Safety for us all
Besides the terrible tragedy of the more than 700,000 Americans who have died from COVID, I am dismayed by the selfish, ignorant and dishonest behavior exhibited by so many.
People don’t understand that getting a vaccine or wearing a mask is as much about our collective society as it is a personal benefit. A healthy person needs to get the vaccine because, despite these advantages, she could still contract the disease and infect someone else who isn’t as fortunate. A classroom of students should mask up because someone could be immunocompromised. It is about all of us. It is not anyone’s right to defy mandates or recommendations. This “freedom” could kill someone else.
I have the greatest contempt for the people who know the seriousness of how COVID is spread but continue to be dishonest. These are the Republican governors who refuse to mandate masks and go so far as to abolish local governments from enforcing them; this, despite the rising sickness in their state!
These governors will tell us that they are respecting people’s constitutional rights. I don’t know of any constitutional right that endangers others. A good example here is laws against driving intoxicated.
These leaders have a very selfish motive: They are thinking of their future with Trump and his voters! Ultimately, this dishonesty further perpetuates selfishness and ignorance in the people of their state — and leads to more deaths.
Charlotte Shields, Papillion
Biden’s huge failure
Michael Barone’s recent commentary on policy arguments vs the “Bad Orange Man” is correct. Senator Biden was a moderate liberal 20 years ago; as president he has completely acquiesced to the progressive/socialist wing of his party. Examples are his trillions of dollars of new spending, including the massive proposed $3.5 trillion expansion of the welfare and entitlement state. Much of this is targeted to the middle and even upper-middle class. This, when we have both Social Security and particularly Medicare facing an inability to meet future obligations. The assertion that this will paid for by taxes on the rich and corporations is utter nonsense.
More than 1 million new illegal immigrants have crossed the border, few of them screened for COVID, and many released with court dates that few bother to show up for. The chaos has allowed the drug cartels to greatly increase the smuggling of illegal drugs into our country, including fentanyl. This is a national security issue.
President Biden has a duty and obligation to enforce immigration laws and secure the border. He has failed miserably at both.
Victor Massara, Omaha
This month my family is paying nearly $600 to repair sidewalks in front of our house. It is a modest home of about 900 square feet with a partially finished basement. We are first-time homebuyers and first-generation college graduates. We still owe approximately $80,0000 in student loans even though we have both paid for 21 years on that debt.
Why am I telling you this? I am furious because I know homeowners in some wealthy neighborhoods either don’t have sidewalks or do not maintain them properly. I believe everyone deserves access to quality sidewalks, I just don’t think it should on the backs of the lower middle class. My neighbors are retired school teachers and social workers, not big business and people rich enough to keep sidewalks and outsiders out of their neighborhoods.
The inequality is egregious and I am sick of it. Of course it is only the tip of the iceberg. It is time that this city does better for everyone. It is time to stop carrying the rich; someone forgot to tell them there is no free lunch. They are the freeloaders, and we should all be closing the gate on their largess.
Crystal Edwards, Omaha
In his Oct.6 Pulse letter, Msgr. Paul K. Witt repeated the myth that “All a fertilized egg ... needs to be born is time and nourishment.” This is as debatable as the content of communion wafers.
According to relevant Wikipedia articles, embryo wastage is a very natural part of human reproduction. At least half of human zygotes naturally fail to implant, often due to genetic flaws or poor timing. Of the remaining early pregnancies, about 5% are ectopic (doomed), and still more include a twin that naturally fails to develop. At least 20% of uterine pregnancies spontaneously miscarry, and another 20% to 30% are aborted.
Abortion rates are actually higher in countries with abortion bans, possibly because sex education and access to contraception are also limited. With or without an abortion ban, less than a third of zygotes reach viability.
Anti-choice clergymen, lobbyists and legislators who do not understand such basics of human reproduction must not be allowed to dictate reproductive health care policy.
B.K. Chaney, Omaha
Abortion, church history
One may quote all the poetic passages one likes, but the biblical law is clear: A fetus is not a human being. Rabbinic and Talmudic sources are consistent on this topic.
The Bible nowhere discusses voluntary abortion; however, since at least the existence of midwives, induced abortion has been known. The fact that a practice that existed at least 3,500 years ago (the first mention from Egypt before the Exodus) means there is little chance that the writers of Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers weren’t aware of it. Interestingly, most criminal penalties against abortion in the ancient world have to do with the paternal rights of the male partner, not the fetus. The early Christian Fathers were not of one mind about abortion, or when exactly a fetus became a human being.
Criminalizing abortions doesn’t result in fewer abortions, just more deaths. What does result in fewer abortions is comprehensive, age-appropriate reproductive education K through 12. Education also results in a significant reduction in STDs, teen pregnancy, an average two-year delay in the onset of sexual activity, a significantly reduced lifetime number of sexual partners, and less child poverty.
Richard Lane Bailey, Plattsmouth, Neb.
Dems have work to do
I want to take a moment to thank Lou Totilas (Oct. 12 Public Pulse, “Yes, do your job”) for so clearly laying out what so many of us feel. Thanks, Lou.
Jerome Boyle, Omaha
No default ahead
Don’t be misguided by the propaganda coming from the press and Democrats about the debt ceiling. America will not default on its debt. America has not paid anything against the national debt for decades, and only pays interest on that debt. Your taxes to the government are about $320 billion a month, with $44 billion a month ($528 billion a year) going to interest — that is called servicing the debt. The remaining $276 billion a month is more than enough to pay Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the military, welfare, etc.
One option Democrats have to extend the debt limit is by using budget reconciliation — without a single Republican vote. They won’t do it. Why? Two reasons: 1) Keep the division and distrust between the two parties and their constituents; 2) Budget reconciliation is limited in how many times it is used each year. They’re saving it to ram through massive spending bills — increasing the national debt further.
Finally, politicians on both sides are hypocrites, denouncing debt ceiling extension when they are the minority. Example: Then-Sen. Joe Biden voted against extending the debt limit on three separate occasions when George W. Bush was president.
Dennis Swanson, Glenwood, Iowa
I see Gov. Ricketts has made a boondoggle to the border. How many times, before his term as governor is over, are Nebraska taxpayers going to have to foot the bill for Gov. Ricketts’ adventures in Texas? Does he think all the taxpayers in Nebraska are stupid and can’t see that the only purpose for his “concern” about the border of Texas is what it can do for his political future? There are plenty of issues in Nebraska where our state’s money that he is spending in Texas — $500,000 and counting — could be used.