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.
June 18, 2009
President Obama’s on-the-job-training continues.
The latest lesson was indicated in these words in a Washington Post story this week:
“The White House has become increasingly concerned that President Barack Obama’s spending plans—which would require $9 trillion in government borrowing over the next decade—could become a political liability that defines the 2010 mid-term elections.”
And there is Democratic Party concern that increasing public disapproval of Obama’s economic performance (a recent poll showed that fewer than half of those polled approved of how he is handling the deficit and controlling federal spending) could mean political trouble for Obama and the Democratic Party well beyond next year’s Congressional elections.
Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee, said of Obama’s 10-year spending plans:
“The second five years is where we’re on a completely unsustainable course. People know we have an overall situation here that doesn’t add up.”
Part of those spending plans, of course, is Obama’s costly proposal to overhaul the nation’s medical care system. Expanding medical insurance to cover all Americans would, for example, cost an estimated $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. The cost would involve politically unpopular tax increases ranging from a tax on alcoholic beverages to limiting tax exemption for health insurance benefits.
There are also ill-defined proposals to make the nation’s medical care system more efficient. In this connection, it seems to me, some of Obama’s rhetoric goes beyond criticizing doctors and hospitals to actually insulting them. Consider this language in his weekly radio address last Saturday:
“And if doctors have incentives to provide the best care instead of more care, we can help Americans avoid the unnecessary hospital stays, treatments and tests that drive up costs.”
To suggest that doctors and hospitals are prolonging patient stays and offering unnecessary treatments in order to generate more money is, it seems to me, clearly insulting unless Obama can offer detailed, substantive and comprehensive evidence to support this extremely serious accusation. A few “horror stories” are not comprehensive evidence.
Loose talk like that in last Saturday’s radio address won’t help Democrats avoid the 2010 Congressional election problems about which the White House is, understandably, reported to be increasingly concerned.
* * *
Haven’t we wasted enough journalistic time and space on the trivial matter of the annual cost of new mayor Jim Suttle’s lease of a “green” (low carbon emissions) 2009 Dodge Durango hybrid SUV?
Frankly, I lost interest in the story when I read that the initial cost was $15,717 a year, a $2,157 increase over what former Mayor Mike Fahey paid to lease a 2008 Chrysler Aspen SUV.
Subsequent stories, as I recall, indicated Suttle had negotiated a slight reduction in the cost.
Much ado about practically nothing, it seems to this taxpayer.
* * *
Is Tom Osborne now free to serve as University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic director as long as he wants—possibly for “many more years” as approvingly suggested by one journalistic commentator?
The answer, I’m told, is definitely no.
A contract which expired at the end of 2010 has been replaced by an understanding that the question of continuation will be decided annually in a discussion between Osborne and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman.
Osborne, 72, can, of course, be expected to continue beyond 2010—perhaps well beyond—or there would have been no point in replacing his contract with a new year-by-year agreement.
Giving any executive sole discretion as to whether he will or won’t continue as the years go by is a serious mistake.
In athletics or academics or any other field of endeavor, there is always the risk that executives are poor judges of how age has affected their abilities. And the prospect of indefinite continuing CEO service hardly encourages promising potential replacement to stick around.
So the new Osborne-Perlman agreement appears to be good news both for Osborne and the UNL athletic program so as long as Osborne and Perlman agree, annually, that it serves the university’s best interests.
* * *
Speaking of athletic directors, how appropriate that Creighton University’s new fitness center will be named for longtime Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen.
Just as it was so appropriate that the impressive new facilities at the north end of UNL’s Memorial Stadium be named for Tom and Nancy Osborne.
Like Osborne, Bruce Rasmussen has been a class act.
Rasmussen has been at Creighton for nearly 30 years as a coach and administrator. He has been athletic director for the past 15 years. (The Rasmussen Center will include a 150 x 200 foot synthetic turf playing surface that will be used for intramurals as well as the school’s athletic teams, a two-lane suspended running track, a climbing wall and workout areas which will include weight equipment.)The Rasmussen Center is another example of the remarkable generosity of Omahans Bill and Ruth Scott. Their gifts have made possible major improvements on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as well as the Creighton campus. (An anonymous gift of $12 million is also involved in the Creighton project.)
* * *
One would think that Attorney General Jon Bruning wold be much more careful in choosing his language when criticizing a Nebraska doctor who is conscientiously practicing medicine within the clear limits of state and federal law.
(There is also the basic question of whether, as Attorney General, Bruning had any business publicly involving himself in the matter at all.)
It is especially inappropriate for the state’s chief legal officer to use viciously vituperative language in criticizing a Nebraskan who is performing medical procedures—late-term abortions—with which Bruning disagrees but which are lawful.
Dr. Leroy Carhart, who operates an abortion clinic in Bellevue, said he would fill a medical services gap created by the murder of a Topeka doctor who specialized in legal late term abortions.
Carhart made clear that he would perform late-term abortions only if expert medical opinion is that the “fetus is not viable.”
Bruning said Carhart is “a sick individual” and Bruning is sorry that Carhart lives in Nebraska and is indeed sorry he lives anywhere in America.
Dr. Carhart’s quiet, praiseworthy response to Bruning’s outburst: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have always followed the law.”
* * *
I’m always glad to hear from readers, including comments on some of the weightier topics I address. But over the years, the topics which have drawn the most enthusiastic reader comment are those human-interest items dealing with such things as Marian and our dogs.
So let me close today by introducing you to a very interesting canine addition to our extended family.
* * *
For four recent days, our Prairie Avenue household lived happily under the influence of a one-year-old, five-pound dominatrix.
Her name is Samantha, she is a long-haired Chihuahua who, when not taking her show on the road, runs the Denver household of our daughter, Nancy, and her three sons.
Nancy’s family acquired Samantha to provide companionship for their Bichon, Rookie. Sammy immediately took charge, scampering around the house, sometimes barking, sometimes leaping into laps for a face-licking session, flapping her big ears backward and forward, big eyes seemingly alert to everything that was going on.
Rookie was delighted with his new companion. So were Nancy and her sons—Jack, 16, James, 13 and Grant, 8.
During her four days in Omaha, Sammy had no problem taking charge of our three-cocker household. Dogs and adults alike enjoyed the show.
The story almost had an unhappy ending when both Samantha and Rookie took off from our front yard. Samantha nearly disappeared at high speed down Davenport Street west of our home.
Grant took off in hot pursuit and ran Sammy down after a scary minute or two. Rookie followed along as Grant and Sammy returned.
We thought it appropriate to finish today with a picture of Sammy and Grant, her hot-pursuit retriever.
# # #