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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

"AT LAST: TALK OF PREVENTION
JOINS MOURNING OVER KILLINGS"
- 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.

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster;
V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice

February 11, 2010

This was the week I had promised myself to be “Mr. Nice Guy,” after last week’s column concentrating on poor or at least questionable performances by public figures and the news media.

But then came such a flurry of such performances this past week that my “Nice Guy” intentions gave way to commenting on such performances as these:

Perhaps the most serious was the misrepresentation of the nature of growth of the taxpayer-subsidized American wind power energy industry in 2009.

The New York Times said that the American wind power industry “grew at a blistering pace in 2009, adding 39% more capacity.”

The World-Herald, consistent with its policy of editorials stressing the money that might be made if Nebraska develops its very considerable wind power potential, editorialized: “The wind industry is growing, even in the current recession,” according to the American Wind Energy Association. And growing fast…”

The rest of the story, as reported on an inside page in USA Today:

“Federal stimulus money rescued the U.S. wind power industry from what could have been a disastrous 2009, but it still lost sought-after manufacturing jobs, a trade group reported Tuesday.”

Taxpayers To The Rescue

The USA Today story reported that the American Wind Energy Association had expected wind-powered development to drop 50% in 2009, “given the dearth of financing for wind-farm projects…but 2009 federal stimulus dollars, about $2.2 billion for dozens of wind projects and wind turbine-component manufacturers, softened the recession impact.”

The most recent news stories and editorial comments continued the pattern of rarely mentioning facts such as these:

There would be very little if any significant wind power development if it were not for federal tax-relief subsidies which increase the annual federal budget deficit and thus the national debt. The rationale for these subsidies is to reduce national reliance on coal-burning electricity-producing plants.

The rarely mentioned Federal objective is to reduce global warming, not to produce income for the owners of windmill sites and the developers who would put up the money to finance the projects.

Also largely ignored is the fact that renewable energy like wind power would not reduce the need for providing standby capacity at coal-fired plants, with the standby capacity going on line when the wind isn’t blowing or blowing hard enough to produce significant amounts of electricity, particularly in the summer, when demand for electricity is largest and wind power availability is smallest.

Low Liberal Blow, Even For N.Y. Times

It doesn’t take an investigative reporter to find examples of journalistic malpractice in the opinion pages of The New York Times when commentators like Frank Rich are at large. Consider this quote from a Sunday column by Rich in support of the U.S. military’s move toward allowing homosexuals and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces:

“John McCain, commandeering the spotlight as usual, did fulminate against the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ But the press focused on McCain, the crazy man in Washington’s attic, was misleading. His yapping was an exception, not the rule.”

Language like that—“the crazy man in Washington’s attic”—is editorial comment at its lowest, and The Times should be ashamed for allowing it to appear on its pages.

Then there is the matter of headlines which don’t accurately reflect the facts of the story, like the one which said: “Obama seeks new Omaha VA hospital.”

The facts are, of course, that money for drawing plans for a new veterans hospital in Omaha was among the thousands of expenditures proposed, item-by-item, in the president’s budget for the next fiscal year.

There was no evidence that Obama had personally and specifically considered and endorsed the Omaha VA hospital proposal.

Beerless Hockey? UNO Willing To Chance It?

At significantly lower levels, some examples of cases where I think journalists could have done better:

A school-record crowd of 13,417 showed up to watch the University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey team beat Ohio State 6-5 in what was described as “an electric evening at the Qwest Center.”

Nine paragraphs into the story, the reader got a suggestion as to what had provided a good deal of the electricity. There was a reference to “UNO’s month long ‘Sell Out Ohio State Promotion.’” The reader could speculate that perhaps the promotion involved encouraging corporations to buy large blocks of tickets and give them away to employees or customers.

But the reader should not have had to speculate. Some details of the month long promotion were called for.

Incidentally, why doesn’t some reporter ask UNO officials whether they would seek permission to sell beer at hockey games if the proposed sports/convocation arena is built on the UNO campus?

The fact that beer is sold in the Qwest Center is generally accepted as one reason for the size of the boisterous crowds that the Mavericks attract—comparable to the belief that to some extent the availability of beer sales helps Creighton’s basketball team attract large crowds for Creighton’s games in the Qwest Center.

I asked a friend who likes to attend Maverick games whether the sale of beer is an attraction. His quick response: “Nobody would go if they couldn’t buy beer. Beer and hockey go together.”

Team Held To 2 Free Throws Not Newsworthy?

Speaking of Creighton basketball, a recent headline read: “Bluejays’ stock up when the shots fall.” Really? I’d never have guessed that.

Elsewhere on the sports pages: The story of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln women’s basketball team winning it’s 21st victory stressed that the Lady Huskers succeeded very well in working the ball inside against an aggressive Texas A&M defense.

You had to go to the agate-type figures following the story to learn the most interesting—and significant—feature of the game. Texas A&M had the opportunity to shoot exactly two free throws. No, that’s not a typographical error. Exactly two free throws, of which one was good. The Lady Huskers shots 21 free throws, of which 16 were good.

That 15-point margin in free throws provided all of the Huskers’ 11-point margin in their 71-60 victory.

* * *

Good Journalistic Performance Merits Mention, Too;
Here Are Two Outstanding Examples

Before I lose all touch with my original “Mr. Nice Guy” intentions, some praise for journalistic performance:

In the torrent of Nebraska wind power stories and editorials, I saw one outstanding example of reasonable restraint. It was an editorial in the Kearney Hub, reprinted in The World-Herald.

The Hub said in part: “Won’t be long now before we can turn off those nasty nuclear and coal plants and enjoy the benefits of ‘free and clean’ wind power, right?

“Not so fast.

“The best sites in our windy state will, at best, drive turbines 40% of the time,” according to Stan Clouse, account manager for Nebraska Public Power District in Kearney. “Some turbines in the state generate electricity less than 20% of the time…

“Reality check: Wind energy is supplemental energy at best. Once technology provides a way to store wind-generated electricity, it will never supplant reliable and cheap coal or nuclear-generated power.

“Another big problem with wind power is the cost of building transmission lines to the often-remote areas where the large turbine farms are most favorably located.

“And speaking of the environment, while wind proponents often criticize coal-generated power and its peripheral impact, a prairie sea of giant windmills is not aesthetically benign.”

Call Them “Muslim Terrorists”

And another praiseworthy performance, this by a former Puliter Price-winning New York Times reporter, Les Gelb, former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, willing to say in print what so many Americans believe. The following comments by Gelb appeared on The Wall Street Journal Opinion page:

“President Obama warns against ‘extremism.’ Former Vice President Dick Cheney declaims against ‘terrorists.’ But they hardly ever bark the essential word, the almost always absent critical adjective: Muslim. Almost all the terrorist and extremist violence in the world today is committed by Muslims—and in most instances, the victims are Muslims themselves.

“What’s afoot here is Muslim extremism—despite the fact that the great majority of Muslims aren’t radicals and condemn terrorism.

“President Obama got somewhat more specific in his press appearance Thursday regarding the Christmas bombing attempt. He said that the United States was ‘at war against al Qaeda.’

“Indeed, we are, and al Qaeda is surely the main Muslim terrorist organization we are fighting. But it is not the only one. Many of the Muslim terrorist groups around the world are their own bosses, particularly in Asia and also the Middle East. Nonetheless, he still avoided the Muslim nature of the problem.

“The omission of the word ‘Muslim’ usually stems from political correctness, the desire not to offend. On most occasions, this gloss does no great harm and can be overlooked. But the failure to nail the problem squarely by name causes grave difficulties: It impedes the process of finding realistic solutions.

“Specifically, it leads Washington to think of American solutions to terrorism more so than Muslim ones. It puts the greatest onus on American resources and actions, on our values and our philosophies—rather than on the great majority of moderate Muslims, their values, their religion, their culture, their concrete actions, and their getting involved at the ground level in the mud and muck.

“If the battle against Muslim terrorism is to be won, moderate Muslims will have to do the heavy lifting, and explain to us how we can best help them. If Americans and Westerners continue to take the lead, it will remain an ‘us vs. them’ war.”

* * *

‘Sports Babe’ Wins Again

We had a divided household when it came to last Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Marian was for New Orleans. I was for Indianapolis.

I told Marian that, like so many other people, I greatly admire Payton Manning, the Indianapolis quarterback. And I don’t think a city deserves a Super Bowl victory just because it has suffered a hurricane.

More seriously, anyone who lives in a state filled with football fans as emotionally involved as the fans who follow the Nebraska Cornhuskers can hardly begrudge the people of New Orleans their ecstatic enjoyment of the Saints’ victory.

But I wouldn’t go so far as the NBC commentator who called the Saints “the nation’s team” or the New Orleans resident who described the Saints as “our saviors after Katrina.”

# # #

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