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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

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.

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance
To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize?

October 15, 2009

As the old saying puts it, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

So today I start the column with the cartoon from my good friend and superb cartoonist Jeff Koterba of The Omaha World-Herald. 

Jeff, in his typical perceptive and clever way, has reflected a major share of the reaction to the surprising announcement that a committee of five Norwegians has awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama—not only for what he has actually accomplished in the matter of promoting peace (very little, in my opinion) but also as a way of recognizing his good intentions, encouraging him to actually deliver on the apparent promise of good results. 

Predictably, reaction to honoring Obama was mixed, more negative than positive as I read the comments.  For example: 

A New York Times story said:  “Abroad, it provides Mr. Obama additional stature to be lumped with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Lech Walesa.”  But another New York Times story quoted Walesa, the former Polish Solidarity leader and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner, as saying:  “Too fast.  He hasn’t had the time to do anything yet.  For the time being, Obama’s just making proposals.”

And while The New York Times editorial page predictably praised the Nobel committee’s choice, again predictably interpreting it as partly “condemnation of George W. Bush’s presidency,” The Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Tom Friedman wrote: 

“The Nobel committee did President Obama no favors by prematurely awarding him its peace prize.  As he himself acknowledged, he has not done anything yet on the scale that would normally merit such an award—and it dismays me that the most important prize in the world has been devalued in this way.”

The award is “basically seen as a liberal award,” said Larry Sabata, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

“Among Obama opponents, the prize will be seen as more evidence that Obama is simply a celebrity and judged more on image than actual achievements.  Republicans will correctly see this award as yet one more kick to the ribs of George W. Bush.  But does it make any long-term difference?  I doubt it.”

More than a few political observers saw the award as a political liability.  Some were quick to contend that the award was another example that Obama exhibits more “star power” than substance.  And The New York Times reported that “even some Democrats privately questioned whether he deserved it.”

As I read the numerous reaction stories, my mind went back to a column which I had written during last year’s presidential campaign. 

Has His Race Helped In Obama’s Popularity Abroad?

I commented then on Obama’s decision—to make up for the fact that he had absolutely no experience in foreign affairs—to take an eight-day media-oriented dash through the Middle East and Western Europe.  Whether a few trips abroad as president have closed the gap in his experience in international relations remains to be seen.

None of the news commentary which I have seen touched on the matter of Obama’s race.  Yet I think it is fair to say that the fact that America had elected its first president of African descent has helped focus favorable attention on him around the world, where people of color far outnumber whites—an understandable contribution to the “star power” which has been of benefit to him on the international stage.

I said earlier that New York Times columnist Tom Friedman had deplored awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama as being premature and thus devaluing the most important prize in the world.  But Friedman also praised Obama for accepting the prize not for himself but “as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people of all nations.”

Friedman then offered a very unusual—and compelling—suggestion; i.e., that Obama accept the award on behalf of “the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century—the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.”

Friedman suggested that in his acceptance speech, Obama cite a list of peacekeeping achievements of American servicemen, including, for example, rescuing Europe from Nazi tyranny, freeing much of Asia and the islands of the Pacific from Japanese domination and, now, striving to assure that Iraq and Afghanistan have an opportunity for democratic government.  Friedman would have Obama declare further that he will “never hesitate to call on American soldiers to take the field against the enemies of peace, tolerance and liberty,” then end his acceptance speech like this: 

“I accept this peace prize on behalf of the men and women of the U.S. military:  the world’s most important peacekeepers.”

* * *

NU’s National Reputation Is Involved
In Stem Cell Research Decision

Here we go again.  Encouraged by the election of a new board member who is Catholic and is presumed to be supportive of their cause, anti-abortion groups plan to increase pressure on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents to forbid researchers to expand embryonic stem cell research.

Nebraska Right to Life, in its October newsletter, announced an “action alert” asking abortion opponents to demonstrate outside Varner Hall while the Board of Regents are meeting there October 23.

The anti-abortion group is also urging members to testify during the meeting, urging a majority of the eight-member board to support a resolution banning the expansion of embryonic stem cell research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. 

(To his credit, the newest regent, Tim Clare of Lincoln, said the issue needs more study.  He also told me that there is expanded-research pressure from the other side in the form of resolutions by faculty senates on the Lincoln and Omaha campuses.)

Currently, university policy is to use for research only an older line of cells, approved by President Bush for research with federal funding.

There are other, newer lines of research on embryonic stem cells harvested from embryos which sit in cold storage in fertility clinics around the country.  President Obama has indicated he will approve federal funding for research on these new cell lines, which medical experts say are considerably more promising in terms of finding ways to prevent or cure medical ailments.

In the first place, research for these embryonic stem cells does not involve abortion of a viable fetus.  In the second place, the embryos are simply sitting unused in fertility clinics.  They are excess embryos produced in the process of making possible pregnancies for couples who cannot otherwise achieve a pregnancy.

Opponents of expanding the research have offered no viable option—none—for the use or disposal of these cold-storage embryos.  (One Catholic activist suggested that they be used to produce babies for adoptions by childless couples.  But Catholic doctrine does not recognize any birth as legitimate unless the child is conceived as the result of intercourse between a married man and woman.)

Isn’t it time that somebody challenged the anti-abortion activists to come up with something other than demonstrations and political pressure in a case where abortion of a viable fetus is simply not involved? 

The opponents carry their religious-based arguments to the point of contending that each of those fetuses in cold storage in fertility clinics represents a person with a soul.  I would suggest that a majority of Nebraskans would not buy this argument, especially when it is used to prevent valuable medical research.

The anti-abortionists should be challenged to provide a sensible answer as to what should be done with the thousands of fertility-clinic fetuses.   

In any case, the regents would be well advised to avoid bowing to the anti-abortion forces when it comes to banning or restricting  potentially valuable medical research.  A university’s reputation as an important research institution can be seriously adversely affected if governing bodies yield to pressure which is based primarily on emotion rather than reason. 

The University of Iowa learned this the hard way a few years ago when it lost a research team to another university as a result of pressure from those seeking to limit certain medical research at the University of Iowa. 

* * *

Lemonade Stand Philanthropists Raised
More Money Than They Realized

Those three Florence kids who turned over $29.31 in profits from their lemonade stand to help pay for keeping the Florence Branch Library open actually raised a lot more money than they realized—something like $75,029.31, it could be said.

A former Florence resident, now living elsewhere in Omaha, saw The World-Herald story and accompanying picture telling of that $29.31 contribution.  He recalled how important the Florence Branch Library had been to him as he grew up in Florence and decided that if the library meant that much to the three lemonade stand operators he ought to provide some financial help too.

The former Florence resident decided to contribute $25,000 to help keep the library open for at least another year and asked another Omahan who had been brought up in Florence for a contribution of $50,000.  The result was, as I have indicated, that you might say that the lemonade stand contribution and the accompanying publicity resulted in total contributions of $75,029.31.

(Two larger contributions, $100,000 from each of two anonymous sources, were, of course, of even greater help in keeping Florence and all the other city libraries operating without any cutbacks in services and with assurance that they would be fully funded in the city budget for the next year.)

So a tip of my columnist’s cap to three fine young civic-minded citizens for their inspirational $29.31 gift from their lemonade stand profits to help keep the Florence Branch Library open.  Their names are Paige and Blake Terry, children of Allison Terry, and Garrett Potts, son of Karen and Shane Potts.

They deserve a toast in their honor—in lemonade, of course.

# # #

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