His remarks need clarifying
The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska has made it clear that the university does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. And only the board can speak on university policy and practices.
On Tuesday, Ron Brown, a Nebraska football coach, talked before the Omaha City Council in opposition to an ordinance that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Several people have written me asking if his remarks represent the position of the university. I want to be clear that they do not. The university defends the right of its faculty and students to participate in public dialogue and to express their personal views. I understand that there were also faculty and students from the university who testified in favor of the ordinance.
We do ask that individuals associated with the university make it clear in their public statements that they are speaking only as an individual, not on behalf of the university.
Unfortunately, in this instance Brown did not make it clear in his comments that he was asserting his personal viewpoint and not representing the university. I have asked him to make that clarification explicitly in the future.
Harvey Perlman, Lincoln
Sing praise to President Obama
I'm disappointed to see articles about President Obama that are untrue. He is probably one of the brightest, most open presidents we have had in a while.
The pundits chewing on the gun sales of "Fast and Furious" evidently didn't look back to see this started in the prior administration under another name, "Wide Receiver."
Regardless, it is a ridiculous conversation, since anyone can buy assault weapons at any of the hundreds of gun stores along the Texas and Arizona borders or on websites.
Obama was a community organizer, similar to what the Peace Corps does in foreign countries, for a very short time. He worked for little salary. Mainly the work was done through churches in Chicago to help the plight of the poor.
He graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at Harvard and turned down lucrative jobs on the East Coast to return to Chicago, where he became a state senator, a U.S. senator and then president.
He has been a great commander in chief — taking out Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaida is on the run. He is a prolific writer and a pretty good singer.
Kay Bowling Alchu, Omaha
Gaining from setbacks of others
We recently learned during a meeting with my wife's oncologist that a scan had revealed that after three months of chemotherapy, there was no new growth. The cancer had been arrested. My family was elated, and we all went home to celebrate.
Our celebration was rudely halted when a letter from the hospital told us that if we did not pay our entire medical bill of thousands of dollars, the hospital would turn us over to a collection agency.
We are a limited-income family and don't have the ability to pay that kind of a sum. Therein is the primary problem with the medical business. It is a business. It should be a ministry of healing, not a means of exploitation.
I am furious at too many in the medical profession who see illness only as a means of capital gain. Shame on all of them!
James C. Moeller, Omaha
Insurance firm gives coverage
Health insurance isn't provided by employers as a gift to workers. Health insurance is a part of the compensation that employees receive for services rendered to the employer. In short, it is part of their salary.
Decisions about the amount of this compensation should be made between employers and employees. Decisions about the nature of this coverage should be made between the employees and the insurance company.
It isn't the employer who writes the insurance policy. It is the insurance company. The government can require health insurance companies to include women's contraception coverage without compromising the moral values of the employer.
The insurance company — not the employer — is providing the coverage.
Jim Curtiss, Wayne, Neb.
Protecting our obvious rights
I urge all Nebraskans to support Legislative Bill 461, and I thank Clyde and Susan Meckel for their March 5 Midlands Voices essay on the importance of the human moral conscience protections that the bill offers.
There shouldn't be a need for legislation to protect a right that is so self-evident — a point so clearly and amply supported by the Meckels. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
Mike O. Johnson, Omaha
Respecting all rights of others
In regard to Clyde and Susan Meckel's opinion on conscience rights, although it is obviously very important to our society, it is not absolute. It does have its limits. When people begin to infringe on other people's rights, they have overstepped their boundaries.
At one time in our country's history, many people thought they had the conscience right to enslave other people. Now, of course, we can all see that was a severe infringement on other people's individual rights. It was not "treated with great delicacy and tenderness."
Using similar logic (although admittedly the example is much more extreme), one could say that if in exercising your rights you are denying someone access to medical care that he or she has a right to, it is an infringement upon his or her rights.
Thomas J. Lutz, Papillion
All is not fair in political arena
Not all's fair in war and politics. Bob Kerrey's ruthless betrayal of fellow Democrat Chuck Hassebrook went too far. It was akin to a general walking over the dead bodies of his own soldiers to attain a selfish, personal goal.
Hassebrook waited politely on beginning his campaign for U.S. senator until Kerrey said he would not run. Then Hassebrook rearranged his life by giving up his role as a regent for the University of Nebraska. Then Kerrey changed his mind and filed 24 hours before the deadline.
Hassebrook has shown by his tireless actions over past decades that he cares about all Nebraskans. I have always voted for the person, rather than the party. Hassebrook has earned my respect.
I urge Republicans and Democrats to question Kerrey's voter registration and fix the legal loophole that enables a person from out of state to come in and run for office.
Angelika T.L. Byorth, Lincoln
Take Rush Limbaugh off the air
I'm proud to be a teacher in the Omaha Public Schools. I'm willing to take on the challenges of limited state funding, students who live with violence on their streets, changing grading scales and lesson plans to improve teaching and meet the high expectations of parents.
But I am not willing to take on the task of teaching my students appropriate, respectful behavior when a conservative spokesperson like Rush Limbaugh can use vile, misogynistic, offensive, prurient language on federally licensed radio airwaves — to the sounds of right-wing silence.
Please help me teach this important moral lesson to my students. Raise your voices in protest of Limbaugh and any radio station that carries his program.
Jane Erdenberger, Omaha
Can't blame GOP for everything
If there is anyone out there who doesn't know how short the liberal memory can be or how selective and wrongheaded liberal thinking can be, that person need only read Joe Hunt's well-written March 6 letter.
Republicans have controlled the White House and both houses of Congress for only a few of my 68 years. Democrats have been in control, especially of Congress, far longer than Republicans.
There is plenty of blame to go around. George W. Bush, along with his Republican Congress, certainly shares in that.
But to say that everything is the fault of Republicans is simply ludicrous. The hypocrisy it takes to make that claim is beyond breathtaking.
P.L. Butcher, Shenandoah, Iowa
Politicians should vote for USA
I saw a picture of Mount Rushmore, and each of these great American presidents appeared to have tears in their eyes. The America they dedicated their lives to seems to be splitting apart.
Why? Listen to our government leaders. The first thing they will tell us is that they are a Democrat or a Republican and that they vote for what is best for their own political party.
What they should be telling us is they are an American, first. Secondly, that they are a representative or senator from a specific state. And thirdly, what their political party affiliation is.
They need to begin to vote that way as well. They need to vote for what is in their hearts and what they believe is best for America and their home states.
As President Abraham Lincoln once said, "A house divided ... cannot stand."
Rick Crosier, Norfolk, Neb.
Central's high standards live on
I appreciated a March 6 editorial about Omaha's Central High School. That was the school I was assigned to when I lived in Omaha. I graduated in 1943, not realizing that I had been under the influence of some of the best teachers I have ever had.
Miss Parker taught history as if it were college level — lecture and an assignment to find material of our own to be handed in. And the wonderful Josephine Frisbie taught English and Latin.
Some years later, I ran across James B. Conant's study of American high schools. Central High School was ranked in the top 10 in the country. It's wonderful to think that Central High still has such a high standard.
Roberta Maron, Council Bluffs