Tuesday, November 29, 2005

H-L columnist stings WASP guv!!!

The resident race-baiter at the Lexington Herald-Leader is Merlene Davis, who also writes columns concerning other things, a favorite target being WASPMs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant men). In her column of 29 November, she attempted to ridicule Governor Fletcher, a WASPM (also getting in a racial lick), but in the process did herself no favors. Her column is in both print and online. Excerpts from it are included below in black type, with a few comments in red type.

Had I known, had I not been surprised to be looking eye to eye with our governor, I'm sure I could have come up with better things to say than I did. Well, at least you didn't stare at his navel...or yours, which is probably what you'd been doing for an hour or so. Maybe if you'd stared at his ear or his right hand you could have thought of better things to say.

I heard someone introducing himself to one of my bosses, who sits behind me. I assumed it was another of those faceless corporate people who fly in now and again and come to the newsroom to make the little people feel valued. You got it backwards...too much navel-staring maybe? The corporate folk are not faceless...they pay your salary and you should feel them to be valued. Unfortunately, you're among those they consider faceless, but they would never look you eye to eye and say that. As long as you consider yourself among the "little people," it won't matter what they think.

So, after he chatted with my boss, he walked over to me as I was working on my computer. I doubt that he had ever seen anyone working on a computer since most people are on a chair when they work, using a computer. Seeing someone sitting atop a computer might have unnerved him a bit...but to each her own. It's hard to imagine how anyone can type in that position, but with the proper twists it certainly seems possible, if not exactly probable. Maybe you weren't on the keyboard, though, just reclining on the PC itself.

OK, I thought. I'll be a team player and turn around to say hello to this corporate person just to help him move along. Was he in a wheelchair and, if so, how could your saying "hello" help him move along? If the wheelchair sported a sail, perhaps the hot air emanating from your place on the computer could have propelled him clear out to Midland.

"Hello," the man said. Golly gee!!! That IS a surprise. People rarely ever say such an unusual word!

Still looking at my computer, I returned the greeting. Then I turned around and looked directly into the face of Fletcher. Hey...that's no small achievement. Saying "hello" from your spot on the computer was a thoughtful gesture. Shazzam!! I bet you were surprised to find that a faceless nabob actually had a face, after all, but then, of course, he was not a faceless corporate person who pays your salary.

Startled, I repeated the greeting, trying to make it more sincere that time. Okay - HELLO!!!!!!!!!! Did you do the "Dean Scream," perhaps, and yell "On to Nebraska" and "Keep the home fires burning" and "Beat Tennessee?!!!"

"How are you doing?" Fletcher asked. What'd you expect him to say as he looked at someone on a computer? A lot of folk would like to know the secret to working on a computer. Most folk work AT a computer, not on it.

"Well," I said. "People like me about as much as they like you." Did you mean they adore you or hate you...or were you sorta playing up to the guv, maybe with an eye on a merit job? After all, poor K-R is going in the tank and...well...people seen working on computers might just be considered dispensable, especially if a fuse gets blown in the News Room account computer overheating from supporting excessive weight.

I gasped internally. This sounds serious. Was it sorta like a herniated burp? Did it hurt? Is such a gasp covered by the health insurance? Where had that come from? The guv is also a doctor, so why didn't you just ask him? He might have prescribed on the spot, thus saving an office call to a gasp-internist. Why would something like that slip from my lips to Fletcher's ears? Oh, surely you didn't. Do you mean like when Bush 41...well...unloaded in the Japanese prime Minister's lap, except to the ear instead of...EGAD?! Surprises are awful.

It was then I noticed the plainclothes man standing very close to me and the governor. Kinda cozy, huh? What did you suppose he was up to? Did you ring for security? He was black with a white curlicue thing dangling from his ear. Uh-oh!!! In other words, he was an "Uncle Tom." The very idea that a black man would wear a (gasp, but not internal) WHITE curlicue on his ear...oh dear!

I thought to myself it would have been less noticeable had the wire been a darker color, but it was no time to give fashion tips. Spoken like a tried and true racist!!! I myself have been aghast at (gasp, but not internal) seeing white men appearing on TV with BLACK curlicues dangling from their ears...downright unpatriotic...or something.

"Well, I'm doing pretty well," the governor said. Or maybe he said, "Things are going pretty well for me." I can't remember. But you remember that curlicue, and that's all that matters in a tense situation like this.

I do remember thinking he hadn't been listening to talk radio, watching TV or reading the newspaper if he thought that were true. What he meant was simply that he was not suffering that day from internal gasping, after noticing your own discomfort.

Regardless, the governor took a step away, and I turned back to my computer, hoping his bodyguard would move with him. Wow! Most people turn back to their monitor screen...but, to each her own. If you'd rather stare at your computer...so be it and amen! What would have happened if the bodyguard had stayed....another WOW?

I wish I could tell you exactly what I said, but I know, without a doubt, that if I did, my son would shoot me in my sleep with one of those wooden rifles with which they practice marching. In other words, you told off this former fighter pilot, representative, physician, congressman! Did that make you feel better? Incidentally, it's hard to shoot a wooden rifle, even at someone who's asleep.

Just know that I embarrassed myself, my son, the governor and especially my nearest co-workers, who later reminded me that Fletcher is a pilot. Yeah...you told him off. Served him right, huh? Why not put in print just exactly what you told him? Can you dish it out, as in this screed, but not take it when some folk call your hand?

After that, Fletcher moved on for real. What's the difference between moving on and moving on for real?

"Pardon me, Mr. Fletcher," I could say. Real cute!

That seems to have worked for a few people in his administration. Those folk had something at stake and were mostly the victims of political scheming, as every knowledgeable person knows, but folk like you bear no responsibility for what they say or do. So...try working AT the computer and you may find it ever so much more comfortable. As for the internal gasping, try Bromo-Seltzer if it gets any worse.

And so it goes!

Jim Clark

Saturday, November 26, 2005


A few days ago (Sunday, 20 November), the HAPPENING took place in Louisville, Kentucky, birthplace of a lot of important folks but none apparently so important as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., aka Muhammad Ali, onetime boxer and heavyweight champ. It took place at the Muhammad Ali Center, a $54 million facility designed to glorify the boxer – indeed, to beatify the man, at least in Islamic terms, since this greatest gift to the world from Louisville is an adherent of the Nation of Islam, the religious entity in this country headed for many years by Elijah Muhammad, aka Robert Poole, and headed now by Louis Farrakhan, aka Louis Eugene Walcott, or by some, perhaps a bit irreverently, as Calypso Louie, whose latest claim to fame was his assertion that the levees of New Orleans were sabotaged by white people in order for black people to be killed. The gala connected to the dedication of the Center was held on the Jewish Sabbath and its dedication on the Christian Sunday at a time when Americans are being murdered in the name of the Islamic Allah. Thus, the irony was complete.

Whether for political (most likely) or any other reasons, the state of Kentucky, using taxpayer funds, has ponied-up $10 million for the project, state officials, elected and otherwise, thus establishing their approval of Ali as a far-greater-than-life personage who supposedly has brought inordinate respect to the state, known by some wags as the land of beautiful horses and fast women, perhaps not too inaccurate a hedonistic description, considering its coupling with this garish Louisville monstrosity honoring a man who made his living by attempting to turn other men’s brains into jelly through administering to them great pain, the sort of activity that would garner jail time for its administrator if it took place on the sidewalk. The state’s elite politicians, movers and shakers of every type, and celebrities from the world of entertainment gushed over this affair, thus establishing the depths to which otherwise talented and educated people can descend in flashing the marker that naked, physical, animalistic, brutal ability trumps the mental, spiritual and socially vital attributes as those to be admired and role-modeled in a society riddled with the “if it feels good, do it” mentality, the devil take the hindmost.

In the city-budget of Louisville last year was an expenditure of $80,000 to be used in creating a statue of Ali, whose name also appears on what used to be historic Walnut Street but now is Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The irony lies in the fact that Louisville has been the scene for years of astounding medical achievements in areas such as treatment for heart disease and the reattaching of severed limbs or implantation of limbs. The clinical trial for the AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart was conducted in Louisville, and the Jarvik-7 artificial heart of the 80s was implanted in a patient by a Louisville doctor, William DeVries. Drs. Dowling and Gray not long ago implanted an AbioCor heart in a man who was near death. Do these people deserve statues for helping people live, or has it come to the point where statues are reserved for people who help others hurt or even die? After all, bludgeoning a man’s head with any instrument is little more than an attempt to kill him.

Louisville is recognized as the "hand-surgery capitol of the world." The method of reattaching hands was pioneered there by Dr. Harold Kleinert, and he and his colleagues at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute have trained more than 1,100 hand surgeons in 58 countries. In 1977, the first successful bilateral arm replant was done in Louisville. Much more could be said, but the point is that gifted doctors such as these men deserve statues, streets named after them, and world acclaim. Such acclaim is reserved, instead, for an individual interested in maiming, not healing, and whose hands are used to separate men from consciousness rather than help them survive in reality.

The same could be said for Cincinnati. There is a street there called the Ezzard Charles Drive, so named for another heavyweight champion in 1977 by changing its name, ironically, from the Lincoln Park Drive. This is the city where Dr. Albert B. Sabin, renowned former member of the University of Cincinnati medical-school staff for 30 years, brought into existence the oral serum/vaccine to protect against polio. Dr. Sabin also developed a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis. The point: Those whose achievements in behalf of helping mankind on a scale so grand that they defy comprehension are hardly known, if at all, in a general way, while men who knocked other men senseless for millions of dollars are considered heroes. One could hardly imagine a sadder commentary on the society than this state of affairs. Disgusting.

Lest this be construed as racist or discriminatory, since Ali and Charles (now deceased) represent African Americans, the same holds true for arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Rocky Marciano, a white man who held the heavyweight title 1952-56 and was the only undefeated champion of all weight classes, winning all of his 49 bouts, 43 of them via knockouts. This also is not a personal condemnation, since there is room for disagreement on all that has been written here. It is to point out: (1) Boxing, rather than being a sport, is an exercise in thuggery, and (2) The society has a terribly misplaced sense of values. Lionizing Ali, plainly and simply, indicates a sickness in the society not too far removed from that of the ancient Romans who took their pleasure in watching people and animals fight to the death, with blood running in rivers. In Kentucky terms, boxing is about on the level of cock-fighting, except that the perpetrators maim intentionally, while roosters have little choice.

The society's obsession with the trivial/banal and the gross, such as reality shows and boxing, is proof that something vital is being lost. This nation has achieved a modicum of greatness, but it is now in danger of sacrificing that greatness on the altar of the obscene. Perhaps Ali was in the vanguard of the athletes who now comport themselves, especially in football and basketball, in the same manner as that which is found among some inhabitants of the zoo, teasing and taunting their enemies while prancing around in various poses such as the “crotch-hop” and “chest-thumping/banging” or doing those delightful “dancing/skipping/duck-walking jigs.” There was a time when sports connoted gentlemanliness, humbleness, and selflessness. That time is long-gone, not least because of folks like Ali and those who worship at his feet.


Role model was he…so everyone said,
He stung like a bee…inflicted deep dread;
With butterfly glide, he shuffled just right,
Would sharply deride each one he would fight;
He smashed fragile brains…his living - no more,
Like capital gains…or, running a store;
From back-alley brawls men may go to jail,
From legalized brawls…no need to seek bail;
An art, some insist…in great hall or mud -
An art-form of fist…on canvas of blood;
Character-builder…such sport makes a man!
No! death-blow wielder makes sport of a man;
Character-building is found in a trench
Where death-blow wielding is free of all stench
When freedom is served, mankind to protect,
And strong men are nerved…their safety reject;
Character-building is found in each place
Where folks shield themselves from sloth and disgrace
Through honest, hard work…through helping the weak,
Their tasks never shirk, while they never seek
Respect that derives from hurting for gain -
Disgrace that contrives respect from sheer pain;

Role model was he…so everyone said,
That butterfly-bee…could knock a man dead.

And so it goes…Jim Clark

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

St. Julian the Dragon-Killer

Wonders never cease!!! The latest wonder is that former Kentucky governor Julian Carroll, according to the Lexington Herald-leader of 23 November, has just announced that he has appointed himself to be what amounts to the savior of the Democrat party in Kentucky. He has come up with the amazing proposition that 29 (count ’em) party stalwarts, apparently one each from 29 state democrat constituencies, be somehow appointed or elected or drafted or whatever to decide who will and will not run in democrat primaries and the general election in 2006, at least in the governor’s race. The constituencies were not named, but it seems Carroll did mention the “evangelicals” as a constituency that needs to be either enlightened or at least given some special attention, probably because the national party seems hell-bent on a campaign to make hedonism the official dogma of the 21st century.

Said Carroll, “I’m assuming a position of leadership in the party as a result of being reelected to the Kentucky State Senate.” Being translated, all of this, of course, can be wrapped up in one phrase: Carroll for governor in 2007. Well...that’s about all the party needs for some further nails to be driven into its coffin, seeing as how it’s doubtful that there ever was more corruption in a Kentucky administration than there was during the time Carroll was governor. His main man, a bosom buddy, party leader, former legislator, etc., (whose lips were sealed) was packed off to the Big House for shenanigans during that woebegone administration, marked also by such terms as “warehouse deals.” Carroll routinely used state airplanes to transport his family members on non-state business, obviously, since some of the flights were simply to transport his offspring to and from college. This is the guy who will restore credibility to the party? Well…no!

Is it Carroll for governor in 2007? If one pays attention to his claim that he already has urged eight folks (didn’t say whom) considering a run against Fletcher in 2007 for the governorship to hold off announcing, one can safely conclude that Carroll may well intend to be the magic compromise candidate, notwithstanding the fact that high-profile democrat types probably take a dim view of his latest pronouncements. After all, a chimpanzee running for a State Senate seat in Frankfort would be a shoo-in if he/she/it happened to be a democrat, so Carroll’s claim to credibility on the basis of being (gasp) elected in the Frankfort district is bogus.

The GROUP OF 29 has not been named by Carroll, if indeed he expects to name those folks, and apparently he does, probably placing himself on the group as the top dog. The party chairman would seem to have nothing to say in the matter, but then Jerry Lundergan may just be waiting to see if Carroll makes some headway or is about to hang himself from the nearest lamppost to the state capitol. State Auditor Crit Luallen, a head honcho in the administration of the now maligned and discredited former governor Paul Patton, and former lieutenant governor Steve Henry, having paid off the government for false Medicare claims, are already on the record as having a dim view of Carroll’s political sleight-of-hand. The current merit-system flap has culminated in the discovery of shady-appearing instances – 7400 of them – in the Patton administration, so Fletcher, even considering the pardons and expulsions of his much maligned cohorts, may seem angelic by comparison before all the dust settles.

Nor has been revealed by Carroll the identification of the constituencies to be represented in his band of brothers/sisters designed to restore honesty, decency, fairness…blah, blah, blah to state government. There are the evangelicals, of course. Then, there’s the usual race thing – mostly just blacks, but now there’s a large Mexican population. Of course, the trial lawyers must be represented, and the unions and the women’s groups and the teachers and the college presidents and the……..

Oh well…one can be thankful for the fact that at least there’s a bit of excitement in the picture, as St. Julian the Dragon Killer goes to work. Perhaps his administration is so far in the past that the current crop of wannabes for public office don’t remember, but then there are some old folks who may recall some things.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Monday, November 14, 2005

BOY COLUMNIST strikes again!

BOY COLUMNIST (also known as L.D. Keeling of the local oracle of wisdom, the Lexington Herald-Leader) is on a roll again, the proof printed on 13 November when he found it absolutely/explicitly/morally necessary and in the vital best interests of the public (after nearly two months of refraining from the journalistically mandated urge) to return to referring to Governor Fletcher as Boy Governor. Since Boy Columnist admitted to being adversely affected (euphemism for being put out of his head) by the fumes of his lawnmower last summer, it could just be that he’s been operating a gas-driven leaf blower, but he must be given the benefit of the doubt, having already proven his wisdom in hyping the blackberry-jam-driven motivation of citizens to attack their Wal-Marts in behalf of slurping up this nectar from the Kentucky Mount Olympus known as Frankfort, home of the gods and goddesses of the state government who dally with the ordinary citizens in matters of MERIT and other undertakings such as those of former governor Patton who dallied in motel rooms with patronage persons of abilities ancillary to the merely civic.

Boy Columnist cited as his main reason for treating the public to this latest flash of extraordinary journalistic brilliance the fact that the public needs to know that some Fletcher aficionados had discovered a database from the previous Patton administration that included 7,400 names (count ’em) of folks worthy of merit or other kinds of jobs determined (gasp) possibly on the basis of political rather than meritorious qualifications, such as contributions to campaigns (or maybe even a bit of vote-buying?). Well…this amounts to only an average of 925 jobs per year (probably not counting Tina’s heavy-breathing suggestions during “pillow talk”), so why are the 7,400 names such a big deal? Didn’t this sort of thing happen in every administration? According to Boy Columnist, the answer to that is an unqualified YES.

That had to be the answer, of course, as aptly proven again by L-H writer Ryan Alessi in the 14 November issue in his mention of Patton’s being fined $5,000 in 2003 for improperly using his outreach offices as a clearinghouse for job recommendations. Since Patton is on the record as not knowing about such a database, he naturally would expect Boy Columnist and everyone else to believe that he – and possibly Tina – would never ever resort to messing with the merit or any other system.

Boy Columnist has an “out,” though, being the brilliant journalistic strategist that he is, affirming that, while Patton never made the mistake of being corralled by the Attorney General, poor Fletcher did. Of course, the Attorney General during the Patton administration was fellow democrat Ben Chandler, so naturally Patton’s merit shenanigans never rose to the level of crimes and misdemeanors…indeed, they never rose to violations more serious than those handled by some ethics committee/commission (euphemism for the gang that slaps wrists). This is what should have happened in the case of the Fletcher peccadilloes, minor as they were, but, alas, the poor governor was hoist on his own petard, either he or his aides or both or all having made the fatal error of using e-mail to carry out their dastardly deeds. Sharp prosecutors could doubtlessly charge Patton retroactively with the same crimes as those leveled against either Fletcher or his former (now pardoned) aides, but the legislature long since and predictably precluded such a juicy opportunity for an opposing, incoming administration to do mischief by placing a one-year limit on such prosecutions.

Boy Columnist did show some magnanimity by not also reverting to his classification of Fletcher bureaucrats as the Kiddie Korps, implying that the former KKs have been pardoned anyway, and explaining at least implicitly why the current crop, on the basis of the weak excuse “that everybody did it” proving their juvenile credentials for also being KKs, will not also be classified as the KK – simply because of the goodness of his heart. Or…it just may be because he’s fired up his lawnmower again. Only the Shadow knows.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Friday, November 11, 2005


A big hit against the president's policy these days is couched within the framework of the term American Imperialism. It's the fad of the current crop of naysayers to attempt to paint the USA as some sort of oil-obsessed colonizing power running rampant throughout the world in a quest of conquest, much as the old-Europe nations did throughout the world through a number of centuries right on through the twentieth. The remains of their handiwork can now be seen in Africa, South/Central America, India, and other places where populations contend with everything from illiteracy to HIV/Aids to dictatorships or quasi-democratic governments too broke, corrupt, and incompetent to rule anything.

Someone mentioned to me about this time last year that I should check on some of the overseas newspapers to see how intense is the loss of this nation's "goodwill of much of the rest of the world;" however, I can read as much hatred for this country as they spew over there just by reading the mainstream press in the USA. I couldn't care less about the goodwill of much of the world, or any of the world, for that matter. What I DO care about is the safety of this country. As for American Imperialism, just tally up all the lands in the world captured and now governed by the USA as the result of its victories for the last 100 years, during which it has been the difference between freedom and slavery for entire populations. And…think of the sacrifice, especially in terms of blood, but also of treasure. The American military veterans have done more to change this world for the civic good than any other group of people throughout history, but have not attempted to colonize any territory, unlike the old-Europe powers that grimly hung on to their empires until after World War II.

Europe realized freedom in 1917-18 ONLY because of the USA (117,000 dead Americans); ditto for Europe and Asia 1941-45 (405,000 dead Americans); South Korea 1950-53 (37,000 dead Americans). This country lost 58,000 of its finest in Vietnam, and how much of Vietnam belongs to the USA today? How much of any of the countries involved in these conflicts does the USA own/govern today? After freeing it in 1991, how much of Kuwait and all of its oil belongs to the USA, or has ever belonged to the USA, this terrible imperialistic power so named by the (gasp) foreign, sophisticated press or disaffected American wannabe presidents such as Pat Buchanan, who finds it amusing, perhaps, to refer to USA imperialism, knowing full well that he lies between his teeth? The USA did the dirty work regarding Serbia-Kosovo in the 90s, so how much of those countries does the USA own/govern today? All of eastern Europe was freed in 1989-90 from the Soviet Union ONLY because of the USA, and how much of that huge expanse does the USA own/govern today?

The USA also freed Cuba and the Philippines from Spain just over 100 years ago and maintained a presence in the latter, helping against Japan in WWII, and removing itself militarily, as requested, just a few years ago. Now, Muslim thugs are taking over that country. The USA could have made Cuba into a state, but it didn't, and now look at the mess there. To even mention imperialism in connection with anything this country has done militarily is to not only be patently wrongheaded, but also to be scurrilous to the point of malice. Look to Europe for centuries of imperialism – England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and look at all the benighted nations they held in subjugation, and mentioned above. Who drew the lines in the sand in the Middle East after WWI and WWII and contributed greatly to the terrible problems there? Is it any wonder Great Britain should feel a responsibility in the Middle East?

It is the American veteran who is honored during this week, and rightly so. It is to be hoped that the nation will never come to the place that it doesn't realize that the fittest survive, and that the well-equipped and respected military person is the key to that survival. Some have argued that peace is not necessarily the absence of war…but it is, in tangible terms at least.


So little have they spoken…returning from their hell -
Those men who should be broken…but, sane and strong, yet dwell
Both sides these five long decades…their memories intact,
Of blood and gore those decades…they hold the scenes exact;
Yet, rarely have they spoken…but have so much to tell,
They are the very token…of men defying well
The scourge of the dictator…or nature’s grimmest test
Of risk to kill dictator…of manhood at its best.
Do justly now they figure…that no one would believe
The gross and cruel torture…that humans can conceive,
Or, have they just concluded…recalling is too drear,
When in their thoughts intruded…marks pain, the dread, the fear?
Might they have calculated…that young ones have no time
For valor celebrated…in battlefielded grime,
That conflict judged as mortal…is waged with words and tact,
That millions now immortal…had no clue how to act?

So little have they spoken…returning from their hell,
Of nations being broken…where citizens rebel
Against wise preparation…to fight despotic might,
For vapid declaration…when only strength is right.

So, have they simply figured…now lion less than lamb,
And so have simply figured…nobody gives a damn?

When Graves Again Are Filled

Fast pouring from the silent depths of graveyards far and wide,
They came in hordes from granite rows in cities, countryside,
They came from where they were unmarked, but buried namelessly,
They came, as well, from ocean tides, from deep beneath the sea.

And as they rose and marched again in cadences…just so,
Their booted rhythm formed the beat for voices sad and low
To chant the mantra of the brave, the ones who gave their all,
Then loudly shout back toward their graves that none should live in thrall.

And as they looked back toward the earth they saw it bathed in blood,
They saw the places where they fell…in crimson, blackened mud,
They saw the oceans turned to red…where they had fought and bled,
They saw the people, blood-washed free…and knew why they were dead.

And on they marched, that multitude, in perfect left and right,
And sang an anthem of the free as they went out of sight,
But, when they were no longer there, the air grew still and chilled –
The feel of an impending doom…when graves again are filled.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A "Sports Contract" at UK - Worthless?

The sorry state of affairs at the University of Kentucky with respect to its “football program” (used to just be called a football team, but now everything’s a program) is once again in the limelight. Remember the saga of Bill Curry, Hal Mumme and others? This is the huge banner headline in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 08 November: UK to give Brooks fourth year. GIVE…GIVE…GIVEGIVE???!!! Brooks is in only the third year of a five-year contract, and Mitch Barnhart, the Athletic Director, is going to GIVE the man a fourth year. How does one go about giving a guy something he already has? UK and Brooks, supposedly in good faith (if there IS such a thing in college sports anymore) signed a legal contract requiring that each fulfill a 5-year commitment to the other.

Now, apparently, on the mere whim of the athletic director the contract can be voided…EXCEPT, of course, only if the proper financial obligations are honored. In this case if not retained, Brooks would be entitled to a severance package including two years worth of lost income ($1,450,000 in salary and perks) plus whatever else he can pry out of the university. Mumme got a million in cold, hard cash along about the year 2001 plus the use of cars plus no telling what else. Curry left town a few years before him with a cool $600,000 to make a fortune as a broadcaster…just because UK decided not to honor its contracts with the men, neither of whom had done anything (anyone knows about, at least) wrong. Curry didn’t win many games, Mumme presided (or somebody did) over a corrupt “program,” according to the NCAA, and Brooks has won only three conference games in three years. Therein lies the rub, of course.

No…the rub lies in the fact that the entire system of intercollegiate sports has descended into a quagmire of double-dealing dishonesty that gives the lie to all the things it’s supposed to enhance in a young athlete – a sense of fair-play, no cheating, reasonable but not exorbitant preparation for “the game.” There’s always been an aura of “getting away with as much as possible” in sports – just the male psyche about most things – but the current escapades by coaches, athletic directors, and even institution presidents goes far beyond the pale. The big deal recently, for instance, has been that marvelous fount of guaranteed success – the weight room, where athletes can pile on as much knotty muscle as possible, along with the concomitant increase in weight, the better to maim the opposition, whether football or basketball. Ostensibly, the effort is meant to protect the athlete from injuries…nobody believes that, of course. Injuries, if anything, are more common now than ever, understandable since bigger, harder bodies are crashing against each other in a sort of arranged mayhem.

The winner is the coach, who works his way up the million-dollar ladder on the backs of young men, most of whom will not even graduate – a sort of serf-system. The hallelujah chorus in the coaching industry is Nike Be Praised! Contracts with the equipment makers plus the silly TV/radio programs are worth fortunes to coaches, while many of their “scholarship” players enter the system as functionally illiterate and depart the system the same way, most without diplomas, or with diplomas in virtually worthless fields, comparatively, with regard to those of their fellow students.

The UK athletic director is worth at least a half-million a year…and he’s the guy who brought Brooks to UK and now has to figure a way to squirm out of the contract sooner or later, but apparently a bit later at this point, since it seems Brooks will stay. Barnhart gets bonuses, depending on the appearance of UK teams in bowl games or basketball tournaments or whatever else is included in a contract it took months to finagle when he came to UK. This is disgusting, since he also rides on the backs of young men earnestly committed to their tasks while he becomes a millionaire many times over. Since someone else is responsible for just about everything he does, such as determining an athlete’s eligibility, promotion, etc., he may just be a paper-shuffler or a fundraiser – probably the latter mostly, since money drives everything, especially since the advent of TV and its bottomless pockets of cash. An AD ought to be worth no more than a tenured professor, if that. In fact, the president of Vanderbilt did away with the AD there and took the job himself, an indication of just how much time and talent are needed to be an AD.

The taxpayer watches all this, realizing that he’s the victim, just like the athlete. The wonder is that the powers- that-be didn’t just pay Brooks a cool million and a half plus a couple of Cadillacs and a 4x4 pickup and tell that taxpayer where he can go. At least UK will save itself $725,000 by giving Brooks another year. The “program” won’t change much, but so what!!!

Anyone interested in reading a short story about this subject, The Stem-cell Quarterback, is invited to go here: http://www.clarkscorner.org/tscq.pdf. It’s all about the saga of Kentucky Coach Jubal Cornhusk, the “game,” steroids, and such like.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

LOTA/GOTH - Final Redux!

Here is a paragraph from a MUCKRAKER piece of 10 July: “The saga of the lady of the afternoon (hereinafter referred to as LOTA) is on again after having been interdicted by LOTA herself. Readers of MUCKRAKER of June 20 or the Lexington Herald-Leader may remember the details. If not, that article is in the Archives for perusal and may even be interesting to those who haven’t been aware of this strange happening. The other player in the affair is a god of the hardwood (hereinafter referred to as GOTH, naturally, with all the potential meaning involved), who dallied with LOTA on an April afternoon in a university dormitory housing mostly the august and much revered basketball players. She called the hanky panky rape some 24-36 hours after the fact, while GOTH called it consensual – through his lawyer, of course. Later after making her charge, she stopped cooperating, so, without a victim, the matter was ended. GOTH, a high-profile player, was named, of course, especially in Sports Pages all over the land, but LOTA, a 29-year-old mom, was spared that notoriety, at least in the city of its circumstances, the better to protect her good name, even though the local daily knew it early on and actually contacted the woman a few times, even to the point of writing her a letter.”

The plot thickened again. LOTA filed a complaint of rape with the office of the County Attorney, thus reestablishing the charge, only to have said official dismiss it. LOTA’s lawyers took recourse to the Commonwealth Attorney for his decision as to whether or not to present evidence, if any, to a Grand Jury. GOTH, of course, has been nowhere near Lexington, since this is the time that all former Goths are or have been angling for a spot on an NBA team or perhaps one in Germany or maybe one in Japan. GOTH is in apparent good health, at least as far as HIV is concerned, since GOTH’s attorney has furnished proof to LOTA that his man does not possess that particular malady. One wonders, of course, if LOTA has furnished similar information to GOTH, but perhaps that is beside the point, since it isn’t illegal, though immoral, to have un-marital consensual sex in a college dormitory on an afternoon in April. In any case, since GOTH tested negatively, one may assume that LOTA is HIV-negative. There was a time when hanky-panky was a rather simple event, but now things are complicated.

It turns out that Commonwealth Attorney Ray Larson has concluded that the evidence presented, eyewitness as well as documented such as cell-phone records, etc., proves that there was no rape instead of that there was. He informed LOTA’s attorneys of this in a seven-page letter, explaining the matter and indicating, of course, that no grand jury would be empanelled. LOTA’s attorneys could pursue the matter through the lengthy appeals process, but the fact that LOTA’s cell-phone records indicated that she called GOTH twice on the day after the alleged rape took place and a total of 143 times over a three-month period might discourage such action. There are other zany things mixed up in the affair, but suffice it to say that LOTA apparently sort of seduced GOTH for reasons known only to herself – or, perhaps to others, depending on the reasons.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s office spent nearly 200 hours on this matter. Other agencies, such as the police department and the county attorney’s office, spent hours on the matter. The charge was not only baseless, but cost the taxpayers a lot of money. One is reminded of the recent Florida case in which the “bride who fled her wedding” was compelled to ante-up the cost incurred in her escapade as officials all over the place looked for a “missing woman” who was never missing but just having a high old time in a number of states. If memory serves, the cost was somewhere around $40,000, and that probably did not cover the actual expense of the “woman-hunt.”

This leads one to wonder if there was some sort of plan by LOTA – or by LOTA and others – to squeeze huge amounts of dollars out of the university in a civil action that would almost certainly be contingent upon a criminal conviction for success. GOTH, at last reckoning, had not caught on in the NBA, after not having even been drafted in the first place, and wouldn’t have funds sufficient to bother with a civil suit against him, not that it would have much chance of success. Without doubt, the whole frivolous affair has cost a lot of money to taxpayers. GOTH, of course, had his name plastered all over the local press and other media, while LOTA remained anonymous until this rotten matter was turned down by the prosecutors.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark