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Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
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Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
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"Right Decision Could
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"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
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.)
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May 21, 2008
A double dose of potential trouble may lie ahead for Nebraska Republicans in the Second Congressional District if primary election results are any indication.
First, five-term Republican incumbent Lee Terry and his little-known primary opponent polled only 1,383 more primary votes than did Democratic challenger Jim Esch and his little-known primary opponent.
In Douglas County, Democrat Esch’s vote total—18,090—exceeded Republican Terry’s 17,820. Sarpy County, with its decisive Republican majority fueled partly by retired military personnel, gave Terry 5,145 votes compared to Esch’s 2,716.
The other Republican challenge in the Second Congressional District could turn Nebraska into a four-fifths red, one-fifth blue state if the Democratic presidential nominee should outpoll the Republican nominee in the two-county congressional district.
Nebraska is one of two states which can split its House of Representatives-based presidential Electoral College votes on the basis of voting within each of the congressional districts. To date, this relatively new provision in Nebraska law has not resulted in any split in Nebraska’s Electoral College votes, since Republican presidential candidates have carried all three Congressional districts. But the Second Congressional District presidential voting may be more hotly contested this year.
Rep. Terry indicated he has gotten a wake-up call. Whether the rest of the Republican Party organization has been awakened remains to be seen. Democrats are clearly aware of the new Second District potential.
Elsewhere in the Congressional balloting come November, the odds would seem clearly in favor of the Republicans.
Registered Republican voter domination in the Third Congressional District should make that a safe seat for incumbent Adrian Smith. In the First Congressional District, Republican incumbent Jeff Fortenberry, unopposed in the primary, pulled 45,326 votes to the 26,847 votes for Max Yashirin, unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In Douglas County, the Democratic candidates for the Senate led by Scott Kleeb of Hastings drew more total votes (21,923) than the 21,250 total polled by Republican Senatorial candidate Mike Johanns and his little-known primary election opponent, Pat Flynn.
In the First Congressional District outside of Lincoln, in Sarpy County in the Second District and in the heavily-Republican Third Congressional District, Johanns’ margins were wide enough to make him a heavy favorite in the November Senate campaign.
Kleeb, a personable young candidate with clear appeal to liberal and younger voters, has the very substantial handicap of having lived fulltime in Nebraska only since 2005. He was raised in Italy by a Nebraskan teaching on a military base, has spent the better part of the last decade earning five degrees from Yale and the University of Colorado and worked periodically on a cousin’s ranch in Dunning. For the past year, he has taught history at Hastings College.
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Even for the left-leaning New York Times, it was an egregiously irresponsible example of slanting the news.
I’m talking about the way The Times reported the latest federal government report on the nation’s employment rate. This was the headline on The Times top Page 1 story: “20,000 Jobs Lost As U.S. Registers 4th Monthly Dip.” The subheadline said: “Evidence of recession.” The story began:
“The American economy lost 20,000 jobs in April, the fourth consecutive month of decline, in what many economists took as powerful evidence that the United States is almost certainly now ensnared in a recession. (As “substantiation” for its “many experts” language, The Times on an inside page quoted two economists, but perhaps The Times has a different definition of “many” than some of us do).
The same day, The World-Herald’s major Page 1 headline, published above a Washington Post story, read: “New numbers ease worries on economy.” The subhead read: “Analysts say April jobs reports suggest the worst recession scenario is not coming true.” The lead paragraph read:
“The unemployment rate edged down in April and employers cut far fewer jobs than expected…the latest evidence that the U.S. economy is undergoing a mediocre spell, rather than a disastrous downturn.”
A further thought on the quality of NY Times journalism, this critique involving Thomas L. Friedman, whom I have regarded as the most fair-minded of The Times’ stable of liberal columnists. In a recent column Friedman lashed the Bush administration for not having developed “some national unity on energy policy” which Friedman approves of.
The Times columnist praised wind energy but his column put more focus on solar energy. He made frequent reference to “tax credits” as encouraging wind and solar energy development. “Tax credits,” that’s a liberal’s way of describing what could also be called tax subsidies, tax breaks financed by the American public.
Incredibly, Friedman managed to write a column about clean, alternative energy sources without one word about nuclear power. While tossing foreign numbers around—Germany has a 20-year solar incentive program, Japan a 12-year program--Friedman made no mention of another significant number—in France, 83% of the nation’s electricity is produced by nuclear power.
* * *
The other evening Marian and I had the pleasure of being guests at a very special birthday party.
The honoree was the company founded 100 years ago by George P. Abel, Sr. A company which has since expanded its name and its mission—from Abel Construction Company to NEBCO, from a paving and construction company to a firm which today deals in construction, real estate and recreational developments.
Through those many years, the Abel family have been generous supporters of philanthropy, largely now through the Abel Foundation.
The company is currently headed by James P. Abel, son of George P. Abel, Jr. Jim Abel and wife Mary are the parents of a next-generation Abel, Jack, currently a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
* * *
I really do understand the wisdom of this policy: If you want to keep something confidential, keep your mouth shut.
But on one recent occasion I felt that the three other members of a group that I was having a drink with would find interesting a matter which I didn’t want to go beyond that small circle of friends.
I shared the information after remarking that I realized that asking a vow of silence from a particularly outgoing member of the group was like “asking Niagara Falls to stop falling.”
We all laughed, but I truly believe that asking such a promise of confidentiality from even good friends is risky business. Marian expresses it this way:
She holds up three fingers and says that if you share information with three people, you run the risk of those three fingers turning from a symbol of the three people you shared the information with into a symbol for the 111 people who may very well wind up with the information.
Again, if you want to keep something confidential, keep your mouth shut. Remember Marian’s “Rule of 111.”
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