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Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10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

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved

October 2, 2008

When the subject is governmental programs, words sometimes lose their meaning or are used in a way to make a questionable objective sound more appealing.  A couple of local examples:

The City of Omaha has a program mandating “protected contractor” status for applicants for city-financed contracts if the applicant is black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander (author’s note:  that’s right, “Pacific Islander”) or American Indian.

To the understandable chagrin of some white contractors who say they could submit lower bids if they didn’t have to guarantee awarding subcontracts to “protected contractors” under a “Protected Business Enterprise Program.”

Isn’t there something of a conflict here between the words “protected” and “enterprise”?  Doesn’t true entrepreneurial spirit flourish best under reasonable governmental restriction and support but without need for special race-based or gender-based “protection”?

Pretty Streetlights “Enhance” Transportation?

Then there is the matter of the Bellevue City Council’s pursuit of $336,000 from the Nebraska Department of Roads to fund 80% of the cost of decorative street lighting along both sides of Mission Avenue. 

The state funds would come as “a transportation enhancement grant.”  How in the world could decorative lighting be considered to be enhancing transportation along Mission Avenue in Bellevue? 

A Bellevue city spokesman said he has received positive feedback from state representatives.  The spokesman also said that the city is “going with the Abbott Road philosophy, only with historic lights.” 

The difference, of course, is that the Abbott Drive lights, which do indeed make the link between downtown Omaha and Eppley Airfield more attractive, were paid for by private funds from the Peter Kiewit Foundation, not from public “transportation enhancement” money.

Amendment Won’t End Minority Opportunities

Incidentally, but importantly, a recent news story said that the city’s “Protected Business Enterprise Program” could be adversely affected if Nebraskans on November 4 adopt the proposed state constitutional ban on race-based and gender-based affirmative action (for which read “preferential treatment”).  The headline read:  “Ban could flip fates of contractors.”

If you read until paragraphs 41 and 42 of the 51-paragraph story, you learned that under the new constitutional language, the city could still take income-level and location into account and that, according to a city government spokesman, “the reality is that there will be ways to work around the ban and encourage minority participation.” 

This brings to mind a statement from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman that even if the anti-affirmative action constitutional amendment is adopted in November, UNL will still find ways to encourage “diversity” in terms of more non-white students and more non-white and female faculty members.

(Perlman and other University of Nebraska officials have made clear that they oppose the proposed constitutional amendment which, interestingly, is supported by some faculty members who feel that faculty hiring and promotion should be based on merit, not influenced by color or gender.)

* * *

New Bridge “Dazzles”—And That
Is Probably Its Biggest Appeal

Let’s stop pretending that it’s a bridge which will attract significant numbers of people from one side of the river to the other side to dine, drink, gamble, golf, work or whatever.  It won’t.

But Omaha, and to a lesser extent Council Bluffs, lucked out when private contributions helped finance a redesign of the plans for the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

Adding those “dazzling” towers and lighting led to talk of the Missouri River bridge becoming something of a symbol of the City of Omaha’s resurgent riverfront and downtown redevelopment and multiple close-to-the-river attractions.  It also makes an eye-catching attraction for Iowa-bound traffic on adjacent to Interstate 480.  (Nearly all the major Iowa side attractions are a considerable distance from the bridge.)

The bridge offers interesting observation points, and it appeals to hikers and especially bikers, who originated the idea of the bridge and convinced then Senator Kerrey to secure a Federal “earmark” of $19 million to build the span. 

But in terms of a bridge that is the most efficient way to move significant numbers of people back and forth across a stream because there is something they want to do on the other side, this might be called something of a local version of a “bridge to nowhere,” dazzling as it may be.  

Unless, of course, you are a biker who wants to connect in Iowa with the famed Wabash Trail 12 miles to the southeast.  Or a golfer who wants to tote a bag across the bridge and play a round at Dodge Riverside Golf Club—perhaps on a Tuesday when, according to a World-Herald “Bridge to Adventure” map published last Sunday, the golf club’s Riverside Grille features an “Xtreme Carb Night.”

* * *

Some Thoughts On Media Performance

Add personal pet peeves: 

The sportswriters who assume you know as much about the intricacies of football offenses and defenses—and sports personalities, sometimes minor personalities—as they do.

For example, in a recent news story about Nebraska Cornhusker football team defenses, the reader was exposed to such expressions as a “nickel” defense and “the nickel slot.”

There was a reference to the “nickel” defense involving a fifth defensive back.  But no explanation as to what change you make in the whole overall defensive alignment if you send in a “nickel” back.  If you add a “nickel” back, don’t you have to subtract some other kind of back?

I’ve heard some Cornhusker fans who talk knowledgeably about these things, but some of us enjoy going to the games without feeling we have to know the intricacies of the various defensive alignments and the jargon that goes with them. 

One thing I can say with authority about the Cornhuskers’ defensive schemes in last Saturday’s 35-30 loss to Virginia Tech:  They sure didn’t work.

Obama Allowed To Mislead On Social Security

Another news media irritation: 

We read that Keith Olbermann has been removed from a co-anchor’s role on MSNBC’s election coverage as has his partner Chris Matthews.  But there is no mention as to who or what either Olbermann or Matthews were favoring with their partisan election coverage. 

Another media performance complaint, this one of greater substance than half-explained or unexplained defensive football formations, or anything said, partisan or nonpartisan, by such TV personalities as Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews:

Barack Obama has been allowed to get away, time after time, with charging that John McCain has favored “privatizing Social Security;” clearly suggesting that McCain would replace the present Social Security system with investment of funds in the stock market.  The truth:

The proposal is to allow employees eligible for Social Security coverage to opt, at their own choice, to put into a stock market investment account a portion of the funds that would otherwise go into their Social Security account.  This, insofar as I know, is as far as John McCain has gone in the direction of so-called “privatizing” Social Security. 

I repeat, the choice would be entirely that of the employee and would involve only a portion of Social Security taxes.  Significant but never mentioned by today’s liberals is the fact that the idea has solid liberal roots.  It was first given widespread public exposure by the late, liberal, widely-respected Senator Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, and was endorsed at one time by another liberal, Nebraska’s own former Senator Bob Kerry.

* * *

Pit Bull “Breed Ambassadors”
Guaranteed To Attack No One?

My love for our three cocker spaniels—I like my hunting dogs a lot, too—notwithstanding, I find it hard to understand why some people are expressing so much sympathy for a dog breed which all too often turns vicious. 

I’m talking about the pit bull, of course. 

It seems to me that the ordinance passed by the City Council Tuesday moves clearly in the right direction, especially in the provision that dangerous dogs will have to be muzzled and on a leash in public.

But one hopes that there isn’t a potentially dangerous loophole in the provision that dogs which have passed a Human Society “behavioral test” will not have to be muzzled.

Dogs which pass the Humane Society behavioral test would be designated “breed ambassadors.”  Each would wear a yellow vest in public to let people know it had passed the test.

I’m not sure I understand how  you can guarantee that a yellow-vested dog won’t attack someone.

* * *

No Yellow Vests Needed
For Our Cocker Spaniels


Speaking of our three cocker spaniels, 14-year-old Sarah continues to show a loyalty that both Marian and I find especially touching.

Her younger “sisters”—four-year-old Charlotte and six-year-old Claire—are surely not lacking in loyalty, but Sarah has a special way of demonstrating that characteristic which so endears dogs to their owners.  (Okay, pit bull owners, I hear you.  But I think that loyal cocker spaniels are considerably safer to be around than loyal pit bulls).

In the evening, I frequently go down to our basement exercise room for some time on the treadmill.  Almost without exception, when Sarah knows I have gone to the basement, she will settle down at the head of the basement stairs, waiting for my return. 

On other occasions, when Sarah notices the basement light is on and she can’t find me anywhere else, she assumes that I’m in the basement and settles down at the head of the stairs.  Neither Sarah nor I either tire of the routine. 

Some of you may have already guessed that I usually reward Sarah with a treat.  But what the heck—in those televised programs showing Westminster Kennel Club dog show dog performances in Madison Square Garden each year, I’ve seen owners regularly reward their dogs for a good performance.  Why should I do anything less for Sarah?

I know I’m prejudiced like other dog owners, but at least one thing I can say quite candidly about our three lovable cocker spaniels:  They don’t have to go to a Humane Society class to learn to be “breed ambassadors.”  (And they wouldn’t look at all good in yellow.)

# # #

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