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.
July 2, 2009
Bob Schaffer of CBS News Sunday morning said his weekly program would explore “how much damage it will do to the Republican Party, which is already on the ropes.” He was referring to the scandal involving the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, who happens to be a Republican.
One answer to Schaffer’s question, of course, would be that the adulterous behavior of Governor Sanford will do as much damage to the Republican Party as Schaffer and his left-leaning national journalistic colleagues can help make possible.
Why the adulterous conduct of Republican Governor Sanford or the outrageous conduct of Democratic Governor Eliott Spitzer of New York State—who patronized prostitutes—can be laid at the foot of the political party to which the malefactor belongs is hard to explain. I suspect it is largely because members of the other party—and the national news media when the malefactor is Republican—do their best to gain some political advantage from it.
Incidentally, if the Republican Party is indeed “on the ropes” as Bob Schaffer describes it, Schaffer and like-minded journalistic colleagues will do their level best to keep it there.
I don’t believe the GOP is in such sad shape. The country certainly should hope not. With the least experienced chief executive in at least the past 50 years currently occupying the White House, pushing a new multi-billion or even trillion-dollar social program on what seems like a weekly basis, it is of vital importance that there be a significant Republican Party presence in both houses of the Congress.
That Republican Congressional minority should continue to work hard and responsibly to keep the American government from being pushed too far from the progressive but still not radical governmental policies which, I believe, a significant majority of the American people prefer.
* * *
“Save the planet, lighten the wallet?” a recent headline read.
I think you can drop the question mark. Various plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions mean that some landowners and corporations involved would profit in the process at the expense of the great majority of American electricity users.
The headline quoted above refers to what seems to me to be a bizarre proposal (a proposal which passed the House of Representatives by a narrow margin last week): Under the so-called “cap and trade” procedure, utilities which hold their carbon dioxide emissions below allowable levels would be authorized to sell below-allowable-level “credits” to utilities whose carbon dioxide emissions exceed allowable levels.
How, in the short term at least, this would reduce the current volume of carbon dioxide emissions remains a puzzle to me.
Three Omahans, thoroughly knowledgeable about the implication of the federal “cap and trade” legislation, have warned that the legislation will increase the cost of electricity. David Sokol, chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, has said “the cost will be significant.”
W. Gary Gates, president of the Omaha Public Power District, and Fred Ulrich, OPPD board chairman, have issued a statement which warns that the federal “cap and trade” legislation “would undo much of the public power advantage” that OPPD customer-owners have enjoyed “for more than six decades.” Their statement said further:
“In a nutshell, the legislation in question—cap-and-trade—would produce dramatic increases in the cost of electricity for OPPD customers with little benefit to our environment.”
The OPPD executives point out also that the bill also would increase costs to OPPD by requiring that the publicly-owned utility buy a minimum percentage of electricity from higher-cost generation sources such as wind and solar power, “even though we may not need the supply.”
Passage of the “cap-and-trade” legislation by the House, coincidentally, occurred the day before The World-Herald, in a very perceptive editorial, pointed out that by far the planet’s major polluter of the atmosphere is China.
The editorial quoted from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study which found that China now uses more coal than the United States, Europe and Japan combined and each week is adding three to four new coal-fired 500-megawatt electricity plants.
The MIT study is described as indicating that much of China has the power infrastructure to produce cleaner coal energy but the emerging Chinese economy “encourages plant managers to operate their facilities on the cheap.”
So American electricity users face the prospect of paying more as a result of this country’s program designed to curb global warming by reducing coal-produced carbon dioxide emissions while China uses more electricity-producing coal than the United States, Europe and Japan combined.
What are you going to do about that, Al Gore and like-minded “greenies”?
* * *
To his great credit, President Obama has taken a strong pro-Palestinian position in his dealings with Israeli leadership.
He has taken this strong position in the face of “on the ground” realities which include facts like these:
Both in Israel and in the United States, the pattern continues: supporters continue to embrace pro-Israel causes which violate the spirit if not the letter of international opinion and policy in regard to Israeli/Palestinian relations.
A primary example: continued efforts by some Israeli political leaders to block creation of an independent Palestinian state, which has been advocated by most of the international community since the United Nations adopted a policy more than half a century ago calling for establishment of separate Jewish and Palestinian states. The UN resolution also left undecided the ultimate control of Jerusalem.
Yet a New York Times story carried this headline: “Parks Fortify Israel’s Claim To Jerusalem.” The Times said Israel is “quietly carrying out” a $100 million, multi-year development plan in support of an effort to strengthen the status of Jerusalem as its capital.
Opposition includes some from within Israel itself. Peace Now, a liberal Israeli group that opposes Jewish settlement in Palestine areas and supports a two-state solution, contended that the plan is designed to create “an ideological tourist park that will determine Jewish dominance in the area.”
Turn next to the United States for another example—what might be called knee-jerk support of Israeli policy in a newsletter of the Anti-Defamation League, an organization supposedly created primarily to combat character defamation.
The ADL newsletter quotes Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, as to how the American-based ADL organized support for Israel as it began its military incursion into the Gaza Strip—an operation which generated a good deal of international criticism. Foxman told the editors of the ADL newsletter:
“Every division in ADL mobilized to develop materials—in both English and Spanish—explaining Israel’s actions, answering frequently asked questions, which were disseminated through an integrated viral marketing campaign that quickly reached thousands of people through e-mail, an ADL Defending Israel Facebook cause site, and a special ADL webpage, ‘Israel Strikes Back Against Hamas.’”
Foxman continued: “ADL also closely monitored anti-Israel protests around the world, paying particular attention to anti-Semitic messages and speeches…
“…Through specially-funded ads in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post and newyorktimes.com, we also mobilized support for Israel, concretely explaining how Israel was fighting back against Hamas terrorist attacks.”
There was more, new evidence of a foreign policy role aggressively pursued by an American-based organization whose primary mission supposedly is to combat religious-based or race-based defamation.
So both in Israel and among some influential members of the Jewish community in the United States, Obama faces challenges to his principled stand in favor of delivering what was promised to the Palestinians more than 50 years ago.
* * *
The 50th anniversary of the execution of mass-killer Charles Starkweather sparked a good deal of news column attention. Among some three pages of reporting and commentary I found the following items of interest:
One reporter seemed puzzled—disapprovingly puzzled—by the fact that Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln does not call attention to Starkweather’s grave as it does to the graves of seven governors and 12 Lincoln mayors.
I’m puzzled that the reporter seemed puzzled. It seems to me that Wyuka receptionist Fran Baatz offered an eminently reasonable and appropriate explanation when she told the reporter: “We don’t draw attention to him. He doesn’t deserve it. He destroyed life.”
Elsewhere in the “50th anniversary” news stories was some speculation as to how Starkweather’s crime spree and apprehension and trial and punishment would have differed had it happened today.
Speculation included the possibility that as officers followed a bloody trail of killings today, his location might be pinpointed by “triangulation” based on his use of a cell phone. Also mentioned was the possibility that police scanning country roads from helicopters today might have spotted his car stuck in the mud outside his fifth victim’s farmhouse.
There was speculation also that someone who knew Starkweather to be a fugitive might have spotted his face on a television newscast during the replaying of videotaped images of his participation in a gas station robbery.
The idea is that his killing spree today might have been ended earlier. But wouldn’t five or six murders still qualify as a killing spree and make Starkweather a mass murderer?
Much less “what iffy” is the same news story’s contrast between what happened to Starkweather after he was apprehended by a sheriff on a Wyoming highway more than 50 years ago and what would happen today. There is surely no question that he would not have been questioned, accused, tried, convicted and executed within 17 months of his arrest.
There is, indeed, a long-shot possibility that Starkweather, who was 20 at the time of his arrest, might still be on so-called “death row” in the Nebraska State Penitentiary or that he would have died while a “death row” prisoner instead of in the electric chair.
Considering all the legal safeguards for defendants which are now built into our legal system, the old saying “justice delayed is justice denied” all too often applies today to justice which is being sought on behalf of the public as against the defendant. Consider that today 11 supposedly condemned killers have sat on “death row” at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for periods ranging up to 29 years.
News coverage of the Starkweather case surely would change, also. I have suggested, admittedly somewhat facetiously, that today the headline on his capture might read something like this: “Disadvantaged youth, alleged killer, brutalized by Wyoming sheriff.”
Whatever the wording of the headline today, you can be certain that it wouldn’t include wording like that which appeared in The World-Herald on January 28, 1958, referring to Starkweather’s arrest as the end of a “Punk’s Blood-Stained String.”
* * *
Reacting to my comments last week on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day observances, good friend and regular reader Randy “Luke” Lukasiewicz wrote a heartwarming account of what his three children—two daughters and a son—did to honor him on Father’s Day:
The three sent pictures with “Fencebuster” caps on (the father is the most avid baseball fan I know next to my roommate) and the caption started with these words:
“Hey Coach…aka dad. This one’s from the 3 players you’ve helped train…for the ultimate sport of life.” The caption went on to say that “it’s time for each of your players to take their coaching to the field of dreams and…BUST SOME FENCES!
“From us to you. We love you! Happy Father’s Day 2009.”
My friend called his children’s tribute “a real tear-jerker!” He also said he disagreed with my suggestion in last week’s column that perhaps we should consider combining Mother’s and Father’s days into a Family Day.
“Mom and Dad are too important to be put together and cards for Dad are getting even fewer. Men and dads are very important and need recognition."
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