Washington Hospital Center, Shame on You!

Washington Hospital Center has fired 11 nurses and 5 staffers for not coming in to work during the snowpocalypse. I still can’t believe that they would do such a thing. Seriously, if your street wasn’t plowed (and really, in the days between the two huge storms, almost no streets were plowed) there was no way you could get anywhere. You guys saw my pictures on Flickr – SUVs with 4-wheel drive were getting stuck on the main roads! If you had a car like mine, which is really low to the ground, it was impossible to drive through the two feet of snow that was still on the side roads. And public transporation wasn’t an option for many people, because above-ground Metro service was suspended, as was all bus service.

It boggles my mind that the Washington Hospital Center thought it was appropriate to fire nurses who had been working there for decades because they were unable to make it in during the absolute biggest snowstorm in history. I’m grateful to the doctors and nurses who were able to get to the hospital and complete their shifts – they are nothing less than heroes to me for making that trek. But people who were unable to do the same shouldn’t be punished for not having the foresight to purchase the right vehicle, live on the right street or in the right neighborhood, or spend the night at the hospital so as not to miss work during this once-in-a-lifetime epic storm.

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More on Journalistic “Ethics”

I just keep thinking of more things that are wrong with this story.

The FP writer relates how the photographer who watched the little girl die later comitted suicide, supposedly haunted by the things he saw. He then writes:

That’s why I can’t blame Gupta for helping out when he did. On the one hand, he crossed a journalistic line and became part of the story. On the other hand, he probably saved a few Haitians’ lives. Imagine how he’d feel if he had to report on CNN that he’d stay there to watch them die that night?

Apart from that “journalistic line” thing again, the writer is literally saying that it was okay that Gupta intervened and crossed that line because it would have been so hard on him if he had watched them die instead. The focus is not on the people who were dying and needed help – it’s on the journalist/photographer and their feelings. You should save people’s lives if you can, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because later you might get all depressed about letting them die and capturing their suffering to further your career. And wouldn’t that be a shame?

Ugh.

Journalistic Line?

I was going to write a post about a cool promotion that Wendy’s is running right now, but I am so disturbed by something I just read on Foreign Policy that I have to write about it.

Apparently CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta used his medical training to treat some patients in Haiti, where he was reporting from a hospital after the Belgian staff had left due to safety concerns. The Foreign Policy piece argues that, even though it made people cringe to think that Gupta was being some kind of show-off, ultimately he did the right thing by helping out. You know, instead of letting those three patients he stabilized die. So that’s weird to start – how is there even a question that he did the right thing?

But then the article gets horrifying. They post this picture –

Image from Foreign Policy article

– fand tell the story behind it. The photographer discovered a starving little girl trying desperately to drag herself to a feeding tent. A vulture landed nearby to wait for the girl to die. The photographer, professional that he is, spent twenty minutes trying to get the best, most emotional shot. Then, after getting his Pulitzer Prize-winning shot, he chased the bird away and sat under a tree while the girl died.

Absolutely horrifying. But to top that, Foreign Policy says that this incident “raised uncomfortable questions about whether he should have helped the girl rather than simply watching her die.”

What?

I’m speechless. How is that even a question? How is it that journalism is so tied to its code of ethics that says “don’t become part of the story” that journalists would feel its acceptable to muse in public about whether it would have been okay to break that code to save a dying child?

That’s messed up.

Creeepy

I was watching Criminal Minds the other day, as I am wont to do, and in the midst of some exposition I got distracted. See if you can find what distracted me:

Did you see it? If not, let me help you:

Here’s a close-up of the creepy weirdo:

Look at those black, soulless eyes! It’s a baby demon, or a future serial killer! Morgan should be less worried about those parents’ interrupted sleep and more worried about how to make sure he doesn’t have to come back in five to ten years to catch that baby after it starts its murder spree!

Success!

Guess who totally aced her Econ midterm! I did! I’m totes a genius.

And speaking of geniuses, OkCupid (an internet dating site) did an interesting survey recently, and one of the questions they asked was “Are you a genius?” The results were interesting, but not surprising. Unsurprising – 46% of men said they were geniuses, compared to 30% of women. Given stereotypes and sexism, it’s not surprising that women would be less likely to think they’re super-smart. Also unsurprising – 39% of all respondents said they were geniuses, which is not possible. As OKTrends said “2 in 5 people (and nearly half of all men!) think they are one in a thousand.” This is something that I’ve long suspected. Everyone thinks they’re above average, that they’re special. But it’s just not possible for everyone to be above average!

OK Cupid broke down the results in a map, which was pretty interesting. Green means more people think they’re a genius, and red means less. Check out Nevada!

Barack Obama? Really?

So, Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, and everyone who argued that it isn’t political can just shut up. I mean really – giving the Peace Prize to a President who hasn’t even been sitting a year? What has he done so far? Plus, they had to nominate him by Feb. 1st. That was only two weeks in to his presidency. What actual reasons did they have for his nomination, much less the award, besides that they like him?

This is stupid.

You should check out the summary at Foreign Policy. It’s pretty funny! Here’s an excerpt:

This is the most aspirational Nobel Prize in the history of an award that was about the politics of hope long before the president. In fact, the citation of the Nobel Committee indicates that this is the first time in the history of this nutty award that a recipient has been chosen almost solely based on what the grey eminences in Oslo hope he will do at some point ahead. They wrote: “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

Ah, now I get it, it’s become the Nobel Hope Prize.

…It’s as if a freshman tailback were handed the Heisman Trophy as he ran onto the playing field along with a hearty pat on the back and the explanation that he’d been selected to encourage him to have a great year to come.

Somehow, this is turning into a Metro blog…

So, probably most of you know about the 9/12 protests that happened in DC last weekend. I went down to check it out for Mom, and to send her a picture. There were a bunch of people, maybe even 70,000. That’s a lot of extra riders on the Metro!

Apparently, the tea partiers aren’t pleased with Metro’s level of service. They complained that it was too crowded, Metro should have prepared better, etc. “They have a point,” I can hear you thinking. “70,000 extra riders on a weekend – Metro should have prepared for that!”

But, you’d be wrong. For one thing, the event organizers only predicted 15-25,000 people, which would not have warranted additional rail service. And in addition, if they wanted early station openings, the organizers would have had to pay for it out of pocket anyway (like the Marine Corps Marathon does, for example).

AND, irony of ironies, what are they protesting? Government spending! What are they cranky about? A government-funded transportation system is inadequate! Would they be in favor of increasing the funding to resolve the inadequacies? No way! Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) wrote a letter to Catoe complaining about the inconvenience. He says that protesters “were frustrated and disappointed that our nation’s capitol” failed to “provide a basic level of transit for them.” Gee, Brady, where was this concern about Metro’s ability to provide a “basic level of transit” when you decided to vote against increasing its federal funding.

The PlumLine sums it up best:

[I]t’s a real head-spinner to bash a government-run system for failing to adequately serve an enormous anti-government protest after opposing government funding for it.

But Prince of Petworth commenter Jimmy D also has a good point:

[This] congressman, from Southwest Texas, unfamiliar with the metro system, and who has no vested interest in how this city works for the people that live and work here, has more say over its policies than the actual DC residents.

That’s why we need actual representation!

P.S. – I don’t know if you can tell by the number of links to different places reporting this story, but it’s kind of a big hit in DC right now. It combines three great loves of DC residents – making fun of tourists, discussing the Metro, and making fun of tourists riding the Metro!