What's in the pocket of people heading to court, a road map to moral leadership at the hospital, can animals feel harassed, is it art or just spit, and why isn't Minnesota better at improv?
1) WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET?
From all appearances, Hennepin County Judge Lloyd Zimmerman was right when he refused to hear cases in Brooklyn Center because there was no security for judges.
Last week, the county started providing some screening at several suburban courthouses and last night issued this photo of the first week's haul.
For his insistence on more security, Judge Zimmerman was reassigned to family court, a move he said was in retaliation.
(h/t: Hart VanDenburg)
2) A ROAD MAP TO MORAL LEADERSHIP
The Fairview Hospital billing/collection agency story (considered in this space yesterday) is piece-by-piece exposing the seedy side of how some hospitals do business.
In an op-ed in the Star Tribune today, Paul Olson, who served on the board of a hospital, reveals that hospitals hire consultants to coach doctors on how to jack up the amount of a patient's bill. It is, he says, an example of how non-profit hospitals have lost their way.
He offered steps to change that:
First the board (especially the CEO and former board chair on whose watch the collection effort occurred) need to do more than say "sorry." That would be asking for cheap grace.
Rather they need to articulate the values that guide the organization, and hence affect every employee. Then they need to assure us that the values are being practiced.
Second, the CEO and the executive who owned stock in the collection firm need to come clean about a serious conflict of interest. Address it before the state and federal authorities make it another headline.
Third, they should remind themselves of the Burton Act, which obligates hospitals to provide charitable care in exchange for the public funding received for facilities.
And finally, they must reach their minds back to who founded their organizations and why, and follow the moral leadership of people who went before.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports a survey of hospitals in California reveals there's no rhyme or reason to how they set a price for the service they provide. And the Duluth News Tribune found a wide range at that city's medical institutions:
In Duluth, the average cost for an appendectomy varied only slightly, from about $14,600 at St. Luke's, to $15,297 at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center.
But prices for some procedures at Duluth hospitals varied by several thousand dollars -- even within the same hospital system. Treatment for a gastrointestinal hemorrhage at Essentia Health Duluth (formerly Miller-Dwan) has an average price of $9,614, while the same procedure at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center costs an average of $15,283, according to data from the Minnesota Hospital Association. St. Luke's charged an average of $13,260 for the procedure.
And if you survive and need long term care? Don't ask. NPR breaks it all down today with the beginning of a new series called Family Matters, the first installment of which reveals the true cost of long term care.
3) CAN ANIMALS FEEL HARASSED?
The question is at the heart of a court case in Iowa where two Des Moines-area pilots are charged with violating a federal law when they flew their planes low over a reservoir where birds were resting.
"Flying is what birds do," the pair's attorney said in court documents asking the case be dismissed. "Who can say if the bird is pleased or annoyed to have taken flight? Indeed, who can say whether the bird's flight was the result of any cognition and not just impulse?"
4) IS IT ART OR IS IT JUST SPIT?
Chad Kartenson of Fargo took a smoke break once and spit on the ground. Then he looked at it and grabbed a sketch pad. Artistic inspiration takes many forms. He has a solo show opening this week. The Fargo Forum provides the video to show how spit is art.
5) THE DATE
Sure, this could happen in Minnesota. So why doesn't it?
Bonus I: Joe Mauer, hair stylist.
Bonus II: "Turns out the Rock Garden Tour isn't really about rock music or gardening, nor is it a true tour. Instead, it's primarily a comedy, one that's silly to the point of being smart and vastly different in person than over the air." (TVFury)
Bonus III: How does one go from being a minister in a church to an atheist?
The United Kingdom High Court has ruled that U.K. Internet providers must block access to The Pirate Bay, a notorious, defiant and resilient file sharing site where users swap movies, television shows, and music.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Making sense of mixed economic signals.
Second hour: How to build resilience.
Third hour: The value of an undergraduate education.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): On "Law Day," MPR's Cathy Wurzer interviews Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lori Gildea. The event was held at the Minneapolis Woman's Club.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: The challenge of China.
Second hour: Feminist scholar Susan Gubar, author of "Memoir of a Debulked Woman."
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Toby Groves thought of himself as ethical. His colleagues did, too. So how could this reputable businessman defraud banks of millions of dollars, and convince his co-workers to join in? NPR examines the anatomy of a fraud.
Actually, aside from the box cutters, that haul of "weaponry" looks pretty innocuous. Most of those things would probably be commonly found in women's purses. And why would they even confiscate the key-fob brass knuckles? Perhaps they feared the owner would slip them onto his toddler's tiny fingers and unleash the tyke on the judge?
The confiscated forks are especially puzzling to me. I would think them no more dangerous than the pens and pencils already in the courtroom. On the other hand, who would have a fork in their pocket! Are they taking them from people's lunches?
A case could be made for the knives, but I have been carrying a pocket knife since my Boy Scout days and I imagine these are generally confiscated from people who think of them as tools not weapons. I have come close to making that mistake while flying.
More security theater, I'm afraid.
Remember, it isn't just their pockets, but their purses and briefcases. Planning to knit while you wait, you very well would have scissors. Eat your lunch at the court house, you would likely have a fork.
But tweezers and nail clippers? Really?
And I suppose there was probably a lot more, but people went back to their cars and dropped them there after they threatened to confiscate.
"I would think them no more dangerous than the pens and pencils already in the courtroom."
Yep. They focus on anything that "looks like a weapon," which is goofy because there are plenty of things that are dangerous that don't look like weapons, and plenty of things that resemble weapons that are harmless (the previously mentioned brass-knuckle keychain comes to mind).
I like the corkscrews. Obviously, there were several people anticipating acquittals.
Oh, and as for the box cutters, my Dad carried a box cutter every day of his life for work. I'm sure many others do too. You show up to court, hoping to make it to work later, and they take your tools. People just don't think about what they use every day as a weapon.
Keep in mind that this haul cost over $600,000 to implement. I have no issue with wanting security, but when are we going to start using common sense again.
There's a reason for courthouse security in Hennepin County.
So I suppose the question is what do people in Minneapolis deserve in the way of courthouse security that people in suburban Hennepin County do not?
It's not so much a question of whether the suburban courts deserve security -- they do. To frame it in a manner that the judge who protested was correct by showing the innocuous photo above does not warrant the "he was right" tone. And he's not in family court - another judge stepped up.
"Keep in mind that this haul cost over $600,000 to implement."
@krj: That's just the stuff they caught, though. It would make sense to me that the stuff people actually bring through the sensors is stuff that they weren't intending to use as a weapon.
If someone were to bring a gun or larger blade to the courthouse, they would likely see the detectors and turn around and leave the weapon in their car, or just not enter at all. The preventative aspect of metal detectors is more important than the actual detecting.
A couple things:
1. The forks are metal, so I am assuming plastic forks are okay.
2. I am sure there is some sort of sign that says what is banned in a courtroom. If you know it is banned, why bring it in? Sure there are times where people forget... my wife made it from Billings, MT to Minneapolis via plane and found out she had a double-bladed pocket knife in her purse the whole time.
I've been through security at Billings, MT. If you catch them on their good days, they're actually awake.