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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
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...
It's hard to get there from here (05/23/14)
I made my semi-annual trip to Arkansas last week to see my boys and quickly found out it's not easy to get there from here if you're flying. I quit driving last year because 10 hours on the road is no fun at all; not even in a Thunderbird. So I decided from then on that I would fly...
Racism is alive and well in America (05/09/14)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling recently made racist comments to his mistress on the phone, telling her that it bothers him a lot that she wants to broadcast her interest in blacks on social media and bring them to his games. Before Sterling, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy suggested that African Americans were better off as slaves...
An election strategy that wasn't used (05/02/14)
As I talk around town to people about the upcoming sheriff's race, I hear two names mentioned more often than the other two in a four person race and it made me think of an election strategy that could have been used but wasn't. Being sheriff is a life-time position for most who get elected, staying on the job until they reach retirement age, so it's not like any of the current candidates can wait and run again later. ...
A law that must be enforced and prosecuted (04/25/14)
Regardless of who the new sheriff is, he or she will work for all the people of Red Willow County and that means enforcing laws that are sometimes overlooked. I'm not referring to Gene Mahon's administration because I'm not aware that this has been done during his tenure as Sheriff but it has in other counties and jurisdictions and it could be done here too...
Competition for good jobs still tough (04/18/14)
We recently completed a search for an English instructor at McCook Community College and I was privileged to be on the search team. After posting the position on various educational sites, we had 40 qualified applicants from literally all over the country and over half of them were either in possession of Ph.D's or were completing them, although the minimum educational qualifications was a Master's degree. ...
An election and a correction (04/11/14)
If you read the editorial in this newspaper's April 3 edition, you should have cause for concern. Red Willow County has a population of 11,055 people with 7,144 of them being registered voters. Of that number, 2,826 of them are registered with a party affiliation other than Republican. ...
Surviving your hospital stay (04/04/14)
People go to the hospital because they're sick and their objective is to get well, or at least better. Unfortunately, according to the May edition of Consumer Reports magazine, that sometimes doesn't happen. The report, quoting John James, the founder of Patient Safety American, says that medical errors and infections contracted while in the hospital are linked to 440,000 deaths every year. ...
What to do about bullying (03/28/14)
Bullying has been around forever. There have always been people who see themselves as powerful and they use that power to prey on the weak. We've seen nation/states do it, empires and countries do it and individual people do it. But there is a particular character flaw that makes a bully even more pathetic than he already is. He never picks on anybody his own size. He always picks on someone he's sure he can defeat and that's what I want to address in this column...
Sometimes we make mistakes (03/21/14)
We all screw up from time to time. We make bad judgments or draw wrong conclusions from the information presented to us and it ends up affecting us negatively. We're especially prone to do this in relationships because all we know for sure is one side of the story and that's our side. ...
The crisis for blacks continues (03/14/14)
62 percent of liberal Democrats believe that government programs can do a lot to reduce poverty, compared with just 21 percent of conservative Republicans. I don't consider myself liberal but I'm a life-long Democrat and have long held to this belief too. But after more than a half century of observing social behavior, I'm reassessing my position and I'm doing so because of the facts rather than some political ideology...
America's retirement crisis (02/28/14)
An amazing 45 percent of all American households with people still in their working years have nothing at all saved for retirement. Among those aged 50 to 64, 75 percent have less than $28,000 put away. Even among the most prepared Boomer households, savings average just $140,000, far too little to fund a 20-plus-year retirement. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, Americans are at least $6.8 trillion short of what they need for a comfortable retirement...
Las Vegas and the Mob (02/21/14)
It's a common belief that Las Vegas was a far better city to visit when the mob was in control and there's significant evidence available to support that theory. Entertainment in the city was influenced heavily by the mob when world-class entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Liberace, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Ike and Tina Turner and Elvis Presley were regulars at Strip hotels. ...
The folly of Valentine's Day (02/14/14)
Today is Valentine's Day, a day set aside to celebrate romantic love, but it has been perverted to the point of becoming almost unrecognizable over the years. The term "Valentine" comes from a priest named Valentinus who lived in ancient Rome. When the Emperor of Rome forbade marriage for young men in hopes that they would become soldiers, Valentinus recognized the unjust nature of this and took action to rebel against the powerful government. ...
America's biggest party (02/07/14)
For several years now, the Super Bowl has been the biggest party day in America and this year surpassed previous years. Look at the data: 8 million pounds of popcorn were consumed 28 million pounds of potato chips were eaten 53.5 million pounds of avocados were used to make guacamole salad...
Storms and rumors of storms (01/31/14)
According to the long-range prediction models, the snow we're getting today is only a small taste of what's to come. I subscribe to a paid weather site that includes the four models most weather forecasters use in predicting the weather and all four have us inundated with snow over the next three weeks. ...
Good guys vs. bad guys (01/17/14)
A few weeks ago, the Omaha World-Herald ran a series of stories about one family in Omaha that has 633 criminal convictions against 35 family members since 1979. We know that nationwide, a vast majority of police calls originate from a very small number of addresses. ...
Stranded in Denver (01/10/14)
I had a wonderful time while I was in Arkansas over Christmas. I spent two days with Michael in Russellville, then two more days with Will in Bentonville. We shared gifts, ate out at new restaurants as well as some of our old haunts, went to movies that will be up for Oscars this year, and, most importantly, caught up on each other's lives. ...
Using my sixth sense (01/03/14)
Police academies have been teaching the sixth sense for decades now and it's still being written about in criminal justice textbooks. I, too, was exposed to it when I went through the Tulsa Police Academy. The sixth sense is suspicion and every good police officer develops a healthy dose of it early on in their career. ...
Flying down to Bentonville (12/27/13)
BENTONVILLE, Arkansas -- Snow was predicted for McCook last Sunday night and I was so concerned that it might prevent Great Lakes Airline from landing Monday morning that I stayed up watching the weather radar. The first batch of moisture that came through went south and west of McCook and when it looked like only light precipitation was behind the main area of moisture, I went to bed. ...
It's not about free speech (12/20/13)
The Internet including Facebook as well as public figures and politicians have all expressed their opinions about the Arts and Entertainment network suspending Duck Dynasty's patriarch, Phil Robertson, for his comments made about homosexuality in an interview with Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine. All of them, including this newspaper's editorial in last night's edition, have missed the point...
Civil discourse (12/13/13)
It's hard to have a level-headed, reasonable conversation with anyone anymore because, thanks to the mass media, everybody seems to know everything about everything. So we don't ask questions; we make absolute, unyielding statements about politics, religion, sports and social life with no regard or thought to the possibility that we might be wrong. And that plays hell with civil discourse...
Paying for my sins (12/06/13)
Today's column title is what I told my ex the other night when I was explaining my latest physical malady to her. I went for 62 years without having anything more serious than a cold or the flu and then, all of a sudden, it feels like the bottom has fallen out...
The heartache of the holidays (11/29/13)
Every holiday season we're exposed to the same kinds of ads and commercials on television and in magazines and newspapers and they're all joyous. But for many, if not most families, holidays bring as much sadness as pleasure because of someone who is no longer with them...
A thousand days (11/22/13)
I was a freshman at the University of Arkansas, relaxing in my room at the fraternity house after lunch and before class when a fraternity brother ran down the hall shouting, 'The President's been shot, the President's been shot!' That was a few minutes after 12:30 pm, exactly 50 years ago today...
Ignorance is bliss (11/15/13)
A person who's dead doesn't know he's dead but everybody else does. It works the same way with ignorance. Ignorance is defined in Webster's dictionary as the state of being uneducated or uninformed; the lack of knowledge in general or in relation to a particular subject...
Is immortality achievable? (11/08/13)
I sometimes wish I could bring my Uncle Bill, the man who raised me, back from the grave so he could see the amazing world I live in today. He and I did everything together when I was growing up. That was before interstates, of course so on Sundays we would sit on the front porch of our house and count the cars going east and west on the highway in front of us, also guessing the make and model of the car and where it was from...
The rest of the story (11/01/13)
Staying at home alone for two weeks after my heart attack was a pretty tough assignment. My cardiologist said I needed rest so that's what I did. The only time I left the house was my daily walk around the apartment complex plus I made one journey to the college and one to Wal-Mart. ...
Actions have consequences (10/25/13)
I love football. I've loved it for as long as I can remember. I played it in school and have watched it ever since. The best days of the year for me are football Saturdays when I watch college football from 11 a.m. til sometimes 1 a.m. the following day. I didn't used to be a big pro football fan until I started playing fantasy football 20 or so years ago and now I watch NFL football with the same intensity on Sunday that I watch college football on Saturday...
A close call (10/18/13)
I woke up relaxed and refreshed last Wednesday, Oct. 9 because the heartburn I had been having off and on for the past couple of weeks was off once again. I had been taking the OTC medicine that's supposed to relieve heartburn symptoms in one to four days because it had worked for me before but I was afraid it wasn't going to work for me this time. ...
Never the full story (10/04/13)
A lot of dissension is reaped in the real world because none of us ever have the full story. We've seen it going on for the past five years in our government and by our people because we don't want to acknowledge that there even is another side, much less listen to it...
Peaceful and serene (09/27/13)
On Sept. 1, the apartment complex I live in instituted a no-smoking policy that includes apartments and common areas of the buildings, but excludes decks on those apartments that have them. I've been a smoker since I was 18 with no ill effects yet (knock on wood) but we never know what tomorrow might bring. I'm one of those who smoke for pleasure, not habit and, if need be, can go long periods of time without smoking, which I often do...
Pick a coin; any coin (09/20/13)
There are a lot of things going on in the world this week, just like every week. The Dow Jones Average reached another new high on Wednesday, the United States has at least temporarily backed away from bombing Syria, and six bodies in two cars were found submerged in an Oklahoma lake, solving a mystery that had existed for decades. But the big story in Nebraska didn't have anything to do with money, war or death. It had to do with football; Nebraska football...
To intervene or not (09/13/13)
I voted for Obama in both presidential elections. I'm not sorry that I did because I could have never supported either Republican candidate and their reactionary positions on issues crucial to tens of millions of Americans. Having said that, I'm deeply disappointed in the president for saying one thing in the campaign and doing another after being elected...
The real purpose of education (09/06/13)
Enrollment at McCook Community College and Mid-Plains Community College is down this year, following a national trend that shows college enrollment down across the country. There are a variety of reasons for that, one being the publicity we've seen lately of students graduating from college with a degree, only to move back in with their parents because they can't find a job...
When golf is more than a game (08/30/13)
Another season of golf is over for me with the start of college this past Monday but the best was saved for last, even though I didn't know it. Last Sunday, my summer-long golf partner, Jim Lemon and I teamed with Bill Beiber from Culbertson and Bill Stokley from McCook to play in the four person Hayes County Fire and Rescue Scramble at Heritage Hills golf course in McCook...
The folly of campaign speeches (08/23/13)
The off-year elections are still more than a year away and the next Presidential election is more than three years out but presidential hopefuls are already invading Iowa. They're at county fairs and the State Fair. They're at birthday and anniversary parties. Wherever a potential 2016 voter might be, the candidates are there too...
Edited for content (08/16/13)
I'm a big fan of the Godfather I and II movies, not so much Godfather III. The first two have generally been recognized as classics and every time they're on television, I watch them. They portray a side of life most of us have never been exposed to and that is the unemotional killing of people for the purpose of 'business'. ...
The importance of family (08/09/13)
My most favorite weeks of the year are when my boys either come to visit me or I go to visit them. This week, my youngest son Will and his wife Erica drove up to McCook to spend a few days with me and I'm always thrilled and excited to see them. When they left yesterday morning, it was raining literally from McCook all the way to where they live in Bentonville, Arkansas and both Will's mother and I were worried they were going to have to drive the whole way in the rain. ...
Nothing's changed but the names (08/02/13)
According to recent polls, the support of Congress by the American people has never been so low. Less than 10 percent of all Americans thought Congress was doing a good job and that low approval rating doesn't surprise anybody. It has been called a Congress of obstruction and a 'do-nothing' Congress and those are some of the nice characterizations. ...
Some different things (07/26/13)
I was talking to someone I've known since I moved here and a person I consider a friend earlier this week when he complimented me on last week's column, saying he especially enjoyed it because he thought I was in danger of becoming too prejudiced in the other direction. ...
How the mass media plays us (07/19/13)
The media plays an almost daily 'gotcha' game with the American people because it can and, in doing so, has changed the very nature of its responsibility to us. The just concluded George Zimmerman trial that was broadcast almost in its entirety to the nation is a perfect example...
The pros and cons of plea bargaining (07/12/13)
The prosecuting attorney for this area, Paul Wood, comes in for frequent criticism because of his extensive use of plea bargaining. Plea bargaining is accomplished when a reduction in charges and/or a lesser sentence is offered by the prosecutor in exchange for a guilty plea by the defendant. ...
Ron Crowe (07/05/13)
I usually don't devote a full column to people unless they've died but I'm going to deviate from that policy today because it involves one of the very best friends I've ever had and an accident that has him in bad shape. Eleven days ago, Ron Crowe fell and hit his head on concrete as he was getting out of his pickup at home. ...
Inside the shadow of our minds (06/28/13)
As long as man has been capable of rational thought, we've been asking why people do the things they do. Why does a married woman have a long-term affair with a man she knows she'll never live with? Why does a man risk his family, his career and his reputation for a fling with someone he never would have even dated when he was single? Why do people kill, rape, steal and murder?...
Support of affirmative action continues to decline (06/14/13)
The original purpose for affirmative action was sound and logical. We lived in a segregated society run by white people who were only going to hire people of color for the lowest paid menial jobs that a vast majority of whites didn't want. If laws were not put in place to correct this, nothing would change and blacks would remain on the bottom forever...
The love we lost (06/07/13)
A good friend called me this past week to read me a story he had written about losing the love of his life. It was a good story, well-crafted and logically put together but I was thinking to myself as I listened to him read it that almost all stories, poems, and songs are written about the loves we've lost, not the ones we still have...
You can't serve two masters (05/31/13)
My friend and fellow columnist Dick Trail and I don't agree on a lot of things but there's one thing we share absolutely the same perspective on and that is we don't like to be lied to. Dick seems to think that only Democrats lie, conveniently turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the lies told by people in his own party but that's another column. I want to focus on personal honesty in this one...
We're not always right (05/24/13)
Most of us think way too highly of ourselves. We develop some expertise in a particular area and the more confidence we gain, the more likely we are to eventually consider ourselves infallible in whatever our endeavor is. The problem is that none of us ARE infallible; we just like to think we are...
Sliding toward Prohibition ... again (05/17/13)
The new NTSB recommendation that the limit for driving under the influence of alcohol be reduced down to .05 is a much bigger story than currently meets the eye. The initial standard of .15 was reached in 1938 after careful study involving the American Medical Association and the National Safety Council. ...
The dark side of social medial (05/10/13)
In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, an unpleasant, unneeded, and unwanted phenomenon occurred. Thousands of people were using social media to inspect, investigate, strip down and evaluate every single shard of video evidence from the bomb blasts and to develop their own suspect list, which was universally wrong. Many people were incorrectly implicated in this horrible event and, in some cases, their lives have become permanently sullied because of it...
Music is the doctor of my soul (05/03/13)
The title of this week's column is a great line from the Doobie Brothers hit, "The Doctor" and it really captures the spirit of so many of us. All of us grew up with music in our souls, whether it was the big band music of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra from my parent's era, Elvis Presley, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Marvin Gaye from my era, disco music from the '70s or hip-hop and rap from the current generation, music touches us all...
Fantasizing about Powerball (04/26/13)
The Powerball jackpot is up to over $91 million dollars this Saturday (immediate cash value) and after a 25% hit from the IRS, the winner, if there's just one, will take home over $69 million dollars. That's been my favorite number for as long as I can remember so I thought this would be a good week to write about it...
Honored and privileged (04/19/13)
I certainly felt both the emotions in the headline of today's column when I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Phi Theta Kappa honor society's induction ceremony Tuesday past. The society was inducting 33 of our best and brightest students who will make a difference and create their own mark on society as they go forward in life...
A special anniversary (04/12/13)
I was driving through Wagoner, Oklahoma, on the way to Northeastern State University where I was already late for class with less than a month to go before graduation. I knew I was going to be late and there was nothing I hated worse than walking into class after it had already started...
Two who reached for the stars and beyond (04/05/13)
In my 30 years of college teaching, I have always made essentially the same speech on the first day of class to my Intro to Sociology students. I know it will fall on deaf ears for most of them but I always hope that one or two will get the message and take the challenge. ...
The whole truth and nothing but the truth (03/29/13)
My playing partner and I are purists when it comes to the rules of golf. Although we're not very good, we always play by the rules. It makes golf much more enjoyable. Instead of having to watch the other guy like a hawk to make sure he isn't cheating, we can attend to our own game and get the most out of it we can. Some say rules were made to be broken; I think they were made to be abided by...
Warrior or war-monger (03/22/13)
I was going to write today on the war threats that North Korea has made against the United States and Iran has made against Israel but a show I watched last night on Showtime changed my mind. It was a documentary about Dick Cheney, who served as vice president under George W. Bush...
The have lots, the have some and the have little (03/15/13)
Things must be great in America! The NYSE has reached a new high for the last six days in a row, something that had never been done before. From a low down in the 6000's a couple of years ago, it has rebounded to a new stratosphere, reaching over 14,500 yesterday and still going up. And Standard and Poor's is closing in on a record high too...
A melancholy trip (03/08/13)
I mentioned at the end of last week's column that I was going to attend my youngest son's father-in-law's funeral in Seward and that's what I did. I drove to Lincoln on Friday and checked in at Embassy Suites, one of my favorite hotels. I had forgotten it was also the weekend of the state high school girl's basketball games, even though I knew that McCook had played and lost on Thursday night. ...
Bits and pieces (03/01/13)
The feature story in Time magazine this week, reportedly longer than any feature they have ever run, is the appalling financial burden imposed on most hospital patients who are unaware of what's being done to them. The only time I was ever in the hospital was when I was six years old to have my tonsils taken out so I know nothing personally about this situation except the horror stories I've heard from others. Nick Veasey's article confirmed those stories...
The forecasters got it half right (02/22/13)
Wednesday's snow storm was everything it was cracked up to be. The forecasters had zeroed in on this storm when it was still out over the Aleutian Islands and predicted it to hit here more than a week in advance. That's pretty good forecasting, considering that they often miss forecasts only six hours away...
How old is too old? (02/15/13)
Brent Musburger caused somewhat of an uproar during the Alabama-Notre Dame National Championship game he was broadcasting when the camera zeroed in on Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama's starting quarterback A.J. McCarron. He spent a good deal of air time talking about how beautiful she was and how all the young kids watching the game should start playing quarterback because the quarterbacks get the best looking girls...
The rich get richer in college football (02/08/13)
Even though I'm a big sports fan, I don't write often about it because my duty as a columnist lies elsewhere. However, since national signing day was Wednesday, I decided to present the overall recruiting picture since the one thing that binds most Nebraskans together is Husker football...
The burning bed (02/01/13)
I'm teaching a class this semester called Current Issues in Criminal Justice and we're focusing on domestic violence for the first eight weeks. I became concerned about it ten years ago when I personally knew a victim of emotional and physical abuse and ever since, I've taught a class about it every two years or so. Sometimes it recedes into the back of my mind because I no longer know any victims of abuse but it pops out again front and center when I teach this class...
The rest of the story (01/25/13)
There are basically three kinds of people in the world. I call them the doers, the get-byers, and the slackers. And they're as different from each other as daylight is from dark. The doers are constantly striving forward, searching and usually finding every ounce of promise they have to offer to themselves and the world. ...
My Christmas vacation (01/11/13)
I was really looking forward to getting out of McCook for awhile. I hadn't been out of town since my son Will visited me last summer and we took the train to Denver so my excitement was high. I was a little concerned about the roads since I left only a couple of days after our blizzard but, as usual, the toughest part of driving was getting out of town. Once I was on the highway, it was clear sailing all the way to Arkansas...
Saying good by to an old friend (01/04/13)
Not goodbye to a person today but to an institution. Newsweek magazine went all digital with its last print magazine publication on Dec 31. All future installments of Newsweek can be read only on an IPad, Kindle, computer or phone. And so, a newsmagazine that has been informing us since the presidency of Herbert Hoover has passed away, or at least been reincarnated...
The end of the world ... again (12/21/12)
Today, the Mayan calendar, the 5,125 year long count cycle, comes to an end. A lot of people worldwide think this means the world will end today. Because of that, World War II bunkers have been opened up to refugees in France. People are taking off work in China. Citizens are hoarding matches, fuel and sugar in Russia and in Sirince Turkey, people are awaiting the arrival of the Ark which they believe will save them from the catastrophe that erupts today...
A white Christmas and beyond (12/14/12)
I became a snow lover when I was growing up in Arkansas. It snowed there more then than it does now and the snows we received were much different than the typical snow in Nebraska. Up here, we often have winds accompanying the snowfall which causes the snow to fall sideways instead of straight down, resulting in deep drifts in some places and bare ground in others. In addition, the snow is usually accompanied by frigid temperatures...
The bigger they are, the harder they fall (12/07/12)
David Petraeus is one of the most decorated generals of his generation and one of the most admired and respected, both at home and abroad. There was no problem he wouldn't tackle and no problem he couldn't solve. He was well read and had an encyclopedic knowledge of all things military. He was, as some put it, a general's general...
My last column ... almost (11/30/12)
After the written attacks I've suffered over the past couple of weeks, I had decided late Monday afternoon that I had had enough. I have never minded trading good-natured barbs with people but the good-natured part of it stopped some time ago. Because I have political views that don't agree with the majority view around here, I am ostracized by a good many people in the region. ...
Thoughts about Thanksgiving (11/23/12)
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and my thoughts are mixed. Bill Stokley and Betty Kenner invited me over to their house for Thanksgiving dinner and I had a wonderful time. Bill does most of the cooking and yesterday he fixed a turkey, a ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, croissant rolls and pumpkin pie and everything was delicious. ...
A nation divided? (11/16/12)
Seven states have reached the signature threshold to have their petitions to secede from the Union addressed and responded to by the President. Texas leads the way with about 100,000 signatures, followed by Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida with about 30,000 each. Six of the seven states voted overwhelmingly for Romney in the Presidential election. Obama narrowly won Florida. On the other hand, Austin, the Capital of Texas, is talking about seceding from Texas...
The numbers behind the numbers (11/09/12)
At first glance, the presidential election results look similar to what was projected. Obama received a little over 3 million more votes than Romney did which accounts for about a three percent edge and he garnered 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206 (Romney has conceded Florida, although it has not been officially called yet). So it was close, but not as close as many were predicting...
The doctor is out (10/26/12)
Both my mother and my former wife thought their doctors were gods. They would do anything they were told to do, would submit to any procedure and take any medicine that was prescribed because of their heartfelt belief that the doctor could do no wrong. I criticized them often for their messiah perceptions but the criticism always fell on deaf ears. And I know many other people who feel the same way...
Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night