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Ron Hart Columns: Finding redemption in rehab

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Finding redemption in rehab

November 8, 2009 - Panama City News Herald

By Ron Hart

Like Bill Clinton, ESPN baseball commentator Steve Phillips got into hot water for carrying on with a 22-year-old intern. Unlike Clinton, however, Phillips could not bomb Sudan in order to distract the nation from his philandering. So he did what high-profile folks who do not command a military do these days: He checked into rehab because, as we now know, stupid acts are not anyone's fault. They are a "disease."

Ironically, on the same day Phillips admitted himself to sex rehab, the Kosovo city of Pristina unveiled a 10-foot-high statue of Clinton to celebrate his bombing. (Back then, military actions were "cool" because Democrats did them.) The statue of Clinton is so lifelike that it instinctively hits on trashy, chubby women. I am told that Albanian women came from more than 50 miles away for the uncovering of Clinton's bust, which I am sure Willie would reciprocate if given the opportunity.

Baseball players usually have to go to rehab with Double-A teams to work their way back. I assume Phillips was sent to the ABC affiliate in Macon, Ga., to work on his hitting on interns there before being called back up to New York.

It's not entirely clear to me what type of place one would check himself into for a condition such as this, or, for that matter, even what the "disease" is called. My friends say it is called "being a man," but so far science has discovered no cure for that. There is some promising work being done by researchers using pictures of Rosie O'Donnell.

I wonder if the treatment would be covered under ObamaCare (recently named the "worst bill ever" by The Wall Street Journal, and implicitly by the voters in Virginia and New Jersey). The condition would most certainly have been covered under Clinton's failed health care initiative as a pre-existing condition of being a male. To do his part, Obama has suggested that men grope women with their elbows so that the "disease" will not spread.

Don't kid yourself, Phillips' case is serous. I understand he is in the intensive care unit - the Eliot Spitzer Suite. It's located near the John Edwards Two Americas Research Center, both in the left wing of the hospital.

Some of the more cutting-edge research is done in the right wing of the rehab center where they built more closets, particularly in the Sen. Larry Craig Lab. Modeled after Pavlov's work with dogs, closeted gay men are taught not to react to a foot tap in an airport bathroom stall but only to those on Broadway.

Only the rich or celebrities get called "victims" of some illness when they mess around. If you are middle class or below and get caught, it plays out a little differently. Usually, a bass boat gets burned or your wife sleeps with a mall cop to get back at you.

Celebrity rehab centers like Promises of Malibu have a dubious record. After publicly embarrassing themselves, stars spend $80,000 for a week at this place, only to learn that 12-step addiction programs meet every day for free pretty much everywhere else in America. But people seem to like it there, especially the Ladies Drink Free night. In their defense, it is really difficult for celebrities to get off booze and sex when they don't want to. Why else would anyone bother to be famous?

How must a nurse feel who works in one of these male sex addiction rehab centers? "Hotties Need Not Apply" signs must be posted everywhere. While I have no formal sex addiction treatment training (although I did live in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house in college), I think it would be imperative to keep the women's sex addict wing far away from the male sex addict wing. Mixing them just seems problematic.

The good news is that, since government is taking over all the decisions and consequences in our lives, some day no one will be responsible for anything he or she does. It is Obama's Utopia, where no one is responsible for anything - except, of course, George W. Bush.

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Columns by Ronald Hart. Ron grew up in Tennessee and began writing a column for his hometown paper in 2002. He attended The University of Memphis and the Institute for Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University. Ron graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected student government president. Upon getting his MBA, he went to work for Goldman Sachs. He was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents by then Governor Lamar Alexander and is now a private investor. He appears on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal. His columns reflect a rare combination of Southern libertarian views and humor. They have been described as "Lewis Grizzard meets P.J. O'Rourke with a dash of Will Roger's horse sense". His columns are carried by 30 newspapers with a total weekly circulation of approximately 1 million readers.