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Sunday, July 24, 2016
We're at a crossroads (07/22/16)
During the just concluded Republican National Convention, I decided to share a comment on Facebook to gauge the reaction of my friends and I was neither shocked nor surprised when I tallied the responses up. The statement simply said: "I wonder why we are so obsessed with trying to find intelligent life on other planets when we can't even find intelligent life here?"...
Choosing a life partner isn't easy (07/15/16)
Last week I wrote about all the forks in the road we face in living our lives and all the choices we have to make when we get to those forks, not knowing ahead of time which will be good choices and which will be bad ones. Finding a life partner is another fork in the road because we have so many to choose from...
So many forks in the road (07/08/16)
It begins shortly after birth and continues throughout our lives. Every decision we make that leads to a choice alters the direction our lives take. At any point in our lives, we are the result of the choices we've made. So the responsibility for who we are, what we believe, and where we're going from here isn't anyone else's responsibility, it's our own. ...
Any day is a great day to fly Boutique (07/01/16)
I was amazed by the number of replies I got in regards to Boutique Airlines since they only began air service in McCook on June 1st. And just as amazing, almost all the comments were good if not great. I'll paraphrase them here in this column and then conclude with a conversation I had with employees of Boutique Air at the airport...
With a little help from my friends (06/24/16)
I appreciated the story in last night's Gazette about Boutique Air's passenger counts climbing but I think prospective passengers need a lot more information than that in order to make an informed decision on whether to fly with them or not so I had decided to write this column several days ago. I would like to do a full column next week on the pros and cons of flying out of and into McCook and that can only be done with help from the readers of this column...
Las Vegas, then and now (06/17/16)
The implosion of the Riviera hotel in Las Vegas this past week brought back a lot of fond memories for me as I'm sure it did for some of the readers of this column. The last time Coach Bonow and I went to Vegas, we stayed at the Riviera. And although it was worn and showing its age, you were reminded of the class it and others like it exuded in their prime. ...
How to have a great marriage (or not) (06/10/16)
Magazines and the internet just keep doing it. They keep coming up with lists and ways to be successful at something when there are no lists and ways that work for all the people all the time. But because it attracts people's attention, they do it anyway. ...
The most exciting weekend of the year (06/03/16)
The most exciting weekend of the year begins today at McCook's Heritage Hills golf course with the annual Ron Coleman Memorial Horserace which kicks off the festivities at 4 pm. In a unique format, all 25 professional golfers due to tee it up in the Pro-Am will also compete in the horserace. It will begin simultaneously on holes one and 9 and one pro will be eliminated on each hole until only one remains after play is finished on the 18th hole...
Impacting on crime (05/27/16)
America had statistically high crime rates for a thirty year period from the 1960s into the 1990s. During that time, the emphasis was on what was called the due process model, a liberal perspective, rather than the crime control model which was a conservative perspective. ...
The hidden killer (05/20/16)
Most people don't like doctors and hospitals. It's really an indirect effect instead of a direct one because when we have to go to one or the other, it means something is wrong with us and that's the part we don't like. But I also know people who say they don't want to go to the doctor for fear of finding out something's wrong with them they didn't already know about. ...
Facism and Donald Trump (05/13/16)
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We have all heard a variation of that phrase since it was written by George Santayana in Life of Reason in 1905. There are several meanings and interpretations attached to it but the most enduring and popular one is that we need to learn from our mistakes. In fact, one interpretation says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome...
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (05/06/16)
A presidential contest that would have been laughed at and put down a year ago looks as if it's going to happen. Despite an all-out effort by the establishment branch of the Republican Party to deny Donald Trump the nomination, from all appearances those efforts not only failed but failed badly...
Doors close and doors open (04/29/16)
Even though I have classes today (Friday) and will give final exams next week, yesterday (Thursday) was ceremoniously the end of my college teaching career. After stints at four-year colleges and universities, including being a member of the Graduate Faculty at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma, I landed my first and last community college job when I took the position of Sociology and Criminal Justice Instructor at McCook Community College in January of 1995. ...
The MCC honors convocation (04/22/16)
On Thursday, April 21st, McCook Community College held its annual Honors Convocation which was started six years ago. It is designed to honor students at our college who have excelled academically, in service to the college or the community or both. ...
The Police Olympics (04/08/16)
I was perusing the Internet the other day when I came across an article about the Police Olympics that brought back fond memories. I had no idea they were still being held and, in reading the article, found out that they're bigger and better than ever, hosting teams from all over the world with the number of participants in the thousands. In addition, fire departments have been included and it's now called the Police-Fire Olympics...
The laziest town in Nebraska (04/01/16)
Dictionary.com defines lazy as being disinclined to work, activity or exertion. Generally speaking, Americans like people who get things done; not people who are constantly trying to get out of work. In fact, in the sociology classes I teach, we go over the top ten values of Americans every year and activity and work are always right at the top of the list. So being lazy is seen as a character flaw and is to be avoided...
How many friends do you have? (03/25/16)
Not nearly as many as you think you do because we confuse friendships with acquaintances and they're nowhere close to the same. Most people know a lot of people and most people think the people they know are their friends but they're often mistaken. Through the years, I've put together kind of a check list to help me figure this out if I don't already know. Maybe the check list will help you too...
Too many hotel rooms, not enough restaurants (03/18/16)
One of the common topics at the golf course is the fact that it's feast or famine a few nights a year in McCook for the hotel industry. This was specifically characterized in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Wednesday edition of the McCook Daily Gazette and was written by the owners of five hotels in McCook. ...
The anti-trump campaign (03/11/16)
Establishment Republicans are falling all over each other trying to be more anti-Trump then the next person. It's almost like a letter went out to all of them detailing the points to use against someone most Republican traditionalists call an outsider who isn't submissive and dictated to by the core principles of the Republican Party. ...
The Nebraska Democratic presidential caucus (03/04/16)
Have you made up your mind who to vote for in this year's presidential primary and general election? Do you consider yourself an informed voter? Try today's quiz: (1) This candidate wanted to be an astronaut as a child -- even wrote to NASA -- and admittedly can't carry a tune...
The risk of dietary supplements (02/26/16)
It's estimated there are over 85,000 different products being marketed and sold as a dietary supplement in the United States today. From vitamins, to energy boosters to workout aids, they're sold in stores all over the country. And because they have attractive packaging, are sold in reputable stores and look like prescription drugs, we buy them; at our own risk and sometimes at great risk...
Should he stay or should he go? (02/19/16)
Much of the country is twittering about President Obama's decision not to attend Supreme Court Justice Scalia's funeral and like most other things, it's divided primarily among party lines. Republicans say it's an outrage, Democrats say it's a decision that's been made before. ...
I miss the Elks Club (02/12/16)
When Perry Case signed over the Elks Club building and property to McCook Community College, I finally had to admit to myself that the Elks Club as I had known it was through. We tend to hang on to relationships, both personal and professional, until something happens that cements in our mind that they're over and they're never going to be with us again and it took the above mentioned transaction to seal that deal for me...
The presidential campaigns (02/05/16)
I'm amazed every four years that a state like Iowa, which isn't representative of the country at large, gets so much attention from the media and candidates running for President. It's not that I dislike Iowa because I don't. My best friend at the college and his wife are both from Iowa and my Aunt and Uncle are too. ...
The end of a career (01/29/16)
What I threatened to do last year, I did this year. Earlier this week, I submitted my letter of retirement from my faculty position at McCook Community College to the powers that be. That brings to a close a 35 year college and university teaching career, the last 21 years at MCC, that I stumbled on accidentally and one that gave me more personal satisfaction than about any other career I could have chosen...
The worst week ever (01/22/16)
I'm writing this column at three in the morning because of the constant pain I'm in as a result of a medical procedure I had done a week ago. It is not an indictment of a particular doctor, a particular hospital or a particular city so those things won't be mentioned. ...
Believing it doesn't make it true (01/08/16)
Practically everybody has a deep seated belief in something; religion, politics, science, friendships or relationships. And when we do, we believe with all our hearts that our beliefs are true. Every romantic relationship is based on faith and belief. ...
You don't know what you think you know (12/24/15)
We think we know a lot more than we do. We think we know our best friends, our lovers, our boyfriends, our girlfriends, our husbands and our wives. And although we know them slightly, we never know them completely because there are parts of them they always keep hidden...
Things have to change (12/18/15)
According to Ezra Klein and Alvin Chang in Vox.com, only 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said they would be upset if their son or daughter married someone affiliated with the other political party in 1960. Today, 49 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats say they would be distressed by a politically mixed marriage. ...
Hoping for the best (12/11/15)
Boutique Air (kind of a funky name for an airline) is due to become the next passenger airliner in McCook, replacing Great Lakes Airline whose contract expires in June, 2016. Great Lakes has been heavily criticized in this column and by many of the flying public because of their recent unreliability. ...
The craziness continues (12/04/15)
A deeply religious follower of Islam and his wife slaughtered 14 people and wounded 21 on Wednesday in San Bernardino, California and law enforcement says they left no calling card behind that would have made anyone suspicious of them. Syed Rizwan Farook was born in Illinois, raised in California and was said to have been liked by all those who knew him. ...
A lifetime ago (11/27/15)
I find myself saying "It seems like that was just yesterday" a lot anymore. I guess I've always said it because things that happen in the past, both good and bad, etch themselves in our memories forever and when we recall them, they're just as intense and specific as they were on the day we experienced them. It just seems like I'm saying it now a lot more than I used to!...
Some crimes don't deserve a plea bargain (11/20/15)
When I was a police officer I always hated plea bargains given to defendants, especially defendants I had arrested but I understood the reason they were used. The prosecutor gained a conviction without having to go to court plus time and money was saved by not having to have a trial. ...
Character's no longer important (11/13/15)
I was raised by a progressive family who emphasized the importance of personal character in everything we did. Character in the sense of knowing who you were, what you were about and embracing it, even when you were criticized by others. Those teachings have stayed with me throughout my life and have buoyed my definition of self. ...
Eating will kill you (11/06/15)
The World Health Organization has determined that meat causes cancer and processed meat is the worst culprit. They define processed meat as any meat that has been smoked, salted, cured or changed by another process to enhance its flavor or make it last longer. ...
The Republican debate, round three (10/30/15)
The third Republican presidential debate lacked the fireworks of the first two, thanks primarily to Donald Trump muzzling himself and, for the first time, sounding more like a politician than an outsider and that won't serve him well in the after-debate polls...
The bug or the windshield (10/23/15)
I've often wondered what's worse; being the bug or the windshield. Mary Chapin Carpenter sang about that 20 or so years ago and I've wondered about it from time to time ever since. Neither one is very pleasant. The bug gets smashed and dies which not many of us want but the window gets abused too. So I'm thinking it's not an either-or situation, it's just which is the better of two bad options...
The Democratic presidential debate (10/16/15)
I was talking to one of my Republican friends Tuesday afternoon and asked him if he was going to watch the Democratic Presidential debate that was going to air later that night. He said he wasn't, that he would just let the pundits interpret it for him the next day. ...
Two years and counting (10/09/15)
It was two years ago today, Oct. 9, 2013, that I suffered a heart attack, something I had never even thought about before. Except for a tonsillectomy when I was six years old, I had always been as healthy as a horse without restricting myself to a healthy lifestyle like so many do these days. The only ailments I had were colds and the occasional flu. I've never had a broken bone, been diagnosed with any illness nor had I spent even one night in the hospital until two years ago...
What's wrong with people? (10/02/15)
While we were having an active shooting drill at McCook Community College yesterday, a real active shooter was wreaking havoc at Umpqua Community College, just a couple of miles away from the peaceful, scenic town of Roseburg, Oregon. I read about this on the Internet while I was at work and when I left to go to afternoon happy hour, a woman who I know and respect walked in, saw the news on the television and said "What's wrong with people?" And I think we're all required to think that question through.. ...
The mythology of Ronald Reagan (09/18/15)
The second Republican presidential debate took place Wednesday night inside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California so the viewers knew they were going to get liberal (pardon the pun) doses of the former Governor of California and President of the United States and the candidates didn't disappoint. ...
Fourteen years later (09/11/15)
Every adult reading this column remembers where they were and what they were doing fourteen years ago today. I was with the woman I was seeing at the time and we didn't have the television on. When she left for work, I started getting ready to go to the college. A few minutes later she called me. She was at the Student Center with the television on and she told me that two planes had crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and that we were obviously under attack from somebody...
Football's back, and other games (09/04/15)
A new era begins tomorrow at 2:30 pm when Mike Riley coaches his first game as the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The turbulent reign of Bo Pelini is over. Bo always won games but didn't win enough BIG games. He also alienated part of the fan base with his temper and outbursts on the field directed at officials, coaches and his own players. ...
From the Penthouse to the Outhouse (08/21/15)
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens' wrote in his opening line that "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That was the way it was for me last weekend. First, the best of times. I picked up my son Will in Seward, the home town of his wife Erica, and then let him drive us to Kansas City. ...
Bad customer service (08/14/15)
It was a quiet evening at home a month or so ago and I was kicked back on the couch listening to the R&B channel on my television from DirecTV when a song was played by Boz Scaggs and my mind shot back to the '70s when his Lowdown album was one of the biggest sellers of that decade. ...
Bits 'n pieces (08/07/15)
While talking to my son last night, he asked me if I was going to watch the Republican Presidential debate. I told him not only was I going to watch the headline debate, I was going to watch the undercard debate as well. This struck him as strange, as it did a couple of other Democrats I told the same thing earlier in the day. ...
The nanny state (07/31/15)
Just about everyone these days understand what is meant by a nanny state, especially in conservative bastions like Nebraska, Arkansas and Texas. It's a term of British origin that conveys a view that a government or its polices are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice. It comes from a couple hiring a nanny to watch everything a child does to make sure they don't put themselves in any danger...
Not everybody's worthy (07/24/15)
I've always loved sports and played most of them when I was younger. I was a three-sport letterman in high school and made the police Olympics team in tennis while serving on the Tulsa Police Department. The one sport I didn't excel in was track and field...
The Supreme Court (07/17/15)
Our forefathers and the initiators of democracy in the United States created three branches of government in the belief they should be separate but equal with no one branch having more power than the others. So they established the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial branches with each acting as a check and balance to the other two. ...
Eureka moments can become eureka events (07/10/15)
Most people have had a Eureka moment; the moment of a sudden unexpected discovery. It might be a relationship, a job, a health issue or any number of things but whatever it is, it changes our life and sometimes it changes the lives of others too. And it makes sense to me that Eureka moments can evolve into Eureka events that have such a powerful effect on us that our lives are changed forever...
Two Supreme Court decisions that defied conventional wisdom (07/02/15)
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) spoke loud and clear last week on two issues that have divided America for the past several years. In a surprising 6-3 vote, the Court voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act, much to the chagrin of Republicans across the nation and especially those in office who have campaigned long and hard about the necessity of gutting or abolishing the same act for the 33rd time since Obama has been President. ...
Religion in America (06/26/15)
Perhaps the most controversial magazine cover ever printed was Time magazine's cover on April 8, 1966. It was a solid black cover with three words printed in red: Is God Dead? The date of the cover should tell us a lot about the subject. The world was going through a tremendous social upheaval in the '60s on practically all fronts and religion was not exempt either. ...
The College World Series (06/19/15)
As soon as Arkansas beat Missouri State in the Super Regionals in Fayetteville to earn a spot in the College World Series in Omaha, my son Will called me and we quickly decided to go. I've lived in McCook for over 20 years now but have never been to the CWS and since my first alma mater was playing, it was time...
Wars and rumors of wars (06/12/15)
In my several decades of living, I've become pessimistic about the nature and future of man. It's one of my greatest disappointments because I was raised to be an optimist. I was taught to see the glass as half full rather than half empty; to see the silver lining behind every cloud and to see possibilities rather than limitations. But mankind continues to disappoint me...
The death penalty (06/05/15)
In a move that surprised practically everyone, including most Nebraska residents, the Unicameral last week abolished the death penalty in Nebraska. As expected, the Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, playing politics as usual, vetoed the bill and it went back to the Unicameral for an override vote. It would take 30 votes to override and that's exactly how many they got. The override passed, 30-19...
They don't know us and we don't know them (05/29/15)
A while back, the woman I was in love with left the following message on my voice mail: "Sometimes when I'm not with you, I forget about how good you make me feel when I am." When I first listened to it, I took it to be an affirmation of her love for me and it made me feel good. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that might not have been the message she was sending me at all. It might have been a way to tell me something a little more cold-blooded...
Texas under martial law (05/22/15)
It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. There has been a paranoid fringe in this country for decades; crazies who believe the government is going to swoop down in black helicopters and confiscate everybody's guns, suspend Constitutional rights and place the country under martial law. Even though this unfounded fear has been around for a long time, it reached a crescendo shortly after we elected Barack Obama as President seven years ago and has not died down since...
The good news you didn't hear (05/08/15)
The riots in Philadelphia last week were the headlines of practically every major news outlet in the country and perhaps the world. What I learned in Journalism school at the University of Arkansas a few decades ago still holds true today: If it bleeds, it leads. ...
I shouldn't have done it, but I did (05/01/15)
I'm sure we've all said this, some of us many times. Something seems like a good idea at the time but after we do it, we either regret it or wonder why we did it in the first place. People make lots of bad decisions in life. And every decision we make alters the course of our life. ...
The thin blue line (04/17/15)
Most of us have seen the chilling video of the white police officer in Charleston, South Carolina who drew his gun, assumed a shooter's stance, and fired eight shots at a black man who was fleeing due to an outstanding warrant on him for failure to pay child support. Four of the shots hit the man in the back and one or more of the shots killed him...
That's what friends are for (04/10/15)
A couple of days ago I received my invitation to The Gala from the Rape/Domestic Abuse Program of North Platte. It will be held at the Quality Inn and Suites in North Platte at 6:30 pm on Thursday May 7 and will feature a presentation by former Miss America Marilyn Van Derbur Atler...
The truth will set you free (04/03/15)
I have friends who spread every rumor they hear like it's the absolute truth. They never verify or fact-check their stories and they can't wait to tell somebody else about them. It's not a new phenomenon at all; in fact we've been doing it forever. When somebody hears a piece of juicy gossip about someone, they just can't wait to tell somebody else. ...
Everything old is new again (03/20/15)
My father was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Arkansas as well as a varsity baseball player so when I decided to attend the University as well, dad wrote a letter of recommendation for me to the fraternity. The typical way of pledging a fraternity is to go through formal rush, an event that happens before the fall semester begins, when everyone desiring to join a fraternity comes to campus and goes through the rush process. ...
A great place to eat (03/13/15)
I'm always looking for new places to eat that offer something besides fast food. Several faculty members from the college have been eating every Wednesday at El Puerto since it opened and we are never disappointed. The service is almost always friendly, although our waiter was a little grumpy this past week; the food is served quickly and is always hot and tasty. ...
Bad things are now good things (03/06/15)
I've always believed in science. Science is able to put to rest old myths, legends, and folklore and prove ideas, concepts, and narratives to be either true or false. If you're not sure how old the earth is, for example, you turn to science and carbon dating to tell you...
Melting pot vs. cultural diversity (02/27/15)
I remember, as a boy growing up in Arkansas, the wonderful smell of food that would wake me up every morning, even on those mornings I wanted to sleep late. I grew up back then in a traditional extended family, living until I graduated from high school with my mom, dad, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and uncle. ...
If loving you is wrong (02/20/15)
Today's column topic are the beginning words to a classic soul song from Luther Ingram in 1972; "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want to be Right". Adultery was a debatable topic 43 years ago as it is today and this song made waves on both sides of the aisle. It ended with the words, "I don't want to be right if it means living without you."...
A solution to football withdrawal (02/13/15)
Last weekend was the first weekend since last August to be completely without football and it wasn't very much fun at all. In fact, it was downright boring, a sentiment shared by many of my friends as well. We're all football junkies who can never get enough. ...
When first we practice to deceive (02/06/15)
As the old saying goes, Brian Williams, NBC's Nightly News anchor, has stepped in crap and fallen back in it. He has many times over the past several years told and re-told the story about being on a helicopter that was forced down by enemy fire in 2003. This week he finally came clean, saying that he 'misremembered' the event and chalked it up to 'the fog of memory over 12 years."...
Sometimes stranger than fiction (01/30/15)
If you scan news magazines and news sites like I do, you discover some pretty fascinating things. I've put together several examples of that for this week's column. I enjoy doing this from time to time because there are all kinds of things going on in the world that most of us have no idea about unless someone tells us. ...
Three minutes to doomsday (01/23/15)
The title of this week's column was the proclamation of Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the group in charge of the symbolic Doomsday Clock. The clock had been at five minutes to midnight since 2012 before it was recently moved forward by two minutes...
I'm not a scientist ... (01/16/15)
Well, actually I AM a scientist, but a social scientist instead of a natural scientist. But that's the excuse given by those who oppose the notion of man-made climate change. "I'm not a scientist but ..." they say. And then they give their non-scientific argument to the notion of man-made climate change...
Cancer and bad luck (01/09/15)
When people get cancer, they and everyone involved with them want to know how and why. A groundbreaking study recently published in the journal Science and performed by Dr. Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Johns Hopkins biomathematician Cristian Tomasetti claims that it's just plain old bad luck!...
Considering my options (01/02/15)
I've been thinking a lot about retirement lately, even though I never thought I would. I was planning to teach forever. But like our own lives, things in the world change. We have an entirely new administration now from the one I was accustomed to for so long. Other friends on the college faculty and staff are either talking about retiring or already have. But the most important thing and the reason why I thought I would never retire is student attitude...
One with the universe (12/26/14)
There's a type of religion called transcendent idealism where the ultimate objective, through many years of meditation, is to rise above the daily foibles of man to become one with the universe. The most common religious belief system that embodies this principle is Buddhism...
Fleetwood Mac and more (12/19/14)
Over 14,000 fans packed every nook and cranny of the Pepsi Center in Denver last Friday night to see the Fleetwood Mac concert and the result was magical. Various iterations of the band have been around since 1967 but the current line-up is the band most of us are familiar with; Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and, after a 16 year hiatus away from the band, Christie McVie. ...
Protest is protected; rioting is not (12/12/14)
There has been a lot of conversation lately about the protests that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri and in cities across the nation in regards to the Michael Brown killing. It's important to remember that peaceful protest has been protected by court rulings for decades but rioting hasn't and rioting is what we see way too much of...
Nebraska hires Pelini's alter ego (12/05/14)
Bo Pelini was the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers for seven years and for all of those years, I've been writing and saying that he was the wrong man for the job. So I'm certainly not disheartened by his dismissal. But some are. I tracked a poll taken this past Wednesday that had over six thousand respondents and it showed those in favor of Pelini's firing at 50.1 percent and those opposed at 49.9 percent. ...
Are the skies safe? (11/21/14)
I've loved to fly since my very first flight as a teenager. I had ridden buses and trains but I thought flying was something I would never be able to do because it was so expensive. But mom and dad didn't want me to be deprived of that experience so my first flight was from Little Rock to Tulsa to visit relatives and I was in absolute awe. ...
The right to die (11/14/14)
I suppose most of America has now heard of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was suffering from incurable brain cancer which promised to make her life a living hell. Hearing that doomsday diagnosis and that she had only six months to live, she opted to move to Oregon. Oregon is a state that legally allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication for those who don't want to fight a battle they can't win and cause undue pain and suffering to themselves, family and friends in the process...
Election results not surprising (11/07/14)
I should have put Meg's name in the title of this week's column because I'm sure SHE was certainly surprised. Meg (last name unknown) was some kind of operative for the Chuck Hassebrook gubernatorial campaign and wrote a letter of protest to this newspaper's editor, Bruce Crosby, after a column I wrote appeared. In that column, I said that a poll taken by CBS/New York Times showed Hassebrook losing the election by 20 percentage points. Meg wrote a pretty pithy letter in response...
Are voter ID laws partisan? (10/31/14)
I thought it was a good time to address this talking point with our off-year elections only a few days away. Voter ID laws ARE partisan but not for the reason many people suspect. Since 2011, 13 mostly Republican-controlled states, including Texas and Wisconsin, have introduced laws demanding voters provide a photo ID, such as a driver's license or a passport. ...
We should be careful of machines (10/24/14)
I think I've lived during some of the best times in human history. I grew up in the '50s in a small town in Arkansas where things were leisurely and relaxed. Those were the days of flat-top haircuts, wheat jeans and penny loafers and every day during the summer was fun. ...
Finish what you start (10/17/14)
We've developed a malady in this country that involves quitting before we're finished and it's especially bad among young people. They're so accustomed to instant gratification that when something tends to be tedious or too detail oriented, they quit and go on to something more fun and exciting. The thrilling element partly explains the interest young people have in playing video games. They don't get bored while they're doing it because every game is different...
One year later (10/10/14)
On this day a year ago, I was in the cardiac care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney after an emergency stent had saved my life the day before. For several years, October 9th had caused good feelings to well up in my heart but last year there was nothing good about October 9th and no one was more surprised than me...
Who's the enemy? (10/03/14)
We're at war once again without boots on the ground or without an affirmation by Congress. Obama didn't send it to Congress because they didn't want it. That way if it fails, they can blame the President, if it succeeds they can say they were behind him. That's the state of politics in our country today...
What does domestic violence look like? (09/26/14)
A push? A grab? A slap? What do you think domestic abuse is? I don't know if many of you knew what it was in the past but I'm sure most of you do now because of the Ray Rice video. Rice, a professional football player with the Baltimore Ravens, was with his girlfriend Janay in an elevator in Las Vegas when he punched her in the face so hard he knocked her unconscious and then drug her out of the elevator, moving her body with his foot to clear the door. ...
A competitive governor's race? (09/19/14)
I was sitting in Ben Nelson's childhood home which had been moved to Norris Avenue on the Saturday morning of the Heritage Days celebration 8 years ago speaking with him about an upcoming rally to garner support and campaign contributions for his re-election race against Pete Ricketts. Three of his aides were standing against walls in the living room and they were all on their cell phones...
Goodbye, my friend (09/12/14)
I was sitting at the computer in my apartment next to my deck when I heard the sirens. I looked out the sliding glass door like I usually do and saw an ambulance followed by a police car zipping up the street. I live across the street from the hospital so I thought that's where they were going but they weren's. ...
Natural selection (08/29/14)
Why do we meet hundreds of people throughout our lives, date many of them but only fall in love occasionally if ever? The reason is called natural selection and it's something almost all of us have experienced. We're not attracted to nor have any emotional or physical connection with most people but we do with some and we experience all those things with one...
The Ferguson fiasco (08/22/14)
After almost two weeks of nightly confrontation between black citizens and a militarized police force, some calm has returned to Ferguson, Missouri. It all started in the afternoon of Aug. 9 when a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed a black unarmed teenager, Michael Brown...
A typical (for me) trip to Denver (08/08/14)
With summer vacation winding down, I was looking for a little R&R time away from McCook and I got it in the form of a text message from a good friend of mine who recently moved to Denver. Norm (affectionately nicknamed by his friends from the character at the bar in the television comedy series Cheers) told me about a concert coming up we should go to at Fiddler's Green that featured Boston and The Doobie Brothers. ...
Militarizing the police (08/01/14)
One of the jobs I had after leaving the Tulsa Police Department was being the Criminal Justice Planning Director of the North Central Planning Commission in Beloit, Kansas. That position and others like it all over the country came about as the result of a federal program called the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and a sister program, the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), both passed by Congress in the late '60s. ...
We're not in charge (07/25/14)
The great majority of us believe we're in control of our own lives. It's our thought processes and our decisions and our abilities that either push us towards success or plunge us towards failure. We decide what we do, what we think and how we act. But most of us discover sooner or later that we're really NOT in charge. Hirings, firings, success, failure, good relationships and bad ones are often as much or more of someone else's decisions than our own...
A really bad day (07/18/14)
Yesterday, man's inhumanity to man raised its ugly head again. In the span of a few hours, we were witnesses to a commercial airline with nearly 300 souls on board being shot down by a surface-to-air missile along the border of Ukraine with all aboard perishing, the invasion of Gaza by thousands of Israeli ground troops accompanied by the shelling of Gaza City by planes, drones and missiles and a bank robbery in California that resulted in three hostages being taken and, after a bullet-riddled chase through three towns, three people were killed including two of the robbers and a hostage while the other two hostages were thrown out of the chased vehicle.. ...
Time to reconsider the drinking age (06/27/14)
There are only six countries in the world that set the minimum age for the legal consumption of alcohol at 21. We all know we're one of those countries but the others might surprise you. They are Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Some pretty strange bedfellows; much like the third-world countries along with the United States that still employ the death penalty...
Some things you may not know (06/20/14)
I spend a lot of time each week reading as much as I can from as many different sources as possible to stay current on what's going on in the world and my aim is to read objective sources rather than subjective ones. So even though I'm a Democrat, I don't watch MSNBC because voices from the left are just as biased and prejudiced in one direction as voices from the right are in the other. Here are some things you may not have heard...
The choices we make (06/13/14)
Life is all about choices and the choices we make are determined in large part by the way we were raised. The old saying "if he didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all" holds true for a lot of people but it's not because of luck, it's because of bad choices. Our jobs, our relationships, our friendships and our future are all dictated by the decisions we make...
It's time to rethink funerals (06/06/14)
Although I'm sure there are some, I don't know anyone who enjoys going to funerals. They're long, boring, depressing and mournful, as has been the tradition of funerals throughout recorded history. It's intended to be a solemn occasion where we pay our "last respects" to the person who died but often that person is rarely mentioned in the funeral itself...
We're not all the same (05/30/14)
The Week magazine reports that a Rhode Island middle school canceled its traditional Honors Night over fears its "exclusive nature" would hurt some students' feelings. They later restored it when there was an outcry from parents. The principal of the school originally announced that top students would be saluted in inclusive, "team based" ceremonies. But in the face of strong criticism, she reinstituted the separate honors event...
Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night