Legislature must address Whiteclay
Whiteclay is an unincorporated village in Sheridan County with a population of about 10. Within walking distance of Whiteclay is the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Even though alcohol is prohibited on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the State of Nebraska has licensed four liquor stores in Whiteclay, knowing that most of the alcohol sold will cross the border into the Pine Ridge Reservation. These four liquor stores sell millions of cans of beer each year.
Frank LaMere, a Native American activist, has aptly described Whiteclay as a place "where one sees life, but no willingness to live." Intoxicated people often wander the streets, and others are passed out and lie scattered about the village. Lawlessness reigns. On the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation, 25 percent of the babies suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Obviously, Nebraska cannot resolve all the problems that plague Pine Ridge. We can, however, control liquor sales in our state. Liquor stores should not be permitted to sell alcohol knowing that the alcohol will be illegally transported to a dry reservation.
We cannot continue to ignore the tragedy of Whiteclay. This is not a political issue; it is right vs. wrong. It may be hard for our proud state to admit, but we have blood on our hands.
Dennis G. Carlson,Lincoln
OPS should approve sex ed update
Omaha Public School Board is scheduled to vote today on a proposed update to its sex education curriculum. As a licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist, I have dedicated my entire education and career committed to sexuality. I have followed the OPS debate closely and attended school board meetings and observed testimony.
Sex education is critical to meeting the needs of our youth. With the astronomical rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia in Douglas County, as well as the number of pregnant teens each year in OPS, we need to have a sex education curriculum that is comprehensive and includes accurate information on birth control and abortion. Setting standards ensures that adolescents get the most accurate information there is, just as they get in their science and history classes.
I urge the board to consider the future of Omaha. Sex education is arguably the most important class adolescents may receive, as most people will transition from abstinence to sexually active at some point in their lives (75 percent of adolescents by the time they graduate from high school), most prior to marriage.
I support comprehensive sex education, and I hope the school board votes in favor of the changes.
Sex ed vote should be delayed
Proposed changes to the OPS human growth and development curriculum approach the topic in a deeply flawed manner that fails to promote sexual health and ignores scientifically accurate information regarding risks of various behaviors.
Parents, as well as OPS board members, should have had the opportunity for a full review of the proposed contents — including textbooks, online modules, videos, pamphlets, lesson plans, etc. — prior to any vote on the CSE standards.
M's was an architectural showcase
Much has been written about the magic of M's Pub and its great appeal. My wife and I have been regulars in the Old Market, especially M's, since 1974. Friday nights were our favorite and I always loved the energy and excitement that people and the building created together.
Not enough has been mentioned about the creators of M's and how important their beautiful design was to the success of the restaurant. When I first moved to Omaha, most restaurants were windowless bunkers, with no design creativity, no extension of the building to the street or any attempt to involve or reflect on people passing by.
The simple elegance of the interior: brick, glass, wood, marble, subtle task lighting, were brought together in a brilliant design. The firm of Hartman Morford Bowen were responsible for the creativity and thoughtfulness of the solution and should be acknowledged.
One and done for all office holders
After two terms of President Obama, it should be obvious that we should limit presidents to one term in office. That goes for senators and representatives as well. All judges, including Supreme Court justices, should only sit on the bench for six years.
All of the above would limit future abuse of power.
Marlin Gansebom,Osmond, Neb.
Clinton was too lax about security
Years ago I attended a National Security seminar. One of the lecturers, a Navy commander, gave a two-hour intelligence dissertation on situations in virtually every portion of the world. In an after-hours session I asked him why most of the content was "top secret" when I had read a lot of the same information in the media. The answer: Because we think it is a concern about national security.
Now, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was our nation's top diplomat, says there was nothing classified in any of her personal emails. I would think that it necessarily follows that anything she said no matter how benign would be of interest to agencies in other countries that do not have our best interests at heart.
Col. Gilbert A. Robertson,Gretna
Trump is no common man
I had to chuckle, sadly, at Pete Lowder's Jan. 10 Public Pulse letter. If he, and others, truly believe Trump has a clue to how working people feel, I have a bridge I'd be happy to sell.
Trump was born to wealth and greatly expanded that wealth due, in large part, to very generous tax breaks for his developments along with four strategic bankruptcies. He barely knows working people exist, let alone understands how they feel.
He believes the way to "Make America Great Again" is to lavish yet more generous tax cuts on the enormously wealthy, like himself. As far as our open borders, illegal immigration to the U.S. is at one of the lowest levels the last 50 years. And Trump will not build a fence between the U.S. and Mexico. Not only because Mexico won't pay for it, but because it's impractical. If you built a 20-foot wall, would-be illegal immigrants will bring a 22-foot ladder. Build a 50-foot wall, and they'll build tunnels under it. I will believe that Trump and other Republicans truly want to stop illegal immigration when they propose huge fines for companies that employ them.
Oregon standoff about freedom
Jan. 14 Public Pulse writer Patricia Fuller's attempt to demonize "right-wing rhetoric" as the cause of the Oregon ordeal is telling. I believe the political left despises the Constitution, which limits the federal government.
Article 1, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution allows the federal government to purchase land "for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings" from the states with the approval of that state's legislature. Presently, the federal government unconstitutionally claims to own more than 50 percent of the land in Western states.
The situation in Oregon is a peaceful attempt by patriotic Americans who love their country and the freedom the Constitution provides. They wish to redress grievances against the government, which they believe is not doing the job the Constitution authorizes. Instead, the government is using unconstitutional laws as weapons against the very people they are charged with protecting.
These people are armed for self-protection, which is certainly understandable considering government atrocities at Ruby Ridge and Waco. They have done no violence, and deserve our support. Like our Founding Fathers, they are standing up against tyranny.
Doug Wittmann,Dodge, Neb.
Households have changed since '71
In Robert J. Samuelson's Jan. 6 More Commentary, "Wanted: Agenda for the middle class," he wrote, "Pew research shows that in 1971 about 61 percent of adults lived in middle-income households and by 2014 that had dropped to 50 percent." He states that in 2014 middle income households had incomes 34 percent higher than in 1970.
Samuelson fails to mention the role of women entering the workforce has played in this. It has increased family income but now it takes two breadwinners to achieve middle class status.
Comparing family incomes of 1971 to those of 2014 needs to consider how many employed adults are needed to achieve those numbers.
Kudos to Diane Hayes for her eloquent and spot-on praise of Omaha's firefighters in the icy wake of the disaster at the M's Pub building ("Firefighters' astonishing heroics," Jan. 15 Public Pulse).
But let's take a moment to also acknowledge all the hard workers at the Metropolitan Utilities District, who also stepped up in time of crisis, and who also labor long hours to keep our sweet city safe and warm.