Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Case of the Actual (Not Manufactured) Health Issue

We have seemingly emerged from the mass hysteria relating to a virtually non-existent threat of a widespread Ebola epidemic in our country. 14th Amendment liberty rights of some were trampled in the frenzy. Now we are faced with another, wholly different set of circumstances and individual rights questions regarding a much more real outbreak.

This country's first state law requiring vaccination was enacted over 200 years ago in Massachusetts in response to the smallpox epidemic.

More than 100 years ago, in the case of Jacobsen v Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the US Supreme Court held that states could enact reasonable regulation regarding mandated vaccinations in order to protect public health and safety. Liberty for the individual was not absolute in all circumstances, but was qualified by overriding concern for the common good, for the welfare of others.

It was left to each state to fashion regulations within these constitutional parameters. Many states enacted legislation which provided exemptions from mandatory vaccination predicated on sincerely held religious beliefs or philosophical opposition.

The question that must be answered in this instance  is whether "the very concept of ordered liberty precludes allowing every person to make his or her own standards on matters of conduct in which the society as a whole has important interests" (Wisconsin v Yoder, a 1972 Supreme Court case deciding whether compulsory education beyond 8th grade on certain members of  the Amish community was constitutional).

As measles, a disease whose presence was virtually eradicated through the widespread use of vaccine reappears, the question posed is whether the "herd" can be jeopardized by those within its midst.

This matter, as opposed to the faux crisis of several months ago with it wild pronouncements and unwise decisions, is one of critical importance that can and should be the subject of vigorous debate.

Tiger's Latest Role

((A Fading Titan, Cheered On With Pity")

We are now face to face with the latest role being played out on a very large stage by Tiger Woods.

He has been hero, able to conquer all those who stood in his way as much with the strength of his will as the power in his shots.

He then took on the character of the villain, making a mockery of our willingness to idolize him. In this iteration he became more pariah than phenomenon.

Now, he appears as the duffer, someone whose mortality has not only shown through the cracks but emerged full blown. This is the version that elicits the sympathy the hero never needed and the villain never warranted. He is now merely a member of our foursome, neither a god living on some remote planet. nor evil incarnate. He has gone from Superman to Everyman.

Many now harbor the not so secret desire to see Superman's cape suddenly emerge from beneath the ragged exterior of this faux Tiger, As this final act plays out we can but wonder, worry and wait to see whether Tiger has anything left in his tank.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Smart Guns and the NRA

("Smart Guns Save Lives, So Where Are They?")

While I applaud Mr. Kristof on the sentiment expressed, history teaches us that the NRA is immune to emotional appeals. In the immediate aftermath of Newtown, and the deaths of twenty young children, surely we believed that change would have to follow. There is scant evidence to suggest that anything is different.

The NRA will blame negligent parents, random bad luck, or figures that support the premise that more children die from a range of other causes not aggressively attacked by the left wing. The NRA will be portrayed by its advocates, as always, as unwarranted scapegoat for the failure of others.

The sad truth is that unless the bottom line is improved for their clients, the gun lobbyists will find no predicate to support legislation that will save lives. Death is no match for financial gain.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Climbing the Dawn Wall


“Pursuing the Impossible, and Coming Out on Top,” Jan. 15:

Climbing the Dawn Wall is the perfect physical metaphor. The 19-day ascent captured our attention and imagination in a way few if any conquests have in the world of sport. In its highest and best form, sport elevates not only the participant, but also all those who witness the achievement and absorb its message.

Inch by inch and day by day, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson demonstrated that the human capacity is far greater than we perceive. The relentlessness of pursuit, the unwillingness to contemplate defeat, the sheer and utter determination to accomplish what could not be done, such is the message that emanated from the Dawn Wall.

Within each of us is an impossible dream that we have now been shown may not be out of reach if only we dare to believe.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


("Not Embracing Christie's Love of the Dallas Cowboys ")

As if Bridgegate wasn't bad enough, we now have Brogate. A covey of very rich, very white guys high up in their palace man-hugging a victory for their team from Texas. Only someone forgot to remind Governor Christie he was a  Springsteen loving Jersey boy.

Forget how poorly he governs his state, how the unemployment numbers are high, the educational figures are low and his botching of the Ebola quarantine issue a disaster. Forget his rudeness to those who question his Supreme Being. Forget that he has all but abandoned his state (to aBrogate) even before his official announcement that he is running for king in 2016.

Moving cones on the George Washington was a mere traffic offense compared to this latest fiasco. 15 yard penalty on the man in the orange sweater for unsportsmanlike conduct and bad judgment in attire and loyalty.