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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Will Chinese Get Away With
‘Our Air Is Clean’ Scam?

August 21, 2008

The Chinese have been caught lying to—or at least misleading—hundreds of millions of television viewers as they host the Olympic games designed, from the Chinese point of view, not to bring together the best athletes from around the world but rather to improve China’s image in the world view.

The shabby trick of having their national anthem lip-synced as the highlight of the opening ceremonies has been brought to world attention—lip-synced by a particularly attractive girl while the real singer was out of sight because, of all things, her teeth weren’t attractive. 

Then there is the use of at least three clearly underage gymnasts to help the Chinese women’s team win their first team gold in Olympic history.  Evidence was produced a few months ago suggesting that three of the young athletes were no older than 13 or 14.  (Some of them look to be about 10.) 

But the Chinese came up with “Olympic passports”—whatever those are—reporting every girl on the team was at least the required 16 years of age.  How hard do you think it would be, in communist China, to produce an Olympic passport which lies?

The Biggest Scam of All

But the Chinese may have been getting away with the biggest scam of all; i.e., little or no mention of the fact that the atmospheric conditions in which the games are being performed has been massively temporarily sanitized so that it is not at all representative of the pollution which normally hangs over Beijing and other major Chinese cities—pollution which results from coal-fired industrial plants and exhaust-spuming motor vehicles. 

To produce the relatively—I stress “relatively”—smog-free atmosphere for the Olympics, the Chinese dictatorship employed Draconian measures; i.e., shutting down production from coal-burning plants within Shanghai and the surround area and banning most civilian vehicles from entering Beijing during the period leading up to and including the Olympic games.

If the polluted-air deception was simply another Chinese gimmick to make themselves look good to the world during the Olympic telecast, it would dishonest but not of lasting significance.  But this particular deception attempts to mask the fact that China is currently producing increasing pollution of the atmosphere faster than any other country on the globe.  Pollution-spewing coal-burning plants continue to be built at record rates.  (India has played a role in increasing worldwide atmosphere pollution with its industrial growth, too, but China is far and away the major culprit.

Free Pass For China?

Yet China gets a relatively free pass from environmental extremists like former Vice President Al Gore—extremists who concentrate on things America should do to reduce its air polluting emissions.

Surely the United States should be doing more.  But the Chinese and to the lesser extent the Indians are getting a relatively free ride.  You hear the argument, from some Chinese officials, that western countries like the United States “had your industrial revolution, now let us have ours and then we’ll do more to control atmospheric pollution.”

The television commentators whom I have listened to have treated the Chinese air pollution scandal scarcely at all, even when outside shots of Beijing and outdoor Olympic sites have evidence of pollution.  Perhaps as close as any TV commentator has come to the issue was a reference by an NBC commentator that a particular day’s outdoor events were the first held in a clear atmosphere. 

So far as global air pollution and global warming are concerned—problems which a good many nations including the United States should be addressing more effectively—the Beijing Olympics may have done substantial harm, to the extent that they have left the impression that skies over Beijing and the rest of China are relatively pollution free and western complaints aren’t justified.

The real Tiananmen Square in Beijing before the temporary “facelift” for the Olympic Games

* * *

My Best Bet: Omaha Royals
Will Be Playing Downtown

Amidst all the discussion of whether the Omaha Royals use the new downtown Omaha ballpark, or move to a new smaller stadium which would be built in Sarpy County in the Papillion/LaVista area or move to some other city, there seems to me to be a major question that no news media representative that I’m aware of has thought to ask: 

What are the views of the Kansas City Royals?  The major league Royals are, after all, the suppliers of the baseball players without whom you can’t operate a successful AAA franchise no matter how much fun and games and hoopla the team offers.

I believe all parties agree that the long-standing Omaha Royals/Kansas City Royals working agreement has been beneficial to both teams.  A very important element—perhaps the most important—is that the two cities are reasonably close, so that a working agreement that provides Kansas City Royals talent to the Omaha ball club is convenient and helps create an Omaha-area Kansas City Royals fan base. 

I’m told that major league clubs prefer to have such working arrangements—or farm clubs outright owned by the major league club—reasonably close to the city where the major league franchise is located.  In this respect, the Omaha and Kansas City linkage has been a good one for a good many years.

Move To Canada? Silly Idea.

So—although no one has, to my knowledge, publicly acknowledged this—the Kansas City Royals have an important stake in where the so-called Omaha franchise might wind up. 

One news story mentioned Vancouver, Canada, as a possible site for the AAA franchise now located in Omaha. 

Another city mentioned as possibly interested in the current Omaha franchise was Sugarland, Texas within the figurative shadow of the Houston Astros franchise.  And Tucson, Arizona, also mentioned, is figuratively in the shadow of the Phoenix major league franchise.  Tucson also is not known as “a good baseball town.”

It’s hard to imagine the Kansas City Royals preferring a link to an AAA franchise in Vancouver, Tucson or a Houston suburb.

What are the best chances for keeping a Royals franchise in Omaha, despite the fact that the Royals are no longer part of a Rosenblatt Stadium/Omaha Royals/College World Series combination which was deemed essential—and mutually beneficial—for so many years?

Omaha/LaVista Royals? I Doubt It.

I don’t accept the conclusion that the Royals and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) simply won’t be able to reach agreement on satisfactory accommodations for the Royals to move to the new downtown ballpark.  Both sides have said that they are still open for further discussions.

Most attractive to the Kansas City Royals, I would think, would be continuing the Omaha linkage, downtown or even in a newly-constructed Sarpy County ballpark in the Papillion/LaVista area—which is certainly part of the Omaha metropolitan area.

A not insignificant question:  What would be the name of the ball team located in a Sarpy County park?  All the parties involved in the negotiations might take into account a decision made by a very successful business entrepreneur, John Q. Hammons of Springfield, Missouri, in the naming of his new Embassy Suites hotel to be located in LaVista. 

The hotel is to be called the “Embassy Suites Omaha/LaVista.”  Mr. Hammons clearly sees the importance of having potential customers know that the LaVista location has the advantage of being part of all the attractions of the much larger Omaha metropolitan area.

But, after all the talk about moving the franchise to Vancouver in Canada or LaVista in Sarpy County, I wouldn’t bet against the Royals—after some concessions by both parties—playing their home games in that new park in downtown Omaha.

* * *

Good News For The Homeless,
Good News For Downtown Omaha

Good news indeed in the fact that serious efforts are under way to offer more help to the homeless in Douglas, Pottawattamie and Sarpy counties. 

The news story gave no breakout as to where most of the homeless are—not as many in numbers as some reports have led people to believe, in my opinion.  But presumably the large majority of the homeless are living in or near downtown Omaha.

The news story says a survey was done during the annual homeless count in January, involving 224 people of the more than 2,000 on the streets and in shelters in the three countries.

Then came the kind of “survey” standards which I often find questionable:  We are told that more than 40% of those interviewed said they had been homeless at least a year or experienced four or more “episodes” of homelessness in the past three years. 

The federal government’s definition of “chronic homelessness” is people who have described themselves as homeless at least a year or have experienced four or more “episodes” of homelessness in the past three years.  There was no indication of how many of those interviewed were homeless by choice and no definition of what constitutes an “episode” of homelessness. 

In any case, it was good to read that the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless plans for to try to place homeless people in permanent housing.  The Omaha Housing Authority and others are involved in discussions about providing more options for the homeless.  There are also plans to prevent homelessness.

Importantly, the plans include measures designed to attract the homeless to facilities located outside the heart of downtown Omaha.

* * *

Hard To Kick Up Dust
On Paved Sand Hills Roads

Clever headlines lure readers, and World-Herald headline writers for years have done a splendid job of this. 

But occasionally a headline creates an image which is more clever than accurate, as in this recent example:

“Racers will kick up dust in Sand Hills.”

The story, picked up from The North Platte Telegraph, began:  “The road north of Arnold is already smoking, as many of the 120 drivers registered for the Sandhills Open Road Race take practice runs on the 29 mile route between Arnold and Dunning, a challenging stretch that combines a mix of twists and turns, with only an occasional straightaway.”

It so happens that there are 29 miles of paved highway between Arnold and Dunning.  The race may indeed have been an exciting one, but the chance of it kicking up Sand Hills dust was quite remote, unless one or more of the racers lost control and left the paved roadway.

# # #

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