Tiger Now Angry Pussy Cat?
Obama And Appointees Respect Rule Of Law?
Fischer Ranch Subsidy Properly A Public Issue

I’ll finish today with some comments about golf tournament results and golfer behavior, including throwing clubs.  But first a more serious matter, the increasing number of examples of authoritarian government imposed from Washington on an America supposedly created to serve its citizens under the rule of law, not bureaucratic fiat approved by, if not initiated by, the President of the United States.

Current examples range from Environmental Protection Agency mandates to policies imposed by President Barack Obama himself, with his eye not on the principles of constitutional government but on the November elections.

A prime example of this “I’ll decree it” performance by Obama was his recent announcement that he will put in place a policy creating legal-resident status on illegal immigrant young people who have met certain standards.

A not unreasonable change in policy which was moving through the Congress with support from both Republicans and Democrats.  But Obama, with a speaking engagement before an influential Hispanic organization just days away, chose to bypass Congress and build support for his re-election.

Does Obama Care About EPA’s Strong-Arm Policies?

Does President Obama know of the authoritarian performance of, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency?  If not, why not?  And if he knows, why does the White House not intervene to bring the environmental protection agency under some reasonable restraint?

Perhaps the president’s lack of interest—or at least lack of restraining action—is accounted for these days by his very heavy travel schedule campaigning for votes and for campaign-funding dollars.

The New York Times recently carried a front-page headline which read:  “Obama Finds Campaigning Rules Clock.”  The story included these words:   “With election day five months away, the campaign increasingly appears to consume Mr. Obama’s day, and his White House, shaping his schedule, his message and most of his decisions.”

Not a very pretty picture of a leader who should, even in an election year, be giving primary attention to responsibilities he assumed after his 2008 election.  He was elected to be the nation’s chief executive for four years, not three and a half.

(I recognize it could be argued that a president on the campaign re-election trail may do less damage to the republic than if he was spending more time in the White House.)

* * *

Leaks Designed To Boost Obama Image?

Still on the subject of President Obama and what he is doing—or having done for him—to enhance his chances for re-election:

Peggy Noonan, a popular conservative-oriented Wall Street Journal columnist, devoted her column last weekend to the “avalanche of leaks” which have tended to depict Obama as the decisive “I’m in charge here” chief executive responsible for some recent effective strikes at al Qaeda terrorist leaders.

The subhead in Noonan’s column said that the “leaks” of information about the successful strikes against terrorists “seemed designed to glorify President Obama and help his re-election campaign.”

Whether intentional “let’s glorify the president” or leaks resulting from simply careless handling of that intelligence information, the damage to American intelligence-gathering capabilities is substantial.

Noonan ended her column by recalling that after the killing of Osama bin Laden, “members of the administration began giving briefings and interviews in which they said too much.”  This, Noonan wrote, led the then Defense Secretary Robert Gates to giving this advice to those talkative White House officials:  “Shut the (blank) up.”

Noonan concluded:  “Still excellent advice, and at this point more urgently needed.”

* * *

College World Series Players Not Only Stars;
Omaha And Omahans Are Also In Spotlight

It happens every year, and Omahans should feel proud that it does.

I’m talking about the praise of Omaha and Omahans from baseball fans from so many other states who look forward the College World Series every June.

This year, one of the daughters of one of the coaches whose teams have made frequent visits told a television interviewer:  “Omaha has always been part of our family.  It’s not the College World Series.  It’s Omaha.”

World-Herald columnist Mike Kelly quoted a column from The Shreveport Times commenting on the fact that the Louisiana State University Tigers, a longtime CWS fixture, won’t be coming to Omaha this year.

The columnist who won’t be coming to Omaha this year wrote in The Shreveport Times:

“Omaha is a wonderful town.  It’s not exactly a vacation destination, but it is a hidden gem.  It is small-town America in a Fortune 500 medium-sized city.  Railroads, the West, a Mayberry atmosphere in pockets, great blue-collar bars and restaurants.”

Of Omaha steakhouses, the columnist wrote:  “There is not a lot of seasoning or marinating.  Just basic meat and potatoes.  The people tend to be like that, too.  It’s great.”

The College World Series, of course, is the reason Omaha gets a chance to show off the kind of city it is and the kind of people who live in that city.  So Omaha thanks the College World Series, and fans from a variety of states thank Omaha for being such an outstanding host to that annual climax of the college baseball season.

All of which helps explain why the annual goal of college teams and their fans is so often described as winning a place on “The Road to Omaha.”

* * *

Fischer’s Subsidized Ranch Link, Niobrara Views
And Legislative Record All Are Relevant Issues

The World-Herald had a thoughtful, informative lead editorial on the subject of the very substantial subsidy which a small minority of ranchers receive in the rates which the federal government charges them for leasing federal grazing land (a practice spotlighted in this column some weeks ago).  For example:

The federal government in 2005 was paying more than $140 million a year to manage public lands being used for grazing, but only $21 million or so in grazing fees was collected, costing taxpayers about  $120 million a year.

The same report from the Government Accounting Office found that from 1980 to 2004, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, which manage most grazing land, reduced grazing fees by 40% while fees in the marketplace for private grazing lands rose almost 80% during the same time period.

“It doesn’t seem fair to benefit a small number of livestock producers at public expense,” the editorial said.  “In this day of fiscal austerity and budget restraint, a straight-forward, market-based charge would seem to be the obvious move.”

Amen to that.

Deb Fischer Family Subsidy A Proper Issue

But as I see it, the editorial hit the wrong note when it suggested that it is unfortunate that Senator Ben Nelson’s recent proposal to increase the rates charged to land-renting ranchers involves political overtones, since State Senator Deb Fischer’s family is one of the longtime beneficiaries of bargain rental rates.  (One estimate is that the Fischer family ranch benefits to the tune of $100,000 or slightly more every year when the rates paid to the federal government are compared to what the Fischers would have to pay for renting privately-owned rangeland.)

As I see it, the fact that the Fischer family is a major beneficiary is entirely pertinent to the discussion.  In fact, if Fischer had not become a candidate for the United States Senate, there’s a chance that no publicity at all would have been focused on the entirely unjustified bargain rates which benefit a relative handful of ranchers.

The question has been raised—and not yet answered by any representative of the Fischer family—as to whether a supposedly rock-solid conservative candidate for the United States Senate can, if elected, credibly challenge questionable federal subsidy programs if the family is benefiting—to the tune of around $100,000 a year—from a subsidy program.

Incidentally, Senator Fischer’s official campaign biography available through her campaign office lists her occupation as “rancher.”

Senator Fischer is not a rancher.  She is a member of a family that operates a ranch.  She doesn’t live on the ranch.  She lives with her husband in a residence in Valentine, the same county in which the federally-subsidized Fischer family ranch is located.

* * *

‘Gay Pride Month’ Strengthen U.S. Military?
Eating Places Reviewer Is Moved To Tears

The weekly smorgasbord, which you may especially enjoy if you like pulled pork:

–As I see it, one of the dumbest decisions to come out of the Pentagon in many years was reported this week under this headline:

“Pentagon to honor gays in the military.”

The story reported that the Pentagon has designated June as “Gay Pride Month.”

For some years now, we have heard that what homosexuals and lesbians want from the military is to simply be free of restrictions and serve like any other serviceman or servicewoman.  They won that battle, and it seems to me there is no reason now for singling them out for special attention.

–The World-Herald regularly publishes detailed reviews of a diner’s appraisal of the quality of some eating place or other in Omaha.  I think the peak in the personal reaction of an eating place reviewer appeared under this headline:  “Jim’s BBQ is divine.”

The story included one of those page-dominating color pictures and half a page of detailed review on the next page.  I had expected the worst—and wasn’t disappointed—after I read in the fourth paragraph this reviewer’s comment:  “The mere mention of pulled pork makes me misty-eyed.”

I don’t even know what pulled pork is, and I don’t remember crying because I particularly liked or disliked some kind of food.  But I worked my way through the rest of the excruciatingly detailed comment on Jim’s BBQ.  With several paragraphs still to go, I counted 20 examples of the reviewer’s use of “I, me or my.”

I didn’t bother taking note of where Jim’s BBQ is located.  I don’t get misty-eyed over eating or drinking places.  Even if the martinis are superb.

–Bob Boozer, the Omaha native who became a national basketball superstar with Kansas State University and in the pro ranks, received a good deal of well-merited praise in the stories following his recent death at 75.  Boozer had returned to his hometown and worked in a variety of worthy causes as a public relations representative for the local telephone company (then Northwestern Bell) and was particularly active in working with young people at Boys Town.

I called the Kansas State University sports information office to see if there any highlights of his career which might not have been spotlighted in the stories of his death.  I learned:

Boozer was the “landslide leading vote-getter for the school’s All-Century Basketball team in 2003.”   He was twice an All-American, he averaged a double-double for his 77-game Kansas State career with 21.9 points on 44 percent shooting with 10.7 rebounds per game.

Boozer went on to equally impressive performances in the National Basketball Association.  He played 11 seasons in the NBA for six different teams, including leadership of the Milwaukee bucks to the 1973 NBA championship in his final season.

I told a very friendly Kansas State sports publicist the only problem I had with Bob Boozer was that the native Omahan and graduate of Omaha Tech High School played his collegiate career at Kansas State rather than Nebraska.  I also said a lot of Nebraskans will miss the friendly rivalry with Kansas State and Kansas University as a result of Nebraska’s move to the Big 10 and that I considered losing the Huskers’ longtime relationship with the Missouri Tigers was a case of “good riddance.”  The Tiger fans surely must rank among the nation’s most unfriendly to visitors, as I can personally testify.

* * *

A Tiger Lays An Egg

I’m pleased to close today by telling you how happy I was with the results of the U.S. Open golf tournament.  (You know, the one played in San Francisco, with the television coverage showing 731 images of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.)

I’m pretty sure that I had a lot of nationwide company in rejoicing in the facts that (1) an attractive young American, Wake Forest graduate Webb Simpson, was the winner and Eldrick Woods finished 6 strokes back.

Eldrick Woods, better known as “Tiger,” added to his already massive image problem by his behavior—tossing clubs aside after bad shots and angrily thrusting away the arm of a fan who was trying to take a picture of Woods as he stalked from the course.

That was too much for even Johnny Miller and the other NBC commentators who had been so sycophantic in their comments about Woods before his final round implosion.

(Incidentally, has any golfer gotten more mileage out of a single tournament win than Johnny Miller who, we were repeatedly told, won the U.S. Open in 1973?)

As to club throwing, Woods is a piker.  But, of course, even the great Tiger has to show some restraint performing before a tournament crowd and on television.

Next week I’ll tell you of an example of real club throwing—by me—and why I stopped.

# # #

This entry was posted in Column. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply