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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?

July 9, 2008

By all means, let’s hear it for the athletes—from a 15-year-old to a 41-year-old—who put on such a show of red-white-and-blue effort to win berths on the swimming team which will represent the United States in the Beijing Olympics.

Cheers, too, of course, for the Omahans who gave such enthusiastic support—from the efforts of approximately 1,000 volunteers to the ticket-purchasers who helped break all attendance records for the Olympic Trials and roared their approval of the efforts of this country’s best swimmers.

And appropriate praise also for Mutual of Omaha, proud sponsor of USA Swimming.  Mutual’s support of the Trials was evident in so many ways, including some spectacular promotional support, including that building-tall image of an Olympic swimmer which hung from Mutual’s headquarters building.

In celebrating an event which brought great favorable national attention to Omaha as had the College World Series three weeks earlier, let’s not forget to include cheers for the Omaha Sports Authority and especially for a remarkable building, the Qwest Center and those who staff and supervise it.  Qwest’s remarkable arena and convention center facilities made it possible to offer what some observers described as the best venue ever for the Olympic Swim Trials.

The Qwest Center venue and the hospitable reception which Omahans extended created immediate top-level endorsement of the idea of bringing the Olympic Trials back to Omaha in 2012.  The idea prompted favorable comment from both U.S. Men’s Coach Eddie Reese and U.S. Women’s Coach Jack Bauerle, among others. 

Coach Reese’s favorable reaction included these words:  “The people on the street and in the stands have been great.  Perfect, super hospitality.”

It seems to me that the praise for Qwest Center facilities and staff includes, by implication, a well-deserved endorsement of the way the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority has carried out its responsibility for oversight of Qwest Center operations—a success story which seems to me to bode well for operation of Omaha’s new downtown baseball park under MECA’s management. 

Omaha voters in 2000 approved $198 million in revenue bonds, private sources contributed $75 million and the Nebraska Legislature lent a financial hand to finance construction of a downtown arena and convention center.  I wonder whether any visionary then foresaw the number and variety of events which would be attracted to the Qwest Center and the size of the crowds that those events would attract.

Center Is Building A Rich History

The unusually successful Olympic Swim Trials took their place in Qwest Center history alongside performances like these: 

In 2005, an NCAA women’s volleyball regional tournament outdrew the total of crowds at the three other regionals and the total which attended the subsequent volleyball Final Four championship tournament.

The volleyball Final Four tournament in the Qwest Center the next year set a new Final Four attendance record.  (The Final Four tournament returns to the Qwest Center later this year.  It will be nationally telecast.)

A regional NCAA men’s basketball tournament earlier this year gave Omahans and other fans in this area a chance to see such college teams as Wisconsin, California State-Fullerton, Oregon and the University of Kansas, whose team went on to win the national championship.

The arena and convention center facilities have been used for events as diverse as the annual Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation, a rodeo and national bull riding competition, an annual 4-H livestock show, a Creighton University commencement ceremony and annual Creighton home basketball schedules.  The University of Nebraska at Omaha plays its home hockey games in the Qwest Arena.

Coming up:  the National Veterans Wheelchair Games July 25-29 and an appearance by Celine Dion November 17, one of the continuing round of appearances by top singers and musical groups which time after time have attracted capacity crowds to the Qwest arena.

All in all, a vindication of the judgment of the civic leaders who proposed a downtown arena and convention center and the equally good judgment of the more than 60 percent of the Omaha voters who in 2000 approved the construction-financing package (including $198 million in revenue bonds) and creation of MECA to supervise construction and operation of the arena/convention center.

* * *

Obama Seeking To Soften
Glib Intellectual Image?

Will the real Barack Obama please stand up? 

His latest venture into image-building (or should I say image-changing?) is a TV commercial telling about his living a modest-means childhood with his mother, then working his way through Harvard Law School (he doesn’t say whether he received any financial aid or what kind of work he did), then starting his post-graduate life as a social worker in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago, then moving into politics by being elected to the Illinois State Senate.

He has also gone to pains on various occasions to tie his roots somehow to Kansas and his grandparents there.  His mother, who was white, grew up in Kansas before marrying a Kenyan.

On the campaign trail Obama has started to refer to his grandmother’s work in an aircraft assembly plant in Kansas (he referred to her as something of a “Rosie the Riveter”) and saying, on one occasion, that his Kansas grandfather had gone to school on the GI Bill of Rights.  On another occasion, he said his Kansas grandfather had shown him the grandfather’s dog tags from service in World War II. 

The motivation seems a bit murky, but one can speculate that Obama seeks the best of two political worlds—overwhelming support among black voters (as evidenced by his more than 90% majorities among black voters in the Democratic presidential primaries) and support from white voters who might be attracted by the image of a man who rose from humble beginnings, worked his way through Harvard and enjoys telling stories of his white grandparents who showed their patriotism in World War II.

* * *

This Fellow Couldn’t
Get Elected In U.S.

A news story about efforts in Washington to bail out Americans who bought houses they couldn’t afford was fresh in my mind when I came across a letter in The Financial Times—a British newspaper which covers world affairs, including important news in the United States, very well indeed. 

I was impressed with the letter to the editor from a reader named Charles Tan, a resident of Singapore.  The headline read:  “Average American Joe is going to have to curtail his lifestyle.”

The Singapore letter writer said that a study of the lifestyle of the “Average American Joe” would show that he’s likely to own three credit cards with debt of $21,000, own more than one car and live in a property mortgaged to a bank.

The letter from Singapore offered this advice:

“The average Joe has to curtail his lifestyle and simply live within his means.  This could be a downgrade to a smaller home, cutting back on holiday trips or selling the family car if he needs to.

“Of course, none of this will make sense, when the affluent in the US are living a much larger lifestyle.  This is free America, the apex of the world’s capitalist economy.  The government should not give two hoots about taxing the affluent and reducing handouts to those who are work-shy.”

Charles Ten’s concluding advice from Singapore:

“The work ethos ought to be strengthened and productivity boosted in big measures.  The US should work on balancing the budget and start the slow, arduous process of reducing its trade deficits.  It requires financial discipline at both national and individual level.”

Hardly a platform for election to political office in the United States, but thoughtful and, in my opinion, wise advice from a foreigner who appears to me to be friendly to the United States and has the advantage of a clear perspective that distance sometimes makes possible.

* * *

Maybe Gen. Wesley Clark
Should Start A Third Party

Someone ought to do retired General Wesley Clark the favor of telling him that he isn’t going to be any candidate’s vice presidential running mate—he tried with John Kerry and has tried again with Barack Obama—and he should avoid any more image damage of the type he brought on himself recently. 

New York Times columnist Gail Collins noted that Clark had said to a CBS interviewer in regard to John McCain’s military service:  “Well, I don’t think that riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

Collins questioned whether this is “the best possible line of attack for an Obama supporter to take, when Barack’s only big claim to executive leadership was being a community organizer.”  Collins also took another crack at Clark, describing him as “available for a vice-presidential nomination for so long that his shelf-life sticker is expiring.” 

And another liberal New York Times columnist, acidulous Maureen Dowd, said that Clark’s crack at McCain really didn’t have anything to do about suggesting Obama is more qualified to lead the nation, including the armed services, than is McCain.  Dowd wrote that Clark’s comment was “the old business of grunts resenting flyboys.”  (Clark was an infantry commander in Vietnam.)

Can we hope to hear no more public statements from ex-grunt General Wesley Clark (Ret.)?  (But, of course, John McCain supporters might prefer that he keep talking.)

# # #

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