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Tag: "kentucky"


[ 0 ] December 21, 2009 |

Sorry, Drexel:

Back in 1903, W.W.H. Mustaine, the director of physical education at the time, called some students together and passed around the hat until there was $3 in it — enough to buy a ball. He then told them to start playing.

The first season got off to a bumpy start. The Wildcats went just 1-2, their only win an 11-10 escape over the Lexington YMCA.

The next year, Mustaine was out.

From those modest beginnings, a powerhouse emerged.

Over a century later, what started with a handful of students and a single leather ball has grown into one of college basketball’s biggest brands, one that has woven itself into the fabric of the Bluegrass.

There have been 1,998 victories since that squeaker over the Lexington YMCA, including seven NCAA titles and 25 Southeastern Conference tournament championships.

Now the program which proudly proclaims it has “the greatest tradition in college basketball” can add another bullet point to its resume. A win over Drexel on Monday would make the third-ranked Wildcats (11-0) the first team in NCAA history to reach 2,000 wins.

As one UK professor tweeted:

Note to Univ. of Ky fans: Anticipating 2,000th bball win today, I have conveniently placed unwanted items, matches in front yard.


The Devil and Rand Paul

[ 0 ] December 17, 2009 |

Just when you begin to think that it’s literally impossible for Rand Paul’s Senatorial campaign to get any more entertaining:

The gentleman behind the mike is Chris Hightower, Rand Paul’s campaign spokesman. In addition to his affection for Satan, Mr. Hightower appears to have demonstrated an unfortunate aversion to “Afro-Americans.” LOL!

As an aside, it really isn’t all that surprising that white supremacists flock to Rand Paul and his daddy. Neiwart has detailed this in the past; the particular vision of libertarianism that Paul and his father propound is attractive to white supremacists, in large part because the supremacists believe that the federal government invariably acts in the interest of racial minorities. Anything that prevents the good white citizens of this country from keeping the darkies down is an affront to God, the Constitution, etc. The white supremacy is rather the point of the anti-statism, explicitly for some and implicitly for others.

Graduation Day!

[ 0 ] December 12, 2009 |

Today was graduation day at Patterson. For lack of anything better to post, below is the graduation keynote that I delivered to the Spring 2009 graduates:

Congratulations to the graduating class, and thank you for asking me to speak. I’m not going to make any claims about the superiority of the Spring 2009 Patterson School graduating class over any other class. But let’s be frank; I don’t need to. They’ve already sufficiently demonstrated their wisdom…

Graduation speeches are evaluated primarily on their brevity, so I’ll keep things short. Tonight I’ll only talk about two things; the first is service, and the second is myself.

A commitment to service binds all Patterson classes together, and by that I mean all Patterson classes that have been, and all that are to come. When someone decides to come to the Patterson School, they sketch out for themselves a career of service to their community, to their government, to something larger than themselves. Our students go on to work in the government, in the intelligence community, in non-governmental organizations, and in major companies around the world. In so doing, they take responsibility for making the world work; taking responsibility is, after all, what service is about. We live in a world of financial crises, terrible poverty, terrorism, cylons, piracy, and trade disputes, and those are only the exciting bits, the tip of the iceberg. Our graduates tonight will be taking responsibility for all of that, along with the daily grind that constitutes making policy in government, in an NGO, or at a private company. Our graduates, in short, are taking responsibility for making the world run.

I don’t think that this commitment to service, this undertaking of responsibility, can be understood independently of an appreciation of Kentucky. Kentucky is about community; circles of community reaching from family to town to county to state to nation. How this sense of community works can be mystifying, even maddening to an outsider like myself, but there’s no doubt that it exists. I think that this sense of community, and the commitment to service it produces, infuses everything that we do at the Patterson School. We’re not simply a school of foreign policy; we’re a school of foreign policy in Kentucky, and that distinction means something for what our graduates will do.

And so, what has all this meant to me? For four years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching at the Patterson School, and I’ve found it the most rewarding part of my career. If someone asked me, I’d say that teaching Patterson students is, I think, the most important thing that I’ve ever done. But I would also have to say that my attachment, and my enthusiasm, has thus far been detached; I’ve approached Patterson in an analytical sense, detached from the personal.

This has been a luxury of (relative) youth. As some of you know, my wife and I are expecting two baby girls this summer. I expect that many things will change; one thing that has changed already is my appreciation of service, of the acceptance of responsibility that our students have undertaken. Because now it’s not just me; it’s my daughters as well. Now, when we send our students out into the world, they’re taking responsibility for making sure my daughters have the opportunity to grow up safe, healthy and prosperous. And that means that the success of our graduates tonight has, so to speak, become personal. And so as you, the graduates, go forth, I say with all seriousness: Do well.

I should also say that I will be deeply honored if, some 24 years from now, my daughters join you all as Patterson graduates. We’ll see.

Thank you, and congratulations again to our graduates.

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[ 0 ] December 4, 2009 |

Hey. HEY! The only thing that’s important is that UK made the List of Top Public Schools. It doesn’t matter where we are on that list.

And yes, such rankings are nonsense. Also, while I haven’t done a comparative study of the behavior of state legislatures, I can say that the perception among the faculty at UK is that the legislature remains relatively generous to UK, compared to other states and their flagship universities. There is less to say, I think, about the legislature’s generosity to the rest of the public schools in the Kentucky state system.

"I Swear, I’m Not Making This Up"

[ 0 ] October 25, 2009 |

If nothing else, Rand Paul’s quest for the Senate seat once held by Henry Clay will go down as one of the most entertaining campaigns in American history:

Thank you Jonathan. I met Jonathan a few months ago at a tea party over in Frankfort. The Tea Party Movement seems to be everywhere. In fact, the biggest crowds and meetings that I’ve been to in Kentucky have all been Tea Parties. I had to promise my family one thing when I went out on the road to campaign. I had to promise them that I would never sing. As you can tell, my voice is kind of raspy, so I’m not going to sing. But I do have the lyrics to a song I’d like to tell you. This is a song called Trees, by Rush.

It gets better from there.

Sunday "The Right Reaches a New Low" Blogging

[ 0 ] September 28, 2009 |

Shorter Dan Riehl: Was Bill Sparkman murdered for trying to rape children? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

H/t Joe.

Gillispie and Pitino Breathe Sighs of Relief…

[ 2 ] September 5, 2009 |

This is easily the most monstrous thing that a basketball coach associated with the state of Kentucky has done recently:

Basketball and politics — two of Kentucky’s favorite subjects — converged Thursday when University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari said he would send a UK jersey to President Barack Obama.

Apparently enough fans objected to the gift that the UK coach felt compelled to post an explanation on his Facebook page.

“Folks — I think everyone is missing my intention of sending a jersey to the President,” Calipari wrote. “There was NOTHING political about it — it was simply a way of spreading the word of Big Blue Nation into the White House! I apologize if I offended anyone — that was not my intention. I know politics and sports don’t mix, but a friend offered to give Bounce Back to the President and we figured we could send along a jersey as well.”

I Challenge You, Sir!

[ 0 ] August 30, 2009 |

I’d be reluctant, at this point, to take the anti-dueling clause out of the Kentucky public service oath. Give it maybe another hundred years. In particular, I’d be worried about the safety of Media Czech if Kentucky politicos were suddenly freed from their anti-dueling constraints…

Ali Ahmad Kurd Visits Lexington

[ 0 ] August 21, 2009 |

Speaking of Kentucky, a short time ago I was fortunate enough to attend a speech by Ali Ahmad Kurd, leader of the Lawyer’s Movement in Pakistan. Kurd detailed his views regarding Pakistani democracy, and his own efforts to see Pervez Musharraf removed from power. Shortly prior to the speech Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo made Kurd a Kentucky Colonel, an honor he now shares with PZ Myers and Tiger Woods, among others.

This was Mr. Kurd’s first visit to Kentucky, and indeed is part of his first visit to the United States. I asked him what he knew of Kentucky, and he responded “KFC and Cassius Clay,” which reminded me of a conversation I had with another UK professor about the world’s most famous Kentuckian. The argument boiled down to Muhammed Ali vs. Harland Sanders; it’s refreshing to learn that it appears we were in the right neighborhood…

We Have Always Been at War with Memphis…

[ 0 ] August 21, 2009 |

Sorry, Jay:

Memphis will be forced to vacate its NCAA-record 38-victory, Final Four season of 2007-08 under former coach John Calipari and serve three years’ probation because of NCAA rules violations, the NCAA Committee on Infractions announced Thursday.

Memphis president Shirley Raines said shortly after the NCAA’s announcement that the school is appealing what she called an unfair penalty.

“We know the rules,” Raines said. “We did our due diligence. We did everything we could to determine the student-athlete was eligible and that the rules were being followed.”

The NCAA in May accused Memphis of several major infractions under Calipari, including a fraudulent SAT score by a player, later revealed to be Derrick Rose, and providing close to $1,700 in free travel to Rose’s brother, Reggie.

Fortunately, John Calipari has been wholly, unreservedly, absolutely, without-a-shadow-of-a-frakking-doubt absolved of even the hint of blame. And anyway, who cares about victories that are vacated retroactively? That’s a compromise I’m willing to make…

Bunning Hits the Showers

[ 0 ] July 27, 2009 |

This ain’t no good. Bunning was dead in the water; I suspect that Trey Grayson would have defeated Bunning in the Republican primary anyway, but the fight might have bloodied him a bit. I think that the GOP’s chances of holding onto the seat have gone up significantly.

Louisville: So Librul that It Might as Well be in Indiana

[ 0 ] July 20, 2009 |

As a general rule, I try to refrain from commenting about Kentucky Democratic politics. The most important reason for this rule is that Kentucky folk are psycho about their politics. They will engage in remarkably vicious knife-fights over the merits of candidates who seem, to the outside observer, very nearly indistinguishable. My most common responses when asked to comment on a primary campaign are a)”I don’t pay attention to politics,” b)”You should just feel free to assume that I strongly support your candidate or cause,” and the always reliable c)”I’m Canadian.”

Unfortunately, US Senate candidate and current Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo has managed to penetrate my Shroud of Indifference and irritate me. Here’s the problem:

“It’s no surprise [Senate candidate] Jack Conway has significant financial support from his east-end Louisville neighbors and friends in New York and Los Angeles,” [Mongiardo advisor Kim] Geveden said.

Now, I can certainly understand why good Kentucky folk should resent outside interference from places like New York, Los Angeles, and Louisville. Why can’t these out-of-staters mind their own business, and just pay attention to New York, California, and…. uh…… oh.

There are a couple of things worth noting here. First, Conway’s greatest strength is in Louisville, so it’s not surprising that he’s ahead in fundraising in Jefferson county. And yes, Louisville is and always has been viewed with some suspicion by the rest of the state of Kentucky; it’s racial balance is considerably different than the state as a whole, and it has a strong bohemian streak. However, Louisville is also the largest city in Kentucky, and votes reliably Democratic. Democrats cannot win a Senate seat without winning Louisville by a large margin; Bruce Lunsford beat Mitch McConnell by eleven points in Jefferson County in 2008, and Dan Mongiardo beat Jim Bunning by 19 points in Jefferson County in 2004. In other words, it is extraordinarily important for a Democratic Senate candidate to do well in Louisville, which isn’t surprising given the aforementioned fact that Louisville is the largest city in the state. Now, you can certainly argue that Mongiardo’s strong showing in 2004 demonstrates that he can win big in Louisville, and accordingly that the focus ought to be on the rest of the state, but it’s generally not sensible for a candidate to insult the largest city in his state by comparing it to (shudder) New York and Los Angeles.

Apart for the electoral stupidity, the notion that Louisville isn’t the “real Kentucky” rankles in the same way as Sarah Palin’s assertions about “Real America.” Dividing the country between the pure heartland and the decadent urban cesspools has been a Republican electoral tactic since at least the 1960s, and it still carries a heavy stench of exclusion. One out of every six citizens of Kentucky lives in Louisville, and they’re just as real as anyone else in the state. More importantly, their votes count just as much; there is no Electoral College for the US Senate in Kentucky. I detest the notion that rural voters are somehow more authentic than urban voters, and this seems to be what the Mongiardo folks are pushing in order to explain away a weak fundraising quarter.

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