Sunday, June 21, 2009

Do we need more ethics screening for medical students and doctors?

Apparently this medical student was not motivated by the desire to help his fellow humans be healthier. I wonder how many doctors are motivated by the desire to help others?

Suspect in Craigslist slaying indicted
June 21, 2009

A Massachusetts grand jury late last week indicted a 23-year-old medical student on seven counts, including first-degree murder, in the fatal shooting of one woman and the robbery of another in Boston hotels.
Philip Markoff is charged with killing a woman and robbing another in Boston hotels in April.

Philip Markoff is charged with killing a woman and robbing another in Boston hotels in April.

Philip Markoff is charged with the April 14 fatal shooting and attempted robbery of Julissa Brisman, 25, and the armed robbery of a 29-year-old Las Vegas woman on April 10. Investigators have linked both incidents to advertisements on the Craigslist classified ad Web site.

Markoff also is charged with "the armed and forcible confinement" of the two women, as well as two counts of unlawful firearm possession, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Sunday.

The grand jury returned the seven-count indictment late Thursday, and it moves the case from Boston Municipal Court to Suffolk Superior Court, where Markoff is expected to appear for a Monday morning arraignment. He previously pleaded not guilty in the city court and is being held without bail.

Markoff's attorney, John Salzberg, had no comment on the new indictment.

Prosecutors said Brisman, a model from New York who advertised as a masseuse on Craigslist, was shot three times at close range and suffered blunt head trauma at the Marriott Copley Place hotel.

The Las Vegas woman was robbed of $800 in cash and $250 in American Express gift cards at the Westin Copley Place hotel, police reports said.

Markoff, a second-year medical student at Boston University's School of Medicine, also has been charged in a nonfatal hotel assault in Rhode Island.

He has been charged with assault with the intent to rob, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a handgun and use of a firearm while committing a crime of violence, stemming from an April 16 robbery attempt at a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Doctor paid to make false report on behalf of medical company

Medtronic paid doctor accused of false study: report
Jun 18, 2009

Medical device maker Medtronic Inc paid almost $800,000 in consulting fees to a former U.S. Army surgeon accused of fabricating a key study, according to published reports.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal said the payments were made to Timothy Kuklo, who is accused of making up a report that showed positive results for Infuse, one of Medtronic's important spine products.

The newspapers reported that the Army had said the study was based on false information, and that Kuklo had forged signatures of purported co-authors of the study.

Medtronic told The Wall Street Journal that the payments were compensation for Kuklo's work developing products for the company, training doctors and speaking at company events.

The company told the Journal that the payments were not connected to the study.

Medtronic told the Times that it was not involved in any way with the challenged report. The newspaper said Kuklo, now an assistant medical professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has repeatedly declined to comment on the situation...

Monday, June 15, 2009

$500 million profit for owner of World Trade Center Building 7: it wasn't hit by a plane, so why did it fall?

To see a video narrated by architect David Gage showing the collapse of WTC 7 CLICK HERE.

World Trade Center building 7, where SEC files were kept, is the only steel skyscraper has ever collapsed due primarily to fire. In all other skyscraper fires, the steel frame has been left intact even after fires burned uncontrolled and destroyed everything else.

SEC & EEOC: Attack Delays Investigations
New York Lawyer
By Margaret Cronin Fisk
National Law Journal
September 17, 2001

Additional details emerged Friday about the effect of the collapse of 7 World Trade Center on investigations being conducted by the New York offices of the Securities and Exchange Commission...

Reuters news service and the Los Angeles Times published reports estimating them at 3,000 to 4,000. They include the agency's major inquiry into the manner in which investment banks divvied up hot shares of initial public offerings during the high-tech boom.

The EEOC said documents from about 45 active cases were missing and could not be easily retrieved from any backup system. One of these cases was a sexual harassment charge filed on Sept. 10 against Morgan Stanley, one of the prime corporate victims of the World Trade Center disaster...

Files relating Citigroup to the WorldCom scandal were lost:

Citigroup Facing Subpoena in IPO Probe
Matthew Goldstein

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, frustrated by Citigroup's (C Quote) unwillingness to turn over information about any WorldCom executives who may have gotten shares in initial public offerings, will try to pry the information out with a subpoena.

Rep. Michael Oxley (R., Ohio) said Friday that a subpoena is necessary because Citigroup provided insufficient information about what, if any, special treatment its Salmon Smith Barney investing banking division may have given WorldCom executives. Salomon had been one of the now-bankrupt telecom's principal investment bankers.

The issue of whether Salomon may have doled out shares in some bull-market IPOs to WorldCom executives came up during a committee hearing last month into the accounting fraud at the big long-distance carrier. Citigroup maintains it would be an invasion of federal privacy law for it to provide that information without a subpoena.

The collapse of 7 World Trade Center is remarkable because it was the first known instance of a tall building collapsing primarily as a result of uncontrolled fires:

Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation
Updated 04/21/2009

Silverstein is Clearly Talking about the Demolition of WTC7 on Sept. 11th

PBS Documentary: Silverstein, FDNY Razed WTC 7

In a stunning and belated development concerning the attacks of 9/11 Larry Silverstein, the controller of the destroyed WTC complex, stated plainly in a PBS documentary that he and the FDNY decided jointly to demolish the Solomon Bros. building, or WTC 7, late in the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

This admission appeared in a PBS documentary originally aired in Sept. of 2002 entitled "America Rebuilds". Mr Silverstein's comments came after FEMA and the Society of Civil Engineers conducted an extensive and costly investigation into the curious collapse of WTC 7. The study specifically concluded that the building had collapsed as a result of the inferno within, sparked, apparently, by debris falling from the crumbling North Tower.

In the documentary Silverstein makes the following statement;

I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it." And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.

[This can be heard in the audio file. Thanks to Sir Dave 'tmo' Soule for transfering this from the video to an MP3 file. "America Rebuilds", PBS Home Video, ISBN 0-7806-4006-3, is available from]

Mr. Silverstein's comments stand in direct contradiction to the findings of the extensive FEMA report. They even negate Kevin Spacey's narrative in the very documentary in which they appear; "WTC 7 fell after burning for 7 hours." If it had been generally known that the building was "pulled" wouldn't Mr. Spacey have phrased it that way?...

In the same program a cleanup worker referred to the demolition of WTC 6: "... we're getting ready to pull the building six." There can be little doubt as to how the word "pull" is being used in this context.

[This can be heard in the audio file taken from the video.]

This shocking contradiction is yet another curious twist in a disturbing series of events surrounding the "collapse" of WTC 7, and the WTC complex in general.

Among these is the fact that, in all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever resulted in a collapse.

Ownership, Control, and Insurance of The World Trade Center

The World Trade Center complex came under the control of a private owner for the first time only in mid-2001, having been built and managed by the Port Authority as a public resource...

The new controllers acquired a handsome insurance policy for the complex including a clause that would prove extremely valuable: in the event of a terrorist attack, the partnership could collect the insured value of the property, and be released from their obligations under the 99-year lease...

On April 26 of 2001 the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded Silverstein Properties and mall-owner Westfield America a 99-year-lease on the following assets: The Twin Towers, World Trade Center Buildings 4 and 5, two 9-story office buildings, and 400,000 square feet of retail space.

The partners' winning bid was $3.2 billion for holdings estimated to be worth more than $8 billion. JP Morgan Chase, a prestigious investment-bank that's the flagship firm of its kind for Rockefeller family interests, advised the Port Authority...

The lead partner and spokesperson for the winning bidders, Larry Silverstein, age 70... Larry Silverstein also owned Runway 69, a nightclub in Queens that was alleged 9 years ago to be laundering money made through sales of Laotian heroin...

The lease deal didn't close until July 24th, just 6 weeks before the attack.

Don Paul also documented the money flows surrounding the loss of Building 7.
In February of 2002 Silverstein Properties won $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. Silverstein Properties' estimated investment in WTC 7 was $386 million. So: This building's collapse resulted in a profit of about $500 million...

1. Westfield Nabs Trade Center mall,, 6/2/2001 [cached]
2. Governor Pataki, Acting Governor DiFrancesco Laud Historic Port Authority Agreement to Privatize World Trade Center, Port Authority on NY & NJ, 7/24/01 [cached]
3. Reinsurance Companies Wait to Sort Out Cost of Damage, New York Times, 9/12/01, page C6
4. Facing Our Fascist State, I/R Press, 2002, page 38
5. MetLife Will Sell Sears Tower, Wall Street Journal Online, 3/12/04 [cached]
6. Most of WTC Down Payment to Be Returned, 11/22/03 [cached]
7. Insurers Debate: One Accident or Two?, Bloomberg News, 10/10/01
8. Facing Our Fascist State, , page 47
9. Double Indemnity,, 9/3/02 [cached]
10. Judge John S. Martin Jr.'s Latest Opinion in Swiss Re v. WTC., Newsday, 09/25/02 [cached]
11. Twin Tower Insurers Win Discovery Fight, 6/20/02 [cached]
12. World Trade Center's Mortgage Holder Loses Discovery Fight, 7/8/02 [cached]
13. Jury Awards $2.2 Billion in 9/11 Insurance, United Press International, 12/6/04 [cached]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Insurance companies alone have pocketed $600 million in excessive profits in Iraq

Insurance companies alone have pocketed $600 million in excessive profits
over the past five years, says a staff report from the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee, but the Defense Department refuses to
adjust its approach for managing the program.

The Wars Come Home

A poorly run Pentagon program for providing workman's compensation for
civilian taxpayers, a House oversight committee said Thursday.

Insurance companies alone have pocketed $600 million in excessive profits
over the past five years, says a staff report from the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee, but the Defense Department refuses to
adjust its approach for managing the program.

According to the committee, the Pentagon allows its contractors to
negotiate their own insurance contracts. By contrast, the State Department,
U.S. Agency for International Development and the Army Corps of Engineers
have all selected a single insurance carrier to provide the insurance at
fixed rates.

"What makes the situation even worse is the people this program is
supposed to benefit - the injured employees working for contractors -
have to fight the insurance companies to get their benefits,"
committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said at a hearing
Thursday. "Delays and denials in paying claims are the rule."

KBR Inc., one of the largest defense contractors in Iraq, paid the insurance
giant AIG $284 million for medical and disability coverage under the Defense
Base Act, a reference to the federal law mandating the insurance. Due to
the way KBR's contract is structured, this premium, along with an $8 million
markup for KBR, gets billed to the taxpayer.

"Out of this amount, just $73 million actually goes to injured contractors, and
AIG and KBR pocket over $100 million as profit," Waxman said.

Full Story

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Health Insurance lobbyist Zirkelbach says "we've got concerns"; insurers want to operate outside the exchanges

Industry Groups Push Back on Kennedy's Health Bill
June 10, 2009
Wall Street Journal

Employers and health-insurance companies are pushing back against parts of a health bill proposed by Sen. Edward Kennedy, in a sign of the challenges that loom for Democratic-led legislation.

Lobbyists spent Wednesday combing through the "Affordable Health Choices Act" that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions released a day earlier. The bill would require most Americans to buy health insurance and would create government-run exchanges where they could buy policies. It also calls for a new government health-insurance plan and indicates employers would be required to help pay for employees' plans...

"The president, I thought, was very flexible except on one thing, and that was getting it done,'' said Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

...Health insurers are also strongly against a public plan.

The Kennedy bill, like others being discussed in Congress, envisions consumers and some businesses comparison-shopping for health insurance on the exchanges. That concept has enjoyed widespread support so far, but industry groups are finding fault with some of the details...

...Insurers are pushing for some plans to be able to operate outside the exchanges -- a move that worries lawmakers.

"We've got concerns," said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the main lobby for the health-insurance industry...