• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Odds and ends

Yes, UK lost to IU. But I was irritated at the folks behind other acronyms even before that. If I were a betting man - and odds are I am from time to time - I'd wager that hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians of all ages woke up a bit bleary-eyed Friday morning. Some of them were the young men who provided the entertainment from 9:55 p.m. to midnight or so. Their sleep deprivation can be traced to two factors: their love of UK basketball and the decision by the NCAA (National Cash Athletic Association) to allow CBS (Cash Broadcasting System) to start games that late. On a school night, no less. The NCAA insists on referring to their human cash cows as student-athletes rather than players, yet doesn't blink an eye about forcing those student-athletes to stay up well past their bedtimes. Granted, the Wildcats' student-athletes take many of their courses, even when they're on campus, over the Internet, but it's still rank hypocrisy. Would allowing these student-athletes to begin their games earlier be worth accepting a few million less from CBS? Athletic department officials would probably say no, in no small part because the money helps pay their often-exorbitant salaries. Then there's the matter of paying Coach Cal his annual $7.5 million or so, which, as the old saying goes, costs money. Hey, if any coach of student-athletes is worth $7.5 million, it's Cal - and maybe Nick Saban of the football Crimson Tide. The next time the National Cash Athletic Association negotiates a deal with the Cash Broadcasting System, it should give a bit more thought to their student-athletes and the younger kids who'd like to watch their heroes play. Will this happen? No. But thanks for letting me rant for a bit. As for the Cats, a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament to a fine Indiana team is nothing to whine about. At least Hoosiers' coach Tom Crean doesn't wear his hair like Dwight Schrute from "The Office" anymore. A loss to a man resembling Dwight Schrute would have been intolerable. Mitch and the prez U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is merrily leading the charge against confirmation hearings for President Obama's pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat. The argument from Kentucky's senior senator is two-fold: That 24 years ago, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden said then-President George H.W. Bush should "consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed." McConnell refers to it as the Biden Rule. Repeatedly. There wasn't a vacancy when Biden made the speech in 1992, but Biden's stern suggestion did carry weight, because it came from the chairman of the committee that would hold the first confirmation hearings. It was also likely made with the approval of the then-Democratic Senate Majority Leader. However, it was never formally adopted as a Senate rule. Perhaps we should call it the Biden Suggestion. That said, Biden did not say the Senate would not hold a hearing or even meet the hypothetical nominee, which is what Senate Republicans said even before Justice Antonin Scalia's body was buried. After McConnell's comments, Biden pointed out that he presided over the consideration of Supreme Court nominee Anthony Kennedy in 1988, which was also a presidential election year. Kennedy was confirmed by a 97-0 vote in the full Senate. McConnell's other argument is that with a presidential election underway, the people should have a say in Scalia's replacement with their vote for president this November. President Obama said the people did have their say - in 2012, when he was re-elected president. It is the president's constitutional duty to nominate a qualified person for an open seat on the Supreme Court. The Constitution does not require the Senate to hold hearings, or even meet with the poor soul. However - and call me a dreamer, or worse - shouldn't they do so? Shouldn't they set aside their supporters' hatred of Obama and at least have a cup of coffee with Judge Garland Merrick, to see what sort of fellow he is? The Supreme Court has work to do this year - work that will, at times, result in a 4 to 4 decision. No doubt Republicans would rather have a tie than a loss. Were Democrats in charge, they might well do the same thing, though they didn't with Kennedy in 1988. If Dems regain control of the Senate, they might just cite the McConnell Rule when President Trump nominates someone for the Supreme Court in 2020. Or 2024. Which might be a good thing, hypocrisy be damned. I'll say that now, before The Donald gets to work on that pesky free speech thing that most definitely is in the Constitution.

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