The Sunday night line is open. Closing out:
* PEYTON HILLIS’ COMEBACK: I should have mentioned earlier the feel-good feature in the New York Times this morning on Arkansas’s Peyton Hillis, who got a call at his Tennessee soybean farm to take another crack at NFL football with the New York Giants. He’s been a big hit, including again in a Giants win today with 70 yards rushing and three receptions. The feature shows a non-glamorous side to NFL life, with Hillis scrounging meals at the beginning of his callback and finding a home for his family. The $750,000 minimum pay helps.
Six days later, exactly a week after he had been preparing to watch “Monday Night Football” on his living room couch, Hillis was the Giants’ starting running back on “Monday Night Football.” Though he barely had time to memorize the team’s playbook — let alone learn how to drive in northern New Jersey — he scored a pivotal touchdown and was celebrated as one of the highlights in the Giants’ first victory of the season.
“People just have no idea how strange and surreal a football life can be,” Hillis said Wednesday, recounting how he went from farmer to football star in a week. “No one in a normal walk of life flies into a new city unknown and unemployed and ends up doing their job on national television a few days later. I love the game, but it’s crazy sometimes.”
* THE PROBLEM WITH HOSPITAL MERGERS: This was a key concern in talks about merging UAMS and St. Vincent hospital operations. Too many medical options cause Catholic concern with a merger of a Catholic hospital with a proprietary chain in Hot Springs, so much so that a Catholic operator now seems likely to be calling the shots. Mother Jones reports:
Widespread mergers between Catholic and secular hospitals have allowed the churches to restrict patients’ access to abortion, contraception and other reproductive health care, goals that they largely have not been able to achieve through the political process, Mother Jones reports.
According to MergerWatch, the number of U.S. hospitals affiliated with the Catholic Church increased by 16% from 2001 to 2011. By contrast, the number of public hospitals and secular, not-for-profit hospitals declined by 31% and 12%, respectively. In 2012, Catholic hospitals and health care systems were involved in 24 mergers and acquisitions, according to the research firm Irving Levin Associates.
Nationwide, 10 of the 25 largest not-for-profit hospital systems are affiliated with the Catholic Church, and one in every six patients receives care from a Catholic hospital, Mother Jones reports. In at least eight states, more than 30% of hospital admissions are at Catholic facilities.
* LITTLE ROCK’S CLINTON AIRPORT JUDGED WORST IN COUNTRY: Of late, my own experience with the Clinton National Airport in Little Rock has been improving. The ticket lobby expansion has improved the check-in area. It seems like baggage handling has improved. Parking’s not cheap but it’s accessible. The credit card checkout lanes for cars work well. But ….. Travel and Leisure rates it otherwise, listing it as America’s worst airport: Ouch. Says the article:
Travelers of all stripes gripe about the Little Rock airport’s security lines, which have made local headlines for wait times that can stretch to an hour. It also scored poorly for check-in, delays, design, food, and shopping. In part, the results may simply reflect the fact that this is a small airport, with no airline clubs and barely a handful of stores and restaurants. It does deserve kudos for providing free Wi-Fi.
I think it only fair to note that TSA runs security, not the airport. And that the airport has added one of the speedy security lanes for passengers with clearance. There’s also this about airports — good, bad and indifferent. What’s your alternative?