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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers

June 4, 2008

As he neared the end of his remarkable 38-year legislative career, Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha several times indicated his belief that the two-term limit voted into the state constitution was motivated by Nebraskans who wanted to get him out of the Legislature.

In the closing days of the 2008 legislative session in April, Chambers said:  “I only regret it came the way it did, that white people got what they wanted.  They changed the constitution to get rid of me.”

In 2005 Chambers had referred to the term-limit constitutional amendment as “a proposition to get me out of the Legislature.”

During legislative debate in the 2008 session, Chambers said a legislative colleague “is going to be glad when I’m out of here.  He’ll be happier than the people who circulated the petitions for term limits.”

The facts: 

During the 1990s, term-limit propositions received considerable backing across the United States.  There was even a national organization promoting term-limit votes in various states.

In Nebraska, the first manifestation was a 1992 vote on a state constitutional amendment to put term limits on Nebraska members of Congress.  The vote was overwhelmingly favorable—481,048 in favor, 224,114 against.  This effort was negated by a court decision holding that not enough valid signatures had been gathered to place the proposal on the ballot. 

Term-limit advocates returned in 1994 with a new proposal for term limits on Nebraska representatives in Congress.  This time the proposition carried with a vote of 359,774(?) in favor and 224,114 votes against.  (The second effort to limit the service of Nebraskans in Congress was held unconstitutional in a federal court ruling which also invalidated such efforts in other states.)

Ironically, the 61.6 vote in favor of a three-term limit on Nebraska’s representatives in the House came in the same election which saw then Representative Doug Bereuter elected to his ninth term representing the 1st Nebraska Congressional district.

So the notion of term limits was pretty strongly established in the minds of Nebraska voters when, in 2000, a petition campaign proposed a state constitutional amendment to limit state legislators to two consecutive four-year terms.  This proposal, the one that resulted in Senator Chambers and a number of other legislators being constitutionally restricted from seeking additional terms, prevailed by a smaller margin—a 55.8% majority in favor—than had the Congressional term limit proposal.

I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether a state legislative term-limit proposal, which carried by a significantly smaller margin than two previous efforts to limit terms of Nebraskans serving in Congress, could reasonably be said to have been aimed at a single target—an effort to “get rid of” Ernie Chambers, to use Chambers’ description.

There is no question that a good many Nebraskans had tired of Chambers’ frequently dominating, obstructionist tactics in the Legislature (tactics which tended to overshadow recognition of the positive things which Chambers achieved).  But that is a long way, it seems to me, from validating Chambers’ egocentric assertion that “they changed the constitution to get rid of me.”

* * *

NY Times Suggests Five Years
as POW Didn’t Teach McCain
True Horror of War

With the identity of the Democratic presidential nominee still not finally decided, The New York Times, predictably, stepped up its case against the presumptive Republican candidate, Senator John McCain.

A mid-May issue of The Times Sunday Magazine featured, again predictably, a less than flattering cover page story on McCain, particularly on his continuing support of war in Iraq.  You got a hint of what was to come from a headline which read:  “Whatever their disagreements on policy, United States senators, even in today’s hyperpolitical climate, are reluctant to impugn one another’s motives or integrity.”

The pretty clear implication, it seems to me, is that there are United States senators who might impugn McCain’s “motives or integrity” if it were not for friendship and senatorial courtesy to a colleague. 

The Times article, which covered four full pages and parts of four others, was written by someone named Matt Bai, whose credentials apparently are that he “covers national politics for the magazine.”  Bai implied that McCain doesn’t know as much about the horrors of war because his Vietnam experience consisted of five yers in a prison cell while some of his anti-Iraq war senatorial colleagues—Chuck Hagel, Jim Webb and John Kerry—had a true horror-of-war experience because they were fighting the Viet Cong. 

The Times reporter wrote that McCain as a prisoner was “sealed away, both from the rice paddies of Indochina and from the outside world.  During those years, McCain did not share the disillusioning and morally jarring experience of soldiers like Kerry, Webb and Hagel.”

Former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, another Vietnam veteran, was quoted as saying that while he was aware of this argument, he has never believed it.  (Kerrey, who led a Navy Seal team, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  He lost part of his right leg.)

So according to The New York Times, John McCain may have suffered abuse during five years as a prisoner of war but he didn’t learn as did his senatorial colleagues that “some wars simply can’t be won on the battlefield.” 

Incidentally, I had the impression that John Kerry, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for president in 2004, was in the Navy and did a minimum amount of slogging it out in the jungle and the rice paddies where, according to The New York Times article, the real lessons of the Vietnam War were learned.

* * *

More Silly GOP Fund-Raising Pitches

Readers who have followed my comments over the years may remember that I have received some simply ludicrous fund-raising pitches from Republican Party representatives.  (One that I recall said something to the effect that if I sent in a contribution, “President Bush will be pleased to learn of your support.”)

Two letters which recently came my way made pretty clear that the Republicans fund-raisers aren’t getting any smarter.  One came in an envelope indicating that it was a communication from Senator John McCain and carried this message on the envelope:  “Delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.  EMERGENCY TELEGRAM.  Extremely Urgent.  Expedite Delivery.”  (I had not previously been aware that the Postal Service delivers telegrams, especially “EMERGENCY TELEGRAMS.”) 

Statements supposedly from John McCain covered three pages.  (Most fund-raising letters—political or non-political—are entirely too long.)  The message was to send money now because “the outcome of the election could well be determined in the next 30 days” because the 30 days is all that McCain had to reach a “critical funding goal”--$21.5 million.

Another stupid—I don’t think that’s too strong a word— Republican fund-raising letter came from “The Honorable Mark Quandahl, Chairman” of the Nebraska Republican Party.  (For all I know Mark Quandahl if a fine fellow, but I didn’t realize that being state chairman of the Republican Party earned him the title of “honorable.”)

I was startled to learn that apparently, under Honorable Mark Quandahl’s leadership, you must pay annual dues to qualify as a member of the party.  In 13 different places in the fund-raising letter, “membership” in the Nebraska Republican Party was linked to a contribution of “dues,” ranging from $250 down to $35 “or whatever you can afford.”

Now I don’t expect Senator McCain and his staff to keep up with such details, but I’m disappointed that no one in the Nebraska Republican Party organization, including the Honorable Mark Quandahl, is aware that, as reported in my World-Herald column in 2005, I have changed my voter registration from Republican to Independent.

* * *

USA Today Overlooks Mizzou
But Cornhuskers Certainly Won’t

Other Big 12 opponents—certainly including the Nebraska’s Cornhuskers—are going to have a hard enough time trying to cage the University of Missouri Tigers, without USA Today providing the Tigers with what is described as “bulletin board material”—the kind of news clipping that goes on a locker room bulletin board to inspire the team.

In a look at major football conferences across the country, USA Today’s Big 12 coverage carried this headline:  “Pelini has Nebraska in the red.”

Half the brief item dealt with the Cornhuskers coming off a 5-7 season but having eight home games, including the first five. 

Kansas and Oklahoma both got brief mention, but not a word about the Missouri Tigers, who return a veteran team considered by some to be a strong contender for the Big 12 championship and possibly even a national championship. 

In my non-expert opinion (I don’t consider that having been sports editor of the Omaha North High School Star and a very brief stint as sports editor of the former Lincoln Star qualify me as anything but a non-expert):  It won’t take long to see which way the Huskers season may be heading, with Virginia Tech coming to Lincoln September 27 followed by Missouri October 4.  A win in either of those games could indicate considerable promise.  Passing both of those tests would raise hopes for a 9-3 season, but more realistically, I believe, 8-4 or 7-5 would represent a solid start for the Bo Pelini era.

# # #

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