My Old Kentucky Homesite

Great Moments in Stupidity #2

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/30/2010

The following true story is stupid on so many levels that I can’t even begin to count them.

(Please be aware that the previous sentence is just a figure of speech.  Obviously, I could begin, simply by saying “one.” Or “un,” if I happen to be French. Which, heureusement, I’m not.  But since the levels of idiocy are infinite, I’d have no chance of ever reaching the end. So why start?)

So there was a crucially important measure that the Republican-led Kentucky Senate booted today from an education bill dealing with the selection of public school personnel. The killed measure contained an urgently needed addendum to the proposed law. But now, sadly, it’s no longer under consideration.

The murdered amendment called for the legislature to make a desperate plea for a well-deserved boon. If the additional language had been included in the bill, Kentuckians would have received some much-needed recognition by one of our most cherished national institutions.

That institution is, of course, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (which is unfortunately up North, in Massachusetts of all damn Yankee places). The state’s Democrats apparently felt that an education bill was an appropriate document in which to urge the enshrinement of Joe B. Hall (no relation to the building), a former UK coach. With his 297-100 record, and one national championship, Hall certainly qualifies as one of the greatest academic heroes the world has ever known. So how, in a state that’s so hoopsmanic as Kentucky, could that proposed resolution fail?

Well, it seems that Hall is not a Republican. To be more specific, he’s a Democrat, and he sometimes lends his eminent personage to the cause of raising money for his party’s candidates.

Shockingly, the Kentucky conservatives said, “Screw basketball and the donkey it rode in on!” David Williams, the Republican President of the Senate, carried his anti-socialist animosity beyond acceptable limits. He had the audacity to point out that the Hall measure had nothing to do with the bill in question.

When someone in the news media dared to accuse Williams of playing politics with the state’s religion, the Senate President got rankled. Did party loyalty have anything to do with the Senate’s decision? Williams astutely, and articulately, replied, “With Joe B. Hall, you’ll have to ask him. I don’t know. We try not to dictate entities like the Hall of Fame. If that is so, maybe the Hall of Fame might be telling us how to run the legislature.”

Fortunately for those of us who are not Republicans, the matter won’t end there, because a Concurrent Resolution by the (Democratically controlled) House repeats the request. The House resolution begins:

WHEREAS, Joe B. Hall, a native of Cynthiana, Kentucky, is beloved across the length and breadth of the Commonwealth for his many achievements and contributions to his university, his community, and the sport of basketball, and is known fondly for his warm demeanor and strong character …

A bunch of “whereas”es follow, ending with

… it is the view of this august body that the North American Screening Committee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame should review his nomination in a most favorable light[.]

I don’t see how a group of overgrown goofballs can be referred to as an “august body” —particularly in light of the fact that it’s only March. However, I am comforted to learn that the Democratic “Yes We Can Score” may once more triumph over the Republican “Foul!” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hall issue is a major factor in the next statewide election, particularly if President Obama visits here to push for the coach’s induction.

In the meantime, excuse me while I dribble into my glass of bourbon.


13 Responses to “Great Moments in Stupidity #2”

  1. the chaplain said

    In my experience, any group that goes out of its way to characterize itself as an “august body” is probably the polar opposite of “august.” Would you say that’s true of Kentucky’s august legislators?

  2. Damn! And they aren’t going to vote to make the Corvette the official Car of KY. Whuck?

  3. Chappy:
    I’d say that the only thing Kentucky’s legislators share with “august” is lots of hot air.

  4. Going
    Hadn’t you heard? The official car of Kentucky is a horse.

  5. I find myself agreeing with the Kentucky jackasses on this one, though I sincerely doubt their objections would stand up to the hypocrisy test. I wonder how long they can go without honoring some Republican party hack in a almost completely unrelated bill.

    1) I object to politicians wasting my tax dollars (or, in this case, Larry’s tax dollars) on trivial matters.
    2) Any item placed in an unrelated bill is the result of something unethical.

    I almost forgot to mention that one of our local universities, the University of Texas at El Paso (then known as Texas Western), kicked the University of Kentucky’s collective lily white backside with an all-black starting lineup for the 1966 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.


    Since March is the polar opposite of August, isn’t it timely?

  6. Des:
    No, you don’t really find yourself agreeing with the Kentucky jackasses, if by “jackasses” you mean the non-jackass party, do you? What you may agree with is Williams’s stated objection to the Hall Hip-Hooray. I agree with that, too. But, clearly, he was just making that up, the same way Kentucky’s legislators pretend that they’re oh so intent on having our misinformed schoolkids learn about Western Civilization by — can you guess how? — studying the Superstition Anthology.

    I agree with you on both 1 and 2. Which is why I’m hoping that the Basketball Hall of Fame will decide to run the Kentucky legislature next year.

    By the way, the polar opposite of most of August is February. So every member of the august Kentucky legislature should get a valentine for this celebration.

  7. srsny said

    On the subject of Kentucky and stupidity – I just heard on MSNBC that your state is the only one in the Union that requires your governor to pledge not to participate in duels! Despite my 35 years as a broadcast journalist (which makes me trust nothing I hear on the news without independent confirmation), I did not check the veracity of the claim. I’m guessing they lifted the item from some “unusual facts” wire service clip. The nincompoop anchor ad libbed something (or, worse, may have read a pre-scripted “ad lib” by a nincompoop writer) about Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, neither of whom, from my memory, had anything to do with Kentucky. These are among the reasons I am no longer in the news business. I’ll bet you can get to the root of it all, Larry.

  8. srsny said

    I should have – but neglected to – put quotation marks around the word “news” in the phrase news business.

  9. Srsny:
    Here’s section 239 of the Kentucky Constitution:

    Disqualification from office for presenting or accepting challenge to duel — Further punishment.
    Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, either directly or indirectly, give, accept or knowingly carry a challenge to any person or persons to fight in single combat, with a citizen of this State, with a deadly weapon, either in or out of the State, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this Commonwealth; and if said acts, or any of them, be committed within this State, the person or persons so committing them shall be further punished in such manner as the General Assembly may prescribe by law.

    And here’s the oath of office for all officials in the state:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of …. according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.

    In 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolutions, one of which said, essentially, that a state may nullify any Act of Congress that goes beyond the Constitution’s narrowly defined powers of the United States. Nullification, as you know, was one of the concepts that led to the Civil War. It’s still attractive to the Christian right today.

    As far as Aaron Burr went — and he went pretty damn far — Kentucky and Kentuckians played a major part in his alleged plot to take over Mexico from the Spaniards. He traveled extensively through Kentucky to raise money and, maybe, military support. In 1806, the first official accusation against him was made by a district attorney in Frankfort. However, a grand jury exonerated the ex-VP after some good lawyering by Henry Clay (who later fought a duel in 1809).

    The information in this comment will be on the test.

  10. srsny said

    If you affirm, as opposed to swearing, do you still have to say, “so help me, god?”

  11. Srsny:
    You have to say, “So help me, Ronda.”

  12. I had a coach tell me once that any state that’s a Commonwealth still has on its books something about dueling, as in it’s ok. I never bothered to fact check that, but it’s amusing to see at least one has a rule forbidding its governor.

    Obviously you have jackasses on both sides of your legislature in KY. The Dem move was inappropriate and the Rep move, although the correct move, was done for the wrong reason so I think they both fouled out.

    To bring it back around to dueling, have you seen the FX show ‘Justified’? It’s supposed to be set in KY. It has the sheriff from HBO’s ‘Deadwood’, basically playing the same character. Anyway, since after 4 episodes there hasn’t been any mention of basketball yet, I doubt it’s a true representation of KY, but I’l let you be the judge.

  13. Philly:
    Any program about Kentucky that doesn’t mention basketball is really about Tennessee.

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