Howler #1 – Appetizer
Deval Patrick’s inauguration ceremonies will cost more than $1M.
The 1st howler in today’s Globe is the claim that the financing for Patrick’s party will be different from Romney’s. As the Globe describes them they are nearly identical, but somehow the Globe fails to note the astounding similarity:
Patrick, who campaigned against the "
Later the same article describes Romney’s 2002 inaugural:
When Romney took office, he paid with private donations for the inaugural gala, his swearing-in, and a private breakfast and luncheon. At $750,000, they were the most expensive inaugural festivities in
So how exactly will Deval’s party be so different from Romney’s ceremony? He's taking fewer donations from corporations and more donations from wealthy individuals (most of whom run corporations)? That's different and better? It sounds like just an accounting change to me.
[Digression:If you can think back to January 1993, didn’t Deval’s former employer, mentor and booster, Bill Clinton, also start his disastrous first 2 years in office with an over-the-top opulent inaugural ceremony? Who can forget Hillary’s outfit that day? Deval is following his mentor, I guess.]
Howler #2 – The Main Course
The first sentence of the Globe’s lead front page story is an astounding mistake. It shows either utter ignorance or incredibly poor writing and editing. Here it is (emphasis mine):
Massachusetts health officials have decided to publicize the patient death rates for individual heart surgeons, the first time the state will release information on the quality of care provided by individual doctors --not just by hospitals and physicians' groups.
The patient death rate for an individual surgeon is not a measure of the quality of care provided by individual doctors. It is only one measure of the outcome of such care. If you want to know about the quality of care, then you have to compare the outcomes of one surgeon with the outcomes of other surgeons. And to make the comparison valid, you also must also statistically correct for a host of other factors, some of which are very important in determining the probable outcome (the age of the patient, the gender of the patient, overall patient health, the hospital where the surgery was done, emergency vs. scheduled surgeries, etc, etc, etc).
The implication above that death rate is a measure of the quality of care seems like an innocent mistake, but it is exactly the kind of innocent mistake that when made by government leads to the proverbial “unintended consequences” of law that is adopted with “good intentions”. The road to hell is paved with such. As the article notes:
Exactly. People care about how their work is measured. They respond to performance metrics by trying to improve. But if the metric that is applied does not measure quality of care, then any response to the metric will not necessarily improve quality of care.
That a lead article on health care quality can article can start with a sentence that completely confuses care outcomes with care quality is not encouraging. Maybe the Globe needs some better quality metrics for editing (or fewer people working there who are innumerate).
Howler #3 – Dessert
Perhaps feeling a need to justify their having spent 4 months of surveillance and done international travel in order to find out that the governor’s groundskeeper had hired 4 illegal immigrants, the Globe today opines:
Community Lawn Service with a Heart, the company that does Romney's lawn, also works for the
You heard them right! Public agencies cannot be complicit in violation of immigration law. I heartily agree.
So, dear Editorial Oracles, if the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles were to issue drivers licenses to people who were in Massachusetts illegally, would that make them complicit in violation of immigration law, or not? If the University of Massachusetts extended in-state tuition rates to students who are in Massachusetts illegally would that make them complicit in violation of immigration law, or not?
Also, Wise Oracles, if as you say public entities should do business only with companies that are in compliance with immigration law, shouldn’t private sector companies behave the same way? And how does the Globe’s own distributor, Publishers Circulation Fulfillment, measure up in this regard?
Again, just wondering.