A bill that honors our fallen

A bill before the Nebraska Legislature — LB 1073 — would approve and adopt the Honor and Remember Flag as an accepted tribute to all of those who have died in the U.S. military since the founding of our nation.

In order to dispel any opposition to this bill, please know this flag is provided by Honor and Remember Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This flag does not conflict with any other flag, and the organization has been recognized and applauded for its handling of funds. Less than 10 percent of donations goes toward the administration of the program, and more than 90 percent goes toward the purchase of flags.

Please help recognize and remember all of the Gold Star families who have received this flag and those who will receive it in the future.

Please, do what you can to support LB 1073.

Hank Krings, Columbus, Neb.

Valuing smokers more than farmers?

So State Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion objects to Legislative Bill 1013, which would increase cigarette taxes to provide property tax relief in Nebraska ("Senator calls tobacco tax hike proposal a tax shift," Feb. 12 World-Herald). How does he think we got our cigarette, sales, restaurant and lodging taxes in the first place?

State Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk implies LB 1013 would put a huge burden on a small segment of the population. However, as each year passes, the number of farmers lessens as they have faced a 176 percent rise in farmland property taxes over the past 10 years. Current farm commodity prices will only accelerate that trend.

Would we really rather lose farmers in our state than smokers?

Mike Meierhenry, Lincoln

Awin-win for Nebraska

It's time for Nebraska to increase the tobacco tax on cigarettes. Nebraska lags far behind other states in the nation, ranking 40th of 50 on our tobacco tax rate. The state hasn't raised the tobacco tax on cigarettes in 14 years.

Raising the tax by $1.50 makes sense for our state. It will discourage tobacco use and raise badly needed revenue to combat the high health costs associated with tobacco use.

Research has demonstrated that increasing the retail price on tobacco products through higher taxes is the single most effective way to decrease consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit smoking. Additionally, young people will be less likely to start using tobacco. Those who currently smoke will smoke less because it's expensive, and people who have quit smoking will be far less likely to start again.

Chronic illnesses related to tobacco use are costing our state millions of dollars every year. Increasing revenue to promote public health is a win-win for our state.

The time has come — I hope our Legislature will support Grand Island State Sen. Mike Gloor's proposal to increase the tobacco tax this year.

Athena Ramos,

Examine, don't condemn, his message

Speaker of the Legislature Galen Hadley was upset because he thought State Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion had compared the members of the Legislature to monkeys ("Speaker rips senator for 'monkeys' analogy," Feb. 12 World-Herald).

I think Hadley completely missed the message of Kintner's parable. It was about learned response and how it keeps progress from happening. This is something all of us who want to better our situations should be acutely aware of in our thinking.

Are there issues the Legislature is struggling with because actions and ideas of the past are holding them back? I'd say yes. We should be asking how can we use the past as a springboard and move into the future in a way that benefits all.

When State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said, "My ISIS is the police," he was called out forcefully the same way Kintner has been. But there wasn't a serious discussion about the rationale behind his statement, just as there hasn't been about Kintner's point.

The response to his statement was forceful enough that none wanted to ask, just like the monkeys who no longer wanted to climb the ladder.

Carol Schooley, Grand Island, Neb.

Luring the best candidates to UNL

The University of Nebraska's request to identify only one finalist candidate for chancellors and president (Legislative Bill 1109) is hardly a secret process ("Don't expand NU secrecy," Feb. 9 World-Herald). More than 40 Nebraska citizens will review credentials and engage in intensive reviews and interviews of applicants, from which one is selected.

Search committees and regents represent all of us in the review and selection process. After all, in 1789, our ancestors adopted a representative form of government.

Once an NU officer resigns or retires and a search is announced, all citizens are free to offer suggestions for candidates and later meet and assess that finalist.

In the academic world, potential candidates are reluctant to apply if their application is publicized. It can compromise their current position. When three of four finalists are not selected for any reason, that becomes a part of their record.

When the critics of LB 1109, including the media, reconsider their concerns, they may find they could support the bill. We can refocus our attention to ensure that search committees are large and diverse enough to fully represent Nebraska.

Lavon Sumption, Lincoln

No more Obama justices

Regarding Ellen Campbell's Feb. 16 Public Pulse letter, "GOP wrong to leave Scalia's seat vacant," President Obama has already appointed two Supreme Court justices — Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan — both of whom, in my opinion, have disregarded the U.S. Constitution in their rulings.

If Obama is given the chance to install another justice, you can bet it would be another of the same cloth, giving liberals a much greater voice in matters that come before the court.

That is what Obama wants. Is that what the rest of the nation wants? If the Constitution goes down, then all of the veterans who have fought and died to protect it, and our freedom, will have done so in vain.

As far as "partisanship" goes in Washington, that's been going on for centuries, and the Democrats invented it.

Bob Cook, Plattsmouth, Neb.

Follow Reagan's example

I'm a little confused. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others have said that President Obama should not nominate a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia with only 11 months left in his term.

Yet it seems that it was perfectly all right for President Ronald Reagan to nominate Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court toward the end of his presidency.

I would like to know the difference between the two circumstances. There's no way that I can imagine that politics should play a part in something so important as this.

Don Nogg, Omaha

Senators should do their duty

I am a veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry who served in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti in 1995 with the 25th Infantry Division. I am a life member and past commander of the Beatrice VFW Post 1077 and a member of the De Witt American Legion Post 212. I am also a member of the De Witt Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

Community service is very important to me. It is also important to me to be an example of community service to my kids. So I want to thank all who serve as U.S. senators for their service to our community.

But Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution states the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate . . . Judges of the supreme Court."

That power is not assigned to candidates for the presidency or the soon-to-be elected president. To actively or passively deny the president his choice for justice based solely on who the next president may be or delaying a vote waiting for the next president is not constitutionally sound.

Our senators need to be fair and follow the Constitution. They need to do their duty.

Jonathan Potter, De Witt, Neb.

Remembering a kind and graciousman

In addition to his many achievements in the business and political worlds, Drew Lewis was a gracious and kind human being ("Lewis helped U.P. stabilize and grow," Feb. 16 World-Herald).

I was privileged to know him during his time with Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha. During a company outing, my wife baked bread that he enjoyed so much he came to my office a few days later to compliment her culinary skills. He was a longtime supporter of the Philadelphia Eagles and, when they were to play my Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, he gave my family tickets to the game.

Though gone from this Earth, he is not to be forgotten.

Jim Farrell, Omaha

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