This week’s column includes a report and comment on a western Nebraska mountain lion hunt given front-page attention—with color photos—in The Omaha World Herald.
The photos are reproduced here. The inset smaller picture appeared last Friday, promoting the major story to come Sunday.
A report and my comments on the mountain lion hunt is the second item in today’s column. For a Game Commission member’s view on mountain lion hunting, read next week’s column.
Husker Abdullah Returning For Right Reason;
Sad Story Of Hunt For Young Mountain Lions;
Obama Ignores Court’s ‘Gay’ Marriage Ruling
Let’s start with a story that appeared, quite properly, on the front page of the sports section of The Omaha World-Herald. But it carried a message of significance that reaches beyond the world of sports.
I’m referring to the announcement by the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ superb running back, Ameer Abdullah, that he will be returning to Lincoln for his senior year. But not primarily to possibly enhance his chances of going higher in next year’s pro football draft but rather to complete his college education and graduate with his degree.
In a message that resonated beyond the world of sports, Abdullah said: “If playing in the NFL is truly in God’s plans for me, then God will again present this opportunity to me after I complete my college education.”
What a praiseworthy contrast to the news from some other college campuses.
Praiseworthy Contrast To Standards On Other Campuses
At the University of North Carolina—long considered among the very best of state universities—a class was created apparently for the sole purpose of giving athletes the necessary credit hours to make them eligible to play on North Carolina athletic teams. The sad record shows that the class never met, yet the players received credit for supposed attendance at a class that really never met.
And that Florida State University undefeated season was completed with a sophomore quarterback who had been accused of rape of a woman who said she was advised not to seek action against him.
The quarterback has been awarded the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to an undefeated season.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is entitled to be proud that on its campus the spotlight falls on Ameer Abdullah, who may or may not finish his career with a third consecutive season of running for more than 1,000 yards while giving proper priority to finishing his academic career and graduating with a degree.
Another splendid example of why the University of Nebraska-Lincoln leads the nation in academic All-Americans in football and other intercollegiate sports.
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News Coverage Of Mountain Lion Hunt
Might Prove Help In Ending Such Hunts
I have no idea why The Omaha World-Herald chose to give front page attention—with a large color picture, and a full page of additional attention on an inside page—to the story of a two-day hunt which ended with a young mountain lion treed by dogs and killed by a hunter about 40-feet away from his treed target.
For advocates of killing mountain lions, I would say the extensive coverage was a potential public relations disaster.
Consider the pictures. The smaller was on the front page of The World-Herald Friday.
The second much larger photo was published Sunday, with a front-page story which extended to nearly a full inside page.
What do you suppose the “hunter” and his companion were considering? Perhaps how to kill the animal without spoiling the potential for an impressive mount to symbolize what the hunter had achieved in protecting humans and livestock from the invasion of mountain lions—mountain lions pushed out of their native habitat by overpopulation in Wyoming and South Dakota.
(There is no documented record of harm to a human or any significant killing of livestock in Nebraska in the 22 years that the State Game Commission has been tracking so-called mountain lion depredation.)
The facts are, I believe, that the commission’s authorization of the killing of up to four mountain lions in a limited range in northwest Nebraska, close to the Wyoming and South Dakota state lines, is reaction to pressure from a relatively small group of ranchers and “trophy hunters.”
When I speak of “trophy hunters,” I have in mind the types of weapons which are legal for killing mountain lions: They include bow and arrow and muzzle-loading handguns or rifles.
If young mountain lions represent any kind of serious threat to humans and cattle in Nebraska, would the state authorize their killing by muzzle-loading handguns and bow and arrows and issuing no more than four permits a year in the Pine Ridge area where the supposed “invasion” force has never been counted at more than 25 to 30 mountain lions?
If you went through the long story which accompanied the picture, you discovered that additional hunting permits are issued in other areas of western Nebraska where State Game Commission staff members have found evidence of occasional mountain lion appearances but no injuries to humans and no significant killing of cattle.
Don’t be surprised if State Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha has significant new support for his proposal to ban mountain lion hunting, support strengthened substantially, as I see it, by The World-Herald’s detailed report, with pictures, of the tracking with dogs and killing—with a 40-foot shot—of one of the supposedly dangerous intruders, treed by the dogs.
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Obama’s 3rd Position On ‘Gay’ Marriage:
Ignore The Law. Approve Them All.
Americans should be used to it by now—a president who is willing to go beyond federal law to advance his political agenda.
An agenda which sometimes changes significantly without any rational justification, sort of “I’ve just changed my mind” decision.
Whatever the reason, Obama’s latest reversal of political position required a second basic change in his political philosophy.
The president’s initial position on same-sex marriage was publicly-expressed opposition. His first switch was to say that he believed the issue should be left to each state to decide.
His second change of position—the one he is currently ordering the Justice Department to pursue—is to declare that he has the power to ignore the United States Supreme Court’s decision which said the issue of legalizing same-sex marriages should be left to the individual states.
Utah Case Opens Issue Nationwide
The issue came into recent focus in Utah, where a federal court judge has sought to nullify the United States Supreme Court decision which left jurisdiction over the same-sex marriage issue to the states—and Utah state law does not authorize same-sex marriages.
The Utah case is on its way to what could be a time-consuming trip through the court system to the Supreme Court.
Obama has ordered the Justice Department to draft legal requirements that would have the effect of making all states subject to Obama’s federal mandate to recognize same-sex marriages regardless of the wishes of the majority of the state’s people. (A majority of states, including Nebraska, do not recognize same-sex marriages.)
Compromise Bill Introduced In The Congress
So we have an example of a president attempting to overturn a Supreme Court decision not by changing the law but by ordering the Justice Department to proceed in defiance of a Supreme Court decision.
Incidentally and importantly, some Democrats in Congress have recognized that the law cannot be changed by the president. Their bill would require that the federal government’s standards for federal benefits for same-sex couples be extended to residents of all states—a significant step but far short of requiring every state to recognize same-sex marriages.
An “extend federal benefits” bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York and in the Senate by Diane Feinstein of California.
This limited approach, in contrast to Obama’s “let’s ignore the Supreme Court decision,” hasn’t been voted either up or down in the House or Senate.
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NU Fans Chided For Good Sportsmanship;
When Will Mavs Abandon The Silly ‘O’ Logo?
This week’s smorgasbord, again with a heavily world of sports flavor, reflecting the pro football playoffs and the start of conference competition in college basketball.
Next week, more serious stuff (with apologies to those fanatics who take nothing more seriously than the news about their favorite sports teams).
–World-Herald critic/coach Dirk Chatelain last week switched his focus from trying to prove the Cornhusker football team has been lucky in achieving nine-victory seasons the past two years to coaching the crowd at Husker basketball games.
Chatelain was sharply critical of the Cornhusker fans who he said did not try to vocally intimidate University of Michigan players during last week’s 71-70 Michigan victory in the Huskers home floor in Lincoln. In what apparently Chatelain felt passed for fair comment on Husker fans’ performance, he wrote:
“I understand it’s not in Husker fans’ DNA to be hooligans. I understand it’s not easy to stand and yell every time Michigan has the ball. But good grief, do you wanna win or not?”
The Husker didn’t lose because fans didn’t act like bad sports. They lost because they blew two attempted layups in the closing seconds of the game.
–When will higher authority (Chancellor John Christensen would seem to fit that description) tell University of Nebraska at Omaha Athletic Director Trev Alberts to end the silly business of trying to change the nickname of UNO athletic teams from “Mavericks” to “Omaha”?
Alberts is trying to show that UNO athletic teams do not simply represent UNO but represent all of Omaha. So that “Get out of the way” Maverick symbol has been replaced on UNO athletic uniforms with a stylized letter “O.”
I would suggest that if the UNO athletic teams represent Omaha, the hockey team—wearing, of course, uniforms with “O” on their chests—is doing a lousy job of representing our city.
While the city itself receives national recognition in a variety of measurements of community progress and attractive living conditions, the hockey team—with that “O” on the chest of every player—continues to lose games (season record to date: 8 wins, 11 loses, 1 tie) as they continue to get kid-glove treatment on The World-Herald sports pages.
–Recent reports on the 50th anniversary of the “War on Poverty” launched by President Lyndon B. Johnson half a century ago provides less than a clear picture.
Some people, the news report said, have been lifted above government-defined poverty level by government welfare programs—aid to dependent children, rent subsidies and—cited more than once—food stamps.
I think it’s fair to ask whether these forms of federal welfare were what Johnson was aiming for when he declared war on poverty. Are such programs a “hand up” or a “handout” approach to the problem?
Keep in mind that official Internal Revenue Service figures indicate that approximately 50% of all American adults are not required to pay any federal income taxes at all—an indication as to who is paying for the “war on poverty.”
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