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Jun 18, 2009


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Jeffrey Sykes

Dear Mr. President:

Yes, please do unleash your radical nature. If propping up dead weight in the private sector with public money is not enough, and if trotting around the globe kowtowing to foreign kings and apologizing for the American way isn't a radical departure from the history of the office you've held for all of five months, yes please, get all radical on us.

I saw a poll this morning the the NYT that showed more than half of Americans are against deficit spending to stimulate the economy and fully 60 percent believe you have no clear plan to reduce the federal deficit. So, again, getting a little radical on us is obviously the way to achieve the most good for the most people.

I know many special interest groups want handouts and preferential treatment for their special status, and yes, most Americans throughout history only got what they got by sweat and blister and even a little blood shedding, but, hey, why not get all radical on us and give everybody what they want.

I'm still wishing you the best as a person, but if the Republicans in Congress ain't dead yet, surely a little radicalness by your bad self is just what the GOP needs to get off life support.

That and some honorable leaders.

So get to it.

Best wishes for the next three and a half years,


Ed Cone


As I meant to include in my letter, you will be called a radical by the rump of the GOP no matter what you do, as Mr. Sykes has so ably demonstrated, so don't sweat that part.

Jeffrey Sykes

PS. Some ultraliberals may write to you that you should ignore those who prefer a traditional value system to guide our nation. They are mostly upper crust types who've likely never sweated, blistered and bled to provide for their family.

It's your choice. And you, like the rest of us, are free to make your choice. I happen to like the choice you made to extend federal benefits to same sex partners, and I also agree that health insurance should not be included. Why, what would stop roommates or brothers from claiming such benefits?

Lots of working Americans are losing their health insurance and most can't even afford to put their spouses on their company plan, so there is no way in (insert preferred deity)'s green earth that government plans should be burdened with the preferred partner of the day for some special interest group.

I know some ultraliberals like Pam Spaulding and Julia Boseman will not be satisfied until they get exactly what they want, but remember that the largest ideological group in American politics are self-described conservatives, who clock in at 40 percent of the electorate.

If you think you can keep the independents and conservative Democrats in your fold by getting all radical, as some writers suggest, again, have at it.

George W. Bush will not be an election issue in 2010 or 2012. An ultraliberal record of policy decisions by you and your colleagues on Capitol Hill would be though.

I see where your compatriots in the NC General Assembly want to raise taxes by $800 million and the governor who rode your coattails to victory over a much more qualified opponent wants twice that much.

I think that's pretty damn radical myself, but not in a "that's rad dude" kind of way.

pps. American presidents usually stand erect and shake the hand of a foreign leader. I've never seen one bow to a king before. I thought that was pretty un-rad.

Ed Cone

Ooh, personal swipes and a claim on "traditional values." That didn't take long.

Traditional value system = Wall Street sets its own rules, or we establish a modern version of the regulatory regime that worked from the '30s to the '90s?

Traditional value system = healthcare dominated by insurance companies and profit-seeking doctors?

Traditional value system = civil rights for all?


Nice letter, Ed.

Jeffrey ... if McCrory was a "much more qualified opponent" I'm a flaming reactionary. The guy is a corporate opportunist who couldn't declare his candidacy without without kissing rings at Duke Energy and Bank of America. He lost because he deserved to lose, and thank goodness for that.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Nice letter, Jeff. And Ed, you seem to be a bit touchy these days.

As for personal swipes, given our history (and the reasons I am in the blogopshere), I took this flame-thrower of a remark a bit personally:

"Traditional value system = healthcare dominated by insurance companies and profit-seeking doctors?"

So allow me to fire back:

Oh, you mean like YOUR DAD?

What's wrong, Ed? The TRC thing not generating enough hits? Did you ban everybody who might talk back to the point that you're trapped in your own ECHO chamber? You must be REALLY desperate for the "conflict" that drives traffic on the blog.

So much for the conciliatory dialogue your President-king called for, huh?

I'm outta here. You're PATHETIC.

Ed Cone


Your view of our history is different from my own. I bear you no ill will, and wish you well in your effort to see justice served in your case. Recent posts at your blog are encouraging -- you seem to be pursuing things in much the same manner that commenters here and elsewhere have encouraged you to do over the years. If you are interested in discussing this with me for possible inclusion in an upcoming newspaper column, please contact me ASAP.

When I refer to profit-seeking docs, this is the article I have in mind. My father, like many specialists of his generation, did well financially, and he was wary of excessive government involvement in healthcare. But he was aware as well of the role of government in pumping up MD incomes -- he was old enough to remember when doctors weren't rich, and to honor the deeper reasons that he -- and you -- became physicians in the first place.

I like to think that a blogger truly concerned with traffic volume might come up with a different focus than local politics in Greensboro.

Dave Ribar

Hmm, it's ALL about MARY.


One of the things that has happened to the right in its inexorable slide to the lunatic fringe is that anyone who positions themselves even slightly to the left is seen as the bastard child of Lenin. When you've got the movement's thinkers -- the guys with the bowties and such -- doing things like cheering on Ahmadinjad, well, you know they've fallen off the end of the spectrum.

Obama seems to like the notion of bipartisanship and compromise. But, the right obviously has no interest in being bipartisan or in compromise. Righties are too committed to their ideological notions, and to the revenue stream prompted by constant trumpeting of such notions to the 25 percent who think like they do. Their worldview doesn't permit them the intellectual and emotional space necessary to actually give up something or act against principle to foster compromise and bipartisanship. They simply cannot do it. In their eyes, compromise and bipartisanship means doing it their way.

They are True Believers who think they all go to Hell if they ever compromise on anything.

So, i'm not interested in compromise and bipartisanship with these people. That won't deliver what the country needs and wants. I hope Obama understands that. We want what he wants, and we don't care how many rightwingers take offense. We don't care what they think, and neither should he. Let them alone and they will continue to drown themselves in a soup of incompetence and irrelevance.

Compromise and bipartisanship will not provide health care for all Americans, or fix the broken banking and financial systems that enriched the right's corporate masters. I'm quite happy to see compromise and bipatisnship sacrificed to get them.

If Obama fails to assert his strength to ensure the passage of health reform that includes a viable federal public option, he will destroy bipartisanship within his own party and spark a revolt by Democrats who stand to his left (arguably the majority of the party).

Graham Shevlin

I've grown used to reading a lot of tripe in the comment section of this blog. Sadly it seems to have gotten a lot worse this time around. The petulance on display is rather childish and would not be out of place in an elementary school playground. Don't you people have a decent argument, or are you unable to respond to Ed except with foot-stamping and ad hominems?


"Some ultraliberals may write to you that you should ignore those who prefer a traditional value system to guide our nation."

What exactly is a "traditional value system"? Please educate me on this.

"Lots of working Americans are losing their health insurance and most can't even afford to put their spouses on their company plan..."

Sounds like an excellent argument for government provided healthcare/insurance.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Back working on links to a post. It's a one-time-only thing.

First, Dave, I LOVE the link. Friends (real ones as opposed to fakes who artificially wish me well) have started to give me jewelry and trinkets that say, "It's all about me." Your contribution is something to add to the collection. Thanks.

Now to Ed. You, sir, really are a piece of work.

I've not changed anything about the way I've operated. I've been writing these agencies and dangling lawyers over their heads FOR YEARS and getting blown off. They've got one more chance to see a hospital held accountable for its despicable/unethical/amoral/illegal behavior. If nothing happens, we shall dance. And then we can really talk about their precious ability to self-regulate.

Dr. Mary is DONE. It's that simple.

The fact is that I probably could have had this conversation with the Medical Board several years ago if the News & Record had put ANY muscle behind it's pathetic little "citizen journalism" experiment (instead of banning and de-linking me) . . . if it had actually REPORTED on the story.

I believe it's called hyper-local journalism.

I strongly suspect I got the meeting this week because of the corruption stories pouring out of Raleigh, and my strong presence on the N&O story boards (the N&R clearly being a lost cause).

You see, the physicians on the N.C. Medical Board are Sleazely appointees. And I am sorry, the NCMB President does not get to pen his gems in the Board's physicians-only newsletter . . . on a physician's ethical obligation to blow the whistle on medical badness . . . when the NCMB has DONE NOTHING-ZERO-ZIP-NADDA but blow this particular whistle-blower off for eleven years.

The question begs . . . as it begged four years ago when I first decided to jump in the blogosphere . . . if it IS and was my ethical duty to put patients first . . . what did the state of North Carolina ever do to protect/vindicate/restore me when my life was turned to crap because I did?

What is it going to do for anyone else contemplating puckering up to that whistle in order to protect a patient?

I've got news for you, Dave (and Roch and Sue and anybody else who wants to chime in with the LAME me-me-me CDT again) . . . this is about what could happen to YOU or YOUR child or grandchild at a hospital in the middle of the night - just as much as it's about what was done to me by the thieves and liars running Randolph Hospital.

Where is the *&^%$#@ North Carolina (or United States) Attorney General when North Carolina "non-profits" put PROFIT ABOVE MISSION . . . when these institutions charged with the public good abuse their power and WASTE resources and RETALIATE against a physician doing her job (defying THREATS and putting a critically-ill newborn first) . . . and then BREAK THE LAW in order to cover their tracks (while the local-in-the-hospital's-pocket DA sleeps)?

Mull this over as you hold your hands out for free/super-cheap healthcare: The VP of Randolph Hospital once said that "Good Pediatricians are a dime a dozen". That smug/way-overpaid/clueless moron still has a job. WHY IS THAT?

And Thomas, by my (considerable) experience in venues all over this state, the Federal government cannot manage the programs it "oversees" now out of a wet paper bag. You wanna give it MORE? Are you NUTS?

There's the "decent argument" Graham. Any time you wanna go a few rounds about "traditional values" in healthcare . . . or what we need for REAL reform, I'm over at Housecalls. Bring it on.

Ed, you and your pals here in the GSO blogosphere (especially JR and Roach - not a typo) never seemed to get that. My "remembrance" is that (like the Sleazely administration and the N.C. Medical Board) you-all did everything you could to blow me off and/or demoralize/demean and push me off a cliff . . . not because I was right or wrong but because I did not drink your brand of blue-flavored Kool-Aid.

And if I were not such a srong-willed, persistant b*tch WHO KNOWS SHE IS RIGHT, we would not be having this exchange now. Fall down seven times, get up eight.

I'm very sorry. Your Father's generation sold mine and Joe's out. The AMA. The Medical & Pediatric Societies. They've all been next-to-useless in terms of vocalizing what physicians on the front lines are really dealing with on a day-to-day basis. And in that context, we've got to start having HONEST conversations about race and class and personal responsibility and good citizenship. But it's all been about money and power.

Contact you? I have a blog (that was your advice too). If you want a quote for your newspaper column (could it be all about YOU now?), it's ALL there.

The question begs, is Edward Cone columnist/journalist enough to tell a story that does not reflect well on the family name and status quo?

I'm leaving this blog now. You know where I live/hang out. And you have my e-mail address.

Ed Cone


I've been reading Scott Rosenberg's book, Say Everything, which is a history of blogging. Your blog embodies a lot of what the pioneers of the field had in mind. You've established your presence online, and made it very difficult for people to continue to ignore you. You recognize the value of your own voice, unmediated by others.

However much you disdain my good wishes, they are real. I'm sorry you lump me (or the version of me you have constructed, which is a much more interesting me than the real one) with your enemies.

Allen Johnson asked me to write next week's opinion front on the status of blogging. If you decide that you want some of the newspaper coverage you've been demanding for years, I'm available through Tuesday to talk about it.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Edward, I was directed back here today by another blogger who offered a warning:

"Do not cast pearls before swine."

Curious (with something tap-tap-tapping on the tip of my memory), I went and looked up the entire verse (it's from the New Testament - and Christ's Sermon on the Mount): "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." MAT 7:6.

Now that verse perfectly sums up the treatment I've gotten by the liberal/Democrat-loving/blogging-journalist elite in the GSO ether - for the unforgivable sin of opening up my broken heart and shattered soul to you . . . because I dared share my hard-won experience on the dark side of medicine - an experience that does not exactly mesh with the "universal care" agenda (perhaps, "justcorbly" you SHOULD care about what those of us providing the cheap/free healthcare think - perhaps you & the Obamanation should try an approach that is something besides drunkly dictating from new-found power).

And Ed, before you protest too strongly about being likened to a dog or pig (I'm told it's was the ultimate insult back when Jesus Chirst walked among us), that's what somebody else (on the outside looking in) said about our online relationship.

Not me.

Again, the N&R teamed up with several prominent GSO bloggers back in 2005 for a great "experiment" called citizen jouurnalism. Speaking of Fathers, I came to that experiment the day after my Father died - without ever seeing justice for his daughter. I even came to one of the classes to learn how to do it "right".

You were there. And I believed. If I was "stupid" about anything (Roach - again, no typo), that was it.

Of course, up is down and right is left in the GSO blogosphere. And in 2009, when Allen Johnson wants an opinion on blogging, he still runs to Ed Cone - as opposed to any of the other prominent, diverse valuable voices in GSO's ether who might not tell him what he wants to hear.

I did not start out "demanding" anything of local newspapers (except a fair skake). I started out asking very nicely . . . then begging . . . even going so far as to be denied paid ad space (using money I did not have) by local newspapers (like the one Allen Johnson works for) to plead my case.

Now I'm just really damned mad . . . and it's FOR CERTAIN I am not going to be ignored by all of the people/journalists/regulatory bodies who have tried to mediate (or even silence) what I have to say . . . especially about the sad/sorry states of journalism and medicine (especially government-run medicine) in North Carolina. With it's President's latest treatise on the ethical obligation to blow the whistle on bad care, the N.C. Medical Board has served its head up on a platter. And I am more-than-ready to sit down (with a good, hungry lawyer) to dinner.

There is a reason I "lump" you in with my enemies, Edward.

You've NOT acted like a friend.

I've "been available" for every moment of the last four (and counting) years. These days I do most of my talking on my blog (which both you and JR de-linked from your local blogrolls-of-note). Again, the blog was your advice (lumped in with "go away").

And at this point in the game, faux-flattery gets you nowhere.

I'll have a post up on Housecalls by mid-Sunday afternoon. I invite you to read it and rumminate over it.

You know my story. It's a good one and it's more than "relevant" (a favorite word of Allen & JR) to the real condition of medicine in the N&R's coverage area and in our times. You know what I think about the status/progress of blogging - especially where local newspapers are concerned.

The post meets your deadline. Use it to write your column. Or don't. That's entirely up to you.

But I'd say it's your chance to put your actions where your "good wishes" are.

And (P.S.) if I sound overly sarcastic or "bitter" in these comments, perhaps it's far past the time you and the other blogging "journalists" at the N&R really reflected on why that is.

There's a reason newspapers are dying.

And hypocrites just are not really all that interesting.

Jeffrey Sykes

@Ed:"Ooh, personal swipes and a claim on "traditional values." That didn't take long.

Traditional value system = Wall Street sets its own rules, or we establish a modern version of the regulatory regime that worked from the '30s to the '90s?

Traditional value system = healthcare dominated by insurance companies and profit-seeking doctors?

Traditional value system = civil rights for all?"

Ed: I didn't see your name in my ps or my pps, so I'm not sure how you claim "personal swipe." I did see my name in your ps (with your usual implication of how I'm simple and don't understand the complexities, etc.) so I'm wondering who actually took the personal swipe? It doesn't matter to me much, I've swiped and been swiped plenty of times in real life and on the blogosphere.

I was going to ask respectfully what your father would think of your view of socialized medicine, but I see you and Mary talked about that already.

I eat lunch regularly with a couple of doctors and a few specialists (most of whom are Democrats and voted for the president). They don't care much for having to care for an increasing number of Medicaid patients because of the minimal reimbursement. One says he is considering retirement because he can't even come up with his daughter's college tuition with what he is making now, but he says that's not really a reason to retire and he is a fighter and not going to just give up.

They also don't think much of the possibility of the fed's dictating things to them, like having to buy new technology or being limited in their care decisions.

And yes they also don't care much for the admin heavy monopolies like MoCo and what one calls "medical cartels", which are groups of doctors who band together to share overhead costs, etc.

I'm not an expert in the field, but I think that whatever happens, the providers should be the ones driving decisions, not administrators from government, corporate or insurance interests.

Jeffrey Sykes

@jc:"If Obama fails to assert his strength to ensure the passage of health reform that includes a viable federal public option, he will destroy bipartisanship within his own party and spark a revolt by Democrats who stand to his left (arguably the majority of the party)."

I hope you are right. I see where Pam stomped off because she didn't get 100 percent of what her interest group wanted, and now you say other liberals will stomp off if they don't get what they want.

I've spent my life studying European and American politics and it is amazing to study how coalitions of interest come together and fall apart over that 5 or 10 percent they can't get.

It is also quite interesting how extreme left and right are so similar beneath the metaphysical ideals they wrap themselves in.

Jeffrey Sykes

@James:"He lost because he deserved to lose, and thank goodness for that."

James, you and I both know McCrory wiped the floor with Bev on the campaign trail and in one on one debates. She had zero, literally, grassroots presence in my area until the Teamsters and out of state activists arrived 72 hours before the vote and littered my county with Obama and Perdue signs.

I set-up two precincts in my county in the wee morning hours of election day and at both precincts I was joined by folks with Teamsters jackets putting up Perdue materials.

She won on the new registrants, "Godless" backlash and Obama's grassroots game and his coattails.

Not sure it matters much anymore. Her goose is so cooked, Public Policy Polling can't even spin it.

Ed Cone


I have until Tuesday if you want to talk for possible inclusion in an upcoming News & Record column.


Mary writes:

"you-all did everything you could to blow me off..."


"Now that verse perfectly sums up the treatment I've gotten by the liberal/Democrat-loving/blogging-journalist elite in the GSO ether..."

Totally detached from reality. I spent hours looking at every bit of documentation you made available about your case. Contrary to your lie, I did not blow you off, quite the opposite, I gave you serious and thorough consideration. You just didn't like the conclusion I reached--conclusions shared by Sam Spagnola, a fact you conveniently ignore because it would interrupt your paranoid lie of some liberal/Democrat plot against you.

The question is begged, why can you not be honest in your presentation?

Also, your attack on Ed's deceased father speaks volumes about why you get the kind of response you do. It's not some external conspiracy coming down upon you, it is your own character being reflected.

Ed Cone

Certainly the question of physician pay is an interesting one in the context of a discussion of healthcare cost and policy.

I recommend the New Yorker article linked above as a way of approaching that discussion.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Cheripicker gave me permission to come back;)

Roach (no typo), several folks have warned me away from Ed's "invitation" (just as they alerted me to your presence here - as I had no plans to come back).

Every single e-mail has advised that Ed's invite is a disingenuous set-up of some kind.

I was wondering how I was going to address/handle that . . . whether or not I should actually e-mail Ed and begin an off-line (off-the-record) dialogue . . . respond here on Word Up . . . or simply address it in the post I hope to get up on Housecalls later in the day (it actually might be tomorrow afternoon at the rate I'm going).

Thank you for helping me make that decision. I'm going to do most of my talking on Housecalls. It should meet Ed's deadline.

You still know how to push the buttons I see. And they are indeed totally detached from reality. Heavy sigh.

ONE MORE TIME: I was sued (unsuccessfully) for lying once . . . when I was NOT lying. My recent conversation with big guns over at the Medical Board would indicate that since I was sued over a complaint I made IN CONFIDENCE and IN GOOD FAITH to USDHHS and the NCMB, that lawsuit was, in fact, very bad form. It never should have happened. But I had to defend it all by my lonesome because every oversight agency everywhere dived under the desk.

It's so not okay.

I WAS the victim of a conspiracy (designed to silence me and make me "just go away"). . . it is the reason Randolph Hospital ultimately was forced to drop its despicable "libel" lawsuit and RUN.

None of this bears out your paranoia-theory . . . but don't let any of the facts you spent three hours checking get in your way.

I'm not lying now, and you know it. Just as the N.C. Medical Board knows it (or they would not have met with me last week . . . in the wake of the Sleazely scandals pouring out of Raleigh - AND the NCMB's President serving me up a tailor-made legal claim on a platter) . . . and just as Ed Cone knows it (or he would not be making his "offer").

I've got no real beef with the Spag-man. His "conclusions" were (in fact) hardly "ignored" but addressed very thoroughly on my blog (the post is still on the sidebar there). His argument was not that I was wrong about what the law actually says, but that my chances (as a no-name/no-money nobody) of seeing a perjury (i.e. criminal) claim (no statute-of-limitations) pursued to the point of prosecution and/or coping-a-plea/restitution were next-to-nil.

"People lie in court every day" is the "argument" I get from all the lawyers. Well, not to Mary Johnson, and not after her life was turned to crap for doing what YOU or Ed or any of the rest of the Coneheads would have expected her to have done for your children.

So, to coin a phrase that your hero-President likes to use, that needs to CHANGE.

If I have to file a lawsuit soon (in order to see some kind of justice done), FINE. The President of the N.C. Medical Board just made that a whole lot easier. I expect even Sam might agree.

Being as respectful as I can be at the moment (since you've called me a liar for the umpteenth time - with no good reason to do so other than you despise me for not rolling over and absorbing the blue-tinged vitriol you constantly spew), I think YOU need to be a little more intellectually honest in your own presentation. I know it's hard for you . . . everyone else on the planet being stupid or dolts or morons or liars or mouth-breathers or just "batshit-crazy".

I did not "attack" Ed's Father. Edward managed to dis his dear-old-Dad all by himself. I simply pointed out that the "profit-seeking doctors" of Ed's Father generation (and their families) were the very willing beneficiaries of everything Edward apparently now despises and wants reformed.

Meanwhile, my generation has had to EAT IT because of the previous generation's self-centeredness, apathy and total lack of foresight. Mary Johnson's Father had to watch his daughter publicly eviscerated because "the right people" in Asheboro (and Greesnboro) needed to cover up something very ugly. So I say bring on the reform. But the Obamanation needs to start talking to doctors like they are (fairly smart) human beings with goals and dreams . . . instead of mindless, easily-manipulated conveyor-belt pawns on a chessboard.

I could not believe Cone's quote when I read it. Knowing he was the son of a physician, I had to blink a few times. I was not about to let it pass.

That would not be . . . (?)what is the term I'm looking for(?) . . . intellectually honest.

Finally, Ed. I don't have to read the New Yorker magazine to approach a discussion on healthcare cost and policy. I've spent fifteen years in the trenches - a huge portion of that time taking care of the poorest of the poor. I've seen hospitals and communities make every mistake in the book. And I've been crapped on in every way a good doctor could be crapped on - right under your nose. Moreover, I've blogged all about it.

But hey, go write that article for Allen Johnson & the gang on the state of blogging - without saying something nice about Mary Johnson.

Ed Cone

Mary, I'm available if you want to speak for possible inclusion in the article I've been assigned on blogging.

If we communicate by email, you will have a full record of the conversation. If we speak by phone, I'd be happy to record the call and post a full transcript online.

I think the New Yorker article says some things about the business of medicine and the differences in costs between cities that will be news to many people.

Re your own case, pursuing a remedy through the courts is something that people have suggested as an option over the years, including in discussions here. I'm happy to read that you are at least considering that option.

Dave Ribar


The New Yorker article provides a readable summary of research that has been around for at least a decade that documents tremendous disparities in medical costs across locations that appears to be associated with local "customary practices." A major point of the article (and line of research) is that physicians don't get good information on the effectiveness of treatments relative to each other. Given that the article has gotten the attention of policymakers, it would be a worthwhile read. For what it's worth, the article was written by a physician who is an associate professor of surgery and of public health policy and who also seems to have spent some time in the trenches.

Your refusal to look at the article (after all, you know everything you need to know about healthcare cost and policy) is telling. Somehow you expect people to read what you have written, but there's no expectation for you to inform yourself the same way.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Ed, you've dangled your carrots before. And every time I've been burned. I don't trust you. I have good reason.

My court case recently got a whole lot stronger. Perhaps its a good thing I did not follow all that "friendly" advice and dive in.

I'm working on a post for Housecalls. But, as a practicing physician, I do have a life, it interrupted, and the post may not be up before your "deadline". Honestly, I do not know what question you could ask me that I have not already answered/covered in a thousand different ways on the blog. You have my e-mail address. I have no plans to come back to this thread and I'm not chasing you.

Dave, you are operating on an incorrect assumption. I read the article. A friend had already alerted me to it. Another colleague gave me a hard-copy this morning. I did not have the heart to tell him I had already seen it.

I wonder if "the associate professor of surgery and public health policy" was ever fired by his hometown hospital for saving a baby's life (ignoring threats to do it)? Wanna take bets that my trench in public service (right here in North Carolina) is a whole lot deeper than his?

And FYI, my experience with healthcare "policy-makers" so far (all the way back to Clinton's "village") is that the real-world cluster-screw I endured does not mesh with their holier-than-thou agenda. Many of the ideas these policy-makers are spinning now are far from new.

But hey, thanks for the summary.

Ed Cone


I regret your decision not to participate as I report my upcoming newspaper column on the state of blogging. And I regret our one-sided feud, in which I continue to be a non-combatant. Peace.

Dave Ribar


I was operating under your statement in response to a suggestion to read the article that you "don't have to read the New Yorker magazine to approach a discussion on healthcare cost and policy."

It's not clear what the author's not being fired has to do with what is stated in the article. Ditto the policy-makers who would have no reason to know about your case. But it sure does make it easy to dismiss what anyone else says.

Jerry Waller

Thanks, Ed. Sometimes the most succinct comments are the best, and I share your disappointment in Obama and Hagan.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Back to post a link.

Dave I'm well aware of the assumption under which you were operating. On Ed's side of the (well-named/partisian) fence, whether he wants to admit it or not, people (particularly local journalists) have generally assumed the worst of me . . . WITHOUT ASKING EVEN ONE QUESTION of the NON-PROFIT executives I have accused of CRIMINAL ACTS.

And I have NEWS for you. Policy-makers in Raleigh and Atlanta and Washington have NO EXCUSE for not knowing about my case. I've only been writing anyone and everyone in every line of governmental & regulatory oversight available and/or recommended to me (by ALL of the lawyers and politicians) since 1998 . . . starting with the UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES - IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION back in 1999.

I was sued for it. And I defended that lawsuit (successfully) at tremendous emotional and fiscal expense all by my lonesome without ANY help from the government I served . . . DESPITE THE FACT (confirmed by the lead attorney for the NC Medical Board two Tuesdays ago), that those kinds of communications, if submitted in good faith, were PROTECTED.

PROTECTED BY WHO, I ask you?!? That's the question I posed to the Medical Board. It's a question that is, as of yet, unanswered.

This past month the North Carolina Medical Board virtually gift-wrapped a lawsuit for me . . . and that complaint, if it is filed, will have been born of eleven years of almost criminal apathy and neglect. If the Board wants to prevent that lawsuit from being filed, a whole lot of those policy-makers in important places (also at risk of being named co-defendants) better start talking to state & Federal law enforcement about holding the LOCAL hospital-that-robbed-raped-and-left-me-for-dead accountable for its despicable actions against a physician in public service . . . actions that started in the cover-up of a Cone-owned physician's screw-up.

There's that name again. I was an IDIOT to believe ANY of that citizen-journalism clap-trap back in 2005.

I know you Obamaphiles like to keep it "succinct". But sometimes "succinct" doesn't tell the story. Of course (as I have proven), it does not matter if the story is long or short if you do not want to hear anyway.

Clearly Edward-Cone-of-the-Cones does not. He has a reluctant subject because of the way he and his friends have behaved in the past. "Wishing" me well does not make it so. Sometimes you have to take a stand.

I'm sorry he does not get that.

And boys, saying "peace" as you walk off in the other direction is a cop-out.

Steve Harrison

Mary, Ed and others in the Greensboro blogosphere may have walked away from you in the past. I don't know, but I'll take your word for it.

But he didn't walk away from you this time, you walked away from him, with the reasoning of "Someone told me it was a trap" and "If you really want to know, go read my blog."

You could have had (at least part of) your story in front of the eyes of tens of thousands of readers, but you chose not to. Ed might not have told the story exactly how you would want him to, but I guarantee you he wasn't trying to set some kind of trap.

You've forfeited a level of exposure that I, as a relatively obscure blogger, would give my eye teeth for. I dinna understand it, lass.

Ed Cone

Mary, your presumptions about what I think of your case are not accurate.

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