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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

"AT LAST: TALK OF PREVENTION
JOINS MOURNING OVER KILLINGS"
- 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.)

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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along
With King Dick And Queen Suzanne

October 14, 2010

Last week’s annual coronation of a mythical king and queen helped remind us of what Ak-Sar-Ben has contributed to Omaha, and the rest of Nebraska and to western Iowa in the past 115 years.

It is certainly appropriate to pay tribute to Ak-Sar-Ben itself as the organization each year recognizes an individual and a family for their significant contributions to the welfare of the region where Ak-Sar-Ben itself does its good work.

So a salute to Ak-Sar-Ben and, importantly, a salute to Ak-Sar-Ben’s new King, Dick Bell, chairman and chief executive of the HDR architectural and engineering firm and Queen Suzanne Clare Singer, whose family, including especially grandmother Sue Singer Scott, has made such significant contributions to the welfare of this community and this state.

The Sunday World-Herald gave extensive coverage to the lives and contributions of both King Dick Bell and the Singer family.  No need to repeat the impressive details here.  But here is certainly an appropriate place to say a heartfelt “Well done!” both to Ak-Sar-Ben for picking its newest mythical monarchs so wisely and “Well done!” to Dick Bell and to the Singer family for the good works which richly deserve the honor which Ak-Sar-Ben paid them last Saturday night.

A Personal Word About Dick Bell

Busy as he is in continuing to make even stronger one of the nation’s very best architectural and engineering firms and serving admirably well in civic and philanthropic leadership roles, Dick consistently finds time to keep in close, helpful touch with his friends, including, I’m pleased and proud to say, me.

* * *

Be Forewarned, America: President Obama
Plans Switch From “We” To “I” Strategy

A story appropriately given top play in The Omaha World-Herald last Monday seemed to me to be a sort of fair warning to the American people and Congress that President Obama will  turn away from his “Yes, we can” leadership to a “Yes, I will” strategy in the next two years.

The McClatchy Newspapers story began:  “As President Barack Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term:  advancing his agenda through executive action he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile Congress.”

If Obama does indeed substitute “I” for “we” in addressing the nation’s problems, the 535 elected members of the Congress will have to be especially alert to protecting their traditional role of addressing and resolving significant social and political issues confronting the American people. 

As I see it, the Congressional “we” should trump the Presidential “I” in any case except those in which the Constitution gives the president clear authority to act, whether or not he can demonstrate that Congress or the majority of the American people approve.

If the first two years of the Obama administration has been marked by bitter controversy—I think we can agree that they have been so marked—the country may be moving to even more bitter controversy in the two years head, as an ego-driven president figuratively stomps his foot and proceeds with a “I’ll show them what’s good for them” attitude.

* * *

The Yankees Management Strikes Out
With Grotesque Memorial To Steinbrenner

The New York Yankees management—presumably under the control of George Steinbrenner’s son as George’s successor in ownership of the Yankees—struck out swinging in the way a Steinbrenner memorial became part of the Yankees’ hallowed Monument Park behind the centerfield fence.

In contrast to the 2 x 3 foot memorial plaques honoring such truer Yankee greats as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle and Joe Dimaggio, Monument Park now is overwhelmed by a 7 x 6 foot, 760 pound monument of bronze atop a granite base memorializing Steinbrenner. 

The wording on the George Steinbrenner memorial makes the bad taste even worse.  He is described in bronze as “a true visionary who changed the game of baseball forever.  He was considered the most influential owner in all of sports.”

He was considered the richest owner and the most egotistical and perhaps the hardest to please.  In 19 years he hired and fired 23 field managers.

Fortunately, the Yankee tradition of great baseball and great baseball players is strong enough to survive even a George Steinbrenner.

* * *

Cheaper Mortgages Take Money From
Investors, Give It To “Legal Debt Evaders”

Here we go again—proposals to allow millions of Americans to escape their legal obligation to repay mortgage loans which they—perhaps unwisely in a good many cases—agreed to repay or face the loss of their house.

It might be called “legal debt evasion,” and it seems to me to bear too close a resemblance to the mortgage loan default epidemic which was the principal cause of the economic recession from which the nation is still struggling to recover.

Even the liberal New York Times concedes that “loosening loan standards may seem like a replay of what caused the mortgage mess.”  But, The Times reasons, both lenders and taxpayers are on the hook if borrowers default because two government-controlled mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are setting too tough standards for cutting interest rates on refinanced mortgages.

The Obama administration is pushing what it calls the Home Affordable Refinance Program which calls for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance (liberal talk for reducing the amount of the mortgage and the interest rate) loans for “underwater borrowers.” 

The solution, in The Times view, is for the Obama administration to tell Fannie and Freddie to lower interest rates.  The result, The Times concedes, would be losses to investors in securities backed by mortgages agreed to at the original rates.

But not to worry, The Times reassures.  There would be quick economic benefits from lower monthly mortgage payments, while investor losses would be widely disbursed. 

However you slice it, the proposal is to, in effect, take money from people who in good faith bought securities backed by mortgages at interest rates agreed to by the home purchasers and give that money to the home purchasers in the form of lower mortgage interest rates—sort of a form of taxation without representation, which used to be considered totally unacceptable governmental policy.

* * *

A Difficult Search: Find A Candidate
Willing to Consider Tax Increases

When will some candidates muster the political courage to run for office saying they will, if elected, take a realistic look at tax options which can help in successfully addressing difficult issues?

A candidate could offer alternatives that he or she would consider:  Hold the line on taxes, increase them if necessary, reduce them if this still allows a responsible approach to addressing public issues.

When will such a candidate appear?  As I ask the question, I feel somewhat like the mythological figure Diogenes, who went around with a lantern seeking to find an honest man.

These thoughts came to mind as I considered a mailing from a candidate in my legislative district.  His name is Todd Frazier and he advocates “a no-nonsense approach which we need now to create jobs, reduce taxes and get the budget balanced.”

Over and over and over—and certainly not just from candidate Frazier—you hear the theme:  “Reduce taxes, reduce taxes, reduce taxes.”

Frazier goes so far as to attack incumbent State Senator John Nelson as worthy of defeat at the polls because he voted in favor of “hiking gas taxes 1.2 cents per gallon.” 

A 1.2 cent gas tax increase?  If anything, too small in a state where the need for highway reconstruction is increasingly evident and, incidentally, a citizen can drive past his favorite gas station and see that the company which owns the station has increased prices 10 cents a gallon or more since the day before.

Sen. John Nelson does not have either the personality nor the experience to be a legislative leader, as I see it.  But I’ll vote for him in preference to a challenger who sees support of a 1.2 percent gasoline tax increase as irresponsible.

* * *

As The Old Saying Goes, Politics
Does Indeed Make Strange Bedfellows

The saying may be old—some might even call it trite—but there’s still a good deal of wisdom in it, it seems to me:

“Politics makes strange bedfellows.”  A couple of current examples:

A recent news story reported that thousands of liberals and labor activists rallied in Washington and in other cities, calling for young or disillusioned Democrats to come out to vote in the November elections.  The story reported that more than 400 organizations endorsed the rally on the National Mall in Washington. 

Among those addressing the crowd was the Rev. Al Sharpton.  (The only more polarizing Democratic figure that I can think of would be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.)  Among the “progressive” causes (“progressives,” the new self-chosen word for liberals) being promoted were predictables like ending the war in Afghanistan, supporting Palestinians, giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, promoting civil rights protection for homosexuals and lesbians (the story used the word “gays”) and “vegetarianism.”

Vegetarianism as a “progressive” cause?  As I said, politics makes strange bedfellows.

Another example of the truth of the old saying is one I cited in this space recently: 

A $1,000 contribution to the re-election campaign of Representative Lee Terry, Omaha Republican, from the “Indoor Tanning Association..”

# # #

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