from the walls of the Pentagon with pictures of Robert Gates, before Gates has even been confirmed, CNN reports.
An emailer wonders how this hilarous David Broder parody made it into today’s Post. The special unintentional comedy prize goes to former Senator Alan Simpson for his observation that “No one wanted to see us embarrassed by being unable to come to consensus.”
And there’s the rub. The purpose of the commission is for a bipartisan political elite to try to avoid embarrassment.
On Monday, approximately 800 Las Vegas nurses were locked out of their hospitals after trying to negotiate for increased staffing and improved patient care. They had been intimidated by union-busters, suspended for supporting unions, and working without a contract since June.
United Health Services (UHS), the association in charge of the two hospitals, yesterday agreed to let the nurses return to work on Saturday and begin negotiations, but the work to ensure quality care is far from over. An August study ranked the Nevada last “among the 50 states in the number of registered nurses per 100,000 residents. The study found that Nevada had 514 registered nurses per 100,000 residents in 2000, well below the national average of 780 nurses per 100,000.”
Increased staff at hospitals — what the nurses in Nevada are fighting for — has a direct impact on improving patient care:
– “6,700 patient deaths and 4 million days of hospital care could be avoided each year by increasing staff of registered nurses.”
– Lowering a nurse’s workload by one patient decreases the mortality rate by 7 percent.
– “85 percent of nurses work longer on a daily basis than their scheduled hours. Recent research has documented a substantial increase in the rate of errors associated with nurses working more than twelve consecutive hours, and close to half of hospital staff nurses commonly work longer than twelve hours.”
– Nurses who are union members generally make 13 percent more than non-union nurses.
Nursing shortages are, in large part, a result of inadequate wages. Nurses who are union members generally make 13 percent more than non-union nurses. Therefore, by discouraging the nurses to join SEIU and refusing to negotiate with the union, UHS has been blocking better care for patients.
Taylor Marsh has more.
Sign the petition to improve nursing staffing standards and patient care.
“Most Iraqis are unaware of the Iraq Study Group report. … Their primary concern is survival, particularly those living in the central part of the country where sectarian violence, unemployment and poor infrastructure make daily life a dangerous and difficult struggle.”
… I’ve seen columnists (those not named “Krauthammer”) correct clear-cut errors of fact in the past, but I can’t really recall anyone doing what David Ignatius does today, acting all bloggy and conceding to errors of judgment and interpretation in response to reader complaints:
In a column last week, I praised Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for his prescient early warnings about the risks of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Some readers complained that for all his prescience, Hagel still voted to support the war, and that I was ignoring the many Democrats who were similarly wary of Iraq — and who voted against war funding. These readers are right. Hagel took political risks expressing his concerns back in 2003, but so did Democrats who voted against the Iraq mission despite a vitriolic barrage from the administration.
A new day dawns…
The Iraq Study Group report is 125 pages long and contains 79 recommendations. Some key points:
RECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.
RECOMMENDATION 35: The United States must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq, with the exception of al Qaeda. The United States must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr, and militia and insur-
RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.
RECOMMENDATION 41: The United States must make it clear to the Iraqi government that the United States could carry out its plans, including planned redeployments, even if Iraq does not implement its planned changes. America’s
other security needs and the future of our military cannot be made hostage to the actions or inactions of the Iraqi government.
The full report of the Iraq Study Group is now available HERE.
Lee Smith’s piece, “The Shia Problem,” is important. Smith organizes a big-picture look at the Middle East around an emerging, region-wide Sunni-Shia civil war. (A prospect alluded to at the Gates hearing.) Our real interests in that civil war are on the Sunni side, which is a big reason why a deal with Iran is probably a bad idea.
This sounds great to me. No deal with Iran! Can we cut a deal with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein to form a grand Sunni Islamist / American / Arab nationalist alignment against the rising tide of Shiism. Maybe now that Don Rumsfeld doesn’t have a day job he’d like to orchestrate another sit-down with Saddam. Dunno who we can send as our envoy to OBL, but no doubt if Bush could call Musharraf and Musharraf can call someone in the ISI who knows how to get in touch with Osama.
I was reading Wired‘s package of articles about the rise of Web video, and, well, they’re a bit odd. Bob Garfield’s article seeks to puzzle out why Google would pay so much money to acquire YouTube. The reason, he says, is basically that YouTube is awesome and lots of people like it. Over time, it seems, more and more people will be visiting this site. So, therefore, the site would be a good thing to own. Then closer to the end of the article, he notes that there may be some problems with this. To actually turn all those viewers into money, you need to sell ads. But it’s hard to sell ads on YouTube. For one thing, lots of YouTube streams don’t even come through the YouTube site. For another thing, there are lots of other sites that also do video hosting, so if YouTube gets all ad-heavy, people may switch away to other services.
Then we read about LonelyGirl15 and how these dudes had this idea and nobody believed in them. But they did it anyway. And it turned out to be pretty awesome. And lots of people watched the show. So — ha! — where are the haters now? Except, again, at the end it turns out that even if LonelyGirl15 is awesome and popular, its creators have had a hard time actually making money off of it.
To me, at least, this is the real moral of the story. Peer-production of digital media probably will produce a fair quantity of awesome popular stuff lurking amidst the vast pool of dreck. And well-designed services will let the awesome stuff rise to the top and the dreck fade to the background, rendering those services awesome and popular. But — and here’s the rub — having something awesome and popular just may not prove to be especially lucrative. In the past, a popular television show or a popular album or a popular film or a popular distribution channel guaranteed you vast sums of money. In the future, that just may not be the case. The very most popular things will generate some income, enough to live off of and continue financing new projects, but not the sort of gigantic windfalls associated with 20th century media hits. And lots of other things — including reasonably popular ones — will only generate trivial levels of income. And they’ll continue to be made. Made by people who think its fun, or who derive some benefit from their work other than direct monetary income.