Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bill Frist is exonerated 

Bill Frist at Princeton April, 2007 - TigerHawk original photograph

Newshounds will surely remember that in the fall of 2005 the press and the lefty blogs spun themselves up into outrage over the timing of Bill Frist's sales of HCA stock. Everybody from AMERICABlog to the New York Times -- admittedly, a narrow ideological range -- were certain of the impropriety of the sales and hoped for their criminality. At the time, I wrote a fairly detailed analysis of the timing of the sales and concluded that Frist had almost certainly acted both morally and lawfully. Nevertheless, the press continued to torture him for months.

Well, Bill Frist has been exonerated.

In the end, Bill Frist's habit of frequent e-mails helped document the former Senate Republican leader's account that he was not involved in insider trading in his 2005 sale of HCA Inc. stock.

The former Tennessee senator was able to show in copies of e-mails given to federal investigators that he began the process of selling his family's HCA stock in April 2005 - well before HCA had disappointing second-quarter earnings and publicly reported that fact July 13, two people familiar with Frist's records said Friday.

Frist disclosed in a written statement recently that he had received letters from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York saying they had closed their investigations and were taking no action against him.

Like the Power Line trio, I think Bill Frist is one of the most decent people to have served in either house of the United States Congress during the last 15 years. He is smart, modest, very concerned about issues that animate both the left and right, and -- most importantly -- he is much, much more than a professional politician. Lest there be any doubt, read this post from his blog, in which he discusses the emerging field of "conservation medicine" and its application to the gorilla population of Rwanda. We should all hope that Bill Frist returns to public life.

UPDATE: Regular commenter "Howard in Boston" wonders if the New York Times will bring itself to cover Frist's exoneration as prominently as it covered the allegations against him. Actually, it did not cover his exoneration at all, even though it had plenty of time to do so. Apparently the news that Bill Frist was telling the truth is not "fit to print," even on its web site.


By Anonymous Bird of Paridise, at Sun Apr 29, 12:05:00 AM:

The sharks smell blood feeding frenzie comming everybody out of the water including the regular sharks the media sharks are dangerous for all  

By Anonymous Howard in Boston, at Sun Apr 29, 09:07:00 AM:

I await the New York Times prominently placed article describing these conclusions.

I suspect I will be a'waiting a long time...  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Apr 29, 02:40:00 PM:

Good pickup, Howard.  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Mon Apr 30, 01:36:00 PM:

However smart, modest, and concerned Bill Frist is, he has made a permanent enemy of me because of his conduct during the Terry Schiavo affair. His actions were unacceptable for so many reasons - first, in an unacceptable abuse of his position and influence, he led the charge for government interference in a private family affair, causing much pain to everyone involved. Also, what is perhaps worse, is that he attempted to use his medical credentials in a way that was fundamentally unethical, not to mention intellectually dishonest: he tried to assert that TS was not brain-dead *by watching a video.* It's so obvious that he was starting from his desired conclusion and "diagnosing" backwards that it disgusted me. When he attempted to cop out instead of apologize, saying "I never, never, on the floor of the Senate, made a diagnosis, nor would I ever do that" hardly excuses him. In fact, his lack of contrition makes it worse.

He'd have to do something damn spectacular for me to not wish him to go down in flames. I could never, ever support such a man in any leadership position.  

By Blogger Cobb, at Mon Apr 30, 03:28:00 PM:

now he can run for president.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 10:11:00 AM:


Riiiight. Because the legality of starving people to death is clearly just a "family matter" over which there is no legitimate public interest.

"It's so obvious that he was starting from his desired conclusion and "diagnosing" backwards that it disgusted me."

I saw those videos. I think there was room for reasonable doubt. I don't think the conclusions about her state was as obvious as you do. But I guess anyone who disagrees with you can only do so from bad faith, eh?

Howard - great catch. The MSM will totally ignore it.


By Blogger DWPittelli, at Tue May 01, 10:21:00 AM:


1) Terry Schiavo was not "brain dead" and no on was claiming such. The debate was whether she was in a persistent vegetative state or a minimally responsive state.

2) You cannot prove that someone is in a coma from a video, or even any one examination, since such patients' consciousness varies over time (as does ours). However, you can prove that someone is not in a coma by video. For example, if they're reciting the pledge of allegiance in the video. TS was not doing that, of course, but two nurses had testified that she seemed aware of surroundings, in the timing of her moaned words.

3) It seemed to me that TS was a pretty good candidate for euthanasia if anyone is, but I would note that the family's pain predated governmental action, as her parents were opposed to her husband's plans and those two parties had been fighting it out in court. Usually the husband would almost automatically win such a fight, but this one had just won a million-dollar settlement after testifying he needed the money for her life-long care and therapy, and he was also shacked up with a woman with whom he wanted a Catholic wedding. IMHO, one is allowed to change one's mind, and to give up on a non-dead but apparently never-recovering spouse, but I think that those conflicts of interest should be considered seriously in such a case.

4) Regardless of the underlying merits, do you really think this issue is more important than:

1) War?
2) McCain-Feingold?
3) Judges?
4) Abortion?
5) Whether the candidate was a scumbag or a flake in his personal life?
6) Whether the candidate can stand up to attacks from the left and the press, neither being a wimp nor coming off as too hostile?

I don't think anyone likes any of the candidates on all the issues -- but that's a normal state of affairs in both parties.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 10:23:00 AM:

Do you suppose this is yet another reason the NYT sales and stock price are in a death spiral?

People have caught on. Failing to tell the entire story is a lie.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 10:27:00 AM:


I'm not even a doctor, and it is obvious to me that Terri S. was not brain dead.

Brain dead people do not move their eyes. They do not breathe on their own. There is no way she was brain dead.

Severly handicapped? - sure. Brain dead? No way.

Get your facts straight, especially before you take the big step of publicly writing someone off as severely as you do Frist.

BTW - So you think it is ok to starve handicapped people to death?  

By Anonymous jim2, at Tue May 01, 11:23:00 AM:

Anon at 10:27 -

Severely handicapped?! Are you kidding?

Have you read the TS autopsy report? She was blind, even if her eyes moved. Her brain (615 grams) was less than half the correct size, mostly the equivalent of scar tissue with a few isolated and random neurons scattered in the higher functions areas. K Quinlan's brain, after 10 years of vegetative state was 835 grams. TS could not swallow, as there was no coordinative functionality.

I cannot see how anyone can be aware of the facts revealed by the TS autopsy and still believe that the poor lady was still in there. All that seemed to have been left in her skull was CNS scar tissue atop a mostly functional autonomous nervous system.

The autopsy can be read here:


By Blogger JimMtnViewCa, at Tue May 01, 12:03:00 PM:

regardless of whether you agree with Sen Frist on a specific issue, regardless of whether you would vote for him, the selective attacks on only Repub candidates by NYT and other media is a problem.
people need a closer approximation to the truth in order to make valid decisions about government.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 12:20:00 PM:

That's because you're using science, jim2 - the previous posters obviously meant that she was not "brain dead" because Jesus was there watching over her.

Where do you get off using facts and figures and stuff?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 12:49:00 PM:

How many "investigations" do the Ds run before they're keeping Rs from getting anything done? Or to scare good people from running at all?

Who pays the consequences for 'fishing expeditions' that turn up nothing?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 12:51:00 PM:

I'm not sure how you got from Frist being exonerated to Terry Schiavo, but words mean things.
Medically speaking, she was "severely handicapped" and probably (I have no personal knowledge and won't go there) in a "persistent vegatative state". If she were "brain dead", it would never have been an issue as the body shuts itself down slowly after "brain death" occurs. "Brain dead" patients are potential organ donors; PSV patients are not. No one was talking about donating T.S.' organs because her body was still using them.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue May 01, 01:10:00 PM:

How many "investigations" do the Ds run before they're keeping Rs from getting anything done? Or to scare good people from running at all? Who pays the consequences for 'fishing expeditions' that turn up nothing?

Like...Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Vince Foster, the Lincoln Bedroom, the Buddhist Temples, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Kathleen Willey, Jaunita Broaddrick, Wag-the-Dog, Marc Rich, Joycelyn Elders, a $200 haircut, and removing W's from keyboards?

Oh, I see what you mean - it's only witch hunting when the Democrats do it. Silly me.

But I coulda swore the Bush administration and the Republican Congress had so many more indictments and resignations...  

By Blogger DWPittelli, at Wed May 02, 01:55:00 PM:

Anonymous: "the previous posters obviously meant that she was not "brain dead" because Jesus was there watching over her.

1) I am not religious. And as I stated, I agree that she seemed a pretty good candidate for euthanasia.
2) No one on either side of the debate claimed she was brain dead. The question was whether she was in a "persistent vegetative state."
3) Do some research before making a fool of yourself while accusing others of neglecting science.  

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