Sunday, December 28, 2008

This blog is taking a very short vacation

I just don't feel mean enough. Or nasty enough. Or cranky enough.

So I'm taking a short vacation. Blowing town. 86-ing the routine.

I'll be back sometime the week of January 7th. Crankier, I hope, than ever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Now retailers ask for a bailout, disguised as a tax holiday. I hope Obama tells 'em, "No!" You should, too.

Look, I favored the bank bailout, although not the kind it turned into — with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen overseeing a blind giveaway.

He's dumping taxpayer money into banks without controls or tracking to determine how the money is used. Consequently hard-earned taxpayer money is not being used to finances homes or businesses. Instead, it's being used to let banks go on an acquisition spree and give big bonuses to greedy bank executives.

That's reverse income distribution

Paulsen is aiding and abetting the process of stealing from the squeezed middle class and the poor to make the rich richer. Some ambitious prosecutor ought to find a way to slam Paulsen in the pokey for betraying America's trust.

I also favor the automobile industry bailout, although I'm waiting to see if President Elect Obama ties a sufficient number of strings to every buck — strings with the other end tied to pollution controls, electric cars, hybrid cars, exciting new designs, and to limits on the building of SUVs.

Now retailers try to
jump on the gravy train

Now retailers have begun yelling, "Me too! Me too!" That's an outrage. I'd rather see money invested in American manufacturing than in the sale — at retail stores — of foreign-made goods. The American economy has to come first. Sure the retailers are hurting. We're all hurting. But the retailer demand is just an attempt to grab taxpayer money.

The bailout is disguised as a "tax holiday." According to "gimme money too" plan proposed by the National Retail Foundation, states would forget about their own sales taxes at specific times and then...

...the federal government would reimburse the 45 states that have sales taxes for the lost revenue, and would provide the five states without a sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon) with revenue approximating the sales tax reimbursement that would be received by states with similar population.
The money may go to the states (with a windfall for states that have no sales taxes) but it all boils down to a giant gift to Wal-Mart and other chain retailers. Those are those wonderful folks who squeeze the few American manufacturers who remain to the breaking point, and contribute to the trend of exporting American manufacturing jobs to cheap labor nations like Pakistan, China and India.

Ask your Senator and Congressional Representative to tell the NRF to stuff their greedy idea in their cash registers and choke on it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Is it time for U.S. tax policy gently to encourage a little bit of population control?

You’re looking at not-the-most-recent photograph of Jim Bob Duggar and his family, of Arkansas.

It’s out-of-date because since this photograph was taken last year, the Duggar’s have given birth to yet another child. So now they have 18 kids in all.

I became aware of the family while watching The Today Show on December 22. I have to admit, I really like the kids. They were polite, bright, friendly, positive, enthusiastic and organized. I can’t help but wish them well.

That said, I’d like to take the Duggar parents on a tour of the damage that overpopulation is doing to our planet and our nation.

For example:

According to the World Bank and the United Nations, from 1 to 2 billion humans are now malnourished, indicating a combination of insufficient food, low incomes, and inadequate distribution of food. This is the largest number of hungry humans ever recorded in history

Based on their evaluations of available natural resources, scientists of the Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences have issued a joint statement reinforcing the concern about the growing imbalance between the world's population and the resources that support human lives…

The continued production of an adequate food supply is directly dependent on ample fertile land, fresh water, energy, plus the maintenance of biodiversity. As the human population grows, the requirements for these resources also grow. Even if these resources are never depleted, on a per capita basis they will decline significantly because they must be divided among more people…
Big deal, you might say. The Dugars are not hungry. They live in a large, debt-free home. They haven’t even made an impact on their local school system, since they’re all home-schooled.

Wait until you see this family’s
carbon footprint and water consumption

But wait a second. Want to think about energy and water consumption alone? According to MSNBC, one of the many media organizations that has done admiring feature stories about the family…
The family estimates it has used 90,000 diapers and launders 200 loads of clothes each month in a row of industrial-size washers and dryers….Transportation is facilitated by nine vehicles, led by a 21-passenger bus.
Beginning to get the picture?

When should Americans say,
“not on my tax dollar?”

This country, as well it ought, has encouraged stable families through its tax policies — with child tax credits and other tax deductions for dependents. I’m for that in general. I’m even for increasing the tax deduction for families, most especially struggling families with low incomes — up to a point.

That point is reached when people start having more than “replacement children” — the two kids needed eventually to replace their parents. After that, the government ought to be saying, “Listen, the number of children you want to drop on this planet is your business, at least for now, but we refuse to let you make it ours. Reproduce all you want, but don’t ask your fellow citizens to help finance this irresponsible behavior of yours.”

If we fail to do that, future generations might eventually have to start placing a “birth tax” on each child after the second one. That, or responsible citizens will have to starve along with the irresponsible ones.

Incidentally, the Duggar family’s website states that Jim Bob and his wife make their living as “licensed real estate brokers.” In addition, Jim Bob is a former Representative in the Arkansas House of Representatives and former candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Except for one little, uh, anomaly.

Uh oh, it’s one of those
“real estate seminar” things

Surf around a little bit further and you discover that Jim Bob is in the tape and seminar business in a big way, too.

To quote from his sales pitch:
Order DVD Set & Seminar Manual Value Pack! $129 NOW ONLY $109
>> Order Men's Manual Vol. II (Manual Only) $30
But wait, there's more!
Say hallelujah!

Keep digging into this stuff and following links and you discover that the “DVD Set & Seminar Manual Value Pack” are, umm, “faith based” as is the Duggar family’s home schooling setup.

To quote from the home school organization which sells its curricumlum to the Duggars:
We believe Adam was directly created in innocence and in the image of God and did not evolve from preexisting forms of life. By voluntary transgression, he fell; and thus the whole human race is now sinful by nature and practice and, therefore, under just condemnation to eternal separation from God…
Funny, I didn’t learn any of this stuff on the NBC report.

Anyway, I somehow doubt that this is on the required reading list of the kids’ home schooling.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Note to Tina Brown. We didn’t “all go mad.” But some of us innocent bystanders are mad as hell about big time financial criminals.

In Wednesday’s Daily Beast, editor Tina Brown covers herself with ashes falling from the financial conflagration lighted by Bernie Madoff, (link) the man at right.

“Did we all go mad?” she asks, that single phrase spreading the blame with all the careless abandon of an investment banker who spreads the risk of a spurious bond portfolio by dumping it on unsuspecting investors.

Was it, she asks, “some strange collective suicide spree of self-indulgence, self-delusion, and blind pursuit of money money money till we drowned in it?”

No, Tina Brown. “We”
did not all go mad.

No Tina Brown. “We” did not all go mad. Rather, unregulated crooks ran amok, aided and abetted by laissez faire politicians, many of whom also profited directly or indirectly from the madness.

As a consequence, millions of innocent bystanders are suffering, although maybe not in your world Tina.

I’m amazed that despite all your editorial skill and connections, the most heart-rending story you could think to publish concerning Madoff comes from a former editor — tellingly of a magazine called “Self” — who complains that now she may have to give up her maid and ride the New York subway. (link)

But certainly in the real world innocent people are suffering grave consequences. That's because the fallout from the Madoff scam, the mortgage meltdown and other scandals gushes through the entire economy, hurting all of society.

How could “we” escape?

Let’s say you wouldn’t touch a derivative with a ten foot pole. You invested only in solid, blue chip companies. Doesn’t matter.

Thanks to our meltdown economy triggered by financial shenanigans, stocks from Procter & Gamble to GE are down, down, down. Bank stocks you reasonably thought were solid are now shipwrecks—Wachovia and WaMu come first to mind. The U.S. Treasury itself, save for its ability to print funnier and funnier money, is on the rocks.

Let’s say you were retired and ultra-cautiously put all your money in insured bank savings accounts, hoping to live off the interest.

Doesn’t matter. Interest rates are more than halved from two years ago — thus more than halving your retirement income, other than Social Security. And your bank may have invested in capers ranging from Madoff's magical money machine to worthless mortgage derivatives.

Moreover, if you need to withdraw some of your savings to survive the currently pathetic interest rates, your monthly interest income will go lower still. And then you'll have to withdraw more principal. And so on, until your savings vanish.

What if, like millions of Americans, your biggest investment was your home? Perhaps you hoped upon retirement to sell it and live on the proceeds. Tough luck. Now, thanks to mortgage market manipulations, you may not be able to sell your home.

What if you had saved and invested a lifetime to put a child through college? Lotsa luck.

In fact, what if you’re the president of a college, or of a hospital that now has a troubled endowment because of the economic wildfire caused by financial arsonists like Bernie Madoff?

Let the punishment
fit the crime!

What ought to be the penalty for those financial thugs and their laissez-faire enablers in government who spread ruin and misery? To start, no more light sentences, community service, or mere fines. It’s time the law and the courts were changed so that the people who cause intense and widespread misery will suffer punishment commensurate with the misery they have created.

Consider: In some states, in murder trials, witnesses may be called during the sentencing phase to make impact statements about the effect a single murder has had on their lives. So why not have the same in trials involving white collar crimes that cause suffering and loss among thousands or even millions of victims?

Let widow after widow, pensioner after pensioner, human ruin after ruin — for hours, or days, or weeks on end — stand in court before the convicted Wall Street thugs.

Let the victims glare straight into the eyes of these crooks, and say, “Because of you my retirement 401(k) is worthless and I can’t afford to eat anything other than bread and cat food.” “Because of you the company I worked for went broke and now at the age of 55 I can’t find a job.” “Because of you, I have no hope.”

They’re not “white collar criminals.”
They’re sociopathic destroyers of lives.

If there are serial and mass murderers, what should we be calling the people who perpetrate mass frauds that ruin so many retirements, deprive young people of their educations, plunge hard-working people by the thousands into misery, and do exponentially more harm to the American economy than the two airplanes that were crashed into the World Trade Center?

Five years in prison for a Bernie Madoff, a Marc Dreier and other schemers yet undiscovered or largely ignored — as well as those in government who should have been stopping them — is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist.

Nor should these crooks ever be pardoned for their crimes, as Michael Milken, is currently asking for his own crimes. A presidential “pardon” for the likes of Milken, the junk bond king of the 1980s, is as unconscionable as the fact that after spending less than two years behind bars he is walking around a free man, one of the 500 riches on the planet thanks to his junk bond exploits, while his PR flacks try to spin his tale of greed and plunder into one of genius, philanthropy and heroism.

Master crooks deserve
maximum sentences

Each life harmed or ruined by financial finaglers reflects a brutal assault against a human being. Financial crooks in many cases have almost the same impact as muggers who lurk at mail boxes and beat up little old ladies for their pension checks. So no more five-year sentences in minimum security prisons, with time off for good behavior. Throw the book at the evil bastards.

Give the guilty the penalties they deserve. For each life ruined, ten years. Each additional life is an additional crime. Sentences for each crime should be served consecutively.

Remember, these are not “white collar criminals.” These are criminal sociopaths, lacking any sense of conscience or empathy for their victims or for society.

Life in prison without
? Why not?

If it can be shown that someone ruined a hundred lives, sentence him, at ten years per life, to a thousand years behind bars. If it can be shown he ruined ten thousand lives, sentence him to 100,000 years. One suspects that victimized America longs to hear a sentencing judge say with a sneer, “What’s your problem? With tune off for good behavior, you’ll be a free man by the end of the 29th Century.”

In other words, throw these sociopaths into a cell, slam the door shut, solder up the keyhole, and let them rot there until they die. They effectively told their innocent victims, the American public, to go to hell. They deserve no less back from us.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Give me that old soft shoe...a short meditation on flying footwear, despotism, bad jokes and violence

Are you old enough to remember 1960, when Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe at the UN and began banging it on the table where he sat?

Wow, what an uproar! The press — and there were seven New York daily newspapers at the time — went bonkers. People were horrified at the notion that a world leader could remove his shoe and disruptively bang away during what should have been the dignified (if unproductive) proceedings of the United Nations.

But the President of the United States, at the time Dwight David Eisenhower, had the class to withhold direct comment.

A clodhopper to the head

Now we have another shoe indicident, in this case a shoe-throwing member of the Iraqui press who tossed his clodhoppers, one at a time, toward President George Bush’s head in Bagdad.

Admittedly, this is not to be taken lightly. A shoe to the head can hurt. Add to that the fact that evidently anything having to do with shoes in Muslim culture is an insult — from showing your soles to someone to a direct hit with flying footwear.

To his credit, the President seemed alert enough to duck — probably his first and only display of diplomatic prowess in eight years.

Never screw up an opportunity
to undo what you’re doing right

President Bush’s followup comment, however, proved that you can take be quick on your feet when it comes to ducking flying shoes, but at the same time come off as an agile-tongued boor with an ill-suited sense of humor.

“All I can report is it is a size 10,” he [the President] said, continuing to take questions and noting the apologies. He also called the incident a sign of democracy, saying, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves,” as the man’s screaming could be heard outside.
Screaming? Well, evidently the shoe-thrower was “calling attention to himself” by getting “kicked and beaten” by the Iraqui authorities until he “cried like a woman,” according to a witness whose statement was reported in the New York Times.

Well hey, the protesting shoe-thrower certainly shouldn’t have done it. But on the other hand, the President’s flip remarks were completely uncalled for when the sounds of a man getting kicked and beaten was audible from inside the room.

Otherwise, if you can believe what George Bush says, that’s what we do in a free society — beat the living crap out of anybody who protests against the guys in power.

I mean, if it’s not to stifle protest, what the hell is democracy for?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OJ Simpson, Judith Regan, Rupert Murdoch, Marc Dreier, unhappy hedge funds…Is there anyone who couldn’t hide behind a corkscrew?

Remember Judith Regan, the wunderkind book editor with her own imprint at Harper Collins? She got fired for trying to publish O.J. Simpson’s “memoir” called “If I Did It.” It was reportedly a near-confession of murder written to raise some walking-around money for OJ.

The mere exposure of that sleazy idea got the book cancelled about as fast as Regan got fired. Soon after that, OJ got busted for some funny business in Las Vegas involving several shady characters, loaded guns and sports memorabilia that Simpson kept calling “my stuff.” OJ recently went off to the pokey for that one.

Lots of nasty business went down with the fallout that rained for Regan’s evident lack of publishing, umm…shall we call it taste? She wasn’t just removed from Harper Collins, where her imprint had a home, but also shown the door Rupert Murdoch’s parent company, The News Corporation.

So Regan sued The News Corporation for breach of her contract and settled for $10.75 million. But now, according to Bloomberg News, Regan is accused of stiffing her lawyers.

The way I do the math, the lawyers are looking $2.6-plus million bucks. Give a nearly $11 million settlement, I don't blame the lawyers for figuring they earned it. So now the law firm, headed by a dude named Marc Dreier, are suing Regan for the money.

But meanwhile, Marc Dreier has been charged with a cheating hedge funds out of more than $100 million.

Hedge funds? What, no lobbyists and bag men, too?

Is there anywhere on this planet where you can’t find human beings so crooked they could hide behind a corkscrew?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Plug it in where, Tesla? A few urbanite questions about that snazzy all-electric car that maybe you California lifestyle dudes haven’t thought about.

Hey, I’m glad you Tesla electric car guys in San Carlos, CA, are introducing a $100,000-plus all-electric automobile.

Sounds great for all those Silicon Valley millionaires you have for neighbors.

So I can’t blame you for hitting up the Feds for part of that automotive bailout money. I hear you want it to help you sell your car to people like me, the next time I happen to have a spare $100,000 or so rattling around in my pocket.

But I’m a big city apartment dweller who has accepted the notion of building up, not out, to conserve space, land, energy and other resources. My fellow apartment dwellers and I seem to have a problem, even if we have the money to spend on your car.

Fortunately, here to solve our problems and answer our questions is Dr. Zzazapmore Watts, Professor of Carbon Footprint Studies at the Institute for Unintended Consequences. Welcome, Dr. Watts.

Dr. Watts: The pleasure’s all mine. I get a big charge out of being here. Who has the first question?

Q: Dr. Watts, where am I supposed to plug in my car?

Dr. Watts: Why, in your garage, of course.

Q: But I live in Manhattan and park on the street.

Dr. Watts: Can’t you rent garage space?

Q: Lots of people in New York do, at around $600 a month. But these are big garages, like the kind you might find in downtown San Jose, near you. They don’t have outlets at every parking spot. What am I supposed to do?

Dr. Watts: Keep a very, very long extension cord in your trunk.

Q: But even if I have an extension cord long enough, there typically aren’t enough outlets in most commercial garages for all the parkers to plug in.

Dr. Watts: Get a bunch of power trees. Plug one tree into the outlet. Plug the next five trees into the first tree's outlets. Plug the next twenty-five trees into...

Q: But that would put me in violation of the electrical and fire codes.

Dr. Watts: Then commercial garages will simply have to rewire.

Q: That’ll take years and another small fortune.

Dr. Watts: Maybe we could have a federal garage bailout. What do you a need a car for anyway if you live in the city?

Q: To get away and drive to my country home on weekends.

Dr. Watts: Then why don’t you just plug your car in when you get to your country home?

Q: I could. But the round trip from my city home is more miles than the range of your car’s battery charge capacity. I’d be able to charge up in the country, drive home to the city, and then start back for the country the following weekend. But I’d run out of electricity in the middle of the highway during Friday night rush hour.

Dr. Watts: You could leave your car in the country and take public transportation home. Isn’t there a bus or a railroad to where you have your country home?

Q: Both. But then I’d have to take a gasoline taxi either from the train station to my country home or from the bus stop to my country home. Oh, and the bus uses carbon-based diesel fuel, tool.

Dr. Watts: Maybe you could ride a bicycle home from the bus stop.

Q: After dark? On a busy highway?

Dr. Watts: You’re implying…?

Q: That I’d get killed.

Dr. Watts: Well, you certainly won’t need to plug in after that.

Q: By the way, I heard that in the chi-chi beach-and-weekend-house town of Southampton, New York, they recently modified a hastily passed town regulation that, for the sake of eco-friendliness, all swimming pools will eventually have to be powered by solar heat systems. Why did they back off?

Dr. Watts: They found out that in order for the solar cells to work, they’d have to chop down all the shade trees around the houses. And houses on less than a half acre would have solar panels so big that they’d have to remove the houses. Fortunately, they did manage top pass a complicated regulation mandating solar panels on very big properties after one of the councilwomen insisted that “The eyes of the world are on Southampton Town.”

Q: Sounds a bit overblown to me.

Dr. Watts: Some would say narcissistic. On the other hand, one of the other councilwomen said, “Shame on me for voting for this.”

Q: So where does that leave us, Dr. Watts?

Dr. Watts: Fill ‘er up with the high test.


Wait a second, wait a second! In what is clearly a conspiracy to show up the New York Crank and make me look stupid, Tom Friedman's column in the December 10th New York Times revealed what Dr. Watts failed to:

The Better Place electric car charging system involves generating electrons from as much renewable energy — such as wind and solar — as possible and then feeding those clean electrons into a national electric car charging infrastructure. This consists of electricity charging spots with plug-in outlets — the first pilots were opened in Israel this week — plus battery-exchange stations all over the respective country. The whole system is then coordinated by a service control center that integrates and does the billing.
Got it! Instead of driving into the service station and saying, "Fill 'er up with the high test," I drive to my battery station and say, "Fill 'er up with the lithium."

Okay then. Just as soon as we have "battery-exchange stations all over the respective country," you can bet your bottom gas guzzler I'm going to save up $100,000 and get me a Tesla.

Of course, there's no point having battery exchange stations all over the place until everyone has Teslas. (Or Chevvy Volts.) And there's no point in having a Tesla or a Volt until we have the battery stations.

Gentlemen, bring out the chickens and the eggs.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Attention President-elect Obama: Would you please consider instituting a single Alferd J. Packer Memorial Pardon for one (un)deserving Republican?

Of all the too-funny-to-be-tragic events in American history, my favorite is the cannibalism trial and sentencing of Alferd J. Packer (that poor soul in the photograph) in 1874.

The precise facts concerning the trial are still a trifle murky after all these years. But the story involves a sort of pathetic nobody whose first name had morphed by mysterious means from Alfred to Alferd. Alf-whatever was in a party of gold hunters that got stranded by winter weather in the Colorado Rockies.

What happened next depends on whose sworn testimony you want to believe and whose forensic reconstruction of history you prefer. You can find the basic and occasionally conflicting elements of the tale here. What seems common to all accounts is that Packer evidently ate or was accused of eating his stranded traveling companions.

This led to one of the most colorful (if sometimes differently quoted) sentencing speeches in the history of American law. I memorized the version I read in a 1970-something press report — a report prompted by the attempt of some smart-alecs at the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. to name their cafeteria “The Alferd Packer Memorial Grill.” I also seem to remember a recommended slogan for the cafeteria, “I never met a man I didn’t eat.” But perhaps my memory is playing games with me.

Anyway, back to the judge’s sentencing speech. The version I memorized went like this:

There was seven Democrats in Hinsdale County and you, you man-eating son of a bitch, you ate five of them! I hearby sentence you to hang by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead as a warning against further depredations of the Democratic Party in this county.
Wikipedia has two other versions of the sentencing speech, including this rather more colloquial and elaborate one:
Stand up yah voracious man-eatin' sonofabitch and receive yir sintince. When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was siven Dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of 'em, goddam yah. I sintince yah t' be hanged by th' neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin' ag'in reducin' th' Dimmycratic populayshun of this county. Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sintince ya ta hell but the statutes forbid it."
Which brings me to Carl Rove, Alberto Gonzolez, John Yoo, Richard Cheney and various other man-eating you-know-whats. In various capacities as members of the Bush administration, all of them contributed to the demise of this nation’s international status, economy, military preparedness and respect for law and the United States Constitution.

There’s a rumor floating around that on or close to his last day in office, George Bush will offer a blanket pardon to anybody who ever did anything for him. That would most certain have to include the cast of characters listed in the previous paragraph.

I hope it won’t happen. Instead, I’d like to see a trial and guilty verdict for each of them, followed by a symbolic pardon offered by President Obama — but only to one of the miscreants. I don't care which one. Pick one. Free him just to signal that even an aggrieved American populace can show a bit of mercy when the administration is Democratic. And then to hell with the rest of them.

Oh, wait. The statutes still forbid courts from sentencing people to hell. Well, don’t worry. Just do what President Bush did and ignore the statutes.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quote of the week — common sense automotive finance from a non-financier

"You could buy all the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)

"...None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.
--Michael Moore on The Daily Beast, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg demands some poor schnook’s head. Leave it to a bully like the mayor to pick on a little guy.

It happened last Saturday. Giants receiver Plaxico Burress somehow managed to shoot himself in the thigh while packing unauthorized iron at a Manhattan nightclub.

Plaxico’s an idiot. But in the aftermath of the self-wounding, it turns out Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a bigger idiot.

Good intentions,
bad result

An as-yet unnamed hospital “administrator” at New York Hospital failed to call the cops when Burress was brought in bleeding from the thigh.

Under some well-intentioned New York law, such gunshot wounds are supposed to be reported to the police “at once.” How long is “at once?” Who is the person in a hospital emergency room situation who is charged with doing the reporting? The law is a bit, umm, fuzzy on all that.

Meanwhile, it’s clear some hospital administrator, with a tragic instinct for decency, at first refused to give the cops information about the gunshot wound to protect a patient's privacy. Reports the New York Times:

A hospital administrator initially declined to give information to the detectives from the 17th Precinct, citing federal privacy statutes. “They initially cited a statute that does not apply,” Browne said, “in trying to resist releasing information. But they were persuaded otherwise.”
Mistake phooey! Bloomberg
wants to see spurting blood.

Okay, so far we have a little confusion over what to a non-lawyer might look like two conflicting laws. No problem. The cops get the details they want anyway. But then the Mayor of New York jumps into the picture, demanding blood. Again, according to the same New York Times article cited above:
He [Bloomberg] called on the Manhattan district attorney’s office to pursue criminal charges in the case, saying: “It is just an outrage that the hospital didn’t do what they’re legally required to do. It’s a misdemeanor, it’s a chargeable offense, and I think that the district attorney should certainly go after the management of this hospital.”
Right. Maybe we could erect a guillotine in City Hall Park, while we’re at it. Whose head does the mayor want to roll anyway?

Somebody — as yet unnamed in the press — has already been suspended, according to the hospital. Is it an admissions clerk who misunderstood the law and therefore deserves decapitation?

Is it an overworked hospital resident who could be drummed out of the medical profession to satisfy the mayor’s yearning to see a head in a basket over what is essentially an error in legal judgment — made during a medical emergency?

Does Bloomberg really
want a bigwig’s head?

Don’t bet the farm on it, pal.

Perhaps the Mayor wants to behead Herbert Pardes, the medical doctor who, as President and CEO of one the city's leading medical research and teaching hospitals, has more important things to do than hang out in the emergency room in the wee hours of the morning in case any celebrity jock comes in with a self-inflicted thigh wound.

Or maybe Mike the Bully is after John J. Mack, the hospital’s Chairman who is also the Chairman of the Board of Morgan Stanley. Gee, maybe not. I mean, it would be so embarrassing on the golf course down in Bermuda where the Mayor goes for weekends.

But I have a thought here:

While we’re chasing municipal evildoers and preparing to throw the book — or the guillotine blade — at them, how about going after certain corrupt guys who ripped the city off for many millions to build a ball park so they could take their friends out to the ballgame free? And feed those friends free while they're at it?

Here’s something that
demand outrage

I’m talking about all the taxpayers’ money and property that the Bloomberg Administration ripped from the municipal treasury to help fund the filthy rich New York Yankees in their quest for a new, deluxe stadium.

Consider this report from the New York Daily News:
Mayor Bloomberg's top aides engaged in a behind-the-scenes brawl to win a free luxury suite at the new Yankee Stadium that could wind up costing taxpayers, e-mails show. Some of the mayor's top deputies spent months threatening and cajoling to get the free skybox. They even demanded free food and ultimately got most of what they wanted after they agreed to provide America's richest team 250 free stadium parking spaces in exchange.
Now that’s what I call criminal. Oh wait. Mike The Bully would have to cut off the heads of his own top sycophants. And then his own head.

Oh well, never mind. Let’s just roll out the tumbril holding the poor shmuck from the emergency room.