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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

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.

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late
To Slow Rush To Wind Power?

June 11, 2009

The unquestioning news media coverage which the Nebraska Legislature received in its remarkably favorable treatment of wind power investors in the final days of the 2009 session is being tempered by some post-session commentary, as in a recent editorial in The Kearney Hub and a statement by top executives of the Omaha Public Power District.

The Hub said editorially:  “It won’t be long now before we can turn off those nasty nuclear and coal plants and enjoy the benefits of ‘free and clean’ wind power, right?

“Not so fast.” 

The editorial continued:  “Reality check.  Wind energy is supplemental energy at best.  Until technology provides a way to store wind-generated electricity, it will never supplant reliable and cheaper coal or nuclear-generated power.”

The Hub editorial also touched on an important point which wind power enthusiasts never mention:  “And speaking of the environment, while wind proponents often criticize coal-generated power and its peripheral impacts, a prairie sea of giant windmills is not aesthetically benign.”

The top two Omaha Public Power District officials—President W. Gary Gates and OPPD Board Chairman Fred Ulich—in a World-Herald “Midlands Voices” article warned of the threat of sharply increased monthly bills for OPPD ratepayers if Congress passes the Waxman-Markey bill pending in the House of Representatives. 

The costly “clean energy” requirements which the legislation would impose on electricity-generators include a provision that utilities must build or buy a minimum percentage of their electricity from specified higher-cost generation sources such as wind and solar power “even though we may not need this supply,” the Gates and Ulrich statement said.

So while the Nebraska Legislature is persuaded to engage in unusual eleventh-hour maneuvers to enhance the chances of private investors to make money from wind-powered electricity generating projects in Nebraska (which once prided itself on being the only all-public power state in the nation), Congress is considering legislation which would force electric utilities including Nebraska public power districts to generate or buy higher-cost power like wind-generated electricity even if the electricity distributors don’t need it.

It’s about time that homeowners and other electricity consumers in Nebraska and elsewhere realize that expensive, unreliable (wind doesn’t blow all the time, after all) wind power may be “green” but would increase ratepayers’ costs when imposed on utilities that don’t need it.

* * *

Will Obama’s Road To The Left
Turn Rocky Enough To Force Detour?

A McClatchy Newspapers story earlier this week offered a prediction as to the second 100 days of Barack Obama’s presidency—a prediction which I hope proves accurate.  The headline read:

“Next 100 days could make first 100 seem like a joy ride.”

Awaiting a president who had pretty much a free ride in those first 100 days, the story suggested, will be a series of challenges “that will force him to navigate through pressures from both right and left.”

If those pressures push Obama towards a more moderate, middle course offsetting his apparent determination to try to move the country significantly to the left, America will be well served, in my opinion.  To date, the new president reminds me of the lines written by a Canadian humorist about a public figure who “three himself on his horse and rode madly off in all directions.”

Some Americans would, I know, credit Obama for being willing—indeed eager—to launch so many different, difficult initiatives in such a short time.  But I continue to feel that the result is a scattering of focus, especially for a new president who comes to office with less hands-on political leadership experience than any president in over half a century.

But the news media obsession with Obama coupled with his popular support—which doesn’t necessarily translate into support on all of the specific issues which he is pursuing—are factors clearly working strongly in his favor.

(An example of a specific issue on which the public clearly rejects Obama’s position:  Public opinion polls indicate strong majority disapproval of his plans to close the terrorist-detention facilities at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba.  Even more unpopular is Obama’s idea of dispersing some of the terrorists among a number of high-security prisons around the country.)

Obama’s approach to at least some of the major issues should be a cause of major concern, as I see it.  The adage “the president proposes, Congress disposes” still suggests the best policy, especially when a president thinks he knows all the answers.  Current case in point:

As a story in the Sunday New York Times made clear, Obama feels he is losing the debate over certain health care policy prescriptions that he favors, “like a government-run insurance plan to compete with the private sector,” so he has decided “to make certain the final bill bears his stamp.”

The White House Budget Director, Peter B. Orszag, said in an interview:  “I think you will see that evolution occurring over the next few weeks.  We will be weighing in more definitively and you will see him out there.”

It seems to me that Obama would be better advised to see that he has broad Congressional support—and public support, of course—and worry less about whether the resulting health care legislation bears his name and stamp of approval.

But don’t bet that Obama will change his egocentric approach unless enough Americans, through their representatives in both parties in Congress, let him know that teleprompter speeches and good looks can carry him only so far.

* * *

European Voting Especially Interesting
As American Left Banks On Obama

I would certainly not suggest that European political decisions should be a model for our country.  But I do find it interesting that at a time when Obama’s policies, unless moderated, would surely move us to the left, a headline in last Monday’s World-Herald read:  “Left is big loser in European vote.”

The subhead read:  “Center-right coalitions lead as 27 countries vote for the E.U. Parliament.”

The first paragraph of The New York Times account read:  “Mainstream liberal politicians fail to turn the global economic crisis into new momentum in the European parliament on Sunday…”

Again, I’m not suggesting that European political decisions should be a model for America.  But I do suggest the European results are of interest and should at least be considered by Barack Obama as he rather vigorously plans to move this country’s government and social order to the left.

* * *

‘Miracle Cure’ Story Has A Message
For Both Believers, Non-Believers

I thought the recent “Miracle Cure” story in The World-Herald was both impressive and important whether or not you believe in miracles. 

Impressive, of course, to those who have been raised to accept the Catholic Church’s teachings.  For them, fresh evidence of the validity of church doctrine. 

A story impressive also, I believe, to many of those who find it impossible to believe that a woman who died in 1879 could, from her place in heaven, convince God that He should produce a miracle by saving the life of Dr. Edward Gatz, an Omahan who had been diagnosed as a hopeless cancer victim. 

To those non-believers, the story should be significant because it shows the extent of the belief of multi-millions of Catholics in the teachings of their church, a belief of significant public interest and importance because the Catholic Church takes strong stands on important public issues.

So an interesting and impressive story properly given major play by The World-Herald—almost certainly the first time in our city’s history that the story of a miracle involving an Omahan has been used as evidence for canonizing a saint of the Catholic Church, an event which will happen in Rome October 11 when Jeanne Jugan, founder of the Little Sisters of The Poor, will be canonized as Saint Jeanne.

* * *

The Omaha-based miracle story is a welcome contrast to some other references to divine intervention in the lives of mortals.  I’ve commented before on the, to me, preposterous presumption that “my Lord and savior Jesus Christ” or other divine intervention helps athletes win games or helped Barry Bonds hit drug-hyped home runs. 

Now comes the story of a 23-year-old winner of a $232,100,000 Powerball lottery jackpot who thanks God for His help.

In this case the 23-year-old Mission, South Dakota ranch hand said he wants to make generous philanthropic use of the money which he feels God helped him win.  Families which have helped his cash-strapped family survive on their 320-acre “ranch” can now be repaid with philanthropic gifts to the Mission community, said Neal Wanless, the jackpot winner.

If God had any hand in this, the result will certainly be worthier than any possible divine intervention in sporting events.

* * *

Obama Could Learn From ‘The Gipper’

Speaking of President Obama’s teleprompter speaking style, as I was earlier:  The president might learn something from playing a few videotapes of some of the remarks, both from prepared text and in spontaneous ad libs, made by President Ronald Reagan.  A Reagan ad lib example which I continue to enjoy:

As best I recall, someone reminded Reagan, publicly, that he should consider some current public issue or other in terms of a principle which the great Thomas Jefferson had enunciated more than 175 years earlier.  Reagan replied with something like this:

“I’m well aware of the thinking of Thomas Jefferson.”  Then, with a broad smile, “I knew Thomas Jefferson,” a light-hearted acknowledgement of Reagan’s age.  (He turned 70 less than three weeks after starting to serve his eight years as president.)

# # #

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