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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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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?"
-  2-20-08

"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.

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

January 7, 2010

Let’s start today with some heavier news, then switch to some football commentary, including the Big Red variety.  Isn’t that the duty of a Nebraska-based media commentator these days?

First, the unnecessarily unhappy story of the way Big Daddy government has again screwed up federal home ownership policy. 

When the liberal New York Times makes a federal government failure its lead front-page story, you know there has been a major mistake.  The headline read:

“U.S. Loan Effort Is Seen As Adding To Housing Woes”  The subhead read:  “Little Permanent Help.”

If you’re thinking that we have been here before and that too-liberal mortgage lending policies, encouraged by the federal government were the mistake that led to the present economic recession, you’re absolutely right.  And here we go again, apparently, as described in The Times story: 

“The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good.

“…Critics increasingly argue that the program, Making Home Affordable, has raised false hopes among people who simply cannot afford their homes.”

Perhaps this time the potentially disastrous mistake will have become evident early enough to avoid anything approaching the economic disaster which the same basic policy ignited in 2008.  But the chance of economic common sense trumping welfare state do-goodism is never a safe bet.

* * *

Big-Money Highway Questions
Can’t Be Answered Quickly

Still on the serious side of the news: 

I believe State Senator Deb Fischer of Valentine is talking good sense when she suggests that this year’s 60-day session of the Nebraska legislature, held in an election year, is not the best time to decide long-term street and highway financing policy.

Fischer, chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, says this session can be used to further define the problem and discuss the options.  This in the face of suggestions that the Legislature increase the state gasoline tax five cents a gallon or put together a highway improvement program financed by borrowing money backed by bonds. 

None of the news stories which I have seen answer the obvious question of what specific tax increases would be necessary to finance the bonds or the additional question of how much the bond approach would cost in terms of interest on the bonds. 

There is a good deal of talk about the importance of finishing what is referred to as the state’s “expressway system,” a network of four-lane divided limited access highways.  We are told that there are 174 miles of unfinished expressway in the 600-mile “system.”  Where are these 174 miles?  What is the population of the cities that would be served?  And, most important of all, what is the estimated traffic volume that these four-lane highways would serve? 

Incidentally but importantly, the expressway system was created by the Legislature in 1988, not proposed by the State Highway Department as an essential part of the state highway system.

* * *

How Close Is UNO Hockey
To Balancing Its Fiscal Books?

Speaking of things it would be interesting to know more about:

What is the current financial performance of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks hockey program?  How do revenues and costs compare?

In the program’s early years, when the Mavericks played to capacity crowds in a smaller arena in the Civic Auditorium, we were told, with a certain degree of understandable UNO pride, that the program one year made close to $1 million, a profit which helped finance money-losing Maverick sports.  Then the program moved to the larger Qwest Center arena, where costs are higher and crowds not proportionately larger if as large. 

The last story I remember reading about Maverick hockey finances as played in the Qwest Center was that in the previous year Maverick  hockey had just about broken even financially. 

Since then, crowd sizes have been unimpressive, and the UNO athletic program has taken on some presumably increased salary costs.  Deposed head coach Mike Kemp was retained as “associate athletic director.”  And a new head coach was hired at a salary based on his reputation for coaching national championship-caliber teams.  The new head coach, incidentally, took a leave of absence to coach a national team but we were told he would return in early January. 

A detailed report of UNO Maverick Athletic Department finances, not just the hockey program numbers, seems to me to be clearly in order. 

Closing thought:  A local sports commentator has persistently suggested that UNO should be making plans for its own hockey arena.  The question of financing is another matter, of course.  But I wonder if anyone connected with the UNO athletic program, including new Athletic Director Trev Alberts, has considered this fact:

Hockey and beer drinking go together (so do basketball and beer drinking, as testified to by the size of the crowds that watch the Creighton Bluejays play in the Qwest Center arena). 

The only suggestions I have seen as to a site for a UNO hockey arena focus on the former Chili Greens golf course south across Center Street from the UNO campus.  University of Nebraska policy is that beer not be sold on university property, and the proposed UNO hockey arena site would is on university property acquired for possible UNO campus expansion.

Bottoms down!

* * *

Husker Football Books More Than Balanced
But Are 2010 Title Prospects All That Good?

Let’s turn to a Nebraska collegiate sport which makes money—in fact it underwrites all the rest of the school’s athletic teams—a team which includes Nebraskans, in contrast to the UNO Maverick hockey roster, and doesn’t allow drinking in the same arena where games are played—an arena which has been sold out for more than 300 consecutive games.

I’m talking, obviously, about the University of Nebraska Cornhusker football team, which has just finished a season (10-4) on the most upbeat note in nine years.

So upbeat (a 33-0 blowout of Arizona in the Holiday Bowl following a 1-point last-second loss to No. 2-ranked Texas for the Big 12 championship) that fans and sports commentators (who should know better) have been talking optimistically about even greater things in 2010.

Initial reaction by some print and broadcast commentators was positively giddy as they looked to 2010—without, to this day, giving an adequate detailed explanation of the intricacies, advantages and disadvantages and 2010 prospects of the “Wildcat” offense which the Huskers successfully unveiled in the final game of the season. 

Headline writers entered in enthusiastically, as in:  “Husker steamroller a scary sight for Big 12.”  One commentator referred to the Huskers as “the favorite to repeat as Big 12 North champion and be one second better in the conference championship game in 2010.” 

Being “one second better” would, of course, mean the Huskers would win the 2010 conference championship.

Is ‘National Champion’ Possibility A Realistic Prospect?

A few days later, the same columnist seemed to temper his optimism on the one hand while raising an even more optimistic possibility on the other.

This time he wrote that the Holiday Bowl game indicated that the Husker offense “might” be catching up with the defense—a defense which, incidentally, loses half of its starters this year.  (Another columnist’s comments the same day appeared under this headline:  “Can Blackshirts keep backbone?”)  There was also the comment that the Huskers “look like” potential Big 12 favorites.  A few days earlier there was a flat prediction that they will be favorites to be Big 12 champions. 

But after this note of cautious optimism rather than outright championship predictions, there was the commentator’s suggestion that at the end of the regular season Husker fans might be hearing “the other two words mentioned.” 

I assume we are supposed to figure out that the commentator’s “other two words” are “national champions.”

I know that nobody is perfect, but I’m still hoping for a flawless big-game coverage performance by print or broadcast media.  In the case of the print media, that won’t happen until a cameraman or two is sent up to the television-camera level to take some overhead shots which put a play in much better perspective than do sideline shots. 

So many of the sideline shots look like every other sideline shot.  And without good captions—which are frequently lacking—you don’t know whether the typical three-player-struggle (one ball carrier, two tacklers) was for a gain or a loss or how it figured in the flow of the game.

But while I continue to hope for improvement (including better writing, as in not substituting “he’s” for “he has”) let me give you the worst examples of any sports commentator performance which I heard during the multitude of bowl games. 

The worst was clearly the performance by Fox commentators during the Florida thrashing of Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl.  The commentators left you with the impression that if it had been within their power, the game would have ended with the canonization of both Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Coach Urban Meyer.

Gator Coach, QB, History Were Overhyped

Tebow had a record-breaking day against a totally outmatched Cincinnati team.  Nothing that happened that day—or during the totality of his college career—justified, as I see it, this kind of language from a Fox commentator:  “One of the greatest if not the greatest players in the history of college football.”

And this language in regard to Urban Meyer:  “Certainly one of the best coaches of all time.”

And this appraisal of what Florida football became during Meyers five years as coach and Tebow’s four years as quarterback:  One of the “all-time great college football dynasties.” 

To me, one of the great college coaches of all time would have shown better character, a bit of compassion, in the closing seconds of the 51-24 Cotton Bowl victory over Cincinnati. 

With 31 seconds left, a better person than Urban Meyer (who didn’t gain stature by reversing his “I’m quitting” decision in 24 hours) would have told his quarterback to “take a knee.”  Instead, Meyer either directed or allowed his quarterback to try for another touchdown with a score of 51-24 in favor of his team.

I have seen more than one example of a coach showing the decency of ordering his quarterback to take a knee in the closing seconds of a game in which his team’s victory was decisively assured.

As to Coach Meyer and Quarterback Tebow in the past five years having helped establish or continue to build one of the “all-time great football dynasties” at Florida:

You don’t build a dynasty in four or five years.

The “Florida Gator football” website says the Gators have played intercollegiate football since 1906 and have compiled a record including:

--3 national championships.  (Nebraska:  5)

--8 conference titles.  (Nebraska:  43 in the same 1906-2009 time period.)

--27 consensus All-Americans.  (Nebraska:  43.)

--654 victories.  (Nebraska:  740 in the same period.)

# # #

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