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 16, 2009
Some Congressional Democrats seem to have formed a figurative lynch mob in search of a way to bring former Vice President Dick Cheney in front of a Congressional investigating committee and, hopefully, before a federal judge charged with law violation.
The risk—which the mob seems to be unaware of or is willing to take—is that they will stir such bitter, time-consuming controversy that they do serious damage to Democratic President Barack Obama’s campaign for quick action on his economic and social welfare goals with strong bipartisan support in Congress and in the voting public generally.
Leading Democrats continue to demand investigation of why, under Chaney’s orders, the story of the never-adopted possible “highly classified” counter terrorism project was never reported to Congress.
The appropriate response is simple:
As widely reported, the “highly classified” counterterrorism program—which involved the possibility of hit squads assigned to assassinate top al Qaeda leaders—was discussed as a possibility but never formalized and adopted as a program which required disclosure to the appropriate Congressional committees.
Democratic Congressinal leaders might well yield to the wisdom in an old saying: “Let the dead past bury its dead.” If they don’t, the figurative grave they’re preparing for Dick Cheney may wind up instead filled with their fellow Democrat Barack Obama’s hopes for prompt, bipartisan approval of his ambitious economic and social welfare reforms.
* * *
Speaking of Obama’s desire and plans to remake America as quickly as he can, an interesting coincidence:
On the same day an Obama appointee to the United States Supreme Court (a “wise Latina” to use her self-description) was testifying before a Senate Committee which is certain to recommend Senate approval of appointment of the Hispanic female, Obama was announcing the appointment of a black woman doctor to become Surgeon General.
Dr. Regina M. Benjamin practices in a small town in Alabama. She has served as president of the Alabama Medical Association, the first African-American woman to be president of a state medical society.
Final paragraphs of a New York Times story telling of Benjamin’s appointment noted that she is a Catholic. Obama administration officials did not answer questions about her views on abortion. A nurse who has worked with her told The Times that Benjamin routinely prescribed birth control pills. The use of such pills is contrary to Catholic Church doctrine.
* * *
My recent perusal of a variety of newspapers turned up a number of items to which I’m not sure whether the reaction should be amazement or amusement or perhaps a combination of both.
First item: Al Neuharth, longtime friend and founder of the newspaper USA Today for which he continues to write a weekly column, said in that column recently that Senator John McCain of Arizona ran the worst major presidential campaign since Democrat George McGovern in 1972. Then followed Neuharth’s amazing/amusing suggestion:
The Republican Party “might be better off” if McCain followed the example of his vice presidential running mate, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who recently announced resignation as governor of Alaska, “and abandon his Arizona U.S. Senate seat.” Neuharth’s reasoning, if you could call it that: “New GOP faces are more likely to go places.” If that’s the case, why stop with a McCain resignation?
Another amazing/amusing example:
In a New York Times opinion piece, a Harvard law professor and a Columbia University law professor argued the black firefighters’ side of the case in the much-publicized New Haven, Connecticut controversy. The United States Supreme Court recently found in favor of the white firefighters, who scored higher than blacks in a promotion test.
The Harvard and Columbia professors seemed to be arguing that race relations in New Haven would be improved if black firefighters saved white citizens, thus promoting “cross-racial harmony under stress.”
Then there was the advertisement for a “new medicine”—an ad which I’m not sure should have appeared in print without considerable editing. The ad claimed that the medicine was “based on an 88-year-old theory by Albert Einstein” and can “help almost every health problem ever experienced by a human being.”
I’m not suggesting it should be in the amazing/amusing category, but I ran across another item which raised the question of labeling. It referred to an organization named “Hispanics For A Fair Judiciary.” That name could perhaps be placed in the “deceptive labeling” or at least “questionable labeling” category. A more accurate name, I would think, would be “Hispanics for Appointment of Hispanic Judges.”
In what I would say is a candidate for the “surprising” category (at least it was surprising to me) was Pope Benedict XVI’s recent plug for labor unions. His reasoning: Without stable work, people lose hope and tend not to get married and have children. (He didn’t explain his opinion that labor unions promote stable work.)
This was the first time I had heard of a linkage of labor unions and the Catholic Church’s policy of promoting marriage and propagation of children.
This may be long-established and well-publicized Catholic policy. In any case, surprising or not, I thought the Pope’s endorsement needed more explanation.
* * *
Normally I’m not one who says, “There ought to be a law.”
But I wonder if the Federal Communications Commission might not well adopt a requirement that what I suppose are being self described as “public service messages” must carry at either the start of the message—preferably at the start—a statement as to the sponsor of the statement; i.e., who’s paying for this message.
Recently I’ve seen an ad—featuring a good old boy wearing a baseball cap—clearly designed to promote the sale of windmills to generate electricity. The program ends with a brief flash of lettering as to the sponsorship. I’ve tried several times to catch the wording, but it has always disappeared before I get more than two or three words into it. I think this is part of the ploy; i.e., to make people think that these are simply public service announcements, educational in nature, with no one expecting to make any money or perhaps political gain from them.
A similar brief notice—even briefer—appears in small type at the bottom of an emotional ad depicting people in serious medical trouble because they don’t have health insurance.
Again, the clear intent is to mask the sponsorship—or at least minimize the chance that you can learn sponsorship by speed reading the small type at the conclusion of the message.
A requirement for fuller—and slower—disclosure of sponsorship would be comparable to what is required of political advertising—or at least some political advertising. “I’m John McCain and I approve this ad”—that sort of thing, with a requirement that the linkage of the ad and sponsor should start the ad—and perhaps end it—so that people will know who is laying the message (the propaganda?) on them.
* * *
Cal Thomas is far from my favorite syndicated newspaper columnist, especially when he starts a column, as he did recently, with a flat falsehood like this:
“Put aside the question of whether a distinctive Catholic institute like Notre Dame should award an honorary degree to a man who stands against any restrictions on abortion.”
Thomas was referring, of course, to the controversy over Notre Dame inviting President Obama to be its commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree.
Thomas would have to search very, very hard, I believe, to find a single public figure who “stands against any restrictions on abortion.” Certainly that is not President Obama’s position.
One wonders if Thomas has ever read the Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which is the landmark decision regarding the legality of a woman’s right to an abortion. Roe v. Wade provides as follows:
During the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s privacy right is strongest and the state may not regulate abortion for any reason; during the second trimester, the state may regulate abortion only to protect the health of the woman; during the third trimester, the state may regulate or prohibit abortion to promote its interest in the potential life of the fetus, except where abortion is necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health.
President Obama and any other “pro-choice” public figure that I am aware of goes no further than endorsing the state of the law as defined by the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.
That, Cal Thomas and other right-to-life extremists, is not a position of opposition to “any restrictions on abortion.”
* * *
The “Oracle of Omaha,” good friend Warren Buffett, makes headline news with almost anything he says, it seems. A recent example was the prominence given to his statement that a chief executive’s word choice in his annual report to shareholders directly relates to the credibility and reputation of the CEO’s company.
Buffett, of course, puts a great deal of effort into his annual report to shareholders. He mixes humor with wisdom as he reports to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.
But I submit that the great majority of people who hold shares in a variety of stocks oftentime have those shares held by stockbrokers. The annual reports don’t even come to the shareholders.
And as to those who do read CEO reports—certainly not a universal habit among stockowners—I would argue that more attention is paid to the company’s financial results than to the CEO’s choice of words.
Give me an appealing stock price over a CEO’s appealing language every time.
* * *
Marian and I years ago adopted what a special longtime friend, Sally Campbell of Lincoln, told us she used when she was serving her husband Jack, another special longtime friend, a meal from the family freezer.
Sally said she called the meal a “freezer surprise.”
So Marian has been serving me “freezer surprises”—everything from tasty leftovers to those frozen dinners you buy at the supermarket—for a good many years.
The results have been good, although the other evening a less-than-usually-tasty “surprise” prompted me to observe to Marian: “You know, sometimes a freezer surprise can turn out to be a freezer disappointment.”
Marian, good natured soul that she is, took no offense, joined me in laughter and continues to serve me “freezer surprises” from time to time.
# # #