Daily Flog 8/4/08: Dumping patients, probing Mary-Kate, shooting nose-biting suspect, ratting out cops


Running down the press:


Good move by Mary-Kate Olsen‘s lawyers, but at least Paris Hilton still allows probing.

Daily News: ‘Harlem pastor suspended as DA probes charges he sexually abused 2 kids’

Now for a probe of a probe. Oren Yaniv‘s concise lede:

A prominent Harlem priest who gave the invocation at Gov. Paterson‘s inauguration and helped organize Pope Benedict‘s recent visit was forced to step down Sunday amid allegations he had sexually abused two minors.

Daily News: ‘Commander wired to snag drug-rap cop’

John Marzulli‘s scoop:

A top cop went undercover to catch one of his own.

In what may have been an unprecedented technique to catch a Brooklyn detective suspected of corruption, a detective commander wore a wire to secretly tape conversations with the gumshoe in their precinct’s squad room, the Daily News has learned.


Never let sensitivity get in the way of a funny headline. Story’s about anthrax-story-infected scientist Bruce Ivins. Yeah, the guy killed himself, but no one’s complaining about such insensitive treatment of this dead guy, even though he hadn’t been convicted.

Now when a great American like Jesse Helms dies after being convicted by his own words during a long career of political pettifoggery, it’s naughty to make fun. (See my July 4 item “Jesse Helms Finally Dies” and the comments.)


Frederic U. Dicker‘s lede:

New York is wasting tens of millions of dollars annually by paying the medical expenses of thousands of former residents who have long since moved out of state, an explosive new audit has found.

Would anyone but the Post call an audit “explosive”?


Mildly interesting second-day-angle stuff:

The veteran detective who shot and killed a check-forging suspect who he claimed lunged at him with a knife was once held at gunpoint for hours as a hostage in an Upper East Side precinct station house.

What’s more interesting is the suspect’s history:

The young father had been arrested several times before – including last month, when he was accused of biting his niece on the nose.


One of the first of many juvenile stories from the U.S. sportswriters shipped to China for the Olympics. This one’s by Mike Vaccaro:

BEIJING – I’m a date line collector, and so I have to tell you this one is about as unexpected an addition to the album as any I’ve ever had, from Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., to Opa-Locka, Fla., from Athens to Sydney to Honolulu.

I’m happy for you.


From Page Six:

NONPARTISAN Paris Hilton — as neutral as Switzerland — refuses to be dragged into presidential politics.

On Saturday night, at a Bridgehampton mansion rented by MySpace founder Chris De Wolfe, the haughty hotel heiress told Page Six she wasn’t distraught over being featured last week in a John McCain campaign ad which mockingly compared Barack Obama to Paris and Britney Spears.

Now it’s a story that Paris Hilton is not distraught about publicity?

Times: ‘Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals’

Deborah Sontag‘s tale is full of grim anecdotes. She writes that the practice is “apparently widespread,” but who knows? Anyway, her key grafs:

Many American hospitals are taking it upon themselves to repatriate seriously injured or ill immigrants because they cannot find nursing homes willing to accept them without insurance. Medicaid does not cover long-term care for illegal immigrants, or for newly arrived legal immigrants, creating a quandary for hospitals, which are obligated by federal regulation to arrange post-hospital care for patients who need it.

American immigration authorities play no role in these private repatriations, carried out by ambulance, air ambulance and commercial plane. Most hospitals say that they do not conduct cross-border transfers until patients are medically stable and that they arrange to deliver them into a physician’s care in their homeland. But the hospitals are operating in a void, without governmental assistance or oversight, leaving ample room for legal and ethical transgressions on both sides of the border.

Indeed, some advocates for immigrants see these repatriations as a kind of international patient dumping, with ambulances taking patients in the wrong direction, away from first-world hospitals to less-adequate care, if any.

This year’s Mother Teresa Award goes to Sister Margaret Bride at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. Sontag’s story notes:

In a case this spring that outraged Phoenix’s Hispanic community, St. Joseph’s planned to send a comatose, uninsured legal immigrant back to Honduras, until community leaders got lawyers involved. While they were negotiating with the hospital, the patient, Sonia del Cid Iscoa, 34, who has been in the United States for half her life and has seven American-born children, came out of her coma. She is now back in her Phoenix home.

Sister Margaret McBride, vice president for mission services at St. Joseph’s in Phoenix, which is part of Catholic Healthcare West, said families were rarely happy about the hospital’s decision to repatriate their relatives. But, she added, “We don’t require consent from the family.”

Apparently a nice job by Sontag. Too bad the Times only a week earlier buried a story about Australia’s government taking the opposite tack toward immigrants from that of U.S. hospitals or government officials. In a hefty, well-backgrounded story, the Christian Science Monitor reported it this way:

‘Australia no longer to detain asylum seekers’

Australia’s government has overhauled its immigration policy for asylum seekers, a move that drew praise from human rights groups, but was criticized by the main opposition party as a potential security risk. The new policy was announced Tuesday and follows the election last year of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who had opposed the tough anti-immigration stance of his predecessor, John Howard. Among the largest group of claimants in recent years have been refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Times gave the story much shorter shrift — only eight paragraphs — under a headline that reads as if it came from a press release and says nothing about the policy change itself:

‘Australia Announces Changes on Asylum Seekers’

Speaking of Iraqi refugees, the Bush regime has been astoundingly niggardly, considering that it caused the Iraq debacle in the first place. The Guardian (U.K.) reported on August 1, “US shatters record for Iraqi refugee admissions.”

Then you look at the actual figures, and they’re embarrassingly low. The story notes:

The 12,000 target [for this year] is still far lower than the number admitted by other countries and only a small slice of the some 2 million Iraqis who have fled to neighboring countries since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Sweden, for example, has granted asylum to about 40,000 since 2003.

Advocacy groups and lawmakers have criticized the U.S. for its poor performance on Iraqi refugees but over the past several months, the administration has rapidly increased the number it has allowed in, breaking admissions records in April, May, June and now July.

Many critics say, and officials have acknowledged, that the administration has a moral obligation to the refugees and must do more.

Times: ‘Ragtag Taliban Show Tenacity in Afghanistan’

The mounting toll inflicted by insurgents has refocused the attention of America’s military commanders and its presidential contenders on the Afghan war.

“Ragtag”? The Taliban have always looked ragtag, but for quite a while they’ve been regaining control over wide swaths of the country. (See my June 20 item about Pakistan and Afghanistan grabbing the top spots in the fright race.)

The Times website promos, unlike those of other NYC papers, are dull, dull, dull and not to the point, not to the point, not to the point. Carlotta Gall‘s actual lede on the story is better than the headline and far better than the site promo:

KABUL — Six years after being driven from power, the Taliban are demonstrating a resilience and a ferocity that are raising alarm here, in Washington and in other NATO capitals, and engendering a fresh round of soul-searching over how a relatively ragtag insurgency has managed to keep the world’s most powerful armies at bay.

Have your manservant bring you the paper for the full story.