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UPMC vs. people

Bram Reichbaum at The Pittsburgh Comet addresses Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's challenge to UPMC's tax-exempt status: "UPMC officials greeted the mayor's announcement with smarmy dissembling," he writes, and then posts part of UPMC spokesman Paul Wood's emailed statement to the media:

The challenge to UPMC's tax-exempt status appears to be based on the mistaken impression that a nonprofit organization must conduct its affairs in a way that pleases certain labor unions, certain favored businesses or particular political constituencies -- in other words, the way that some local governments are also run.

Mr. Reichbaum observes: " 'Particular political constituencies' is industry jargon for people. The corporate health establishment has long maintained it inappropriate for governments to apply laws literally due to pressure from special interests such as people."

Portman's gay son

Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post: "Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman took a terrific, brave step in announcing his support for same-sex marriage, citing the example of his gay son. But here's the missing piece in the current gay rights debate: When Portman's son graduates from Yale, no federal law will prevent an employer from denying him a job because of his sexual orientation. ...

"Really, you may ask? ...

"The federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on race, gender or religion does not extend to sexual orientation. So a company that doesn't want gay employees can refuse to hire them, decline to promote them, pay them less, ignore their being harassed or fire them for being gay -- without fear, in more than half the states, of legal consequences."

I don't want to know!

The Borowitz Report: "The decision of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to support same-sex marriage after learning that his son was gay has inspired hundreds of other Republican lawmakers to stop speaking to their children. ... 'I have gathered my caucus and told them, if your kids are going to tell you something that's going to cost you the next election, it's better to nip that situation in the bud,' said House Speaker John Boehner. 'Just stop talking to them altogether, for heaven's sakes.'

"Speaker Boehner said he was advising his fellow Republicans who were 'hell bent on speaking to their children' to keep things superficial: 'You can talk about sports. You can talk about the weather. But anything beyond that, your policy should be -- don't ask, don't tell.' "

The rapists in Steubenville

Via the Atlantic Wire: Irin Carmon at Salon writes that the media treatment of the rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio, has generated plenty of deserved outrage. But it also forced those covering the trial to ask about how our criminal justice system treats sexual offenders, especially teenaged ones.

"When CNN's Poppy Harlow offered immediate sympathy to the young men, rage rightly came down on her and her colleagues for failing to focus on the victim's suffering," she notes. "But ... bemoaning the ruination of [the perpetrators'] lives was the wrong question for more than one reason."

Ms. Carmon then delves into research about recidivism of sexual offenders and finds evidence that the lives of the Steubenville football players are not, in fact, over: "The answer, surprisingly enough, is that juvenile sex offenders often can and do get better."

Viola! Best buddies

Andrew Malcolm at on the president's trip to Israel last week: "Wasn't it great to see what a super-buddy Barack Obama has suddenly become with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Just super. Very reassuring after all the suspicions, leaks, lectures of the 51-year-old Christian [regarding] the 63-year-old Jew, open mic derision and outright snubs. Doesn't every president leave an allied visiting prime minister waiting downstairs like an unwanted life insurance salesman while the president dines elsewhere?

"So, we are to imagine that four-plus years of animosity, impatience, mis-steps and mistrust have evaporated as quickly as an Obama promise. The Democrat even patted Netanyahu's back a few times, which is politico for 'I'm being really sincere here for the cameras.' "


Greg Victor (


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