William H. Benson
SIDNEY, Neb. -- On Aug. 22, 1939, Nazi Germany’s troops, tanks and aircraft stood poised and prepared to attack Poland, its neighbor to the east, and on that day the Nazi’s dictator, Adolf Hitler, spoke. “Our strength,” he said, “consists in our speed and in our brutality.” Already he had instructed his generals “to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women and children of Polish derivation and language.” And the reason for his assault upon the Polish people? “Only then,” he said, “shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need.”
SIDNEY, Neb. -- The NCAA basketball games are upon us, and March Madness has arrived. The team to watch in recent years has been the University of Connecticut, where basketball is king. The men won their last national championship, their fourth, in 2014, but the women point with pride to their 10 national championships, the most recent one last year, in 2015.
The United States has had two father-son presidencies. The first was John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, and the second was George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush. Because Jeb Bush withdrew from the current race three weeks ago, we will not have a third, anytime soon. The Bush dynasty has ended, at least for the next four years.
SIDNEY, Neb. Last month in Newsweek, columnist Kurt Eichenwald made a series of startling statements about the bitter divisiveness that separates Democrats and Republicans. He was incensed to learn that each political party tried to twist the blame upon the other for the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting, when neither were responsible for the random act.
SIDNEY, Neb. -- In the book, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes the people of Lebanon, his native country. It was, he writes, “an example of coexistence,” “a mosaic of cultures and religions,” a place where “people learned to be tolerant” of others, and where “the terms balance and equilibrium were often used.”
SIDNEY, Neb. -- The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped 19-year-old Patty Hearst, a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, on Feb. 4, 1974. For the next 57 days, this small-time urban guerrilla organization detained Patty in a studio apartment’s closet, dressed only in her bathrobe. They beat her, abused her, changed her name to Tania and brainwashed her. She helped with a bank heist. When given a chance to flee, she chose to stay. Long after the core SLA members perished in a gunfight with police, Patty remained underground.
SIDNEY, Neb. -- The Chinese people felt an immediate sense of relief last Thursday when their government stated that it will permit married couples now to have two children. The government’s one-child policy has created “a demographic nightmare,” and its leaders now must address the glaring side effects of that policy: a diminished workforce, an aging population and a shortage of marriageable women. It was on Sept.
SIDNEY, Neb. Mel Blanc was known as “the man with a thousand voices” because he created voices for numerous cartoon characters. For Warner Bros., Mel was the voice of Wile Coyote, Speedy Gonzales, Pepe LePew, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny. “What’s up, doc?” Then, for Hanna Barbera, he was Barney Rubble and Cosmo Spacely. On occasion, Mel also appeared on Jack Benny’s television program. In one classic routine, Mel would wear a wide-brimmed sombrero and a serape, acting as if he was from Tijuana.
SIDNEY, Neb. -- Yogi Berra played catcher for the New York Yankees for 19 years, from 1946 until 1965. Noted for his funny expressions, such as, “It ain’t over ‘till...
STERLING, Colo. -- “Life is a lot like jazz,” said George Gershwin. “It is best when you improvise.” During the 2004 political debates, radio host Don Imus described the vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and John Edwards as “Dr. Doom and the Breck Girl,” because Cheney appeared glum, dour, like a bulldog, whereas Edwards appeared well-coiffed, “like a pretty girl in a shampoo ad.” A journalist in Florida named Roy Peter Clark then riffed on Don Imus’s comment. Riff is a jazz term that describes improvisation, when one musician borrows and builds on the musical phrase of another.