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
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October 21, 2010
Further comment today from the former sports editor of the Omaha North High School "North Star" newspaper:
Seven dropped passes (at least three of which would have produced touchdowns) were the decisive factor in the Nebraska Cornhuskers´ failure to leave the Big 12 Conference with a "revenge" victory over the Texas Longhorns.
But the opportunity for the Huskers to say goodbye as Big 12 Conference champions is still there, of course. (We Husker fans tend to look on the bright side, even after that 13-20 loss to a Texas team which we were supposed to defeat by anywhere from 7 to 13 points.)
An upbeat scenario for the Huskers even after that downbeat loss last Saturday depends in part, of course, on whether the Husker receivers can hang on to passes and whether the Huskers can figure out a way to take advantage of the fact that Husker opponents presumably will continue to overload their defenses against quarterback Taylor Martinez´s game-breaking running ability-an overloading which presumably creates additional opportunities elsewhere than in the Martinez neighborhood.
The Huskers, of course, face a serious challenge against Oklahoma State in Stillwater this Saturday. But as in the Texas game, the results won´t affect the Husker´s chances to win the Big 12 North Division and qualify for the Big 12 Conference championship game in Dallas December 4.
Stakes Higher Than Ever When Huskers Play Tigers
The key, of course, will presumably be the game in Lincoln October 30 when the Huskers play the visiting Missouri Tigers. (I decline to use either the expression "entertain" or "play host" to the University of Missouri football team, whose fans are so outrageously abusive to visiting team fans that they harass those fans after the game even when the Tigers have defeated the visiting team.)
The possibility of playing for the conference championship will still be very much alive when the Tigers visit Lincoln October 30. And that conference championship possibility will, of course, add to the Huskers´ incentive in what well may be the last Nebraska/Missouri game ever or at least for a good many years to come.
The Tigers will also have a stronger-than-usual incentive playing against a team that, with Colorado, abandoned the Big 12 Conference. The Tigers presumably will hope fans will overlook the fact that Missouri publicly lobbied hard to win the Big 10 membership which instead went to Nebraska.
The odds would appear quite good that both the Tigers and the Huskers will run the table against other North Division opponents.
After Missouri, the Huskers remaining North Division opponents are Iowa State at Ames, and KU and Colorado at home.
Missouri has a possibly bit tougher schedule in that the Tigers must play Kansas State which, while soundly trounced 48-13 by the Huskers in Manhattan, has a record which includes a win over UCLA and a 59-7 thrashing of Kansas last Thursday.
So join me in wiping away those figurative tears, fellow Husker fans. There may still be light at the end of our last trip through the Big 12 tunnel.
* * *
What´s This? Democrat Tom White
Also Has Dealings With Lobbyists?
Democratic Congressional candidate Tom White should have considered the public record of his support from lobbyists before he dipped into the campaign gutter with that sleazy TV ad-the one suggesting Republican Representative Lee Terry had an improper relationship with a Washington lobbyist representing corporate interests.
Anyone who has watched local television in recent days has probably seen the ad. It says "The Post" (never identifying what "The Post" is) has suggested that Terry had a perhaps improper relationship with a "comely lobbyist" who plied him with liquor. White´s TV ad goes on to suggest that this unsubstantiated story is an example of how Terry is improperly influenced by lobbyists representing big corporate interests.
State Senator White may have forgotten that his Federal campaign contributions report suggests a friendly relationship between White and Lincoln-based and Omaha-based law firms and others who make-and spend-a good deal of money trying to influence state legislators like White.
The list of individual contributions to White´s Congressional campaign for the period ended last June 30 included more than 25 contributions from lawyers, "political consultants" or other individuals-frequently attorneys-who describe themselves as offering services in "government relations" or "government affairs."
Presumably Bright Candidate Ignore Own Vulnerability?
The total included no fewer than 10 contributions from members of one Lincoln law firm which specializes in lobbying state senators like Tom White. The law firm is headed by Walt Radcliffe, generally acknowledged as one of the busiest and most effective of all of those lobbying state senators. Radcliffe and persons associated with his law firm were listed as making a total of 10 contributions, with a total of $2,400 to White´s campaign from Radcliffe himself.
I´m not suggesting that a relationship between a lobbyist and a legislator is inherently improper. Lobbyists can provide very appropriate service in helping a client present his case to legislators or members of Congress.
Tom White is not the first politician who thirsts for a political office so much that he lets his campaign slip into the gutter. But one would think that a supposedly bright attorney would have given thought to his own vulnerability when he raises the question of the propriety of a candidate´s relationship with lobbyists.
* * *
Do Nebraska Gamblers Know They Helped
Pay For Those Ugly Bluffs Sculptures?
A friend who likes modern art urged me to take a look at those controversial modern art sculptures on display in Council Bluffs before making a judgment on their quality. The pictures published in the paper are no substitute for actually seeing the sculptures, I was told.
Well, I have seen the casino-profits-financed sculptures, which thousands of motorists encounter each day as they drive in or out of Council Bluffs by way of Interstate 80. My judgment: Both as pictured in The World-Herald and as seen "in person," the four towering pieces of modern art are grotesque, ugly and even a potential safety threat in that they distract at least first-time viewers as they enter the Bluffs at interstate highway speeds.
But the potential safety threat aside, I believe the towers (a portion of one is depicted below) look simply like an asymmetrical collection of unattractive pieces of metal.
I´m not simply anti-modern art. Also reproduced below is a picture of a metal sculpture created by Bellevue artist Les Bruning and placed in our backyard just above the wall adjacent to the swimming pool deck.
The Bruning sculpture conveys no obvious message. It simply has attractive form and graceful lines, and Marian and I think it adds to the attractiveness of our backyard.
As I see it, the case for the Council Bluffs sculptures isn´t enhanced by the fact it is the work of renowned artist Albert Paley. I have seen photographs of some of Paley´s other art, and a good deal of it does indeed have symmetry and graceful line.
An interesting aspect of the project is that the $3.5 million cost was paid by money lost by gamblers at the three Council Bluffs gambling casinos.
The Iowa West Foundation has contributed about $11 million to the public art effort and also has contributed about $250 million primarily in the Bluffs and adjacent counties for economic development projects, community development and beautification, scholarships and education as well as social issues such as homelessness and teen pregnancy. A small percentage of contributions goes to Eastern Nebraska, the home of many of the gamblers whose money lost in the Bluffs casinos helps provide a percentage of the casino profits which fund the Iowa West Foundation.
I doubt that money-losing gamblers, including those who wind up getting counseling at gambling addiction clinics, will find much satisfaction in the fact that the money they have lost in the casinos is helping pay for that ugly four-piece work of so-called art.
* * *
Solution To `Nebraska Navy´ Admiral
Problem: Drown The Silly Custom
So a couple of African dictators and a number of autobiography-padding con men have found their way into the ranks of the 100,000 or so who have been named admirals in Nebraska´s mythical Navy.
One recent news story said the awarding of admiral commissions by Nebraska governors-it started with the creation of the mythical Nebraska Navy by Lieut. Gov. Ted Metcalfe of Omaha sometime during his 1931-33 term-was intended to do "honor" to the recipient. Perhaps true in a relatively small percentage of cases.
But it seems to me that the granting of admirals commissions is being used to make the recipient feel important and create good will for the governor, with pretty obviously too little scrutiny of whether the governor and the great State of Nebraska have any good reason to make the recipient feel good.
Governor Dave Heineman, since taking office in January, 2005, has, in effect, authorized the issuance of some 7,000 admirals´ commissions-I say "in effect" because I doubt that Heineman himself pays much attention to the process-one hopes that he has better things to do-but leaves it pretty much in the hands of staff.
Certainly some staff member can find better use of his or her time, and there would be no expenditure of funds on printing the admirals´ commissions-each a rather handsome piece of work-and mailing them to persons who in most cases are not worthy of special recognition by the governor of Nebraska.
In other words, stop the silly business.
Trained Chimp And I Are Fellow Admirals
I speak with some personal knowledge of the way the system has worked. You see, I have been three times named an admiral in the Nebraska Navy. The first so-called honor was conferred on me by Governor Victor E. Anderson during his first term in 1955. Vic was a longtime friend who had offered me a job as his chief of staff.
My second commission came from Charlie Thone, who had served as a Congressman before being elected governor in 1979.
My third admiral commission came from Bob Kerrey, who took office as governor in 1983, then later was elected to the Senate. (Kerrey and Thone are fraternity brothers of mine, but I would guess that in each case they were unaware of the previous appointment or appointments. The fraternity? Phi Gamma Delta, and thanks for asking.)
My point is that any system which could produce three admirals commissions for one individual in years past and commissions for two African dictators in recent years should be either extensively overhauled or thrown overboard.
This three-time admiral casts his vote to throw in the whole silly business overboard.
Oh, yes-almost forgot: My skepticism about the significance of Nebraska admirals´ commissions dates back to the black-and-white television days. I was watching when J. Fred Muggs, a trained chimpanzee, received an admirals´ commission on Dave Garroway´s NBC Today Show.
* * *
Does Obama Ever Think It Proper
To Keep His Coat On While Campaigning?
How many white shirts does President Obama go through in a week? Related question: Does he ever consider keeping his coat on when he´s making a stump speech?
It seems the president has the notion that he comes across as a more committed, stronger-principled, tougher president if he takes off his coat and tie and rolls up his sleeves.
It may be effective, but I wonder if it is presidential.
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