Do not tolerate gang violence
I thank The World-Herald for placing the story of the tragic death of young Montrell Wiseman on the front page of the Nov. 27 edition. The facts behind this crime deserve front-page attention.
When I picked up my newspaper, I immediately saw five Nebraska football players smiling and looking proud to be a part of our state’s great football heritage.
Glancing further down at the headlines, I read the story of Wiseman. Because he and his friends were wearing red Nebraska gear, they were targeted and shot. The reason behind the shooting? They were mistaken for members of the Bloods gang.
What is happening to our city? Do I tell my daughter she can no longer wear her Cornhusker sweatshirt because she might be shot and killed?
I can only look to our city officials for answers. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle must take appropriate steps to stop this from ever happening again. I hope young Mr. Wiseman’s family knows that these senseless crimes will no longer be tolerated.
Patricia Campbell, Springfield, Neb.
Congress helping itself, again
Republicans are insisting that welfare and entitlement programs be an integral part of any fiscal cliff deficit reduction talks with the Democrats.
One has to recall that nearly all Republicans voted to give themselves and other members of Congress welfare in the form of free outpatient medical care at all military hospitals in the Washington, D.C., area.
One can be sure this welfare and entitlement program will never be on the table. There’s so much talk in Washington and so little sincerity and committed action.
Yet, without much thought of the consequences, we re-elect the self-serving time after time. We have only ourselves to blame for allowing our problems to remain unsolved as the personal needs of the rich receive all of the attention and they get richer and richer.
Frank H. Grover II, Glenwood, Iowa
Waiting on edge of the debt cliff
President Barack Obama didn’t alone cause the national debt everyone is crying about. Those who believe he did this to America should breathe in a little fresh air.
The invasion of Iraq and ensuring the safety of Afghanistan didn’t come free. Further back, I recall that President George H.W. Bush said our rush to rescue Kuwait from the invasion by Iraq would cost us nothing because our expenses would be paid with oil. At least he had a plan, whether it worked or not. President George W. Bush just put it on the taxpayers’ backs.
We’re told the debt cliff will be resolved, but only in the last few days or even minutes before the deadline.
What do our members of Congress think? Are they trying to impress us with these antics? I’m not impressed.
Jim Stalker, Creston, Iowa
Being heard at pipeline hearing
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will conduct an informational session and public hearing regarding the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Event Center at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Albion, Neb.
TransCanada wants people to believe it listened to our concerns and has rerouted the pipeline to avoid sensitive areas in the state.
I believe this is wrong. The route in northern Holt County was moved only a few miles. It would still pass through sandy, porous soils and the Ogallala Aquifer.
TransCanada wants people to believe this would be the safest pipeline ever built. Its safety record does not support this. Keystone I in the eastern part of Nebraska leaked numerous times in the first year.
The Keystone XL pipeline would be carrying highly corrosive tar sands mixed with toxic chemicals. This would be an export pipeline with no oil guaranteed for the United States. We are a passageway for TransCanada to get a product to the coastline and exported. Why would we risk the aquifer for this?
Agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry. The aquifer is relied on for this industry. An oil leak in the aquifer would be detrimental to our economy. We cannot risk this.
We need to do all we can to protect our water in this state. We need to all stand together and be heard.
Jackie Kilmurry, Atkinson, Neb.
Standards need to be flexible
A Nov. 24 news story reported that a coalition has proposed that Nebraska’s social studies standards become more specific. Indeed, good standards should be specific enough to avoid vagueness, provide direction and enable measurement of outcomes.
However, too much specificity could take away valuable flexibility. Good teachers make good use of available class time by using examples that are most important and helpful for their students.
An overly lengthy laundry list of specific content in teaching standards could squeeze out anything not on the list. We must trust teachers more than that. Politically motivated bias is a potential problem, no matter how specific the standards become.
For example, the coalition wants to delete any reference to climate change and other elements of human geography, but that would be a mistake. Interrelationships between people and the environment should not be ignored. Such important content can and should be taught in a balanced, unbiased manner.
Charles Austerberry, Omaha
See why America is exceptional
The Rev. Dennis Hamm’s Nov. 27 letter on American exceptionalism demonstrates why that term should be included in Nebraska’s social studies standards for its public schools. Clearly, many adults do not understand the term and concept. Surely, younger students should not suffer the same fate.
American exceptionalism is not about extraordinary beauty, prowess or intellect. As First Principles expert Matthew Spalding put it: “America is exceptional because, unlike any other nation, it is dedicated to the principles of human liberty, grounded on the truths that all men are created equal and endowed with equal rights.”
American exceptionalism is not arrogance. Rather, it is to understand that these American founding principles are the exception in the history of governments. It is to understand the inevitable disagreements our American society will have with other countries, where our thoughts on liberty are unwelcome by government leaders.
It is to understand why communist, fascist and international governments are incompatible with the American principle of “consent of the governed.” It’s to understand that we believe, as Abraham Lincoln said, that the permanent truths given in the Declaration of Independence are applicable to all men and all times.
Excluding the term “exceptionalism” from the state standards only caters to those who did not learn the useful ideas it encapsulates or, worse, caters to those who do not believe in America’s founding principles.
Gene Kelly, Papillion
All will answer for their actions
After reading Michael Zack’s Nov. 24 letter, “GOP cannot legislate morality,” I looked up the word “moral” in my dictionary and found the following definitions:
(1) Of or relating to principles of right and wrong. (2) Conforming to a standard of right behavior.
So, if morality cannot be legislated, what about those laws on the books regarding rape, murder, stealing, perjury and bad business practices? What are they derived from?
Many in society today unfortunately do not want to be subject to a higher authority, whether it be governing officials or, ultimately, our Creator. They try to make irrational arguments to justify their own behavior.
Like it or not, we all will have to answer to God one day for the behavior we exhibited during our limited time on this Earth.
Ross Wunderlich, Lincoln
Changes in climate are routine
Climate change has been happening since the beginning of time. Climate change is normal and natural and will take place until the end of time.
There have been worse superstorms to hit New York City. We have had routine droughts in a routine cycle. There is nothing man can do to change a natural happening.
Harold Frickel, Atkinson, Neb.
More to do after sun goes down
I saw on the Discovery Channel that the sun is expected to burn out in 50 billion years. Do you know what that means? The western section of Nebraska Highway 370 will have to be finished in the dark.
Stacy Applegate, Gretna
Memories of the Dust Bowl days
Women hung wet sheets over their windows during the Dust Bowl to keep the dust out. If the sheets were red, the dust was coming from Oklahoma. If they were black, the dust was from the Dakotas.
It reminded me of the day in the 1930s when my folks said it rained blood in Shenandoah, Iowa. It was raindrops carrying Oklahoma dust.
Tom Black, West Point, Neb.
We’ll miss Mt. Fuji restaurant
First it was the Grass Shack on 33rd and California Streets. For students at Tech High, that was the place to go. The Kayas were great people.
The food at Mt. Fuji was awesome. With Carol Kaya Mudra a classmate and helping on our Class of 1963 reunions, we were blessed when she brought Mt. Fuji snacks to meetings.
As we get older, things from our past cannot go on. We are left only with memories. It is sad the Mt. Fuji Inn has to close Dec. 31, but everyone will remain in our hearts and minds. I thank them for being there.
Connie Dohse Ross, Omaha
New home for Doc Sadler
It was so nice to see former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler on the bench in his new role at the University of Kansas. Talk about going from the outhouse to the penthouse.
Janice Mohs, Omaha