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THE PUBLIC PULSE

THE PUBLIC PULSE

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McPherson's best option: resign as urged

Whoever wrote the "half breed" comments on Pat McPherson's blog is in need of a reality check.

As a country we are becoming more diverse. That comment might have been acceptable back in the 1800s, but now we all stand together as equals.

Six of the other State Board of Education members have requested his resignation. Even our governor and other officeholders would like him to resign. I believe it is in McPherson's best interests to follow their requests.

Nick Quails,Omaha

McPherson's best option: fight for values

Make no mistake, Pat McPherson's election to the State Board of Education ruffled feathers worse than anything you can imagine.

Pat doesn't have a racist bone in his body. He does have an abiding distaste for government waste. He ran on that ideal and won. What the board has is an abiding distaste for anyone with the temerity to question the liberal bias of the Nebraska State Education Association and, worse, to beat their hand-picked liberal.

Someone else, not Pat, posted the offending comments on his blog. It was wrong. But even so, that someone is an American and has the right to do so.

McPherson should hang in there and fight — for our children who are being shortchanged by the NSEA and Common Core, and for common-sense Nebraska values.

John G. Smith,Omaha

Draft would chill those beating war drum

Sunday morning, John McCain said on a television talk show that he thought it would be necessary for our military to engage and destroy the Islamic State, or ISIS. The problem is that our military is over-stressed from fighting two wars already.

We have asked enough from these underpaid and underappreciated members of our military. They do not get the medical care they need, then they must wait years for Veterans Affairs to decide on benefits. When the rubber meets the road, they are forgotten.

If the Islamic State is such a problem, let's have a draft again. No exemptions. All citizens, no matter their age, who have never served in the military should be drafted, including members of Congress. They can see what war is like: the low pay, the terrible medical care and the difficulty of getting VA benefits.

I believe this will end talk of our troops engaging in another war that can't be won.

Charles Marcinek,Omaha

Treat stay-at-home moms fairly

I am concerned that the push to spend additional tax dollars on child care — as President Barack Obama called for in his State of the Union address — will once again forget the mothers who have chosen to stay home with their children and live on just one family income.

The cost for these families is real as well.

If there is a credit given, it should be for all children of any age requiring care, within certain income limits.

My wife chose to stay home with our children, giving up her income and living on less. No regrets, but we need to be fair to all families.

Thomas Gilmore,Omaha

Debt is choking college students, nation

The "high" in higher education is cost. Not many businesses price themselves out of their own market, but colleges are. With help. How did this happen? In the 1950s, state legislatures and Congress declared that the most important investment in our nation's future was building young people's talents through advanced education. Priorities shifted. Now financing education is just another state-federal expense.

When college budget requests were not met by legislatures, a pattern began. Regents approved modest tuition raises. These compounded. Now tuition runs way ahead of general inflation.

Along came government-supported student loans. Once, students could pay off their debt without seriously delaying post-graduation plans. No longer. The financial squeeze is immediate, restricting purchases of goods and startups of businesses. It's surprising that the business community hasn't lobbied for greater tax support of higher education to reduce the drag of student debt on the national economy.

Too late to stop this train wreck? It will take joint action by academic leaders, legislators and the business community. Nebraska's temporary hold on tuition and President Obama's proposal to make community colleges tuition-free are only small starts.

If the U.S. wishes to regain a world leadership position in education, then more creative, sustained investment will be required — from taxes and the private sector, not students.

Lavon Sumption,Lincoln

Play fair in debate over video slot game

Regarding the proposal in the Legislature to crack down on the "Skill Touch" video slot machine game (Jan. 26 World-Herald):

Sen. Paul Schumacher, whose company operates keno games for municipalities, has an obvious conflict of interest. No elected official should be allowed to use his public office to further his private business.

Ben Heald,Bellevue

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