Pious political correctness on display

Repulsive as professional basketball team owner Donald Sterling may be, what's the big deal over his seemingly bigoted private remarks to his girlfriend that were surreptitiously tape recorded and publicized by an Internet site specializing in celebrity gossip?

The news media, the National Basketball Association, its players, and politicians have reacted as if Sterling committed mass murder or something. The NBA has made a great show of imposing lifetime banishment on Sterling.

It would be one thing if Sterling was being banished for doing something that had some impact on the world. But his private remarks to his girlfriend constituted no more than ugly thoughts and his offense was essentially only thought crime, and who should care what he thinks?

Indeed, among the things Sterling had actually done was contribute to the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which, when his conversation with his girlfriend was disclosed, had been about to give him its "lifetime achievement award."

If Sterling had raped someone or hurt someone in a fight or by driving drunk, as many egotistical athletes have done, including prominent professional basketball players, he would not be treated as severely, even as those disgraceful athletes are often given second and even third chances and forgiven, not banished for life.

Being so rich, in part from the capital appreciation of the basketball franchise he may be compelled to sell, Sterling may get over it. But plainly the country is not getting over political correctness, group think, and faux indignation. Those ailments are getting worse.

Dental Disgrace

Imagine having a toothache for months. Then imagine having to stand in line for hours to have it treated - and being immensely grateful for the opportunity.

That was the story of many people who came to the XL Center in Hartford last weekend to get treatment at the seventh annual free clinic held by the Connecticut Mission of Mercy, a project of the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach and the Connecticut State Dental Association. In two days dozens of dentists and hygienists took care of the dental problems of more than 2,300 people who can't afford regular care.

As admirable as the generosity of the dentists and hygienists was, the huge number of people without regular dental care is a disgrace to the state and the country.

For dental care is no less important than medical care, and neglect of dental problems can lead to serious diseases and lifelong discomfort and psychological trauma. That's why the omission of dental coverage from plans for universal medical insurance is so shortsighted and distressing.

While there are more efficient ways than the federal Affordable Care Act for achieving universal coverage short of the government's taking over the health care system, government would have no trouble finding the money for it if it was given priority over stupid imperial wars, corporate welfare, and public employee compensation.

Cut Professor Pay

Graduate assistants at the University of Connecticut formed a union the other day, and the university seems to have facilitated it. Since the graduate assistants are more or less university employees, given free tuition in graduate courses in exchange for helping to teach undergraduate courses, their claim to collective bargaining is as good as anyone else's where collective bargaining is allowed for employees of the government.

But UConn should not be let off the hook here. The university contemplates having still more graduate assistants do still more teaching so that professors can do less teaching and more research. This may make money for UConn but it will diminish instruction.

Maybe the graduate assistants deserve better compensation, but whatever they gain should be taken out of the compensation of professors, not out of taxpayers or higher tuition for students.

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