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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

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.

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day”
To Obama Performance Here And Abroad

October 1, 2009

First some brief commentaries, before moving on to some heavier subjects, including President Obama’s performance at home and abroad. 

--What’s in a name?  The question occurred as I read that some liberals now prefer to be called “progressives.”  Another news item reported that two men walked away from a state “Work Ethic Camp” in McCook.    

I don’t think you can disguise your political  beliefs by switching to a more attractive label.  Nor can you change a convict detention facility by calling it a “Work Ethic Camp.”

--I would say that Sarpy County officials can be trusted with the public’s money if the most serious current example of county expenses “adding up” was the $4,965.63 expenditure for the county’s one-third share of the groundbreaking celebration costs for the Omaha Royals stadium in Sarpy County.  A recent news story gave an exhaustive breakdown of expenses.  For example, for the ceremonial shovels, which are customary for such affairs, the budget was $2,000.  Are you shocked to learn that the final shovel cost was $423 over budget?  And portable toilets cost all of $203.  There was a lot more of such detail, in case anybody was interested.

--It might have been called “Nutcake Day” at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City. 

The agenda included speeches by Venezuelan President/Dictator Hugo Chavez, Libyan dictator Muammar al-Ghadafi (who was scheduled to speak 15 minutes but spoke 90) and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies that there was ever a Holocaust, and also denies that Iran is building that supposedly secret uranium processing plant for the purpose of creating a nuclear weapon.

* * *

For Obama, Some International Successes
But Also Afghan And Health Care Problems

Some successes on the international stage last week drew praise for President Obama but not enough, I would think, to offset the continuing lack of broad support, at home and abroad, for his position on the war in Afghanistan and, at home, his case for his plan for a $900-billion overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

The president’s overseas successes included recruiting British and French leaders to join him in putting new pressure on Iran to come clean about the intentions behind its newly-discovered “secret” nuclear processing facility.  Even Russia indicated it would challenge Iran to explain its motives in processing uranium in a way that could be used to build nuclear weapons. 

Elsewhere on the foreign affairs front, the president received an enthusiastic reception when he told a meeting of the United Nation’s General Assembly that the United States does not have any desire to attempt to play the role of the superpower to which the rest of the world would look for military and economic leadership.  Some would say the United States is not in any position to continue to play such a role, but the president’s reassuring words were enthusiastically applauded by his United Nation’s audience.

As to Afghanistan: 

The Sunday World-Herald carried a full page focusing on that historically-troubled country—its frequently-in-conflict tribal society (there are nine separate ethnic groups), its history of uniting to defeat foreign invaders as powerful as Great Britain in the Nineteenth Century and Russia in the Twentieth and the continuing influence of radical Islam militants both of the Taliban and al Qaeda variety.  The page, prepared by The Chicago Tribune, included up-to-the-minute facts and figures which underscore the problems which confront President Obama as he tries to decide how many more American troops to commit to the Afghan War.

A story in last Sunday’s New York Times indicated something of Obama’s problems in re Afghanistan.  The story said that Obama has discovered that as he considers “one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency,” United States military leaders are not united in support of his plan to commit more troops and some of the civilian advisors he respects the most “have deep reservations.” 

If Obama is interested in advice from the American people, he might well take a close look at the results of a recent New York Times/CBS News poll.  A strong majority of those responding to the poll’s questions said that troop levels in Afghanistan should be either decreased (32% favored this) or kept at the same level (27%).  Only 29% of the poll respondents favored an increase in troops.

Obama has argued that a successful military outcome is essential to stabilize a central government in that tribally-divided country and then have the cooperation of that government in suppressing Taliban Islamic fanatics and their allies, the al Qaeda terrorists who are using a sanctuary along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border as a base for training and initiating terrorist attacks in countries like Great Britain in the United States.

Asked about the effect of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, 68% of the poll respondents said the threat of terrorism has either stayed the same (51%) or actually increased (17%).  Only 27% of the respondents felt that our military presence in Afghanistan has decreased the threat of terrorism.

Somewhat parallel with the poll respondents’ skepticism or opposition to Obama’s policy in Afghanistan was either doubt or opposition to his massive health care overhaul proposal.  Only 30% of the poll respondents said they mostly support the president on this issue while 23% said they are mostly opposed and, most significantly of all, 46% said they don’t know enough to have an opinion about the proposal (which runs to some 1,000 pages in one Congressional version).

TV Network Lapdogs Cooperate With Obama

Not helping the Obama case for health care reform was a recent column from a website commentator, Jacob Sullum, whose views appear on “reason.com.”  (Since I’m now a website columnist myself, I tend to pay more attention to these other internet commentators.)

Jacob Sullum challenged Obama’s claim that the average American family is paying thousands of dollars in hidden costs because health care for the uninsured drives up the price for coverage for those who are insured.

But in a 2008 report from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, Sullum wrote, “the foundation’s analysis indicates that the true annual cost per family is more like $200, with uncompensated care accounting for ‘less than 1% of private health insurance costs.’”

Such an objective journalistic look at the president and his proposals contrasts sharply with the journalistic lapdog performance which five television networks—count them, five—offered on their weekly talk shows the Sunday before last.

Each of the networks—ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision—accepted White House invitations to tape half-hour interviews with the president on the Friday afternoon preceding their Sunday morning talk shows.  Each talk show host was run through the same White House setting, with the president sitting in the same chair and each of the alleged journalists sitting in the same chair opposite him—assembly line journalism, one might call it.

The president properly received some criticism for not inviting the hosts of the Fox Network Sunday morning talk show.  It might be said that he was trying to avoid watchdog journalistic questions instead of lapdog inquiries.

But leave it to a late night talk show host, David Letterman, to take presidential lapdog honors.  Letterman, who has had the president as a guest on his show half a dozen times, made Obama his only guest on one recent evening. 

One wonders if Letterman would have rolled over if the president had asked

* * *

Treat Suspect Gently—He Denies
He Planned To Blow Up Americans

The stories reporting the arrest of Najibullah Zazi—an American citizen who was born in Afghanistan and had recently received bomb-making training at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan—said Zazi was questioned for three days about the possible plans for bombings in New York City or Denver or elsewhere.

One hopes that during the questioning, authorities treated him gently, according to the Geneva Convention and International Red Cross and New York Times standards.  After all, he denied that buying all those bomb-making materials indicated that he planned to try to blow up Americans.  Why not let the matter drop right there, perhaps with an apology? 

More seriously, I thought it was significant that a Muslim religious leader, a New York-based Imam, asked by authorities to help thwart any bombing plot, instead warned the suspect that the authorities were on his trail. 

This, it would seem to me, is yet another example of the fact that no matter how many peace-loving Muslims live in this and other countries, the Muslim religion includes a belief in Jihad or “holy wars” involving the killing of non-Muslims if Muslim religious leadership believes such killing is justified.  I know of no other of the world’s great religions that involves such a belief.

In the case at hand, we have an Imam, a Muslim holy man, coming to the aid of a man whose apparent intent was to kill Americans.  Imam-approved “jihad”?

* * *

Cell Phones Do Bring People Together

While waiting for the takeoff of our flight to Wilmington, North Carolina to visit former Omahans Jean and Bill Stauffer, Marian used her cell phone to call Craig Lucas, whose company is in charge of our swimming pool maintenance.  She wanted to talk to Craig about plans for winterizing the pool.

Craig responded on his cell phone—from his seat about 15 feet away and across the aisle one row ahead of us.  Craig finished the telephone conversation, then called over to say he had spotted us a bit earlier and planned on a face-to-face conversation. 

We all had a good person-to-person laugh, without the need of any help from our cell phones.

# # #

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