These are serious allegations and they should be looked into  State Rep. Jamilah Nasheed from St. Louis wants incoming Governor Jay Nixon to investigate allegations that Maj. Gen. King Sidwell and his chief of staff, Col. Glenn Hagler, discriminated against black and female members of the Missouri National Guard and that Nixon should look at replacing him as the commanding officer when he becomes Commander in Chief of the Missouri guard in two weeks.  “The allegations of systematic racial and gender discrimination by Missouri National Guard Adjutant General King Sidwell merit a swift but thorough investigation by the Department of Defense,” said Nasheed, D-St. Louis. She urged Nixon to hold off on keeping Sidwell with the National Guard until an investigation can be completed.  Nixon, who met with Sidwell last week, was noncommittal about the controversy but said he expects the National Guard is “one area we would make some changes.”

For years I have told people all over the country world that the best neighbors anywhere are in Missouri and I have a feeling that Reverend Vernon Self would back me up on that.  The 79-year-old is alive today because of the quick thinking and follow-through of his neighbors in Poplar Bluff.  On December 23 he lost control of his car on a patch of ice and landed upside down, dangling from his seat belt, with his head in the freezing water.  He would surely have drowned if not for those neighbors.  One man waded into the freezing water and held his head up so he could breath while another man went to find a tractor to get his car out of the ditch and yet another went to get his wife so she could be there with him and help keep him calm during the hour it took to free him from the car.  The outcome could have been horribly grim, but instead he escaped with a few stitches and a but of stiffness.

NCMC considers going to a four-day week North Central Missouri College (formerly Trenton Junior College) is considering holding classes four days a week instead of five in an effort to help their largely-commuter student body save money on transportation costs.  1500 students attend classes at NCMC, located in Trenton, miles and miles from everywhere and in some cases they are driving up to 90 miles one way to attend classes.  I am intimately familiar with the commute to TJC – I did it four nights a week for night classes, driving  from Harrison County when I was a teenager.  

The first step is always to admit you have a problem  And the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, you know, and State Sen. Jason Crowell, a republican from Cape Girardeau, is at least willing to put a foot on the path.  He is pushing for legislation that would provide health care workers tax breaks as an incentive for them to see more Medicaid recipients.  Low reimbursement rates have led many health care providers to avoid treating Medicaid patients, creating a bottleneck for those patients to find care and stressing the public health system practically to the breaking point.  In the year that ended June 30, Medicaid payments to health care providers was $206.7 million. Crowell estimates his bill would provide tax savings to those providers of about $12.4 million.  Ultimately, Crowell said he’d like to see the Medicaid payments closer to those of Medicare, a health program for the elderly that comes closer to matching actual costs.  The down side of the equation is, of course, that a significant chunk of change would come out of the revenue pool, and we would be better off gritting our teeth and modestly increasing taxes and providing some services for our citizens, but we are caught in an endless cycle of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mode – and by the way, nobody wants to hear you whine about being barefoot.  There goes that vein in my temple again…

Murder rate among black teenagers continues to climb  even as the rates for violent crime either remain static or even fall among other demographic groups.  I have not collected any empirical data, but I could have predicted the results.  I worked on a trauma team in an inner city hospital until one year before I took my marbles and went home because I was exhausted from daily losing battles to save the lives of black teenaged GSWs.   The beginning of the end for my medical career was the three brothers shot on Christmas Eve 2004.  I was the lab scientist who went with Alvin Brooks (iirc – could have been a different community activist, but I think it was Alvin) to get their Mama to donate their organs, and whose job it was to swing into action and get the typing and crossmatching and blood cultures started the instant consent was obtained.  When that poor devastated woman said “Of course.  It’s Christmas.  You have to save somebody else’s babies since you can’t save mine,” it was all I could do to not lose it right there on the spot.  I kept it together, of course.  I am a professional, after all.  But I was out of that hospital within six months and I was out of medicine entirely within 18.