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The What Was in Town?

September 6, 2005 at 2:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The State Fair wrapped up this weekend. Lincoln puts up a huge fuss any time anybody dares mention the possibility of: 1) dismantling the Fair; or 2) moving the Fair out of Lincoln. And yet while the Fair is actually in town, Lincolnites ignore it. I can’t think of a single friend, family member, or acquaintance who went to the Fair this year. I take that back, I know of five guys who went: the members of No Better Cause. I wonder if they actually performed in front of anybody?

The State Fair is an anachronism, a money pit, a miserable shell of a past reality kept on life support by taxpayers who know the Fair for what it was, not for what it is. Lincolnites foolishly want to keep the Fair in town because it brings in a few tax dollars each year. Psh. You want tax dollars? Turn the Fair Grounds over to real estate developers. They’ll bring in tax dollars. Millions and millions and millions of tax dollars.

But no. We want our corn dogs and funnel cakes. ‘Tis a shame.

TGI Labor Day

September 5, 2005 at 8:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Reffing college soccer games is great, but boy can it wipe you out. I reffed three games this weekend, and if today weren’t Labor Day I would have been one worthless employee today.

On Saturday I worked a mens game at Doane College in Crete. The two guys I worked with were great. As a bonus, the esteemed Jimmy Norris tagged along to assess the crew. Actually, it was the center referee who was being assessed as part of his effort to become a national referee, but assessors always give feedback to the whole crew. Save for one minor brain fart—my brain froze up on me and I delayed way too long on one call as a result—Jimmy said I did very well. Cool.

Oh by the way, Doane ended up losing 2-1 to Newman College.

Yesterday turned into an 11-hour work day. I left the house at 10:45am, and I didn’t get home until right around 10:00pm. Ugh. I had a mens and womens game up in Sioux City, Iowa, at Briar Cliff College. For some reason I didn’t work lunch into my plans, so all I had in my gut before the games were a PB&J and 32 ounces of Gatorade. Real smart, I know, especially with temps in the lower 90’s. The games went fine. Briar Cliff won the womens game fairly easily. The mens game not only started 20 minutes late, it went into extra time. That, combined with a bunch of stoppages for injuries and various discipline problems, made the game last nearly three hours. Briar Cliff eventually won that game as well. When I finally got some food after the game I opted for chicken McNuggets, a big bag of chili cheese Fritos, and a Sprite. I had dessert when I got home: Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Can you tell I really crave salt after I exercise?

I fell asleep on the floor in the living room after I had settled in a bit at home. I think I could have slept there all night, except for one little thing. Around 11:30pm, a very strange sensation yanked me from my slumber. I was so tired, it took

me a while to figure out what was wrong. And then I jerked upright. No matter how much I love my dog, I do not care to be awakened by her licking my lips. Ew. I guess that was her polite way of saying “I would like you to let me out to pee, take off my collar, and open the bedroom door so I can crawl into my bed and go to sleep.” Message received.

I then proceeded to sleep until 10:17am this morning, totalling about 11.5 hours of sleep time. I haven’t slept that long in a long, long while. I’ll tell you what, it felt gooood.

My day so far has been pretty relaxed, primarily because my body is too fatigued to do much of anything. I grabbed some fresh veggies out of the garden, whipped up a tasty lunch (sauteed green pepper, anaheim chile, kung pao chile, zucchini, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce on top of rice), and practiced my trumpet. Eventually I need to take Daisy for a walk and (irk) mow the lawn. The former will happen; the latter, well, I’m not making any guarantees.

Game 1: Nebraska 25 Maine 7

September 5, 2005 at 7:38am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Nebraska kicked off the 2005 season last Saturday with a win over the Maine Black Bears.


Crunch Time for Bush

September 4, 2005 at 5:23am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Patience with the Iraq War is going sour. Federal reactions to Hurricane Katrina are under fire. And now Chief Justice Rehnquist is dead. As if the Bush administration needed another major issue to contend with. How will the Bush team respond to three simultaneous crises? If the rest of Bush’s presidency is any indication, the answer is probably: not well.

Begin the countdown to somebody posting on Democratic Underground that Rehnquist was actually murdered in a plot orchestrated by Karl Rove “to distract the country from the Bush administration’s failings in dealing with Hurricane Katrina.”

Oh, and if I were a betting man my five bucks would be on Scalia taking over the center



iiiiiiit’s Game Day!

September 3, 2005 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

49-10 sez this prognosticator.

To pass the time until kick-off, may I suggest watching some bear-related videos.

Have You Seen This Man?

September 2, 2005 at 9:37pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln police need your help. If you have seen Antonio Banks, call Crimestoppers at 475-3600 or the police department at 441-7204 with information. Banks is considered armed and dangerous.

All-Around Government Failure

September 2, 2005 at 2:29pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The more I think about the failures of various levels of government in Katrina’s wake, the angrier I get. For a long time I wasn’t able to pin down exactly what I thought the failures were. Then I realized: the failures were the most basic failures a government could possibly make. People create governments to protect three things:

  • Life
  • Liberty
  • Property

The protection of those three things is at the core of our government’s responsibilities. All we ask of our government is that they keep us alive, let us be free, and prevent others from taking or harming our property. In post-Katrina New Orleans, local, state, and federal governments have failed on all three counts.

If we cannot trust our government to do the only three things it really has to do, what can we trust them to do? That New Orleans has descended into anarchy is not surprising. The government violated its contract with the people, so the people severed the contract. I don’t blame them. That’s not to say I excuse their actions—just because the government fails you doesn’t give you the right to infringe upon the rights of your fellow citizens—but I can at least, on a very basic level, empathize with their fury.

So many levels of government have failed so miserably at such basic tasks, that I can only hope that the reaction nationwide is a strong cynicism toward government in general. Americans have over-trusted their government for too long, in the process forfeiting far too many liberties. Do I actually think Americans will use this unfortunate situation as a catalyst for a general government contraction? No. But a guy can hope.

Power Play

September 2, 2005 at 2:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

LES has decided to continue with its recommendation to run a high-voltage power line along the west edge of Nine Mile Prairie. The decision is somewhat surprising considering the intense disapproval of the plan by prairie supporters, whose main complaint is that the power line will ruin the view from the prairie.

LES is stuck in a no-win situation. They can keep the line next to the prairie and sacrifice PR points at a time when rates are increasing. Or they can cave in, move the line, and be forced to raise rates even faster due to the extra costs, thus sacrificing PR points.

I don’t find the prairie supporters’ complaint very compelling. I don’t think that “it will ruin the view” is a sufficient justification for awarding them de facto veto power over neighboring developments. It would be an unfortunate precedent. Today it’s a power line. Tomorrow it’s a house, or a gas station, or a Hy-Vee. The prairie’s primary purpose is as a biological reserve. A power line will not affect that role. An undisturbed view is a nice bonus, but it is a weak justification for applying this sort of an easement on neighboring property.

Spotted Gators

September 2, 2005 at 2:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I haven’t been to a high school football game in years. Until last night, that is. I got to watch the North Star Gators play the Millard South Patriots from the press box at Seacrest Field. I acted as spotter for my cousin, who is North Star’s PA announcer. Watching most of a game through a pair of binoculars is a little odd, but I had a lot of fun. As a Southeast grad I probably shouldn’t be going to North Star games, but I may just have to go help spot a few more times this season.

In Support of Price Gouging?

September 2, 2005 at 12:18am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Two quick lessons in market clearing

price gouging. Excerpts:’s possible by law to keep prices below their market-clearing levels. In politics and law, that’s called “price control.” In economics, the result of that policy is called “shortage.” At any price below the market-clearing level, buyers will want to buy more gasoline than sellers have to sell. The result is either waiting in line, which is a very inefficient means of rationing compared to letting the price rise, or some sort of legal rationing system (no doubt with extra rations for SUV owners and others who “need” lots of gasoline).

And from Jane Galt:

But it hurts! I hear you moan. “What about my Labor Day driving?” Let me translate. What you’re really saying when you say “I don’t want to pay more for gas” is “I don’t want to either use less gas, or use less of anything else”. But as a society, we have to use less gas. You, or someone else, is going to have to consume less of the stuff, because we have less than we used to. If you don’t want to be one of the people using less gas, then you have to be one of the people using less of everything else. Thus will the market pretty efficiently strip out driving by those who value it least.

Or to put it another way, “Yes, of course it hurts. If it didn’t hurt, no one would stop driving.”

University of Nebraska Offers Assistance

September 1, 2005 at 6:54pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

NU President J.B. Milliken announced today that the University of Nebraska would make efforts to assist students and faculty affected by Hurricane Katrina. That’s to be expected. This, however, seems awfully generous:

“For those students eligible for admission who are unable to return to their home campuses for an indefinite period of time, we will immediately accept as many as we can at our campuses. We will allow them to enroll this fall at in-state tuition rates, and provide assistance in quickly registering them for classes, finding housing and whatever additional help they need.” Classes began August 22 in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney, so incoming students would have a reasonably small number of class days to make up.  Milliken noted that a number of Nebraska students who were enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans have already contacted the university. “This is temporary assistance, and when their institutions are able to re-open, we will also help facilitate an easy transfer back home,” Milliken said.

To some degree the offer is in the University’s self-interest. But consider how much of a pain in the neck this could be for NU’s faculty and staff. Surely there are no built-in mechanisms to deal with a large influx of students during a semester, so those mechanisms will have to be created on the fly. If you know anything about bureaucratic behavior, you know that “we’ll just make it up as we go” is rarely heard. More often heard is “Let’s create a committee!” Milliken knows all that. That he is willing to try to make something like this work makes this a very kind gesture.

I wonder how many students will actually accept the offer?

Update: I found an online version of the full text of the announcement

Who is to Blame?

September 1, 2005 at 2:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

It seems everybody is blaming somebody for Big Bitch and the damage she has caused. It’s getting pretty difficult to keep track of all the folks to blame. So I’m making a list.

  • Anybody who opposes the Kyoto Protocol (because they support global warming)
  • The Oil industry (because Nature hates gasoline’s pollution, so she destroyed a bunch of the industry’s equipment)
  • White people (because Katrina is a “black” name and therefore the “black” hurricane is wreaking havoc on the South for years of racial inequality)
  • Gays (because God hates fags)
  • Evangelical Christians (because God hates intolerant Southerners)
  • George W. Bush (because he used funding that could have paid to improve flood prevention measures to pay for the Iraq War)
  • Abortionists (because God hates baby killers)

Did I miss any?

SportsCenter 50*50

September 1, 2005 at 8:44am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

The worldwide leader in sports was in town for Nebraska’s stop on the 50 states in 50 days tour.


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