28 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. Why are we to expect our voting systems are secure and true when it seems every trailing Democrat enjoys come from behind victories. Here in MD Anne Arundel executive closed an 11,000 vote deficit to win. In Frederick County the Democrat has again eliminated a huge deficit and is getting 3 out of every 4 votes from provisional ballots and mail ins. I could go on but I believe that until we demand all ballots to be in on Election Day, ban vote harvesting and return to permitting mail in ballots only in special cases, it will be damn difficult for me to believe that we have an honest voting system.

    • I told my wife on election day that all the races that hadn’t been called yet would go Democrat, and that the longer it took to count the votes, the more likely it was that the Dems would take the spot. She was shocked that I might be suggesting that the left cheats.

      I did see one meme which pointed out that in Florida, mass mailing votes were forbidden, id’s were required, everything got counted in a day, and the red wave actually materialized, at least for DeSantis. It’s only a single point of data, but it is true.

    • That would be the ideal, but unfortunately you need to have 1) Republican control of a state government to enact such voting reforms and 2) Republicans with a spine to consider enacting such reforms. For some of these swing states, such as AZ, NV, PA, MI, WI, etc, that just ain’t happening. I think the only way forward, is you gotta play by the rules, as they are. Election month is not going away. So for future elections, if Republicans want to have a fighting chance, they have to ballot harvest and early vote harder than the Democrats. They just have to secure and fortify the election harder, and get out the vote harder. If you moved, died, got a pet dog, whatever, the Republicans need to collect those ballots. And then maybe NYT will write that having election month is not the best idea. But until then, you have to bring a gun to the knife fight. It’s not all lost, the R’s did surprisingly well in NY, given the conditions, and I’m sure they have very fortified election procedures.

      • I remember reading somewhere a couple of years ago that in politics (and it may have been Cook County, so keep that in mind) you have to win despite the cheat. In other words, cheating is expected and, ultimately, fair. Cue Harry Reid: “We won, didn’t we?”

      • It seems to me that because we are a very mobile society purging voter rolls every other year and requiring every voter to reregister each time can eliminate some of the questions about the legitimacy of every vote. Virtually every state has early voting so why are ballots mailed back in the first place? As a citizen I know I have a right to vote, own a weapon, express myself et cetera, but I also know with those rights as a citizen, I have responsibilities. The most minimal responsibility of voting is showing up by election day and proving who you say you are.

      • A few points. As things stand now, I agree that Republicans have no choice but to match the Democrats in voter drives, get out the early vote, drum up as much mail-in voting as they can and still encourage everyone to come out for election day. If we don’t want to be perpetual losers, we’ve got to get as good at this as the opposition.

        Always, look at Florida. After their hanging chad election, they got serious about election reforms. I believe they have robust early and mail voting, as well as election day voting — and they got the results — all the federal results — to us by election night. I’ve not heard anything from anyone alleging any serious problems with Florida voting.

        Here in North Carolina, we had very heavy early voting and closer races than Florida, but we still got the results pretty much done on election night. I have to say it was gratifying to see the Republicans win every single statewide judicial race and flip the Supreme Court to 4-3 Republican (especially after the really heinous stunts the Democrats on the court pulled this year). They also are either at or one vote from a super majority in both houses of the legislature, which will make life interesting for the remaining two years of our Democratic governor’s term.

        I’ve said before that I think we can thank the New York Democratic legislature at least in part for the Republicans taking control of the House this year. Had they been a little less greedy (and perhaps even a little more lawful) in their redistricting maps, perhaps that judge wouldn’t have taken the step of appointing an impartial (the horror!) special master to draw the maps. It looked like a moderate red wave in New York this year, with the Republicans flipping 4 House seats and coming close in the governor’s race. Without those four seats — guess who might still be speaker next year?

        • And one other thing — if you have not seen it, the Republicans are up in the generic House of Representatives vote this election by over 3%. Currently it is 53.9 million to 50.6 million for the Democrats.

          It’s not a perfect measure, but I believe they are up 7 percentage points over the last election (don’t recall if that’s compared to 2020 or the last midterm in 2018). So the last time, the Democrats led by 4%, now the Republicans lead by 3%.

          It’s encouraging news.

      • I don’t know that you would see any different result if the pedestrians were Trump supporters or pro-life protesters or any other group that the good leftist people in charge of California find distasteful. I’m fairly certain laws no longer have much meaning in that state. The ends justify the means, right?

      • What’s really crazy is that Fizulich obviously followed Killings to Albany from Marquette, so there had to have been a pretty solid relationship between them at one time. But this particular situation seems to have no good guys: not the player, not the coach, not the university, not the local black community… Someone had to have done the right thing, right? Right?

  2. Elizabeth Holmes is being sentenced now. I wonder if she’ll get any prison time? Her defense lawyers want 18 months house arrest and community service. She’s in her second pregnancy.

    I don’t know how this works – “After the sentence has been imposed, Holmes can challenge those rulings and her sentence at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.” Does that mean if she is sentenced to prison she can still go home until the appeal is over?

  3. I’ll ask again, in case people missed it last time.

    Question: in next week’s state elections here in Victoria, at least six out of the seven candidates where I live are Jewish (and I don’t know about the seventh). What ethical questions does this raise, for voters, for party selectors, and so on? I can see a few, but I’d like to canvass readers’ opinions on this.

  4. The Key word in the phrase “election day” is the time-sensitive “day. The definition of Day is the number of hours (24) for the earth to rotate once on its axis. All elections should take place in that time frame. With the voting machine, the count should be instantaneous. I suggest the tabulation be projected on one of those new-fangled screens for the sake of visibility and public knowledge.
    Military members can do the same- so that their voice is loudly heard. If we can allow our military time to attend various farcical pieces of training ( race, sexual harassment, gender identification, etc) we certainly can allow them to vote and be counted in a single earthly rotation. (i was in the military for over two decades, and I cast my vote with the election officer, but I doubt my vote was ever truly counted).

  5. This falls more under the ethics category of what prison is for: punishment or rehabilitation.

    A dear friend of mine is a doctor & surgeon. He committed a serious crime: getting involved in a kickback scheme that charged insurance companies for specific medications that he prescribed, that went through a specific pharmacy that also benefited from those prescriptions.

    The medications were actually given to his patients, and they helped them (they actually turned out to be better for them than the recommended medications pushed by the pharmaceutical companies). He used the kickback money to pay for things like private school tuition for his kids, a new car for his wife, etc..

    When he was caught, he made a full confession & made full restitution. He sold his entire medical practice to pay back the additional fees they tacked on for the investigation, but also ensured that when ownership of his practice changed hands, they kept on all his longtime employees.

    He immediately pled guilty & waived his right to trial when they threatened to send his wife & elderly father in law to prison: they knew about & benefited from the kickbacks as they kept his books.

    Despite the fact that the meds he gave his patients were legitimately helpful, never harmful, they also took his medical license.

    He lost absolutely everything.

    Yesterday, we sat in the courtroom for his sentencing…we all fully expected probation…instead, they took his freedom. He’s to spend the next 3 years in a federal prison.

    I’ve always believed that the punishment should fit the crime. In this case, I don’t think it does.

    He paid back every penny that he illegally took plus all the other tacked on costs. He lost his livelihood & passion in life.

    He was 100% remorseful, because he knew he had let everyone in his life down, especially his family & his patients.

    He called me six months ago to let me know what he had done, and after he told me how ashamed he was of himself, he started crying. He kept apologizing to me personally because he knew he wasn’t going to be able to help me anymore as a doctor.

    The tragedy of it all is that in spite of what he did, which I absolutely do not condone or excuse, is that he’s the best doctor I’ve ever had, and trust me when I say I’ve had a lot of doctors. His other patients agree.

    The courtroom was filled with his openly sobbing patients. We were horrified that the skilled, competent, compassionate & wonderful surgeon we’ve all been so grateful to have in our lives didn’t just have his ability to heal others taken away from him, but also his freedom. It was unfathomable.

    Doctors should be held to higher standards when it comes to treating their patients, but they are also human beings who make mistakes, and I believe some allowances should be made for that. He made a very big mistake, but I believe he paid for it…

    …and with the addition of being stripped of his medical license and being sent to prison for 3 years, I believe he’s “overpaid” for it.

    My doctor treated his patients like family. We could call him on the weekends, at home, even on vacation. He fought tirelessly with insurance companies when our needed prescriptions were denied. He cared about our lives outside of our medical & surgical needs. He worked like a dog, always going above & beyond the call of duty.

    The money obtained from the kickbacks must have gone exclusively to his whole family for their own comforts, because he certainly didn’t give himself time to enjoy the finer things in life.

    My ethics question is: is it right to take away someone’s freedom when they’ve a) made restitution, b) are not just unlikely but actually unable to make the same mistakes again, and c) their offense was not violent?

    I know it raises the age old question of whether prison is for rehabilitation or punishment. In this case, I believe it was 100% for punishment, one that was beyond extreme, and the loss of this man as a doctor and surgeon is actively hurting hundreds of patients.

    Frankly, I consider the actions of the prosecutor & the sentencing judge to be unethical.

    Instead of prison, why not utilize his tremendous skills to do major community service? He’s already spent years going to Third World countries and operating on those in need. He could have done the same thing here, perhaps on veterans who are constantly in need of excellent surgeons. He wanted an opportunity to speak to other physicians who might be tempted to do what he did, to dissuade them from going down that path. He could have been a mentor. Prison is such a waste for a man like him.

    I want to reiterate that I don’t for a minute condone his actions. But there doesn’t seem to be any real justice in this outcome. Who exactly benefits from this doctor going to prison?

    We have a dearth of skilled AND compassionate doctors & surgeons in this world. Taking him out of play will cause so much more harm.

    What are your thoughts, my always astute ethical community?

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