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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Let’s Talk Football And Why
Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman

December 17, 2009

It’s still college football season, of course, with Nebraska Cornhusker fans still justifiably unhappy over the fact that the nation’s best defensive player, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, finished only fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Then there is continuing interest in the pro football draft and where Suh will finish in that more objective evaluation of collegiate football talent.

So my column today with start and end with an emphasis on football.  (After all, I attended my first Cornhusker game in 1933.  I’ll save you the arithmetic:  That was 76 years ago.)

* * *

Either Truly Recognize Defensive Dominance
Or Actually Limit Heisman To Offensive Stars

In its 75th year, the mega-hyped Heisman Trophy has once again been promoted and awarded under false pretenses. 

The Heisman Trophy website, maintained by the sponsoring Downtown Athletic Club in New York City, says the trophy is awarded annually to “the most outstanding player in collegiate football.”  This is simply not true.  The sports writers and broadcasters, with the acquiescence of the Heisman sponsors, have turned the annual competition into a recognition of an offensive player who gets the most votes from some 900 print and broadcast voters.

In 75 years, only one so-called defensive player—certainly not an in-the-trenches defensive lineman or linebacker who can dominate a game like Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh did so consistently this season—but a cornerback named Charles Woodson of Michigan, better known for his kick returns than overall defensive dominance. 

Another flaw in the Heisman hype is the regional prejudices which influence if not actually dominate the voting.  Votes are tabulated by six regions.  So, predictably, overall second place finisher running back Toby Gerhart of Stanford had a wide Far West Region margin of votes for best-in-the-nation offensive player.  In four other regions, including the South and East, the Heisman winner, running back Mark Ingram of Alabama, got the most votes. 

In the so-called Southwest Region (presumably so named because it includes the Big 12 whose membership is dominated by Texas and Oklahoma schools) Suh got the most votes, 254 to 216 for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and 214 for Ingram.

Why don’t the Heisman promoters do the obvious honest thing and simply say that the award is designed to recognize the best offensive collegiate football player in the United States?  Let the defensive players be recognized, as they currently are, by a variety of other awards—a remarkable four of which, including the prestigious Lombardi and Outland trophies, were won by Suh, certainly the outstanding defensive player this season and, arguably, the most dominant player on either side of the ball. 

(I’ll finish the column today a few items farther down with some interesting but less significant football season sidelights.)

* * *

It Was Probably Predictable: Unpopular President
Raps Bankers, Especially Wall Street ‘Fat Cats’

With his popularity poll ratings dipping to the lowest point since Harry Truman was president more than half a century ago, Barrack Obama turns to the frequent refuge of political demagogues; i.e., publicly attack bankers and especially “fat cat” Wall Street bankers.

Obama is telling anyone who will listen—including national television audiences—that bankers should be making low-interest loans more available, especially to persons who are seeking low-interest mortgage loans to finance house purchases.

This advice despite the fact that it was unrealistically low mortgage interest rates—encouraged by President Clinton and by Democratic legislators like Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut—which started the cycle of mortgage foreclosures which ignited the economic downturn which led to the recession which the nation has struggled with for well more than a year.

Some bankers were, of course, irresponsibly involved in the cheap-interest mortgage fiasco, which was based on the liberal political philosophy that every American family is entitled to realize “the American dream” of owning their own home.  And some Wall Street banks should properly bear part of the blame.

But the blame primarily belongs on Democratic politicians who promoted the disastrous cheap-mortgage-interest policies.

* * *

Embryonic Research Foes Still Duck The Issue:
What’s To Be Done With Excess Embryos?

Predictably, opponents of expanded embryonic stem cell research at the University of Nebraska are insisting that the university regents have made a major mistake in interpreting the intent of a bill passed by the Legislature in 2006.

And also predictably, in indicating that they continue to be opposed to expanded embryonic stem cell research, despite the fact that the federal government has broadened its research funding policies to include expanded research, the opponents continue to ignore this basic question:

What better use can be made of the thousands of excess embryonic stem cells in cold storage in fertility clinics all over the country?  What is to be done with them?

Until the anti-expanded research advocates come up with a sensible, generally accepted answers to those questions, their anti-research efforts lack credibility, as I see it.

* * *

Could Surprising Nobel Peace Prize
Turn Out To Be Political Liability?

One wonders if receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize—totally undeserved, in the opinion of a very great many observers—may turn out to be a political liability to President Obama.

Certainly not lost on the world’s observers—and the American people—is the irony of Obama accepting a peace award at the same time he has committed the United States to send 30,000 more troops into a war in Afghanistan.

The irony is underscored by the fact that within days of Obama announcing a July 11, 2011 date as the start of withdrawal of the troops, officials in his administration began stressing that American military forces could remain in Afghanistan for a long time. 

As The New York Times put it, the officials in the Obama administration are “seeking to blunt criticism that President Obama had sent the wrong signal in his war-strategy speech last week by projecting July, 2011 as a start for withdrawal.”

* * *

Election Of A Lesbian Mayor Change
All Houstonians Lives ‘For The Better’?

Election of Houston’s new mayor, Annie Parker, has lesbian and homosexual activists all over the country were understandably overjoyed by the victory of Parker, an acknowledged lesbian.

But one can question, it seems to me, the extent of the significance which Parker herself attached to her victory in describing it in these words: 

“…It is about changing the lives of all Houstonians for the better.”

One wonders whether the lives of all Houstonians will be changed for the better because the city has elected its first lesbian mayor.

* * *

Recent Crucial Games Involved Efforts
To Invoke Bible-Inspired Support

Some final Heisman Trophy/Husker football thoughts for today:

Typical of most of the national news media focus on the Heisman Trophy as only a recognition of offensive performance was a recent Sports Illustrated story telling of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy’s performance in the Big 12 championship game against Nebraska.  While the story gave Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh proper credit for a performance which included 12 tackles, including 4-1/2 sacks of McCoy, the emphasis of the article was on the fact that, as the headline put it, “Colt McCoy may have thrown away the Heisman.”

No mention of the possibility that Suh’s dominating performance in a nationally-spotlighted conference championship game might have—indeed, should have—enhanced his chances of finishing ahead of McCoy in the Heisman voting.

Instead, Suh finished fourth and McCoy finished third.

Interestingly and, I thought, rather oddly, one Nebraska sports commentator seemed to make a rather philosophical appraisal of Suh finishing a surprisingly low fourth in the Heisman balloting.  This commentator seemed quite satisfied that Suh had won Heisman attention and won so many other trophies. 

This was an interesting contrast to the comments of a Denver Post columnist, who, while predicting that Suh would not win the Heisman, said Suh “deserves to break the Heisman barrier…he was, in fact, college football’s most outstanding player this year.  And if he doesn’t walk away with that statue, it will be because too many voters labor under a narrow-minded prejudice that just won’t die.”

Final football thought for the day:

I have commented before on the impropriety of so many athletes invoking divine help—or thanking divine intervention—for success in a football or basketball or baseball game.

Such impropriety was on display in crucial regular season-ending games this month. 

Tim Tebow of Florida—who won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore two years ago but finished a deserved fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting this year—wore those glare-reducing patches under each eye in a showdown game with Alabama.  There was a Biblical reference on display as television cameras focused on Tebow’s “John 16:33” lettering on his under-eye patches.

If you took the trouble to look up John 16:33 in the Bible, you would see these words:  “In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart.  I have overcome the world.”  Unfortunately for Tebow, he had trouble, but he did not overcome Alabama.

In the Sports Illustrated article on the Nebraska-Texas game, we read that during the timeout before the last-second game winning field goal, holder Jordan Shipley whispered a verse from the Book of Jeremiah into the ear of kicker Hunter Lawrence:  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.”

Come on.  Did the Texas kick-holder really believe the Lord had any interest in who won the Big 12 conference championship?

# # #

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