Many Express Support For Wiping Out ISIS
But Support Of Iraqis, Afghans Questioned

As I see it, there are strong signs that a great many Americans approve of our joining in strong military action to wipe out ISIS, the Islamic killers who are attempting to establish a “Muslims only” state with jurisdiction in Northern Iraq and extending into Syria.

President Obama has quite properly announced a policy of fighting ISIS with strong military action short of putting actual combat troops in the ground.  He has also been effective in rallying other countries to join in the effort.

Sensible reaction after an early expression of concern but no plans for military action, then rushing off to play golf so his vacation wouldn’t be interrupted.

More Support For Iraqis, Afghans?

But beyond the promise of effective action against brutal killers of the Islamic State, how far should the American people be asked to go in their costly—both in terms of military lives and billions of dollars in spending—to try to bring peace in other troubled spots in the Middle East?  Spots like Afghanistan—where the Taliban terrorists continue to be effective and where the question of the presidency continues to divide that traditionally troubled country.  And in Iraq, where Sunnis and Shiites have been killing each other—or threatening to kill each other—for centuries?

Keep Pressure On Putin

A case can certainly be made for (1) our continuing effort to keep the brutal Russian dictator Vladimir Putin from pulling the unwilling Ukrainian government and people into the Soviet Union and (2) a continuing United States alert to see that Iran doesn’t use its nuclear capability to attempt some kind of domination in the Middle East, particularly in terms of a potential threat to Israel.

But Iraq and Afghanistan are a different matter altogether.  We have learned the hard way that our intervention can’t cure their internal problems, and I believe a very strong case can be made for us to stop trying.

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New Path Seen For Illegals’ Continued Residence;
The Courts And Obama May Pave The Way

Sadly, as I see it, there are new legal efforts being made to assure that the hundreds of thousands of recently-arrived illegal immigrants from Central America are given permanent residence in the United States.

If you read the latest World-Herald report on the illegal immigrant deluge, published on the front page of last Sunday’s paper, you will have learned of recently-arrived illegal immigrants being embraced by liberal Americans.  Those liberals are bringing litigation designed to prove that these “undocumented” illegals are legally entitled to stay in the United States.

Strong Possibility Of Permanent Residence

A very large majority of the immigrants appear likely to be represented by a lawyer in a legal proceeding—predictably a protracted legal proceeding—in which their attorney will argue for giving them permanent residence in this country.

That prospect becomes even more real when you consider that in a recent ruling by a lower court, the judge held that illegal female immigrants are entitled to asylum in the United States if they testify that they have been subjected to what they claim to be “domestic abuse” by a male they have been living with, who may or may not be their husband.

No allegations of forced prostitution or the threat of murder, simply a claim that they had suffered “domestic abuse.”

Obama Ducks Issue Until After Election

Very significant, as I see it, is the fact that President Obama is not going to propose a long-range solution to the illegal immigration problem until after the November elections.

The president quite obviously realizes that his plans for immigration “reform” are likely to be unpopular with a very great many Americans—perhaps a majority—and he doesn’t want that prospect to hurt Democratic chances in the November election

It’s very hard to see any relation between presidential honesty and the policy of “let’s not talk about it until after the election.”

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With The Public Backing Of His Wife
Ashford Says He Will Reform Congress

The World-Herald recently reported a realistic prospect in terms of an increased turnout of Democratic voters who will be encouraged to go to the polls in November to vote for the proposal to increase Nebraska’s minimum wage requirement well above the federal level of $7.25.

I’ve written before that the proposal, which goes on the ballot as a result of a very successful petition drive, could place Nebraska among a small handful of states with minimum wage requirements well above the federal level.

I don’t think a large Democratic turnout to vote for the minimum wage proposal will have any significant effect on Republican nominee Ben Sasse’s prospects for victory over Democratic nominee David Domina for a seat in the United States Senate.

Large Turnout A Boost For Ashford?

But it could give, even if unintentionally, a boost to the campaign of Democrat Brad Ashford’s chances of election as Nebraska’s Second Congressional District representative in Congress.

Consider some of Ashford’s campaign initiatives, apparently encouraged or at least approved by a team of what might be called Democratic Party handlers.  For reasons which I will never understand, Democratic campaign leadership in Washington—fully aware that the Democrats won’t win control of the House of Representatives in November—decided to try to help Ashford take out long-term Republican Second Congressional District Representative Lee Terry.

Terry Better Than His Challengers

Terry certainly is not among the strongest Second District Congressional Representative that Nebraskans have sent to Congress.  Names like Democrats Peter Hoagland and John Cavanagh come quickly to mind, as does the name of Roman Hruska, who went on from the House of Representatives to the United States Senate.

But Terry has, as I see it, served more effectively than would have any of the Democratic candidates challenging him and has built enough seniority to become chairman of a committee which occasionally has the opportunity to deal positively with a subject of particular interest to residents of the Second Congressional District.

Ashford is a different case.

Freshman Ashford Reforms Congress?

After unfairly accusing Terry of lack of concern for military veterans (one of his charges proved misleading, another was simply untrue), Ashford has offered some unusual arguments for his election.  For example:

If elected, he has said, he will work to form a Democratic/Republican coalition of 25 members, who, he says, will play an influential leadership role in establishing national policy that involves more interparty cooperation.

Then there is the letter which was mailed to Second District homes, offering a sort of “vote for my husband because I know he’s such a great person” campaign pitch from Ashford’s wife.

Wedding Day Picture Included

The letter included a picture of Ashford and his bride, holding a bouquet between them, apparently on their wedding day.

We learn that on August 27, 1997, “Brad and I were married at my parent’s home in Omaha.  This year we celebrate our 21st anniversary and the time has flown!”

After several more paragraphs of language like “a dedicated public servant” and “I ask you to join me in supporting Brad”, the loyal wife makes this remarkable promise:

“My husband will be the change that Washington needs.”

So a campaign based in part on a pledge to form a coalition to move Congress in the right direction and the wife’s suggestion that Ashford will be “the change that Washington needs.”

A very big order for a freshman who in a Congress of 535 members, including the House of Representatives in which his party will be in the minority for at least two more years.

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Is English Becoming Our Second Language?
Media Challenged On Poor Handling Of Numbers

This week’s smorgasbord, offered, as always, with the hope that you will find some items to your taste:

–You know—or perhaps you “fear” is a better word—that we are moving towards a bilingual society in which increasing numbers of Hispanics living in America—legally or illegally—won’t be expected to be able to speak English.  When you hear, at the start of a televised major college football game, that play-by-play reporting of the game will be available in Spanish as was the case in one broadcast last Saturday.

This, as I see it, is a disquieting, if not frightening, indication that we are steadily proceeding farther and faster down the road to an increasingly bilingual society in which Hispanics, here legally or illegally, won’t need to speak or understand English (certainly true in many cases already).

Rather, businesses and communication media where English is still the predominant language, and individuals who are predominantly English speakers, will be expected to have a certain proficiency in Spanish if they want to communicate with employees and customers and media audiences.

–I know I’m fighting a losing battle here, but I’m going to continue to voice my objections.

I refer to the careless use of language by too many members of both the broadcast and print news media.

Some examples:

We read that exactly 91,082 ticket-buying fans watched the Nebraska Cornhusker football game Saturday, extending the national record string of 335 consecutive stadium capacity crowds.

Baloney.  Nobody knows exactly how many people attended the game.  I believe the Husker Athletic Department is careful in its wording, referring to “sold out” games rather than the ridiculous assertion that every ticket purchased will be used.

Another example:  Time after time after time, careless journalists say a crowd of 17,000 or 70,000 or whatever—exactly 17,000 or 70,000—attended some event.  That, of course, is preposterous.

–I could write a multi-page column on this subject, but let me offer just one more example of media malpractice.

When, if ever, will the media consistently acknowledge that the cost of proposed Omaha school bond issues must include the interest that must be paid on the bonds?

I came across—finally—a World-Herald reference about midway through a long story which emphasized the amount of the bonds themselves, not the total cost which must include the interest paid.  That figure should be a part of every story dealing with the bond issue.

–If memory serves, The New Yorker magazine had an amusing feature entitled something like, “The Cloudy Crystal Ball,” which featured predictions which had proven inaccurate, sometimes amusingly so.

The “cloudy crystal ball” description came to mind as I considered the prediction which World-Herald columnist Sam McKeown had offered in the Saturday World-Herald—a 49-10 victory over McNeese State in what turned out to be the last-half-minute win—35-28.

How cloudy can a crystal ball get?

* * *

‘Moms’ Replace ‘Mothers’?

News media performance provides not necessarily an upbeat ending to the column but asks the question which I find interesting and somehow amusing.  Read on:

What is it that the journalistic fraternity, or at least The Omaha World-Herald, has against mothers and their children?

I ask the question tongue-in-cheek.  But I find it both somewhat amusing and somewhat irritating when you read a headline or a news story or hear a television broadcast which refers to mothers as “moms” or children as “kids.”

I’m thinking of, for example, a recent World-Herald story which have used the language “moms” or “kids” repeatedly.

Which leads me to this facetious question:

What does the author of that news story have against “motherhood” and “children”?

It’s an example of journalese which I offer seriously but with the hope also that you may also find it somewhat amusing.

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