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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

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

January 22, 2009

Without diminishing popular support for President Obama, can’t we hope that this year’s presidential inauguration hysteria is largely over, minimizing continuing distraction from the serious problems facing the new president and our country?

There will be some, I expect, who will wish to continue the emotional celebration of a very significant turning point in American political history—the election of the first African-American president.  But one hopes that Bono and Bruce Springsteen and Oprah Winfrey and like-minded liberals will now pipe down and let Obama get on with the challenge of proving that behind his style there is substance.

(I note that some news accounts—as in The World-Herald Sunday—have spoken of the election of the first “African-American,” an accurate description.  Obama’s father was born in Africa and his mother in America.  His lineage is African-American, not black.  He is half black, half white.)

Such emotional overemphasis on presidential inaugurations is not new, of course.  But in this year when the nation faces the most serious economic crisis since 1982 or perhaps the 1930s, wouldn’t it, for example, have been appropriate to have fewer than 10—that’s right, 10—inaugural balls? 

I would guess that I’m not alone in wondering whether Obama has overplayed “the Abraham Lincoln card.”  Traveling to Philadelphia for a train ride back to Washington, following that final leg of the path which Lincoln took to his inauguration in 1861, was a little much, it seems to me.

Lincoln, after all, was coming from his home in Springfield, Illinois on his way to Washington, traveling by rail.  Obama, in contrast, had to leave Washington so he could turn around and ride a train, Lincoln-like, from Philadelphia to Washington.

Lincoln did take a leisurely path by rail in his route from Springfield to Washington, with dinner-party stops along the way and speeches to enthusiastic crowds.  But he made no Washington-Philadelphia-Washington roundtrip with an eye on news media coverage and image-building. 

Incidentally, the Lincoln and Obama Philadelphia-Washington trips differed in another very important way.  A special train, traveling at night well ahead of the presidential special, secretly carried Lincoln to Washington to avoid a scheduled stop in Baltimore.  Detective Allan Pinkerton and Army Chief of Staff General Winfield Scott both had warned Lincoln’s staff of reports that there would be an attempt to assassinate Lincoln during the scheduled stop in Baltimore.

In any case, let’s stop celebrating and wholeheartedly give our history-making forty-fourth President the support he proves worthy of.

* * *

‘High-Energy’ Heineman
Generates Good News

As I see it, an appropriate message for Governor Dave Heineman these days might be:  “Looking good, Dave, looking good.  Keep it up.” 

My comments are inspired by two stories that appeared in The World-Herald in the past week. 

Of fundamental importance to Nebraskans and the public agencies which serve them was the governor’s tighten-the-belt state budget submitted to the Legislature.  With a good many other public agencies scrambling to find funds or cut spending, Heineman proposed a budget proposing a 1.8% average increase in spending over the next two years, in the face of what Heineman called “one of the greatest financial challenges of our lifetime.”

Although tight, the budget still would allow an increase of $100 million in state aid to local school districts and $17 million for improvements at the Beatrice State Development Center, continue property tax credits at $150 million a year and reserve $200 million to meet major potential liabilities.

The second news story carried this headline:  “No job’s too small or big for governor” then gave some examples of the “high-energy” governor at work.  I especially liked this example: 

When Heineman learned that auto parts maker Tenneco was considering closing some factories, including one in Cozad in Central Nebraska, the next morning he placed a call to Tenneco’s chief executive officer. 

Heineman said he asked what Nebraska might do to keep the 500 jobs in Cozad.  He dispatched a delegation to Michigan to meet with company executives.

Last week, the state received word that Cozad would keep its Tenneco plant, at least for the next year. 

* * *

Simmons Living Room
Once Was Zoo ‘Nursery’

No need for me to go into the details of accomplishments of Dr. Lee Simmons, who has directed the building of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo into a world-class institution and, at 70, plans to step aside as director while continuing to serve the zoo as money-raising chairman of the Omaha Zoo Foundation.

Simmons’ achievements as director of Omaha’s zoo were well chronicled in a major story in The Sunday World-Herald.  I especially enjoyed the following example of Simmons’—and his family’s—total commitment to the zoo. 

 “I can remember when the nursery was my living room.  My daughter, an orangutan and a gorilla were all in diapers and on a bottle at the same time.”

* * *

Robert Knoll Left His Mark
On His University And His State

I take sad note of the death of Bob Knoll, a dear friend who served Nebraska with great distinction. 

Knoll died recently at 86, leaving what a World-Herald editorial described as “an indelible impression on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the state as a whole.”

Bob Knoll was a valued friend, in the class a year ahead of me at Omaha North High School and, like me, an English major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Bob Knoll’s achievements as a distinguished member of the UNL faculty were legion.  It may be that he will be best remembered for his definitive history of UNL, published in 1995 under the title “Prairie University.”

Bob and I had the happy occasion to work closely together in a successful effort to see that the Nebraska Hall of Fame includes Charles Bessey.  Bessey was a superb teacher, researcher and administrator who played the leading role in the early years of development of that “prairie university” into an institution of great service to Nebraskans and outreach beyond Nebraska in terms of putting the results of agricultural research in the hands of farmers across the nation.

I like to think that Bob, in his final months, found satisfaction in the fact that he had helped assure that Charles Bessey received Hall of Fame recognition in the state in which Bessey had accomplished so much—an example, one might suggest, for Bob himself in later years.

* * *

Others Also Fed Up
With Von Maur ‘Reruns’

It didn’t surprise me to learn that I’m not the only one fed up with saturation coverage and recoverage of the story of Robert Hawkins and his murderous rampage which killed eight people at the Von Maur department store more than a year ago.

Now I haven’t conducted a poll, but based on comments which have come my way, including letters from readers, I’ve concluded that more than a few people would rather read about state government action to keep young potential killers off the streets rather than relive the details of the Von Maur killings yet again.

A Norfolk reader put it this way: 

“Yes, Nebraska is in need of places that can provide mental health care, possibly called ‘regional centers.’”  (Columnist’s note:  Norfolk has fought successfully to keep such a regional center open in that community.)

“Just a couple of short years ago, there was a strong push to close regional centers and move troubled people into the ‘community.’  It remains a difficult situation for many communities.  The other institution you mentioned was the orphanage, I agree that a well-run facility would be much better for many youth than a series of foster homes.”

* * *

Can ‘Renovated’ Katie Couric Survive?

Herewith a touch of variety.  Today’s column has been pretty serious so far.

A question occurred to me when I happened to see a “renovated” Katie Couric Sunday evening during a brief newscast at halftime of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens NFL playoff game. 

Will a new hairdo, new makeup—and an occasional glimpse of those legs made famous on the NBC morning show—be enough to save Katie Couric’s job as anchorwoman on the CBS evening news show?

A recent news story reported that CBS Evening News show, anchored by Couric, had sunk to its lowest viewer ratings ever.

# # #

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