Liberal Manhattan DA takes on Trump in perilous legal fight

“he is poised to pursue a criminal indictment of the former president in a case centered on a hush-money payment made to the porn actress Stormy Daniels at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Reimbursement for the payment was falsely recorded as legal expenses, according to federal prosecutors who first examined the case, and Bragg’s office is considering bringing a felony charge based on the falsification of business records. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to four years.”

“Bragg has received some criticism for pursuing a matter that some say amounts to an accounting error tied to a years-old episode. But Roiphe, now a New York Law School professor of legal ethics, said she considers a falsification of business records charge to be an important tool that has been used frequently to hold Wall Street accountable. “I don’t think it’s a minor crime,” she said. “I don’t think it’s trivial.”

“At the same time,” she said, “I think there is a cost to indicting a former president.

“I don’t know whether, when you weigh the benefits of deterrence and sending a message that, ‘No man is above the law,’ [the value of the prosecution] is potentially outweighed by the civic cost.””

New York’s restrictive gun laws didn’t stop the Buffalo shooter

“Nineteen states and Washington, DC, currently have red flag laws, otherwise known as extreme risk protection laws. It’s a form of gun control that even Republicans have endorsed, including some red-state governors, former President Donald Trump, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Connecticut was the first to enact such a law two decades ago, but the rest were passed in the last six years.
The more modern laws follow a similar formula, modeled after domestic violence protection orders. Certain people can petition for an extreme risk protection order from a court — a civil, not criminal mechanism that would prevent an individual from legally possessing or purchasing a gun for up to one year and allow police to seize their firearms for that period.

In most cases, it’s the police who initiate the petition against individuals who have a criminal history, who have made threats of violence, or who present other behavioral risk factors. But in some states, family members of the individual, health professionals, and school administrators can also do so. Should the individual continue to present an immediate danger to themselves or others, the petitioner can go back to the court after the year is up and seek another order.

The intention of these laws isn’t to criminalize people; it’s to stop guns from falling into the hands of those who have exhibited heightened risk of violent behavior and who don’t otherwise meet the threshold to be charged with a crime or involuntarily committed.”

“There have been some jurisdictions — including in San Diego; King County, Washington; and Broward County, Florida — that have put resources toward creating dedicated law enforcement units that petition for such orders, but they are the exceptions. King County, for example, used a protection order to seize firearms from the alleged leader of a neo-Nazi group in 2019.

“What we’re seeing is that where you have that robust training, you have people who are dedicated to this, this is their job or a good part of their job, we see better success,” Horwitz said. “The laws don’t self-execute. These are very new laws. We need to make sure that we support them.””

The NYC nurses strike reveals a fundamental flaw in US health care

“The experts I’ve spoken with over the past few years generally agree that nurses are tremendously undervalued given the importance of their work in delivering quality health care. Research has found repeatedly that more nursing staff leads to patients reporting a better experience in the hospital and better health outcomes.
But the problem is, given the way health care in the US is typically paid for, hiring more nurses and making their work environment better doesn’t necessarily make good economic sense for these hospitals.”

“Nurses point to exorbitant executive compensation (which soared nationwide during the pandemic) and multimillion-dollar real estate deals to explain their decision to strike. They have a point: Hospitals behaving on pure altruism would spend more on clinical staff without their nurses needing to go on strike to force their hand.”

“Slashing executive pay (Montefiore’s CEO makes $6 million a year) can only pay for so many new nursing positions. Canceling a $38 million land deal in White Plains would make more money available, but when revenue depends on the number of services that a hospital system provides, buying land and building new facilities does make fiscal sense.”

“Under the fee-for-service model that still dominates American health care, where every physician service can be billed by the hospital where they work, hospitals have every incentive to expand their services but little incentive to hire more nurses to support that work. From a hospital’s accounting perspective, nurses are entirely a cost. They do not generate any revenue directly, even though they are necessary to providing quality medical care.”

““What we forget is when hospitals put profits over patients, they are operating well within the system of economic carrots and sticks that we created for them, and within the system we created, hospitals are acting completely rationally as any other economic agent would,” Olga Yakusheva, a health care economist at the University of Michigan, said. “There is no economic incentive, right now, for hospitals to invest in adequate nurse staffing, pay nurses well, or provide a good working environment for nurses.”

Until the US gives hospitals good financial reasons to invest in their nursing staffs, these labor disputes are going to occur again and again. As much as we want our health system to be focused on quality health care, in America, health care is a business.

Good health care and profitable health care are not always the same thing. The failure to value nursing in the way we pay for medical services, which laid the groundwork for NYC’s nurses strike, is a stark example of that.”

From Texas border, New York mayor vows to pressure U.S. government over migrants

“The city spent $366 million on services for asylum seekers last year, and Adams expects that sum to rise to $2 billion through June. Thus far, New York City has received just $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $2 million from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“This is a national crisis. FEMA deals with national crises. FEMA must step up, and there should be one coordinator to coordinate everything that is happening dealing with migrants and asylum seekers in our country,” Adams said.”

New York Set to Hobble ‘Legal’ Cannabis with Taxes and Regulations

“A legal market with high taxes and overly stringent regulations is still a market in which people aren’t arrested and jailed. Rules can be loosened to what people will tolerate, as they have been elsewhere. But New York officials have yet to learn that markets function based on the choices of participants. The wishes of government regulators who want to use them as social-engineering tools and ATMs don’t really matter. Marijuana markets will thrive so long as there are customers to be served. The question is whether they will thrive in the open under light taxes and regulations, or underground to escape the heavy hands of politicians.”