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.
August 20, 2009
Perhaps Tiger Woods could use a lesson in the history of golf and the vitally important part that good sportsmanship has played in that long history.
He certainly didn’t show consistent signs of good sportsmanship as he made his angry way around the final 18 holes last Sunday in the 91st annual PGA championship at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota south of Minneapolis.
I think it can be said that golf and its traditions were the winners, as Y. E. Yang, 37 year old South Korean ranked 110th in the world, kept his composure when he hit a bad shot (he didn’t hit very many) and demonstrated that championship golf can be played without angry grimaces and gestures every time you don’t like the results of your efforts.
I wonder if Tiger and his advisers realize that, in the opinion of almost every golf fan I have talked to, he is suffering from news media overexposure and too many examples of angry reactions to a shot he didn’t like. It has reached the point where people of my acquaintance were asking each other Sunday whether they were rooting for “ABT”; i.e., “Anybody But Tiger.”
In fairness to Tiger, his post-performance comments are pretty consistently restrained and realistic and the over-exposure is largely the fault of sycophantic media, both print and broadcast. It has gotten so ridiculous that on Sunday, a TV camera crew was set up to record Tiger’s arrival in his car in the parking lot, then follow him every step of the way on his walk to the practice putting green, then to the driving range, where we watched him hit practice shot after practice shot.
All the while, players the stature of Phil Mickelson and V. J. Singh and Padrick Harrington were on the course playing golf in a major championship, relatively ignored by the TV cameramen.
Tiger’s angry on-course conduct was, coincidentally, in sharp contrast to that of, for example, golfers the caliber of Singh and Harrington. Singh may have been seething inside but he kept outwardly calm after missing some short putts which kept him from a serious run at Tiger in the final two rounds. Harrington, a model of good sportsmanship, reacted with outward calm and no sign of loss of self-control when he shot a two-balls-in-the-water eight on a par 3 hole at a time when he was potentially ready to catch Yang and Woods.
Tiger is a splendid golfer, and numerous opportunities lie ahead for him to try to achieve his goal of beating the record of 18 major tournaments won by Jack Nicklaus. But he needs some coaching in on-course sportsmanship, perhaps of equal importance to the excellent coaching he sought out in rebuilding his swing.
* * *
A common sense approach, finally, to the question of whether judges should substitute their opinions for those of the public when the issue is a voter-approved constitutional amendment as, for example, in California when voters approved a constitutional amendment forbidding legal recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages.
The voter-approved constitutional amendment is being challenged in a lawsuit.
An article written for The Wall Street Journal by Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University (one wonders if his fellow faculty members are still speaking to him) offers a very persuasive argument against judges invalidating a public mandate against giving homosexual and lesbian relationships the same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman:
Professor George writes:
“So, before judging whether traditional marriage laws should be junked, we must decide what marriage is. It is this crucial and logically prior question that some want to shuffle off stage.
“Because marriage has already been deeply wounded, some say that redefining it will do no additional harm. I disagree. We should strengthen, not redefine marriage.
“But whatever one’s view, surely it is the people, not the courts, who should debate and decide. For reasons of both principle and prudence, the issue should be settled by democratic means, not by the exercise of ‘raw judicial power,’” as the late United States Supreme Court Justice Byron White famously wrote in his dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision which held that states do not have constitutional authority to ban all abortions.
* * *
You had to read two different newspapers to get a particularly interesting—puzzling might be a better word—perspective on the heated debate over global warming and what the United States and the rest of the world should do about it.
The Wall Street Journal on August 6 pointed out that “China, driven by a historically unprecedented wave of urbanization and industrialization, has recently surpassed the U.S. as the top producer of greenhouse gases. But Beijing insists that rich industrialized countries have a responsibility to clean up first.”
Two days later, a New York Times story included this language:
“If the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption and emissions of global warming gases, proponents of this view say, a series of global environmental social, political and possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to address.”
So the United States must lead the way in reducing emission of global warming gases while the China, the world’s leading producer of global warming gases, continues to pollute the atmosphere, presumptively in increasing volume.
And the American people are expected to buy that poor excuse for a global policy of reducing the emission of global warming gases? A hard sell, a very hard sell, in my opinion.
* * *
Like any other newspaper junkie, I read a great many words every day in stories and editorials dealing with the current national political scene in general and with President Barack Obama’s performance in particular.
In those thousands of words I recently came across just two paragraphs which seemed to me to go to the heart of the “will the real Barack Obama please stand up” drama which is being played out on a national and even international stage. Dan Balz of The Washington Post wrote:
“One of the biggest unknowns about the ultimate success of the Obama presidency is the question of how much government the people will accept.
“Do a majority of Americans see what he has done as necessary—and short-term—or do they conclude that he is, at heart, a big-government liberal in a country that remains skeptical towards too much centralized power in Washington? That debate continues, and Republicans think it is one of the president’s biggest vulnerability.”
Count me among those who believe that from the day he started campaigning with a theme of “Yes, we can” change America, Barack Obama is, in the words of Dan Balz of The Washington Post, “at heart, a big-government liberal in a country that remains skeptical towards too much centralized power in Washington.”
* * *
And these people are making decisions that will affect the welfare of this country for decades to come. Do they start with any idea of what the public desires or is willing to stand for?
The questions occurred as I read of the vote in the House of Representatives to spend $550 million for additional passenger jets for senior government officials, which includes members of Congress (a number of whom are spending much of the August Congressional recess on extended trips to various parts of the world, often accompanied by their spouses).
Are members of the House of Representatives so insensitive to how the public would react when they vote to spend $550 million on eight more planes when the Pentagon asked for $220 million for four planes?
It took an angry reaction both among the public and in the Senate to persuade Rep. John Meurtha (D., Pa.) chairman of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, to announce that he would drop the proposal for eight new airplanes, accepting instead the Pentagon’s original request for four aircraft.
Speaking of the House of Representatives, this thought keeps recurring to me:How much common sense lies behind those arched eyebrows of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.)?
* * *
In a long story dealing with what the headline called a growing crisis in home mortgage foreclosures in Omaha, I found two paragraphs of particular interest.
Those paragraphs provided these details about the 13 homes which have fallen into foreclosure in the past 18 months in the Sunridge housing subdivision in southwest Omaha:
“According to loan documents filed with the county, 10 of the 13 defaulting owners put little or no money down, including three who took out loans for more than the house’s price. Another had an adjustable rate that spiked after two years.
“One family took out a loan in which payments didn’t even pay accruing interest. After borrowing $155,000 on the $156,000 house, they owed $158,000 at the time they defaulted.”
Certainly the lending institutions which approved or encouraged this kind of borrowing must share blame with the homeowners. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it almost always is, and the homeowners cannot be excused for asking for, or agreeing to, such obviously doomed-to-failure mortgage terms.
And while blaming both lenders and borrowers for such deals, it should be remembered that the “easy money” attitude which actually encouraged such irresponsible mortgage financing was to a large degree the result of Federal policy set, or encouraged by, among others, President Clinton and Congressional leaders like Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
Liberal politicians helped promote the totally unrealistic social welfare philosophy that “every American family is entitled to the American dream—ownership of its own home.”
Congress cooperated by creating mortgage-backing federal institutions which helped make homes available—temporarily—under unrealistic liberal terms such as those agreed to by those 10 defaulting homeowners in the Sunridge housing subdivision in Southwest Omaha.
* * *
Marian and I had looked forward to enjoying our 80s-era birthdays July 30 (mine, the 86th) and August 13 (Marian’s, the 81st). We did enjoy all the greetings which came our way and the chance to hear from—and talk with—so many longtime friends. But we might have wished for less need for medical attention.
The infection which pretty effectively blocked vision in my right eye two days after my birthday is slowly yielding to medication, starting with eye drops every hour (it’s every four hours now.)
The latest family medical news is that Marian was in Clarkson Hospital on her birthday, having bruised her right rib cage and torn a slight hole in her right lung when she tripped over one of the dogs and fell.
She is home now, healing nicely and freely offering advice to me.
The incidents have demonstrated what grand friends we have—transportation whenever and wherever we need it (I had a string of seven straight visits to eye treatment specialists) and better brought-in meals than those “freezer surprises” which I’ve written about.
In any case, we are glad the ailments are survivable, we’re very pleased that we are blessed with the excellent medical care available at the Midwest Eye Care Clinic and the University of Nebraska Medical Center and we will do our best to enjoy additional birthdays as so many of our friends wished for us.
I venture to give you this report because so many of you have said you enjoy reading about Andersen family news, which should, of course, include a report that our three cocker spaniels—Sarah, Claire and Charlotte—are doing just fine.
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