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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 19, 1994)
Wednesday, October 19,1994 Page 4
University of Nebraska-Lincotn
Kara Morrison.Opinion Page Editor
Angie Brunkow.Managing Editor
Jeffrey Robb.Associate News Editor
Rainbow Rowell. Columnist/Associate News Editor
Kilev Christian.Photography Director
Mike Lewis.Copy Desk ChieJ
Budget plan shouldn’t harm education
We've had a few tight years at the University of Nebraska.
As the state of Nebraska struggles to keep its budget manage
able, the university system continues to tighten its belt. NU has
been forced to increase tuition costs to maintain its educational
But things arc rough all over. Nebraskans, too, arc struggling
financially. As Nebraskans become less able to afford a college
education, the cost of a college education in Nebraska rises.
According to a report approved by the Nebraska Coordinating
Commission for Postsccondary Education, state appropriations
have not kept up with tuition increases.
That means less financial aid is available to students who need it
more than ever. Students arc borrowing more money than ever
before, according to the report.
The commission will give the report to Gov. Ben Nelson to use
in budget planning. The commission recommends that state appro
priations should stay constant — slow and steady. They're right.
Keeping state appropriations constant will allow the universities
to better plan their budgets and will help students afford an educa
tion even in bad years.
Drastically cutting education doesn't save taxpayers money. It
just makes it harder for Nebraskans to get an education.
When state legislators review NU’s budget this winter, they
should approve a budget that is good for Nebraskans — a budget
that helps Nebraskans stay in school.
Voters get fed up with dirty campaigns
As Election Day nears, political campaigns arc sinking to a
characteristic level: down and dirty
Robert Sittig, a University of Ncbraska-Lincoln political science
professor, said negative campaign advertisements were becoming
more common in Nebraska
“Campaigns in Nebraska have a negative tone more so than in
the recent past/’ Sittig said. “This is because candidates' cam
paign-strategics people arc advising them to do it, and they arc "
The candidates should let the public advise them to cut it out.
Citizens' confidence in American politicians during the past few
years has been nearly the same as their confidence in, for example,
used-car salesmen This is the result of candidates making voting
seem like choosing between the lesser of two evils.
Campaign press secretaries for U S. Senate candidates Jan
Stoncy and Bob Kerrey said their recent strategics merely had been
to examine the opponent's record. Both have undoubtedly resorted
to negative campaigning.
The negativity will stop only when the public lets the candidates
know they won't stand for it.
You have 21 days.
StafT editorials represent the official policy of the Fall 1994 Daily Nebraskan. Policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Hoard Editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the
university, its employees, the students or the Nli Board of Regents. Editorial columns represent
the opinion of the author The regents publish the Daily Nebraskan They establish the UNI. 4
Publications Board to supervise the daily production of the paper According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial content of the newspaper lies solely in the hands of
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the editor from all readers and interested others,
letters will be selected for publication on the basis of clarity, originality, timeliness and space
available The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to edit or reject all material submitted Readers
also are welcome to submit material as guest opinions. The editor decides whether material
should run as a guest opinion, letters and guest opinions sent to the newspaper become the
property of the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be returned Anonymous submissions will not be
published, letters should included the author's name, year in school, major and group
affiliation, if any. Requests to withhold names will not be granted. Submit material to the Daily
Nebraskan. 34 Nebraska Union. 1400 R St . Lincoln. Neb. 68388-0448
(SO Llis UEKR
YT FOR CLIRTOti
Buyers, think of the obvious
1 seldom give shopping tips, but
here is a piece of shrewd advice
that might be handy for those of
you thinking of buying a computer.
It might be your first computer,
or maybe you are moving up to a
more recent modeft. In cither case,
this tip will prove invaluable:
Be sure the computer you plan to
buy will do what you want it to do.
In other words, don’t buy a
computer that won’t do what you
want it to do. That’s because if you
buy a computer that won't do what
you want it to do. the things you
want it to do won't be done.
Then you will have wasted
So I will repeat what should be a
hard rule for any computer buyers:
Before spending your money, be
sure the computer will do what you
want it to do.
I’m confident you arc impressed
by the wisdom and profundity of
that statement. No need to thank
me. That's why I’m here.
But what is it that you arc
saying? That my advice is stupid
because it is so obvious? That
anyone but a complete idiot knows
thpt when you buy a computer or
anything else, you should be sure
that it will do what you want it to
And you want to know why I am
wasting your time and valuable
newspaper space on advice that
would be obvious to any tech-sawy
My feelings arc hurt. 1 really
thought I was being helpful.
You see, I just read a startling
report on the computer purchases of
the federal government.
I was dismayed to discover that
the government has squandered
billions of dollars on computers
that don’t do what the users want
the computers to do.
One senator. William Cohen of
Maine, says the government has
been spending about*32() billion a
year for the past 10 years.
That comes to about $200
billion, which is not exactly chump
For a decade or more, we have had
government buyers going out and
spending billions on computers that
don t do what they are supposed tcuio.
Why? I assume it is because nobody
told them: Be sure that machine will
do what we want it to do.
change, unless you pay taxes and
consider yourself a chump, which
Many of these computers arc
obsolete when they arrive. Or there
are no spare parts, and the govern
ment has to look in junk piles when
the computers break down. Or they
wheeze and cough or refuse to obey
Sometimes they don't work
because the people who bought the
computers didn’t bother to ask
those who would use the computers
what they wanted the computers to
That, of course, could lead us to
another important shopping tip:
Always know what you want a
computer to do before you buy it. In
other words, don’t buy a computer
unless you know what you want it
Actually, that advice would
apply to just about anything you
buy. whether it is underwear, a
power lawn mower or a $40,000
And I m sure that once again
someone is asking why I am giving
out more stupidly shallow advice.
But how am 1 to know that most
people arc that smart when our very
own federal government doesn’t
follow these obvious guidelines?
Here we have a United States
senator drafting a new law specifi
cally requiring the government to
know what a computer will do
before it is purchased And the law
will also require the computer to
actually do what it is supposed to
See. smarty. If it is so obvious.
why do we have to have a law?
The law also would tell the
people who buy computers for the
government that if a computer on
the shelf of a computer store will do
the job. they should buy it instead
of asking a company to start from
scratch and design a computer that
will do what the store model will
I suppose that. too. seems
obvious to many readers. That is
why most people buy their comput
ers ready made, instead of hiring a
team of engineers to spend millions
of dollars to help them find Carmen
But how obvious can it be if a
committee of senators has to
recommend a law requiring these
For a decade or more, we have
had government buyers going out
and spending billions on computers
that don’t do what they arc sup
posed to do. Why? I assume it is
because nobody told them: Be sure
that machine will do what we want
it to do.
If someone had taken the trouble
to tell them to buy a computer that
will do what it is supposed to do. or
to know what it should do before
they bought It. a great cartoonlike
light bulb would have gone on over
And we would have saved many
billions of our dollars.
I wonder if the senator has
thought about a law requiring
government employees to flush the
Copyright 1994 Tribune Media Service*
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