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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

—Have We Learned This Lesson?—
Crisis Results When Individuals,
Encouraged By Financial Institutions,
Try To Live Beyond Their Means

September 25, 2008

Let me try to explain how this country got into the current multi-billion-dollar economic mess (a trillion-dollar mess?) in terms that I can understand. 

Perhaps this will also help some of my readers understand the situation which has been largely reported in terms of statements from politicians and public officials who have supplied precious few details of what happened and exactly how those billions upon billions of dollars are going to be used.

There is enough blame to go around, from the Federal Reserve Board which brought loan interest rates down to totally unrealistic levels, to those credit card issuers whose monthly bills allow you to make a small minimum payment, (thereby, in effect, loaning you money at substantial interest rates on the unpaid balance), to the thousands of financial institutions which loaned money for mortgages at initially-low interest rates to non-creditworthy homebuyers, to the financial institutions which bought up the non-creditworthy mortgages and bundled them to be sold up the financial stream to giant Wall Street firms like Lehman Brothers. 

And let’s not forget that some of the blame—arguably a large share—rests with those Americans who ignored the fundamentals of sensible home buying—substantial down payment and a mortgage interest rate which reflects your credit worthiness.

Remember that those who ignored these fundamentals are to be bailed out by taxpaying Americans who have the good sense to live within their means.

Tip Of My Cap To The World-Herald

There is, incidentally but importantly, no shame in being a renter, as millions of Americans know.  To cite a personal example, our family lived in a succession of rented homes and, as far as I know, no one in the family felt we had been cheated out of the “American dream” of home ownership.

A tip of my columnist’s cap to The Omaha World-Herald for a front-page story last Sunday which appeared under this headline:  “Having good credit score:  Priceless.”

The story did the best job that I have read or heard in explaining the precise way in which, ignoring sensible standards of credit worthiness, financial institutions extended unrealistic mortgage loans to house buyers—and to more than a few “homeowners” who weren’t really all that interested in pursuing the “American dream” as they were of making money buying and selling houses.

The World-Herald story reported that mortgage seekers will have to meet new, higher, more realistic standards of credit worthiness as measured by agencies which track the borrowing and debt repayment records of millions of Americans.

All of this reminds me of the old maxim about not waiting to lock the barn door until the horse is gone.  Barn doors are being locked all over the country by financial institutions by raising the standards for making mortgage loans—but the multi-billion-dollar horse is long gone from the barn.

* * *

My Bottom Line: Why Cut Taxes?

The Sunday World-Herald also had an excellent front-page article comparing the tax plans of Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

Except for proposals to impose increases up to 19.4% on persons with income above $600,000, Obama’s emphasis was entirely on tax reduction.  Obama’s plan, for example, would relieve 20% of current taxpayers—the bottom 20% in terms of taxes paid—from paying any federal income taxes at all. 

The McCain plan would give tax decreases all across the board including 8.8 to 10.4% for taxpayers with incomes above $600,000.

The estimated budget deficit impact of these tax policies would be, in McCain’s case, to increase the national debt by $5.1 trillion dollars and, in Obama’s case, by $3.6 trillion dollars.

My question:  Why propose any tax cuts at all, especially at a time we are being told it will take multi-billions of dollars to repair the damage done by the easy-credit economic policies of the past decade or more?

* * *

Surprise! Hagel Faults Palin

Raise your hand if you were surprised by the fact that Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska became the most prominent Republican to publicly question Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s qualifications for the vice presidency.

I would think that, figuratively, very few if any readers’ hands went up.  Whether you agreed with Hagel or not, his position was not surprising.  It was entirely consistent with his well-publicized break with the national leadership of the Republican Party—a break which, judging by the comments which have come to my ears, has made him more than a little unpopular with a good many Nebraska Republicans.

One reaction, which I found particularly interesting, went like this:  Hagel faults Palin for her lack of foreign policy experience.  So the Republican vice presidential candidate doesn’t have foreign policy experience.  But neither does the Democratic presidential candidate (except for a recent eight-day, news media-oriented sprint through the Middle East and Europe).

* * *

Ryder Cup Format Changed In 1977
After Long American Domination

Like so many other golf fanatics, I watched every bit as much of the Ryder Cup coverage as I could, and I failed to hear a single mention of what to me is one of the most fascinating chapters in Ryder Cup history.

The biennial matches—this year’s was the 37th—originated as a competition between professional golfers from the United States and professional golfers from Great Britain.

By 1977, the Americans had become so dominant (eight wins and one tie against one loss in the preceding 10 years) that American golf legend Jack Nicklaus approached British golf representatives with a suggestion:

To improve the competitive nature of the matches, the United States team should face a team composed not only of British golfers but also those from other European countries.  This approach was adopted, and the matches did indeed become more competitive.

During this year’s competition which ended 16 ½ to 11 ½ in favor of the United States, a television commentator offered this description of Phil Mickelson:  “One of the most popular players in the game—if not the most popular player.”

I thought there was pretty general agreement that Tiger Woods is the most popular player in the game.  In any case, Woods and Michelson share some things besides popularity.  They both pull off some great recovery shots and sink some remarkable putts.  They also share a hard-to-understand difficulty in consistently hitting drives anywhere in the neighborhood of the fairway.

* * *

No Tax Dollars Involved
In Callahan, Pederson Buyouts

In State Auditor Mike Foley’s second annual release of a list of state government’s highest-paid employees, it was not surprising that multi-million-dollar contract payouts put a University of Nebraska’s fired football coach and fired athletic director at the top of the list of high-paid employees.

Fired Husker Coach Bill Callahan received more than $4.5 million in salary and other payments in the fiscal year ending June 30.  Athletic Director Steve Pederson received more than $2.9 million. 

Nowhere in the news accounts which I read or heard about these high-end payments was there mention of the fact that the money did not come from state tax dollars, in contrast to payments to a number of other individuals in Foley’s “top state salaries” list.

As with other compensation paid to University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic department personnel, the payments to Callahan and Pederson came from revenues generated by the athletic department.

Addition To Daughter Nancy’s
Denver Family: Take-Charge Chihuahua Named Samantha

 A new dog has joined the extended Andersen family circle.

Her name is Samantha (Sammy for short), she is a 5-month-old, 3 ½ pound white-furred Chihuahua and she has already taken charge in the Denver household of our daughter Nancy, her three sons, and Rookie, their five-year-old Bichon Frise.

The purchase of Samantha—we call her Sammy—followed long discussions about what to do about Rookie’s long periods of loneliness while the grandchildren were busy at school or athletic events and Nancy was involved in her job and hauling her children to those athletic events.  Nancy suggested finding the lonesome Rookie a home with someone who would be able to spend more time with him or provide the companionship of another dog.

The children were having none of that.  Counterproposal:  Buy another dog to keep Rookie company.

The happy result, after a few weeks in which Rookie considered Sammy more a pest than a companion:  Rookie and Sammy frolic together, with, as you might expect, the female playing the leading role. 

Seven-year-old grandson Grant Karger thought Sammy needed a name more comparable to the names which had been given to him and his two brothers.  So if you want to be formal, you now address frolicsome Sammy as “Samantha Wheaton Andersen.”  Grant explained that Wheaton (a name honoring Marian’s father, Wheaton Battey) was the middle name of one of Grant’s older brothers, 13-year-old James Wheaton Karger.  And, Grant explained, he just liked Andersen as a last name. 

Marian and I feel very complimented to have such a popular newcomer to Nancy’s household have a name which recognizes both Marian’s family and mine.

# # #

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