Bono's Humanitarian Efforts Not Good Enough For North Dakota

Lawmakers defeat resolution to honor U2 frontman's debt-relief advocacy.

Over the course of more than two decades, U2's Bono has redefined the role of the rock and roll frontman: He's become a mouthpiece for the disenfranchised, held court with the leaders of the most powerful nations on earth, helped feed the poor, launched a global campaign against AIDS in Africa and has been named one Time magazine's "Persons of the Year."

And yet, apparently all of that isn't good enough for the North Dakota House of Representatives.

On Thursday, lawmakers in the House defeated a resolution to honor the charismatic rocker's advocacy of debt relief for Third World countries, saying that he had no connection to the state.

State Rep. Scot Kelsh, who sponsored the measure — and who, according to his bio on the North Dakota State Legislature Web site, is a member of the "FM Chapter of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters" — told The Associated Press that he got the idea after reading an article in a magazine published by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which said that no state had approved a resolution to honor Bono.

In the resolution, Kelsh sought to pay tribute to Bono for his "humanitarian work in urging decision makers and religious leaders to set aside their philosophical differences to ease the burden of those who have the least among us," though it would probably have helped matters if he had clarified which Bono he was speaking about.

Another Representative, Republican Gil Herbel of Grafton, North Dakota, told the AP that he originally though the resolution referred to the late Sonny Bono, the former singer/actor/ Republican congressman and husband of Cher.

"When I saw the resolution, I was looking for Cher's name in there," Herbel said.

And Herbel was not alone in his confusion — apparently many state reps were also a bit flabbergasted by the resolution, as evidenced by its rather handy defeat (by a vote of 58-35) in the House.