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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem

February 12, 2009

Critics continue to shoot at the wrong target in their indignation about the fact that four beer-only liquor stores in tiny Whiteclay, Nebraska sell more than four million cans of beer a year, mostly to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Emotional, irrational indignation, waxing and waning for years, has flared high again, fueled by a documentary film entitled “The Battle for Whiteclay.”

One critic has described the Whiteclay beer sales as a “boil” on the face of Nebraska. 

Attorney General Jon Bruning, never reluctant to take a publicly-popular side in a controversial public issue, has declared:  “It is a sad situation, and we need to do more…I’m not done trying.”

Good Intentions Not Enough

Members of a Creighton Prep theology class said they are launching a petition drive to urge President Obama to overturn a 1904 order signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.  Until the 1904 order took effect, federal policy had been to forbid alcohol sales within a five-mile buffer zone around the legally “dry” Pine Ridge Reservation. 

Ending the buffer zone meant that Whiteclay, just south of the Nebraska line at the edge of the Pine Ridge reservation, would fall within the no-alcohol restriction if the buffer zone were revived.

A great deal of indignation over Whiteclay and all those beer sales, but it is totally off target.  If Whiteclay is a “boil,” then the alcoholism rampant on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a cancer, a tremendously more serious problem than liquor sales in Whiteclay.

As a practical, non-emotional issue, shutting down beer sales in Whiteclay would simply drive the beer-drinkers to travel from their supposedly “dry” reservation to other northern Nebraska communities like Chadron, Hay Springs, Rushville and Gordon, increasing the potential for drunken driving by virtue of longer distances from the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Are the well-intentioned anti-Whiteclay crusaders aware of the fact that a number of the Indian reservations in South Dakota—in contrast to the Pine Ridge Reservation north of Whiteclay—allow liquor sales on the reservations, where they are subject to tribal control?

Look At Other Reservations

Interestingly—although apparently unknown to or ignored by the anti-Whiteclay zealots—the very large Rosebud Indian Reservation some 30 miles due east of the Pine Ridge Reservation is one of several South Dakota reservations which allow liquor sales.  Also apparently unbeknownst to or disregarded by the Whiteclay-focused crusaders is the fact that beer sales are allowed in five communities within the Winnebago and Omaha Indian Reservations in Thurston County in Nebraska.

Beer can be bought at eight (that’s right, eight) locations in Pender, four in Emerson, three in Walthill, two in Rosalie and one in Thurston.

In short, I think a strong case can be made that instead of hyperventilating about Whiteclay, Nebraska, the anti-Whiteclay crusaders should turn all that firepower on Pine Ridge tribal leaders, urging that the symptoms of alcoholism be addressed closer to where the alcoholics live; i.e., on the reservation.  

With well-intentioned, friendly pressure should come a commitment to work hard to help the tribe overcome, or at least alleviate, the alcoholism problem, by working to help create jobs and doing anything else that can reasonably be done to get at the root causes of the alcoholism. 

That certainly would be a worthy undertaking for an indignant filmmaker and newspaper columnist and attorney general and earnest young high school students

* * *

Kennedy ‘Founding Father’
Called ‘Old Scoundrel’

An Omahan who is a consistent critic recently sarcastically suggested that I “please end the suspense and tell us all what political views Michelle Obama will share with the public in the days to come.”

This was my critic’s response to my prediction that we would be hearing “Michelle Obama’s views on political issues.”  This critic’s e-mail said that if I feel the need for even more “partisan rantings…lob an attack in the direction of old Joe Kennedy.”

Not a bad idea, except that this time I will use some of the words in a new book about “old Joe’s” time in Hollywood.  The title is “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents,” author is Cari Beauchamp and the book was reviewed recently in The Wall Street Journal by Edward Kosner, former editor of Newsweek, New York Magazine, Esquire and The New York Daily News. 

The book concentrates on the years when Kennedy, founding father of the Kennedy political clan, was a major player in Hollywood, largely through obtaining control of various studios.

The book recounts the ways in which Kennedy gained control of various studio deals and also gives details of Kennedy’s affair with movie star Gloria Swanson while his wife, Rose, “who had once left Kennedy because of his compulsive infidelities, kept going to Mass and acted oblivious to the whole tawdry scene.”

The book review refers to Kennedy as “a blatant anti-Semite.”  Reported also is the story that when President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Kennedy as a purported reformist chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Roosevelt is said to have commented, “It takes a thief to catch a thief.”

During his disastrous time as the United States Ambassador to Great Britain, Beauchamp writes, “Joe used his envoy’s clout to ship 200,000 cases of Haig & Haig scotch back to the U.S.”

Kosner’s review ended with these words:  “It’s an enduring wonder of American politics that JFK managed to become an effective and admired president despite the heavy hand of the old scoundrel.”

* * *

Fascinating History Sometimes Found
In Abstract Of Home Ownership

Some of you already know this, but for those who don’t, some advice:  For some interesting reading, lay hands on the abstract which gives the history of ownership of property on which you now live.  You may find fascinating reading.

For example:  The abstract of previous ownership of the lot on which our Fairacres home is built has this history of ownership: 

William Grimsley, a part of “Captain Coffer’s Company, Virginia militia, War of 1812,” received a plot of public land granted by Congress to certain military veterans. 

Grimsley sold 80 acres to Harry D. Hester of Rochester, New York May 24, 1857.  Hester also bought 80 acres from John Eastley, “Seaman on the United States Ship Columbus” in the 1846-48 war with Mexico.  (The abstract includes no indication of how Grimsley and Hester or Eastley and Hester got together to make their deal.)

According to an affidavit filed in 1916, Harry Hester, who had become the owner of the land on which our home is built, in 1857 dug the foundation to build “a dwelling house…of solid lumber 8 x 10 feet in size, said dwelling being finished in a good and workmanlike manner with plank floor and roof, window and door and in every respect suitable for a residence, that he has furnished the same with bed and bedding and other household fixtures.” 

The affidavit said Hester had plowed and planted and fenced three acres and moved in, “fully prepared to make the same his home.”

Proof of residence such as this was regularly a requirement for citizens who sought to acquire title to public land by “homesteading” on it.

In 1887, the Patrick Land Company purchased 240 acres, which included the Hester-homesteaded land, presumably with the idea of developing it into something more valuable than farmland.  Our abstract details a number of transactions by which the land was sold to new owners.  By 1892 the 240 acres  had been involved in three lawsuits and had been sold at a sheriff’s auction in March 1893 for $1,693. 

Finally, in 1907, after a number of changes in ownership, more lawsuits and mortgage foreclosures, Roy Towl, a surveyor who later became mayor of Omaha, filed a plat of “Fairacres” on behalf of the Dundee Realty Co.  Some of the property was dedicated to streets.  Construction along most of those streets did not proceed promptly, to say the least. 

In our case, the lot of a little less than one acre, was sold in 1928 to a new owner named Arthur H. Fetters for $3,000.  In 1937, the lot was acquired by Henry W. Yates, who built an Alan McDonald-designed house to which Marian and I added when we acquired the property from Dr. and Mrs. (Melba) Payson Adams in 1966. 

If you’ve stayed with me this far, I hope you have found something of interest in the story of the evolution of Omaha’s Fairacres neighborhood and also the message that you, too, may find some interesting reading if you take time to examine the abstract history of ownership of your property.

* * *

Time Heals Some Presidential Wounds

A cynic might write it off as kind remarks from one member of the “Former Presidents’ Club” about another member.  Judge for yourself. 

In any case, I found interesting the response that Jimmy Carter gave when Larry King brought up the subject of the low public approval ratings of certain presidents as they left office. 

King noted that Carter’s rating had been in the low 30s but that recent polling showed 60% approval of Carter. 

George Bush, King noted, left office with low ratings.  (The range was 24% to 34% among various polls.)

Carter said he thought Bush had done a “superb job” in providing aid to Africa.  “Nobody could have done better,” Carter declared.

Over time, Carter predicted, “undoubtedly his ratings will improve."

# # #

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