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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

President Angry Replaces President Cool;
‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt?

March 11, 2010

Remember President Cool?  Barack Obama looking supremely self-confident (perhaps even a little cocky) in his speaking appearances, seeming to say, in effect, “Let us reason together, and you will see why America must have the benefits of the health care reform which I am advocating.”

Now meet President Angry.  He was at a speaking podium in Philadelphia earlier this week.  A photographer caught him in action in The New York Times picture published below.  Does this look like a political leader trying to lead?  Or more like a political figure seeking to be a driver, angry at those who don’t understand how wise, how right, he is?


“President Angry” losing his cool in Philadelphia

If you’re going to demagogue an issue, switching from reasoned argument to emotion and occasional vituperation, you are best served by having some specific target or targets.  Generalizations won’t do.  Health insurance companies are President Angry’s target of choice.

In his Philadelphia appearance, Obama made what The New York Times described as “an emotional pitch for public support” as he tries to push his health care reform proposal through a final series of votes in Congress in the next several weeks.  The Times story said that Obama seemed to relish the opportunity to “cut loose.” 

It will be interesting—and important for the welfare of this country—to see whether President Angry can reverse the tide of public disfavor which is affecting his personal popularity as well as the fate of what has come to be called his “ObamaCare” health reform proposal with its price tag of nearly a trillion dollars.

Incidentally and importantly, the public’s skepticism might be even greater if the news media had done a better job of spotlighting the facts referred to in the third paragraph of the Associated Press displayed on an inside page in a recent edition of The World-Herald.  The AP story said:

“Democratic leaders are contending with a host of lawmakers who want to see the fine print before making a decision.  Hoyer (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer) said final language and a cost estimate should come back from the Congressional Budget Office by the end of this week.

“At this point in time, we don’t have a bill,” Hoyer said.  “It’s a little difficult to count votes if you don’t have a bill.”

Little wonder that the majority of the American people and a good many members of Congress aren’t buying a health care proposal which, after months of debate, at the 11th hour still hasn’t been put in the form of legislation which could be submitted to a vote, and with increased cost and tax estimates, which admittedly will involve a good deal of guess work, still not calculated.

* * *

Prenatal Care For Illegal Immigrants
Is Not An Easily-Resolved Issue

Some thoughts on the controversial subject of public funding for prenatal care for illegal immigrant mothers-to-be. 

I believe that the children should not be punished for the transgressions of the mothers (and being in this country illegally is a transgression).  Or punished for the fact that the United States government has massively failed in controlling immigration and in dealing with the millions of illegal immigrants who are in this country as a result of that failure. 

But I deplore efforts by “don’t penalize the babies” advocates who gloss over or ignore some realities.  For example, a recent lengthy editorial first referred to the illegal immigrant mothers-to-be as “those who are not U.S. citizens,” gingerly avoiding describing them as “illegal immigrants,” which is what they are.  The editorial later referred them simply as “these women.”

Incidentally but importantly, I wonder if enough attention is being given to the fact that the impetus for ending the practice of providing public funds to such mothers is a result of a federal policy which prohibits federal funding for the benefit of illegal immigrants. 

Also getting scant attention as the Nebraska Legislature considers a bill to have Nebraska taxpayers pick up the cost is a report that 35 states, including all of those bordering Nebraska, don’t pay prenatal care costs.

A great deal of emphasis is being placed on the fact that the babies, as soon as they are born, become United States citizens.  This is a consequence of some unfortunate wording in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, as I see it.

That amendment famously includes a variety of safeguards against abuse of “citizens of the United States” or “any person” within the judicial jurisdiction of the United States.

But the 14th Amendment also includes this language:  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States.”

This language—presumably well intentioned but carelessly drawn, in my opinion—was drafted by Congress as part of the 14th Amendment ratified by 38 states.

Obviously, at the time the language was adopted 142 years ago, no one anticipated that one day this country would be flooded with more than 10 million illegal immigrants, some of whom came to this country with the specific objective of giving birth to children who would become United States citizens eligible for the opportunities as well as the government-subsidized welfare care which this country provides and which is at the heart of the debate in Nebraska today.

I believe the American people would offer strong majority support for a proposal that the 14th Amendment be amended to provide that automatic citizenship is granted only to children born to parents at least one of whom must be a United States citizen.

* * *

Bishops Help Or Hurt Their Cause?

Further thoughts on the prenatal care issue:

One might say that Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops need better political advice. 

The bishops went public with a strongly-worded communication to Governor Dave Heineman, urging him to reverse his stand against providing state tax funds to provide prenatal care for illegal immigrant mothers.

By taking a public stand to pressure Heineman, the bishops made it less likely that Heineman would reverse his position, in my opinion.

If Heineman were to reverse his position—he says he won’t—in what could be interpreted as yielding to pressure from spokesmen for the Catholic Church, the governor would pay a price at the polls, in my opinion.  Consider the numbers:

A research survey indicated that 31% of Nebraskans consider themselves to be Catholics.  That would mean, if the research figure is reasonably accurate, that some 69% of Nebraskans do not consider themselves Catholics. 

Do advocates of state funding of prenatal care of illegal immigrants believe that a 69% majority would approve a governor’s yielding to well-publicized pressure from representatives of a 31% minority of Nebraskans?

The Catholic bishops would have done better if they had designated one of their number to, on a very private basis, telephone Heineman and present the bishops’ point of view.  Going public with something that sounded more like pressure than persuasion was simply self-defeating, in my opinion.

A final (for today) thought on the issue:

I don’t suppose there is much chance that taxpayer-provided care of welfare-case mothers could be accompanied by some rather specific information as to family planning, including contraceptive measures. 

“Every child a wanted child” is sound family planning policy as well as sound public policy in cases where the public pays the cost of the results of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

* * *

Surprising Subject Of Pope Benedict’s Concern:
Using Body Scanners To Thwart Bombers

Herewith a sort of smorgasbord of commentary.  I hope you find something to suit your taste.

--Most surprising news to come out of the Vatican in a long while, it seems to me, is the fact that Pope Benedict XVI chose to join those complaining about airport body scanners. 

A recent Associated Press dispatch reported that civil libertarians “and even Pope Benedict XVI” have complained that the new machines can violate an airline passenger’s privacy. 

Do the Pope and the civil libertarians really believe that scanning passengers to prevent terrorists from blowing up airplanes and their passengers is an unjustified invasion of the potential bomber’s privacy? 

I would guess that a body scan is probably more powerful protection against being blown up than would be a prayer that there are no terrorists aboard your flight.

--It seems to me that the old saying “Let the dead past bury its dead” would be sound public policy in the following case.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Congress recently endorsing a resolution placing the “genocide” label on the World War I-era killing of Armenians.

The action so angered the government of Turkey, a key Muslim ally United States, that Turkey withdrew its ambassador to the United States.

Why in the name of common sense—sometimes a rare commodity in the halls of our Congress—bring up such an issue nearly a century after the fact?

--Another example of the lack of common sense on Capitol Hill, it seems to me: 

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R.-N.C., has introduced a bill proposing that the likeness of the late President Ronald Reagan replace the likeness of Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill. 

I think a strong case can be made that Grant, although his presidency was scarred by some scandal not involving him personally, is properly recognized on the $50 currency, especially when you consider his monumental contribution to the Union victory in the Civil War.

I admire Ronald Reagan also, and he has been honored by having his name given to an airport, a freeway, an aircraft carrier and a large federal building in Washington. 

Doesn’t Rep. McHenry have something more productive to do than waste time on a proposition that isn’t going anywhere?

* * *

Cinco de Mayo? I Celebrate July 4th

Among all the requests for contributions which come our way—the figure sometimes runs to four or five a day—the first of its kind arrived last week.  Marian and I were asked to “SAVE THE DATE!” (Friday, April 30) for a fund-raising event carrying the title “Cinco de Mayo.” 

The beneficiary of the fund-raiser would be as organization called OneWorld, described as a community health organization of some kind.  One is left to guess that it is focused on South Omaha.  (The fund-raiser will be held in the Livestock Exchange Building in South Omaha.)

My knowledge of Mexican holidays is limited, but I believe “Cinco de Mayo” means the Fifth of May, a celebration of a Mexican victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. 

The fund-raiser will be Friday, April 30, close enough to May 5 to qualify for the “Cinco de Mayo” title, I suppose.

But I wish there were some evidence that Mexicans, including those living primarily in South Omaha—were interested also in celebrating the 4th of July.  It would be evidence that at least some of them think of themselves as Americans—or Americans-to-be if they are working towards citizenship—rather than simply Mexicans living in America.

Marian and I decided to decline the invitation to join in celebrating that Mexican military victory over a French army 148 years ago. 

# # #

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