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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain

November 6, 2008

On Tuesday, American voters emphatically and positively answered this historically significant question:  When will the United States elect its first black president?

On Wednesday, other significant questions remain unanswered.  Among them:

Can the eloquent, charismatic president-elect’s lack of leadership experience be overcome by intelligence, energy, ambition and the recruiting of a seasoned team to follow his leadership?  (More on this later in today’s column.) 

Will the enthusiasm and energy which Obama instilled into the Democratic Party this election year prove to have truly transformed the party, shifting the balance of political power towards the Democrats in a way that lasts for years?

In Nebraska, the Democrats tried hard to shift the balance of power in the Omaha-dominated Second Congressional District but failed to win the Second District Congressional seat.  In Nebraska’s presidential balloting, the Democrats lagged by more than 120,000 votes.  All three House seats and one of two Senate seats remain in Republican hands.

(Interestingly, an election-result map showed John McCain carrying a tier of seven middle-American states stretching from North Dakota to Texas.)

What, then, did Democrats get in return for sending 15 staffers and spending more than half a million dollars in campaign advertising in the Second Congressional District?

It will be a week or more before all the votes are counted, but the most the Democrats can salvage in Nebraska is one electoral vote, far from the decisive tie-breaker which some Democratic campaigners, including Hillary Clinton, promoted as a real possibility.

Incidentally but importantly, if there was any question whether race was an issue in the presidential contest, an answer was clearly indicated in a news story and picture on the front page of Tuesday evening’s World-Herald. 

The headline read:  “Long lines, much excitement.”  The picture showed 40 or more persons, predominantly black, waiting to cast their ballots inside the Urban League of Nebraska building at 30th and Lake Streets. 

At the Evans Tower housing unit in North Omaha, a 41-year-old first-time voter stood in line for 45 minutes with her fiancé, a 34-year-old, who said he was equally enthusiastic over the opportunity to vote for Barack Obama.    It is a safe assumption, I believe, that this same sort of enthusiasm among black voters, including first-time voters, was in play in Obama’s favor all across the country.

A look at some other Nebraska results:

Democratic Second District Congressional candidate Jim Esch found that Obama’s coattails were too short to pull Esch to victory over incumbent Republican Lee Terry.  (Incidentally, I can’t recall an Esch campaign flyer or television ad which made reference to Obama, although Esch clearly hoped to ride the Democratic tide if Obama carried the Second District.) 

I don’t think many political observers were surprised by the fact that Nebraska voters believe that the best and only fair route to providing equal opportunities to racial minorities and women avoids “affirmative action” which assures not equal treatment but special treatment.  A state constitutional amendment banning such tax-supported affirmative action was approved by a decisive margin.  More on this topic later in today’s column.

What’s In The Obama “Change” Package?

Now comes a chance to see what’s really inside that vote-attractive political package with the “Barack Obama” label. 

Will his service in the White House have justified the nation’s election of an attractive, articulate candidate whose principal pre-presidential experience was running for president?

I believe the great majority of Americans, whether or not they voted for Obama, will wish him well, with a goodly number of those well-wishers hoping that he won’t actually work aggressively for some of the things he has talked about, including his “redistributing the wealth” endorsement a few years ago. 

Americans should hope, I believe, that Obama for now will set aside much, if not most, of his liberal-leaning campaign promises and concentrate on the critically-important necessity of improving the economy, along with appropriate attention to addressing health care insurance coverage and energy policy on the domestic side and, of course, foreign policy.

Obama should recognize that a robust economy would make possible the attaining of some of his stated goals—job creation and production of the tax revenues which can help cure our profligate habit of spending money we don’t have.

In foreign policy, Obama should move very quickly, I believe, to find a strong and savvy Secretary of State to help plug the highly dangerous gap in what Obama brings to the presidency.  (That eight-day media-oriented dash through the Middle East and Western Europe can be disregarded as foreign policy experience, I believe.)

Some will ask:  Wouldn’t Vice President-elect Joe Biden, the talking machine senator from Delaware, help significantly?  No.  Biden talks too much and his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a result of the Congressional advance-by-seniority-not-by-ability tradition.  Biden has not demonstrated either the stability or the ability to serve capably as a foreign policy advisor or president.

As Obama faces what USA Today described as a “staggering to-do list,” there comes to mind the words of Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock.  Leacock wrote of a man who “flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.”  There’s a scenario President Obama must studiously avoid.

Affirmative Action Ban Originated In Nebraska

Much of the opposition to the anti-affirmative action constitutional amendment came from University of Nebraska spokesmen.  Rarely if ever was there any acknowledgement of the fact that although most of the money to pay petition circulators came from two anti-affirmative action organizations based outside Nebraska, the organizations were invited to help by faculty members at Nebraska educational institutions, including some members of the College of Business Administration faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The truth was available to any journalist who took the trouble to ask:  Outsiders did  not send the constitutional amendment campaign crashing into the state out of the blue, as one critical source suggested.

Oponents of the proposed constitutional amendment were not, in my opinion, helped at all by some near hysterical criticism and by a number of comments made in defense of affirmative action programs.  For example:

The Dean of the College of Law at UNL defended giving affirmative action preference to a variety of applicants—including blacks—who had law-school aptitude test scores substantially below those of white applicants who were turned down for admission.

One opponent of the proposed amendment said that it would threaten—now I’m not kidding—a program of scanning women’s breasts to detect possible cancer.  Salvaging the breast-screening program is ridiculously simple:  Open it to men as well as women. 

Fortunately, more sensible leadership views on acceptable affirmative action policies are being heard—and I believe more will be heard—in the wake of the vote to terminate race-based and gender-based programs.  Just two examples: 

Programs which have concentrated on disadvantaged black students can be broadened to include disadvantaged white students.  A University of Nebraska at Omaha program of pairing young disadvantaged black students with role model black males in business and professional leadership positions can—and should—be broadened to include pairing disadvantaged white UNO students with role model adults, either black or white.

A whole range of worthwhile programs can be saved with acceptable modification designed to eliminate now-illegal discriminatory features.

* * *

Obama Has Problem With Numbers;
Joe Biden Qualified To Be President?

Some election campaign leftovers:

By consensus, Obama is an eloquent speaker (although he sometimes seemed so self-confident as to be almost glib).  But he can also be a careless speaker, as in his repeated calls for ending “decades” of what has been going on at the leadership level in Washington.

George Bush is serving his eighth year.   A decade is 10 years, so “decades” of White House incompetence would have to include eight years of occupancy by Bill and Hillary Clinton.  Is this any way to describe the leadership of the husband of the woman who purports to be so passionately converted to your cause? 

Or perhaps it’s just that Obama isn’t very good at numbers or precise use of language once he gets wound up in front of a crowd of unquestioning supporters.

Another indication that Obama may be numbers-skill-deficient:

On the campaign trail he talked of policies which would have added millions of Americans to the ranks of those who pay no federal income tax at all, reducing or eliminating income taxes for anyone with earnings of less than $250,000 a year, and in the same speech talking of adding new tax-subsidized welfare programs and balancing the federal budget.

He suggested more than once that he would bring off this fiscal miracle by, among other things, going through the federal budget “line by line” to eliminate waste and unnecessary expenditures.  The image of the President of the United States going through the massive federal budget line by line is somewhere between laughable and ludicrous.

A Question For General Powell

Some political pundits are saying that after the initial burst of favorable attention, John McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, hurt the GOP ticket.  Perhaps so.  General (Ret.) Colin Powell, in his unsurprising endorsement of Barack Obama, gave among his reasons the fact that he felt Palin is unprepared to be president.

The announcement was made under carefully controlled circumstances in the friendly atmosphere of Tom Brokaw’s weekly NBC show.  A more aggressive journalist than Brokaw would have asked Powell something like this: 

Do you feel that Barack Obama’s choice of a vice presidential running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, has the stability and the ability to be considered fully qualified to serve as president of the United States? 

It’s ironic that some Americans believe we reach our goal of a colorblind society by giving color-based preferential treatment to blacks and other minorities in so-called “affirmative action” programs.

Ironic, too, that those believers in a colorblind society were chief among the advocates of electing Obama partly because or mostly because or entirely because he is black.

* * *

Enough Politics; Let’s Talk Sports

To close today’s proceedings, let’s turn to the world of sports:

That 62-28 whipping which the Oklahoma Sooners laid on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Norman, Oklahoma last Saturday brought to mind—I suppose it was sort of a self-defensive reaction—these statistics from the past:

In 1996, the Tom Osborne-coached Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated Oklahoma, 73-21, on the Sooners home field.  The next year, in Lincoln, the national champion Cornhuskers beat Oklahoma 69-7. 

A recent news story told of a Professional Bowlers Tour championship won at Thunder Alley in Elkhorn by a 38-year-old bowler from Lockport, New York.  The story said the victory ended “a lifelong wait” for the bowler.  One might say that a bowler who started at least thinking about a national title while still in his crib—remember, it was a “lifelong wait”—is entitled to some significant degree of success after 38 years of waiting.

# # #

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