Some hope springs from deal with Iran
Does any reasonable person in this country really want to go to war with Iran? That's where we're headed if some Republicans, a few Democrats and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu have their way.
This group drumming up the threat of a nuclear Iran has no credibility. These are some of the same people who gave us the Iraq disaster by insisting that getting rid of Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction would solve all of the problems of the Middle East.
The negotiations of the United States and five other world powers with Iran have led to a deal on Iran's nuclear program that looks hopeful for the first time. When the final details are hammered out, the prospects are good that Iran would not be building nuclear weapons and would permit inspections to assure others that they do not cheat.
It would be a tragedy if the negotiations are sabotaged before they are given a chance to succeed. Hard-liners in Iran, Israel and this country will try. The most fervor will come from those congressional Republicans whose main purpose seems to be to thwart anything President Barack Obama tries to accomplish.
Read the fine print on any Iran deal
Thanks to The World-Herald for publishing in digestible form the outline of the nuclear agreement with Iran. While many observers hail the foundational framework as much better than anticipated, I follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer as being cautiously optimistic, because the devil is truly in the details.
The notion of stripping Iran of the capability of enriching uranium was, and still is, unrealistic. After all, the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty ensures signatory nations the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
Iran's acceptance of what President Obama calls "the most intrusive inspection regime in history" provides the capability to closely monitor compliance. This provision alone should temper those who advocate military strikes — as temporal as that action may be.
While not perfect, the framework represents a good start toward limiting Iran's nuclear ambitions. However, missteps and bellicose rhetoric can gum up the works.
Augustus 0. Wills,Bellevue
Trusting Iran or Hillary is really hard
Given Iran's record of duplicity, if there is anyone out there, including this bunch of empty suits in the White House, who really thinks Iran will comply substantially with any proposed agreement curtailing their nuclear weapons ambitions, I have some choice oceanfront property for sale near beautiful downtown Shenandoah.
I would make the same offer to anyone who thinks Hilliary Clinton has been completely truthful about the handling of her email accounts while secretary of state, the bungling of the Benghazi embassy debacle or just about anything else for that matter.
P.L. Butcher,Shenandoah, Iowa
'You can't negotiate with terrorists'
There is a saying that has stood the test of time: You can't negotiate with terrorists.
Negotiation assumes some level of trust on both sides of the table.
Unfortunately, President Obama seems more interested in a short-term legacy as an international peacemaker. My fear is that his lasting legacy will be one of disasters.
Special interests again speak loudest
Any Nebraska state senators who vote for increasing the gasoline tax — who also voted against repeal of the motorcycle helmet law — will show the people of Nebraska who they really represent.
These senators (largely from the Omaha metro area and Lincoln) have no problem voting against a bill that would potentially boost economic activity in rural and western Nebraska but won't give a second thought about raising the gas tax statewide to pay to fix their roads.
These senators are more concerned with making their special-interest groups happy than representing the citizens in their district. They will probably be the ones talking loudest about how we need to alter voter-imposed term limits.
Please remember this at election time. I will.
Not expanding Medicaid is expensive
Red states are not pro-life or pro-family when they refuse to expand Medicaid pursuant to Obamacare.
In our dysfunctional health care system, maternity and neonatal care have become unaffordablefor uninsured parents. Leaving 54,000 low-income Nebraskans uninsured means that more pregnant women must delay marriage and full-time employment to qualify for Medicaid deliveries. Often, that is the only way they can complete their pregnancies without risking medical bankruptcy.
It also means more senior citizens are cohabiting or divorcing, so one partner can qualify for Medicaid during a later disability or nursing-home confinement without medically bankrupting the other. Medical bankruptcy impoverishes far more Nebraska families than the inheritance tax on millionaires' estates.
Think of medical bankruptcy as a very regressive marriage tax on low-income families, and "thank" the GOP for making it more common in Nebraska.
City's pothole inaction proving costly
Abouta month ago, I wasjustdrivingdown the street behind a line of cars, when suddenly — BOOM — I hit a pothole while going the speed limit. I made it about two more blocks before realizing something had happened to my tire. The rim was so badly damaged that it took almost an hour to even get the tire off.
The City of Omaha has a responsibility to its residents to make sure the streets are safe to drive on and that we are not incurring unnecessary expenses due to neglect of this issue. The city's failure to fix the potholes in a timely manner and their continued excuses for why they are not fixing them are costing Omaha taxpayers money. Damage is being done to vehicles that is sometimes expensive, and the city should be taking responsibility for these damages and reimbursing for expenses incurred due to potholes.
It is time that we, the residents of Omaha, take a stand and make the city pay for the damage the pothole issue is causing to our vehicles that they neglect to fix. We need to question, "Where are our tax dollars going if not to make our streets safe and drivable?"
This is also a matter of safety. A person could be in an accident after hitting a pothole or by trying to avoid hitting one.
Melanie M. Jackson,Omaha
It's important we rise above the hate
Anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head again, especially in Europe. Why? I do not understand hate, no matter what race, faith or marriage preference.
America, let's rise above any hate we have for anyone. We are not so great. Check history and read what we did to destroy the Indians. They owned this country. Then there are the black people who were forced by some of their own people into slavery.
I have always been a very strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. I love a Jew; his name is Jesus.
Far-right complaint rings a little hollow
It's always interesting to listen to those Christians, on the far right, who complain of government invading their personal lives, yet many of these same people are eager to push their religious values and beliefs upon all of us.
Thomas Majeski,Ashland, Neb.
Our thoughts aren't the word of God
I strongly affirm our open debate on same-sex committed relationships. Our culture is changing, and we should be involved.
As a pastor, I wince whenever anyone implies that any opinion is the "pure" word of God. Not. Our words are human. Humility in stating our thoughts would greatly improve communication. God is not limited to my friends. I must listen intently to what others discover in a passage. We easily make our thoughts to be God's word.
For example, some say God set one way of marriage in Scripture. I hope not. Scripture includes marriage with polygamy, with concubines providing extra children, and with the male in absolute control. An early model was simply a property arrangement. Divorce came when the husband stepped out of his tent and loudly announced it.
Or, we hear the Bible prohibits same-sex families. Well, since there is not a single reference to same-sex committed relationships, that would be hard to find.
Or that the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman. No, but I prefer that working definition and years ago joined others to define marriage that way and to state that civil unions could be licensed and accorded the full rights of the married group. The public did not agree.
All nine scriptures on same-sex activities oppose lust, promiscuous behavior, using another person for pleasure. That does not define same-sex marriage! Nor do the hundreds of passages about heterosexual lust and promiscuous behavior define our marriages.