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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

In order to provide time for more fact-gathering and comment-writing at the start of each week, the regular pattern for weekly availability of my column will be every Thursday at 12:01 a.m. instead of Wednesday.

Harold W. Andersen

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?

July 24, 2008

After I dictated the advice to Brett Favre suggested in the headline above, 53-year-old Greg Norman exploded back into the headlines by leading the British Open after the first three rounds.

I wondered whether the advice written for Favre would have to be modified in view of what Norman was doing at the Royal Birkdale course in England. Then, on Sunday, Norman shot a 77, moving him from the third-round leadership to a tie for third place after the final round. It was the seventh time that Norman had lost a major championship after being in the lead at the start of the final round.

I decided that my advice to Brett Favre was still valid: Know when the quit. I might add this amendment in my advice to Favre: Remember that you can't pick the occasional football game in which you would attempt to shine again, as Norman is able to do in the case of major golf tournaments.

Brett Favre has been a superb athlete, a legendary National Football League quarterback. But his apparent desire to hang on past his prime, to run the risk of a disappointing end to a record-filled career—like, one might add, some business executives and politicians hang on—does not present an attractive picture.

The management of the Green Bay Packers, I believe, had it right—2007 should have been the last year for Brett Favre to play football as an NFL quarterback. So the Packers' managers may have done Favre a favor when they made clear they would not release him from his contract so he could try to catch on with another NFL team—which he almost certainly could have done. The management also made clear that Favre should not count on being the starting quarterback at Green Bay in 2008 if he exercises his option of returning to the Packers' roster.

Not a Happy History

The history of great athletes trying for "just one more season" or perhaps "just a few more seasons" is not a happy one.

One need look no further than Roger Clemens, who was lured by the New York Yankees' money and his own ego to try a comeback last year at age 45.

Clemens presumably retired following a 7-6 season with Houston in 2006. (He had also presumably retired in 2004.) But then came a big-money offer from the Yankees, resulting in a 6-6 season with the Yankees last year and Clemens' third retirement decision.

All in all, a performance in his later years that, in my judgment, took some of the luster off Clemens' reputation. The image of an all-star hanging on too long is not an attractive one.

This phenomenon goes back at least as long ago as the 1930s in the case of George Herman (Babe) Ruth, the legendary New York Yankee outfielder who had a lifetime batting average of .343 and more homeruns per at-bats than any player in baseball history.

In his 21st year in the major leagues, most of them with the New York Yankees, Babe Ruth's batting average in 1934 at age 39 was .288, a pretty clear sign that is was time to consider going into an acclaimed retirement. But the Bambino attempted to hang on for one more season. In 1935 at age 40, he played 28 games for the Boston Braves and compiled a .181 batting average.

Cobb Was a Smart One

Then there were the smart ones, like Tyrus Raymond Cobb. In 1928, at age 41, the Detroit Tigers superstar outfielder had a .323 batting average-remarkable for a major league player of any age, but 34 points below his 1927 average of .357. The .323 was his lowest average in 22 years.

Cobb retired.

Fast forward to2008 and the case of Brett Lorenzo Favre, who will be 39 next October 10. Favre's "best" and "most" records made him a football legend. For a single example, he is the only three-time Associated Press "most valuable player" in National Football League history.

But those three "most valuable" awards came to Favre more than 10 years ago

Why not bow out while you're ahead, Brett, and avoid the risk of the career-ending disappointments suffered by such superstars such as Babe Ruth and Roger Clemens?

Let me quickly acknowledge that, as I have reported, I have on more than one occasion been advised that I'm overdue for retirement. In the words of one such reader: "Why don't you just retire?"

Another reader who suggested retirement called me an "idiot" but ended his message with these words: "Have a nice day"—presumably, a nice day in retirement.

Such advice, I'm pleased to say, is the theme of a very small percentage of messages which readers have been kind enough to send my way.

I prefer, of course, letters like one from an Omaha reader who indicated she had not realized that my columns, which had been printed in The World-Herald, have been replaced by this weekly column available each Thursday morning on www.HaroldAndersen.com. She wrote: "How good it is to read your thoughts again! I enjoy them all-even those with which I don't agree."

* * *

Skip The Handcuffs Showbiz

Prosecution of alleged white-collar criminals doesn't require parading them from the courthouse to the slammer with their hands handcuffed behind their backs.

In the first place, such parades involve persons, customarily business executives, who are being charged with criminal activity but have not been found guilty. Some of those handcuffed defendants, being paraded before news cameramen before being released on bond, will be found not guilty.

Another argument—an argument for which I believe there is no responsible answer—is that the only rationale for handcuffs would be that these defendants must be restrained lest they break free and escape from those deputy sheriffs or deputy marshals marching beside them.

The people who order the handcuffs applied know very well that the defendants in such cases customarily pose no such threat. Let the justice system work without the show business overtones of parading handcuffed defendants before news cameramen.

* * *

Another 'Gala'? I'm Staying Home

Are we confronted with a surfeit of fund-raising "galas" in Omaha?

It sometimes seems there must be at least one fund-raising "gala" a month. Not all of the fund-raising events, of course, are called "galas," but that seems to be an increasingly popular description for an event asking people to take a table for 10 for $5,000—or perhaps just buy a couple of tickets for $150 each.

I'm not suggesting these aren't worthy causes. It's the proliferation that I'm talking about. Sponsors seem to feel that it is an attractive prospect to offer donors what is usually described as a festive evening starting with cocktails and a silent auction, then a gourmet dinner and, increasingly these days, a live auction after dinner, then a singing performance and/or dancing.

Attractive as such a festive fund-raising evening may be, how many of them can you be expected to attend each year?

It's reached the point where generous corporations may take a "corporate table" for a gala and then have a hard time finding people willing to fill the seats available.

How about trying some "Spend the Night at Home" galas? You could, so to speak, buy your way out of attending yet another of the cocktail hour/silent auction/gourmet dinner/live auction/live entertainment evenings by a contribution to a non-event which allows you to spend the evening at home. And the contribution would be fully deductible, unlike the evening-out galas, and there wouldn't be tables that sponsors would have to recruit people to fill.

If this sounds curmudgeonly, so be it. But I'll wager that I'm speaking for more than a few of the people who are on a sort of "gala hit list."

Oh, yes, I almost forgot the invitations to dinners for presumably good causes which you've never heard of until you received the invitation. There seems to be a growing number of these in our community.

* * *

Fly The Flag—But Pick The Right One

Marian is usually very good about remembering days on which it is especially appropriate to display our American flag from a pole attached to the front yard fence, but even her steel-trap memory sometimes misfires.

On Monday, July 14, on her way to a book club meeting, she called to remind me to put out the flag because "it's Flag Day." On one of the relatively rare occasions when my mature memory tops her steel-trap recollections, I informed her that Flag Day is June 14, not July 14.

"Oh, that's right," Marian replied. "Today is Bastille Day," then added the tongue-in-cheek observation that "Of course, we don't have a French flag."

I didn't bother to inform her that I saw no reason for us to acquire a French flag to help join in a celebration of the fall of the notorious French prison, the Bastille, on July 14, 1789, a date celebrated by the French as the beginning of their successful struggle for independence from royal rule.

# # #

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