Toilet Paper Bandit

April 28, 2010

Here’s the story that finally erases Lincoln as the place where the “catbong guy” lives.

Unfortuantly, it still involves an illegal act.

Then, in an effort to see just how effective wrapping one’s face in toilet paper is, Jack tried it himself.

Jack as "The Toilet Paper Bandit"

While it does appear to be a good way of concealing one’s identity, it was kinda scary and reminded me a lot of this…


UPDATE: Lane Bryant Model Ashley Graham To Join Us Friday

April 27, 2010

UPDATE (Friday PM): Here’s the podcast of Ashley’s interview with the guys from Friday morning.  She’ll be on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” tonight on NBC.

Meet Ashley Graham.  She’s the 22 year old model at the center of a controversy involving a commerical from women’s clothier Lane Bryant.  The above spot was deemed to racy by ABC (the network that parades the “Desperate Housewives”) and FOX (who gave us “Married With Children”) to air.

Critics say it’s too suggestive.  Others say it’s no more racy or suggestive than the average Victoria’s Secret commercial.

Meanwhile, Ms. Graham claims Lincoln as her hometown.  We’re trying to find out more about her background, meanwhile we’ll let you judge if the commercial is too sexy for TV.  Just don’t hold us responsible if the Mrs. catches you judging over and over.

Case Closed On Haymarket Clean Up

April 23, 2010

This is a guest post from Kevin Thomas from KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln.

A lot has been made public about the environmental aspects of the Haymarket Arena project in the past 24 hours, but I doubt you’ve heard the whole story. 

You’ve heard that the EPA study of the Burlington Northern land confirmed what the HWS study told us well over a year ago.  Yes, this is only part of the land that is part of the redevelopment project, but it is far and away the most important.  Every single building involved in the City’s redevelopment of the West Haymarket area falls in the current BN footprint.  Every one: Arena, hotels, parking garages, Breslow Ice Center, surface parking/festival space, retail and office space.  It’s all right there. 

Hopefully you’ve heard that the EPA study makes Lincoln eligible for about $1.5 Million in grant money for clean-up of an area that will in all likelihood cost less than that.  Please catch that point: actual remediation estimations (not the worst-case scenario) based on the EPA and HWS data are less than the amount of grant money available to the City.  Cleaning up this site could end up costing the City $0 because Brownfield and EPA grants could cover the entire cost.

The part you might not have picked up on is the best, in my opinion.  I’ll leave the credentials of the no2arena environmental attorney out of this because her latest actions speak loudly for themselves.  Lynn Moorer told 10/11 News this month that EPA documents say the Burlington Northern land posed a “threat of imminent and substantial endangerment to the public welfare and the environment.”  There are three main points that Lynn didn’t tell us in that early morning interview, but you must know them in order to understand the lengths no2arena is willing to go to just to mislead the public about this project.

1.        The EPA report Moorer is quoting was originally released April 1, 1993.  17 years ago.  Sorry, no link, the EPA apparently wasn’t posting every document on the internet back then, but City environmental attorney Miki Esposito has seen the document herself and told us about it Thursday on DTL.

2.        The EPA order designated that site as a Superfund site was lifted in 2003, meaning Burlington Northern had been working to adequately clean up the site.

3.       That BN site addressed in the order Moorer is quoting is about a mile away from the proposed Haymarket arena site – Hobson Yard.  That’s the rail yard you see when you drive along Highway 77 just South of West O.  The City is NOT purchasing that site.  That site is not in any way related to the arena project.  That site is one mile away from the proposed arena.

So, in order to mislead people about how dangerous cleaning-up the Haymarket arena site would be, Lynn Moorer has quoted a 17-year-old report that is no longer valid and doesn’t have anything to do with the Haymarket.  Let’s compare that information with, now, TWO scientific studies of the actual arena site showing that any contamination can be cleaned up for very little cost.  Wait, we can’t compare it.  Arena opponents haven’t presented a shred of environmental evidence related to the West Haymarket redevelopment and the information they have presented is a total lie.  That information, combined with the EPA data, should be the end of the environmental portion of the Haymarket Arena conversation.

Getting it Right the Second Time

April 21, 2010

Yesterday, we had the Governor live in studio for almost a half hour and asked him all manner of questions about the past legislative session and the upcoming budget.  We had a few minutes left at the end, so I wanted to get his take on the recent problems in the state’s child services reform effort, in which one contractor, Cedars, has been forced to terminate their contract with the state for financial reasons, and another, Visinet, has filed bankruptcy.  You can hear our discussion on this issue here, with those questions starting at about the 13:55 point.    

I was surprised to hear the Governor seem critical of the private contractors, particularly Cedars, for having gone through an RFP process and “messing up (their) bid”, given that previous media accounts and our own interview with Cedars President/CEO, Jim Blue, had indicated that the financial shortfall came largely as a result of HHS underestimating the expenses related to the contracted services and problems with Medicaid and Magellen denying services that were thought to be covered.  Because I was so surprised by his answer, I asked him to clarify, in case I wasn’t understanding his response, but he again responded that he believed Cedars underestimated an RFP bid by $5.5 million dollars.

Well, apparently this also perked the ears of the folks at Cedars, as upon my arrival into work early this morning I had an emailed statement from the Governor’s office saying, “Statements regarding an RFP process on KLIN this morning were technically inaccurate.  There was not a conventional RFP process.  In the specific case of Cedars, they did meet their contractual obligation for terminating the contract.”

So, apparently, the Governor was either misinformed or confused on this issue.  Sadly, because this problem is so complex and doesn’t carry the emotional or political wallop of illegal immigration or abortion, it’s flying under the radar right now (although JoAnne Young from the LJS has done a great job covering the story).  This is a major issue that affects completely innocent children who have had the misfortune of bad circumstances or parents who have made terrible decisions, and I’m hopeful the Governor’s lack of information and lax attitude aren’t shared by the people under his command over at HHS in addressing this issue.

Live From Ann Arbor: Overstated Brain Drain and Outdated Information

April 19, 2010

I generally try my best not to be the stereotypical “angry talk radio host”.  I think we’ve got enough of those in this country right now.  That said, I couldn’t help it this morning after reading this “Local View” piece in Sunday’s Journal Star.  The man who penned this piece is very local…to the Detroit MSA. 

His name is Brian Chilcott and although he’s a native Nebraskan, he’s been living in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a Ph.D. fellow at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.  Apparently several years back (the article doesn’t specify), he moved from Lincoln while in his early thirties, in part because he missed a “lively downtown environment”.  Now he’s telling us that he’s glad he did so because Ann Arbor is “vibrant” and the proposed Lincoln arena is a terrible idea.  In essence, he’s claiming that historically, Lincoln hasn’t focused enough on the downtown area for development because of an emphasis on outward geographic growth, so it follows that a huge downtown redevelopment project that takes advantage of existing infrastructure, existing use of downtown and the popularity of a vibrant district (although I’m sure not as vibrant as Ann Arbor, the mecca of vibrancy) is not appropriate.  Confused yet?  After working through that, it didn’t really make me mad, it just kind of made my head hurt.   

He backed this argument with some information that seemed to be current sometime during the Clinton administration.   First he cites vacant downtown lots, a result of urban sprawl, that could have been filled with apartment complexes (because nothing appeals to the youngsters like apartment complexes!)  That assertion caught my attention as I don’t recall seeing a ton of vacancy in the downtown area when I’ve been down there recently, although I do recall talking in the last year about multiple proposals for hotels, private developments, multi-unit residential structures, and University projects in the area.  In fact, I spoke to a local commercial realtor today who told me that it’s almost impossible right now for businesses to find vacancy downtown.

Mr. Chilcott then asks “Has anyone even asked what will happen to the Pershing Center?”  Uhhh, yeah.  It seems that our author is more interested in editorializing on our city’s issues than actually keeping up to date on them. 

Still, I was only mildly amused by his lack of up-to-date information (hey, did you hear Nebraska won the ’97 Coaches’ Poll National Championship!), but not yet angry.  Then I got to the final paragraph, when he said “Every well-educated Nebraskan I know lives elsewhere, and it is a sad condition.” 

Really, Mr. Chilcott?  Really?  You’ve either just thrown under the bus every person you associated with during your time in this state who’s remained or revealed that you’ve got an astonishingly small social network.  His perpetuation of they myth that every young, promising, educated Nebraska professional would never want to stick around is laughable, if not unbelievably arrogant.  Further, if he hadn’t done so already with his “argument”, this oddly exaggerated commentary on brain drain damages his credibility, and makes me wonder if he’s got another axe to grind about which we don’t know. 

Perhaps next time he comes to town, he’d like to go out for dinner and drinks in downtown Lincoln–I’d be glad to host it, and I know I’ve got about 20 native Nebraskan friends about my age who, while they don’t have a Ph.D. from Michigan, have other assorted postgraduate degrees and/or professional accomplishments, who would love to show him Lincoln circa 2010.   

In the end, this guy’s position on the arena is a minor detail, and yes, brain drain is a concern for this city and this state, but let’s not get into the realm of hyperbole when talking about how much it’s happening.  I’m hopeful that Mr. Chilcott’s perpetuation of this inaccuracy is something that both arena proponents and opponents can stand together and rebuff.  For me, even though I am concerned about keeping Nebraskans in Nebraska and I’m supportive of the proposal, whether this arena passes or not, I’m staying in Lincoln and continue to think it’s a pretty great place to a live for a well-educated 30-something.  That said, I do miss out on the quaint day trips to scenic Detroit that I’m sure Mr. Chilcott and his well-educated Ann Arbor posse often take.  Sounds like a blast.

The Richman Gordman Slide can be yours!

April 9, 2010


Last week on the air, Bishop and I got into a conversation about Gordman in Lincoln relocating to the North side of town.  That got me waxing poetic about going with my folks to the old Richman Gordman on Vine Street in the 80s.  In addition to being the first place I ever tried out games like Hogan’s Alley and Kung Fu on the original Nintendo Entertainment System they had set out for display, on one Saturday in about 1987 they had the most ridiculous sporting goods sale in history, when they decided to liquidate the entire department at 75% off on some sort of whim.  But there’s no question, for some reason, the one thing that’s most emblazoned in my memory the children’s play area featuring the animal jungle gym.  Most notable in the room was the slide that allowed us to actually walk through the innards of an elephant to enjoy a ride down its trunk. 

Well, today on ebay, you can get your very own Richman Gordman elephant slide.  No kidding.  Seriously, if I had an extra grand laying around, I think I’d buy this thing and put it in my basement just as a conversation piece. 

Any other RG memories out there?  Anyone else remember the sales where they’d put “dots” on their merchandise color coding the percentage discounting the original price?  Good times. 

Just Do….Wha?!?!

April 8, 2010

NOTE:  If you cannot stand the insufferable coverage of Tiger Woods return to golf do not 1) watch ANY ESPN or ESPN related programming for the next four days (weeks, months, years, decades) and 2) do not continue reading.

Jack is blown away by my passionate response to the Tiger Woods story.  I am not sure what it triggers inside me that makes me viciously angry, but it just does.

But as Jack is stunned by my reaction to the Tiger Tale, I am even more blown away by this disaster of an advertising/public relations/mea culpa by Nike that is playing all over ESPN and the internet today.

Instead of staying off the Isn’t-Tiger’s-Return-The-Most-Important-Sporting-Event-Of-The-Last-100-Years bandwagon, Nike has jumped on, taken the reigns and steered that wagon right off the edge of a cliff into the jagged rocks below where it crashes in a fiery explosion heard several light years away.

The spot features a black and white head-shot of Tiger and a slowly zooming in camera while the voice of Tiger’s deceased father, Earl, can be heard making some veiled reference to personal responsibility.  At least, that’s what we’re being told it is.  It sounds more to me like his dad is coming back from the grave to ask “Why, son, why?”  Though it would seem to be more likely that Earl would be admonishing “How the Hell do you get yourself caught?”

This commercial does absolutely nothing to repair Tiger’s image.  Does nothing to make amends for his failures.  And most importantly (to the advertiser) does nothing to sell Nike golf clubs.  So what is the point?  Can’t Nike (the one sponsor who did stay with their prized client) be the ONE major player in the abomination that is “Tiger Woods Inc.” that keeps its nose out of the controversy?  Or are they so big that they cannot stand to stay on the sidelines because “We’re Nike and we matter!  Remember us?!?!”

“Stupid” does not begin to describe the point of this advertising campaign.  And using Earl Woods, a man who had his own transgressions with the women with whom he pledged to stay faithful, as some kind of a scolding, but still caring parent is the ultimate in gall.  Another shining example of how “Tiger Woods Inc” still tries to press on as if nothing had happened.

This commercial does nothing more than convince me that if Tiger Woods the man is to move beyond his tarred and feathered image, then “Tiger Woods Inc” needs to die.  Otherwise, we’re just caught in the crossfire of another marketing gimmick.

Just (keep) Do(ing) It.