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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So

December 11, 2008

Time to listen again to the voice of the reader, starting with some critical voices and finishing with some more upbeat reader reaction. 

For openers, I can’t think of a more sweeping indictment than the recent message from an Omaha reader who implies that my writings on political matters are evidence that I’m a “grumpy old man.”

Of course, I must plead guilty (if that’s the appropriate way to put it) to the description of me as an “old man.”  Eight-five is indeed old, although I prefer to refer to “advancing maturity” rather than “old age.”  I hold with the great British poet Robert Browning, who started his classic poem Rabbi Ben Ezra with these words: 

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.

Now as to the second count in my reader’s indictment; i.e., that I am “grumpy.”  My dictionary defines “grumpy” as:  “Moodily cross, surly, ill-humored.” 

In response to the “grumpy” charge, I call three character witnesses.  Can a man be fairly described as “grumpy” when the family’s three cocker spaniels show their love by leaping on him in an outburst of joy every time he enters the house after an absence of a few hours?  (When I discussed this matter with Marian, she thought it entirely appropriate that I describe my non-grumpy bond with the cocker spaniels, but she declined to become further involved in any public discussion of my alleged grumpiness.)

My bottom line in regard to this particular charge:  If being a political grump means being frequently and outspokenly skeptical of Big Nanny governmental proposals to address any conceivable problem of American society (Marian said I should call it Big Daddy government), I quite willingly plead guilty. 

* * *

Questioning Tiger’s Driving
Makes Critic A Racist?

Two anonymous internet messages, apparently from the same person, charged me with racism.  At least one of them apparently was inspired by my comment about the things that the great golfer Tiger Woods does when he gets a driver in his hands; i.e., he very frequently misses the fairway, frequently by a wide margin.  (This is pretty consistently followed by a near-miraculous recovery shot, with Tiger on the green putting for a birdie or a par.)

Apparently, in this reader’s opinion, you are an “evil racist” for writing anything but praise about Tiger’s golf game.

In response to a criticism that I “continue to ignore the impact of Senator Gramm on our economic mess,” I would reply: 

I am aware that some Democrats are saying that among those responsible—if not chiefly responsible—is former Senator Phil Gramm, Texas Republican, because while chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, he spearheaded efforts to pass banking deregulation laws.  Included was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which removed Depression-era laws separating banking, insurance and brokerage activities. 

Gramm has replied that he can’t see how the sub-prime mortgage mess was caused in any way “by allowing banks and securities companies and insurance companies to compete against each other.” 

Writing in response to my pointing out that Cornhusker All-American and Heismann Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers set his record for touchdown receptions in three seasons while Nate Swift was in his fourth season when he broke Rodgers record this year, an Omahan (who describes himself as an “administrative professional”) said Swift did it “without having to hold up any gas stations.”

To bring up Rodgers’ gas station holdup—which he freely discusses and apologies for to this day—seems to me to deserve an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  I was talking about record-breaking contributions to the Cornhusker football program, not the life histories of the contributors.

Lou Dobbs CNN’s Token Conservative?

An Omahan takes issue with my criticism of the fact that dividing up the state’s presidential electoral votes by Congressional district is a bad idea which only two states—Nebraska and Maine—have adopted.  “I am assuming you would employ the same argument to favor a return to a two-house state legislature,” my critic writes.  (Nebraska is the only state with a one-house legislature.)

My critic’s assumption is incorrect.  There are fundamental differences in the governmental principles involved as between state legislatures and the Presidential Electoral College.

In another communication, this same critic asked me to inform him how many times, before this year, had I expressed criticism of Nebraska’s 17-year-old law allowing the splitting of electoral votes by Congressional district.  An obvious response, it seems to me: 

During that 17-year period, there really was no practical occasion to criticize Nebraska law. 

It was only this year that a serious effort was made to take advantage of the 17-year-old law.  And by serious effort, I mean that Obama’s massively-financed campaign sent 16 paid workers to the Second District in pursuit of a single electoral vote.

Incidentally, my thanks to this critic for adding:  “And by the way, your point about Mr. Rodgers’ covering only a three-year period is very well made.”

This same critic, in another Internet communication, queestioned my description of CNN’s coverage as slanted to the left an “irresponsible high percentage of the time.”  He asked if I had taken into account the amount of time given to “Lou Dobbs and his dog and pony show.”

I would reply that, like the token conservative columnist or two in The New York Times stable of left-leaning columnists, Dobbs might be considered sort of a token conservative among a stable of CNN left-leaning commentators like Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Arianna Huffington, joined on occasion by the likes of Michael Moore, the baseball-capped “documentary” maker, a darling of the liberal left.

* * *

Voice Of The Readers
Includes Kind Words, Too

So much for the critical letters—all of them welcomed, I stress, except the anonymous personal insults.  From honest differences of opinion can come education and, sometimes, consensus and mutual respect.

Herewith an example of what I’m talking about—two letters from a friend in Bloomfield, Nebraska. 

One letter takes issue with my statement that while the big issue was the billions-of-dollars bailout of the AIG Insurance conglomerate, too much attention was paid to the fact that the company went ahead with a $400,000 outing which rewarded winners of a sales promotion contest that had preceded the bailout.

Some national news media played the $400,000 outing at an upscale resort as a bigger story than the billions-of-dollars bailout itself, and I criticized this.

“Where I live, $400,000 is not considered a trivial matter,” my Bloomfield friend wrote.

I would agree that it was very poor judgment on the part AIG executives but hardly the major story which some in the national news media made it.

The second letter from my Bloomfield friend took issue with a news report, cited in my column, which said that major oil companies had spent more money on oil exploration and development in 2007 than they reported in profits.  “Statistics sometimes are meant to fool the public,” my friend wrote.  But he ended his letter this way:

“You are serving Omaha and Nebraska well with your timely thoughts on current events.  Keep it up.”

Reader Likes ‘Logical Reasoning’

Among other favorable comments directed my way:

“I like your attitude.  And (almost) every time that I read your column, I like it more and more.  Please continue to honor the concept of logical reasoning.”

And this:  “You’re so right about the energy dependence problem.  The focus on all related problems is so scattered.  Everyone seems to want to diddle with bits and pieces of it.  My take is that large cities and even smaller cities will be forced at some point to plan all infrastructure around public transits.”

And from an Omaha friend, an expression of approval for my having written this in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis:  “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.”

This from an Omaha reader:  “We look forward to your column and found the most recent so very much on target—every bit!  Thank you.”

The column in question covered a range of comments—from  criticism of politically attractive but misleading names for government programs to “Some Thoughts On Media Performance.”

This from a friend:  “One of your better columns.  Getting better with age.”

He was referring to a column that ranged from my comment that the current financial crisis was caused in large measure by people trying to live beyond their means to a lighter concluding item which told of a “take-charge Chihuahua named Samantha” being added to daughter Nancy’s Denver family.

I’ll Keep Plugging, Elmer

And a letter from an Omahan who helpfully pointed out that I had made a mistake in my political arithmetic in an October column. 

I had stated that Ben Nelson defeated Kay Orr by 4,030 votes in the 1990 gubernatorial election—this was accurate.  But my mistake was that I said Nelson’s 6,352 vote deficit in other counties was overcome by Orr’s 10,328 vote margin in Lancaster County. 

The reverse was true.  Nelson did have a 6,352 vote deficit without including the Lancaster County votes, but in Lancaster County he beat Orr by 10,382 votes, producing his statewide margin of 4,030 votes.

This friendly letter of correction ended with these words:  “Thank you for your thought-provoking editorials.”

With a mixture of appreciation and regret, I must end this “voice of the readers” with the final contributions from Elmer Pinkerton of Elmwood, Nebraska.

For a good many years, Elmer (I call him the Sage of Elmwood) has been sending me comments on each of my columns—and comments on a good many other things.

So it is with both appreciation and regret that I report that Elmer has decided to retire as my weekly advisor.  Elmer stressed his continuing friendship but seemed to me to be saying that there comes a time for even good things to end. 

So, today, the last of Elmer’s “voice of the readers” comments, including some advice which I intend to follow.

To a critical reader’s suggestion that I retire, Elmer Pinkerton responded:   “Retire?  Why?  Why do they read you if it bothers them too much?”

Some other comments from the Sage of Elmwood:

“After reading this morning’s OWH, I believe Omaha should annex Elmwood so we can pay the money they so desperately need to keep up with all the extras they so badly need.  Poor babies!”

And this:  “Al Gore again!  A windmill costs millions…and works only a third of the time when the wind blows and must have other back-up ready two-thirds of the time when the wind does not blow.”

And this advice:  “Keep plugging but remember—ya cain’t win.”

But, good friend Elmer, I remember that there are occasional victories—incentive enough for me to keep plugging.

# # #

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