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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

           Double-Header Today-

Review The History Before Renaming A Street;
Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog

November 5, 2009

Today a departure from the norm:  Only two subjects, but I hope you will find them of interest.  I’ll return to mostly political commentary next week.

* * *

In last week’s column, I promised to tell the story of how Webster Street got its name—a subject which seems to be of little or no interest to print and broadcast journalists who have been reporting on the proposal to have the City Council rename a seven-block downtown stretch of Webster Street for former Mayor Mike Fahey, who left office less than six months ago. 

Former Mayor Hal Daub, I believe, put the matter in proper perspective with his reaction to a proposal that a stretch of 10th Street be named for him since it runs past the Qwest Center, construction of which he had strongly supported.  Daub said he thought consideration of street-naming should be delayed until there can be an appraisal of the totality of the potential nominee’s life of service.

To Daub’s well-considered perspective on the matter of street-renaming, I would add this advice for journalists and, in this case, city council members who have been considering whether to rename a portion of Webster Street for Mike Fahey:  Look into the reasons the street was named for someone else, then decide whether renaming even a portion of the street might, in effect, be dishonoring the memory of that individual.

So who was this Webster, honored by the naming of a street, seven next-to-the-ballpark blocks of which are proposed to be renamed for Mike Fahey for his work in promoting construction of a downtown ballpark to assure a 25-year extension of Omaha as the site of the College World Series?

Let me tell you something about the life and achievements of John Lee Webster, for whom Webster Street was named.  The highlights of the Webster story, as reported in The Omaha World-Herald September 3, 1929 after Webster died at age 82:

“Since 1869, he had been one of Omaha’s most vigorous and picturesque citizens, a leader at the bar, famed alike for his eloquence, his devotion to the arts, and his faith and pride in Omaha and Nebraska.” 

During his 60 years in residence in Nebraska after moving from Ohio, at age 22, Webster had quickly risen to prominence:  President of the first state constitutional convention in 1875, attorney in many of the most important lawsuits fought in Omaha.  Service as general counsel for the Metropolitan Utilities District and for the Omaha and Council Bluffs Street Railway Company.

Ak-Sar-Ben King, GOP Leader—The List Goes On And On

King of Ak-Sar-Ben in 1916 after suggesting and arranging Nebraska’s celebration of 50 years of statehood—a celebration that, in the words of The World-Herald story, “brought many of the nation’s great personalities to Omaha, including President Woodrow Wilson.”

Webster headed the Nebraska delegation to the Republican National Convention in 1892.

He served for six years as president of the Nebraska Historical Society.  He was “famed for his lectures on Alexander Hamilton, and on the constitution,” The World-Herald story said.  He delivered lectures before state bar associations in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota and Nebraska.  He called the United States Constitution “the greatest achievement of mankind.”

Well known as a patron of the arts, Webster traveled to Europe frequently, bringing back works of art.  He founded the Friends of Art Association in Nebraska.

Until a few months before his death, Webster was still working as head of the committee seeking to create a World War memorial in Omaha.

The World-Herald account of his life noted that as an attorney, Webster “had exceptional success,” including famously his role in the historic trial which freed Ponca Chief Standing Bear from Army custody in Omaha and allowed him and his followers to return to their homeland along the Niobrara River rather than being forced to return to a reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

This, then, was the Webster for whom Webster Street was—and is—named—a prominent seven-block section of which would be renamed for a mayor who left office less than six months ago and whose entire eight-year record in office is not being offered as justification for the street renaming.  What a contrast to the remarkable lifetime of achievement and service to Omaha and Nebraska which was the heritage of John Lee Webster.

(The City Council Tuesday agreed to vote next Tuesday on the street-renaming proposal.  This has the apparently unintended effect of providing time for the news media and council members themselves—and Fahey—to learn more about the life of John Lee Webster.  Time also to reflect on the fact that the idea of a new downtown ballpark originated with the NCAA, not with Fahey, who thus played the role of facilitator, not originator, of the deal which will keep the NCAA-owned College World Series in Omaha for 25 additional years.)

* * *

Sweet Sarah Is Gone, But She Leaves
A Great Legacy Of Heartwarming Memories

Sarah—the sweet, lovable senior citizen in the Andersen household—is no longer with us.

Dr. Pete Bashara—the most competent and compassionate of the several veterinarians with whom we have dealt over the past half century—agreed with Marian’s and my decision that the compassionate course would be to end the suffering of a dog whom we had loved—and who gave every sign of loving us—over the past 15 years.  She had totally lost her appetite, the use of her hind legs and any sign of a response to what was going on around her.

She gave no sign of recognition when I sat down beside her as she lay on her stomach, pretty as ever, in a room in Dr. Bashara’s clinic.  I talked to her as if she could understand my saying that I thought she would have agreed that her quality of life was gone and we were making the right decision.  I told her we loved her and would never forget her and kissed her on the head several times.

After a few minutes, Dr. Bashara entered the room, with a box of Kleenex in hand.  I used one of the Kleenex, gave Sarah a final kiss, adjusted my dark glasses and went out to our station wagon where Marian had chosen to wait.  Marian said that she had bid Sarah goodbye when she took her to the clinic for the last time.

We arranged for Sarah to be cremated, with the thought that we will scatter her ashes, perhaps on the lawn around the backyard swimming pool where she and Marian and her two younger “sisters,” Charlotte and Claire, had spent many happy hours, the dogs lying nearby as Marian read or talked on the phone.

Marian recalls with pleasure the fact that Sarah’s quality of life had continued, at a declining but still enjoyable level, until shortly before a final combination of ailments brought her down.  She had, for example, climbed the steps to the backyard a couple of times two weeks ago.

I’m continuing this report at some length as, I suppose, a sort of form of therapy for me, but also because over the years so many readers have told us how much they enjoy reading about our family life, including especially stories involving our dogs.  So please indulge me as I recall a few examples of life with Sarah.

Charlotte Barks, Sarah Waits Patiently

One of my favorite memories is the way Sarah reacted when she had burrowed her way into a closet, rummaging among anything she could find on the closet floor and occasionally being trapped in the closet when the door was inadvertently closed on her.  When this occasionally happened to Charlotte, she very quickly let you know, with some indignant barking, as if implying that you had trapped her and you had better come and let her out.

Sarah, by way of contrast, would sit quietly behind the closet door, waiting for one of us to discover she was missing and start looking for her.  Her attitude, we like to believe, was something like this:  “I know they didn’t mean to shut me in here, and I’m sure they will come soon and let me out.”

There was the breakfast table performance every morning.  The three dogs would line up at my right side, confident that I would remember to share some morsels with them.  Sarah always sat quietly behind Claire and Charlotte.  The routine was unvaried.  I would, for example, take three small pieces of toast, toss two of them far enough away that I could give the third piece—always the largest one—to Sarah without competition from her “sisters.”

Then there was what might be called Sarah’s love affair with those little baked—I guess they bake them—morsels called “Goldfish.”  Years ago I started keeping a supply of “Goldfish” on a shelf in my upstairs “workroom.”  It didn’t take long for Sarah to discover that if she followed me upstairs, she would get a treat.  She invariably got a few “Goldfish,” then patiently stood by for more.  Sometimes I would respond, but other times I would go sit at my desk, figuring one treat was enough. 

This resulted in Sarah following me very quietly to the side of my desk, and sitting there looking up at me with those lovely brown eyes.  She never jumped on my leg, as Charlotte or Claire might have done.  She simply sat there, quietly and patiently, confident that she would get another treat.  Her confidence was usually justified.

Incidentally, when I went to the veterinarian’s clinic on decision day, I took some “Goldfish” with me, hoping that this might give Sarah a bit of a treat and stir some recognition of who was calling on her.  But Sarah simply turned away when I offered the treat.

There is a saying that to have loved much and been much loved is a path to a good life.  By that test, Sarah lived a very good life indeed.

# # #

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