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MailTribune.com
  • I'm with stupid ... and you are, too

  • Don't we have enough problems of our own?
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  • Don't we have enough problems of our own?
    Our state Legislature, in its ongoing effort to amuse us by attempting to bring about fiscal stability, is considering a plan to pack all our troubles in an ol' kit bag and amend the state constitution to allow the merger of two or more counties into one.
    The onomatopoeiatically named House Joint Resolution No. 2 would let Legislators put such an issue before the voters — potentially plunging a combo-platter of cash-strapped counties (particularly here in the state's electorally dysfunctional southern regions) into the need to grab hold of their neighbors before circling the drain in a failed attempt to be flush.
    Nothing against Josephine County, mind you. Some of our best friends have driven past, through or around Josephine County on their way to Eugene or the coast. Josephine's got a nice personality and ... well ... it's not all that humid for a spread-out land mass.
    It's just the political climate. Annexing Josephine County might not go over well locally. Heck, Medford officials didn't even want their road diet plan to be called a road diet, for fear that it would be seen as being too associated with something done in Ashland.
    To which Ashlanders responded, "Medford? ... Where's Medford?"
    How binding us together is supposed to help is anyone's guess ... in this case, the Legislature's ... since we've strained to reach the stage where just about any concept to fix this mess will get thrown against the wall.
    How dumb do they think we are? Good question. Thank you. You're welcome. Can you answer the question? What question? The one at the start of the paragraph. I thought that was rhetorical. So what? Rhetorical questions aren't supposed to have answers. Who do you think you are, Henry Denham?
    Dumb is in the ear of the beholder, of course, but it does seem as though this has been a particularly fertile epoch for dim bulbs. Take, for instance, our newly minted Secretary of State.
    Speaking to students in Germany last week, John Kerry, in defending freedom of speech in the United States, said, "in America, you have a right to be stupid — if you want to be."
    There was a point in there somewhere, but as with the case on nearly every issue of the day, Kerry's permission slip for stupiditity met an equal and opposite fervent move in Kansas, when a Republican group in the state where "You're As Big As You Think" sought to prevent stupidness from running amuck.
    The conservative Kansas Republican Assembly has asked political leaders in Topeka to stop the flow of fluoride into the city's water system during the state Legislative session "to protect our legislators from potential loss of IQ and other negative side effects of fluoride."
    Goodness knows we don't want our duly elected officials any dumber, even in Kansas, for what would that say about the people who put them into power?
    "Lowering IQ is a terrible thing to do to a population," KRA president Mark Gietzen told The Huffington Post.
    No mention of whether this explains why Sen. Marco Rubio drank water — out of a bottle — during his Republican rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address last month ... but it's not difficult to connect the dots. We get the government we fluoridate.
    The president himself entered the intelligence fray at the end of the week by calling the budgetary sequestration "dumb" — and not just because it's called a "sequestration."
    President Obama also lamented not having a "secret sauce" to fix the financial stalemate and being unable to perform a "Jedi mind-meld" with Congress to get a budget deal done.
    Well, that's the problem right there. The president was looking for help from Tatooine, when logically he should have called on Vulcan.
    Speaking of star wars, the first lady was caught in the crossfire of a dumb argument for her appearance on last week's Oscar telecast. Despite the fact that Laura Bush had participated in the 2002 Oscars, critics said that Mrs. Obama didn't deserve to be at the Academy Awards.
    Then again, neither did Seth MacFarlane.
    Still, when the first lady announced "Argo" as Best Picture, Ben Affleck strode to the stage and picked up an Oscar ... completing a comeback from the depths that once saw his career in the sewer. Affleck's "Good Will Hunting" co-star Matt Damon, meanwhile, made news of his own last week by announcing in a video supportive of World Toilet Day that "... until everybody has access to clean water and sanitation — I will not go to the bathroom."
    It was a dumb joke, but before Father Francis of Barone could exclaim "Holy crap!" an Ohio man claimed that the image of Jesus had appeared before him — on his windshield, formed from the droppings of an undetermined bird. He did what anyone in that circumstance would do ... said a prayer, posted the visage on YouTube, then wiped his windshield.
    Seeking a clear view of the road ahead brings us back to the Oregon Legislature, which will also consider a provision to force drivers to stay in the right-land lane of state roads. This is apparently important around cities, where slower drivers can keep their fellow travelers from getting the best parking spots.
    The proposed bill makes allowances for those wanting to pass, of course, and will eventually fall under the discretion of our overburdened state police as drivers move to the left lane to avoid work crews, and traffic stops, and unyielding highway enterers, and overloaded pickups driving 20 mph under the speed limit, and horse trailers and visitors from Florida who haven't shut off their right blinker since leaving Nevada.
    It will, however, make for an orderly progression as cars travel past Josephine County.
    It's sometimes said that, in pursuit of intelligent solutions to dumb problems, we're too smart for our own good. But when you consider that 8.6 million of us tuned in last week to the season premiere of "Duck Dynasty," intelligence is not the operative word.
    Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at rgalvin@mailtribune.com.
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