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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status

April 2, 2008

With, surprisingly to me at least, little or no public notice, Nebraska is on the way to losing its half-century-old unique status as an all-public-power state.

For the first time since the middle of the last century, some of the electricity generated in Nebraska will come from a privately-owned for-profit source.

The reason: Electricity-producing windfarms, the darling of “green” energy zealots as well as some farmers and investment firms which expect to make money from the federal-tax-subsidized giant windmills (which, in my opinion, desecrate the landscape).

The switch from an all-public-power state is being implemented under a law passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2007. Provisions of that law are now being used to create a windfarm project which would be owned by Nebraskans—primarily owners of agricultural land—and financed primarily by non-Nebraska investors to whom as much as two-thirds of the profits could flow.

Why windfarms owned privately and operated for profit rather than by the state’s public power districts? Because privately-owned windfarm projects are made economically feasible by generous congressionally-mandated tax-abatement subsidies. These tax-abatements subsidies available to private investors are more reliable than the annual windfarm-investment-incentive subsidies available to public power districts, which require annual congressional appropriations.

The Nebraska Public Power District has agreed to buy the federally-subsidized electricity from the privately-owned windfarm project. This, of course, does not change the fact that the windfarm power which NPPD is selling to its customers is generated not by the public power district but rather by for-profit investors, including non-Nebraskans.

Nebraskans—and Americans generally—would do well to keep in mind the downside of windmill-produced electricity.

In the first place, it requires federal tax subsidies to bring wind power close, cost-wise, to electricity produced from coal, natural gas or nuclear power.

Additionally, the wind farms do not allow electric utilities to invest any less money in their power plants fired by more conventional means. These conventionally-powered plants must have the standby capacity to pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing or drops to levels that do not produce significant electricity.

“Sorry, Sir. The Wind’s Not Blowing Today.”

The need for standby capacity is generally greatest in the summer when electric utilities have their largest loads, largely because of air conditioning, and when winds normally do not blow as strongly as they do in the winter.

(One wouldn’t expect that the Nebraska Public Power District—which has agreed to buy power from the privately-owned power source—would feel comfortable replying to a customer’s complaint on a sizzling August day: “Sorry, we can’t supply you with electricity today. The wind isn’t blowing hard enough.”)

Then there is the question of where to locate the windpower farms. Environmental interests in Kansas have been fighting hard for several years against proposals by privately-owned power companies to locate wind farms in the Flint Hills area of Kansas, a relatively pristine natural area somewhat comparable to Nebraska’s Sand Hills—areas where windfarm intrusions would be entirely out of place in environmental terms. (Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been involved in the controversy in Kansas.)

And finally—at least for today—this information, relayed to me by a friend who has been fighting to keep windfarms from invading the Flint Hills of Kansas:

“This information may be of interest to those folks who keep suggesting that turbines don’t kill birds (or bats) in large numbers. Of course, most are never recovered or counted, and most ‘wind farms’ are not open to researchers.”

The communication from my Kansas friend included a report from a California agency which has the responsibility for monitoring the operation of a Livermore, California wind turbine farm. The agency’s scientific review committee has issued a report on bird fatalities in the wind farm area from October, 2005 to September, 2007.

The committee estimated that 2,421 raptors (birds of prey) were killed each year. The estimated kills included 1,258 burrowing owls, 442 American kestrels, 327 red-tailed hawks and 57 golden eagles each year.

The report said further that the windpower industry refuses to count songbird deaths.

Central Flyway Birds Must Be Protected

Regular readers of my column know that I am skeptical of size estimates that produce exact figures like “57 golden eagles each year” killed by huge windmills in the Livermore, California wind turbine farm. But I see no reason to question the findings that a good many birds, including golden eagles, fly into those giant blades every year.

My Kansas friend, a conservationist, said that protection of the unique Nebraska Sand Hills environment would be critically important. He added the thought that also of critical importance would be protecting the Wildcat Hills in western Nebraska, the Pine Ridge area in northwest Nebraska and the ridges above the Niobrara River in north central Nebraska.

Any siting of the huge windmills in Nebraska must take account of the fact that Nebraska is the most important stopping place for migratory birds using the Central Flyway—the flyway which resembles something of a giant hourglass, with the pinched neck of the hourglass the area in central Nebraska which is the migratory route for Whooping Cranes, Sand Hills cranes and countless thousands of game birds moving through central Nebraska every year, providing one of the great wildlife shows in North America if not the world.

Governor Heineman, are you listening? If we can’t avoid placing windfarms with their huge windmill blades spoiling the landscape, must we not assure, through some form of state government intervention, that the huge windmills are located where they do the least damage to the environment?

* * *

How Much Von Maur
“Counseling” Is Needed?

What next? Counseling for persons who were not in the Von Maur store December 5 but were disturbed by news accounts of the killing spree which left eight persons dead?

My question—only half-facetious—is prompted by a news story earlier this week which started with this paragraph: “Over the past month, the Omaha police department has been contacting Von Maur customers to let them know that counseling services are available.”

I might suggest that such shoppers perhaps should reflect on their good fortune—after all, they weren’t shot at—and get on with their lives.

By interesting coincidence, the “Counseling for Dec. 5 killings” story was at the top of Page 1 of the morning World-Herald’s Midlands news section while toward the bottom of the same page was a story which carried this headline:

“Shot teen is weekend’s third homicide in Omaha.”

I would suspect that I’m not the only Omahan who thinks that the Omaha Police Department might well give less attention to “counseling” for shoppers who happened to be in the Von Maur store December 5 and a great deal more attention to the increasingly critical problem, centered largely in North Omaha, which has resulted in 11 homicides in the first three months of this year.

(I was pleased to read in that day’s evening edition of The World-Herald a major story headlined “Shootings spur boost in patrols.” The story said that Omaha police have beefed up patrols in neighborhoods in which the three fatal shootings occurred over the weekend, and two additional detectives have been called in to help investigate the city’s unsolved slayings.)

* * *

I Do Not Choose To Run
But Thanks Just The Same

Finally for today, a dip into the mailbag:

First, a message of dissent from a Ralston reader who said she always appreciates my columns whether she agrees or not, “but I do wish in regard to secondhand smoke that you would consider the cumulative effects.”

This reader said she had to ride in a car for 18 years with a smoker and remembers putting her face on the cold windows trying to get some relief, “But it did not keep my father from smoking.” She said she suffers from asthma now, and “I wonder how much the smoking affected my health.”

My feeling that secondhand smoke has been overemphasized as a health threat is based on the fact that a very great majority of people don’t have to be exposed to it. They can simply put themselves in non-smoking environments in the very, very great majority of cases. But I can certainly understand why someone who spent 18 years riding in a closed car with a smoker feels differently about the matter.

A friend passes along an item which he knew would be of interest to me, since I served as chairman of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission which last fall was faced with a choice of one nominee from a field of seven nominees. My friend called my attention to the following editorial comment from The Norfolk Daily News:

“The news story telling of prairie ecologist Charles Bessey’s selection to the Nebraska Hall of Fame noted that he was a ‘little-known botanist,’ selected three years after Malcolm X of the civil rights movement had been passed over for the honor. The latter had Omaha ties; Bessey was long associated with the University of Nebraska. It was a rare triumph in an unusual contest, with science and service to this state winning over national notoriety.”

Also of Norfolk origin was a phone call with a suggestion from a Norfolk reader that said I should run for president. I interpreted the message realistically, simply another welcome sign of friendship from this particular Norfolk reader.

Just another sign of friendship, as I say, but I must admit I like the way my Norfolk friend expressed it!

# # #

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