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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’
Make Military Service Easier For Gays?

June 3, 2010

I hope that Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and his liberal colleagues slow down the “Gay Rights Congressional Express” long enough to catch up with a story which appeared on the front page of the liberal New York Times last Saturday.

The headline read:  “As ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ fades, technical concerns start to arise.”

The story started with a reference to (1) the House of Representatives vote for ending the 17-year-old policy allowing military service for homosexuals and lesbians as long as there is no overt display of their sexual preferences and (2) a Senate Armed Services 14-10 vote to allow gays to serve without any longer any Congressionally-imposed restrictions. 

Senator Nelson (who in his 2000 campaign said he considered same-sex relations immoral) cast what was described as a specially significant committee vote for removing any restrictions on gays serving in the military. 

After Congressional votes described a “major victory” for gay rights activists, the Times story continued:  “But now they are girding for what may be an equally difficult task:  the transition to a force where straight and openly gay servicemen and women live, work and fight alongside one another.” 

The story continued:  “Some homosexuals in the military say they are worried about how that process will work and whether they will be treated differently if they publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation.  Some raise concerns about being harassed, assigned to separate barracks or shunned by colleagues who had been friendly before.”

‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Provides Protections’

A 29-year-old lesbian in the Army National Guard told The Times:  “…The policy actually allowed for a lot of protections.  Getting rid of it completely without modifying it is kind of worrisome.  The number of incidents against gays in the military is going to increase.”

The Times story said both opponents and supporters of “don’t ask/don’t tell” say a host of thorny practical questions will face the Pentagon if Congress gives final approval to legislation placing no restrictions on military service by homosexuals and lesbians.

“Will gay service members be placed in separate housing, as the commandant of the Marine Corps has advocated?” The Times story asked.  “Will all military units be required to treat homosexuals the same?  And what training will heterosexual officers and enlisted troops receive to prepare them to serve with openly gay soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”

Are you listening, Senator Nelson and like-minded advocates of a repeal of a policy under which thousands of homosexuals and lesbians have served and are currently serving in the armed forces? 

Have you evidence that repeal of “don’t ask/don’t tell” will actually benefit gays serving in the armed forces and—this is the key, of course—in no respect diminish the military effectiveness of the armed forces?  Forces which, after all, have primarily a military mission, not a social-reform mission.

So the unfolding story has a new chapter, one hardly touched on at all in the debate to date:  Would repeal of “don’t ask/don’t tell” make life better or worse for gays in the military?  Would it encourage or discourage homosexuals or lesbians to enlist? 

We’ll Pass It And Ask Your Opinions Later

Another important aspect of the controversy.  It is simply irrational, irresponsible and egregiously unfair for Nelson and his colleagues to rush to passage repeal of the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy while the chiefs of the military services are conducting a study as to the potential impact on the military’s readiness to serve and on the morale of the troops and their families.  That study is to be finished by December 1. 

Rushing to beat the possibility that a Republican majority might be elected to the House of Representatives in November—which predictably would doom the gay activist effort to win repeal of “don’t ask/don’t tell”—Nebraska’s Nelson and like-minded colleagues are seriously—they sound serious, at least—arguing that it is fair to the military to pass repeal legislation this summer but delay implementation of repeal until after December 1 when the study results will be known. 

Leaders of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines all have asked that enactment of the new policy be delayed until their impact studies are completed.

Marine Corps Commandant James Conway put it this way:  “The value of surveying the thoughts of Marines and their families is that it signals to my Marines that their opinions matter.”

But the military faces this prospective Congressional decision:  “Here’s an important issue for possible legislative action.  You study it and let us know how it would affect the mission for which you are responsible.  In the meantime, we’ll put the new policy in place, but you don’t have to enforce it until the results of your study are known.”

There have been a good many zany, irrational, Alice-in-Wonderland positions taken by public officeholders down through the years.  But I can recall nothing more irrational than the liberal/gay rights coalition in Congress, with backing from the White House, rushing to impose a controversial policy on the United States military while military leaders are still studying the potential impact of that policy.

* * *

From Oil To Campaign Tampering,
Bad Run Of News For Obama

It hasn’t been a good month or so for the image of the nation’s 44th president.  Consider: 

Arizona passes law designed to help offset the effect of illegal Hispanic immigrants pouring across our border with Mexico.  Obama predictably joins in liberal criticism of the Arizona law. 

But Obama then very quickly orders National Guard troops to try to help stem the flow of illegal immigrants—a step which can certainly be interpreted as indicating that the Arizona Legislature had a point and its criticized action was a wakeup call for Obama. 

Consider also the Gulf of Mexico oil pollution crisis.  On the 39th day of the uncontrolled spewing of millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf—it has been called the worst oil spill disaster in history—the president pays a short visit to the scene and flies home.  A day earlier, the president had taken total responsibility for direction of the effort to stop the oil spill and said he was in charge from the first day.

So a president who takes responsibility for leadership from the first day visits the site of the disaster on Day 39?  This is leadership? 

Even some in the liberal media—CNN commentators, for example—were critical.

Then there is the matter of the White House—at least at the level of Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel—being forced to admit that former President Bill Clinton had been asked to suggest that Congressman Joe Sestak drop out of the Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial primary for Arlen Specter in his effort to win the Democratic nomination on his way to possible election to a sixth term in the Senate, having switched parties after serving five terms as a Republican. 

Sestak, a former Navy admiral who seems clearly a more attractive Senatorial candidate than the 80-year-old Republican-turned-Democrat Specter, was offered a non-paying appointment to some federal position or other if he would agree to continue his career in the House. 

The question of whether President Obama was aware of the proposed deal was left unanswered, but clearly his chief of staff was involved.  Democrats describe this as simply politics as usual, as practiced by both parties.  But as the Associated Press observed, the White House’s previously unpublicized pitch to Sestak “called into question Obama’s repeated promises to run an open government that is above backroom deals.”

* * *

World-Herald’s Salute To Korean Vets
An Example Of Print Journalism At Its Best

Today, a different kind of upbeat ending for my weekly column.

Upbeat in my praise of a superb piece of newspaper journalism—The Omaha World-Herald’s 12-page Memorial Day special section entitled “KOREA:  FORGOTTEN NO MORE” published to recognize the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

And upbeat, too, in terms of my admiration and respect and gratitude for the veterans—mostly from Omaha but also from other towns in Nebraska and Iowa—whose Korean War service was spotlighted in the special section.

The service of those mostly young Midlanders helped in a mission which, as the special section pointed out, demonstrated that the United States of America was ready and able to respond effectively when the forces of tyranny threatened the cause of freedom, as in Korea.

Putting together the 12-page section had to be a monumental journalistic job—for example, gathering the dozens of pictures and biographical information that came from the family albums of veterans who survived and, in other cases, from the families of those who died.  And there were the moving, beautifully written accounts by World-Herald staff members David Hendee and Matthew Hansen.

The front page was dominated by a black and white photograph of what appeared to be a bronze statuary image representing the face of a soldier.  No color picture, however enhanced by graphic artwork, could have been more effective.

On the back page appeared the only three color pictures in the 12 pages.  All three were small.  Appearing with perhaps the most moving story in the entire 12-page section was a color picture of about eight square inches showing Omahan George Russell paying his monthly visit to the grave of Marine Pfc. Donald Milan Drakulich at Omaha’s Graceland Park Cemetery.  The longtime friends served together in Korea until Don’s death in 1951. 

Russell, a retired Omaha fireman, told World-Herald staff writer Matthew Hansen in regard to his monthly visits to his buddy’s grave:  “I’ll do it until the day I die.”

The moving story ended with these words:  “I don’t want this to be about me.  This is about Don,” George said.  “Any Marine will tell you that the biggest fear is letting his buddy down.  Even more so than dying.  I know that’s how I felt.” 

When a newspaper account of dramatic stories can move you to tears—or very close to it—primarily with words, you have print journalism at its very best, as I see it.  My compliments and my thanks to The World-Herald, David Hendee and Matthew Hansen and any other staff members who contributed to that remarkable special section. 

# # #

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