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The week that was


January 20, 2010
It's been a crazy week. From Mark McGwire's steroid admission (we're shocked!) and the media's holier-than-thou selective judgment to the biomass plant air permit meeting to the latest payoff in the health care reform legislation, we've certainly not had a shortage of things to talk about.

*****

Former St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics slugger McGwire last Monday afternoon finally told the world that he did use steroids during his 583-home run career. Anyone who saw his tear-filled interview with Bob Costas knows he genuinely is sorry. What was most interesting, however, is the reaction many in the sports media had.

McGwire won't make it to the Hall of Fame (nor should he), but the writers who say they won't vote for him but at the same time can't imagine a Hall without Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, two players who also have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), are hypocrites.

The public opinion of journalists is low, in part, because of the inflated self-opinion many in our profession have of ourselves. Baseball writers, especially those who cast Hall of Fame ballots, may be the worst of the bunch.

Also, not to defend Mc-Gwire, Bonds, Rodriguez, et al., but the indignation against the players in the so-called "PED-era" is a little disingenuous. If people don't think that the energy boost from "greenies" (amphetamines) and cocaine, both of which were rampant in baseball in the 1970s and '80, didn't enhance performance by keeping players alert on the field, then they're not accepting reality.

*****

Last Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management held a public meeting regarding the air permit application filed by Liberty Green Renewables LLC, which wants to build a biomass power plant near Milltown.

It was a good meeting. I'm sure not everyone who asked a question got the answer they were hoping for, but at least they had the opportunity to address their concerns to the IDEM official who will make the call on the permit.

It's an emotional issue, and the approximately 200 people who attended should be proud of themselves for getting their concerns across in a respectful manner. Only a couple of times did it appear that tensions were close to boiling over, but in each incident cooler heads prevailed.

*****

Why is it so difficult to have integrity in government? Late last week, Democrats made a deal with union bosses that exempts union workers from the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-cost private insurance plans.

The questionable deal — just the latest, following sweetheart agreements with Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana — makes it that when the 40-percent tax kicks in in 2013, not all Americans will be treated fairly. A non-union worker who is fortunate enough to have excellent (yet expensive) employer-based health care will see his or her plan subject to the tax while a union member with the exact same health care plan won't be affected until 2018.

The question isn't whether the tax is a good idea or not. The issue is fairness and having a government that is above board. This is special interest at its worst, and our leaders (I don't blame the unions; who can blame them?) should be ashamed. It's no wonder the president hasn't pushed for the health care negotiations to be televised, despite his repeated pledges that they would be transparent.

*****

Finally, please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers, and, if you can, back up those prayers by giving financially to relief efforts.

Give $5, $10, $50 or $100 (whatever you can afford; every little bit helps) through any of a number of organizations, including the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) and WorldVision (www.worldvision.org).

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