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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--

Today Some Upbeat Comments But
"Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention

December 30, 2009

Appropriate for a year-ending column, as I see it, is to begin and end with upbeat comment.

An upbeat start is a slam-dunk—focus on Mutual of Omaha's chief executive officer, Dan Neary.

The Sunday World-Herald gave, in impressive detail, the remarkable story of Neary's redeployment of Mutual's assets since he became the company's fifth chairman in 2005:

A switch from emphasis on health insurance to new, specialized forms of medical coverage, including Medicare supplement and long-term care insurance. Banking. Real estate development, including the spectacular Midtown Crossing project which is transforming the western edge of traditional downtown Omaha.

All this while Dan Neary and wife Shirley have taken leadership roles in civic projects including co-chairmanship of the 2008 United Way campaign which set a fund-raising record.

As the Rev. John P. Schlegel, Creighton University president, put it: Dan Neary has done a superb job of "reprogramming" Mutual. How appropriate that Neary be recognized as Midlander of the Year in this, the year of Mutual's 100th anniversary.

As The World-Herald story pointed out, recognition of Neary also, importantly, recognizes Mutual of Omaha's role as a "steadfast business anchor over the past century."

* * *

Senator Nelson Continues To Puzzle,
Health Care 'Facts' Continue To Confuse

Turning next to some vitally important but less uplifting—and certainly less understandable-news: the battle over what some have referred to as "Obama Care," one of the most divisive and confusing issues to confront the American people in a good many years.

The loudest voices on either side of the debate over national health care proposals accuse the other side of, if not bad faith, at least lack of understanding of the health care issue and what should be done about it.

To me, the most unfair accusations of all come from some of the health care reform zealots who charge or at least imply that opponents are either ignorant of the problem or unconcerned about the need for some reform to at least slow down rising health costs and spread health insurance coverage more broadly.

Opposition to the Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Ben Nelson health reform proposals are being unfairly described as opposition to any health care reform at all.

The truth, I believe, is that the very substantial opposition-there are indications of opposition by a majority of the American electorate—is not to moderate, understandable measures to improve health care. But Americans are confused by—and suspicious of—the 2,000-page proposals which are vastly confusing and raise the prospect of nearly $900 billion in costs, an increase in the national debt and tax increases, with the promised benefits not kicking in until 2014.

Nebraska's Senator Nelson, incidentally but importantly, is tieing himself into tighter illogical knots as he defends his acceptance of what has been described as "the Cornhusker kickback"—a deal offered to him by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. To get Nelson's crucial 60th vote to make way for passage of the Senate version of health care legislation, Reid offered Nelson a special deal freeing Nebraska from the increased cost of Medicaid payments mandated by the federal government.

In the Sunday World-Herald, Nelson again tried to pass responsibility to Republican Governor Dave Heineman, who had told Nelson of his concern about what the Medicaid increases would cost the state. Nelson said he took Heineman's concern to Majority Leader Reid, who offered to give Nebraska total freedom from the increased costs. Nelson accepted the deal and provided the critical 60th vote.

In the Sunday World-Herald article, Nelson said he has told Heineman he would ask Reid to cancel the special consideration for Nebraska if Heineman asked him to. He said he is waiting for Heineman's reply.

Nelson then argued that he really wasn't agreeing to anything special for Nebraska but rather establishing a money-saving precedent which all states conceivably could take advantage of.

Which is it? A "blame it on Heineman" deal which Nelson is willing to scuttle if Heineman will take the blame? Or a deal accepted with the broadminded expectation that it would help other states win the same consideration? Nelson can't have it both ways.

Then there is the matter of Nelson's switching his vote on a Republican-sponsored resolution which would have forbidden any future such "pork barrel" special deals as Reid offered and Nelson accepted for the special benefit of Nebraska. The Senate decisively voted down the anti-pork barrel proposal.

Nelson initially voted with the majority to reject the pork barrel restriction. Then, after it became clear that there were enough votes to kill the proposal, he switched his vote to "yes" in favor of the pork barrel restriction.

I'll leave it to my readers to decide what adjective to apply to that example of senatorial performance.

Whose 'Facts'—Or Opinions—to Believe?

Readers of The Sunday World-Herald could see a demonstration of the difficulty of getting all the facts in the health care case.

One prominent article in the news columns—one of those that repeatedly quote unnamed "experts"—emphasized highly unfavorable comparisons between United States health statistics, including costs, and those in other countries. The article did not make clear how many of the other countries have socialized medical care in place of the American system which depends primarily on private practioners.

The story included no response from anyone speaking in defense of the American system.

On the Sunday "Other Commentary" page, one article defending the Democratic Party's Congressional proposals said repeatedly that insurance costs to individuals would be reduced by "subsidies." The word "subsidies" was never explained. One is left to surmise that the authors were talking about payments or cost reductions financed by federal tax dollars.

Another "More Commentary" page article was written by the former director of the Congressional Budget Office. It appeared under this headline: "Misleading math masking massive health reform costs"

The article by the former CBO director included this subheadline: "The proposed Senate and House bills make no useful structural changes that would put either Medicare or Medicaid on a healthy course."

A few days earlier, The World-Herald's "More Commentary" page carried an article with this headline: "Nelson deserves gratitude for vote on health reform." The article was written by the state director of AARP, an association representing retired persons.

On the same page appeared a column by Michael Gerson of The Washington Post. It carried this headline: "Nelson's backroom deals crossed an important line."

The column included these words: "In a single concession, Reid undermined the theory of Medicaid—designed as a shared burden between states and the federal government—and added to future federal deficits."

With such conflicting opinions and one-side-of-the-story arguments filling the news and opinion channels, little wonder that a very great many Americans are confused over the health care issues.

* * *

Movie Robs Sherlock Holmes' Literary Grave

If desecration of a literary treasure were illegal, fans of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes would surely be taking to court everyone connected with the travesty currently showing in movie theaters under the name "Sherlock Holmes."

Apparently about the only thing left in the depiction of Holmes is the name.

One reviewer gave the film a favorable rating despite the fact that the reviewer said the star, Robert Downey, was hard to understand much of the time either because Downey was mumbling or because his British accent was hard to understand or possibly because of a malfunctioning soundtrack.

I would hope that true Holmes aficionados—who remember the classic non-mumbling performances of Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett portraying Holmes as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created him—will stay away in droves.

* * *

Dogs Join Marian And Me
In Thanking Helpers During Blizzard

Herewith the upbeat conclusion which I promised as appropriate for the last column of the year:

Marian and I and the dogs, like many another Omaha family, were snowed in for nearly the entire siege of blizzardy weather. (It lasted about a month, didn't it?)

But thanks to help from son David, next door neighbor Sue Conine and her family and Jim and Ruth Keene and their family, we got transportation to three Christmas Season gatherings and, importantly, help in the form of excavation of a laundry room door exit for Claire and Charlotte to squeeze their way out into the snow and be "good girls."

The laundry room door excavation included shoveling assaults by son David and two of the Keene children, Sarah of Crested Butte, Colorado and James of Minneapolis.

Upbeat too, certainly, was the remembrance by great friends who either stopped by, or sent messengers, with various Christmas remembrances despite the snow. But a special thanks from Marian and me to the trio who waded through the snow to create that narrow opening for the laundry room door. (I'm pretty sure Claire and Charlotte were also appreciative. After all, they like to be called "good girls"—especially when the praise is accompanied by a treat.)

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