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The winter of our discontent

Friday, March 2, 2012

Andrew Breitbart, a politically conservative writer and author, died the other day of natural causes, according to postings on his website. This hasn't prevented conspiracy theorists from claiming that the government murdered him to silence him or that Obama had him killed because he was about to expose the president by showing compromising videotape of Obama when he was an undergraduate in college.

I still hear talk around town about the black helicopters flying in some night to pick up our guns, take away our freedoms and put the country under martial law.

Add to that the world coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012 because that's the day the Mayan calendar ends, the government secretly seeding the clouds, political activists labeled as domestic terrorists, the on-going saga of Obama's birth certificate, the imminence of Armageddon according to a local newspaper columnist and Obama being a "snob" for wanting everybody to go to college and you have just a few of the rumors and theories being bandied about by people who live around here.

On top of that, a prominent private weather forecaster who charges to read his blogs has said that this winter has been like no other because accurate predictions have been impossible to make for the first time in his career. He says he doesn't know what is going on. Maybe he's just lost his touch.

And Bob Kerrey, after deciding not to run for the Senate seat being vacated by McCook's Ben Nelson, changes his mind on the last day and declares he IS running. Some of my Republican friends say this is a travesty because he hasn't lived in Nebraska in several years but this is not an uncommon thing for politicians of both parties to do. You remember when Tom Osborne declared a cabin at the lake in western Nebraska as his home so he could run for Congress in an area much more likely to elect him than the metropolitan areas of Lincoln and Omaha.

Rick Santorum, a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, is the one who called Obama a "snob" for thinking everybody should go to college, despite the fact that in 2006 when he was running for re-election in Pennsylvania, he said he was committed to "ensuring that every Pennsylvanian had access to a higher education." Santorum himself has an undergraduate degree from Penn State University, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from Dickinson School of Law.

The peculiar thing is that I don't hear any of these stories at the college where I teach.

Nor do I hear them in the civic organizations I belong to which are made up of professional men and women. Although I don't listen to talk radio, I do look up quotes on the Internet from radio personalities and find that most of the things I'm hearing around town came from these folks. People obviously find it easier to repeat verbatim the things they hear rather than doing any fact-checking on their own.

So I'll close this week's column by doing a little hypothesizing too.

The world isn't going to end on Dec. 21, 2012, Armageddon isn't going to happen any day now, the black helicopters swooping in and taking everybody's guns, declaring martial law and seeding the clouds have always been myths and always will be, Obama was born in the United States of America, the Democratic party didn't kill Andrew Breitbart and nobody's a snob just because they go to college or want others to. A college education is the best way to improve your financial situation and provide for your family. It has been for a long time and will continue to be.

There's been a lot of talk over the past year or two about the haves and the have-nots when I think the real focus ought to be on the knows and the know-nots.

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The coroner has not yet decided the cause of death of Andrew Breitbart so I don't see how you can do so.

I don't believe the world will end 12-21-2012.

As for the birthplace of Barrack Obama, I am not sure. The certificate of live birth he first released was not a legal birth certificate. After a very long time he released an actual birth certificate, but it had obviously been through numberous changes via a common computer program. Why those were done I don't know. There are ways to alter documents that do not leave the signs of it like in this document. So why did they do it to such an important document prior to its release? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQAqvtXen...

The college records of the president while at Columbia and Harvard are all sealed for some reason. Could it be that he attended both under a foreign student scholarship? I don't know and you don't either.

As a college teacher I would expect you to extol the positives associated with college education. As a financial professional, I can tell that most of the millionaires I know are not college educated. Some of them are, of course, but not most of them. The ways of creating and growing wealth are not taught in colleges. That's a shame given the high cost of college degrees.

I don't believe everyone should attend college. Not everyone is intellectually and emotionally capable of spending that much time and effort getting a degree.

I am not surprised that you don't hear conservative conspiracy theories expressed at a college. Most of your colleagues are liberals, as they are at most colleges.

Among the conspiracies you would hear there where you work; that George Bush stole the 2000 election in Florida, that George Bush took us to war in Iraq over oil, that oil companies have prevented cars that can get 100 mpg from being manufactured, and that the rich are able to avoid taxes for the most part.

Disclosure: I have a college degree, and while conservative, I prefer to be called a libertarian.

-- Posted by JohnGalt1968 on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 9:59 PM

Yeah, and the food Nazi, aka Michelle Obama; can have my slice of pizza when she pries it from my cold, dead fingers.

-- Posted by Mickel on Sat, Mar 3, 2012, at 9:05 AM


What is your point?

-- Posted by bberry on Sat, Mar 3, 2012, at 11:22 PM

Mike - you seem to be in a critical phase these days. I guess the weather guy you are "poking fun at" is Joe Bastardi. I would think that you would respect a guy that admits his analogs aren't working. But maybe you know everything all the time and would never admit that sometimes "you just don't know".

As far as Joe goes he is a long range forecaster. He gives ideas of what might happen weeks and months before it happens. This winter globally has been very cold with much of the cold weather trapped in the poles. I do remember that Joe gave North Amercia a better than 60% chance of being warm to much warmer this winter so he nailed that one.


-- Posted by wallismarsh on Sun, Mar 4, 2012, at 7:26 AM

Wallis, With all due respect, I think if you re-read that 4th paragraph, you might agree that Mike was merely stating that the guy has apparently been very accurate for his forecasting career, and that it has been unusually hard,making accurate forecasts this year. "Maybe he's lost his touch" does not seem like much of a "poke fun of" statement.

So, while you feel as though you were defending the man that you assume Mike is talking about, I thought your response said, "Mike, I don't like you." Fewer words and more to the point.

-- Posted by hulapopper on Mon, Mar 5, 2012, at 9:12 PM

Mike has been critical of the National Weather Service for a long time. He has been very opinionated on the subject and he has been critical of Joe.

I know Joe. His father taught at Texas A&M and I am a member and pay for his professional stuff. His pay stuff is a lot more detailed than his free stuff. I have known Joe for many years and have actually said as much in previous columns when Mike has "jabbed" Joe.

I do not dislike Mike - I have never met him. I have defended Joe before on this forum so I am not being inconsistent.

-- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Mar 6, 2012, at 5:36 AM

"I suppose I've been one of the harsher critics of the National Weather Service in Goodland because of their futile attempts to get anything right, other than wind speed, when they're making forecasts. They're also good at making fair weather forecasts, as is everyone else, because high pressure always means fair weather, so there's not much risk there.

But in this case, everybody else agreed with the NWS on the track and the amount of snow we would receive. Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell called it first on Tuesday, predicting a foot or two of snow for Nebraska and then the Weather Channel quickly fell in line, as did the NWS. Bastardi has been hammered on his blog this winter for numerous snow predictions, primarily in the northeast part of the country that didn't come true, much like I've criticized the NWS. I just don't understand how they can have all this technology available to them and yet aren't any better at making accurate forecasts than they were 50 years ago.

Their forecasts affect the lives of practically everybody. We go to the store when we weren't going to go to the store, we cancel trips we had planned to take and we cancel or change plans we had made all because of an inclement forecast the NWS has made. And then it doesn't happen or, if it does, it doesn't happen like it was predicted to happen. When warnings were first invented for weather forecasting, it meant that those conditions were either currently occurring or were imminent. Issuing a blizzard warning a day early doesn't meet either one of those criteria and yet they continue to do it. They should issue Watches as soon as possible so people can be aware of what MIGHT occur in the future, but they ought to hold off on warnings until they meet one of the two original criteria."

Mike published this just last month. Joe is a long range forecaster and he is not the NWS. The NWS has different criteria than Joe and the NWS, in most years, is criticized for waiting to late to make forecasts or declare storm warnings.

Hulapopper you should re-evalute your post from the prospective of someone who is friends with Joe Bastardi.


-- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Mar 6, 2012, at 7:12 PM

Is this the same Joe Bastardi who was a powerlifter/bodybuilder, and wrote articles in the old Powerlifting USA magazines in the '80 and '90? If so, I knew him as well.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Wed, Mar 7, 2012, at 8:37 AM

Yes it is Chunky. He was the 2005 over 50 Natural bodybuilding champ.

Ed Marsh and Myself are products of the Dave Dunham powerlifting era in McCook. I subscribed to Powerlifting USA from 1983 until the early 1990's.

Joe trains in his basement and when he is dieting you can definitely tell it on his video's.


-- Posted by wallismarsh on Wed, Mar 7, 2012, at 5:36 PM

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Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night