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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics
Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates?

February 18, 2010

The timing could not have been worse for the liberals—including President Obama—wailing in protest over the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 decision holding that First Amendment freedom of speech guarantees give corporations the legal right to spend money on television ads and other efforts to influence elections.

Obama and other liberals vowed to seek ways to ban or limit corporate expenditures for such purposes. Their assumption was, predictably, that Republicans would be the principal beneficiaries of such corporate spending.

Then came last Sunday’s New York Times blockbuster expose of the way that corporate expenditures are solicited by and/or accepted by the Democrat-dominated liberal-oriented Congressional Black Caucus.

Will Obama and other liberals seek to ban or at least limit this kind of corporate expenditures, which benefit primarily Democratic politicians?

Some excerpts from The Times expose:

“It (the Black Caucus) has a traditional political fund-raising arm subject to federal rules. But it also has a network of nonprofits and charities that allow it to collect unlimited amounts from corporations and labor unions that otherwise would have to obey strict guidelines on political giving.

“From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions…only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee. The rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network…

Corporate-Financed Black Caucus Social Season

“The bulk of the money has been spent on elaborate conventions that have become a high point of the Washington social season, as well as on the headquarters building, golf outings by members of Congress and annual visits to a Mississippi casino resort.

“In 2008, the caucus foundation spent more on the caterer for its signature legislative dinner and conference—nearly $700,000 for an event one organizer called ‘Hollywood on the Potomac’—then it gave out in scholarships, federal tax records show.”

Other facets of this legal use of corporate dollars to buy influence among black members of Congress as cited by The Times:

“Some of the biggest corporate donors have seats on the board of something called the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, which drafts positions on issues before Congress.”

Corporate dollars have gone to personal charities run by caucus members for events such as the annual golf tournament run by the family of a black House member, an event which it received $14,000 in industry contributions in 2008.

The Times reported that the biggest Black Caucus event of the year is held each September in Washington. The 2009 event began with a rooftop party at the new W Hotel. There was a separate dinner party at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Social Bash Costs 10 Times More Than Scholarships

The next night, AT&T sponsored a dinner reception at the Willard International. The Southern Company, dominant electric utility in four southeastern states, spent more than $300,000 to host an award ceremony honoring the Black Caucus chairwoman. The bill for limousine services exceeded $11,000. A separate party, sponsored by Macy’s, featured a fashion show.

“All of this,” The Times reported, “was just a buildup for the final night and the biggest event—a black-tie dinner for 4,000, which included President Obama…

“Annual spending on the events…has more than doubled since 2001, costing $3.9 million in 2008…

“By comparison, the caucus spent $372,000 on internships in 2008, tax records show.”

Don’t expect any cries of protest from President Obama and other liberals over this use—a good many Americans would call it outrageous misuse—of influence-seeking corporate dollars. After all, liberals might argue, these corporate dollars were dedicated to the support of members of the Congressional Black Caucus in their open-minded public service in the United States Congress.

* * *

If Silly Fund-Raising Efforts Succeed,
What Does It Say About GOP Membership?

The Republican National Committee hasn’t caught up with the fact that I changed my voter registration from Republican to Independent several years ago in reaction to the growing influence of religious-right extremists in the Republican Party.

So I continue to get fund solicitations thinly disguised as supposed samplings of voter opinion.

The latest GOP pitch to come my way was called a “National Referendum On America’s Leadership.” My participation was requested in a document which is “registered” to me as a “representative” of Omaha, Nebraska.

The “referendum document” itself asks questions such as this: “Should Nancy Pelosi be replaced as Speaker of the House?” Then I am asked, “as a representative of Omaha,” whether I think Pelosi’s liberal views are out of step with the majority of voters.

If I were to take part in this “referendum,” I would, of course, vote “Yes” on each of those two questions.

Then there is the request for funds, soliciting “my most generous financial gift,” with options starting at $20. (As I see it, if the Republican National Committee knew more about how to raise funds, it wouldn’t start “most generous” options as low as $20.)

If you contribute at all, even as little as $20, you are entitled to answer a “Bonus Question” asking you to choose from a number of issues—from abortion to lower taxes—as to which issues you think Republicans should focus on in the 2010 Congressional elections.

All in all, a silly way to try to raise money so far as the Andersen household is concerned. If this approach really works to any significant degree among Republican Party members, the GOP has a bigger membership problem than I had realized.

* * *

Time For Leaders To Speak Up:
Alcoholism Primarily Tribe’s Problem

On and on it goes, focusing on the Nebraska side of the Nebraska-South Dakota border to address the problem of rampant alcoholism on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Oh, there is an occasional passing reference to the fact that the Lakota Sioux Tribe should get involved, but the continuing emphasis seems to be that it’s somehow largely Nebraska’s fault that Indians from the Pine Ridge Reservation are alcoholics because they get most of their beer—probably nearly all of it—from beer retailers in Whiteclay, Nebraska just across the state line.

Rarely if ever mentioned in a news story or editorial is the fact that on other Indian reservations in South Dakota, including the Rosebud Reservation some 45 miles to the east, there are liquor sales controlled by the tribe on the reservation. (This is not to suggest that this approach cures the alcoholism problem, but at least it makes the tribe itself primarily responsible for dealing with it.)

The latest initiative by well-intentioned Nebraskans includes a look at options for further regulation on beer sales in Whiteclay. The discussions of what Nebraska might do also include stepped-up law enforcement and the possibility of a clinic to treat alcoholics.

As I see it, a reasonable starting point for any Nebraska efforts should be a clear statement from Pine Ridge Reservation leaders as to why they don’t follow the example of other South Dakota reservations in attempting to bring legal liquor sales under their control on the reservation itself and whether they recognize that the problem is primarily theirs, not Nebraska’s.

I think editorial comment from the Scottsbluff Star-Herald made excellent sense. The Star-Herald said:

“To the extent that Nebraska can help, it should. Some of the funding could come from the taxes collected on liquor sales in Whiteclay. But real progress is impossible without popular support from the Lakota people.”

A Sad Reality? Some Children
Must Be Bribed To Attend School?

As I see it, it is a sad commentary on parental responsibility when school districts decide they need to offer “attendance prizes,” to keep significant numbers of pupils from being tardy or missing classes entirely.

A recent news story told of a case in which an eight-year-old student at Ralston’s Mockingbird Elementary school gets a star on his assignment notebook when he gets to school on time and doesn’t have to leave during the day for an appointment. (An excuse from school for an eight-year-old to keep an appointment? That’s a new one on me.)

The Ralston third-grader has a lot of stamps on his assignment notebook, stamps which could earn him a video game or a bike. “We can win prizes,” the third grader was reported as saying. The prize, I would think, is an education, and I would think also that it’s not too early for a parent or parents to teach an eight-year-old the importance of education. Time, too, for a school district to make a third-grade education attractive enough to appeal to a youngster without the prospect of his winning a bike.

But perhaps parental responsibility has fallen so low that the prospect of winning a bike must substitute for a mother or father or both taking responsibility for seeing that their child gets to school and on time.

That, apparently, is the conclusion of the privately-funded Building Bright Futures program which is putting money into an attendance-incentive program at 15 schools in the Ralston, Millard and Omaha school districts.

One, I suppose, must be realistic and hope the bribes work in significantly reducing the number of students—an average of more than 6,000 a day in the metropolitan area--who don’t show up for classes.

* * *

Birthday Party Happily Goes To The Dogs

For those of you who so often have told me that you enjoy column endings which involve Marian and the dogs:

Prairie Avenue social note:

Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Andersen entertained at their home last Sunday with a birthday party for two members of their extended family—Claire, who turned eight on Valentine’s Day, and Charlotte, whose sixth birthday was Monday.

A next-door neighbor named Muggins, a Nebraska Humane Society graduate who has brightened the life of Mrs. Ed (Sue) Conine, was a special guest of the Andersens’ two cocker spaniels.

Watching the proceedings—and enjoying cookies provided by Mary Ann Bamber, a special friend Claire and Charlotte—were Mrs. Mark (Janet) Kratina and Mrs. Greg (Diane) Stine.

A cupcake and ice cream were served to each Claire, Charlotte and Muggins, with the dishes spread far enough apart to discourage a fast finisher from poaching.

The cake and ice cream were consumed in approximately 20 seconds. Despite the brevity, a good time was had by all.

Marian, recuperating from artificial knee replacement surgery, shows the treat (ice cream) to come to Charlotte, Claire and Muggins.

# # #

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