If we have to depend on an ex-NBA "star" for diplomatic contact with Communist North Korea then our nation is in bigger trouble than anyone could imagine.
Dennis Rodman, an out-of-the-norm ex-NBA player, went to North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters for a HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television and featured a exhibition game with two Americans on each team of North Koreans. As no surprise, the game ended in a 110-110 tie.
Rodman met several times with the firebrand new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, who has ignored U.N. warnings by repeatedly conducting nuclear tests and most recently threatened to use nuclear missiles to destroy Washington, D.C.
Kim supposedly told Rodman that he does not want war with the U.S. and all he wants is a call from President Obama. If that's the case, why after its missile tests in December did Kim's government promise "a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century."
Considering the human rights record of the nation, called one of the most secretive in history, why should anyone believe anything Kim says, especially when it comes through a person with no official standing.
In fact, why were the Globetrotters, Rodman and previously the head of Google permitted to enter North Korea if not for pure propaganda purposes ... propaganda that should be taken as what it is worth, nothing.
I never thought much of Rodman as a NBA player and I certainly think even less of him as a representative of the U.S. in talks with a hostile nation with whom the U.S. has little relations.
Have we as a nation become so afraid of litigation that we are willing to establish a corporate policy that leads to a person's death?
Such would seem to be the case in a Bakersfield, Calif., retirement home where a frantic 911 dispatcher pleaded with a woman who identified herself as a nurse at the home to give CPR to an elderly woman who had collapsed. The dispatcher even went so far as to beg the nurse to get someone off the street and the dispatcher would instruct that person on giving CPR.
The 87-year-old woman was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.
The director of the retirement home defended the non-action by his nurse, saying, "In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed."
The corporation later said the woman, subsequently identified as a resident services director, failed to follow proper protocol in the incident.
So, which corporate version of the incident should we believe?
The director told a reporter that residents of the home's independent living community are informed of the policy and agree to it when they move in. He said the policy does not apply at the adjacent assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.
It is unknown if CPR would have saved the woman, but not doing it certainly did not help her chances of survival.
As a community, I would hope anyone walking by someone in such distress would do all within their knowledge and training to help, just as it is completely unacceptable, if not unethical, for a "nurse" to stand by and do nothing when a person obviously is in a life-threatening event.
If my 98-year-old mother-in-law were in that retirement center, I'd get her out in a hurry!
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org