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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

What “Tough” Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?

January 16, 2008

I thought the most interesting part of Senator Ben Nelson’s explanation of why he is endorsing Senator Barack Obama for president was something Nelson ad libbed after he had read his formal statement.

Surprising, I thought, and perhaps a little amusing when Nelson said that in 2006, when he was in a “tough” contest for re-election, Obama stepped forward and helped him, so he thought it appropriate to help Obama who is now in a tough contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I don’t know how Nelson defines “tough” in terms of election contests. But I believe that a good many Nebraskans would find it an exaggeration if not a bit laughable when Nelson applies that description to his competition with Republican candidate Pete Ricketts in the 2006 senatorial campaign. It was expensive, but “tough”?

Nelson led from wire to wire, as they say at the racetrack, and finished with a 164,460-vote margin over Ricketts, 378,388 votes to Ricketts’ 213,928. Percentagewise, that meant that Nelson “toughed out” a 64-to-36 per cent victory over Ricketts.

Obama’s contribution to Nelson’s campaign involved a visit to Omaha where he described Nelson as the most popular senator in the body and appeared with Nelson at a North Side church meeting and a Democratic fund-raiser. There is, of course, no way to measure how much that contributed to Nelson’s 164,460-vote victory margin in his “tough” contest.

In his prepared statement, Nelson said that he feels Obama is “the best hope” for bringing about a “reconciliation” among the varying interests which make America today “a divided country.”

In terms of his post-election position in Washington, it seems to me that Nelson was rolling the political dice. If Obama goes on to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency, his endorsement of Obama could enhance Nelson’s access to the White House.

But What If Hillary Wins?

But what if another of Nelson’s Democratic senatorial colleagues, Hillary Clinton, becomes president? It’s unlikely that word would go out to the White House staff: “If Senator Nelson calls, put him right through to me.” There’s the potential downside of Nelson’s gamble.

Another interesting aspect of Nelson’s endorsement of Obama:

A combination of Nebraska Democrats, Independents and Republicans who have elected Nelson have been attracted to his image as a middle-of-the-road moderate who sometimes takes the leadership in working with like-minded Republicans. He certainly has never been considered a member of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

But, coincidentally, on the same day that Nelson’s endorsement of Obama was reported in The World-Herald, on another page there was a column by David Brooks of The New York Times which, while generally complimentary to both Obama and Republican Senator John McCain, also had this to say about Obama:

“His weakness is that he never breaks from his own group. In policy terms, he is an orthodox liberal. He never tells audiences anything that might make them uncomfortable. In the U.S. Senate, he didn’t join the Gang of 14, which created a bipartisan consensus on judges, because it would have meant deviating from liberal orthodoxy and coming to the center.”

Nelson, interestingly, was a member of that group of 14 senators. How a centrist moderate like Ben Nelson can support a presidential candidate with a reputation for resisting “deviating from liberal orthodoxy and coming to the center” is a puzzlement.

But then we shouldn’t forget that the first-term senator from Illinois helped Nelson in his “tough” senatorial contest in 2006.

* * *

Happy 150th, First National Bank!

I would think I’m not the only one who is tired of hearing John Edwards, the talking head from North Carolina who is so obsessively intense on becoming president of the United States, rail against “greedy corporations.”

Edwards, former senator from North Carolina and vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket in 2004, uses language so broad that it sounds like an indictment of all of corporate America—language like “Greedy corporations have a stranglehold on America.” So far as I’m aware, Edwards has cited only one specific example of what he considers corporate greed.

I can cite countless examples of corporations which are not only not greedy but which use a significant portion of their profits to benefit their communities through philanthropy, in addition to their basic mission of providing goods and services to make the American economy function in a much better way than some of its political critics will acknowledge.

A current example: The Omaha-headquartered First National Bank, which is celebrating its 150th birthday. One of the bank’s themes is “150 years of commitment to community.”

Chairman and CEO Bruce Lauritzen would be the first to agree that other Omaha-headquartered corporations also do an exemplary job of providing services which the community needs and in addition use a significant share of their earnings to help finance a variety of worthy philanthropic programs—the exact antithesis of the “greedy corporation” picture which John Edwards keeps painting. (Does the fellow ever stop talking?)

I conclude by offering—and I’m sure I speak for a great many people in the Omaha community—very best wishes for a well-deserved happy birthday for the First National Bank and, even more importantly, a wish for a good many more.

* * *

Spellman a Great Midlander

What a splendid choice The World-Herald made in this year’s selection of the “Midlander of the Year.”

Connie Spellman, director of Omaha By Design, has spearheaded significant initiatives for the community, including the “Omaha 2000” effort to improve K-12 education in the Omaha metropolitan area and now Omaha By Design, an initiative aimed at giving the city a distinctive, first-rate physical appearance.

The World-Herald story announcing Connie Spellman as Midlander of the Year said her selection was based on “the significance of those initiatives, her ability to achieve consensus and her grace in giving credit to others.”

Making Omaha a livelier, more attractive city was the goal set by the Omaha Community Foundation in 2001 in launching a program entitled “Lively Omaha.” Del Weber, former UNO chancellor who had become head of the Omaha Community Foundation talked Spellman into coming out of her recent retirement to lead the effort.

It took several years, but new zoning and building standards designed to make Omaha a better-looking community were finally voted into law by unanimous vote of the City Council.

A good many people deserve credit, but none more than Midlander of the Year Connie Spellman.

* * *

Huckabee Goofs Again

Add reasons—the list is a fairly long one already—why I consider Southern Baptist minister and former television evangelist and former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee something of a joke when considered as a candidate for president of the United States:

Campaigning in South Carolina where the ranks of Republicans include a good many conservative Christians, Huckabee was asked to defend an earlier statement in which he had backed the Biblical admonition that wives should submit to their husbands.

Huckabee replied that the statement had nothing to do with the presidency—this despite the fact that he has indicated his religious beliefs would be the foundation for the way he conducts himself in the White House. Huckabee then added that the Bible also commands husbands to submit to their wives (the news account didn’t indicate that he quoted chapter and verse).

Huckabee plunged further ahead with yet another version of biblically blessed husband-wife relationships: “Marriage is not a 50-50 deal,” he declared. Biblically, he said, each spouse must give 100% to the other (again, no citation of chapter and verse).

His South Carolina audience apparently loved it, erupting in applause, according to the news report.

* * *

Appropriate Retirement Home
for Curtiss

Readers who have been with me for some years will know that on more than one occasion, Catholic Archbishop Elden Curtiss and I have crossed verbal swords on various issues.

But let me today take the side of the Archdiocese and the Archbishop in the controversy over the cost of a retirement home being provided for Curtiss.

Some Public Pulse writers have criticized the Archdiocese for spending $389,000 for a retirement home for Curtiss on Sunset Trail in the Dillon’s New Fairacres neighborhood. The house was purchased by its previous owners for $155,000 in September, 2006. The previous owner responded that the house was expanded and totally renovated at a cost of more than $200,000.

The Archdiocese had been looking for a home for Curtiss near its offices at 62nd and Dodge Streets, since Curtiss intends to continue working at the chancery after his retirement becomes effective. (He submitted his resignation to the Vatican last year when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. The Archdiocese is waiting for the Pope to accept his resignation and name a replacement.)

It seems to me that a man who has devoted his adult life to his church, becoming a leader in that church, is entitled to live in retirement in what is really a modest home close to the chancery where he intends to continue being active.

Besides, as the Rev. Joseph Taphorn, Chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese said, the house will be a good investment for the Archdiocese.

# # #

“Feel Good” Legislating

It seems to me that concern over potential harm from so-called “second-hand smoke” has moved from legitimate concern to something of an obsession with some Nebraskans.

I’m thinking of a bill introduced by State Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha which would ban smoking in motor vehicles when a person under age 16 is present. The ban would apply whether the car windows were up or down. No fresh air loopholes in that proposed piece of legislation.

I have written before that I think anyone who smokes is foolish. I think it would be unfortunate, although not necessarily health threatening, if an adult were to expose a child, especially a toddler, to secondhand smoke in a closed vehicle.

But the proposed law would simply be “feel good” legislation, virtually impossible to enforce.

# # #

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