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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 2, 2000)
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor Samuel McKewon
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
Weekend activity choices j
limited to drinking
A few of us Stayed late at the Daily Nebraskan
on Thursday night for the R Street/NU
Directions/Lincoln Police Department shindig.
As a small group of us reluctantly sipped
Pepsis and gnawed on one - yes, only one - hot
wing, a few things hit us.
And we guarantee, these things hit us a lot
harder than the hangover we’d have suffered
Friday if we would have been gallivanting down
Most of the crowd surrounding the police offi
cers and hot wings was made of well-dressed
media Most of the rest of the people surround
ing us didn’t look as though they were headed for
O Street. Most looked like they’d left their dorm
or Greek house for a late night snack. Most
And most probably came to the same conclu
sion - that yet again, an idea with merit was car
ried off poorly and probably won’t happen again
because of it
We know what it’s like to be
students, students who drink
alcohol and students who, at one
time or another, have drank too
We know all of this because we
go to school at the University of
Nebraska-lincoln, where there is
nothing else to do but arink and
drink and eventually get drunk.
- to be put
to real use,
Anyone on u street on
Thursday night probably wouldn’t detour any
where unless they got to eat a lot of free hot wings
- a vat of them - and got to drink a liter of free
Pepsi. Hearing some live music (which, granted,
was supposed to have been a part of the event)
would be nice. A place to sit would have been
Park the vat of wings, the tunes, the benches
and the smiling, very friendly police officers a
block off of O Street, within the sight of the
drinkers, and bingo - success.
Maybe even some fun.
We think that a group like NU Directions - a
group that got $700,000 to spend at its leisure to
give us something to do besides drink- can try a
little bit harder.
We want more stuff on campus. At night. With
music, good food and our friends - maybe in our
newly renovated Union Plaza, which usually
There are examples aplenty. Look at the
University of Kansas in Lawrence. Look at the
University of Iowa in Iowa City. Look at the
University of Missouri in Columbia.
Hell, look at the hot dog vendor perched on
the comer of 14^ and O streets every weekend -
a vendor that attracts gobs of students with the
scent of unhealthy food that isn’t even free.
We want that $700,000- our money- to be put
to real use, not just face value use.
We know the numbers of binge drinkers are
down. But to keep them down, we need to give
them something else to do.
Not all of us want to get drunk. But none of us
want to stay home on weekend nights - or any
night, for that matter. We like free food, music,
hanging out and enjoying ourselves on the uni
versity’s tab. We know what we want.
NU Directions, the administration, the
University Program Council, the ASUN presi
dent, Lincoln’s Police Department and even
Lincoln’s inconclusive music task force, don’t.
And until they figure out we’re practically
drinking ourselves to death waiting for them to
ask us what, exactly, we want, nothing will
change. Nothing at all.
Sarah Baker, Bradley Davis, Josh Funk, Matthew Hansen,
Samuel McKewon, Dane Stickney, Kimberly Sweet
The Daiy Nebraskan welcomes briefs, letters to the editor and guest columns, but does not guar
antee their pubication. The Daily Nebraskan ■ chains the right to edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be returned. Anonymous
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Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St Lincoln, kKE 68588-0448. E
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the Fall 2000 Daily Nebraskan. They do not necessarily
reflect the views of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A column is solely the opinion of its author; a cartoon is
solely the opinion of its artist The Board of Regents acts as publisher of the Daily Nebraskan; poli
cy is set by the Daly Nebraskan Edttorial Board. The UNL Publications Board, established by the
regents, supervises the production of the paper. According to policy set by the regents, responsi
baty for the edtarW content of the newspaper lies solely in the hands of its employees.
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What arises over a cup of tea
We meet at Barnes and
Noble. This is my territory, not
his. We first met at a party two
weeks ago. And together, over
many gin and tonics, we
solved all of the world’s prob
lems in one night, but later at
Perkins, over coffee, we decid
ea mat no one was listening. iddmiii
So after a few emails and McEWGFl
some phone calls (after I’ve
already skipped out on a cou
ple of previous rendezvous), I decide to give it anoth
This is die summer I have given up on dating. Of
course 1 haven’t told him that, but I would if he just
came right out and asked me, which of course he has
n’t yet, for whatever reason.
I am assuming it is because we have only just met
and he is still feeling me out (I said out, not up. None
of that has taken place yet we are intellectuals so give
us both some credit)
He sits forward on the edge of the big pillowy
chair as if it is an uncomfortable folding wood chair
and he is uncertain of its stability. I feel devoured by
his intense gaze and immediately it begins to make
me nervous, bothers me.
His questions are so standard and cliche that I
almost ask, “So are you interviewing for the future
good little wife?” And I immediately feel shame for
this thought because he is just a lonely guy looking for
his soul mate.
Unfortunately, I have already dreamed up my
soul mate only he is somewhere in Greece or off the
shores of Madagascar sailing across the high seas and
probably will never be seen or noticed by foe likes of a
foul-mouthed, nasty-thinking, raucous girl like me,
yet I continue hopelessly pining away. Until my real
Odysseus comes along.
I find myself looking at this young, sweet guy and
feeling disgust. I want to say to him, “Why can’t you
lean back and sprawl out like a sleepy lion foe way my
ex used to and share this gooey chocolate chip cookie
I offer you now? Why can’t we sit content in silence,
reading nothing in particular but profoundness
noted and shared in secret moments where you lean
over and say, ‘Check out this cool passage,’ and our
minds content, our hearts restful, we share soft words
that taste like rich warm kisses?”
Instead, I dutifully answer this guy’s questions
and hear myself say something about dancing. This
takes me back but doesn't seem to faze him Instead
his face perks up.
“You like to dance?”
“I guess so?” I am almost asking myself.
There is a gleam starting to come through the
blue forest of his eyes and
ne aoesn t miss a Deal.
“Good. We’ll go dancing.”
"Uh. Okay?” I hear
Then it is decided,
although now I am won
dering what sort of danc
ing we will be doing. I want
to ask him if he meant ball
room, swing, club or coun
try. He seems to know the
answer to this already and I
get the impression that I
missed something in our
Then I blurt out, “I love
Now the glimmer is on
full shine. He has just start
ed to ride he says. I tell him
someday that I want to N>
have a horse. I almost tell
him that instead of an
engagement ring, that
when I get married I just
want my beloved to give
me a horse and that would
be better than the ring. But
I don’t want him to take his /•'•
ideas any further than they °
have already gone, so I let
that one go.
He says, “Where do you
want to have this horse?”
"In the country, of
“You can’t possibly
mean here in this state?
Not here in Nebraska?"
Ah, here it comes, my
reason why I won’t be able
to go out with him ever
again. He has given me an
out and I take it like Anna Koumikova would take a
free match point from Steffi Graf if Anna were ever to
be good enough to get to play against Steffi, and this I
know will never happen again, so I grab it and run
“Because it’s so barren?...” I finish his sentence
for him almost gleefully. I am now thinking maybe
there’s a chance that I can still make it home to catch
He takes the bait, “Yes, I mean, there are no trees,
and it’s so desolate.” He is almost pleading with me to
say, “To hell with Nebraska.”
I glance at my watch. “Time’s up,” I want to say.
Instead, this being a strange night to begin with and
me having just been dumped, I move in for the kill.
Which I’m betting that later I will regret, later as in
months later when I am dateless with no prospects
on the horizon and I am left to dance around my
apartment to Johnny Lee Hooker, desperate and
It will have been my own doing. There will be
absolutely no excuse, and my friends will enjoy telling
“Well, actually I think it’s really beautiful here. I
may be able to live in Nebraska my entire life, I espe
cially love western Nebraska, I believe that is the most
beautiful part of the state.” I see the change in his
eyes, yes, it is unmistakable. I've now answered
wrong on question No. 8.1 will be thrown out of the
running for future wife. Horrors!
We are both silent.
I offer him part of my cookie as a peace offering.
He waves me on.
“No, no, I don’t eat sweets.”
I look at his still full cup of tea. He has left the bag
in it and it has turned almost black, certainly too
strong to drink by now, I think, and cold, too. He does
not know how he likes bis tea, I think. I would have
offered to help him prepare it, even offered to do it
myself, just get up and take his full cup and season it
with cream and sugar to drinking perfection.
He looks now Idee a sad boy sitting in a chair look
ing around for solace. And I would get up and just give
him a hug, softly ruffle his hair, a gentle kiss behind
the ear. Even knowing this won't work out. Just to
I would tell him his blue eyes are striking and with
his expensive cars, great clothes sense, keen sense of
humor and many flashes of kindness that the lovely
Mrs. will turn up shortly. But the best I can do is smile
and say it's getting late.
The next time I see him at a friends’ party we are
both on the patio. He looks at me as a scolded puppy
and I acknowledge to myself that I led him on a bit to
an extent I take a step back into the cold dark shade
and soak up the blame for the both of u£.
Michael Semrad, Jr./DN
so fatally mislead
us, as those that
are not wholly
wrong; as no
watches so effec
tually deceive the
that are some
In politics, some fads rise up and
then fade away, never to be heard from
again; others lie low in periods of unpop
ularity, only to pop back up every few
decades when die time seems right. A
powerful and growing movement in this
country has reunited under the banner
of “States' Rights.”
The states’ rights ideology has been
popular in the South since pre-civil war
days, but now it’s increasingly becoming
part of the standard lexicon of
Republican and Conservative activists.
Prominent Republican politicians
and jurists, building on the traditional
belief that the federal government is a
bloated bureaucracy, have turned to the
notion of states’ rights and sovereignty as
support for their conservative vision of
As the GOP platform states: “our
commitment (is) to restore the force of
the 10th Amendment, the best protec
tion the American people have against
federal intrusion and bullying ...
Washington must respect that one size
does not fit all states...”
Several Justices of the Supreme Court
have embraced the ideology and have
used it to strike down certain federal
laws, such as those that allow persons
uiscrimmaieu against on me oasis 01 age
or disability to sue state agencies.
Almost all of us can agree that feder
alism (the division of power between
states and the federal government) has
some merit. The Constitution was
designed to disperse power in order to
prevent tyranny and we can all see the
virtue in having 50 separate “laborato
ries” to experiment with what laws bring
about a just and fair society.
However, the rhetoric of states' rights
is actually employed for more sinister
As legal scholar James Wilson said,
“When one studies the history of federal
ism in the United States, states’ rights
advocates usually favored federalism to
protect something else.
“Initially, the slave owners relied on
federalism because they knew the feder
al government was the greatest threat to
their peculiar institution. Later, racists
relied upon states' rights to protect the
continued subordination of African
Americans through segregation and vio
What do current states’ rights advo
cates hope to achieve? They use the con
cept to attack environmental laws, work-,
place-safety regulations and even some
civil rights laws. It is clear that they are
not committed to the concept to protect
against “tyranny” but merely an instru
mental tool to achieve desired goals.
States’ rights activists abandon the
concept whenever the federal govern
ment imposes a conservative ideology
on states. Examples are abundant.
In 1996, voters in California approved
Proposition 21^/an initiative that allows
marijuana to 6e approved for medicinal
use. Although seven other states have
passed similar laws, last month (at the
request of the Justice Department) the
Supreme Court issued an emergency rul
ing preventing an Oakland medicinal
marijuana club from opening.
The federal government has “fiercely
attacked” medical marijuana laws, even
threatening to incarcerate physicians
who prescribe the drug. Where is the vig
orous defense of state “sovereignty" now?
Conservative states' rights activists are
nowhere to be found.
Similarly, Oregon's law allowing
physician-assisted suicide would be
“essentially nullified” by a pending
Congressional bill that would enactf
criminal penalties for doctors prescrib
ing lethal doses of pain medication.
Although Maine residents will vote
on a similar assisted-suicide initiative in
November and the Alaska Supreme
Court is considering a right-to-die case,
conservatives are pushing for the federal
If states’ rights activists sincerely
believed in the virtue of limited federal
government and an opportunity for
states to experiment, they would speak
out So far they have been silent
If the federal government is too large,
it is the people’s fault The same persons
who elect state officers elect federal rep
resentatives, and (in these cynical times)
you rarely encounter anyone pleased
with their local or state governments.
In the abstract, the idea of states'
rights as a limitation on federal power
seems wise. In modern political dis
course, however, “states’ rights” is simply
a code word: conservatives invoke it with
vigor when they dislike a particular fed
eral policy and ignore it without shame
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