July 2012

Alfredism

Unpublished Journal
March 14, 1992

Years ago, so many I have lost count, I attended a Prairie Plains Resource Institute meeting where I was one of several speakers. One of the goals of the institute was to save as much of the original prairie and its flora as they could. There are only patches of it left in impossible places for tractor and plow to reach.

The Breathtakingly Bad Novels that Changed America: The Legacy of Ayn Rand, Part Two

By P. Scott Stanfield

There are other examples of literary characters whose adolescent narcissism enables young readers to connect with them in a peculiarly powerful way—Holden Caulfield, say, or Scarlett O’Hara. But J. D. Salinger and Margaret Mitchell did not become political icons, and my second proposition is that Rand has become one, even though our political culture is just not that susceptible to literary influence.

Back to Nebraska, a Place I Couldn't Wait to Leave

By Bill Ray

I am going back to Nebraska, a place where I was born and raised, and a place I couldn’t wait to leave, on June 2, and the funny thing is, I am looking forward to it.

It’s not that I ever held a grudge against the place, where “The girls are the fairest and the boys are the squarest, … and we will all stick together, in all kinds of weather,” it’s just that I had to see the world and meet the interesting people of my day.

Book Review: Exploring the Fiction of Patricia McCormick, the Crusading Journalist and Writer for Young Adults

By Lopamudra Banerjee

There is probably a dim spot in all of our memories when we come to think of the Cambodian war of the 1970s that destabilized the country with an extremist communist regime.” Patricia McCormick, the National Book Award finalist, addressed this to her audience at the Criss Library, University of Nebraska at Omaha, at an intimate reading session of her latest novel, “Never Fall Down.” In the city to talk about the haunting, hopeful piece of fiction that largely draws on the life of Arn Chorn Pond, the brave, spirited survivor of the late ’70s Cambodian Revolution, she also provides some vivid accounts of the atrocities, the tragic separation of children and families trapped by the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In the same breath, she talks about the protagonist Arn, the courageous survivor whom she met through a neighbor in New York, and reads sections of the book that gradually traces his quest to find ultimate redemption from the gruesome torture he was subject to.

Too Little Water, Too Much Water: Pakistan's Climate Change Dilemma

By Simi Kamal and Amina Siddiqui

In 2010 and 2011 Pakistan experienced two of the most catastrophic floods in its history. The scope and scale of the crisis was unprecedented. The damage caused by the 2010 floods affected 20 million people, with over 2,000 dead in 82 districts and more than 4.6 million people left without shelter. According to United Nations estimations, the vast flood waters and heavy rainfall impacted an area of over 39.5 million acres. The economic damages resulting from these floods were estimated to be well over U.S. $10 billion, in line with the Asian Development Bank and World Bank assessment that provided initial figures of U.S. $9.7 billion.

Mow Better Blues

By Benjamin Vogt

Finally, it’s the weekend. Lazy mornings where the fog of a long sleep creeps delightfully into every waking observation—the robins feeding their young at the nest, bees hopping from coreopsis to coneflower, the cool breeze before a suddenly warm afternoon. And the belching vibration of the neighbor’s lawnmower along the fence, the sweet exhaust stinging one’s throat on the retreat back inside.

Birds of the Tallgrass Prairies

By Paul A. Johnsgard

Nebraskans may be justifiably proud of our tallgrass prairies; few other states have a larger number of protected tallgrass prairies that are open to the public for our enjoyment and educational opportunities. They include prairies located in state parks, such as Rock Creek Station State Park in Jefferson County, and state wildlife management areas (WMAs), such as the 1,120-acre Pawnee WMA, Pawnee County, and 600 grassland acres in Twin Lakes WMA, Lancaster County. There are also some federally owned restored prairies, such as at Homestead National Monument in Gage County and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge in Douglas County. City-owned prairies include both virgin and restored prairies in Lincoln’s Pioneers Park, and there are several Nature Conservancy prairies. The University of Nebraska owns the historically famous 240-acre Nine-Mile Prairie, located nine miles northwest of Lincoln. The best-preserved and one of the best-studied tallgrass prairies in Nebraska is National Audubon’s 800-acre Spring Creek Audubon Prairie. Located in the glacial moraine hills of southern Lancaster County, it was acquired by the National Audubon Society in 1999 and contains over 350 species of plants. A listing of more than 75 tallgrass prairies in eastern Nebraska, plus 13 more in adjacent states, is available online (Johnsgard, 2007). Most of these sites are freely open to the public.

The Inaugural Nebraska Prairie Chicken Festival

By John Ragsdale

Nebraska’s first Prairie Chicken Festival took place the weekend of April 20 in the Sandhills near the Calamus Reservoir north of Burwell.

The event—hosted by Calamus Outfitters and the Gracie Creek Landowners and sponsored by Audubon Nebraska, The Nature Conservancy, the Nebraska Bird Partnership and the World Wildlife Fund—was organized to celebrate prairie chickens, sharp-tailed grouse and the beauty of the locale they inhabit.

Biblical Bunk: Why Relying on Scripture to Oppose Gay Marriage Fails

By Clay Farris Naff

If anyone could halt the turning of the tide, you’d expect it to be the defenders of biblical morality. After all, they uphold the literal, unchanging, inerrant, indisputable Word of God. Or so they believe.

Take a close look, however, and the claim crumbles. You see, there is no Bible.

That’s right. The most widely published book in history does not exist—at least, not in an authoritative edition.

Immigration in Nebraska

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