Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09
A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09
Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
Upsets Even Liberals - 03-26-09
‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real - 01-15-09
This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty - 12-18-08
Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So - 12-11-08
Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit? - 7-24-08
Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage - 7-02-08
Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls" - 10-26-07
"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL" - 10-12-07
"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
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.
First, a reminder:
Attractive, hardbound copies of “Life With Marian”—a book which a good many readers have said they would be interested in owning—are still available for purchase (for $22.50) at The Bookworm in Countryside Village. If more convenient, you can now also send a check payable to Harold W. Andersen for $26.66 (includes tax and postage) and mail to me at P.O. Box 27347, Omaha, NE, 68127. A copy will be sent by return mail.
May 21, 2009
Both Notre Dame University, including its leadership and an apparent majority of its student body, and President Barack Obama offered a splendid lesson to the people of the United States in a productive, mutually respectful way in which both sides in the abortion controversy can conscientiously hold to their basic beliefs but seek common ground in dealing rationally rather than emotionally with the abortion issue.
Instead of an event dominated by the shameful insulting, abusive tactics of a minority of anti-abortion zealots, Obama’s appearance on the Notre Dame campus—as commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree—turned out to be an occasion for focusing on common ground which opponents and defenders—pro-life and pro-choice—can and should work together on.
Obama was properly greeted with enthusiastic applause when he told the commencement ceremony audience:
“Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually. It has both moral and spiritual dimensions.
“So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let’s reduce unintended pregnancies. Let’s make adoption more available. Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.”
The continuing debate over abortion should, the president said, be approached with “open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words.”
For its part, it seems to me, Notre Dame demonstrated that the campus of any university worthy of the name, religious-affiliated or not, is obligated to offer a respectful audience for a variety of views.
Such mutual respect doesn’t require a change in fundamental religious beliefs but it does point the way, as Obama’s remarks so well indicated, to a wide area of positive reaction which both sides in the abortion controversy should agree to pursue, in active cooperation whenever possible.
So a salute to both Notre Dame and Barack Obama for using the opportunity to spread the “let’s work together in the many ways we can” message.
* * *
The avoidance of what President Obama in his Notre Dame commencement speech described as “unintended pregnancies” should be, I believe, heavily involved in the solution of public school problems which The Omaha World-Herald has been spotlighting in a series of long articles in recent years.
It seems to me that among the “red flags” which should call attention to Omaha public school students who need special help, there should be more focus on what, in case after case, is one of the major problems—if not the major problem.
The distinguishing characteristic of so many of these cases is simply this: an early-age pregnancy or pregnancies. A recent example was described in a World-Herald story which told in great detail of the problems of a girl, now a young woman, who eventually dropped out of high school. Midway through the long story, the reader encountered this language: “Even before she finished middle school or reached 15, she had become pregnant.”
By the time the girl dropped out of high school in 2006, she was 16 years old, the mother of daughters aged 2 and 1 and is now struggling to raise the children without the aid of the father or fathers.
Efforts are being made, both by privately-funded programs and a variety of special programs offered by the Omaha Public School System, to give special stay-in-school-help to “children having children” and/or facing other handicaps, sometimes from the day they enroll in school at age 4 or 5.
Even with the special help, some of these youngsters will never catch up. That doesn’t mean that the efforts by private philanthropists—focused on pre-school educational opportunities—and by the public school system should not be pursued as vigorously as resources will permit.
The cause is surely not hopeless. But that cause would certainly be advanced, it seems to me, if increased emphasis is placed on one of the targets identified by President Obama in his Notre Dame speech: “Let’s reduce unintended pregnancies.”
* * *
There are, of course, a variety of ways to analyze Democrat Jim Suttle’s 50.7%-to-48.7% victory over Republican Hal Daub in last week’s Omaha mayoral election.
Part of the explanation, it seems to me, is the fact that his previous two terms as Omaha mayor and in his public career generally, Daub’s hard-driving tactics left some scars which helped defeat the better-known Daub in his campaign against the relatively-little-known Suttle.
Let me stress that I think Daub’s tactics in his two-terms as mayor and as a Congressman helped make him an effective public servant. I believe he has a record of which he is entitled to be proud, but I suspect that an old political saying applies: “To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.”
Another factor in Jim Suttle’s victory, is, of course, the fact that there are some 19,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans within the Omaha city limits. (A good many strongly-Republican areas lie beyond the city limits in the West Omaha metropolitan area.)
But Suttle’s victory by 1,485 votes fell far short of the 19,000-vote margin of Democratic voters within the city limits.
Suttle’s clever campaign strategy of identifying himself as a supporter of fellow Democrat President Barack Obama as Suttle campaigned in east Omaha—where there is the largest concentration of blacks and Democrats within the city limits—paid off.
In the Second City Council District in far northeast Omaha, Suttle’s 4,000-plus vote margin over Daub was the most decisive in any of the seven City Council districts and thus the major factor in his narrow win over Daub.
Regardless of the reasons for his victory, Suttle is Omaha’s mayor for the next four years and all Omahans of good will should wish him well. He faces major problems, as Daub would have, and he will need the support of a strong majority of Omahans if he is to make progress toward solving those problems. And, importantly, he will need the support of leaders in the civic and philanthropic community including those who were not among his strongest supporters in last week’s election.
I’m confident that the great majority of Omahans of good will, including community leadership will give Mayor Jim Suttle the support he deserves.
* * *
It appears to me that the president of the Omaha Royals should have replied with considerably less arrogance when asked recently how he would respond if a new mayor of Omaha were to ask for reconsideration of the Royals’ decision to look elsewhere than to the new downtown stadium for a new home for the Royals’ franchise.
Royals president Alan Stein responded: “We are in the middle of extensive negotiations with a guy (Sarpy County officials) that we want to end up with.”
Stein said that when mayoral candidate Hal Daub approached him and asked him not to make any commitments, Stein replied: “We’ve already made a commitment. Don’t you read the paper?”
Stein said that even if the city gave the Royals a rent-free home in the new stadium, the stadium would have to be redesigned, so there were 8,000 seats, which they aren’t going to do.
“Second, not make us leave for three weeks in the middle of June, which they can’t do.
“Third, take MECA (Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority) out of the picture and let us control the ballpark.”
The irony of Stein’s arrogant position is that for years the Royals have occupied Rosenblatt Stadium under the very similar to those conditions which Stein indignantly refuses to consider for occupancy of the new downtown park. Rosenblatt has a seating capacity of 23,145, and must be vacated by the Royals during the College World Series and is certainly not controlled by the Royals, as Stein insists would be necessary with a new, smaller downtown ballpark.
Stein seems not to care whether he burns any bridges of friendship which might be left behind if he took a less arrogant attitude toward a city which has given the Royals a sweetheart financial tenancy during the longs years of their use of a stadium with more than 20,000 seats.
* * *
I’m hard pressed to see how replacing crumbling and broken brick streets in Omaha’s Old Market area will help the nation recover from the worst economic crisis in a good many years.
But a recent news story said the Old Market project is among several in Nebraska that will share more than $7 million of economic stimulus money.
Anyone following the use of the economic stimulus funds must have some questions about how this or that usage will restore or save jobs. But when you’re trying to find ways to spend several hundred millions of dollars in “stimulus” money—or is it more like a billion or more dollars (I’ve lost track)—you apparently have to find a great many projects whether they are stimulating or not.
About what you might expect from Big Brother Government. (Marian has finally talked me out of referring to Big Nanny Government.)
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