The Baehr Essentials

1. Sports teams, just like their individual players, have a character that define them. The teams, and the players who become the heroes for fans of the teams,  tell you a lot about the cities they represent. In St. Louis, for 70 years, there has been Stan the Man, whose story is told in a fine Sports Illustrated piece. Musial, an unknown to many younger fans, was one  of the all time greats- as a player and a person.   On the other side of the ledger as far as cities and their sports heroes, SI has a companion piece in the same issue (not yet available online) on "the Man " in Las Vegas- Jerry  "the shark" Tarkanian, still living large as he turns 80. 

2. One of the great dangers in Congress passing  2,000 plus page bills, almost always unread by the members , are the small provisions tucked into  them, usually by some lobbyist, or staffer working with a lobbyist, that in the end prove to be a major burden on people, or businessmen.  Several examples below from the health care bill, and the recently passed financial reform bill. 

As a result of one provision of the health care bill,  an avalanche of new 1099 forms will be descending on Washington, filled out by small businesses (like mine).  

Wall Street firms will now have to deal with the diversity police -- and quotas on hiring are sure to follow.

I thought one of the major purposes of the financial regulatory reform bill was to create greater transparency. But it turns out the SEC is now exempted from disclosure to the public of their proceedings, actions, findings, investigations. Explain the reasoning behind this one.

3. I used to be a Knicks fan when I lived in New York. I often took the subway over to the West End bar and grill near Columbia, which was one of the few places that had cable TV back in prehistoric times,  35-40 years ago, to watch the Knicks and Rangers in the playoffs. Maybe I need to become a Knicks fan again, after this surprising bit of news.

4. This decision by a federal judge to allow a college to expel a student from a counseling program because of her religiously shaped  views on homosexuality seems to me to be outrageous. I am not at all sympathetic to the student's views, but if a counselor thinks it better for other professionals to treat homosexuals, how is that different than an obstetrician who does not want to perform abortions or sterilizations due to religious beliefs? If the student had attempted to coerce or change the lifestyle of a gay client in counseling, I think that would be very problematic.  But having someone who is more sympathetic and open to working with gays seems a better idea, and it is unfair to drive this student out of  the profession. 

5. Atul Gawande explores end of life medical care.    A very high proportion of Medicare dollars are spent on patients who will not survive 6 months. Some of this may be due to defensive medicine, facilitated by the incentives of the fee for service system for paying providers, some of it due to a culture long established in American medicine to keep doing everything till the end. With the country rapidly running out of money (unless the Chinese are willing to forever recycle it), and all kinds of new commissions established by he health care bill to find new ways to "save", and a new head of the Medicare and Medicaid program, Mr. Berwick, who is a big fan of British stye rationing, changes are ahead. Gawande focuses on a key issue: what if all that care just makes the last moths of life more miserable?

More on what's ahead with ObamaCare.  

6. Can we please bring back Tony Blair to run England?  The new Conservative Party head of state, David Cameron, panders to Turkey and trashes Israel in an early debut on the international stage. In Britain, historically, the most venomous anti-Israel sentiment has come from the left wing of the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. Cameron came to office by creating a coalition with the Liberals. Was part of the deal to take a harder line on Israel?

7. Khaled Abu Toameh has spoken to many college audiences. A friend informed me that when he spoke at De Paul he told the angry Muslim/Arab audience that he loves Israel, and would never leave it for a new Palestinian state. Why give up all the freedoms  that are absent in almost all of the countries that belong to the Islamic Conference.  Other Arabs also get the message, and are voting with their feet.

8. I am not a wall to wall supporter of the positions of the CATO Institute. They are, by and large, a bit too isolationist for my taste.   George Will spoke at a recent CATO event, and his comments are ones I agree with- Americans are not a state- broken people.

9. Jim Ceasar, one more in a line of distinguished Kenyon College political science students, on the un-Presidential President.

Two Democratic Party consultants describe the President, a man from their party, as a divider, rather than a uniter. 

10. John Kerry was for docking his new yacht in Massachusetts before he was against it. But where is his wind surfing gear?

11. One Democratic Senator seems to have his fill of government sponsored diversity initiatives and affirmative action. But does he still have a sweet spot in his heart for the term "macaca"?