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 9, 2009
The score won’t be known for 16 months (November, 2010) but, as a Sunday World-Herald story put it, “Games on!” in the contest for the Second Congressional District seat held for six terms by Rep. Lee Terry, Omaha Republican.
The campaign started, in the political gutter, last week with radio ads, paid for by the Democratic Congressional campaign committee, irresponsibly implying that Terry does not support funding for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and providing support for military families.
Later in the week, State Sen. Tom White, Omaha Democrat, announced plans to start raising money for an expected challenge to Terry for the Second District seat.
White, who had said last week that he agreed with the thrust of the Democratic radio ads, said Democrats need to capitalize on President Barack Obama’s winning an electoral vote in the Second Congressional district last November.
White indicated he believes that the interest generated in Omaha by Obama’s campaign would have a carryover effect benefiting him in a challenge to Terry. (The Obama campaign sent in more than 10 organizers who worked for several weeks to encourage Democratic registration and voting, especially in northeast Omaha with its heavy concentration of black voters.)
Randy Adkins, on the political science faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said it could be tough to activate the Democratic base next year, especially since Obama will not be at the top of the ticket.
But State Senator White said he believes he is the candidate who best woos non-partisan voters as an anti-abortion, pro-death penalty politician. He said he thinks his political “profile” fits the Second Congressional District pretty well.
I hadn’t been aware that non-partisan—that is, independent—voters are generally anti-abortion and pro-death penalty. In fact, I would think exactly the opposite, but perhaps Senator White reads the political tealeaves better than I.
I also wonder what action White believes Congress is likely to take in regard to abortions and the death penalty, subjects which are normally considered to be in the province of state legislatures.
* * *
Elsewhere on the political news scene:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made headlines with the news that she will resign this month, during what, in my opinion, were some preposterous journalistic reactions.
The New York Times, for example, said the news of her resignation “shocked Republicans nationwide.” The story did not indicate how The Times determined that Republicans nationwide were shocked. I would venture a guess that a good many Republicans didn’t give a tinker’s dam.
As to speculation that Palin might be preparing for a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. I believe she would be a nuisance, a minor distraction, nothing more.
Predictably, Times columnist Sam Tanenhaus interpreted Palin’s decision as an indication of Republican Party division and asked this judgmental question:
“How did so organized a party come apart so swiftly? One explanation is that it hasn’t been swift at all. The Republicans have been in decline for some time—and in recent years, even in disarray.”
As I opined in this space recently, I don’t believe the party is “on the ropes,” as a prominent television commentator recently declared, or is “coming apart” as Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times opined.
I also wrote recently that if there is anything that liberal national television and print commentators can do to put the party “on the ropes,” they will do their best to bring that result about.
* * *
It was with a touch of sadness and surprise that I read a recent column by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Friedman, whom I have praised in the past as offering the best-reasoned liberal opinion, offered usually without the suggestion that those who disagree with him are mentally depraved.
But consider the conclusion of a recent column by Friedman on the subject of federal “cap and trade” legislation designed to, over time, reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air from coal-burning industries.
Friedman ended the column with this cry for young Americans to demand that Congress enact substantially more stringent carbon emission controls than are currently being contemplated:
“Attention all young Americans. Your climate future is being decided right now in the cloakrooms of the Capitol, where the coal lobby holds huge sway. You want to make a difference? Then get out of Facebook and into somebody’s face. Get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon. That will get the Senate’s attention. Play hardball or don’t play at all.”
Government by mob pressure should, it seems to me, not be advocated by a Pulitzer Prize winner columnist or by anybody else, for that matter.
* * *
A recent news story reported that Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of $1,000 under a health care bill unveiled by key Senate Democrats.
To fine people for not taking supposed advantage of a benefit which the Federal government is imposing on them—how would you describe it: Bizarre? Lunatic? Frightening? Let’s settle on frightening, as an indication of how far some Democratic leaders are willing to go in forcing citizens to take advantage of what Big Brother is trying to impose in supposed social welfare benefits.
One aspect of the proposal might qualify for the lunatic label: The fines would be collected through the income tax system.
Have the sponsors of the proposal considered the possibility—if not the likelihood—that a good many of the people not buying the “affordable medical coverage” might be lower-income persons among the many millions of Americans who pay no income taxes at all and who simply couldn’t afford to pay a thousand dollar fine whether through the income tax system or any other way?And, incidentally but importantly, who would have the job of deciding what is “affordable” medical coverage?
* * *
There was a good deal of real class demonstrated on the Center Court at Wimbledon last Sunday.
Certainly class in the level of play by both America’s Omaha-born Andy Roddick and Switzerland’s Roger Federer. And certainly class demonstrated by Federer after he had taken the all-time lead in number of victories in the four “Grand Slam” tennis championships (British, American, French and Australian) with a five-set victory, including a 16-14 fifth set which was the longest final set in Grand Slam history.
In his comments to TV interviewer John McEnroe, Federer spoke of the defeat being “a tough moment for Andy.” He said also that it is “cruel sometimes that you don’t have draws.”
There was class, also, in the presence of America’s Pete Sampras, who watched the end of the record of 14 Grand Slam wins which Sampras and Federer had shared.
Roddick’s disappointment was shared by a good many Americans, of course, but that disappointment must have been nothing compared to what British fans felt when Roddick last Friday upset their favorite son, Andy Murray of Scotland.
The British, after all, haven’t even had a finalist in the Wimbledon men’s singles championship match since 1936, when Fred Perry of England won the last of his three consecutive titles. A TV commentator said there was even talk that Queen Elizabeth herself might show up for the Sunday match if Murray had defeated Roddick and become the first British finalist in 73 years.
There’s a certain irony in the enthusiastic English support for Andy Murray.
Murray is a Scotsman. Scotland is a part of Great Britain by force of arms, pulled kicking and screaming into the British Empire in the 18th Century after long years of bloody resistance.
But there’s that 73-year drouth, and the English are willing to cheer now for a Scot. After all, he’s a Brit, isn’t he?
The Scottish-British breach is not fully healed, as evidenced by observation which I have experienced.
Some 10 years ago, I was staying in a hotel in Scotland near the Loch Lomond Golf Club. On my way to a table in the bar, I had to pass in front of a booth of beer-drinking Scotsmen watching a televised broadcast of a soccer match between England and Germany.
“Who are you for?” I asked the TV viewers. “Germany, of course,” one of the Scots promptly replied.
Another example of Scots’ feeling towards the English. While the Loch Lomond was under development, the course designer, American golfer Tom Weiskopf was surveying one of the holes early one morning when he became bogged down in a swampy area alongside the fairway.
Weiskopf was rescued by Scottish workmen, one of whom is reported to have said: “It’s a good thing you’re a Yank. If you had been English, we’d have let you drown.”
But now English Wimbledon hopes ride on a surly young Scot, whose semi-final defeat was followed by comments noting that he finished with more aces, more winners and more unforced errors than Roddick.
Hardly classy comments from an upset four-set loser.
* * *
Count me among those not upset by—or very interested in—how much the cost of the Dodge Durango Hybrid leased for Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s use exceeds the cost of the car leased for his predecessor, Mike Fahey.
In the latest news story on the cost of Suttle’s car lease, as I interpret the figures, we learn that a four-year lease for Suttle’s car will cost a total of $56,000, compared to a four-year cost of $40,670 for Fahey’s car lease.
I calculate that means the Suttle lease will cost $3,580 more in each of the four years.
With the city facing the possibility of layoffs and a wage freeze, and with a $500-million shortfall in the police and fire pension fund waiting to be dealt with, I decline to get exercised over a $3,580 annual increase on the cost of a car lease.
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