Fischer kept her word on Hagel
I thank Sen. Deb Fischer for not changing her vote to a “yes” for Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary. We now know we can trust her word on other future issues.
Our country is headed down a disastrous road, and I pray that Sen. Fischer will help us get back to our constitutional way of running the country and help us get on the path to resolving our tremendous debt.
Sharon Struve, Omaha
Fischer went along to get along
Well, folks, we have another representative in Congress more interested in being a go-along Republican than a senator for Nebraska and our nation. What happened to that independent-thinking rancher from western Nebraska?
Sen. Deb Fischer misled her constituents when she said she would not vote for a filibuster to prevent an up or down vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense. Then our good senator did just that, not just once but twice.
Fischer’s lack of candor showed Nebraskans we elected a back-bencher who will go along to get along. I would be most interested for the senator to explain how her two votes against now-Secretary of Defense Hagel’s nomination were beneficial in any way to Nebraska.
Next time she is in Omaha, someone from the Chamber of Commerce should take her out to Offutt Air Force Base to introduce her to one of the major components in the defense of these United States and point out the importance of that facility to our state.
Frank Barrett, Omaha
Unleashed dogs can be menaces
My husband was walking our two leashed Pomeranians the morning of Feb. 20. A man and woman had three of their large dogs off the leash and running wild. One of the dogs attacked our toy Pom without provocation.
Charley suffered severe puncture wounds to his abdomen. He required surgery from this trauma — overnight at the vet, draining tubes, staples, etc. In my husband’s attempt to block the attack, he fell to the ground and injured his knee.
These dog owners did not offer to help or give their names to my husband. My husband carried his best friend, Charley, home. The other Pom, Titus, ran off during the attack. He made it the half-mile to our home, thank goodness. He was waiting at the front door, leash still attached.
We know that these people and their dogs cross the bridge from the Sunset area to Towl Park. I fear that our small dogs and toddlers may be at risk. Please leash your dogs. The Humane Society was amazing through this entire ordeal.
Yolanda Martin, Omaha
Voting a right, not entitlement
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia commented Wednesday (during arguments on a case challenging the Voting Rights Act) that voting is an “entitlement.” All these years, I thought voting was a right.
So, corporations are people, but minorities are not. I can assure you this clock will not go backward. Real Americans will not stand for it.
There has been no disdain by the GOP for Justice Scalia’s comments. The silence is deafening but not surprising.
Hamilton Cook Jr., Papillion
Sin tax would save young lungs
Every year, 2,200 Nebraskans die of smoking-related illnesses. And every year, they are “replaced” by 2,000 Nebraska kids who start smoking. It’s a grim balancing act.
A significant increase in the state tobacco tax would be a big incentive for smokers to cut back or quit and for nonsmokers to avoid starting. In fact, research consistently shows that price hikes are one of the most effective ways to prevent and reduce smoking.
Nebraska ranks a dismal 38th in the country in tobacco taxes. Legislative Bill 439 has been introduced in the Legislature to increase the tax and discourage smoking. A recent survey showed that half of Nebraska smokers support a tobacco tax increase. I guess they realize that higher prices would help them quit before they become a grim smoking statistic themselves.
Senators on the Revenue Committee should support an increase in Nebraska’s tobacco tax to discourage kids from smoking and help people who already smoke to quit.
Hanneka Brown, Omaha
Charter schools provide options
As a Kansas City teacher but a born-and-bred Nebraskan, I’m thrilled to see legislation introduced that would result in limited charter schools in Omaha. I’ve taught at a charter for five years and support charters with high accountability.
Omaha parents who are stuck sending children to failing schools need options. Parents without means to send their children to private/parochial schools or move into neighborhoods with high-performing schools cannot be forgotten. Their children, too, deserve the opportunity to receive an excellent education.
In Tuesday’s article about Legislative Bill 593, Nebraska Education Commissioner Roger Breed said there’s nothing charters can do that a public school cannot. This is false. I have many additional capabilities as a charter teacher.
That article also discussed plans to appoint intervention teams to analyze low-performing schools and create operating councils to assist. This sounds great, but what about right now? What about a child who is only a third-grader once? That child doesn’t have time to sit around waiting for another committee to make another report.
I commend Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh for standing up for kids. Would you send your own child or grandchild to a failing school? If not, empower parents stuck in those neighborhoods by giving their children options.
Audrey Pribnow, Kansas City, Mo.
A 67-yard extra-point attempt
With one second left to play, the Big Red football team scores a touchdown to tie the game. All that has to be done is to kick the extra point and they would win. Without warning, the officials call the coaches to the center of the field and announce a rule change:
Instead of placing the ball at the 3-yard line for the extra point, the ball would be placed at the 50. The rule change would not make it impossible to win the game, but it would be highly unlikely.
That is exactly what is being done to Social Security recipients by Congress. The Senate will be voting to change the formula used to calculate Social Security’s cost-of-living increases.
Playing by the rules, we have spent all our lives planning for retirement. Now, as our game is coming to an end, Congress wants to change those rules and limit our chances of maintaining a sustainable income.
If we were younger, we could compensate for these rule changes. At age 70 and older, there just isn’t time to make those adjustments.
If our senators have any sense of fair play, they will vote against these changes.
Phil Karno, Omaha
Divided by parties, we all lose
Am I the only one who is starting to believe there may be no hope for this country? It is an irrefutable fact that we cannot continue to pile up annual trillion-dollar deficits. I don’t care if it is a Republican or a Democrat in the White House who is to blame.
Now this “sequestration” is about to hit, and we have people on both sides of the aisle screaming bloody murder. The pending “spending cut” is only a decrease in the growth of spending from the prior year. We will still be spending more this year than last year.
The proposed budget will be “cut” by less than 2.3 percent. That’s less than 2½ pennies on the dollar. Something is seriously wrong here if our politicians and pundits are claiming Armageddon because of a 2.3 percent “cut.”
I personally know people who will be hurt by this sequester, so it is wrong to say that there will be no ill effects. But if we do not take legitimate and substantial steps in the right direction to address our yearly deficits and our national debt, then at some point we will be looking back unfavorably at this time when we allowed our politicians to pit us against each other with one manufactured crisis after another.
More and more, we speak at each other in terms of Republican and Democrat, instead of as one American to another American. Until we see the light and no longer allow these two political parties to play us like puppets, then there will be no hope for this country.
Nathan McHugh, Murdock, Neb.
Glad Kelly’s sticking around
I loved Michael Kelly’s column in the Feb. 24 World-Herald, “No date with retirement for awhile yet.” As a huge fan, I truly would miss the very first thing I look for in the paper. He has an enormous talent for relating a story to make me feel personally involved, informed and entertained.
This column certainly hit the nail on the head, as I too feel time marching on, and it is important for me to feel useful and valued.
I wish I had some way to validate my contributions, but in Michael Kelly’s case he doesn’t have to worry. He has a whole audience out here just waiting to read his very next word!
Kathy Kratina, Omaha
Valentine’s Day left afterglow
My husband Ed and I dressed up and went to Outback Steakhouse, near 132nd Street and West Center Road, for our Valentine’s dinner. We were nearly through eating our delicious meal when a nice gentleman stopped at our booth, wishing us a “Happy Valentine’s Day.” We wished him the same and as he walked away, he quietly said, “I paid your check.”
We were shocked, and I hurriedly thanked him. We wish we had his name so we could send him a thank-you. Also, the manager sent us a complimentary sundae and a gift certificate.
There are still such nice people among us. It is a Valentine’s Day dinner we will never forget. Thank you, nice people.
Bernice Zieg, Omaha