When Will Journalists Figure It Out:
It’s ‘Brain Exchange,’ Not ‘Brain Drain’

When will journalists supposedly trained to look at both sides of an issue stop writing about Nebraska’s so-called “brain drain” as if Nebraska is paying a serious price for the fact that a substantial number of its college graduates decide to move on to other states?

The latest journalistic cry of alarm over this entirely understandable trend came in a recent issue of The Omaha World-Herald under a front page headline which read:

“College grads again slip away to other states”

The story said that Nebraska needs to hold more of its college graduates “if it’s going to meet its hope for growing its economy, workforce and population.”


Nebraska Attracts ‘Brain Power’ From Other States

Nebraska needs to continue to attract talent from other states, including colleges in other states in a sort of “brain exchange” which has been going on for a very long time.

It is preposterous to suggest that in these days of an increasingly mobile population we can expect to hold Nebraska college graduates—including those who come to Nebraska colleges from other states—if they choose to move on.

Among the most distinguishing characteristics of America’s population today is the mobility of a substantial proportion of that population.

Some ‘Best And Brightest’ Stay In Nebraska

The answer is, of course, to continue to hold a significant percentage of Nebraska’s best and brightest college graduates but also to continue to be an attractive state to residents of other states—including college graduates, of course.  Talented people who come to Nebraska to fill jobs that help make this state, for just one example, the home to five Fortune 500 companies.

Nebraska attracts migrating graduates of schools like Yale, Harvard, Michigan, MIT, Notre Dame, Iowa State, the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri, Kansas University, the University of California, Princeton, Northwestern—the list goes on and on.

As I see it, we are the net beneficiaries of a “brain exchange” rather than victims of a “brain drain.”

And shouldn’t any journalistic look at a so-called “brain drain” consider the Nebraska natives who have stayed in their native state and contributed immeasurably to our nation state while using Omaha as a base for their company’s  performance on a national scale?  The names Pete Kiewit and Warren Buffett come immediately to mind.

The World-Herald “brain drain” story was based in substantial part on one of those “studies” which come up with precise numbers as to thousands of persons who have done this or that—in this case.  Nebraska residents aged 25 or more, holding bachelor’s degree and leaving the state in a given year.

At the end of The World-Herald story, the “UNO Center For Pubic Affairs Research” is quoted as having determined that Nebraska in 2012 had a net out-migration of exactly 4,117 college graduates 25 years or older who held bachelor’s degrees.

Not a word as to how the UNO research center could possibly come up with such a precise figure or even a reliably accurate estimate.

* * *

Don’t Forget To Continue Efforts
Pushing Students To Four-Year Degrees

While on a subject involving college degrees, another thought:

I would hope university and college leaders—under new pressure to recruit and graduate more “disadvantaged” students—will not be diverted from the good intentions—which have been expressed in some collegiate educational circles including the University of Nebraska—to move most students back to a four-year collegiate career for a bachelor’s degree—a pattern which used to be the norm.

Four-year degrees would do a great deal to reduce some wasted time and the problem of student loans—a problem which is obviously exacerbated when the student takes five or six years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

* * *

Obama Deserves Support In His Efforts
To Trim But Retain Surveillance Program

As I see it, President Obama is absolutely right in his decision to reduce the scope of electronic surveillance and record-keeping on telephone calls and other “tapable” sources of communication which are readily available to sophisticated electronic monitoring systems.

And the president is absolutely right in continuing a reduced but still effective monitoring system.

Some reduction in such surveillance is appropriate, but I think that a national policy in this regard should be determined by what might be called continuing common-sense communications surveillance rather than by the philosophy of a traitor named Edward Snowden (who richly deserves to live the rest of his life in exile in Moscow) or by Associated Press reporters whose dispatches indicate their bias against any surveillance.

‘Surveillance Program Has Helped Curb Violence’

It is pertinent, I believe, to consider these facts:

–Surveillance is reported—reliably, I believe—to have alerted American intelligence to planned al-Qaeda terrorist operations and headed them off.

–I know of no instance where an American has been interrogated or threatened with prosecution on the basis of any information about him or her available to the National Security Agency through the electronic surveillance program.

* * *

Jays, Huskers Win Important Victories;
Media Finally Hear Manning’s ‘OMAHA’ Calls

This still being the season for focus on football playoffs as well as a continuing focus on collegiate and professional basketball, let me focus on a few things which have been going on in the world of sports.

What more appropriate place to start some sports-world commentary than to rejoice over those two notable basketball victories, coincidentally achieved on the same night at the start of this week.

I refer, of course, to Creighton’s thrashing of the No. 4-ranked Villanova Wildcats in a Big East Conference game in Philadelphia and the Nebraska Cornhuskers home-court upset victory over No. 17-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (to whom the Huskers had lost by 31 points on the Ohio State home court 16 days earlier).

The Huskers’ victory was their first in the Big 10 and broke a 15-game losing streak against opponents ranked in the top 25.  The win was achieved before a crowd reported as 15,342, many of whom stormed on the court to help the players and Coach Tim Miles celebrate the upset.

More impressive, of course, was the way the Creighton Bluejays manhandled 4th-ranked Villanova, supposedly the dominant power in the Big East Conference which Creighton joined this year.

The Bluejays, coming from their Omaha nest half a continent away, gave impressive notice that they will play a significant role in their first year of Big East Conference competition.

Yes, News People, Manning Uses ‘OMAHA’ Call

Then there are the laughable sports stories.

Nothing more laughable to me than the reaction to the fact that the superb Denver Bronco quarter Peyton Manning uses “OMAHA” in the series of messages which he calls out in his extremely successful effort to deploy his troops.

The laughable aspect is that Peyton’s use of “OMAHA” has been going on for some years but has surprisingly received great national attention when it came through particularly loud and clear—sometimes three “OMAHA’s” in a row on a national telecast.

Among the amusing (to me) reactions was that from Omaha Chamber of Commerce Chairman David Brown who enthused that Peyton’s “OMAHA” call, resonating on television sets all over the country, was somehow significant publicity for Omaha.

Then there was this sports page headline:

“Seattle defense surges at end to deflate 49ers”

Statistics Show Seattle Defense Not All That Great

You had to read down into the agate type where the game’s statistics were reported to see that the fabled Seattle defense was, as I see it, pretty lucky except for one fortuitous final pass-deflection in the end zone on the game’s final play.

The fabled Seattle defense, for example, “held” the San Francisco 49ers to 308 yards, which by strange coincidence was the exact total of yards gained by Seattle.

Then there was an unintentionally amusing headline on a recent column by one of The World-Herald stable of press box critics/coaches:

The Sam McKewon column appeared under this headline:

“For more  wins, NU must learn not to lose”

Hard to argue with that logic.

* * *

Junk The Squiggly Yellow Light Bulbs

To end, as customary, on an upbeat note:

Heartening news from the Congress in regard to those of us who think those yellowish electric light fixtures are ugly:

A vote in the House of Representatives cut off funding for enforcement of the proposal to require substitution of those monstrosities for the current variety of bulbs.

There is talk that the current style of bulbs would be improved in ways that will lower the amount of electricity they use but produce the same amount of illumination.

In any case, the ugly monstrosities and those promoters are on the defensive and that’s upbeat news.

# # #






This entry was posted in Column. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply