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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid
Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families

October 8, 2009

Kudos to a Public Pulse writer who called attention to something that I had been waiting to read in more detail in connection with the flood of families-living-below-the-poverty-level stories in the six daily papers which Marian and I regularly read.

The usual tone of a “poverty level” story is to simply report—as though it were an exact figure that can be determined with precision—that there has been an increase or decrease in the number of families living below a level of annual income which, a federal bureau informs us, is the “poverty level” applying to families all across the United States. 

Rarely does such a story include any reference to the variety of public welfare assistance programs which are available to families living in federal-calculated “poverty.”  And rarely if ever does any news report point out that living costs vary very substantially between East Coast and West Coast cities and cities and towns in, for example, the Midwest.

The Public Pulse writer, a perceptive Omaha reader of The World-Herald, pointed out that a federal program—the Women, Infants and Children Supplement Nutrition Program—is available to families with income less than $44,035 and that food stamps are available for families with income less than $30,944.

The letter was written in response to an assertion by the Nebraska Appleseed advocacy group that one in seven Nebraska children aren’t sure of their next meal.

If families are below the poverty income level, they should qualify for food provision programs, so why should one in seven children in Nebraska be unable to count on their next meal, the “Pulse” writer asked.

Not mentioned by the Pulse writer but also available to low-income families are a variety of other welfare programs, including Medicaid, federal rent subsidies and, for their children, free school meals.

This is not to suggest lack of sympathy for persons with limited income which force them to seek aid from public and private welfare programs.  The point is that such aid is available, although rarely focused on in stories reporting federal estimates of the number of people living in poverty.  (I stress the word “estimates.”  Many reporters use the figures as if there had been a precise determination of the income of millions of American families.)

* * *

Obama Pitch For Black Support
Worked In Omaha, Not In Copenhagen

The “vote for me because I’m black like you” sales pitch worked in North Omaha last November, but in Copenhagen last week it wasn’t enough to win the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago, despite President Obama’s personal efforts, including a flight to Copenhagen with First Lady Michelle to urge the International Olympic Committee to give the games to Chicago.

Nebraskans will remember that in order to capture a largely symbolic electoral vote in a normally solid Republican state in presidential elections, the Obama campaign organization sent a dozen or so paid staff members into Omaha.  A primary purpose was to turn out a big vote in North Omaha, where the strong majority of black residents could be expected to vote for a fellow black (actually half black).

The “get out the black vote” strategy worked, giving Obama a narrow edge in the Second Congressional District and thus one of Nebraska’s five electoral votes. 

The same basic strategy—seeking African support for a United States Olympic bid because it has the strong support of our black president—was used by the Obama administration in a variety of ways—lobbying representatives of African nations on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, during a Washington reception with African diplomats and in a video of Mr. Obama personally appealing to African IOC members.

In an embarrassment to President Obama (although he doesn’t appear to embarrass easily) and arguably a considerable embarrassment to the United States, the presidential-backed Chicago bid ran dead last in the first round of IOC voting—in fourth place with 19% of the votes, running behind Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.  Not likely to increase our stature in the eyes of the world.

It can, of course, be argued that the odds favored Rio de Janeiro all along because of the compelling argument that this would be the first time that the Games have been held on the South American continent.  If that was the case, the president could have avoided the embarrassment by arguing, quite honestly, that he was very heavily involved in other issues (like the controversial proposal for health care reform) and sent a message to Copenhagen but ducked the embarrassment which resulted from his decision to make a personal appearance in support of “my hometown.” 

* * *

“Save The Date” Hosts Wind Up
In Unplanned Competition For Guests

You might call it a duel of “save the date” heavyweights—two October 16 events, each targeted at some of the same group of philanthropic Nebraskans.

The first “save the date” notice came from a group of philanthropic heavy hitters who wants their guests to learn about the University of Nebraska’s billion dollar-plus campaign for programs at all four campuses in the University system.

Two or three weeks later (I wasn’t keeping track) many of the same potential contributors received invitations to a “TeamMates Tailgate” party on the same evening. 

TeamMates was co-founded by Tom and Nancy Osborne and encourages adults to mentor young people who need help.

The word is that when University officials learned that NU-Lincoln’s longtime football coach and current athletic director was going to hold a fund-raising event on the same night as NU planned to announce its fund-raising campaign plans to, predictably, many of the same people invited to the Osborne affair, Osborne was asked if he could  move his event, since NU “save the date” invitation had been first in the mail.  An NU official said Osborne declined, saying his star attraction, Omaha investment guru Warren Buffett, was committed for that specific night.

The TeamMates “tailgate” party is scheduled for the Embassy Suites Hotel Conference Center in LaVista.  “Special guests” are to be Buffett and Vince Gill.  (I don’t have the slightest idea who Vince Gill is.)

Honorary Chairs are Mogens and Cindy Bay.  The invitation includes a suggestion for “table reservations” which would make it a rather unusual “tailgate” party.

The people inviting guests to at the NU event at the same hour on the same night as the TeamMates affair: 

James Abel, Susie Buffett (so there is a Buffett involved in each of the invitations), James Clifton, Michael Dunlap, John Gottschalk, Howard Hawks, Bruce Lauritzen, Jeff Raikes, Walter Scott, Ronald Williams, Gail Walling Yanney, Michael Yanney and James Young. 

The NU gathering at the Strategic Air and Space Museum near Ashland is billed as “A Salute To Nebraska.”  Since both events are scheduled to start with cocktails at 6 p.m. and serve dinner at 7, my best bet is that the double-invited supporters of both the university and TeamMates will send a check to TeamMates and attend the university’s “Salute to Nebraska” function.

* * *

Finally, Some Realize That Whiteclay
Isn’t To Blame For Pine Ridge Alcoholism

It was encouraging to see, at long last, some recognition—still too limited—of the fact that the alcoholism problem on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota  can’t be blamed on four Whiteclay, Nebraska businesses which sell beer—mostly to Indians residing on the reservation just across the Nebraska-South Dakota border from Whiteclay.

A story of a recent legislative hearing in Lincoln started, as usual, with focus on the wrong target.  The story started:  “The state has a moral obligation to restrict or end alcohol sales in the border town of Whiteclay.  That was the message Friday from activists calling for a crackdown on liquor outlets in the town.”

If you read far enough into the story, you discovered that State Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber told the witnesses targeting Whiteclay liquor stores:  “You’re just nipping at the edges.”

Karpisek, who is chairman of the legislature’s General Affairs Committee, said he wants to explore funneling $122,000 a year in state liquor excise taxes, generated in Whiteclay to alcohol rehabilitation programs on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Omahan Bob Batt, a member of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, said the answer is a massive social program to halt demand for alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The alcoholism problem is simply not in Whiteclay but on the reservation itself—a reservation which, in contrast to others in South Dakota, does not allow alcohol sales on the reservation, where the tribe itself could take a measure of control of sales and use the income for programs to combat alcoholism.

* * *

Good Reason For Disliking Missouri Fans:
Their Obnoxious, Abusive Treatment Of Visitors

A local sports commentator was discussing the Nebraska Cornhusker/Missouri Tiger football rivalry.

Among other things, the commentator said that Nebraska and Missouri fans have never liked each other, “for whatever reason.”

One reason—one very good reason—for fan animosity is the fact that a vocal segment of Missouri fans are the most obnoxious worst sports of any college athletic fans I have ever encountered.  And I know from many conversations with fellow Husker followers that they share this feeling.

It can be argued, I suppose, that these obnoxious fans are only a minority.  But I can testify from personal experience that there are enough of them to give Missouri’s Faurot Field and its environs a reputation of being the most inhospitable venue in the Big Twelve.

Again speaking from personal experience, I can testify that Missouri fans heap abuse on visiting fans who are walking away from Faurot Field even when Missouri has won the game.

# # #

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