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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along With King Dick And Queen Suzanne - 10-14-10

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Today, Second-Guessing Other Sports Commentators But Some Thoughts On Current Political Issues, Too - 09-30-10

Gates Gives Somber Non-Political Appraisals Of Iraq, Afghanistan - 09-23-10

At Last, A Prominent Moderate Muslim Speaks Out Against Muslim Terrorists - 09-16-10

Today, It’s All About College Football With Some “As I See It” Commentary - 09-09-10

Danes’ Sensible Approach To Immigration Won’t, Unfortunately, Fly In The U.S.A. - 09-02-10

Mosque Controversy Isn’t About Legal Rights; It’s About Moral Use Of Those Rights - 08-26-10

Time To Answer The Obvious Question: What Chance For Success In Afghanistan? - 08-19-10

Two-Paragraph News Story Offers Scary Prospect For World’s Future - 08-12-10

Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10

Not Wall Street But Democratic Policy Caused Mortgage Market Crash - 07-29-10

Windfarm Promoters Need More Facts, Less Rhetoric - 07-22-10

Nebraska Democrats’ ‘Find A Candidate’ Problem Began Long Months (Years?) Ago - 07-15-10

When The Subject Is Disasters,Obama Needs A History Lesson - 07-08-10

McChrystal’s Firing Spotlights Afghan War And The Slim Chance Of U.S. Victory There - 07-01-10

Advice For An Egocentric President: “I, I, I” Suggests One-Man Team - 06-24-10

Texas Decision Good For Big 12 But Even Better For The Longhorns - 06-17-10

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge; Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises? - 06-10-10

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Make Military Service Easier For Gays? - 06-03-10

Do State Officials Really Understand The Challenges Faced By Omaha Schools? - 05-27-10

Democrats Continue Cheap Shot Campaign Against Republican Congressman Lee Terry - 05-20-10

Cartoonist Koterba Says It Clearly: Don’t Put All The Blame On Schools - 05-13-10

Citizenship For Immigrants Is Inevitable But Start By Closing The Border - 05-06-10

Punish Wall Streeters If They Deserve It But Liberal Dems Spawned The Mortgage Mess - 04-29-10

Did Legislature, Speaker Mike Flood Deserve All Those Kind Words? - 04-22-10

Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters— Is Obama Gambling On The Nuclear Issue? Rogue States And Terrorists Won’t Sign Up - 04-15-10

Did Obama/Pelosi ‘Sausage Factory’ Produce A Debt-Increasing Unpopular Health Plan? - 04-08-10

The Stories Behind Some Disturbing Headlines And Some Advice For Avoiding National Bankruptcy - 04-01-10

Four-Vote House Margin Makes Americans Swallow Trillion-Dollar Pill They Don't Want - 03-25-10

Insurance Pays 96% Of Family’s Cost For Seven Years Of ‘End Of Life’ Treatment - 03-18-10

President Angry Replaces President Cool; ‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt? - 03-11-10

Americans To Get ‘ObamaCare’ Even If They Don’t Want It? - 03-04-10

Despite The Headlines, There’s Progress In Curbing Violence In North Omaha - 02-25-10

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates? - 02-18-10

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster; V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice - 02-11-10

Some Remarkable Legislative Comments And Some Questionable Media Performance - 02-04-10

When The Subject Is Nebraska Wind Energy, ‘Green’ Is The Color Of Money - 01-28-10

The “Teddy Kennedy Seat” Lesson Might Benefit Both Democrats and Republicans - 01-21-10

Some Legislative Issues—Like Gambling—Deserve Quick Death But Water Issues Deserve Careful Attention - 01-14-10

Today: ‘Big Daddy’ Government Wrong Again, And How Justified Is Cornhusker Title Talk? - 01-07-10

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--
Today Some Upbeat Comments But "Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention
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Even Without That Health Bill Vote, Another Term For Nelson Was Questionable - 12-23-09

Let’s Talk Football And Why Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman - 12-17-09

Image of Immigrants Would Be Helped By Less Cinco de Mayo, More 4th of July - 12-10-09

Image Of Islam Is Badly Damaged By ‘God-Approved’ Slaughter Of Non-Muslims - 12-03-09

Close Call For NU Research, Reputation; Thanksgiving Reminder: Count Your Blessings - 11-25-09

NU’s Reputation And Research Role Are Both At Stake When Regents Vote - 11-19-09

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?
- 11-12-09

Review The History Before Renaming A Street; Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog - 11-05-09

“Socioeconomic Diversity” More Important Then Academic Achievement In “Learning Community”? - 10-29-09

A Visiting Sports Columnist Agrees: ‘There Is No Place Like Nebraska’ - 10-22-09

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize? - 10-15-09

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families - 10-08-09

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day” To Obama Performance Here And Abroad - 10-01-09

Must Defense Continue To Cover For Huskers’ Anemic Red Zone Offense? - 09-24-09

'Energizer Bunny' President Continues To Add Proposals For Reform - 09-17-09

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms - 09-10-09

Massachusetts Gave Kennedy Significant Second Chances - 09-03-09

Obama’s Problem Not Just With GOP
But With A Great Many Americans
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Tiger Could Use Sportsmanship Lesson—And Less Coverage From Fawning Media - 08-20-09

Gallup ‘Competitive’ Label, If Accurate Long Term, Is Good News Not Only For Nebraska Democrats - 08-13-09

Democrats Go All-Out Negative:
Trash Private Insurance Industry
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Journalistic Watchdogs Turned Lapdogs When Obama Called That ‘News Conference’ - 07-30-09

Look Back, Mr. President: Opposition Is Catching Up - 07-23-09

Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09

Dems Start Oust-Terry Effort In The Political Gutter - 07-09-09

Despite Liberal Media's Views, Nation Better Served By Viable GOP - 07-02-09

A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09

Freshman President Learning Some Political Realities? - 06-18-09

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late To Slow Rush To Wind Power? - 06-11-09

Public Will Be Watching Prosecution Of Three Teen-Age Creatures - 06-04-09

Wealthiest Paying Less, In Taxes?
It’s Simply Not True
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Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson
- 05-21-09

Special-Interest Liberals
Shouldn’t Badger Obama
- 05-14-09

A Surprising Source: Obama
Cites Positive Results of Iraq War
- 05-07-09

Media Transfer Their Love
From Candidate to President
- 04-30-09

Suttle Campaign Subtly Two-Faced? Or ‘Just Politics’? Voters Will Decide - 04-23-09

If America Is "At War
With Islam," It's Self-Defense
- 04-16-09

Seven Iowans Change Marriage
Tradition For 3 Million Others
- 04-09-09

Will Liberal Democrats Continue
Escaping The Verdict Of History?
- 04-02-09

Multi-Focused President
Upsets Even Liberals
- 03-26-09

Richard Nixon—Appropriate To Recall The Good As Well As The Dark Side - 03-19-09

Not Reducing Mortgage Costs; We’re Simply ‘Modifying’ Them - 03-12-09

Fair Warning From NY Times: Obama’s “Breathtaking Plans” Would “Transform American Society” - 03-05-09

A Look At Academy Awards Nastiness, But First A Plug For My Book, “Life With Marian” - 02-26-09

Let’s Not Move Slot Machine Cancer From Iowa Casinos To Nebraska Race Tracks - 02-19-09

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem
- 02-12-09

For The Best “Stimulus” Formula:
Put Economic Recovery First;
“Remaking USA” Can Wait
- 02-05-09

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush
- 01-29-09

‘First Black President’ Celebration
Shouldn’t Further Distract Us
From Job We And Obama Face
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‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real
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Advice For Husker Fans:
Rejoice—But Be Realistic
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Kennedy Dynasty History
Includes Shameful Chapters
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Today Some Merry Christmas Thoughts But A Few Political Barbs, Too - 12-24-08

This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty
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Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So
- 12-11-08

Obama Steers A Moderate Course
But Congressional Democrats Veer Left
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Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week
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Let’s Hear More About
The Principal ‘Crisis’ Victims
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Color-Blind Issues Voting
Showed No Turn To The Left
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Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain
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Today, A Choice of Topics:
Politics Or Football—Or Both
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Splitting Electoral Votes Good Idea? Then Why Do 48 States Reject It? - 10-23-08

Dems Take 11th Hour Low Road
In 2nd Congressional District Race
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Another Government “Welfare Program,” Bargain Mortgages, Caused The Crisis - 10-09-08

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved
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—Have We Learned This Lesson?— Crisis Results When Individuals, Encouraged By Financial Institutions, Try To Live Beyond Their Means - 9-25-08

Bonds To Build Four-Lane Highways?
Where Would The Money Come From?
- 9-18-08

Today, a Large Load of Political
Commentary After a Brief Plug For
My Book, ‘Life With Marian’
- 9-17-08

Major News Media Look Bad
In Non-Coverage of
Edwards’ Sex Affair Story
- 9-11-08

Disadvantaged Students Can Be
Helped Without Discriminatory ‘Affirmative Action’
- 9-04-08

My Favorite Olympic Champion?
It Wasn’t Michael Phelps
- 8-28-08

Will Chinese Get Away With
'Out Air Is Clean' Scam?
- 8-21-08

Windmills, Solar Won't Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy
- 8-07-08

I Doubt That God or Jesus
Have Heavenly Money on Either Team
- 8-07-08

‘Pop Star’ Obama Lacks Experience,
McCain Lacks Clear Campaign Strategy
- 7-31-08

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?
- 7-24-08

Would Odor of Politics
Taint Fire Chief Choice?
- 7-17-08

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?
- 7-09-08

Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage
- 7-02-08

Omaha's CWS Reputation
Gets New "Rave Reviews"
- 6-25-08

S.D. Vote Could Lead
To National Abortion Battle
- 6-18-08

Don’t Let Niobrara Go The Way
Of The Republican And The Platte
- 6-11-08

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers
- 6-04-08

“It’s Our Turn” Pitch Might
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- 5-28-08

Prime Nebraska Political
Battleground This Year:
2nd Congressional District
- 5-21-08

The 'Browning' of America:
How Far Will It Go?
- 5-14-08

Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08

"Does Homebuyer Bailout
Reward the Irresponsible?"
- 4-30-08

"Was McCain, Not Clinton,
The Real Winner in Pennsylvania?"
- 4-25-08

"Cleaner Skies Advice For Gore:
Pressure On China, More Nuke
Power If Jane Fonda Will Allow It"
- 4-16-08

"Why The Big Fuss Over
Tiny Gasoline Cost Increase?"
- 4-09-08

"Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status"
-  4-02-08

"Obama’s ‘Historic’ Speech Left
Big Questions Unanswered "
-  3-25-08

"Overweight Moore Produces
“Sicko,” Finds An Ally In Creighton Doctor"
-  3-19-08

"Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner"
-  3-12-08

"Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain"
-  3-7-08

"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" -  2-27-08

"Could Citizen ‘Packing Iron’
Have Stopped Von Maur Killings?"
-  2-20-08

"Obama’s Style Without Substance
Exciting, But Is It Presidential?"
-  2-13-08

"Barack Obama and John McCain:
A Major Contrast in Egos? "
-  2-07-08

"‘First Black President’
Emphasis Wouldn’t Help Obama"
-  1-30-08

"Kimball Lauritzen: Think of Her
As Joyous on Some New Dawn"
-  1-23-08

"What 'Tough' Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?"
- 1-16-08

"Overhyped New Hampshire
Offsets Overhyped Iowa"
- 1-10-08

"Coach Bo Now Well Welcomed;
Time to Start Thinking of NU Wins"
- 1-2-08

"Words of Jews Most Moving
To Me This Christmas Season"
- 12-25-07

"AT LAST: TALK OF PREVENTION
JOINS MOURNING OVER KILLINGS"
- 12-19-07

"Killer Is Getting Just What He Wanted;
Let's Add Anger and
Action to Our Sorrow"
- 12-12-07

"Bo Brings Emotional Fire to NU Job;
Scary News: Huckabee Gain in Iowa"
- 12-05-07

"Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;
Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly"
- 11-28-07

"A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them"
- 11-21-07

"Callahan Critics: Is Loss to CU
The Only Way to Satisfy Them?"
- 11-16-07

"Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?"
- 11-09-07

"Did Bob Kerrey’s Decision Avoid
the Likelihood of Defeat?"
- 11-02-07

"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls"
- 10-26-07

"Is This The Way to Run UNL´s
Athletic Program?"
- 10-19-07

"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL"
- 10-12-07

"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07

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As I See It
Harold W. Andersen is a retired Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Omaha World-Herald Company. Full biography.

This week we are making my column available Wednesday instead of Friday.

A number of you have told me that you don?t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That?s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)

And, if you haven?t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.

Take Your Choice

November 28, 2007

 

If you are not interested today in reading some comments about the Nebraska Cornhusker football story, comments which take issue with what you?ve been hearing and reading from some fans and some communications media ?coach/commentators?, I offer this option:  Skip my Husker football comments and proceed to read some of my comments on Hispanic immigration and what to do with those ugly ?Sounding Stone? sculptures which for some years have despoiled the greenery in Omaha?s Turner Park.

 

Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;

Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly

 

With news of the search for his successor dominating the continuing story of Nebraska Cornhusker football, I think it only fair to offer this appraisal of Bill Callahan as he departs the Nebraska scene:  I believe Bill Callahan, who was fired as Cornhusker coach by former Coach Tom Osborne, now acting athletic director, has consistently showed more class than the loudmouth fans who have called him everything from ?an idiot? to a ?weasel.?  He also showed more class than those communications media coach/commentators who criticized everything from the way he dressed (he didn?t wear red all the time) to where his Lincoln home was located.  (It supposedly looked out of place, just as he seemed out of place as Nebraska coach, in the view of one newspaper coach/commentator.)

 

Throughout this whole sorry business, Callahan handled himself like a gentlemen, never criticizing his critics, instead giving his best efforts to answer the critics by producing the victories which, at bottom, are really what  the loudmouth critics care about.

 

Am I saying Callahan shouldn?t have been fired?  No.  I believe it was inevitable.  He obviously never got control of the defensive side of the Huskers? performance, sticking too long with longtime friend Kevin Cosgrove, his defensive coordinator.

 

But the way Callahan and Cosgrove were treated by some fans and a good many coach/commentators is the saddest part of this sad story.

 

As to the quality of some of the fans? critical comments, consider this call to a radio talk-show host:  In the pre-Callahan days, the Huskers played so hard that ?we hurt an opposing player on almost every play.?

 

Or consider the performance of a Husker fan who greeted the news of Callahan?s firing by appearing at the wintry intersection of 72nd and Dodge Streets late Saturday evening, waving a 1994 Husker national championship banner and shouting things like:  ?We?re back!? and ?Run the ball more.?

 

As for the performance of the communications media coach/commentators, consider this example of what the commentator called ?The Nebraska Way?:

 

?Nebraska?s identity is grass stains on the pants, a jersey torn in shreds, red claw marks on the running back?s back, blood streaks on the helmet.  A punch in the gut, a tackle head-on.?

 

A talk-show host, who often resorts to off-color language, at least three times referred to the Husker?s 14-point loss to Colorado as an ?ass-kicking.?  Typically, he insulted a caller who disagreed with some of his comments, angrily telling the caller, ?You?re crazy.?

 

Another example of news media performance was a story which said Colorado?s ?black shirt? defense had ?stepped up? in the second half.  The story might better have said that the Nebraska offense ?stepped down,? since four of Colorado?s second-half touchdowns followed Husker turnovers, including three pass interceptions thrown by Husker quarterback Joe Ganz. 

 

As a result of Husker mistakes, Colorado?s three third-quarter touchdowns required an average offensive ?march? of 18 yards.  In the fourth quarter, another Ganz interception resulted in the ball winding up on the Nebraska two-yard line.  That two-yard ?march? to a touchdown consumed four seconds. 

 

Osborne Knows About Blowout Losses

 

A number of people described Osborne?s performance as ?brilliant? in the news conference which he held after firing Callahan.  I don?t know whether it was ?brilliant,? but the press conference did include an excellent description of the very fair proposition which Osborne put to Callahan with four games left in the season:  Win all four and you will be asked to stay.  Win three of four and perhaps be asked to stay.  Winning two of four, resulting in a six-six season, would probably mean firing, and winning only one of four (which is what happened, resulting in a five-six season) means you will be fired.

 

Some of Osborne?s other press conference statements were subject to question, I believe.  For example:  Osborne appeared to suggest that he felt Callahan had not been able to inspire his players to play hard.  Perhaps.  But I wonder if such a statement was fair to those Huskers who were out on the field offensively in the final four minutes of the Colorado game.  In what appeared to be surely a lost cause, Ganz and Marlon Lucky and Maurice Purify led the Huskers to two touchdowns which narrowed the Colorado victory margin to 14 points.  The second of the Husker touchdowns came with 58 seconds left.

 

This was a team not playing hard?

 

Osborne understandably chose to put emphasis on the margin of defeat in some of the Husker losses, saying:  ?It isn?t just a matter of wins and losses; it?s how you do it.  If you lose by a field goal and play well, that?s a little bit different than getting blown out three or four times??

 

I think it?s fair to point out that while the number of blowout losses in a single season is certainly a significant factor, the final loss which sealed Callahan?s fate was by 14 points, less than the 22.5 average margin by which Osborne-coached teams lost four games in a seven-year-long string of post-season bowl losses.

 

One of those seven bowl game losses was a 1990 season-ending 45-21 beating by Georgia Tech in the Citrus Bowl.  This followed a 45-10 blowout win by Oklahoma and a 15-point home field loss (27-12) to Colorado.  That figures to an average loss of 24.2 points per game in three of the last four games of the Osborne-coached Huskers in 1990. 

 

So humiliating losses can happen in bunches to even properly acclaimed coaches like Tom Osborne.

 

Lesson from a Seventh-Grade Fan

 

The coach/commentators in the media and the kind of fans who have, for one example, called Callahan ?an idiot? could benefit - - although I?m not optimistic that they would benefit - - from reading a letter which appeared in the Public Pulse, written by seventh-grader Taylor Horton who attends Millard North Millard School.

 

Young Mr. Horton wrote:

 

?Husker football fans used to be the best fans in America.  Now, many of them are being fair-weather fans just because Nebraska is losing.  In my opinion, the Huskers are the best team and should have the best fans, win or lose.

 

?We have had worse seasons before.  There may be a bunch of teams in the NCAA that are better, but that doesn?t matter.

 

?The best part about this season is that an NCAA legend is back as athletic director - - Tom Osborne.  He is one of the best coaches the NCAA has ever seen.

 

?Just because the Huskers went downhill this season doesn?t mean we should boo them.  They are still good, but they need our support.  We need to preserve our reputation as the best fans in America.?

 

Tom Osborne is indeed ?one of the best coaches the NCAA has ever seen.?  And he deserves great credit for taking on the job of trying to bring the Huskers back to the winning tradition of Nebraska football - - a job with the downside risk that the coach he chooses may not live up to the fans? and the coach/commentators? expectations.

 * * *

?The Day of the Dead?:

A Lesson in Mexican Culture

 

I think I now know as much as I need to know about an annual Mexican celebration known as ?Dia de los Muertos? or, in English, ?Day of the Dead.? 

 

Over the past four years, The World-Herald has had stories of varying length telling of the various ways in which members of the local Mexican community celebrate, in the words of one news story, ?the continuity of life by honoring dead people on their once-a-year return to Earth.?  (Actually a three-day celebration, ?Dia de los Muertos? is  officially November 2.)

 

We are told that ?some believe the souls of the departed return to Earth for one night to visit and partake in the food.?  But whether they return or not, the three-day event honors deceased family members.

 

This year?s coverage included a back-of-section 13-paragraph story with a color picture on October 26 and a 41-paragraph story with three color pictures October 31.  Both stories included considerable detail as to the various ways in which the event would be celebrated in Omaha. 

 

All in all, another interesting example of media coverage which should make Hispanics - - here legally or illegally - - feel welcome in our community.  I?m sure that I?m not the only one who feels that some reciprocity is in order; i.e., that Hispanics make an effort to become, in the case at hand, Mexican-Americans, not simply Mexicans living in America.  That they learn to speak English and celebrate the 4th of July as well as the much-publicized Cinco de Mayo or Dia de los Muertos.

 

The University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University sponsored activities in connection with this year?s celebration of Dia de los Muertos.  I would hope that those two institutions are also finding ways to encourage persons of Mexican descent to learn about America?s melting pot tradition and think of themselves as Mexican-Americans, not Mexicans living in Hispanic enclaves in the United States.

 

Mexicans and other Hispanics should not expect to be truly welcomed here if they leave the impression that their primary allegiance continues to be to the country which they left rather than to the new country which offers them a better life.

* * *     

Take a Modern Sculpture

Home For Your Yard

 

A couple of thoughts occurred to me as I read about the controversy over where to relocate those ugly modern art ?Sounding Stones? sculptures which thankfully must make way for Mutual of Omaha?s splendid near-downtown residential and commercial development.

 

One possibility:  Drop them into the Missouri River, perhaps in the dark of night lest modern-art extremists seek to intervene. 

 

But might environmental protectionists object to this disturbance of the home of the pallid sturgeon?

 

More practical solution, I think, would be to ask the modern art aficionados to each accept one of the creations to display in their yards - - preferably their backyards, unless they live have neighbors who appreciate the ?Sounding Stones.?

 

Now before I?m accused of suggesting a blanket indictment of modern art, let me make clear that we have a handsome modern art sculpture in our yard.  It doesn?t convey any special message, but it is an attractive arrangement of metal spheres by well-known local sculpture Les Bruning.  It simply looks graceful and attractive, not like those ?Sounding Stones? sculptures which suggest to me something like giant inflated doughnuts or perhaps sections of thick-walled pipe. 

# # #

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