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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Windmills, Solar Won’t Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy

August 14, 2008

Boone Pickens and Al Gore to the contrary notwithstanding, wind and solar power cannot play major roles in addressing America’s energy problems and the world’s global warming pattern. 

Pickens’ well-intentioned proposal to free America from dependence on foreign oil by building thousands of electricity-producing windmills would not reduce the need for coal-fired or natural gas-fired electricity-producing plants.  As a recent Midlands Voice article by Roger K. Nunley of Hastings, Nebraska, a former petroleum geologist, pointed out, wind turbines are an unreliable source of electric power. 

Nunley wrote:  “Wind energy is intermittent and unpredictable.  The wind blows on some days and doesn’t on others.  The hottest days in America’s heartland, when electricity is needed most, there’s usually not enough of a breeze to stir a leaf.”

The reality, Nunley pointed out, is that “back-up from fossil fuels is needed on those days, as demonstrated by the fact that business and industries in Texas and California, the two states with the most wind energy, have had to shut down on hot summer days when wind generation is lacking.”

Wind, Sunlight Aren’t Consistently Available

Nor, Nunley indicated, will solar power contribute significantly to American independence from use of fossil fuels.  He cited a U.S. Energy Information Administration report which said wind turbines on average produce electricity only 30% of the time and solar power panels on average reliably produce electricity only 19% of the time.  And even when producing, the wind and solar production would be miniscule in comparison to the nation’s overall energy needs. 

A more practical and reliable path seems clear, including greater emphasis on “clean” coal-burning plants and, very importantly, more nuclear power plants.  (If Jane Fonda will allow it.)  In France, more than 80% of electricity production for years has come from nuclear power plants.

As to reducing or eliminating our dependence on foreign oil—an essential priority, as Boone Pickens maintains—hybrid cars of the type already coming on the market could be part of the solution.  Utilizing electrically-powered batteries as well as a gasoline engine, such vehicles lessen dependence on foreign oil and reduce exhaust pipe pollution. 

There is also a considerable potential for energy conservation—more efficient electrical appliances, better insulated buildings, for just two examples.

Who Gets The $1,000 Checks?

America should get on with these sensible energy policies.  To date a Democratic Congress has initiated virtually no energy programs of any significance.   (Incidentally, can you think of anything significant that has been passed by our Congress headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada?)

One of the important issues which American voters will have to decide in November is whether they feel America has the best chance for moving, quickly, into an aggressive national policy to conserve energy and reduce dependence on foreign oil under the leadership of President Barack Obama or of President John McCain. 

One difference:  McCain has consistently been for developing more nuclear energy.  Obama has come around to saying he would consider more nuclear energy plants if there was assurance they would be safe.  

Obama has talked of levying an “excess profits” tax on oil companies and giving Americans $1,000 checks to help pay for high gasoline costs.  He hasn’t been clear about the details:  Which Americans would each get $1,000?  How would he assure the money goes to help pay higher gasoline costs?  And how can you justify such payments as part of a carefully-crafted, comprehensive energy program?

* * *

From Health To Casino Gambling:
Hardly Worthy Of Press Defense

From 60 miles away, it’s quite easy for The Lincoln Journal Star to advocate a gambling casino operated by the Ponca Indian Tribe on Omaha’s doorstep in Carter Lake, Iowa.

All the problems associated with casino gambling would be primarily Omaha’s, not Lincoln’s.

Weirdest of the reasoning (?) in the Lincoln newspaper’s editorial was an assertion that “a sense of justice” says the Ponca tribe should get “their casino.” 

A sense of justice?  Where is the justice in the Ponca’s acquiring the five-acre tract in Carter Lake for the stated purpose that it was intended to be the site of a health clinic and now asserting that the tribe has the right to change its mind and use the land to promote the social evil of legalized gambling? 

* * *

Another Sad Example:
Religious Hatred Kills

How sad it is that so frequently—as has been the case down through the centuries—the world is offered fresh evidence of the tragedies spawned by conflict, frequently rising to the level of hatred, between various religious groups.  Recent example, reflected in a headline in The New York Times:

“Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir
Face Off Over Land Near Shrine”

The story began:

“A dispute over 98 acres high in the Himalayas has ignited violent protest in Indian-controlled Kashmir for more than a month and pitted its Hindu and Muslim populations against each other.

“The Indian army has sent thousands of soldiers into the streets of Jammu to prevent the disturbances from inflaming Hindus and Muslims throughout India.  An estimated 15 people have died in clashes with the security forces.”

Death, once again, in the name of religion.

* * *

A Lesson From Little Sioux Tragedy:
Protect Scouts With Storm Shelter

Amidst all the attention that is being given to the Boy Scouts who courageously reacted to that death-dealing tornado which struck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Northwest Iowa, this question seems appropriate:

Do the plans for rehabilitating the camp—including replacement of the building which collapsed, killing four Scouts—include construction of a storm shelter?

Early stories about the Little Sioux tragedy pointed out that Girl Scout camps in this area have storm shelters, as do some Boy Scout camps. 

Certainly, going forward, a storm shelter ought to be part of the program to rebuild the Little Sioux camp.

In the meantime, let the Scouts who reacted courageously at the Little Sioux camp the night of the tragedy enjoy the attention which they received at a White House meeting with President Bush.  But keep in mind that such a White House visit wouldn’t have been made if the facilities at the Little Sioux Camp had included a storm shelter.

‘Self-Defending’ Youth
Need Batting Practice?

What a travesty of justice. 

I can’t think of any other description for the verdict of a Cass County jury finding Travis Meisinger guilty only of misdemeanor in his baseball bat-wielding injury of Tony Premo, Sr. as Premo opened his front door in Plattsmouth. 

Meisinger, 19, and two friends had gone to Premo’s house when a fight between gangs from Weeping Water and Plattsmouth had spilled over onto the Premo family property.

Meisinger used a baseball bat to smash the Premo house’s screen door.  When Premo, 49, emerged from the house with his fist raised, one teen hit him in the arm with a bat and Meisinger hit him in the face with a wooden bat.  Premo suffered a skull fracture and disfigured face.  He spent several weeks in a medically-induced coma at an Omaha hospital.  His medical bills have surpassed $600,000, according the family attorney.

Convicted only of a misdemeanor, Meisinger faces up to a year in jail.  He had been charged with first-degree felony assault and use of a deadly weapon.  Both carried potential sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

Meisinger’s testimony included a statement that he “never wanted to hurt no one, I was swinging to stop whatever was coming out the front door.  I was trying to hit somebody in the stomach.  I knew that that would stop them immediately…That would block everyone coming outside and that would give us enough time to get away.

“I wasn’t trying to hit nobody in the face.  That was not my intention.”

So the jury hears testimony, obviously self-serving, that the defendant was only trying to hit someone in the stomach with a baseball bat.  And then the jury decided that this did not constitute either a first-degree felony assault nor assault with a deadly weapon.

Perhaps after Meisinger has served no more than a year in prison, he can sharpen his batting techniques so that the next time he has to “defend” himself with a baseball bat, he has better aim.

# # #

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