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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Today, I start the column with a recital of some of the non-blessings which hang over this troubled country this Thanksgiving week. Later in the column, I turn to the subject of blessings. So if you would like a Thanksgiving-week break from downbeat news and comments about the perilous state of our national economy, you have the option of proceeding directly to the section of the column with a headline starting "Some Potential Blessings."

Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week

November 26, 2008

Suppose you had the job (self-imposed, I hasten to acknowledge) of writing a column to appear the day before Thanksgiving when traditionally we count our blessings.

Would you, like me, find it more difficult to be upbeat, considering the number of non-blessings which this country and its citizens are faced with during this time of economic crisis, the effects of which knowledgeable observers expect to last, to a greater or lesser extent, for an unpredictable number of years?

Would you, like me, give at least some thought to the list of non-blessings—loss of jobs, a credit card crunch for a good many Americans, unavailable bank loans in too many instances, a decline in housing values and housing starts and, perhaps most severe of all, a stock market price plunge which has wiped out 30 to 50% or more of the value of life savings of many millions of Americans

And, further considering the non-blessings which Americans are experiencing this Thanksgiving season, would you, like me, feel at least a bit indignant over the fact that responsibility for this variety of national problems can be laid largely at the feet of liberal politicians—from former President Bill Clinton to members of Congress like Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut? Politicians who are still very much in the public eye but are not held responsible—by the news media or the general public-for the damage they caused by advocating easy-money mortgage loans so that more Americans, creditworthy or not, could enjoy "the American dream" of owning a home.

Politicians like Senator Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, have succeeded in focusing public and Congressional attention on other interests—Wall Street investment banks and the Big Three Detroit-based automakers, for example.

Congress Should Investigate Itself

Congress should be investigating itself for failure to respond to warning signals and impose regulatory oversight to curb obviously risky mortgage lending.

One hopes that the quality of the scrutiny which Congress is now retroactively applying to this mess—and the quality of some of the Congress members applying that scrutiny—was not indicated by the attention which a number of Congress members gave to this fact: When the chief executives of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors appeared before congressional committees asking for help, they had flown to the Washington hearings in company-owned jets.

One member of the House investigating committee went so far as to ask that any of the three chief executives raise his hand if he planned to sell the company jet and take a commercial flight back to Detroit.

Then this (the word nincompoop suggests itself) member of the United States House of Representatives asked that this diversion from the real issues be made a part of the committee's official record of the hearing.

"Let the record show not a hand was raised," he said—an incident which CNN was happy to tape and play on a later telecast.

China Must Bail Us Out?

Adding what might be called insult to the injury of the non-blessing bad news this Thanksgiving season is the fact that, in the words of a New York Times story: "The United States may have plunged the world into a sharp economic downturn, but it will take the combined efforts of China and other emerging nations to lead to global economy out of what is likely to be a long and painful recession."

The Times story indicated it was reflecting the views of business executives, government officials and economic experts from other countries.

So the United States is a world leader in creating global economic chaos and needs China "and other emerging nations" to lead the world in bailing out the United States and other national economies which we have pulled down with us.

A humiliating non-blessing for sure.

A Democrat Apologizes

I'm pleased—while wishing there were many more such cases—to take note of an example of at least one Democrat willing to acknowledge that he and his fellow Democrats were wrong in ignoring warning signs that cheap mortgage policies might lead to disaster.

Referring to Democratic Congressional opposition to reining in government-created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the risk they were taking in buying mortgages which had been sold to homebuyers who were poor credit risks or at least very questionable credit risks, Rep. Arthur Davis, D.-Alabama, was quoted as saying:

"Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues, I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit, when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong."

The USA Today story had pointed out that in 2005 "thanks to resistance from mostly Democrats," Congress rejected a Republican-sponsored bill (introduced by Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska) aimed at curbing risky investments by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

(USA Today, of course, did not mention it, but the Republican-backed regulatory effort in 2005 was backed by the Bush administration.)

* * *

Time Out For Husker News

I interrupt these proceedings for a brief comment on news affecting the Nebraska Cornhusker football team—a topic particularly appropriate this week as the Huskers seek to go 8-4 with a win over Colorado. (It might also be said that the revival of Cornhusker football fortunes is certainly a blessing for Nebraska fans.)

The misfortune of Notre Dame's Fighting Irish in losing to a Syracuse team with a dismal season record opens the door to the possibility that the Huskers may be invited to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, whereas previous speculation had been that the Huskers would likely play in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

The Sun Bowl prospect is especially unappealing. El Paso is hardly Jacksonville, and I'm told that excursions across the border from El Paso to Jaurez, Mexico aren't advisable because of visitor safety concern.

Jaurez south of El Paso isn't Tijuana south of San Diego, but recent news from Tijuana is disquieting in terms of visiting any Mexican border city, it seems to me. The news, as reported by the Associated Press: "Six people are dead after gunmen burst into a Tijuana bar popular with university students and opened fire."

* * *

Some Potential Blessings If Americans
Show Strength And Resiliency
And Get The Right Leadership

Enough about non-blessings. Let's turn attention to blessings—or potential blessings if we work hard on major problems—which the great majority of the American people still should be thankful for. This country and its citizens—at least the great majority of its citizens—still have, I hope and believe, the strength and resiliency to work our way back from this politician-induced economic crisis.

It is a time of testing, a test of whether our political leadership, particularly in the Congress, can focus on commonly recognized problems—the economy, health care, the environment, and avoid social engineering diversions such as an "every American family in a dream home of its own" welfare program which at the bottom of the current economic mess.

Reform at the Congressional level may prove to be asking too much-but it is certainly not expecting too much, and the American people should insist that Congress raise its collective sights and its performance. Significant improvement in this regard would surely be a blessing. The key role beyond the voice of the people pressuring Congress will, of course, be played by President Barack Obama.

So many questions have still to be answered, but some of the preliminary signs are heartening as Obama selects a leadership team which, along with Obama, will have the primary job of pressuring Congress to shape up. Among those heartening signs:

Developments summarized by a headline in The New York Times which read: "Obama Tilts to Center, Inviting a Clash of Ideas." The reference, of course, was to reports of Obama's plans to appoint pragmatic moderates, not left-wing ideologues, to a number of key positions in his administration.

(I'm not necessarily including Hillary Rodham Clinton in my definition of "moderate." One hopes that Obama's choice of Clinton to be Secretary of State represents much more than an effort to make peace with the millions of women who thought one of their own should be elected president.)

But if Obama succeeds in leading his administration closer to the middle of the road than to the left lane, it would be a blessing indeed.

* * *

Say Thanks To Special Friends

In 16 years of column writing (I'm not counting the columns I wrote in 1940-41 as sports editor of the Omaha North High School Star), I've consistently tried to come up with an appropriate ending for a column published during a special week such as Thanksgiving week or Christmas week.

This week, I've concluded I can't improve on the theme with which I finished my Thanksgiving Day column 10 years ago:

Thanksgiving and the long weekend that follows offer a particularly appropriate time to thank those friends—starting with family, of course—whose friendship you consider one of your special blessings.

There should be some—not necessarily only family members—to whom you can appropriately express not only your thanks but also your love. Such a course should keep you properly and productively busy this Thanksgiving week.

# # #

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