NRA prevailed over reason
What can you say? Money wins elections. Politicians want to be re-elected. The NRA and the gun lobby have money, lots of it.
This combination of cold, hard facts is the only plausible explanation as to how 46 U.S. senators could have looked grieving parents right in the eye and voted “no” on a bill that would have strengthened background checks for gun buyers.
This mild-mannered bill would have been only a small “baby step” toward reasonable gun control, but even that was too much. Hopefully, the nation now will join President Barack Obama, who declared it a “shameful day for Washington,” and put a stop to this country's endless Wild West gun culture.
Gary Runyan, Omaha
Neb. senators on wrong side
Shame, shame, shame on U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer for not standing up to the NRA on background checks.
Don O'Neill, Omaha
Gun vote and D.C. dysfunction
The Senate's rejection of expanded background checks for gun purchases shows how dysfunctional Congress is.
If 20 dead children can't motivate senators to pass the mildest of the gun reforms that was offered, then nothing can. These 46 senators showed they were much more concerned about keeping their jobs than doing the right thing for the country.
Republicans couldn't get their amendments passed, either, because of the 60-vote requirement agreed to in the Senate.
We need term limits for Congress. Polls show record levels of disapproval of the performance of Congress, yet the same members keep getting re-elected. Term limits take out good people as well as bad, but that's the price to be paid to reform an institution that is broken.
Reform of Senate filibuster rules is also needed. Perhaps a new group of senators would be willing to do that.
In any event, the status quo is unacceptable. We elect people to get things done, not just continue to be in office.
Tim Potter, Omaha
Obama 'hissy-fit' hypocritical
My lifetime spans from President Franklin Roosevelt's administration.
Yet, with the possible exception of Richard Nixon, I do not recall any president having a public hissy-fit such as Barack Obama displayed Wednesday after the Senate failed to pass his pet gun control bill.
He even went so far as to refer to gun rights groups that oppose his gun control policies as willful liars. Of course, that is a subject in which he is well-versed.
Max R. Moore, Bellevue
Boston bombs and gun control
Soon we'll be registering pressure cookers, ball bearings and nails. You think I jest? If guns kill, then so do each of the above, as do hammers, bats, knives and cords.
While Boston, Sandy Hook, Von Maur and the others are inexplicably sickening acts of horror, they resulted from human sickos, not from the above inanimate objects.
Ted Quick, Omaha
Most want background checks
Interesting. Ninety percent of Americans support background checks for gun purchases, but the Senate voted it down.
No doubt we will be hearing lots of excuses in the next few days about this or that being inadequate in the bill. That just sounds to me like code words for inaction.
Our senators love to talk about representing us. Apparently not. Heaven forbid our senators upset the 10 percent who are their major campaign contributors.
Sarah Newman, Omaha
Suttle saved city, made it better
Vince Emmanuel's April 16 letter was long on criticism but short on perspective or real facts.
The winter of 2009-10 was a particularly bad winter that no municipality would have done a perfect job on. The subsequent winters have proven Mayor Jim Suttle's snow removal plans to be effective.
Emmanuel's opinions about pay for staff seemed conveniently inaccurate as well. Suttle hired fewer people and paid them accordingly, which saves on benefit costs, and we have seen the return in efficiency.
That is why some of them got raises after wearing more than one hat, saving citizens money. City officials also played a role in saving downtown and the airport from a historic flood that could have ruined the first College World Series in the new stadium.
If Emmanuel wants to vote for Jean Stothert, that is his right, and his opinion is most definitely his to hold and share. If Stothert or her supporters need to take credit for Suttle's accomplishments, distort facts or deny his role in positive changes, then my fellow Republican critics are right that Stothert will do anything to win an election and does not deserve to hold the office.
Douglas J. Barak, Omaha
Loss of trees a blow to Dundee
I'm confused and angry about the programmed destruction of a good portion of our trees around the intersection of 50th Street and Underwood Avenue in Omaha.
I know it's too late to halt the demolition, but I don't know anybody in Dundee who is happy about this.
Who decided this? Does this person even live here? Nobody who cares about Dundee would consciously disfigure the landscape for a few parking spots. Where did this sudden need for extra parking come from?
Dundee is doing just fine. The trees gave this neighborhood the quaintness and beauty that made us love living here.
Thanks, City of Omaha. By the time your replacement trees grow up, I will be dead.
Alek Erickson, Omaha
Faster action needed on streets
Well, here we are. Another early spring in Omaha and another season of hoping that my car does not fall apart due to potholes.
It seems to me that every year the pothole situation gets worse and worse.
Omaha's population is growing. That means there are more cars. That means there is more wheel tax revenue coming into the city to supposedly fix our streets. So why do they seem to get worse every year?
Driving on 72nd Street from Dodge Street to Ames Avenue, either way, is like trying to navigate a minefield. The potholes on Fort Street by the Humane Society are so big that they are thinking of annexing Omaha. They were still there after calls to the city's roads hotline.
Can Mayor Suttle keep at least one promise and get the streets repaired?
Bob Wynn, Omaha
Jasso the candidate for the job
After listening to J.R. Jasso speak at our Old Market South Neighborhood Association meeting, I am convinced he would make an outstanding City Councilman in District 3.
He would bring not only a renewed sense of character, integrity and leadership but also a sincere passion and desire to serve and listen to the people of Omaha.
After four years of City Councilman Chris Jerram, a change is needed.
Charlie Aliano, Omaha
Senator represents Sarpy well
Kudos to State Sen. Bill Kintner for representing the people of Sarpy County in their dislike of the Learning Community.
Sarpy County school districts have spent generations improving their schools to be among the best in the country. If Omaha Public Schools is unable to manage its schools and budgets more wisely, then why are only Douglas and Sarpy Counties required by the Learning Community to give financial help?
If we're all in this together, then why isn't every school district in every county of the state asked to contribute?
Jerry C. Anderson, Papillion
Times are tough; travel thriftily
Shame on Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.
He is against expanding Nebraska's Medicaid program. He said, and I quote, “We cannot be all things to all people.”
However, Heineman is OK with spending $2.2 million to buy an airplane for his services. I believe more people having access to health care is more important than the governor flying around Nebraska. This is so hypocritical it is laughable.
The governor should get a car and see the state and the people he serves on four wheels. No one in this state needs to see him so badly that he needs to spend millions of dollars on this plane.
He can't be everything to all people.
Janice Mohs, Omaha
All that glitters is not black gold
It's been said that the oil in the Keystone XL pipeline would be piped to a refinery in Texas and then sold to a foreign country.
So how would that help the United States become more energy-independent? All the United States would get is another messy pipeline that is bound to leak sooner or later.
Why doesn't Canada build its own refinery and send the product through a pipeline west to a seaport in beautiful British Columbia? The Canadians could then sell it to Far East countries that badly need oil.
Will Maack, Omaha
Fonda added insult to injury
Hanoi Jane Fonda had this advice to Vietnam veterans who planned to boycott an upcoming movie of hers: “Get a life.”
The lives I remember are those of the prisoners, some of whom were friends of mine, who were tortured to death by the North Vietnamese after Fonda's visit to North Vietnam during the war.
They can't get a life. Fonda is a traitor.
Jim Malone, Omaha
Duffers' beverage cart of youth
During the Masters, many were amazed that Fred Couples was 53 years old.
What does that make the old Benson guys who have been playing golf together now for 14 years? With Max McIntyre, 88, and John Pestal, 84, the rest of the guys are 83 and 82.
We will probably play just another 10 years, when we're starting to get old.
Jerry Green, Omaha