Those magic(?) dice

Ira Lacher returns to the topic of what is owed to Americans who have chosen to remain unvaccinated for COVID-19.

Wow, unvaccinated America: Are you in luck!

Nah, not from any new discovery that prevents you from getting COVID-19, or that if you get it you won’t die (actually, you’re 15 times more likely to than if you’re vaccinated, and 29 times more likely to land in an ICU). But hey — if an emergency room is in your unvaccinated future, you’ve got unlimited dice rolls because you’re guaranteed to get medical attention. Which puts you ahead of someone who might have brain cancer. Wow! Can you buy me a Powerball ticket?

This great good fortune favoring you, unvaccinated America, results from what is known as the “duty of care” doctrine: A doctor has a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to treat a patient to the best of the physician’s ability; failure to do so can invite a malpractice suit. Further, hospitals that participate in Medicare must, under federal law, stabilize an ER patient’s condition, regardless of the person’s ability to pay, or at least transfer that patient to a suitable institution.

But not everyone loves someone on a winning streak. Health care providers may have to treat you — but they may not want to.

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Goodbye, T-Bird

Ira Lacher: With his COVID-19 vaccine mandate, President Joe Biden has taken the T-Bird away. Someone had to.

“@JoeBiden see you in court,” Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota tweeted. “Not on my watch in Texas,” chirped Ken Paxton, that state’s chief law enforcement official, who faces trial for two counts of securities fraud. And just in case anyone forgot what this is really all about, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey added: “the Biden-Harris administration is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way.”

Right. President Biden’s executive order requiring millions of Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, damn it, has nothing to do with ending a planetary crisis that has killed four and a half million persons around the world, including 660,000 Americans. It’s about impinging on personal freedom — to put fellow Americans six feet under.

“Personal freedom.” God, how we’ve abused it!

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Secession? Maybe it's time

Ira Lacher: “America is now a continental landscape of fifty siloed entities, hopelessly divided by religion, attitude, ethnicity and the resulting politics.”

The Labor Day Weekend heralds the return of America’s favorite pastime — no, not hating our neighbor who may be vaxxed / unvaxxed or a Democrat / Republican or any sort of adherent to What Must Be Classified As Evil. No, that pastime is, of course, college football. It is a months-long occasion to don the colors of institutions of higher revenue — oops, make that “higher education” — you may never have attended and down a few beers with friends while rah-rah-ing for the hired mercenaries who probably aren’t from the state corresponding with the line on the scoreboard.

College football is unique because it embodies the true American ideal: rooting for your state against all other states.

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The dreams are alive

Ira Lacher reflects on attending the first Major League Baseball game played at the “Field of Dreams” in Dyersville. -promoted by Laura Belin

It is fashionable to bash baseball these days. One reason is more baseballs are being bashed to the exclusion of almost everything else — bunts, hit-and-runs, stolen bases, and other examples of “small ball” that cling to the hearts of purists like the stirrups extending from the bottoms of baseball uniforms’ trimmed trousers, de rigueur during my growing-up years but which have been supplanted by pants worn below the tops of high-top shoes.

For perhaps the first time since records were kept, more strikeouts will be recorded than hits, the result of hitting coaches instructing batters to swing upwards to take advantage of the momentum generated by contact with 98-mile-an-hour fastballs, thrown by an endless succession of seemingly bionic-armed pitchers.

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What do we owe the unvaccinated?

Ira Lacher: Should a person who has done the common-sense thing be mindful of others who have chosen to stay unvaccinated for COVID-19?

In Texas, a doctor can legally discriminate against trans patients, as well as women who have had abortions.

While this seems to empower healers to substitute their Hippocratic Oath with legal immorality, it is hardly an aberration of human behavior. The researchers Fang CuiNing Ma, and Yue-jia Luo have found that the human response to the pain of others — described by some as morality — can differ based on whether we perceive that person to be worthy of a moral response.

“What distinguish[es] moral judgments from other items such as preference, aesthetics or non-moral good and bad,” they wrote, “is that moral judgments entail a belief that someone should be rewarded or punished.”

Or, as Nahum the beggar famously says in Fiddler on the Roof, when given less than his usual alms of two kopecks, “If you had a bad week, why should I suffer?”

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Our failure of federalism

Ira Lacher: Federalism leaves the U.S. with an inability to centralize a means of combating a disease that has killed 607,000 in America. And counting.

“The country is facing a strong resumption of the epidemic touching all our territory. The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate.”

Way to go, President Biden! That’s what . . . huh? Oh. That wasn’t President Joe Biden. It was French President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address Monday, explaining why all health care workers in that country are being ordered to vaccinate against COVID-19, and why everyone in France will need proof of vaccination to shop in a mall, eat in a restaurant, or travel by air or rail.

Instead, this was Biden, speaking to reporters in the White House’s South Court Auditorium on July 6:

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