to go for. Many people refer to this as double dipping. In other words, Emory University has one of the premiere medical schools in the country and one of the main reasons is their association with Grady Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the country. Thus, Grady provides just as much to Emory is Emory does to Grady. Furthermore, since Grady is a public hospital it is ultimately the tax payers that are stuck with the bill that Emory charges Grady yearly. Also, Grady Hospital pays for Emory's malpractice insurance. It goes without saying that such a relationship invites exploitation.

Exploitation and corruption is what you have at Grady in my opinion, and I really only need to do a Google search to provide plenty of evidence. For instance, Grady Hospital settled a case for Medicare fraud in the late 1990's for about 5 million dollars. A few years later former State Senator Charles Walker committed so much criminality at Grady and beyond that he was ultimately convicted of 127 felonies. (you can click this link for a full write up of the case including its particulars and most importantly what each hero and villain wound up receiving from Grady and Emory) In 2004, the Dept. of Health and Human Services conducted an investigation of Grady Hospital and here are the conclusions,

there is a serious and immediate threat to the health and safety of the patients

That is frankly the equivalent of a builder building you a house that falls down on top of you when you move in. (Only one person was let go in the aftermath, Dr. Andrew Ogwunobi, who has continued to travel an interesting path. You can find his full dossier here. It is important to note that the Chief Medical Officer of Grady Hospital, William Casarella, was cited most often in the actual report. I point this out because Casarella has since been promoted within Emory University. This is important for several reasons not the least of which because it goes to show that in many ways I believe the two entities cross over whenever it suits the powers that be)

Finally, currently Grady is in such financial turmoil that is about to be shut down unless there is a huge infusion of cash, about a hundred million minimum by my estimation. There were also other investigations that started and stopped like an interesting one conducted by the NIH in 2000. While there was ultimately no damning conclusions to those reports, I have my suspicions about how it was exactly that they ended. (for more information on that report and more importantly the role of Kent Alexander, Chief Legal Counsel for Emory University, please go this link. This is probably my most incendiary piece and illicited a flurry of looks from the Emory admin IP upon publishing)

This body of evidence is in my opinion an example of Res Ipsa Loquitor.

Now, while Grady is staffed by almost entirely Emory faculty, it is still a public hospital. It has a board and a CEO. The board chooses the CEO, and the board is chosen by the CEO of Dekalb County. The current CEO of Dekalb County is Vernon Jones. He is an elected official with a remarkable knack for thriving in what I would think are dicey political situations. (when I say dicey I mean things like rape accusations, shady land deals, and all sorts of malfeasance by those close to him Just like everything else, I have written a full write up of Jones as well. Jones is I believe the link between the corruption at Grady and the corruption that infects much of Georgia. We have a running debate about who the ultimate ringleader is and one theory is the Dixie Mafia, and you can vote in my fun poll after getting the full scoop)

Now, the problem as I see it is summed up by this cliche, the fox guarding the hen house. The board is supposed to oversee the CEO who is supposed to oversee the staff, and the CEO of Dekalb County is supposed to oversee all of them. The problem is that all the entities, in my estimation, are corrupted. From Jones, to the board, to the CEO, to the staff, the foxes are guarding the hen house so to speak. For instance, one very prominent member of the board was until two years ago Robert Brown. Robert Brown also runs an architecture firm. Three guesses which firm gets many of the most lucrative contracts for Grady expansion. If we dig deep enough, I have no doubt that there would be an almost endless amount of transactions with really or perceived conflicts of interest.

Enter, whistleblower Kevin Kuritzky...first, there is full disclosure here. Kevin and I have developed a tight relationship, and I have even done a radio show with. (It is linked at the end of my piece on Kent Alexander. Kevin is the calm one and I am the hyper one) I have never claimed traditional journalistic objectivity, and I am not a traditional journalist. I believe the quality and accuracy of the information I have provided speaks for itself. Every piece of data has been double and triple sourced minimum. I have hard copies for anything I don't link to like the aforementioned HHS report. (I can email or fax to anyone upon request)

Kevin has made some incendiary accusation about the quality of patient care at Grady Hospital. He claims that Emory staff goes to one of their for profit hospitals when they are supposed to be at Grady and many times he claims they leave medical students unsupervised. (In fact, in this piece I give an example that was verbalized to me by Kuritzky that is frankly straight out of a bad nightmare.) It goes without saying that his accusations, if true, amount to not only an obscene violation of several laws but frankly every doctor's oath. Kuritzky was expelled from medical school with forty one days remaining. (That is in a four year program) Kevin believes the charges are trumped up and he is now in the middle of a law suit. The Emory Wheel inaccurately reported that Kuritzky's case has been dismissed. It hasn't Kuritzky's side has lost a motion that is being appealed. (again, I have seen the disposition of this motion and it is NOT a dismissal) This was inaccurately reported in a trade journal for academics. (The fact that this was written in a trade journal for academics obviously raises all sorts of issues and I explored them here)

Finally, I have counted four former Emory professors that have been paid off for silence. I have only seen the settlement agreement for one pay off. That is for Dr. Jim Murtaugh. He was paid off right around the time that the NIH investigation was happening and he was paid off along with another person, Diane Owen (though her agreement I haven't seen) Murtaugh's settlement has been the subject of much media buzz because State Senator David Shafer has lead a group of state senators who have demanded that it be unsealed (and one main reason why I was able to see the agreement. (If you go here I explore the case of his records being unsealed. Interestingly enough, certain links disappeared in the aftermath of me publishing that, and I explored that here) (also, the Shafer link has some interesting information about who did and didn't approve his settlement so I encourage you to link there)

Now, why should you care? If you are a resident of Georgia, then it is your tax dollars that will ultimately go to fund something you should see is totally corrupt. This corruption is in my opinion part of even bigger corruption that I probably don't even have the full story to. If you are an Emory student, then your tuition, and likely your parent's money (who are you kidding), is contributing to this corruption. Furthermore, if Kevin really was only expelled because he dared blow the whistle on this, what is to stop Emory from targeting someone else. What if you become a threat to them for this or for anything? Clearly, if you believe my assertions, Emory eliminates all threats to them. They pay some off and they expel others. If you believe Kevin, then he had his life ruined for daring to the right thing. (he often tells me that his friends still in the medical school tell him that he should have kept his mouth shut and graduated and moved on) Furthermore, if you believe Kevin, then your school exhibits the traits of the common sociopath. Sociopaths with power is the worst combination you can have. If you are a citizen, then you should want that all corruption be dealt with appropriately and people be held responsible.


Some of you may be wondering where the media in Atlanta fits into all of this. This piece should drive home how the media's coverage, or rather lack thereof, fits into this whole story. This piece contrasts the Atlanta media with another situation in which the media actually did its job. Finally, here is an example of the sort of reporting you will find at the AJC.

In the News

I have to lead with this one, because it is just so juicy. Zal Khalilzad was spotted having lunch with George Soros. Talk about politics making strange bedfellows.

So what were billionaire George Soros and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad discussing Tuesday when they met for a secret lunch at a luxurious but discreet restaurant close to the United Nations?

Nobody but the two men knows.

They met together for roughly 90 minutes after arriving at the restaurant separately, Khalilzad with a Secret Service escort.

Lots of questions and very few answers are available, however there could be significant ramifications. If Khalilzad wasn't authorized he needs to go immediately. If he was, then HUH?

There may have been a "breakthrough" at the peace talks in Annapolis. Color me skeptical however not only is there no "breakthrough" that a car bomb won't stop, but... where do I start? Olmert is sitting at single digit approval ratings and is being investigated. Abbas has no control of Gaza and slightly above no control of the West Bank. How many "breakthroughs" have we had? I am not saying that it is impossible. All I am saying is that peace is difficult when one side believes the other side's proper place in the world is six feet under.

Here is a story for the true political junkie. The new Rasmussen poll has Mike Huckabee in the lead in Iowa. First, can someone please produce a poll that asks Americans if they are sick of polls? That is the only one I am curious about. Second, I never look at individual polls. I only look at the RCP average. Romney continues to lead but it is tenuous. Huckabee should NOT be underestimated. He is charming and charismatic. He debates exceptionally well and he is a firm, unconditional, social conservative. On the other hand, he just made a rise in the polls, and soon enough the media will begin to examine him much more firmly. His record on fiscal issues has been described by some (by some I mean a lot of bloggers on Redstate which examines every Rep candidate the way Hugh Hefner examines playmates) is not so strong. Now, I don't know, but let's wait and see what happens after the expected media examination.

This story has received plenty of blogger coverage. Last week, there was a story out of Saudi Arabia about a gang rape victim that was punished with 200 lashes. No you didn't read that incorrectly. This week, a teach is facing a punishment of up to forty lashes in the Sudan for naming a teddy bear Muhammad. So far, she has only been charged. I have pointed out a while back that we have terrorism because the societies in the Middle East are F%^ked up. That is the crudest way I can say it and this is an example. This story is not merely one to look at like a bad wreck, but rather instructive of the systemic and serious issues that need to be resolved there if we are to win the GWOT.

Here is more evidence of turmoil in the print media. The NY Times, already struggling with obscenely low stock prices, have announced more cuts. The liberals will say that it has to do with the continued fragmenting of the media and the conservatives will say that it has to do with their bias.

The latest pew poll has a shift in perception on Iraq. It isn't surprising that the public has warmed some to Iraq, however, as I pointed out yesterday, I don't think this war will be popular with the public. O'Reilly had two top Democrats on to talk about Iraq. They continued with the narrative I talked about in the piece yesterday. I don't think it will work but go to the link and judge for yourself.

The rumor mill has Hillary Clinton tapping Wesley Clark as her VP. That is according to Amanda Carpenter of I don't care much for rumors but Carpenter is tapped into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Incredible Disappearing Story... (UPDATED WITH A VERY SPECIAL SHOUT OUT)

I want to direct everyone to three different web pages. Two of them are attributed to me. The third is a Google search. The reason that I direct you to a Google search is because the site I wanted has been removed. Don't believe me, click the top link (Emory WHSC Grady in the news statements mislabel role) and see what happens. A site initially pops up, it says this page has been moved, and then it disappears and then the main page pops up. Try it and see. So, why am I being so machiavellian? Well, I believe that a story has been removed from the AJC. I believe that this story and its response can ultimately be used to damage the reputation of Emory University and the worst part, from the perspective of Emory University, is that the initial damage was self inflicted. Thus, I believe they have moved heaven and Earth to remove all of evidence of this little piece of malfeasance. (They of course will have a much harder time hiding their overall malfeasance which can be explored in my tag Emory University)

First, here are excerpts from the two stories,

Rather than await a court order, Emory and Grady ought to open the records for public inspection immediately. Emory, which supplies most of the attending physicians and residents-in-training at Grady, has already indicated it is willing for the full file to be unsealed if Murtagh, who no longer is employed by Emory, agrees.

Grady, which turned down Shafer's request for the records several weeks ago, should follow suit. If Grady is concerned that patient records might become public as a result, it can ask that those specific records be exempted or redacted.

Murtagh apparently sued Emory and Grady several times in 2000, alleging, among other things, that Emory broke a deal to name him chief of the pulmonary department. He also alleged that Emory and Grady conspired to defraud Medicare and Medicaid in how the two government health insurance programs compensated Grady and the medical school doctors for patient care at thehospital. Murtagh said he was cooperating with federal investigators, but no apparent federal action was taken against Grady or the medical school.

In response, Kent Alexander and Tim Jefferson, both legal counsels for Grady and Emory, wrote this

The AJC's Oct. 5 editorial "Come clean on lawsuit" resurrects (and misstates) old charges of conspiring to misuse government funds, charges the government reviewed seven years ago and declined to pursue. This has the devastating effect of casting public suspicion on two entities -- Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory University -- that are working together in an increasingly challenging environment to meet the health needs of the most vulnerable members of our society.

The editorial surprisingly calls on Emory and Grady to open the sealed settlement and court records in a case involving Dr. James Murtagh. For the record, Emory and Grady did not move to seal the record; Murtagh did. Emory had already supported unsealing the proceedings -- the complete, entire record -- as had Grady. We simply awaited the doctor and court's approval.Judge Wendy Shoob has since unsealed the record, which is now of course fully open to the public. The real victim in all of this is Grady, the largest public health hospital in the Southeast. Grady is struggling to survive while misinformation circulates that, unintentionally or intentionally, diverts attention from the real issues.

(Unfortunately, since the link is the first part of the article I can't copy that. Go to my initial link and try and link to the link and watch yourself go to a blank page. I know try saying that five times, and you are very confused and you don't see the point. The point is that there is a link that goes to nothing and just accept that for now)

The second article is more clear...

Friday, October 19, 2007

University: Unraveling Sealed Records

October 5th, the AJC wrote this editorial

Rather than await a court order, Emory and Grady ought to open the records
for public inspection immediately. Emory, which supplies most of the attending
physicians and residents-in-training at Grady, has already indicated it is
willing for the full file to be unsealed if Murtagh, who no longer is employed
by Emory, agrees.

Grady, which turned down Shafer's request for the records several weeks ago, should follow suit. If Grady is concerned that patient records might become public as a result, it can ask that those specific records be exempted or redacted.

Murtagh apparently sued Emory and Grady several times in 2000, alleging, among other things, that Emory broke a deal to name him chief of the pulmonary department. He also alleged that Emory and Grady conspired to defraud Medicare and Medicaid in how the two government health insurance programs compensated Grady and the medical school doctors for patient care at the hospital. Murtagh said he was cooperating with federal investigators, but no apparent federal action was taken against Grady or the medical school.

In response, Kent Alexander and Tim Jefferson, both legal counsels for Grady and Emory, wrote this

The AJC's Oct. 5 editorial "Come clean on lawsuit" resurrects (and misstates) old charges of conspiring to misuse government funds, charges the government reviewed seven years ago and declined to pursue. This has the devastating effect of casting public suspicion on two entities -- Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory University -- that are working together in an increasingly challenging environment to meet the health needs of the most vulnerable members of our society.The editorial surprisingly calls on Emory and Grady to open the sealed settlement and court records in a case involving Dr. James Murtagh.

For the record, Emory and Grady did not move to seal the record; Murtagh did. Emory had already supported unsealing the proceedings -- the complete, entire record -- as had Grady. We simply awaited the doctor and court's approval.

Judge Wendy Shoob has since unsealed the record, which is now of course fully open to the public. The real victim in all of this is Grady, the largest public health hospital in the Southeast. Grady is struggling to survive while misinformation circulates that, unintentionally or intentionally, diverts attention from the real issues.

These articles are of course identical and what we bloggers call cross posting. The important part is that every link I provided leads to nowhere (except those that lead to products which I very much encourage you to link to and buy no explanation needed there). Now, and most of my friends will agree with this, I may just have been a total idiot and provided the wrong link. Or, the link I provided was removed after these pieces were published.

Now, the article that I firmly believe once existed in the AJC website was actually an editorial that urged that Grady and Emory unseal the records of the settlement between them and Dr. Jim Murtaugh. Now, this Emory can't hide. I have seen the settlement. Murtaugh was paid 1.6 million dollars and then both parties were told to shut up entirely including the media. In fact, in the settlement, if either party even gets subpoenad, they must first appear before the judge so that the other party has a chance to quash the subpoena. Now, where I come from, when you are paid a lot of money and told to be quiet, that is called hush money.

The reason this is important is because the response, which no longer exists, claimed that it was Murtaugh, not Emory and Grady, that insisted that the records remain sealed. Now, I will again make the same point that I made in the piece that I have linked. It is patently ridiculous to say that the one being hushed is the one that insists on keeping everything quiet. Second, since Emory knows that Murtaugh must remain silent, since they paid to silence him, he is an easy target. Finally, this non lawyer, believes that by simply speaking out Emory and Grady (represented by their dual counselors Tim Jefferson and Kent Alexander) have each violated the very agreement they helped craft.

As you can see, this is, if true, is quite damaging to the two entitities. Thus, they have every reason to get rid of the evidence.

I know what many are thinking now. Michael, you have delusions of grandeur. Emory doesn't care what some nothing blogger says about them. Au contraire. According to my stat counter, the Emory University faculty IP, (one I now know will never be used again to check my site) is my biggest fan. I know this because someone on that IP address visits my site at least once a day and then it gets up to ten hits in a day whenever a story related to them gets published. (Yes, I know big brother, but it is great when you are the big brother.)

Now, I will also say that I firmly believe that the powers that be will very possibly reverse coure again, and suddenly, the story will be back up on the site and the page will be back up. That is why I hope people check this out now and see for themselves before courses are reversed. In fact, I predicted part of the current course in a previous piece.

So, what does all of this mean? It may mean nothing, but why doesn't the audience indulge my own delusions of grandeur and allow me to state what I believe happened. I believe that Grady and Emory tried to do damage control to an ever growing situation with what can only be described as an absurd response to an editorial in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The powers that be at Emory read my nothing blog and realized that if my nothing blog every became something, their unbelievable fraud, arrogance, and corruption would be available for everyone. Thus, the powers that be needed to remove all evidence that linked my assertion to them. It was easy since the AJC has a plethora of Emory alum and thus plenty of influence. The article was removed however in their own carelessness they forgot that they themselves linked to the same article from their own site. When I published the second piece, I just linked, they realized their second error and removed that as well. Thus, they have made it look as though I am an incompetent computer novice that can't link straight and thus can't be taken serious.

In other words, if I am right, then in the words of Daniel Caffee (that's A Few Good Men for all you movie novices)

you mean they can make an entire flight disappear

Yes, that's right, and they will to hide their own malfeasance, unless you stop them. Please link to the powers that be and ask him yourself why these pages are missing. Finally, if I am right, then we have incontrovertable evidence that the AJC isn't just tacitly involved in the corruption but frankly an active participant. If you believe me, please go here and ask the AJC where this article went.


I would like to welcome the administrators at Emory University. According, the my stat counter the aforementioned IP address just visited at 9:16:51 (Central Time, give or take a tenth of a second) I also fully expect that at least their own site, Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center, they will fix the slight error. Currently, as I said, the site that has been removed pops up for a split second and then disappears. Please follow this google search. Pick the top search, Emory WHSC Statements mislabel role, and you will see what I mean. For now at least. Please leave comments letting me know if your search yielded the same results. If they did, please ask the powers that be why the web page was removed.

UPDATE: Well, the page has been permanently removed or somehow Emory got Google to remove the link. Either way, the page has now disappeared. If you are reading this story too late, you will just have to take my word for it. If you don't believe me, so be it, it is probably the intention of the powers at Emory. Just keep in mind that while they can remove a page from a web site, they cannot remove the entire fiasco. Please read below for the summary of the entire fiasco.


I realize that if the first exposure to this story comes somewhere in the middle, you may get very confused. Thus, if you this is the first story related to Grady that you are reading, you should be confused. As such, 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.

The Changing Dynamics of the War in Iraq and Its Political Ramifications

Rick Moran wrote an amazing piece yesterday that really breaks down the situation currently going on in Iraq. If you have a chance, please read it. If you don't, here is a summary. There is no doubt that there has been some success since the institution of the surge. That said, Iraq remains an unbelievably complex place with all sorts of moving parts with varying agendas, and it is impossible to predict if our current success will transfer into ultimate success with all of these parts.

This is all no doubt true however I would also add that I believe that our forces have accomplished the most difficult part of the task so far, and that they have my full confidence in accomplishing the rest. It was fascinating and peculiar that former General Rick Sanchez gave the Democratic response to Bush's weekly radio address this past weekend. After all, the Democrats railed on Rumsfeld's failed Iraq plan and Sanchez was instrumental in its implementation. In 1864, former failed Union General George McClellan ran for the Democratic ticket. While I have no doubt there are eyes rolling, there are some peculiar similarities.

There are now two concurrent and divergent realities going on vis a vis Iraq. The first is that things are improving and the second is that this is a war that the public will NEVER like. This makes Iraq a paradigm politically for both parties. The Republicans are hand cuffed to a perpetually unpopular war and the Democrats are hand cuffed to defeat in an improving situation. It appears neither side wins in this case.

There is also great irony in the political framing that each party is taking vis a vis Iraq. For instance, Carl Levin represented the Democrats in the Iraq War debate on FNS. Here is some of what he said.

Well, it shows an improvement on the military side, but the president's policy very specifically had as its purpose — the surge's purpose was to give the Iraqi political leaders the breathing space to work out a political settlement, and that purpose has not been achieved.

They're just as far apart as ever. And I think there's a growing frustration with the Maliki government, even among our own military leaders, for the Maliki government's failure to make political improvements. That growing frustration is reflected in a State Department bulletin that just came out which said that the greatest threat which now exists in Iraq is no longer Al Qaeda, it is not the insurgency of the Sunni insurgency, it is not the militias.

The greatest threat to any success in Iraq is the failure of the Iraqi politicians to work out their political differences.

Senator Lindsey Graham represented the Republicans and here is some of what he said.

It's working amazingly well, beyond my expectations. I think history will judge the surge as probably the most successful counterinsurgency military operation in history.

Violence is down. Economic activity is up. It's not just about more troops. It's how the troops are used. So hats off to General Petraeus and all under his command. You're making military history and a phenomenal success. I was amazed, really.

Here is the irony. Both parties have maintained their overall assessments for much of the war. The Republicans are optimistic and the Democrats are pessimistic. That is true, however they have swapped their measures. Remember for years, despite all the violence Bush continued to point to political benchmarks: elections, the constitution, the formation of the government, etc. as signs that we were still succeeding, and the Democrats just pointed to the next car bomb. Now, since there are no car bombs, the Republicans are pointing to that, and the Democrats are pointing to the lack of political progress.

Now, if electoral history is any judge, the Republicans now hold the edge. The Democrats must convince the folks that we are losing when we are winning, while the Republicans must divorce themselves from Bush. More and more, the Iraq War is becoming the war of General David Petraeus. He will soon become the face of it almost entirely and the Democrats will likely counter with Generals that weren't in the theater or were there during years of failure.

The Republicans have no easy task either. Tying yourself to a neverending and deeply unpopular war is no easy task. Of course, Nixon proved that this position can still be better than calling defeat. The person in best position to use Iraq is John McCain. He called failure when there was failure and success as soon as that happened as well. Furthermore, no one has more credibility on military issues among politicians.

Hillary Clinton appears to be the weakest on Iraq political, at least to me (and my opinion is certainly slanted). She has had moving positions and at this point continues to not only defend her initial vote but also propose a vague withdrawal plan that has no definite end. That frankly ultimately pleases no one. Barack Obama is a bit stronger since he merely defends a withdrawal plan that is more forceful however ultimately pretty vague as well. He is, in my opinion, a totaly foreign policy light weight and I just can't see the voting public being impressed with foreign policy experience amounting to a few years spent overseas as a youth.

The next major event that will affect the politics of Iraq, in my opinion, comes in March. That is when General David Petraeus presents his next progress report. The last one was overshadowed by the Betray Us ad. It's other main highlight was Hillary Clinton claiming that believing there was progress required a "willing suspension of disbelief". If progress was difficult to see then, it will be darn near impossible to ignore then, again in my opinion only. The last three months we have seen a reduction in coalition casualties, Iraqi military casualties, and Iraqi civilian casualties. I believe that November will be month number four and if the trajectory holds it will be seven months of decreasing violence by the time he speaks to Congress.

The genius of Petraeus is that he has developed a plethora of measurements for progress. He develops so much data that accountants would probably get lost in it: deaths, violent events, business openings, recruitments, elections, etc. There is a statistic for just about everything. Given that progress was only beginning to show in September, the numbers will be nothing short of startling in March.

The Democrats will no doubt continue to point to political progress. By political progress, I mean benchmarks. Obviously, there are all sorts of political progress seen in Iraq, however none of them are included in the benchmarks. To me at least, arguing with a General, who has made Iraq his home for the last three years, that political progress can only be defined by static benchmarks set before the start of the operation seems like a political loser. There are all sorts of reconciling between Sunni and Shia sheiks and these partnerships have lead to security agreements. Things that have worked in Sunni areas have been copied with wrinkles in Shia and mixed areas.

Finally, if a lack of political progress by the Central government is any measure success based on pre set benchmarks, they have also just condemned their own Congress. Like I said, the ever changing political dynamic in Iraq is filled with irony.

In the News


Rioting continues in France and the intensity has amped up.

Rampaging youths rioted for a second night in Paris' suburbs, firing at officers and ramming burning cars into buildings. At least 80 officers were injured, a senior police union official said Tuesday.

The overnight violence was more intense than during the three weeks of rioting in 2005, said the official, Patrice Ribeiro. He said "genuine urban guerrillas with conventional weapons and hunting weapons" were among the rioters.

On Monday night, youths were seen firing buckshot at police and reporters. About 30 of 82 injured officers were hit by buckshot, Ribeiro told The Associated Press. Rioters also hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police, authorities said.

A few days ago, I pointed out that Nicholas Sarkozy scored a major domestic victory when he when the game of chicken with the unions. That victory maybe short lived if he doesn't get this situation under control. In 2005, his predecessor, Jacque Chirac, waited twelve days until speaking to the people. In the meantime, the perception grew that the rioters, not the authorities, were in charge. Those riots subsided however the rioters probably got the idea that they could do what they wanted. Sarkozy MUST show the kind of leadership Chirac lacked and crack the perverbial whip on the rioters immediately.

Pervez Musharraf officially stepped down as military chief of Pakistan. This opens things up for him to run for President. This situation is to complicated for my simple mind, however I do know that its consequences are serious for those of the GWOT.

North and South Korea have opened up talks on security concerns. I have long been weary of negotiating with sociopaths, and Kim Jong Il is that. I hope this leads somewhere however my bet is that it will be counter productive.


President Bush has opened up another summit on Middle East peace. As one commentator put it, every President eventually goes to this step. We all know where the last ones lead to and I fear this one will be no different. I think the problems of the Middle East are far greater than a summit however no one is claiming all problems will be solved in one day.

The housing market got more bad news with the most recent prices reporting a 4.5% drop. I have talked about this ad nauseum and you can go to the mortgage tag for more background. I don't believe the worst is over and I do believe it will get much worse. Finally, condolences go out to the Taylor family and the Washington Redskins. Their safety, and University of Miami product, died of injuries he sustained from an apparent burglary on Sunday. First thing is first, I hope that justice will be served and ALL perpetrators are caught and punished.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Sad Story About a Mortgage Broker

Here is how my August went. I started out with ten loans that I thought I was going to close. Five of them were with one borrower which is one reason why things unraveled the way they did. My borrower has an excellent credit profile. He holds onto nine mortgages, a car loan, a couple student loans, and several credit cards and never in his life has he been late on anything. Now, because he has so much outstanding credit his score is good not great. Also, he is in sales and owns multiple properties so it is virtually impossible to ever show any documentation to verify his income. Still between his strong credit and the fact that he has money in the bank, his loans were always difficult but doable.

Right around my thirty third birthday, his loans started dropping one at a time. The worst thing about it is that they were dropping for newly made up reasons. While he had money in the bank, it wasn't "congruent" to the amount of money I claimed he made. In other words, he didn't have enough money in the bank for the amount of money I claimed he made in income. While this is a reasonable way of judging things, it was NOT any of the bank's guidelines when I submitted the loan.

I kept trying to find new banks for his loan. I found one and the next day they announced they were shutting down operations. I found another and they changed guidelines right after I found them. I finally found one that I thought would work. They fumbled around with it for five days. Then, while I was driving to a wedding in Minnesota, I got the news on Blackberry that they too were denying the loan, and also because his so called liquid assets weren't congruent to his income.

By the end of the month, the ten loans I thought I was going to close wound up being zero and this is a story that most mortgage brokers will tell you about the month of August and even into September. In those two months, banks were looking for reasons to deny loans. It was near impossible to close anything, and thus, it was near impossible to do what I had dedicated the last six years of my life to. The industry was in turmoil and there was confusion and fear everywhere. Almost no one was sure they would even stay in the business and no one knew what would happen next.

I bet I know your reaction. Who cares? You are a scummy mortgage broker and your excess brought this upon yourself. I have no sympathy for you and I hope that your next year is like August. If you think this way, then ask yourself why you sympathize with the people in this article.

This is an article about people about to face foreclosure. There stories are no less heartwrenching, but frankly no more. If you think it is tough facing the reality that you can't afford to pay for your house, try facing the reality that your industry is in such a state of chaos that you can probably no longer afford to be in it. Losing a house is bad, however losing a career is much worse.

Yet, there is NOT one article about any mortgage broker and the difficulties we have faced in these months. That is despite the fact that our stories are no less poignant. That's because unlike homeowners we aren't sympathetic.

Thus, newspapers like Chicago's Daily Herald, and this one from the New York Times, print stories in which borrowers are portrayed as empathetic victims. Their stories are heartwrenching and we are supposed to feel sorry for them. No one feels sorry for the mortgage broker, even though it is no less heart wrenching to watch your career go up in smoke.

That is frankly not the point. I don't much care if anyone has sympathy for me or my industry and I certainly could care less if any newspaper ever wrote a sympathetic piece about us. Unlike the borrowers, most of my industry could care less if the world has any sympathy for us and we don't seek attention at these times. The reason for this piece is that policy is being determined based on the misleading narrative that borrowers are sympathetic and mortgage brokers and banks are bad. Policy can't be determined based on this principle. Yet, newspapers are hammering this theme home.

The politicians are responding. They have responded with H.R. 3915, which attacks predatory lending, and provides even more protection for borrowers in case they go bad on the loan. In other words, based on the narrative that borrowers are good victims and brokers are evil predators, the pols will design a bill that protects the borrower and punishes the broker.

While this may be good politics, especially when it is egged on by the media, it is terrible policy. Borrowers signed paperwork and they agreed to certain conditions. They aren't meeting those conditions, and now the legislature wants to provide extra protection in case they won't meet those conditions. That is called a moral hazard.

It is hard to know exactly how the final version of H.R. 3915 or its equivalents and cousins will look like, however there have already been several scary things being floated. For instance, Senator Dick Durbin wants to allow for bankruptcy courts to be able to renegotiate the terms of mortgages. In other words, if you go into bankruptcy, you will be rewarded with a better mortgage.

The borrower is actually able to sue the securitizer, Wall Street, if their loan goes bad, and the borrower is afforded all sorts of new protections if they go bad on a loan. Here is the language vis a vis securitizers...

Assignee/Securitizer Liability (does not extend to trusts and investors): Subject to exemptions below, for loans that violate the minimum standards (reasonable ability to repay and net tangible benefits), a consumer has an individual cause of action against assignees and securitizers for rescission of the loan and the consumer’s costs for rescission.

Here is the language vis a vis foreclosures...

When the holder of a mortgage loan or anyone acting on behalf of the holder initiates a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure, (1) the consumer who has a rescission right under this bill may assert such right as a defense to foreclosure against the holder to forestall foreclosure, or (2) if the rescission right has expired, the consumer may seek actual damages (plus costs) against the creditor, assignee, or securitizer.

This is a moral hazard and it is dangerous. If you give people an incentive to go bad, that is exactly what they will do. This is happening because newspapers are perpetuating a narrative. It is a narrative that gives politicians a political angle. None of the narrative is rooted in reality mind you. The reality is significantly more complicated. The reality is something that politicians and their partners in the media have no desire of discovering. Instead, they will pass laws that fit the narrative and perpetuate the very problems they claim to be attacking.

Here is the problem. They create vague concepts that fit their narrative. They are concepts like "predatory lending". Here is the problem with that concept.

There is no specific definition about what exactly predatory lending entails, though most observers believe that the description applies when lenders take advantage of borrowers by charging high interest rates and consider only the value of a borrower’s assets, as opposed to what the borrower can afford to pay.

In other words, politicians have created a concept they can't define. It is there solely to make them feel good and also so they can tell the masses they attacked the bad guys. The problem is that in my business there is only one practical effect of vague and undefinable concepts,


That's right. The practical effect of all of the legislation that is currently on the books is even more paperwork to sign during the process. Anyone who has closed a loan knows how much attention you pay to the paperwork you already sign, and now you will sign even more.

Why does this happen? That's because politicians are responding to political not policy opening, and that opening is created by one sided heart wrenching pieces in which certain groups are painted as victims and others as villains.

Imagine how much different the legislation would be if every newspaper published stories like the one that started this piece. They would of course be no less dangerous, but they would be different.

In the News


French "youths" are rioting again. Way back when it took Jacque Chirac twelve days to come from under his desk before addressing a French "youth" riot. There are plenty here in America that snicker at such a display. We shouldn't snicker. This is very dangerous and some very bad people are organizing these displays of aggression. The French appear totally impotent to stop them, and that should scare everyone.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, fresh from a triumphant return from exile, registered Monday as a candidate for Pakistan's crucial elections.
However, he maintained a threat to boycott the Jan. 8 vote and said that, even if he did take part, he would not lead any government under President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Speaking of Musharraf...
Musharraf is expected to step down as chief of Pakistan's powerful army this week and continue as a civilian president — a key demand of his domestic critics and international sponsors.
This would all be merely the peculiar politics of the Middle East if it wasn't for a huge Islamist contingent in Pakistan and the country's access to nuclear weapons. As such it becomes a potentially explosive situation.
In Australia, John Howard lost the election handily. No doubt, Bush's opponents will use this as a referendum (conveniently skipping elections in Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Germany, and France) and there maybe some of that, however don't fret too much for Howard. He had an eleven year run. In any country, in any office, that is pretty good.
The buzz everywhere is about Trent Lott resigning his position in the Senate by the end of the year. As Michelle acutely points out, he is a unifying figure, at least on the internet. The right blogosphere is no more kind to Lott than the left blogosphere. I don't know the man so I will speak no ill.
The Washington Post reports that Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are turning up the heat on each other in New Hampshire. Look at any focus group organized by Frank Luntz and you will see that attacking your own party's rivals during the primaries is dangerous business. Primary voters are partisan which means in the primary they generally like all the candidates and just like some more and some less. This is a dangerous strategy so stay tuned.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Fox Guarding the Hen House

This is the final report filed by the Grady Task Force. Let me sum up for anyone that doesn't want to bother to click the link. This is a report that is about thirty pages that is full technical jargon that almost no one can understand.

So, what is the Grady Task Force and why should anyone care? If you have been following my work, you know that Grady Hospital has been in financial turmoil for years and it has now come to a head. Grady Hospital is one of the biggest hospitals, one of the biggest public hospitals, and one of the biggest hospitals for the indigent in the country. It needs a huge infusion of tax payer funds, up to nine digits, or it will close down.

The Grady Task Force is a sort of consulting group, created by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, designed to make recommendations to "fix" Grady Hospital. The very fact that Grady Hospital needs this sort of consulting group is curious in and of itself.

This past spring Grady fired Alvarez and Marsals, a professional consulting firm it hired to recommend ways in which it could avert financial ruin. That was only after paying the firm a cool 300K plus, PER MONTH, and over 3 million dollars total. Consulting firms are nothing new for Grady Hospital. Frankly, Grady Hospital goes through consulting firms the way that Liz Taylor goes through husbands. They pay each of them handsomely and they are even thinking of hiring yet another despite having a "consulting firm" hand picked for them by the Chamber.

One would think that after spending roughly eight digits on consulting firm in about two years, Grady would finally figure out WHAT THE F$%K IS WRONG. That is if these consulting firms are being hired for their advice rather than other reasons. For instance, would it surprise anyone to learn that the principles of Alvarez and Marsals have close ties to Grady board member Michael Hollis? Would it surprise anyone to learn that all of the prior consulting firms were in one way or another hired for some reason other than their professional qualifications? It wouldn't surprise me, and my proof is in these Latin words, res ipsa loquitor. The facts speak for themselves, and the facts are that at least four consulting firms have produced a hospital on the brink of financial ruin. Again, Grady paid about ten million dollars for all of this consulting. If these relationships were on the level, this money would have produced something better than what we have.

Now, we have the Grady Task Force, an unpaid consulting firm. When, we examine the facts, I think that we will see that the Task Force has other financial considerations in Grady Hospital. The bulk of the members are community and business leaders and that gives the force a sort of rep. They are also individuals and entities with financial and professional interest in Grady, which makes me wonder if their advice is on the level.

For instance, there is Robert Brown. He is the former head of the Grady Board. He served on the board during a period in which Grady was convicted of Medicare fraud, State Senator Charles Walker was convicted of 127 felonies, many related to Grady, and an HHS report came out and concluded this,

there is a serious and immediate threat to the health and safety of the patients

Does it sound to anyone as though he has any business being on the board given his history of failure at Grady, and possibly obscene amounts of corruption. Did I mention that Robert Brown is also of RL Brown and Associates, an architecture firm? Would it surprise anyone if his own architecture firm was the recipient of several "sweetheart deals" for additions and upgrades to Grady during his tenure? The list is full of such names: Michael Johns, of Emory University, Michael B. Russell of H.J. Russell (also a recepient of several contracts), John E. Maupin, MD – ex-officio President & CEO Morehouse School of Medicine (another proprietor of Grady Hospital), Phil Humann CEO SunTrust Banks, Inc.(with significant financial ties to Emory University but who doesn't in Atlanta), etc. One would think that if a hospital is near financial ruin the last people that would be in charge of recommendations to fix it would be those who put it there in the first place. Not with Grady, in this case the very same people that were responsible for putting Grady in this position are now in charge of fixing it. That is why I call this piece: The Fox Guarding the Hen House.

Like I said earlier, most of the recommendations are quite technical and difficult for the layman to understand. One has caught my eye and it is a plan to make Grady Hospital run by a private corporation. Under this plan, Grady would still receive public funds so the only practical effect would be more secrecy when it came to public fund usage. Given Grady's history with corruption: State Senator Charles Walker, the Medicare fraud, so called double dipping and atrocious patient care, and all sorts of other unproven cases of malfeasance. Is going private and more secretive really the best way to "save Grady". It probably isn't however if I were looking to commit more corruption at Grady, I would certainly want to make it private.

I would love to hear what possible public benefit Grady going private would have. There appears to be none to me, though there is an obvious one if you wanted to commit more corruption. There is a vote coming soon in the Georgia legislature. My own read is that the folks of Georgia don't want the hospital to go private. There appears to be no public good in it. Thus, I can only see one reason for any politician to vote for that plan and by my estimation that vote disqualifies said politician from serving again.

Oh and finally, you want to add insult to injury. After Grady is done listening to the consulting recommendations of the unpaid Grady Task Force, they plan on hiring another paid consulting firm. Frankly, if the Grady Task Force is on the level one would think there would no longer be need for anymore consulting firm. If, that is, the Grady Task Force is on the level.


While I tried to make this piece as comprehensive as possible, if this is your first exposure to the story behind the crisis at Grady Hospital you may very well be quite confused. 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.