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Hospitals

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Joe Bruno, Eliot Spitzer Ruin It for Everybody

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• One actual result of Troopergate (Brunogate? Spitzergate?): The State Ethics Commission passed a new rule preventing officials from using state aircraft unless the primary purpose of their trip is state business and requiring reimbursement for those parts that are not. [NYT]

Abortion Ruling Causes Worries, Confusion for Angry City Docs

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The Supreme Court decision last week banning so-called partial-birth abortions is causing confusion and apprehension in the city's hospitals. At Bellevue’s Reproductive Choice Unit, for example, unnerved residents circulated stories about the hospital's sordid past, when floors were once full of women who attempted termination on their own. “I don’t think many of us know what partial birth is — it’s not a medical term at all,” said Kiran Chawal, a third-year resident there. “We’ve all looked it up to figure out what they’re talking about. It’s difficult to understand or interpret.”

Cha-Ching

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• Where did that come from? The city now projects a $1.9 billion surplus — its largest ever — for the fiscal year that began in July, citing an awesome real-estate market and "sound management decisions" by the mayor. A City Council member even uttered the words "tax cuts." Keep talking. [amNY] • The police have identified the fourth man who was in the car on the receiving end of NYPD's 50-bullet hailstorm. There's a chance, they say, that the witness may have run off with a gun; he thus appears to be the cops' last hope to somehow justify the shooting. Meanwhile, survivor Joseph Guzman, shot eleven times, denies from the hospital bed having any weapons (according, it must be said, to Al Sharpton). [NYDN] • Say hi to the much-discussed taxi-fare hike: "Wait time" is now 40 cents a minute, not 20. Count on a temporary cab shortage, as most cars spend the day in line to get their meters adjusted (earning nothing in the meantime). [Newsday] • Governor Pataki and Governor-elect Spitzer both came out in favor of downsizing New York's hospitals (we're about to lose five in the city, nine statewide). The only real news in that sentence is Spitzer's pronouncement, as Pataki was behind the whole initiative to begin with. "The commissioners did an outstanding job," the Times quotes Pataki saying — via satellite from, of all places, Kuwait. We didn't know they had an early primary. [NYT] • And this, from the Department of Unenforceable Ordinances: Starting tomorrow, the City Council will make it illegal to toss rechargeable batteries in the trash. The toxic, cadmium-filled things must go back to the manufacturer for recycling. For the remedy — a $50 fine — to kick in, the violator has to be literally caught in the act, the likelihood of which strikes us as extremely slight. [NYP]