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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

"AT LAST: TALK OF PREVENTION
JOINS MOURNING OVER KILLINGS"
- 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.

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge;
Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises?

June 10, 2010

It is becoming increasingly clear that an irony with potentially tragic implications for the United States is being played out on both sides of the Atlantic.

On the one hand, there is in Europe a developing dramatic reversal of "welfare state" policies which created Greece's financial crisis which in turn created the prospect captured in a New York Times Sunday story which carried this headline: "Crisis Threatens Liberal Benefits Of European Life." The subhead read: "Rethinking Safety Net."

The story indicated that the realities which European governments are forced to ask their citizens to face are "cutting salaries, raising legal retirement ages, increasing work hours and reducing health benefits and pensions."

In sharp and potentially disastrous contrast, the United States, with the most liberal president in modern times pushing his "I will, I want" agenda, goes on piling up trillions of dollars in debt as a compliant Congress approves annual federal budgets which are nearly a trillion dollars in the red.

The Times article said that "gross public social expenditures" in the European Union countries increased from 16% of gross domestic production in 1980 to 21% in 2005, compared to 15.9% in the United States. Remember that the 15.9% figure was for 2005, three years before "ObamaCare" and all the other costly "public social expenditure" initiatives which Obama and the rest of the liberal establishment are eager to impose on the American people and the American economy.

Another recent front-page article in The New York Times carried this headline: "Greece, Debt and a Lesson" and this subhead: "A red ink question: Is U.S. so different?"

U.S. As Badly Off As Greece?

The front-page commentary made this startling comparison between the United States and Greece:

"The numbers on our federal debt are becoming frighteningly familiar. The debt is projected to equal 140% of gross domestic product within two decades. Add in the budget troubles of state governments, and the true shortfall grows even larger. Greece's debt, by comparison, equals about 115% of its gross national product today."

Any effort to slow down the welfare state express certainly won't come from the most liberal, least experienced president to serve in the White House in modern times. Nor, apparently, from the present compliant majority in the United States Congress.

The Tea Party activists, scorned by the liberal left, perhaps offer a glimmer of hope, if they help nominate more attractive candidates than Rand Paul, the recently nominated Republican senatorial candidate in Kentucky who received Tea Party support.

Would a Republican majority in Congress, resulting from the November elections, reverse the trend towards putting the United States in the same ultimate "public social expenditures" crisis as countries in Europe are facing today? Unlikely. I question whether a Republican Congressional majority-which I doubt is going to happen as a result of the November elections-would have the political courage to take really effective measures to reverse the trillion-dollar-deficits slide toward the welfare state political philosophy from which European countries are making a hurried, forced retreat.

* * *

Do We Need More Evidence
That Some Muslims Want To Kill Us?

Herewith a sort of "lest we forget" postscript to the Times Square terrorist bomb scare story:

A liberal columnist concluded that the lessons from the attempted attack in Times Square "are less political and more practical. The first line of the defense is an alert citizenry."

What utter nonsense. The first line of defense to terrorism isn't "an alert citizenry." It is a government which is much more alert and effective in discovering and monitoring potential threats, including threats developed in terrorist-training camps in supposedly friendly allied countries like Pakistan.

And perhaps the most important lesson of all is that Muslims as a people-or a religious sect-have different moral standards than do non-Muslim societies. Part of the Muslim creed is a belief in "jihad" or "holy war" and that an assured way for perpetual life in Muslim heaven is to die as a martyr in an act of "holy war."

A corollary to this lesson is that a strong faction within the Muslim world believes in exporting holy war, striking non-Muslims without warning, killing as many as possible, in their home countries if possible.

In the name of common sense, do we really need this reminder, considering the lesson we should have learned when two airliners crashed into New York skyscrapers on September 11, 2001?

How Many Wakeup Calls Are Needed?

How many more wakeup calls do we need to realize that a good many Muslims, including some living in this country as American citizens, hate the United States and need to be kept under better surveillance?

In addition to the importance of the Times Square incident as a wakeup call, rather than the comforting "look how quickly we caught him" reaction, isn't it time for us to review the fundamental question of our mission in Afghanistan?

This is a country which two previous world powers, Great Britain in the 19th Century and Russia in the 20th Century, attempted to conquer and install friendly governments. Both ventures ended in absolute disaster for the invaders.

What prospect do we have that the American mission (yes, yes, I know it is supposedly a NATO mission, but what country is supplying the very great majority of the troops?) will turn out differently?

Afghanistan is still not demonstrably capable of being brought together under a single representative, democratic form of government. In fact, all its history and even the current evidence is to the contrary.

Tribal rivalries result in local warlords battling for area supremacy. Add in the relatively recent development of the Taliban religious fanatics who don't think western societies like the United States have any business telling them how to treat women or otherwise practice their religion.

Tell Americans Our Chance For Success

If President Obama and our military leaders are really convinced that we can succeed where Great Britain and Russia failed, can succeed and withdraw, leaving behind a democratized Afghanistan with no continuing serious threat from terrorist training camps, they should give reassurance to the American people.

I'm not suggesting that withdrawal from Afghanistan would end the threat of Muslim terrorism. That threat will exist, I believe, as long as we continue to be regarded as an unwelcome intruder into the Middle East, partly as a result of our staunch support of Israel.

But withdrawal from Afghanistan unless we have some reasonable prospect of lasting peaceful impact there would at least enable us to conserve our military resources and focus more effectively on close-to-home measures to protect our national security.

Measures much more effective than those evidenced by the invasion of Times Square by a would-be terrorist. He certainly had no problem planting a bomb. His only problem was that he didn't know enough to make it go off.

And his apprehension on an airliner on the runway, within minutes of flying to safety in a Middle Eastern country-a Muslim country, of course-was hardly evidence of an effective defense against terrorists.

* * *

Time To Get Off The Streetcar:
Suttle Should Focus On Real Issues

When will Mayor Jim Suttle end his misguided (I was tempted to say "silly") advocacy of a streetcar system which would cost between an estimated $200 million to $250 million.

Suttle has indicated a belief that a federal government which is already spending trillions of dollars which it doesn't have, financed by borrowing through the issuance of more bonds, could be talked out of the construction dollars.

Suttle argues that building a streetcar system could mean $1 billion in economic development. What specific examples of economic development would be assured is an unanswered question.

The time is not over for streetcars, Suttle argues.

Wrong. The time for streetcars was over more than half a century ago when buses provided a more flexible, less expensive, more efficient public transit system.

Suttle should realize that his continuing promotion of a streetcar system distracts attention from the very real financial problems with which he must contend.

I believe the mayor would find more support for his proposed solutions to the very real problems with which he must deal if he would stop riding the streetcar proposal.

* * *

Marian Knows How To Handle Chaos

Even for our household, it was a rather chaotic morning. We (I'm being charitable here) had lost track of all three of our cordless telephones.

A friend trying to reach Marian to arrange a luncheon rendezvous had a cell phone failure.

For the luncheon, Marian needed a pair of black slacks which were somewhere in my still-unpacked suitcase. (We had returned the evening before from a three-day trip to California.)

I punched the button that sends out a "phone-locator" signal. Two of the phones showed up on the stove in the kitchen where Marian had placed them and where she had been spending time that morning.

The phones started to ring with unsolicited calls from people who said they had offers which would save us money.

And I was trying to dictate my weekly column.

"This is utter chaos," I said.

"I operate better in chaos than you do" was the reply from my indomitable roommate as she-bless her heart-prepared to serve me waffles for a late breakfast, after asking whether I wanted an egg salad or a sardine sandwich for lunch.

# # #

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