Huskers’ vision

Fairbury brand hot dogs.  First National Bank.  Runza.  TransCanada.

What do they all have in common?  (Well, that was probably a set up for a few of you wise-acres, but, oh well…)

They all advertise at Memorial Stadium during Nebraska football games.  Well, they all did.

It seems that Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne has decided to end TransCanada’s ad.  It featured the vaunted Nebraska Pipelines of the 90’s (the O lines), then at the end saying something to the extent of “and TransCanada has been serving Nebraska with their pipeline since…”

(Point of order:  We haven’t seen the ad.  Or if we have, we don’t remember it.  We’ve tried to get our hands on it, but our understanding is that the characterization above is accurate.)

So, T.O. decided that since TransCanada and the pipeline issues has become too “political”, they are breaking their advertising contract with TC.  We have no idea what the contract terms are, but we are guessing they have plenty of leeway to end the deal, for whatever reason.

And that certainly is a “whatever”.  TransCanada is too political?  They are simply promoting their company name brand.  Oh, and they also use facts and science.

What does the other side use?  Well let’s see, they use flashlights and beanie babies and rhymes and get themselves arrested.  Now check us if we’re wrong but THAT’s political.

We can guarantee you that every one of the companies listed above hires lobbyists and has bills they are interested in in the legislature.  And they all, in one way or another, support certain candidates who they beleive in or who they hope will support their interests.  And that’s not political?

Get back to us after the animal rights gangs protest the contents (and color) of the red hot dogs that get shot into the crowd.  Or someone gets too much gas from a Runza.  Or doesn’t like a banking bill in the Unicameral.  Or, ghast!, isn’t crazy about the new insurance that they are required to buy under ObamaCare.

Pull out a few flashlights and you can get that DerWeinerSchlinger removed from the stadium.


Joe Jordan is reporting on his blog that state Senator Gwen Howard is thinking about ending her run for the Democratic nod for the 2nd District House seat.

Seems she went to DC to gauge her support there and came home decided that she was now undecided about her campaign.  Funny, but we thought Democrats hated it when one candidate stepped down because the establishment wants someone else to run (i.e. John Ewing).  Looks like the Dems get no choice in their primary.  Aint’ that a pity.

Gwen, we hardly knew ye…


We get a zillion emails from various political groups, but we actually opened this one yesterday:

Top Five Taxpayer-Funded Tourist Traps.

Now that sounds interesting (and we are suckers for lists).

Number one is the “Mob Museum” in Las Vegas, which is not even open yet, but has had over $16 million in tax money funneled to it. Sixteen million bucks for stuff like the barber shop chair that some mobster got murdered in. Or the bullet ridden wall of some building where another hit took place.

This may sound like the greatest or worst thing to you, but tax money — YOUR MONEY — to build it? Scandal, right?

So we clicked on the link to see the rest of the list, and low and behold, but what is listed next?

#2: The International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The study of what? The museum for who?

Bed spreads?

You got it folks. Apparently this joint is near the corner of 33rd and Holdredge on the UNL campus. And check out the castle they have built for themselves:

Yow. For comforters?

Now, we should note that this place was built with private funds. (Just how and by whom, we have no ideas. Maybe an infusion from the Downey Fabric Softener people?)

But the reason they make the list is that they have received over $100,000 to keep the place up and running. And running they do, because on their website they list thirteen staff members for the place. THIRTEEN! To house blankets!

The National Taxpayers Blah Blah Blah organization said:

In 2011, roughly 23.5%, or $39,038, of the University-funded portion of the museum’s $166,120 budget
will come out of the pockets of federal taxpayers. Nebraska state taxpayers will shoulder approximately
$38,374 of the museum’s funding this year.

Next year, the combined federal and state tax burden to support the quilt museum is expected to
ex ceed $80,000.

In addition to the tax dollars slipped into the University of Nebraska budget each year to subsidize
the museum, the organization routinely gobbles up tax dollars from local, state and federal arts and
humanities bureaucracies.

Shortly after the museum set up business in 1997, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) raided federal coffers to award the museum a series of grants to fund an endowment. By 2002, the museum had received $350,000 in NEH handouts at the expense of American taxpayers.

Now we are sure this is some sort of important work that they are doing to preserve the nations — nay the WORLD’S — bed spreads and wraps. But the question is, if they could pull in the scratch to build that spaceship to house the stuff, why couldn’t they do the whole thing privately? Why do they need your money to run it?

A drop in the tax bucket? Probably. But why oh why is a group like this putting their hand out in the first place?


And speaking of putting your hand out, Thank You for clicking on our ads, when you buy stuff you were already going to buy!  (Like that sweet-ass quilt, for your Grammy’s birthday!)  No extra cost to you, and supporting us!


  1. RWP says:

    My strictly amateur opinion is that TransCanada could sue, but they won’t. Memorial Stadium is a publicly owned facility, and I don’t think they can restrict otherwise legal advertising solely because it has some connection to a political issue.

    Keystone XL is however sailing towards federal approval, and I doubt TransCanada will try to rock the boat.

    Re the Quilt Study Center: well, let’s face it, Nebraska’s never going to be number one in the study of human genetics, or battery research, or anything of any real importance, except, of course, college sports. Berkeley will always be able to kick our ass academically. So why not pick something that almost nobody cares about, and be number 1 in that?

  2. Macdaddy says:

    Can I call it or can I call it? The OWH had some BS editorializing in their article about reaction to the ads being subdued despite former Huskers being featured. The only things that got big reactions on Saturday were anything to do with the military. When it came to all things Big Red, we were too in shock to do much. I bet that if you polled everyone at the game, maybe 1000 of them noticed the bit was sponsored by TransCanada and of those, 500 would have known who they were. The Huskers have the right and the luxury of picking and choosing their sponsors, but this just seems like so much of a tempest in a teapot. Funny how nobody has released any polling on how Nebraskans feel about the pipeline. Surely not that many NIMBYs live here, do they?

  3. Husker Nation says:

    Dr. Tom knows that you can’t get away with irritating the Husker faithful in their own house of worship. As a living prophet he knows that it isn’t a good idea to attempt to part that “sea of red.” Only Bob Devany himself could perform such a miracle.
    If the true believers booed TransCanada when it showed up to change its money in their temple, the Divine Doctor knew he had to upset their table. Woe be to anyone that would persist in their blasphemy and continue on their path to perdition. Pipelines across the aquifer? You might as well piss in the baptismal font.

  4. Economics says:

    Care to speculate on how much economic activity the Quilt Museum generates in Nebraska? Have any idea how many visitors they attract, especially from out of state? How many tour groups they bring through? The figures you quote above are also mistaking funds from the NU Foundation as pure tax dollars. Nearly 15 years ago, the museum got a challenge grant to fund start-up costs, because it had received this enormous, valuable private donation and it had to be taken care of or else lost. Each one of those federal dollars from NEH was matched by four dollars in private donation. You can call em “woobies” if you like, but those woobies are worth millions of dollars, and they generate far more tax revenue in this state than they are costing. Do the math. Get a basic grasp of economics. Something.

  5. Anonymostly says:

    Sweeper, I may be more in tune with Nebraska history than you. In all seriousness, before you knock the Quilt museum, you should try reading “No Time on My Hands” by Nebraska historian and author Nellie Snyder Yost. Quilting is becoming a lost art form and was an integral part of pioneer life and society. They didn’t have bowling alleys or “Pampered Chef” parties and they wouldn’t have had the time to indulge such activities anyway. Instead, the women of a community would gather around a quilting loom, doing something practical while engaging in the 19th century equivalent of Facebook or texting.

    These quilts would take months to complete and involved, oftentimes, thousands of individual pieces of fabric sewn together with millions of stitches. The designs have historical significance, these artifacts are rare and valuable, and preserving these pieces of Americana and plains history is important. I’m very proud of the kind of people my plains ancestors were. Preserving and studying their quilts helps us gain an understanding and insight into what that pioneer spirit was all about. The quilts they created were as historically significant as any painting by Worhol or O’Keefe and deserve as much respect.

  6. To Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    There you have it. Forget about the Lake. With the comments above I just realized our states economic future should be based on obscure museums. Imagine the national Buggy Whip Musuem being located near Varner Hall, or the National Bottle Cap Collection being housed at the new UNL Technology campus, or the International Museum of Cross-stitching Art placed next to the Sheldon. Yes my friends this is wise use of tax dollars.

  7. Eco,
    Sure who DOESN’T know about that “challenge grant” your museum got!

    And no, I don’t know that info, but apparently you do. Please share.
    I’d love to hear that this place is a money maker.
    Don’t be a tease!
    (And then tell why the whole place couldn’t have been done privately.)

  8. RWP says:

    I fail to see why because some person spends four dollars of their own money foolishly, it’s OK that the gummint spends $1 of our tax money equally foolishly.

  9. Anonymostly says:

    So, OK, how much tax dollars are spent on the great and wonderful Sheldon Art Gallery? Because it’s paint slapped on a canvas, it’s somehow worthy, I suppose.

  10. Macdaddy says:

    The quilting museum isn’t that obscure, otherwise the movie Yes, Man would have used it instead of the telephone museum.  Of course, I have no idea if that museum actually exists, but why not? 
    I think it’s not fair to include University funds as part of the taxpayer support because using that logic, the English department, which produces nothing of value and whose diplomas are so worthless that their recipients get to pay less than an engineering grad, is supported by the taxpayers for way, way, way, more money each year than the quilt museum.  Remember, the museum is part of a university major.  In addition, they have a budget of $166,000 a year for 13 employees?!?!  Man, put these guys in charge of everything. 
    In case you don’t know, quilting is serious business.  I know someone, fortunately without access to my bank account, who paid $35,000 for a quilt.  She passed on one worth $50,000.  I don’t know if she or other like-minded deep-pocketed quilters would be willing to pony up money, but I doubt somebody has asked her.  Food for thought for Economics.

  11. Ivy Marie Harper says:

    I, a fifth generation Harper quilter, am in a unique position to Comment on the quilt story as I lived on 33rd Street in Lincoln where the Quilt Museum is located.

    Additionally, my sisters, mother, and I operated a Quilt Store in downtown Lincoln where the Lied Center now sits called “Patchwork Pursuits” in the mid-1980’s after I worked on Capitol Hill for former Rep. John Cavanaugh.

    a) Quilts are quintessentially rural, awesome, lovely, and amazing, and synonomous with art, craft, home, nurturing, and that which our Creator said is the greatest of qualities: LOVE (Please don’t knock that)

    b) That picture – while beautiful – does not accurately represent the locale of the Quilt Museum given that it sits at a boring Holdrege Street intersection surrounded by ugly gas stations, convenience stores, and the Kellogg Center where I worked when I attended Pius X High School as a maid. (I’m still grateful for my boss who taught me how to make beds so well that friends have said it would take a bouncer to take sheets off beds I’ve made).

  12. Ivy Marie Harper says:

    @ Anonymostly & Nebraska’s Dentist: My bad, as they say.

    Sister Amata and Neale Copple, UN-L’s late Journalism Dean, would flip out if they saw that mistake.

    I, too, cringed when I read it and hoped no one would notice. Leave it to Leavenworth.

    Thanks, guys.

  13. Anonymostly says:

    So, remember a few months back when we were discussing the merits of returning Nebraska to a “winner take all” state for Presidential elections? That idea was met with staunch criticism from the Dems who frequent “The Lev.” It was just an un-American proposal, we were told. I’m curious how those Dems now react to news from Pennsylvania (and possibly Wisconsin and Michigan) of adopting a Nebraska-esque system of divying up the electoral votes by Congressional district. Hmmmm? I understand such a system would have cost Obama 10 of the state’s 21 electoral votes in 2008. Not enough to swing THAT election, but 2012 would be a different story indeed.

    PA, WI, and MI have been reliable states for Dem Presidential hopefuls for years, and hold a good number of electoral votes. However, each of them now have Republicans in the Governor’s mansion and Republican control of their legislatures. So, since Dems think “winner-take-all” is un-American, let’s get this legislation passed in these three states. Certainly could make Obama’s re-election hopes a little more tenuous.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anonymostly, if you read the entire story, the Republicans who are completely in charge of Pennsylvania govt plan on redistricting the congressional districts so that a majority are barely majority Republican. Democrats are redistricted into CDs that are strong majority Democratic. Do the math. A red district voting 51-49 would count as 1 Repub vote. A blue district voting 75 – 25 would count as 1 Dem vote. Sounds real fair, doesn’t it? In fact a Den candidate getting the majority of votes in PA could easily get a minority of electoral college votes from the state. But in the Repub world view, winning is everything, fair or not.

    PA republicans are having second thoughts. Turns out an unintended consequence would be Democrats moving their efforts from the highly Dem city districts to the rural ones, flipping the rurals ones 51 – 49 the other way. Would also make it more difficult for Repub congressmen in these districts if this happened.

    All partisanship aside, the best solution would be National Popular Vote (google it). Take the scheming politicians out of the game.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So T.O. caves to Jane and the foam finger crowd. Let me get this straight. He ends the advertising contract with Transcanada because their Husker Vision ad was too political but Jane would have been allowed to pass out a 1,000 Cornfingers with a political message to students going to a future game and then they would have all synchronized their protest to stand up and give Transcanada the finger during the ad? What does TO do about political messaging inside the stadium? What about all the candidates and their supporters wearing stickers and t-shirts into a game? I think he stepped in it due to pressure and this is a precedent that did not need to be set. Watch for all kinds of agitation over future HuskerVision ads. Just dumb.

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