Go Figure

A new study, “Freedom in the 50 States,” done by George Mason University supposedly measures economic and personal freedoms and found North Dakota to be our freest state.

Um, tell that to someone who wants the personal freedom to have an abortion.

The next freest were South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

The least free were New York, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.  I’ve been in California for the past thirty years and have always felt quite free here, thank you very much.

Anybody think lots of people are about to flee the oppression of Hawaii for balmy North Dakota?  Me either.

For more, see “Americans Are Migrating to More Free Republican States,” John Merline, Investors Business Daily

A Fraud Within the Fraud

People, if you’re looking for the personification of chutzpah, we have a winner!  He is J. Ezra Merkin, hedge fund manager.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Merkin will pay $405 million to his former investors to settle a civil fraud suit.  When Bernie Madoff’s  pyramid crumbled to dust in December 2008, Merkin’s funds lost about $1.2 billion.

But here’s the kicker — Merkin made hundreds of millions in management fees without actually doing any research or analysis for his clients.  All he did was take their money and pass it along to Madoff to “invest.”

Nice work if you can get it!  Merkin must have made more per hour than anyone in history.

Which proves it’s not what you know, it’s who you know…




Judge With Cancer Pleads for Medical Marijuana

The New York state legislature is considering medical marijuana again.  In the past, it has been approved by the Assembly, but died in the Senate.    New York Judge Gustin L. Reichbach, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for over three years, today pleads for legalization in a moving, eloquent, and courageous op ed in the NYT, “A Judge’s Plea for Pot.”  Some excerpts:

“Nausea and pain are constant companions.  One struggles to eat enough to stave off the dramatic weight loss that is part of this disease. … Pain medication leads to loss of appetite and constipation.  Anti-nausea medication raises glucose levels, a serious problem for me with my pancreas so compromised.  Sleep, which might bring respite from the miseries of the day, becomes increasingly elusive.

“Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep.  The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless.

“This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue.  Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care.  But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients.

“Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue.  But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight.

“Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease.  I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward leader and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year.”

Happy Birthday, Fenway Park!

Happy Birthday, Fenway, from this Yankee fan.  And may I add, you look wicked good for 100.  I hope as a present, they get you a new managah to replace your “unfunny Valentine.”

The truth is, Red Sox and Yankee fans need each other.  I’m always more excited to watch a game with you than with the Blue Jays or any other team in baseball.  The wins feel more satisfying, the losses cut deeper.  Each regular season game feels far more significant than 1 of 162.

And I need you to play well and win (just not against us, of course), so that our games are meaningful right to the end of the season.  And an ALCS with you is the World Series for me.

So I hope you start playing much better — beginning next week.