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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

This week we are again making my column available Friday instead of each Saturday as we had originally planned.

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 Friday reminder that a new column is available.

Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?

November 9, 2007

It probably didn’t do anything to change the minds of crybaby Nebraska Cornhusker football fans or the “why don’t they do what I tell them?” sports commentators. But I thought recent comments from several Husker players - - including a new fan favorite, quarterback Joe Ganz - - should have shut up those “get rid of the coaching staff right now” campaigners.

In response to increasing pressure for Coach Bill Callahan and defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove to either resign or be fired before the final two games of the season, Ganz said: “From a players’ standpoint, we don’t want Coach Callahan or any of these coaches to go, so I don’t think it would help us at all.”

That ought to be clear enough for even the know-it-all sports commentators and the most fanatic of fans to understand. To the extent that their “dump Callahan now” clamor distracts players and coaches from the job at hand, they may make it harder for the Huskers to beat the odds as they play Kansas State and Colorado.

Some other players made comments similar to those of Ganz. Senior safety Ben Eisenhart said: “Suddenly everybody is worried about who their coach is and not what they’re doing on Saturday. There’s definitely nothing to be gained from that.”

Senior wide receiver Maurice Purify put it this way: “It wouldn’t be good. No matter what happens to Coach Callahan, if it’s tomorrow or next year, we still have to play and win games. He’s our coach as of right now, so we’re looking to him, he’s staying positive, he’s keeping on coaching us and we’re playing for the man.”

‘Not the Greatest Fans in the World’

Not all fans, of course, are wailing that the Huskers and/or their coaches have embarrassed themselves, their fans and the state. There are also true fans, who stay with the team in defeat as well as in victory.

A friend who is a longtime Husker fan shared these sentiments with me: “Think about the coaches and players. They feel worse than we do. I don’t want to hear again that we have the greatest fans in the world. Maybe most of them are, but not the rest.”

Amen to that.

It’s one thing to make a rational appraisal of the situation and conclude that, as a fan, you’ve had enough and add your voice - - preferably not by shouting - - to those who think a coaching change is imperative. But, unfortunately, too many fan comments sink to this level:

“Cosgrove should have been fired at half time” of the KU game. And a World-Herald Public Pulse writer opined that Cosgrove should “silently move away in the middle of the night.”

Those Short KU Scoring ‘Marches’

There’s nothing to be said, of course, that will ease the sting of that 76-point record-breaking total rolled up by the Kansas Jayhawks. But a look at the game statistics is interesting.

The figures reveal, for one thing, that while the Husker defense had a very bad day indeed, the Husker offense contributed substantially to the speed with which the Jayhawks rolled up those 76 points. Five Husker turnovers - - four pass interceptions and a fumble - - helped lead to KU scoring five of its 11 touchdowns on “marches” averaging 31.6 yards. Overall, the average Nebraska touchdown drive covered 68.5 yards. The average Jayhawk scoring drive covered 48 yards.

A surprise in the statistics - - surprising to me, at least - - was the fact that the average Nebraska gain per play (6.6 yards) slightly exceeded the KU per play average (6.4 yards). But partly due to those five turnovers, KU had the ball for a little over 35 minutes and ran 90 plays, compared to Nebraska’s 73 plays in a little more than 24 minutes.

Tough Job for Tom Osborne

I wonder if former Husker Coach Tom Osborne, when he agreed to return to the campus as acting athletic director, realized how much fans would expect of him; i.e., finding a new coaching staff and eventually, a new athletic director - - leadership changes which, fans will expect, will return the Huskers to the ranks of the nation’s top football powers.

This longtime fan’s opinion (I went to my first Husker game in 1932): At best, the climb back up may be long and difficult, with no assurance that the Nebraska program will ultimately return to the stature it achieved during the Bob Devaney/Tom Osborne eras.

Journalism I: Don’t Confuse Opinions With Facts

Count this journalist among those many Americans - - the great majority, I believe - - who object when journalists who are supposed to be reporters state opinions as if they were incontrovertible facts. An example from a report/commentary on the NU-KU game:

“KU, despite never punting after its first possession, clearly went easy on the Huskers late or it may have reached 90 points.”

Maybe KU eased up, but the reporter doesn’t know that, so his assertion becomes “clearly” a matter of opinion stated as incontrovertible fact.

Stadium Capacity? As Many as You Can Squeeze In

There wasn’t anything to enjoy in the news media coverage of the Husker-Jayhawk game except, for me at least, this one amusing exception. A newspaper’s summary of records broken included these words: “The crowd of 51,910 was a record for a game at KU’s Memorial Stadium (capacity is 50,071).”

No, Mr. Sportswriter, KU stadium capacity isn’t 50,071. It is at least 51,910, the size of the crowd which you reported in attendance at last Saturday’s game.

* * *

‘Only One Niobrara River’

Regular readers will know that I have expressed concern about the impact of stream-flow-diversion-for-irrigation on one of Nebraska’s natural treasures - - the Niobrara River.

Usually the impact is measured in terms of the number of additional permits which have been issued to allow irrigators to divert water from the Niobrara. Or perhaps in terms of stream flow as measured by various gauges along the river. But a recent contribution to The World-Herald’s “More Commentary” page tells the story of the alarming decline in the Niobrara’s flow in people terms - - easier to relate to than numbers of permits or stream flow gauge readings.

Tom Helligso, an Omaha real estate agent who has canoed an average of one trip a year down the Niobrara for the last 35 years, wrote: “Many of my trips to the Niobrara have been in late September. I must comment that the water depth this year was the lowest I’ve experienced.” He offered two examples:

  • “The river was so low approaching the Fort Falls area that we could not paddle up to the bank…We parked our canoes in the middle of the river and walked across the inch or so of water…Usually there’s enough water depth to float right to the shore.”

  • “The river stretch called ‘the Chute’ or ‘Fritz’s Narrows’ normally provides an exciting whitewater stretch…This year, the low water level exposed too many rocks. We didn’t get out to body-surf, judging it too dangerous.”

Helligso finished with these words: “We have hundreds, if not thousands, of irrigation pumps already - - but only one Niobrara River Canyon.”

Before irrigation interests respond that providing water to irrigate crops or pastures for livestock ranks far ahead of canoeing in importance, I would point out that since 1991, one stretch of the Niobrara has been designated a “national scenic river” under legislation introduced in Congress by the late U.S. Sen. Jim Exon and an additional 28 miles of the lower Niobrara and Verdigre Creek are part of the “Missouri National Recreational River.”

Both the letter and the spirit of these Congressional designations are certainly violated if increased irrigation helps reduce river depth to the alarming levels encountered by Tom Helligso on his annual recreational canoeing visit in September.

* * *

‘Good Morning, GooGoo Clusters’

The words vary from day to day, but the fundamentals don’t change: Marian every morning lets the three most lovable cocker spaniels in the world know that she’s coming to share a new day with them.

It starts with Marian descending the stairs on her way to open the two doors behind which the dogs are sleeping on their pillows in the breakfast room.

One morning it’s, “Good morning, my googooclusters,” repeated several times, of course. (Marian later explains to me that “GooGoo Cluster” is the name of a candy bar that she likes.)

The next morning may involve a singing greeting: “Baby cakes, you’re just the sweetest little baby cakes,” sung, of course, to the tune of “Baby Face.” Or to start another day: “Good morning, wild women of Prairie Avenue.”

When the doors are opened, the dogs respond, of course, by exuberantly leaping on their mistress, to be greeted by additional expressions of affection.

It’s a performance that neither Marian nor I nor the dogs ever tire of.

Any dog lovers out there who would like to share similar stories with other readers should feel free to use the comment section to tell me their story.

# # #

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