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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush

January 29, 2009

Bush-bashing has become a sort of feeding frenzy among a large segment of national news media reporters and commentators, figuratively gorging themselves on the insults they are leveling at the 43rd president after he has left office. 

Before quoting some of those insults, let me point out again the outrageous unfairness in the charge that Bush is responsible for the present economic crisis and for anything else that’s gone wrong in America in the past eight years. 

Critics choose to ignore the blame that properly rests on Congress, including especially Democratic leaders like Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senator Chris Dodd of Rhode Island, and other Democrats, including Bill Clinton when he was president.  These Democrats sowed the seeds of the economic collapse by trying to make homeownership a sort of federal welfare program.

One—and only one, so far as I’m aware—fair-minded Democrat publicly criticized his party’s performance in regard to the bargain mortgage scandal.  Representative Artur Davis of Alabama said:  “Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie (government-created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were pressing lenders to issue high-risk mortgages which Fannie and Freddie would purchase).

“Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit, when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong.”

Bush Gets No Credit

Bush gets no credit at all from media commentators for his effort to win Congressional approval of some supervisory oversight designed to curb the irresponsible mortgage policies financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The lack of Congressional action on Bush’s proposal to rein in Fannie and Freddie brings me to another example of journalistic malpractice. 

Some in the media seem to delight in reporting how low the Bush approval ratings fell in public opinion polls in the later years of his administration.  Rarely if ever mentioned is the fact that the public’s opinion of Congressional performance consistently ranked lower than approval of Bush’s performance. 

Consider:  In 2008, Bush’s performance as measured in various public opinion polls ranged from 22 to 34% approval (he left office with a 22% poll-approval rating).  During the same period, respondents to a variety of polls gave Congress approval ratings ranging from 12 to 24%, most of the time below 20% and nearly all below the Bush approval ratings.

I said earlier that I would offer some examples of recent rhetorical assaults on Bush, some of them so viciously worded as to suggest emotional if not mental imbalance.

Columnists Pile On

Paul Krugman, one of the nastiest in The New York Times stable of liberal columnists, has written:  “…shouldn’t there be some penalty for the Bush administration’s politicization of every aspect of government?”  He went on to suggest the Obama administration should file charges against those responsible for “the abuses of the past eight years.”

Another Times columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, spoke of “Mr. Bush’s years of governing from an ideological pup tent,” in contrast to Obama’s inaugural address language addressing “inclusiveness,” in his effort to “tug people into his big tent.”

Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. of The Miami Herald said the American people were tired of the “lies, alibis, incompetence and tolerance of incompetence that has characterized the last eight years.” 

Interestingly, the acid-tongue Krugman of The New York Times has now written a column which hints that when Obama moves towards the middle ground, where most Americans are most philosophically and politically comfortable, he had better be prepared for brickbats from the left where Krugman and like-minded liberals predominate.

Bush Linked To Child’s Death

Krugman’s critique of Obama’s inaugural address said the new president’s words were disappointing “for those still hoping that Obama will lead the way to universal health care.”  Although somewhat muted in language, as one would expect of a liberal columnist criticizing a liberal president, Krugman’s column indicated disappointment on a number of issues and predicted dire results if Obama does not promote “drastic action soon.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker may have stretched the farthest in Bush-bashing. 

Tucker told the story of the death of an 11-year-old girl, then said that Bush’s stance on stem-cell research impeded scientific efforts “that may have made inroads towards a cure for the illness that killed young Kara.”

Incredibly, columnist Tucker’s linking Bush to the illness that killed young Kara came three paragraphs after she had reported that Kara’s parents were going to be prosecuted for allegedly allowing their daughter “to die from a treatable illness—juvenile diabetes—because their religion forbids modern medicine.”

* * *

‘Husker Hoopsters Need Practice
Facility’—Or Do They?

Further on the subject of journalistic performance: 

That story about the need—or no need?—for a practice court for the University of Nebraska Cornhusker basketball team left the major question unanswered:

Why do the Huskers need a practice court?

Coach Doc Sadler gave no indication of dissatisfaction with the present arrangement of practicing on the same Devaney Center floor as the Huskers play their home games.  Sadler said:

“I have other things to worry about beside the financing of a new arena.  Since day one, I’ve said that’s out of my hands.  I support and understand whatever decision they make.”

A sports page commentator wrote:  “Most hoop coaches like to practice where they play games.”  That’s what Nebraska is now doing.  But his column carried the headline:  “For Doc, practice facility is key.”

UNL Athletic Director Tom Osborne said he is “totally committed” to the construction of a practice facility as soon as is prudent.  He also mentioned the need for $10 to $20 million worth of improvements at the Devaney Center, whether a practice facility is built or not. 

Shouldn’t Devaney Center improvement have high priority over a practice facility for which no need has been clearly established?

Why A Downtown Practice Facility?

The issue came into focus when, because of economic conditions, the idea of a new practice facility built near a new downtown Lincoln arena was put on hold.  (Why in the world would a basketball practice facility be considered an attractive addition to a downtown area that Lincoln is seeking to revitalize?  Would there be a campaign to get fans to come downtown to watch the Cornhuskers practice?)

Incidentally, a listing of the opening year and the capacity of all the basketball arenas in the Big 12 showed Nebraska’s Devaney Center as the sixth-largest in crowd capacity and fourth oldest, although in terms of age, four of the arenas bunched closely together, having opened in 1975 to 1979.  The Devaney Center opened in 1976.

Interestingly, the Lloyd Noble Center, home of the nationally-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, one of the best teams in the nation this season, was opened the year before the Devaney Center and has a listed capacity of 12,000 spectators, about 1,600 less than the Devaney Center.

Oldest arena in the Big 12?  You might have guessed it.  The Allen Field House, with a current capacity of 16,300, opened in 1955 and is the home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks, a traditional national basketball powerhouse.

It might be worth noting that, practicing in the Devaney Center where they play their games, the Nebraska Cornhuskers under Coach Sadler are being given a good deal of credit for their performance this year without the critical presence of a big center.  The struggling Creighton Bluejays have their own practice facility.

* * *

Democrats ‘Invade’ Second District;
Let’s Hear More Details

Still on the subject of journalistic performance: 

A pre-inauguration news dispatch from Washington said that at a party thrown by the Nebraska Democratic Party, party chairman Vic Covalt said the Nebraska Democratic caucuses helped sweep Obama past Hillary Rodham Clinton and on to the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Covalt was further quoted as saying:  “That wasn’t enough—we started shipping people across into the Second District like it was a foreign state.  The whole place worked, and we got Barack Obama an electoral vote.”

Some reporter should have asked the Nebraska Democratic chairman exactly what he meant when he spoke of “shipping people across into the Second District.”

Hardly something to brag about, I would say.

* * *

Big-Bucks Designer
A Big Obama Mistake

Call it poor taste or an untypical case of bad judgment, whatever.  Michelle and Barack Obama simply should not have retained the services of a high-profile Los Angeles-based designer to redo the family quarters in the White House.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Smith, described as a decorator “to stars, models and fund-managers,” accepted a $100,000-maximum-fee.  But with a good many Americans struggling to retain ownership of modest homes or to protect their retirement funds, it was an egregious mistake for the Obamas to choose an interior designer whose “signature scents” are marketed at prices like $55 for a seven-ounce candle and $110 for an air freshener. 

The Obamas have been allocated $1.6 million for what the Journal described as a “restoration budget”—which, one is left to speculate, includes redesigning, redecorating and refurnishing.  Normally something a new First Family is entitled to, but then again, perhaps not in these days when so many Americans who voted for Obama are struggling to pay their bills or live on unemployment benefit checks.

Prediction:  This won’t be the last time that Michelle Obama’s views—more likely on political issues than interior decorating—will come to public attention.

# # #

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