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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

When The Subject Is Disasters,
Obama Needs A History Lesson

July 8, 2010

When a political figure is facing an image problem, as is certainly the case with President Obama as a result of a good many Americans feeling he has done too little and too late in reacting to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, some diversionary tactics are to be expected, even if they stretch the truth.

So it was hardly surprising that Obama has called the oil pollution in the Gulf “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.”  Some other top federal government officials have echoed that appraisal of the disaster.

The New York Times said that the motive seems clear:  If this is indeed the worst environmental disaster in American history, “maybe people need to cut the government some slack for failing to get it under control right away.”

But then The Times asked:  “But is that description accurate?” 

The story went on to mention other disasters, including floods and “the near extermination of the American bison.”  (But since the bison weren’t exterminated, you can buy buffalo burgers at some restaurants, courtesy of the eccentric billionaire Ted Turner, does “near extinction” qualify as a disaster?) 

The Times story said that for sheer disruption of human life, several environmental experts “think of no environmental problem in American history quite equaling the calamity known as the Dust Bowl.”

Nebraska Knows Something About Disaster History

That appraisal hits home with Nebraskans, because a part of our state was included in the area which in the 1930’s became known as the Dust Bowl.  An historian at Case Western Reserve University described the Dust Bowl as “arguably one of the worst ecological blunders in world history.”

The Dust Bowl was described as a “blunder” because it resulted from poor farming practices in the early part of the 20th Century, practices which stripped away the native grass that held moisture and soil in place.  “A drought that began in 1930 exposed the folly,” the university historian wrote.

The Times story continued:  “Rolling clouds of dust whipped up by harsh winds buried homes and cars, destroyed crops, choked farm animals to death and sent children to the hospital with pneumonia…by the mid-30’s people started to give up on the region in droves.”

Cited also as a disaster arguably greater than the Gulf oil pollution was the Johnstown flood in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1889.  A poorly maintained dam burst and about 2,200 people lost their lives. 

Is the Gulf oil pollution an environmental disaster?  Unquestionably.  But the worst in American history?  The experts and a great many Americans aren’t going to buy that description, Mr. President.

* * *

Is Requiring Proof Of A Posthumous Miracle
A Realistic Requirement For Sainthood?

I applaud the Catholic Church’s custom of honoring Catholics who have given remarkable service to their church and to humanity in various noteworthy ways.  The process is known as canonization, or conferring the status of “saint” on deceased Catholics who have done extraordinary good works.

I read recently of an effort to seek sainthood for a priest, the late Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn, who had served in the Brooklyn diocese as a courageous foe of bigotry in the 1920s and 1930s.

This thought came to mind:  Why not end the requirement that the church must have evidence of two miracles attributed to the person proposed for sainthood?  One of the miracles must have occurred before the person’s death, the other after his or her death.

This seems to a friendly observer as setting the bar incredibly high.  How can you find conclusive evidence that a deceased person who did good work on this earth somehow intervened in earthly matters in a miraculous way after his or her death?

* * *

What’s This? Public Officials Willing
To Enact Needed Tax Increase?

A tip of my columnist’s cap to the Douglas County officials who are proposing a property tax increase to help the county avoid a budget deficit projected for the next fiscal year.

It is encouraging to learn of public officials who are willing to face up to reality rather than figuratively run and hide when somebody suggests a tax increase to meet legitimate public needs. 

The proposed increase is certainly modest—a 1-cent increase in the country property tax which would amount to an extra $10 a year for the owner of a home valued for tax purposes at $100,000.

A question for officials in Omaha city government as well as Governor Heineman and the legislators who will convene in Lincoln in January: 

Are you favorably impressed by this example of public officials willing to face political reality when the issue is the necessity of a modest tax increase?

I’m afraid I know the answer.

* * *

A Fond Farewell To Revered Rosenblatt
But CWS Road Still Leads To Omaha

It was a grand final act for the last College World Series game to be played in a grand old stadium—a 2-1 victory for a South Carolina team that went on to the championship after a first-round loss. 

A heartwarming finale for Rosenblatt, but most heartwarming of all was the evidence that so many of the fans and coaches and players are looking forward with pleasant anticipation to the continuation of the CWS in Omaha at the new downtown TD Ameritrade Park Omaha—a ballpark whose construction persuaded the National Collegiate Athletic Association to pledge that the CWS will be played in Omaha for another 25 years.

There were proper expressions of appreciation and respect for the Rosenblatt site which had seen so many CWS games in the past 60 years.  As one CNN commentator put it, there are lots of great memories of Rosenblatt but the College World Series “will continue to be about Omaha and Omahans.”  The CNN commentator said also: 

“I don’t think the College World Series would have survived, especially in one place, unless it had been here in Omaha.”

The new downtown stadium will surely include a prominently displayed tribute to Johnny Rosenblatt, The Omaha mayor for whom Rosenblatt Stadium was named.  But as a CNN commentator observed as last year’s CWS was winding down: “No matter what location, it’s Omaha that makes the College World Series so special.”

Implying no disrespect to the grand old stadium which is to be demolished to make room to provide space needed for Omaha’s world-class Henry Doorly Zoo, the goal of every college baseball team is to travel “the road to Omaha,” and that road next year will lead to Omaha’s new downtown ballpark rather than to Rosenblatt.

* * *

Not Everyone In Big 10 Country
Is Prepared To Welcome Huskers

Those who think the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be welcomed into the Big 10 conference—and I think there will be a strong-majority welcome—should be prepared for some dissents.  For example, the strong reaction of Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press.  Marian ran across a reprinted version of Albom’s column carried on the front page of the sports section of the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer. 

The headline:  “It’s all about money.”  Some of the Detroit columnist’s views:

“Nebraska in the Big Ten?  Nebraska playing Northwestern, Wisconsin or Purdue?  It sounds about as right as ketchup on ice cream.

“Nebraska should be playing Okahoma, every season, as it used to do for 71 uninterrupted years, from Calvin Coolidge to Bill Clinton, until its conference, the Big Eight, got greedy and became the Big 12, and the storied Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry…was only scheduled twice every four years.

“Now it could go bye-bye, altogether.  Instead, the Cornhuskers can meet the Golden Gophers.  And tradition can go to you know where…We could call it what it is.  Money, money, money, money.  Instead, we get double-talk and blathering about opportunities, enhancements, advancement.”

* * *

No Affection For That Aged Pothole
But I’ve Come To Like Colorful Saw-Horse

Mayor Jim Suttle
City of Omaha
1819 Farnam Street, Suite 300
Omaha NE 68183

Dear Jim:

I’m writing to tell you the story of an aged pothole, pictured below.  (I commissioned Pat Drickey, owner of Stonehouse Publishing Company of Omaha, a world-class photographer who is known for his striking photographs of golf holes, not potholes.  Pat took this picture as a favor to a friend.) 

For the first two months that the orange and white saw-horse stood in place on North Elmwood Road, I was more than a little irritated.  But I realized that there were bigger potholes to be filled, so I didn’t call this to the attention of anyone at City Hall.

But for the past two months, I’ve become quite comfortable with the situation.  It’s not that I’m so attracted to the pothole, but the saw-horse has become sort of an old friend.  I actually think I’ll miss the colorful saw-horse if a city crew ever gets around to filling the pothole.

I know that with all the other business that’s on your agenda—building a multi-million-dollar streetcar system with federal funds, for example—an aging pothole isn’t a very high priority.  So I’m not pushing for the pothole to be filled.  So take your time—more time that is.  But you probably ought to get it filled before winter, don’t you think?

With best wishes to you in your tough job. 


Harold Andersen

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