Published Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 4:13 pm
The Public Pulse, Jan. 3

When the going gets tough ...

Hopefully, lackadaisical Nebraska football fans will begin to appreciate a young, injured football team that still came up with nine wins this year. The win over Georgia was fantastic!

True Big Red fans never quit being supportive.

Sister Mary Hlas, Omaha

Huskers made grade, many fans didn't

Now that the 2013 Nebraska football season is over, I just want to give a big high-five to the team. They kept playing in spite of injuries and off-the-field distractions. All of the players and coaches deserve a big pat on the back.

As for Big Red Nation, many of you get an F for the year. Let me count: Starting a website to fire Bo Pelini. Whining about his 8-4 record this year (before the bowl). Whining that Nebraska is no longer a team in the “top 10 discussions.” Then a trip to a Florida bowl that just wasn’t attractive enough for many to attend.

Spoiled Big Red fans should realize that those one- or two-loss seasons are going to be rare in the Big Ten. Get over it.

Stephen Johnston, Omaha

Tip for Bo: Beef up those linemen’s arms

Congratulations on Nebraska’s win in the Gator Bowl.

I know Coach Bo doesn’t need my input, but I’ll give it anyway. What Nebraska needs is a conditioning coach like George Sullivan was, a trainer who stays after these players and gets them in top condition. Look at the linemen’s arms — they are weenie arms. I’ve seen bigger arms on quarterbacks.

The linemen have no upper body strength. They can’t move anybody.

Jerry R. Preble, Omaha

Claims about climate ignore context

Regarding Scott Bray’s unscientific assertions about climate science (Jan. 2 Pulse):

“The polar ice caps are growing,” he says. Continental ice, such as polar and glacial ice, is in fact shrinking. Sea ice has been growing recently in the Antarctic (3.6 percent above average this winter), but that is not the same thing as a polar ice cap.

Bray also asserts “there are more polar bears now than there were 20 years ago.” There are different distributions of polar bears, some shrinking and some growing due to various pressures on the population, including climate change.

As for his statement that “we have experienced less hurricane and tornado activity in recent years,” tornadoes hit Wayne, Neb., South Dakota and Iowa in October, causing significant damage. Typhoon Wipha recently battered Japan’s troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing more radioactive leaks. Typhoon Haiyan killed over 5,000 in the Philippines. Remember Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina? The World-Herald has covered all of these events.

John W. Rokes, Bennington, Neb.

Ice researchers meet an ironic fate

There was a little humor in the news when an expedition that set out to study how quickly ice in Antarctica is disappearing became stranded in ice too thick for their ship to proceed.

The experience must have come as a bit of a shock to these explorers. Their report will make for an interesting read.

Tony Hoefer, Omaha

One cold snap doesn’t disprove warming

Contrary to what Scott Bray says (Jan. 2 Pulse), a research ship stuck in ice off Antarctica (even during their “summer”) does not dump global warming into the dustbin of history. Nor does a cold spell in a Nebraska winter, such as one we are experiencing.

Carbon dioxide holds heat, and this matters. The ratio in the atmosphere has now passed 400 parts per million, the highest since the Pliocene Epoch, 2 million to 3 million years ago, when surface temperatures were 4 degrees to 5 degrees higher than today and Earth had very little pack ice.

So why isn’t our air 4 degrees to 5 degrees warmer, and why isn’t sea level 180 feet higher now because of melted ice? Thermal inertia requires roughly 50 years to work a given level of greenhouse gases into the air, and a century or two to melt ice in warming ocean water. Today’s weather reflects greenhouse gas levels from the 1960s, not current ones.

Check back in 50 years, Mr. Bray. By then, the global-warming deniers will not be so cocksure.

Bruce E. Johansen, Omaha

MUD sale would risk precious water

I am concerned by any proposal to sell MUD to a private entity (Jan. 1 World-Herald).

Everyone needs access to clean drinking water at a reasonable price, but a for-profit entity might not focus primarily on the public good. The need to create adequate returns for investors might lead to sharply increased rates and, as always, it is the poorest among us who would suffer most.

According to the United Nations, unclean water and poor sanitation are the world’s second-biggest killer of children. Let’s not increase the risk for children in the MUD service area.

I agree with Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, the proponent of the sale idea, that Omaha must complete its expensive sewer separation project. However, I would rather pay somewhat higher fees to a publicly owned MUD than pay much higher fees to a privately owned successor.

Sara Pahl, Omaha

Who else is offering sewer-cost ideas?

The only person I ever see looking for solutions and new ideas when it comes to paying for Omaha’s costly sewer overhaul seems to be Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh. Yet, as soon as he makes a suggestion and has a plan with merit, out come all the reasons why it won’t work.

First MUD President Mark Doyle shoots the idea down because it would be too costly and complicated — but offers no alternative.

The past two mayors, who came out only at election time, ran to Washington asking the federal government for a handout to pay for the repairs, which they knew were needed years ago. Then we have a state senator who is more concerned about cougars.

And our current mayor, Jean Stothert, does the ultimate political maneuver and says she doesn’t know whether she supports the Lautenbaugh plan or not but says he is right to look for new ways to pay Omaha’s debts.

Happy New Year, city government. You can all go back to your closet now.

Dave Foral, Omaha

Focus instead on ending MUD work order

State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh thinks that by selling MUD, he has found a way to pay for Omaha’s costly sewer overhaul.

I have a better idea: Put such efforts toward eliminating the ridiculous unfunded federal mandate that requires the work.

Jim Redelfs, Omaha

Privatization is a fiscal Pandora’s box

I have been a resident of Omaha since 1963. I’ve heard Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh’s pitch before. I didn’t buy it then, and if we are fiscally wise, we will not buy it now.

Let’s see: We sell the publicly owned utility and get the needed bucks for the public project. The CEO of the newly purchased utility gets at least a seven-figure income. Please don’t tell me the utility will not raise rates.

Private corporations operate for profit. This short-term solution to a need for funds looks like a revolving balance on a credit card.

I suppose the next thing offered will be some form of regressive tax that the trickle-down boys promote.

James Rawlings, Omaha

Their great work is rightly rewarded

My thanks to The World-Herald for naming Bill and Evonne Williams the 2013 Midlanders of the Year.

When they organized the first Honor Flight, I thought the idea was remarkable. Later, I saw their powerful “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit at the CenturyLink Center. I was moved to tears.

My respect and thanks to the many men and women who have defended our country — some losing their lives. And my thanks and heartfelt sympathy to the parents, family members and friends for sharing the personal photos and memories.

Gary L. Coleman, Omaha

It was a really bad year for Congress

In The World-Herald this past week was the most profound description of the worst Congress this country has seen in its history. One of Jawaharlal Nehru’s many interesting quotes was, “Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.”

All we see on the news anymore is a member of Congress in front of the camera talking about the same thing day after day, week after week and year after year. And they have the gall to come home and look us in the eye and say that they have accomplished — what?

Getting up in the morning and going to work to disrupt nominees, shut down the U.S. government, cut off unemployment benefits and vote repeatedly to repeal the health law — that is one heck of a job description!

Cecil Case, Omaha

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