April 2008


Prairie Fire Newspaper went on hiatus after the publication of the September 2015 issue. It may return one of these days but until then we will continue to host all of our archived content for your reading pleasure. Many of the articles have held up well over the years. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts, or an interest in helping return Prairie Fire to production. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to all our readers, contributors, and supporters - the quality of Prairie Fire was a reflection of how many people it touched (touches).

Mostly misguided Mozart: Gray matters

By Eli S. Chesen Countless parents subscribe to the notion that exposing their child to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart might convert their progeny into prodigy. The commonly held delusion here is that equipped with a handbook and handful of CDs, Johnnie has an advantage over those other kids who are growing up on Twisted Sister and Mötley Crüe. Unconventional wisdom says that even brief exposure to the 18th century musical savant will make your kid smarter and, after all, Mozart had pushy parents, too.

Alfredisms: "Polking Around"

“Polking Around”
June 4, 1970
We entered a world of fantasy yesterday. Not the fantasy world of the Pentagon, who use B52 bombers in fighting a guerrilla war; nor the fantasy world of Vice President Agnew, in which he is right and everybody else is wrong; but the fantastic world of breakfast foods on the shelf at Stromburg’s IGA.

The Cuba USAID project: Developing an approach to property-claims settlement for a democratic Cuba

The Havana skyline and waterfront, with Che’s image in iron on the Interior Ministry building in the Plaza de la Revolución. (Courtesy  Arthury Pearstein)
By Arthur Pearlstein Some conflicts present enormous challenges for those of us in the field of dispute resolution and take years, even generations, to get resolved (if they ever do). Imagine an island paradise where individuals and companies lose everything from their homes, to their Chevys, to their factories, rum distilleries, villas, hotels and even boat docks, seized by a dictator who claims to have acted on behalf of an aggrieved people. Imagine over 40 years pass without settlement and now you are asked to devise a process to bring about a solution. This is the challenge that was presented to Creighton University, starting near the end of 2005.

The Nebraska Service Center: NSC provides important services to immigrants, naturalized citizens, military

By Jerry Heinauer A little-known fact about Nebraska is that one of its major federal employers is the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). The NSC, located in Lincoln, employs 1,100 men and women who process applications for a wide variety of immigration benefits. Half of these employees are federal employees. The other half work at the center for a contracted firm that does data entry, mail room and file room functions. The NSC operates out of two buildings. One building on the north end of the Haymarket area houses mail, data entry and file functions; the other, located northwest of the airport, houses most of the adjudicative functions.

Temptation for candidates is to flaunt their faith - An interview with Martin Marty

By Daniel Cattau Martin Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he taught chiefly in the Divinity School for 35 years. He also is a columnist for the Christian Century, on whose staff he has served since 1956. Mr. Marty, a Lutheran pastor ordained in 1952, is the author of more than 50 books, including “Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America,” for which he won the National Book Award. Former Dallas Morning News religion editor Dan Cattau recently interviewed him in Chicago:

William F. Buckley Jr.

By Stephen Griffith An icon died this February. William F. Buckley, journalist, debater and intellectual force behind the conservative movement, died Wednesday, Feb. 27. Founder of the National Review and author of 54 books, he shaped a conservatism that took both people and ideas seriously, and he enjoyed life in the process. That showed in his smile. Others have outlined his life, and many who knew him have paid eloquent tribute.

Book Review - The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan

By Gene Bedient

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” This is a typical quote from the book of memoirs of the most enduring chairman of the Federal Reserve. It was an unlikely read for me. However, upon hearing an interview with Greenspan promoting the book, I was intrigued by his praise of Presidents Ford and Clinton in the same breath, as well as his obvious intellect. In the end, I found the book to be an enlightening and worthy read.

Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies present fourth annual invitational art show

By James W. Hewitt In 2005, the Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies opened their first annual Great Plains Invitational Art Show and Sale at the Great Plains Art Museum. The show had three purposes: to draw attention to the museum and its $10 million regional collection by attracting a larger audience, to showcase the work of young, upcoming or established regional artists, and to raise funds for acquiring new artwork that will enhance the mission of the museum.

Rumba: The Cuban dance of romance

By Byron Barksdale

Cuba has long been associated with creative, exciting, lively dances that reveal the African and Spanish historical influences of Cuba. While anyone can “dance Cuban” in Miami or Los Angeles clubs, there is nothing more exhilarating than dancing Cuban dances to the beat of the professionals playing guiros and the maracas under the stars at the world-famous Tropicana in Habana. The Tropicana show is a Cuban-style Cirque de Soleil-type performance. After the show and a short break, the entire Tropicana stage opens up for the guests to dance into the early hours of the morning.

Sonny's Corner: What does it mean to be human?

By Rev. Karla J. Cooper There is a question that is as old as humankind itself. This question was even explored by our earliest bipedal ancestors through the first generation of Adam and Eve, pondered intentionally when Cain wondered if he was his brother Abel’s keeper. This is a question that not even the most astute academician could even engage in an objective intellectual discourse without conjuring up emotions, empathy and passions. It is a question that the most boisterous biblical scholar or theoretical theologian could not even constrict to words nor confine to common experience.

Tallying the cost: Prairie habitat, industrial agriculture and the Great Plains

By Bruce Babbitt Tallgrass prairie once covered the Midwest, interspersed with oak savannas along streams that drained toward the Mississippi River. Small lakes, potholes and swamps dotted the land, occupying imperfectly drained soils, still fresh from the glaciers that had melted away little more than 10,000 years ago. Herds of bison roamed the prairie, trailed by packs of wolves. Overhead, flocks of waterfowl filled the skies, migrating south in the winter, returning in the spring to nest and breed on the waters.

Earth Day 2008: 38 years of Earth Day

By Kendall Weyers The first Earth Day, celebrated nationwide in April 1970, was a major success because it grew from the energy of a diverse and widespread grassroots movement. That same type of energy is showing in the planning of Lincoln’s Earth Day 2008. While traditionally sponsored and organized by the city every five years, this year’s event is being coordinated by the Coalition for the Environment and Earth Day (CEED).

Invasive species in Nebraska: The battle for Nebraska’s natural legacy

By Annabel Major and Craig Allen You may have heard them called alien, exotic, feral or non-native, but they all point to the same suspect: invasive species. For decades, humans have waged war upon a common enemy. Arriving in many different forms, often little is known about these elusive invaders until they make themselves apparent by choking out native flora and fauna, irreversibly damaging ecosystems and costing Nebraskans millions of dollars in control efforts. With examples such as the “snakezilla” (northern snakehead fish) and the “green menace” (emerald ash borer beetle) in the eastern United States receiving media attention, it is time we turn our attention to Nebraska.

Immigration in Nebraska

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