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The Public Pulse, April 24

The Public Pulse, April 24

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Showing unity in Boston crisis

It is near midnight, April 19, 2013, and yet another day we will all remember, recalling those who brought an extremely difficult day to an end. The efforts of countless Americans are deserving of gratitude.

This was possible due to the teamwork, cooperation and uncommon efforts of the police, FBI, all law enforcement agencies, ambulance and medical personnel, the U.S. military, state, county and city officials — the Americans working together with love for our country.

My thoughts are many, but one supersedes at this time: Do you think even one of these Americans questioned the politics of those working selflessly side by side while facing the unknown, very dangerous enemy?

Americans deserve better than what our politicians are offering to us in the name of serving our country. These recent days are a wake-up call. Look for an answer in the eyes of our younger future generations, and have some prayerful thoughts.

The time is now, fellow Americans. God bless America!

Mary Kay Duckworth, Omaha

Police performed well in Boston

Congratulations to all of the law enforcement agencies involved in the cleanup of the bombing incident in Boston. This proves what good police work can do.

Bill Fead, Omaha

Focus on fighting terrorism

Isn’t it time for bureaucrats in Washington to stop spending time and money worrying about law-abiding Americans buying guns for protection from people like the Boston bombers and to start spending more of that capital on identifying people like the Boston bombers who want to terrify law-abiding Americans?

Bill Allen, Blue Springs, Neb.

Vote defended 2nd Amendment

The U.S. Senate vote against the gun bill was not a vote against former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords or the victims at Newtown.

It was not a vote for gun manufacturers or the NRA. It was a vote for the Second Amendment.

It seems many people who write to the Public Pulse are not able to understand that concept, but thankfully we have enough senators with sense to know the difference.

Alan Seybert, Omaha

Johanns cites 2nd Amendment

Some recent letters in the Public Pulse section have mischaracterized U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns’ position on gun control.

He has always been a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, which is why he could not support proposals in the Senate that compromised our right to bear arms. He did, however, support several proposals that would have responsibly addressed gun violence.

We owe it to victims of gun violence to pass laws that actually address the causes of these senseless acts rather than focusing on symbolic legislation that fails to achieve its goal.

For these reasons, Johanns co-sponsored an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa that would have actually taken steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. It would have increased prosecution and strengthened penalties for violations of current gun laws, improved school security and advanced efforts to address mental illnesses.

Johanns believes the best way to prevent gun violence is to address its underlying causes, not to place a heavier burden on law-abiding citizens. He will continue to support responsible legislation to reduce gun violence without surrendering our right to bear arms.

Natalie Krings, Lincoln

Nebraska press secretary

for U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns

Equal rights for all Americans

Much debate has gone on about Christian morals and beliefs, and same-sex couples getting married.

Let’s stop calling them same-sex couples for a second and call them American citizens. All American citizens should have the same rights as any other American citizen, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity and, yes, even religion and sexual orientation.

No American citizen’s rights overshadow another’s rights. This isn’t a debate about one’s morals or beliefs. Our government has a duty to serve all citizens exactly the same.

After Sept. 11, 2001, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and took an oath to defend the rights and freedoms of all American citizens, not just some of them. My wife and I, as citizens, had the right to get married. Our three children have that same right. No American has the power to deny my children that right, even if my sons or daughter grow to love another individual of the same sex.

You can disagree. I disagree with a church congregation standing outside a fallen service member’s funeral and holding signs applauding that hero’s death. But, as I said, I took an oath to defend the rights and freedoms of all American citizens, not just some of them. So did our elected officials.

John C. Ingraham, Omaha

Same-sex couples, same rights

Elmer Murman’s April 21 Pulse letter hit some interesting points about the same-sex marriage debate. Different dictionaries define words differently. One popular online dictionary has seven different definitions for “marriage,” and they aren’t gender-exclusive. The word “marriage” is not copyrighted, trademarked or otherwise owned by the heterosexual community.

Furthermore, it’s insulting to argue that same-sex marriage is a desire for immediate gratification. Edie Windsor, a plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court gay-marriage case, and her partner were engaged for 40 years before marrying. There’s nothing immediate nor gratifying about waiting that long for the legal right to marry the person you love.

Our society doesn’t limit who can have children. That shouldn’t suddenly change when same-sex couples are concerned. Same-sex couples must go through extreme lengths and high costs to have children — and many of us do so because we aren’t allowed to adopt.

This country’s child welfare system is over capacity. Children bounce in and out of foster care. If people really cared about these children’s welfare, they would allow same-sex couples to get married, serve as foster parents and adopt children.

Many same-sex couples would make devoted, loving partners and parents — if only society would stop its same-sex witch hunt and let us live our lives in happily, wedded peace and quiet.

Andy Melichar, Omaha

Chained CPI formula unfair

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama included cuts to the Social Security cost-of-living adjustments in his recent budget. Republicans in Congress have called for such cuts as well.

These cuts, in the form of the chained CPI formula, would have a negative impact on the 308,790 Social Security beneficiaries in Nebraska, as well the rest of the country. They are also totally unnecessary.

Although the president’s budget will not be voted on, and he has assured us it must be as a whole package, not just cuts to Social Security, there is cause for concern that a “grand bargain” coming down the pike would include similar cuts and impact retirees significantly.

The chained CPI formula for calculating Social Security cost-of-living adjustments does not reflect the economic activity of seniors, and it amounts to immediate benefit cuts for current beneficiaries. Estimates are that someone who retires this year would lose more than $6,000 in benefits over 15 years if the chained CPI were in effect, because it would decrease the already low cost-of-living inflationary protections.

Social Security benefits are modest by any measure. The average annual benefit in Nebraska is under $12,954. Why do some in Washington want to balance the budget on the backs of those who can afford it the least?

Al Mumm, Omaha

President, Nebraska Alliance

for Retired Americans

Missing Jazz on the Green roots

A lot of people in Omaha like to attend jazz concerts — so many, in fact, that several years ago, Joslyn Art Museum officials thought too many people were attending the Jazz on the Green series.

After 25 years at Joslyn, a new home was found for Jazz on the Green, ultimately at Midtown Crossing. Midtown Crossing has plenty of space and many people like it there, but there’s no reason Midtown Crossing can’t have its own jazz series or incorporate jazz into its summer lineup.

For longtime Jazz on the Green attendees, the new Jazz simply isn’t the same. Back when it was at the Joslyn Art Museum, my family and I went all the time. My parents started attending back in the 1980s. Our family liked to go into the museum, before the show or during intermission, and look at our favorite pieces.

During the concert we had fun sitting by the statues or under my mom’s company tent, having lots of snacks. My brother and I would often dance on the Joslyn stairs as the music played. Jazz on the Green was born at Joslyn; it’s time to bring it home.

Steve Nicholls, Omaha

Strangers rushed to help hubby

Last Friday afternoon, my 86-year-old husband was picking up small branches on our deck. He fell backward and hit his head on the metal edge of the storm door.

When I got to the door, two men were at the deck steps to help him. They had been driving by and saw him fall and hit his head. They helped him get up and into the house.

We are really grateful these two good men happened by. I’m sorry I did not get their names. Thank you to whoever you are.

June Karr, Omaha

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