Cut foreign, not U.S., payments
When President Barack Obama gave his speech last week on the debt ceiling debate, saying he couldn't guarantee that Social Security payments would be made in August, no mention was made concerning the possibility of cutting the billions of dollars we annually pay to foreign countries.
I would think the leader of this country would mention cutting those payments before threatening the Social Security system.
Shouldn't payments to Mexico of $1 billion to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, trillions to Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan or payments to Egypt to rebuild its sewer system be a priority for the president?
Why should we continue to pay the United Nations billions of dollars when it votes against our policies most of the time? Are the jobs that President Obama is creating in those countries or our country?
As usual, the public is being played for fools.
Jack Jordan, Omaha
Americans want a compromise
It's time for Congress to wake up and smell the coffee. Congress' job is to do business on behalf of the people it represents.
Most Americans want Congress to agree to a compromise to prevent the economic crisis that will result if the debt ceiling is not increased by Tuesday.
Those Americans wanting Congress to agree to a compromise are from all political parties, races, ethnicities, religions and economic circumstances.
What they have in common is the wisdom to know that in an emergency, everyone, including Congress, needs to work together for the common good.
Vicki Pratt, Omaha
How to apply for financial help
The World-Herald could do a great service by publishing information on how to apply for government programs for the impoverished and needy, if the current administration follows through with not making the required payments to Social Security and Medicare recipients in August.
If my bank account does not receive its scheduled Social Security deposit, it is my intention to immediately file for welfare benefits, food stamps, Medicaid and any other benefits that are available.
Having worked all of my adult life until retirement and paid for these programs either through direct deductions from my pay or in the form of taxes, I have no idea of how to accomplish this.
Therefore, publication of these procedures would benefit an entire generation. I would encourage all of those citizens in the same circumstances to follow this plan.
James W. Brown, Omaha
Appreciate support for NASA
I grew up in Omaha and graduated from Central High School. I now work for NASA. My family, who lives in Omaha, showed me an Associated Press news story, "Mission Control stays in control" (July 22 World-Herald).
I was the entry-flight dynamics officer for the last space shuttle mission. As the one woman in Mission Control when the shuttle landed July 21, I thank The World-Herald for publishing such a nice article.
I passed the story on to several of my flight-controller colleagues. It accurately described the kind of focus and excellence that I'm proud to say is expected in that room. I know The World-Herald has published many articles that are supportive of NASA, and in these uncertain times, it is nice to be appreciated.
Jenny Gruber, Houston
Flood effects will be long-lasting
On July 20, I went to Kansas City, Mo., by way of Atchison, Kan. After finishing with business there, we were told to drive up to a lookout with a panorama of the whole valley.
At first, we just saw the river and a gorgeous view of the valley. Then we looked to our right and water was literally as far as the eye could see.
I have no idea how many homes were affected in this area, but nobody within a 60-mile radius or more has dodged this flood bullet. Not to mention the amount of wildlife that is lost and the trees that will die.
Just outside of Leavenworth, Kan., heading to Interstate 29, we were accosted by a stench that made our gut wrench. The cause was acres and acres of rotting corn sitting in stagnant water up to the top of the barbed-wire fence.
I'm far from an expert, but I'm smart enough to know that all of us will pay a large price from the repercussions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' actions. The next six months will tell, and it will not be pretty.
Melissa Spangler, Lincoln
Flood control is not prevention
I agree with most of Doug Nodgaard's July 3 Pulse reaction to Charles Munson's June 28 letter on flooding. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could shift to a proactive forecast approach, but that would take an act of Congress.
The reality is that the work done by the corps is only as good as the data collected and analyzed from the last real epic flood in any given area.
Record-keeping in remote areas often reveals new record levels, as techniques and technologies for measuring velocity and other information mature. But the real lesson is that people hear "flood control" but assume "flood prevention."
Dave Willard, Hollister, Mo.
Can't ignore cultural difference
Sandy Gregory's July 23 letter suggests there are no inequities in our system that "disproportionately channel wealth, power and resources to white people."
I would differ with this conclusion. The reality is that wealth, power and resources don't necessarily go to those who earn them "through knowledge and hard work." A more accurate assessment is that not all millionaires are deserving and not all poor people are morally or ethically flawed.
Unfortunately, and all too frequently, wealth and power are the products of luck, cleverly dishonest maneuvering, multigenerational relationships and inheritance.
I would suggest that rather than saying "focusing on someone's cultural differences contributes nothing to success in life," we should be aware that ignoring cultural differences contributes nothing to wisdom and compassion in life.
How successful can we be without these virtues?
Kay Stevens, Omaha
Focusing on achievement skills
I'd laugh at this latest strategic move by Omaha Public Schools if our public education system were not in such dire straits.
I've read the book, "The Cultural Proficiency Journey." I found it to be nothing but political propaganda designed to foment racial tension.
Its central theme is a bizarre hypocrisy, which encourages the reader to espouse morality at every turn but then blame someone else for any failures or shortcomings.
Regarding the Omaha Public Schools' decision to purchase the manuals, I can guarantee two things: It will not improve the children's grades one iota, nor will it make any teacher a better educator.
Rather than squandering more than $130,000 on the manuals, OPS should have done something novel, such as study the educational systems of the 25 countries that are beating the United States in math, the 17 countries that are beating us in science and the 15 countries that are beating us in reading skills.
Bud VanSant, Omaha
Build oil refinery in Nebraska
It may have been proposed before, but I suggest building an oil refinery in northeastern Nebraska where the TransCanada Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada would end.
The Ogallala Aquifer does not extend to the far northeastern corner of Nebraska, and the area is within 500 miles of a population of more than 25 million residents who could use the refined oil.
This would produce many jobs for Nebraskans and solve the possibility of a pipeline break that could leak oil into the Ogalalla Aquifer.
Lewis Pinch, Omaha
Manure is no joke in Nebraska
The July 20 fertilizer exposition in Norfolk, Neb., was not some kind of circus sideshow, as described in Robert Nelson's July 22 column. The purpose was to share information about using animal waste in a manner that would help produce better crops and effectively utilize this resource.
Manure is one of the best resources Nebraska has, said Larry Howard, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension educator in Cuming County. Manure management has been one of his main focuses since 1988, Howard said.
Agriculture is serious business in the state of Nebraska. People shouldn't make fun of things they don't understand or haven't fully researched.
Sue Meyer, Neligh, Neb.
I'm following Jesus to 'get a life'
Don Rhoden's July 22 letter said, "Jesus' followers need to give up their prurient interests in other people's sexual preferences and get a life."
It's the promise of getting an everlasting life in Christ that motivates me to point out the scriptural adage that condemns homosexuality as sin.
Jack Mayhew, Valentine, Neb.
Amukamara truly a class act
It seems like every day there is another scandal in the sports world. So, what a nice surprise it was to read former Nebraska football player Prince Amukamara's July 23 letter.
This young man is truly a class act, and commendations are due to his family, as well as the coaches who have guided him throughout his athletic career.
We Nebraska fans are proud of Prince Amukamara and can't wait to see him play professional football on Sundays.
John Lukowski, Bellevue