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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along With King Dick And Queen Suzanne - 10-14-10

Come Election Day, White And Terry Can’t Duck Party Labels Any Longer - 10-07-10

Today, Second-Guessing Other Sports Commentators But Some Thoughts On Current Political Issues, Too - 09-30-10

Gates Gives Somber Non-Political Appraisals Of Iraq, Afghanistan - 09-23-10

At Last, A Prominent Moderate Muslim Speaks Out Against Muslim Terrorists - 09-16-10

Today, It’s All About College Football With Some “As I See It” Commentary - 09-09-10

Danes’ Sensible Approach To Immigration Won’t, Unfortunately, Fly In The U.S.A. - 09-02-10

Mosque Controversy Isn’t About Legal Rights; It’s About Moral Use Of Those Rights - 08-26-10

Time To Answer The Obvious Question: What Chance For Success In Afghanistan? - 08-19-10

Two-Paragraph News Story Offers Scary Prospect For World’s Future - 08-12-10

Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10

Not Wall Street But Democratic Policy Caused Mortgage Market Crash - 07-29-10

Windfarm Promoters Need More Facts, Less Rhetoric - 07-22-10

Nebraska Democrats’ ‘Find A Candidate’ Problem Began Long Months (Years?) Ago - 07-15-10

When The Subject Is Disasters,Obama Needs A History Lesson - 07-08-10

McChrystal’s Firing Spotlights Afghan War And The Slim Chance Of U.S. Victory There - 07-01-10

Advice For An Egocentric President: “I, I, I” Suggests One-Man Team - 06-24-10

Texas Decision Good For Big 12 But Even Better For The Longhorns - 06-17-10

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge; Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises? - 06-10-10

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Make Military Service Easier For Gays? - 06-03-10

Do State Officials Really Understand The Challenges Faced By Omaha Schools? - 05-27-10

Democrats Continue Cheap Shot Campaign Against Republican Congressman Lee Terry - 05-20-10

Cartoonist Koterba Says It Clearly: Don’t Put All The Blame On Schools - 05-13-10

Citizenship For Immigrants Is Inevitable But Start By Closing The Border - 05-06-10

Punish Wall Streeters If They Deserve It But Liberal Dems Spawned The Mortgage Mess - 04-29-10

Did Legislature, Speaker Mike Flood Deserve All Those Kind Words? - 04-22-10

Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters— Is Obama Gambling On The Nuclear Issue? Rogue States And Terrorists Won’t Sign Up - 04-15-10

Did Obama/Pelosi ‘Sausage Factory’ Produce A Debt-Increasing Unpopular Health Plan? - 04-08-10

The Stories Behind Some Disturbing Headlines And Some Advice For Avoiding National Bankruptcy - 04-01-10

Four-Vote House Margin Makes Americans Swallow Trillion-Dollar Pill They Don't Want - 03-25-10

Insurance Pays 96% Of Family’s Cost For Seven Years Of ‘End Of Life’ Treatment - 03-18-10

President Angry Replaces President Cool; ‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt? - 03-11-10

Americans To Get ‘ObamaCare’ Even If They Don’t Want It? - 03-04-10

Despite The Headlines, There’s Progress In Curbing Violence In North Omaha - 02-25-10

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates? - 02-18-10

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster; V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice - 02-11-10

Some Remarkable Legislative Comments And Some Questionable Media Performance - 02-04-10

When The Subject Is Nebraska Wind Energy, ‘Green’ Is The Color Of Money - 01-28-10

The “Teddy Kennedy Seat” Lesson Might Benefit Both Democrats and Republicans - 01-21-10

Some Legislative Issues—Like Gambling—Deserve Quick Death But Water Issues Deserve Careful Attention - 01-14-10

Today: ‘Big Daddy’ Government Wrong Again, And How Justified Is Cornhusker Title Talk? - 01-07-10

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--
Today Some Upbeat Comments But "Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention
- 12-30-09

Even Without That Health Bill Vote, Another Term For Nelson Was Questionable - 12-23-09

Let’s Talk Football And Why Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman - 12-17-09

Image of Immigrants Would Be Helped By Less Cinco de Mayo, More 4th of July - 12-10-09

Image Of Islam Is Badly Damaged By ‘God-Approved’ Slaughter Of Non-Muslims - 12-03-09

Close Call For NU Research, Reputation; Thanksgiving Reminder: Count Your Blessings - 11-25-09

NU’s Reputation And Research Role Are Both At Stake When Regents Vote - 11-19-09

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?
- 11-12-09

Review The History Before Renaming A Street; Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog - 11-05-09

“Socioeconomic Diversity” More Important Then Academic Achievement In “Learning Community”? - 10-29-09

A Visiting Sports Columnist Agrees: ‘There Is No Place Like Nebraska’ - 10-22-09

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize? - 10-15-09

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families - 10-08-09

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day” To Obama Performance Here And Abroad - 10-01-09

Must Defense Continue To Cover For Huskers’ Anemic Red Zone Offense? - 09-24-09

'Energizer Bunny' President Continues To Add Proposals For Reform - 09-17-09

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms - 09-10-09

Massachusetts Gave Kennedy Significant Second Chances - 09-03-09

Obama’s Problem Not Just With GOP
But With A Great Many Americans
- 08-27-09

Tiger Could Use Sportsmanship Lesson—And Less Coverage From Fawning Media - 08-20-09

Gallup ‘Competitive’ Label, If Accurate Long Term, Is Good News Not Only For Nebraska Democrats - 08-13-09

Democrats Go All-Out Negative:
Trash Private Insurance Industry
- 08-06-09

Journalistic Watchdogs Turned Lapdogs When Obama Called That ‘News Conference’ - 07-30-09

Look Back, Mr. President: Opposition Is Catching Up - 07-23-09

Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09

Dems Start Oust-Terry Effort In The Political Gutter - 07-09-09

Despite Liberal Media's Views, Nation Better Served By Viable GOP - 07-02-09

A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09

Freshman President Learning Some Political Realities? - 06-18-09

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late To Slow Rush To Wind Power? - 06-11-09

Public Will Be Watching Prosecution Of Three Teen-Age Creatures - 06-04-09

Wealthiest Paying Less, In Taxes?
It’s Simply Not True
- 05-28-09

Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson
- 05-21-09

Special-Interest Liberals
Shouldn’t Badger Obama
- 05-14-09

A Surprising Source: Obama
Cites Positive Results of Iraq War
- 05-07-09

Media Transfer Their Love
From Candidate to President
- 04-30-09

Suttle Campaign Subtly Two-Faced? Or ‘Just Politics’? Voters Will Decide - 04-23-09

If America Is "At War
With Islam," It's Self-Defense
- 04-16-09

Seven Iowans Change Marriage
Tradition For 3 Million Others
- 04-09-09

Will Liberal Democrats Continue
Escaping The Verdict Of History?
- 04-02-09

Multi-Focused President
Upsets Even Liberals
- 03-26-09

Richard Nixon—Appropriate To Recall The Good As Well As The Dark Side - 03-19-09

Not Reducing Mortgage Costs; We’re Simply ‘Modifying’ Them - 03-12-09

Fair Warning From NY Times: Obama’s “Breathtaking Plans” Would “Transform American Society” - 03-05-09

A Look At Academy Awards Nastiness, But First A Plug For My Book, “Life With Marian” - 02-26-09

Let’s Not Move Slot Machine Cancer From Iowa Casinos To Nebraska Race Tracks - 02-19-09

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem
- 02-12-09

For The Best “Stimulus” Formula:
Put Economic Recovery First;
“Remaking USA” Can Wait
- 02-05-09

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush
- 01-29-09

‘First Black President’ Celebration
Shouldn’t Further Distract Us
From Job We And Obama Face
- 01-22-09

‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real
- 01-15-09

Advice For Husker Fans:
Rejoice—But Be Realistic
- 01-08-09

Kennedy Dynasty History
Includes Shameful Chapters
- 12-31-08

Today Some Merry Christmas Thoughts But A Few Political Barbs, Too - 12-24-08

This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty
- 12-18-08

Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So
- 12-11-08

Obama Steers A Moderate Course
But Congressional Democrats Veer Left
- 12-04-08

Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week
- 11-26-08

Let’s Hear More About
The Principal ‘Crisis’ Victims
- 11-20-08

Color-Blind Issues Voting
Showed No Turn To The Left
- 11-13-08

Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain
- 11-06-08

Today, A Choice of Topics:
Politics Or Football—Or Both
- 10-30-08

Splitting Electoral Votes Good Idea? Then Why Do 48 States Reject It? - 10-23-08

Dems Take 11th Hour Low Road
In 2nd Congressional District Race
- 10-16-08

Another Government “Welfare Program,” Bargain Mortgages, Caused The Crisis - 10-09-08

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved
- 10-02-08

—Have We Learned This Lesson?— Crisis Results When Individuals, Encouraged By Financial Institutions, Try To Live Beyond Their Means - 9-25-08

Bonds To Build Four-Lane Highways?
Where Would The Money Come From?
- 9-18-08

Today, a Large Load of Political
Commentary After a Brief Plug For
My Book, ‘Life With Marian’
- 9-17-08

Major News Media Look Bad
In Non-Coverage of
Edwards’ Sex Affair Story
- 9-11-08

Disadvantaged Students Can Be
Helped Without Discriminatory ‘Affirmative Action’
- 9-04-08

My Favorite Olympic Champion?
It Wasn’t Michael Phelps
- 8-28-08

Will Chinese Get Away With
'Out Air Is Clean' Scam?
- 8-21-08

Windmills, Solar Won't Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy
- 8-07-08

I Doubt That God or Jesus
Have Heavenly Money on Either Team
- 8-07-08

‘Pop Star’ Obama Lacks Experience,
McCain Lacks Clear Campaign Strategy
- 7-31-08

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?
- 7-24-08

Would Odor of Politics
Taint Fire Chief Choice?
- 7-17-08

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?
- 7-09-08

Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage
- 7-02-08

Omaha's CWS Reputation
Gets New "Rave Reviews"
- 6-25-08

S.D. Vote Could Lead
To National Abortion Battle
- 6-18-08

Don’t Let Niobrara Go The Way
Of The Republican And The Platte
- 6-11-08

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers
- 6-04-08

“It’s Our Turn” Pitch Might
Not End With Hillary Defeat
- 5-28-08

Prime Nebraska Political
Battleground This Year:
2nd Congressional District
- 5-21-08

The 'Browning' of America:
How Far Will It Go?
- 5-14-08

Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08

"Does Homebuyer Bailout
Reward the Irresponsible?"
- 4-30-08

"Was McCain, Not Clinton,
The Real Winner in Pennsylvania?"
- 4-25-08

"Cleaner Skies Advice For Gore:
Pressure On China, More Nuke
Power If Jane Fonda Will Allow It"
- 4-16-08

"Why The Big Fuss Over
Tiny Gasoline Cost Increase?"
- 4-09-08

"Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status"
-  4-02-08

"Obama’s ‘Historic’ Speech Left
Big Questions Unanswered "
-  3-25-08

"Overweight Moore Produces
“Sicko,” Finds An Ally In Creighton Doctor"
-  3-19-08

"Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner"
-  3-12-08

"Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain"
-  3-7-08

"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" -  2-27-08

"Could Citizen ‘Packing Iron’
Have Stopped Von Maur Killings?"
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"Obama’s Style Without Substance
Exciting, But Is It Presidential?"
-  2-13-08

"Barack Obama and John McCain:
A Major Contrast in Egos? "
-  2-07-08

"‘First Black President’
Emphasis Wouldn’t Help Obama"
-  1-30-08

"Kimball Lauritzen: Think of Her
As Joyous on Some New Dawn"
-  1-23-08

"What 'Tough' Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?"
- 1-16-08

"Overhyped New Hampshire
Offsets Overhyped Iowa"
- 1-10-08

"Coach Bo Now Well Welcomed;
Time to Start Thinking of NU Wins"
- 1-2-08

"Words of Jews Most Moving
To Me This Christmas Season"
- 12-25-07

- 12-19-07

"Killer Is Getting Just What He Wanted;
Let's Add Anger and
Action to Our Sorrow"
- 12-12-07

"Bo Brings Emotional Fire to NU Job;
Scary News: Huckabee Gain in Iowa"
- 12-05-07

"Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;
Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly"
- 11-28-07

"A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them"
- 11-21-07

"Callahan Critics: Is Loss to CU
The Only Way to Satisfy Them?"
- 11-16-07

"Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?"
- 11-09-07

"Did Bob Kerrey’s Decision Avoid
the Likelihood of Defeat?"
- 11-02-07

"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls"
- 10-26-07

"Is This The Way to Run UNL´s
Athletic Program?"
- 10-19-07

"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL"
- 10-12-07

"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07

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As I See It
Harold W. Andersen is a retired Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Omaha World-Herald Company. Full biography.

A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)

And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.

Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner

March 12, 2008

President Bush, probably as roughly treated by the news media as any president within recent memory, was nevertheless a surprise star of the 123 rd annual Washington dinner of the Gridiron Club, many of whose news media members were responsible for some of that rough treatment.

Bush and “the Busheroos” provided a surprise ending to the annual white tie, tough-ticket dinner sponsored by the 65 news media members of the Gridiron Club.

With the banquet hall darkened and spotlights focused on the stage where a skit was being performed, Bush had slipped quietly away from the head table in preparation for appearing unexpectedly on stage to perform, along with five accompanying country-style musicians (each one a member of the armed forces) as “George W. Bush and the Busheroos.” To the tune of “The Green, Green Grass of Home,” Bush sang:

“You’re going to miss me, the way you used to quiz me, ‘cause soon I’ll touch the brown, brown grass of home.”

The presidential performance was greeted with a rousing, clapping, whistling ovation.

After what he described as “the first and last performance” of Bush and the Busheroos, the president told the assembled news media members that “when you’re not writing stories, you’re not half-bad.” Then he turned serious with these words: “You can’t have democracy without a free press. On behalf of our country, on behalf of democracy, let me thank you for the work you do. God bless.”

During some 40 years of attending Gridiron Club dinners, I had seen and heard Richard Nixon playing the piano, Bill Clinton playing the saxophone and Nancy Reagan, known for her high-style taste, sing about “second-hand clothes from Second-Hand Rose.” Her stage attire was appropriate to the lyrics.

The Nixon, Clinton and Nancy Reagan appearances certainly highlighted previous dinners, but I thought that Bush’s surprise appearance was perhaps the most impressive, considering especially his “thank you for the work you do” message for the assemblage of journalists, some of whom have been among his toughst critics.

The presidential candidates still standing, to use a prize-fighting term, were not in the crowd, perhaps wisely so, I believe, especially in view of the fact that the Obama/Clinton competition has become so bitter.

‘Obama Born In A Manger’’

But much of the humor, of course, involved the remaining candidates as well as some who have dropped out of the competition. One example: Of Rudy Giuliani, who decisively lost his gamble that victory in Florida would be the springboard for success, one of the speaker’s cracked: “Like many other New Yorkers, Rudy Giuliani went to Florida to die.”

Another performer indicated that Hillary Clinton fully intended to continue using husband Bill in her campaign—by sending him to speak for her in Guam.

In one skit, a reference to the two remaining Democratic candidates was phrased like this: “A New York senator born in Illinois and an Illinois senator born in a manger.”

To the tune of “Try To Remember,” a chorus of journalists took note of the fact that last autumn journalists pretty generally had written off Barack Obama and John McCain as serious contenders for nomination. Now, the journalists sang, “We’re sorry, we’re sorry, we’re sorry.”

One of the performers pointed out that among several contenders for the Republican nomination, divorces were more common than once-in-a-lifetime marriages. One candidate who had only one wife: a Mormon, Mitt Romney.

As one who claims to have discovered that frequent office-seekers suffer from a virus which I have named “politicus incurabilis,” I was pleased to hear one skit end with the acknowledgement that some journalists suffer from a virus which sounded to me like “journalistis liberalis insufferabillis.”

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, designated speaker for the Republican Party, described what she suggested was a reflection of the difference between Washington and Texas: In Washington, she said, on the zoo cage you read the species of the animal and the species as more specifically described in Latin. In Texas, she said, the zoo offers the species of the animal “and the recipe.”

Senator Hutchinson also said this in indirect reference to the age of Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, who is 72: “They say the presidency ages a man. Why not elect a president who has a head start?”

I’m not at all sure that Senator McCain would appreciate this bit of humor from a fellow Republican senator.

There was no reference in the show itself to a hot new topic, a possibility floated by Senator Clinton; i.e., if she prevails as the Democratic nominee, might Obama be persuaded to join her as her vice presidential running mate. The consensus among all the people I talked to: No way.

Another possibility being discussed by a small group in which I was a participant: If the Democratic convention in Denver deadlocks, with neither Clinton nor Obama able to win a majority, the party turns to Al Gore.

My contribution to the discussion: “If Gore becomes the nominee, the average temperature worldwide will fall at least two degrees the next day.”

(Marian and I were guests of Mary Kay Quinlan, associate professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Mary Kay retained her tie to the Gridiron Club on returning to Nebraska after 22 years in Washington where she worked for The World-Herald Washington Bureau and the Gannett News Service and served a term as president of the National Press Club. She was assistant floor manager for last Saturday’s Gridiron Club Show.)

* * *

Legal Or Not, Press Got Drinks

A recent story about Nebraska governor’s mansion and its lack of architectural distinction brought to mind a conversation I had more than a half century ago. I was talking with then-Governor Bob Crosby, a North Platte attorney (later a Lincoln attorney until his death in 2000). Bob was governor in 1953-55. I was The World-Herald Lincoln correspondent at the time.

Bob (who once with a smile introduced me as a good friend even though I asked him tough questions about his budget) told me that he and wife Betty wanted to entertain the Statehouse press corps in the governor’s mansion. The mansion then was an impressive white wooden structure, big enough and impressive enough to be accurately described as a “mansion” of that era. It stood on the same block as is occupied by the present big but unattractive (to me at least) brick mansion.

Bob asked me if I thought that, considering that there then was a state law against serving liquor on state property, if it would still be acceptable to serve liquor at a party for the Statehouse press.

“You’d better serve liquor if you want any of the press to come” was my reply, as best I can recall.

The governor and Mrs. Crosby served liquor at the Statehouse press corps party.

As to the so-called “new” governor’s mansion, which is actually 51 years old: I remember walking into the new mansion for the first time, being ushered into the large, unattractive reception room and asking, “Where’s the body?”

* * *

Pet Peeve: Wailing About Taxes

Please allow me to share with you a couple of my current peeves.

I recognize I have an unfair advantage on you in that I can share my peeves with a wider audience. Suggestion: If what I write today inspires you to do so, I would be pleased to receive a report as to your current pet peeve. I can’t guarantee that every response will be published, but I’ll be pleased to hear from you and give consideration to including your message in a future column.

Those two current peeves:

The perpetual wailing about the level of Nebraska taxes, based on the assertion that everyone knows they are too high and the Legislature has to do something about them.

But tell us what services currently financed with state funds - - or with local tax funds - - would these wailers dispense with or reduce enough to make a significant reduction in the tax burden?

I weary, too, of reading headline after headline, news story after news story which suggest that the schools are to blame for the continuing gap between the test scores of white students and black and Hispanic students.

The same World-Herald edition which carried a front page story saying schools were being pressured to close the educational gap as reflected in test scores also carried a story reporting that the number of births to unwed mothers across the United States had increased to a record percentage—a development not likely to send more children to school well-prepared to learn.

A Jeff Koterba cartoon in The World-Herald dramatically depicted the problem: A mother and a small child starting out life together, walking into the future by themselves, a second parental figure being conspicuous by his total absence.

When will we start concentrating on the problem which Koterba suggested: The absence of the father as the child grows up creates all kinds of problems, including some which the schools are supposed to solve.

* * *

World’s Doctors Care About Me

From time to time, I plan to reprint some of the humorous column-ending items from past years. I hope you agree with me they are still worth a chuckle. For example:

Dr. Marian Andersen’s role as my “health nazi” (her description) sometimes produces surprising but attention-getting advice, direct or implied.

The other morning, the attention-getting advice took this form when Marian observed me preparing to eat breakfast:

“Doctors all over the world are shaking their heads over the fact that you use half-and-half on your Cream of Wheat.”

I continued to pour the half-and-half, but, admittedly, I poured a little less than I might otherwise have used. And I was pleased to know that Marian had, figuratively, enlisted the help of doctors all over the world in advising me as to a healthful lifestyle.

# # #

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