Random Thoughts Again

Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:22 pm

Speaking of stories, did anyone see the story about the Washington state senator who said that nurses in rural hospitals don't need mandated rest breaks? There was a bill being negotiated and she was asking for an amendment to exempt certain hospitals and made the following brilliant comment:

“I would submit to you that those (small hospital) nurses probably do get breaks. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

Context is important here, so here is the quick background: Washington State is ready to pass a law requiring that nurses working 12 hour shifts be given 30 minute breaks to eat and rest so they can stay sharp. She is objecting to this being applied to rural hospitals that serve smaller communities, claiming it can create a financial hardship for them (I don't know enough about the situation to comment, but I did read she cited some number about how many Washington hospitals are in the red and it turns out that her numbers were way, way, way off and the vast majority, including the hospitals she is advocating for, have been running surpluses and that is per numbers put out by the state regulators).

Anyway, this woman has been roasted for her comment about playing cards. Within 24 hours of her comments there was a facebook page set up called something like "Nurses Play Cards" and as of last night it had almost 200,000 members. I only know this because my wife and I know a bunch of nurses and my wife was talking to one last night. Apparently they are flooding this woman's office with phonecalls, letters, and people are sending her decks of cards.

Here's the hilarious part - she backed off her statements (I guess over the weekend as the pressure started to build) and issued a statement that included the following line:

“I was tired. I said something I wish I hadn’t.”

Now, that's hilarious.

If anyone is interested on more of the details, here's a link. But, I think this woman is probably toast. From what I can gather, there is bipartison anger at her comments and not only nurses but other professions that routinely get thrown under the bus (teachers, cops, etc.) were pretty angry that she basically dismissed the concerns of nurses to make a political point. Good luck to her in her next reelection campaign.
Baseball season!!!!

psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:00 pm

I read the article. To me, this seems identical to the recent flap involving Bill James. In both instances, a person made a snarky comment while making a point that wasn't particularly controversial. A reasonable person could agree or disagree with them, but their position wasn't outrageous. They got clobbered for being snarky about it. If they made the same point without the snark, it's probably a non-story.

I don't see the problem in exempting tiny 25-bed rural hospitals from yet another law. We're not talking about Bellevue, here. I doubt the nurses at Hooterville Regional Hospital are running around with their hair on fire.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:20 pm

I agree. Reasonable people can agree or disagree with the senator's basic position, but the position was not on its face unreasonable. That obviously assumes she is correct about the workload of those hospitals and I have no idea if she is or isn't. The problem is that, rather than just make a comment based on the merits, she has to make the implication that these nurses are basically goofing off. That was a huge mistake on her part and I fully understand why it got people so pissed off. And, to the extent that her comment was somewhat twisted, that's on her.

Bill James is just a guy who likes baseball and is good with numbers. He writes articles and some books, but he doesn't live openly in the public eye. This woman, however, is an elected official and my impression is she has been for some time. There is little excuse for that level of stupity or political naiveté. She decided to add color to her comments to make a point, she made the mistake of doing it at the expense of ordinary working people, and now she looks like a total dumbass. I do think it probably wasn't reasonable for he rto expect the amount of national backlash this received, but it doesn't take much for things to go viral. And, when there is a group with an incentive to make you look stupid, you have to really keep your guard up. She didn't. Oh well.
Baseball season!!!!

psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:47 pm

Well, she got her 15 Minutes of Fame. She made Snopes today. The Snopes article points out that several major news organizations helped fuel the tsunami of misrepresentation about her comment. That really surprised me. :roll:

There's a funny line in the movie I, Tonya. It's a black comedy about Tonya Harding, done in sort of a make-believe documentary form. At one point, a former reporter is being interviewed and says "I was working for Hardcopy back then. It was a pretty crappy show that legitimate news outlets looked down on ... and then became.”
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:06 pm

I think the coverage was perhaps a tad overblown, but I have the same amount of sympathy for this woman that I have for Bob Kraft. In the interest of scoring political points she basically called all the nurses in rural hospitals slackers and said they are doing nothing but playing cards. And, I will happily wager whatever amount someone wants to put up that she has absolutely no clue what the work day is like for these people. But, that didn't stop her from basically calling them useless and just about unnecessary. It may have helped her credibility a tad if her comment about how financially underwater these hospitals are wasn't directly contradicted by publicly available information that was easily pulled up by the nurses union and disseminated to the media. And then they grand finale is her defending gaffe where she insulted nurses in trying to carve out exemptions for nurses getting a rest break because she was tired? From what? From talking bullshit? I guess that's exhausting, but not as exhausting as actually working - which is what the nurses I know actually do.

Politicians routinely take money from special interests and then carry their water, often making the most spurious arguments to justify why they are not taking the side of working people but always taking the side of large special interests. I don't know that his woman takes money from the hospitals or their lobby, but who cares? Politicians just throw out bullshit all the time. For my money, there should be more of this type of reaction to the stuff they make up, not less.

My guess is the next pol will avoid taking a cheap shot at at a bunch of people in a specific field, though, so this type of reaction is unlikely to happen again - which is a shame in my opinion.
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LioninVa
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby LioninVa » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:15 pm

I have no idea how long or hard nurses work I some rural areas, so I can't say for sure if she has a valid point or not. She could have made her point in a more eloquent manner, but she did not. Then, after the valid backlash, makes a profoundly stupid mea culpa that supports those she was offending. I think the word we are looking for here is Karma.

Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:27 pm

Ok, so I was curious to see if I could find who contributed to her campaign. Apparently, Washington has a cap of $1,600 for House candidates. She's in the state senate and I couldn't find a number for the cap on that, but I presume there is one. So, no one is backing dump trucks with money into her yar. There is also some soft money that flows in from partisan groups and that seems tough to track (what a surprise). But, according to ballotpedia she's not taking in a ton of money from special interests. In 2016 she raised a total of $103,720. And, it looks like the max contribution was $2,950 so I assume that's the cap, or close to it.

No hospitals or hospital associations listed, but I did see Altria and Premera Blue Cross. I suppose that could have had an influence but the two of them combined gave like $5,200. Hard to believe you can buy someone off for that amount, but who knows. She could have said something that stupid just to oppose a bill she didn't agree with. I'm still ok with her being called out on it, though. Sometimes you need public outrage to get elected officials to back away from real stupidity. This may not have been a case of real stupidity, but there are certainly examples out there.

(btw, I chose the Deadspin account of that story because the headline is so over the top. And, after all the blowback in the press, at least Cheri Bustos walked away from the bill. The asshat from Kentucky, however, kept pushing for it, for some strange reason).
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:42 pm

I read an article on the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) system. I had never heard of it before. It's a system that was established (and is subsidized) by Uncle Sam. The hospitals in this system are not federal facilities. Some are state-run and some are private. They qualify for CAH status if they meet certain criteria (small, isolated, etc.) They exist primarily to provide emergency services to people in rural areas who otherwise wouldn't have access to such services. The CAH hospitals are generally very low-volume in nature. People don't go there to have bypass surgery or a gall bladder operation. They travel to the "Big City" for that. These facilities are for emergencies and as such are required to be open 24/7. And apparently, there is some difficulty involved in staffing them because much of the time there is nothing to do.

In retrospect, I actually don't find her comment to be that outrageous, given its limited context. But in today's climate, where being offended has replaced baseball as the national pastime, it wasn't wise.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:49 pm

Her argument wasn't outrageous. Her comment was stupid.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:54 pm

We agree. But it would be kinda/sorta nice if the media would act like grown-ups and emphasize that distinction, instead of acting like drama queens and going for mouse clicks.

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And speaking of things I hadn't heard of before, I stumbled across this recently and nearly soiled my pants.
Last edited by psu_dad on Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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