Pension another case of overpayment
I have no problem with Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert easing Fire Chief Mike McDonnell into early retirement. My problem is with the exorbitant pension he will receive: $10,900 per month.
Really? I wager that one-half of this amount would be considered a great retirement by 99 percent of the taxpayers who will be funding this.
Who will finally stand up to this abuse of the public treasury and end this? Public employees should not retire with a pension that qualifies them for lifestyles of the rich and famous. Start fixing this problem by not overcompensating them while they are still working.
Daryl Lee, Omaha
Criticism of judge for sentence unfair
Douglas County District Judge Mark Ashford is being unfairly portrayed for his role in sentencing a defendant who was convicted of drunken driving and causing serious bodily injury.
It should be highlighted that the Douglas County Attorney's Office did not recommend incarceration and that the Douglas County Probation Office recommended this individual for a probationary sentence after giving consideration to the victim's condition.
Judge Ashford selected a probationary sentence as opposed to incarceration. Had the judge given this individual the maximum sentence, he could have been released from prison in 10 months. In the event this young man completes his probation and beats his alcohol problem, he will still be saddled with a felony conviction. His life will be impacted by this felony conviction, which will deny him many opportunities well into his future.
The judges in Douglas County District Court face sentencing challenges on a daily basis. When they are unfairly criticized, it should be pointed out.
James E. Schaefer, Omaha
Wealthy benefit from government, too
This is in response to J.D. McAvoy's Aug. 25 letter (“Where there's will, should be way to pay”):
So the corporations want capitalism? Let them pay for it.
They want grazing/mining/foresting on federal land? Let them pay market value.
They want to gamble on Wall Street? Let them go bankrupt when they lose.
They want universities to do research? Let them pay the salaries for it.
They want protection of assets overseas? Let them pay for it.
America is not a capitalist country; it is a state-capitalist country, which is the best system to help the rich.
John Bechtel, Pacific, Mo.
U.S. has problems other than Syrian war
What happened in Syria with the nerve gas was truly a horrible and terrible act. But there should be some solid proof before the U.S. military is ordered to bomb Syria.
Yes, it could have been the Syrian government or some small portion of the Syrian military, or it could have been one of the 100 Islamist factions in the rebel forces.
It could have been Iran, al-Qaida or even the Taliban. The list is almost endless. But the United States military should not be used as the police force for the world.
Will Egypt be our next target? If the United Nations cannot or will not do what is right and just, we should just get out of that organization.
But if you look at this from a different direction, it looks like a classic bait-and-switch tactic in Washington, D.C. Washington is just changing the big news headlines from the unbalanced federal budget, massive amount of debt, high unemployment rates, wide-open national borders, immigration reform, gun laws, high crime rates, prison overcrowding, drugs getting to our children and on and on.
Yes, this is another endless list. But this list is of problems this country has that our government does not want to face or take a hard stand on.
So which endless list should our elected government officials work on first?
Doug Arthur, Omaha
Solid proof needed before intervention
In 2002, foreign and domestic intelligence indicated that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was working on nuclear weapons as well. Prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, satellite surveillance revealed caravans of trucks going from Iraq into Bashar al-Assad's Syria.
After the invasion, no WMDs were found in Iraq, even though we knew Saddam had used them against the Kurds.
Has Assad now confirmed our suspicions of what was in some of those trucks, moving cargo from one dictator to another? And does this therefore confirm President George W. Bush's rationale for the invasion of Iraq?
J.R. Scott-Miller, Omaha
Where are facts on Syrian weapons?
The main reason that President Obama wants to take military action in Syria is that he's getting beaten up in the media and by political opponents about it. The theme seems to be, “We have to stop the bad Syrian government from using chemical weapons on their own citizens.” This is a noble goal.
Yes, the Syrian government is bad. Yes, it probably does possess chemical weapons. I am sure the Syrian government would have no compunctions about using such weapons against its own people. However, I have seen no real proof that it has these weapons, and I would like to see some conclusive evidence before we take action.
In 1962, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, showed pictures of the Soviet deployment of missiles in Cuba to justify our actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the U.N. and said we had “evidence” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to justify the war. A main source of that evidence was lies.
Where's the beef? Show me some money.
Joseph A. Bowden, Papillion
Husker power vs. Cyclone cyberpower
I found interesting things to compare in two recent news items:
At a cost of $63.5 million, UNL increases the seating capacity of Memorial Stadium (used eight to 10 days a year) to 92,000 — “making room for new (attendance) records.”
Meanwhile, Iowa State University purchases, at a cost of $2.6 million, “the most powerful supercomputer ever on campus.” It's capable of 183 trillion calculations per second, powering 17 research projects.
Warren J. Mellema, Omaha
Much ado about Miley Cyrus' dirty dance
What's all the fuss about Miley Cyrus at the MTV awards? She had to do something to take the attention off that hideous hairdo.
Alex Koseluk, Omaha