Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09
A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09
Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
Upsets Even Liberals - 03-26-09
‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real - 01-15-09
This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty - 12-18-08
Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So - 12-11-08
Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit? - 7-24-08
Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage - 7-02-08
Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls" - 10-26-07
"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL" - 10-12-07
"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
This week we are starting to make my column available each Friday instead of each Saturday as we had originally planned.
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. (And you might fax a few copies and send them to your friends. Just kidding.)
October 12, 2007
At this stage in the continuing debate over the highest and best use of the present State Fairgrounds, it appears to me that the best arguments are being offered in support of this option:
Build a new fairgrounds in East Lincoln and use the present fairgrounds to meet the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s need for a research-oriented campus expansion on the present fairgrounds site.
This, I believe, would hold true even if the proposed new East Lincoln fairgrounds (estimated to cost $175 million) would cost substantially more than the still-being-developed plans for substantial upgrading of State Fair facilities on the present site.
When a proposal which could benefit both the State Fair and UNL is taking shape, it seems to me this state needs to shake off its “we’re already paying far too much taxes” fixation and prepare to spend tax money, presumably supplemented by private contributions, to do what is best for the long term future of both the State Fair and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
An Omaha member of the State Fair Board has suggested an Omaha-area site be considered. My advice: Forget it.
If the State Fair is to move to a new site, practical political consideration simply won’t allow the move to be made to the Omaha area.
The more politically salable alternative is a move to the Lancaster Event Center at the east edge of Lincoln or to a Central Nebraska location. I think the East Lincoln site is the more attractive.
* * *
What some people won’t do to avoid paying taxes. That seemed to be the implied theme of a recent story on the front page - - where else? - - of The New York Times.
The story appeared under this headline: “Big Gifts, Tax Breaks and a Debate on Charity.”
The Times story said, with a tone of disapproval, that for every three dollars wealthy individuals give away, the federal government typically gives up a dollar or more in tax revenue “because of the tax deduction for charitable contributions and reduced estate tax collections.”
The Times seemed not impressed at all by the fact that the gift-giver has to give away three times as much money as he would save in taxes.
This approach to the problem of what The Times apparently considers philanthropic tax-dodgers smacks of a political and social philosophy which takes the position that all the money you acquire really belongs to the federal government and you should be grateful that the government allows you to keep some of it.
* * *
In my new electronic mode of column delivery, I plan to continue, from time to time, with my critiques of news media performance. I wish there weren’t such frequent occasion for criticism. But more about my more serious misgivings later.
Today let me comment on recent less serious transgressions by two sports commentators, one so ludicrous as to be laughable, the other an example of an off-target hip-shot comment which could have been avoided if the author had taken five or 10 minutes to do some research.
The ludicrous/laughable example: A radio sports talk show host recently asked whether too many old people go to University of Nebraska football games. His reasoning seemed to be that old people don’t cheer as loudly as younger fans and don’t stand up and make noise when they should.
The talk show host argued that if you don’t like to have your view blocked by someone standing in front of you at a Husker game, don’t tell them to sit down. Either stay home or prepare to stand up yourself for long periods during the game.
When a caller said his elderly mother had been going to Nebraska games for many years, the talk show host asked whether the caller thought his elderly mother should still be going to Husker games.
I said it was a ludicrous performance, didn’t I?
Turning to a commentator who deals in the printed word: I would suggest a bit of research would have helped the writer avoid his assertion that, unlike a developing trend in the Big 12 Conference, the former Big Eight Conference “never, ever” displayed any “balance” among its competing football teams. The facts:
In the 24 years between 1970 and 1995, when the Big Eight Conference was folded into the Big Twelve, there were 14 seasons in which three Big Eight teams finished in the top 20 in the final Associated Press season rankings (or the top 25 when the AP started to spotlight the top 25 ranked teams in 1989). In two other seasons, four Big Eight teams were AP-ranked.
As recently as 1995, four of the eight Big Eight teams finished in the AP’s top 10 - - Nebraska first, Colorado fifth, Kansas State seventh and Kansas University ninth. In 1984, three Big Eight teams finished among the top seven AP-rated teams - - Nebraska fourth, Oklahoma sixth and Oklahoma State seventh. In 1987, three Big Eight teams finished in the top 11 in the AP rankings - - Oklahoma third, Nebraska sixth and Oklahoma State eleventh.
I’ve saved the best for last:
In 1971, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado finished 1, 2, 3 in the Associated Press final rankings of the nation’s best football teams. All were members of the “never, ever” balanced Big Eight conference.
* * *
A call from Marian to me at the office a little before 6 p.m. a recent evening:
Marian: “How much do you like diced celery in your shrimp salad?”
Andy: “I like it a lot.”
Marian: “Then on your way home you might stop by…”
Andy: “I don’t like it that much.”
Marian, laughing: “I thought so. ‘Bye.”
October 12, 2007
Patch and friend.
Actually, there were two “winners” in the recent “dog show” at the family farm in Northwest Missouri.
It was a sort of “coming out party” for the eight three-month-old English pointer pups which had been born to two of my hunting dogs, Smoke, the mother, and Five Spot, the father.
I wrote last week that I had decided to keep two of the pups (all of them are males) who seemed to me (and to the hunting guides and friends who had assembled to watch the show) to perform particularly well when given a chance to react to part of a game bird dangled before them from a fish line. All eight pups performed well, stopping their playful romping and freezing into pointing-dog poses as their genetic heritage immediately kicked in.
The two that I decided to keep are pictured here today. Trainer Steve Farrell is going to keep one. We have found homes for all but one of the others. If you have interest in a good hunting dog, drop me a line in the comment box at the start of today’s column. An English pointer pup, with pedigree documentation, is available without charge to the right owner.