Today my emphasis is on common sense—or the lack thereof.
Common sense (all too often too uncommon in both personal life and public affairs) as it applies to (1) national security, (2) the repetitive annual celebration of “gay rights and (3) the “greenie influence” on electricity-producing power plants.
As I see it, common sense is winning out in the national debate over the balance that must be struck between national security and individual rights to privacy.
We must understand that terrorists can, if proper safeguards aren’t taken, take advantage of the microchip revolution which Americans so enjoy as they store, manipulate and share with their friends and indeed the world.
I believe we should be reassured, rather than alarmed, but the fact that federal agency executives have the capability and authority to monitor traffic in and out of these electronic databases when terrorist intrusion and utilization is suspected.
Recent Congressional testimony was reassuring. National security agencies testified that, without any intrusion on the fundamental civil rights of American citizens, electronic surveillance has helped prevent potential terrorist attacks more than 50 times since 2001, including at least ten “homeland-based threats.”
I think President Obama well summarized the new threat posed by what might be called microchip-control terrorism when he said: “You can’t have 100% security and also have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience.” That’s common sense.
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Gay Pride? Enough Already; Parades, Placards
Hurt Rather Than Help Their Cause
As for hoping for more common sense on the part of “gay rights” activists, I am not at all optimistic. A strong dose of common sense—call it recognition of reality if you will—would benefit the “gay rights” movement, as I see it.
My comments are prompted by news of a “gay rights” parade in Omaha—yet another one—and a “gay rights” proclamation issued by Omaha’s new mayor, Jean Stothert.
If there is any cause in the United States which would benefit from more common sense—and a great deal less publicity—it is “gay rights.”
So-called “gays” became an accepted part of the American societal landscape more than 10 years ago. They ought to realize that parades in which they dress up in funny costumes and put pressure on public officials to endorse their antics can have—and does have, in my opinion—a negative impact on the non-gay majority of Americans.
Parades, Placards Don’t Win Court Cases
On a personal note:
Over the years I have been acquainted with a goodly number of homosexuals. I respected their rights to their sexual preferences, and they didn’t have to march in parades to convince me to respect them and that right.
There still are issues of great importance to the homosexual and lesbian communities that need to be addressed, but through city councils, state legislatures and the court system, not in the streets.
A significant continuing issue now before the U.S. Supreme Court involves efforts to win approval for same-sex marriages without getting approval from voters or legislators state-by-state.
Lesbians and homosexuals have won that legal right in a handful of states and still have the option of winning Supreme Court intervention.
But here again, it seems to me that common sense dictates that shouting, placarded-waving demonstrators outside the Supreme Court building and annual “gay pride” parades are not only not necessary but are counterproductive.
The fact that “gays” are proud of their sexual orientation should have no influence at all on the legislative or judicial procedures by which Americans have wisely and traditionally chosen to address such issues.
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Common Sense Says Make Obama Prove
‘Green’ Approach Demands New Power Plants
Another area in which common sense seems to be in short supply is the news from Washington that President Obama is about to order, in effect, that all present coal-fired electricity-generating plants be shut down.
No, not retrofitted for greater capacity to capture atmosphere-polluting chemical byproducts in the smoke but instead simply be shut down.
The American people generally have a very large economic stake in this. (The Omaha Public Power District, for example, gets a majority of its power from coal-fired plants in North Omaha and in Nebraska City.) The cost would be enormous to simply scrap these coal-fired plants and replace them with “greener” plants which would be touted as having more effective pollution-trapping smoke-processing equipment and be more dependent on heavily-federal-subsidized wind power and possibly solar power.
The wind and solar-power elements would, of course, not reduce the necessity for coal-fired plants production capacity capable of meeting the utility’s maximum needs on days when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
In the case of “greenie” pressure from environmental extremists and the Obama administration, there is hope that Congressional opposition will prevail until a more common sense approach can be found.
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W-H Columnist Takes Common Sense Look
At CWS “Where Are The Homers” Question
A Sunday sports page piece written by Dirk Chatelain, best wordsmith in The World-Herald’s large stable of sports columnists, took a commonsense look at why so few home runs have been hit in TD Ameritrade Park after it replaced Rosenblatt Stadium as the home of the College World Series.
Chatelian’s conclusion, echoing the opinions of several coaches and longtime observers of the CWS scene: It’s too early to make a judgment as to whether the comparatively few homers is a TD Ameritrade Park characteristic that should be dealt with.
Confusing the comparisons between TD Ameritrade and Rosenblatt is the fact that the NCAA required the substitution of “deader” but safer aluminum bats in college play three years ago. Tests and experience have shown that these bats hit for about 14% less distance.
This could be the major contributing factor when you consider that the distances down the foul lanes and to center field are exactly the same in TD Ameritrade as in Rosenblatt.
“Best Course: Get Year’s More Evidence”
Also offered as a possible explanation is that TD Ameritrade is oriented slightly towards the southeast, while Rosenblatt was oriented slightly towards the northwest. Thus long fly balls might be less likely to fly out of the TD Ameritrade Park because they encounter prevailing southern breezes.
What to do about it? Perhaps go to a flat-seamed baseball—the kind used by the pros—instead of the slightly raised seams that are used to sew the cover on college baseballs. The raised seams make the ball more prone to be affected by the wind and for pitchers to put more “stuff” on their pitches.
I doubt that the final vote will give decisive recognition to the feelings of fans—mentioned in Chatelain’s very comprehensive story—who, like Marian and me, prefer tight games which finish something like 2-1 or 3-2—games in which a single hit or error or spectacular fielding play can make the difference.
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Going To The Dogs Again
A reliably upbeat column-ender is to go to the dogs, so to speak.
So today, dog lovers out there, two pictures that I find almost—almost—as appealing as a picture of two of the world’s most lovable dogs, our cocker spaniels, Claire and Charlotte.
The first picture below was taken some years ago when I was shopping for a hunting dog at a breeder’s farm near Niobrara, Nebraska.
The second picture indicates that I bought one of those appealing pups and took her to join the English pointers (and one black lab) already resident on my farm near Skidmore in northwest Missouri.
“Maggie” later retired to live with two special friends, Ron and Carol Klataske, in their home in Manhattan, Kansas, which is the headquarter city for Audubon of Kansas which Ron serves as chief executive.
Ron reports that for some 10 years Maggie lived happily with the Klataskes, playing with the Klataske grandchildren and occasionally pointing butterflies in the backyard.
Any chance of Claire and Charlotte—or my assistant, Jackie Wrieth’s two pups, would take offense at today’s pictures?
Jackie’s view: “Sophie and Tucker know they’re special.”
I think Claire and Charlotte feel the same way.
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