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The Public Pulse: Unfair tax; False equivalence in political dialogue; What's next?

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LB 873

Gov. Pete Ricketts signed LB 873, a bill that contains a provision to eliminate all Nebraska state taxes on Social Security benefits by 2025. This is a monumental victory for Nebraska’s Social Security recipients who will now be able to keep more of their hard-earned Social Security benefits.

This is particularly important for older Nebraskans on fixed incomes at a time when we see inflation and rising costs for necessities like housing, food and prescription drugs.

AARP Nebraska has fought to eliminate this unfair tax for many years, and we are pleased to finally get it over the finish line. We appreciate the bipartisan support in the Legislature for this provision and thank Sen. Brett Lindstrom for introducing the bill for many years.

David Holmquist, Omaha

State president, AARP Nebraska

False equivalence

This is in response to Tom Anderson (Pulse, May 11): He equivocated Putin’s war crimes to that of the Republican Party. This is such an affront to those poor souls in the Ukraine.

This so minimizes their suffering and death and equates it to political differences in America. I don’t know if he truly believes this, or he got this from an internet meme that created a yuk-yuk factor in him. It’s not clever, but it’s so callus.

Pete Menks, Omaha

What’s next?

So what’s next if the White evangelicals and Trumpers take away the freedom of women making their own decisions about their bodies?

Will condoms and birth control be next?

Then what? No cussing in public? Mandatory prayer in schools?

Why do those who think they are morally superior try and cram their morality down everyone else’s throats?

Remember division of church and state? Stop pushing your religious beliefs on others.

It’s really none of your business.

Cindy Sass, Omaha

3 million questions

Please tell me the details as to how it might cost up to $3 million to turn Farnam Street into two-way. Two stoplights to reprogram? Signs to take down? Markings on the street to be painted over?

Dean Hayes, Bellevue

Personal liberty

Randy Moody’s Midlands Voices article “How Meyer v. Nebraska and the 14th Amendment are tied to Roe v. Wade” alone is worth a year’s OWH subscription fees.

Mr. Moody’s excellent explanation of the potential cost to all of us — the threat to our liberty — that is at stake if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Most of us only know a world where our liberty has been the law of the land due to the decision in Meyer.

For those that missed Mr. Moody’s excellent explanation, the Supreme Court found in 1923 that liberty “[w]ithout doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

Over time and through decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, “free men” have been determined to include people of color and women as well. Fellow citizens, I hope you voted on May 10 and will vote in November.

Marcia Anderson, Omaha

Formula shortage

It is amazing to me that the government is more concerned of a woman’s right to abortion than the rights of a woman to be able to feed her baby.

What is happening regarding the shortage of formula on the shelves is a travesty, This is a situation that — for once — needs the government to step in and fix. They do not seem to have a problem with sticking their noses in regarding other issues that they shouldn’t, but are totally silent on the formula issue.

Denise Fullford, Omaha

Fundamental right to life

The draft of a Supreme Court decision should never have been leaked. The integrity of the court’s decision process was degraded by this. Someone probably needs to be fired somewhere. This is regardless of what the case was about, or the opinion of the person(s) who leaked it, or how the case might be decided.

This being said, if Roe v. Wade is overturned it would be one of the best moments in American history. The fundamental right to life, not to mention simple justice, that Roe v. Wade took away from babies in 1973, will be restored. That decision invented a “right” out of thin air. This is not the job of the courts, but of Congress. That’s basic Constitutional law. A good number of abortion supporters even say Roe v. Wade is bad law.

I wasn’t surprised when the pro-abortion crowds were chanting “my body, my choice.” That is, at best, a tragic misunderstanding and, at worst, an outright lie. The unborn child is not the mother’s body. The unborn child is his/her own separate, unique body. The fact that the unborn child cannot live outside his/her mother is moot in this argument. It’s way past time the Supreme Court corrects that tragic mistake.

Joe Mlnarik, Omaha

Better recycling

I agree with Claire Bingaman (Pulse, May 11) that we need to do better at recycling. Although bottle bills have resulted in improving recycling beverage containers, they create some other issues.

It is somewhat disgusting when the bill asks that you return those dirty empty containers to your grocery store. You are bringing your garbage to a building that sanitation is extremely important. The smell of rancid beer, alcohol, sugar, milk, etc. is quite disgusting and attracts rodents, cockroaches and other critters that you probably do not want hanging around your groceries.

There is the inherent cost of processing rebates, added accounting and storage. How much of this recycled garbage still ends up in the landfill? Omaha’s recyclers has oft times talked that the market value for recycled goods does not cover their costs.

The state of Washington makes it clear that if food and beverage containers have not been emptied and thoroughly washed before putting them in recycle bins, the recycler sends them to the landfill. There is a reason only 10 states have some form of bottle bill.

Lets try this: put all liquids in refillable bottles with a deposit. And while we are at it, let’s outlaw plastic bags and use paper only. Trees planted for production of paper products mature in a relative short period of time, are environmentally friendly and a very sustainable product.

Larry Humberstone, Omaha

Supreme Court

I am angry and appalled at the news that the Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade. The majority of both Republicans and Democrats believe abortion is a choice to be made by a woman with her doctor. Excluding rape and incest is unconscionable.

What a travesty and joke the Supreme Court has become. All they are now are lackeys for the ultra-wealthy and the far-right. They plan to overturn Roe v. Wade. What’s next? Contraception? Same-sex marriage? Inter-racial marriage?

How naïve I once was — I respected the Supreme Court. Now, I see them as bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Maybe all their deliberations should be made public before the actual decision is announced. Maybe they themselves need some oversight. Maybe we no longer need a Supreme Court at all.

Kathy Gruba, Hastings

Business as usual

It begs to reason how Republican-controlled states, including Nebraska, can join other states in lawsuits against President Biden for suspending new gas lease sales, due to the effect on climate change.

Or how Brenda Masek (“Harmful practices,” May 11), called out the Nebraska Investment Council for funding “a minimum of $100 million to Genstar Capital, a firm promoting cattle divestment through their ownership of institutional Shareholder Service. This service actively promotes environmental, social, governance policies which advocate for limitations on methane gases and places undue burden on the US cattle industry.”

What is it about climate change that these people do not understand? What do they think causes record temperatures, record drought, record wildfires, rising sea levels and melting of the Arctic ice shelf? Do they think we can just go on, business as usual?

Patricia Fuller, Council Bluffs

Question for Pillen

I’m curious, since Jim Pillen wouldn’t debate since he believed the supposed liberal Nebraska media would do him wrong, is he refuting the Associated Press calling the primary for him? The press always lies, right? Sad to see so many Nebraskans duped.

Michael Zack, Omaha

The greatest gift

Life is the greatest gift that God has bestowed on human beings. We have no right to destroy it. That’s why “Thou shall not kill” is one of the Ten Commandments from God.

Janet Haney, Omaha

Keep abortion legal

I understand The Public Pulse is an opinion page and Paul Koehler, in his recent letter (“Safe Abortions?”), is entitled to his, but not his own facts. Legal abortions are safer than childbirth and other common procedures such as colonoscopies and tonsillectomies. There are also no long-term health risks associated with legal abortions. They have been proven as medically safe procedures.

Studies show however, that an abortion ban may lead to a 20% increase in pregnancy-related deaths which increases to 30% for women of color.

Marijo Malesa, Omaha

OWH Public Pulse April 2022

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Theresa Thibodeau is more inclined to focus on the citizens of the state of Nebraska, Pulse writer says

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Pulse writer says Rich Pahls was a dedicated public servant and will be missed by the Millard community.

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Pulse writer expresses concern about removing the amendment from LB 888.

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As Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds Diane Battiato prepares to retire, she expresses gratitude for the confidence and support she has received for the past 22 years.

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Pulse writer says it is time to give serious thought to what the economic locomotive rail can provide.

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Pulse writer says charitable and public dollars should be spent on updating the Nebraska Medical Center's Emergency department.

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Pulse writer asks why candidates to talk about Nebraska groundwater issues.

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Pulse writer would like to see a cost-benefit analysis of the benefit versus the health impacts of controlled burns.

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Pulse writers are grateful to Brad Ashford for his passion for public service and his dedication for helping veterans.

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Pulse writer has some additions for Gov. Pete Ricketts prayer list.

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Pulse writers weigh in on the allegations against Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles W. Herbster.

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Pulse writer says during National Volunteer Week (April 17-23) It is vital that we continue to create awareness of Alzheimer’s and engage more of our community members to consider volunteering.

 

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Pulse writer expresses concern over farmland that would be lost to proposed marina construction.

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Pulse writer says LB920, would have reformed the adult criminal justice system and saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. 

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Pulse writer says Carol Blood is a progressive candidate who will work for all our citizens.

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Pulse writer says making the fare for the streetcar "free" will have toxic effects down the road.

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Diversity makes us stronger, Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer says safety for students and staff needs to take a higher priority.

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Pulse writer says Sen. Bruce Bostelman's kitty litter claim gave him a good chuckle.

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Pulse writer says LB 1077 would do irreparable harm to our state’s education system.

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Pulse writer says Lindstrom is best-equipped to effectively accomplish what this state needs.

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Pulse writer praises Tom Shatel's article on Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott.

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Pulse writer says the State Legislature focuses on the wrong priorities for Nebraska.

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Pulse writer urge decision makers to consider the impact the urban core redevelopment plans could have on Omaha’s public safety.

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Pulse writers weigh in on the Will Smith-Chris Rock confrontation at this year's Oscars.

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Brett Lindstrom is the only candidate talking about things a Nebraska governor can truly impact, Pulse writer says.

Response to cameras

As a public school teacher of over 20 years, I feel I have to respond to Jim Busenbark’s well-intentioned but misguided letter about putting cameras in the classrooms (Pulse, May 6).

His letter suggests that teachers should have nothing to hide and should welcome the presence of cameras to allow parents to see all the great things schools are doing. This is true: we are doing many great things on a daily basis. However, in addition to seeing the “great” things, Busenbark will also possibly witness the student who stands up and calls the teacher a “moron” or worse because of a discipline issue. Or the student who runs out of the room in tears because her parents were in a fistfight the night before, or the kid with special needs who says and does things not fit to print in a family newspaper (I’ve seen these things happen in my own classroom over the years). I’m sure the parents of those kids would love to have cameras in a classroom (not that most parents would support this idea — surely waivers would be required).

This is not an indictment of my classroom management or public schools in general. Ten years ago, I would have laughed at the suggestion of classroom cameras, but in this era where politics seems like a circus parade led by dog whistles, I greatly fear that this is actually considered a good idea. Get ready to lose a lot of terrific teachers if it would happen.

Peter Campbell, Bellevue

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