From one comedy to another
So Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he might return to Iowa to buy a farm.
I think I've heard this story before: a New Yorker and his Eastern-European-accented wife move to experience small-town farm life. Don't tell me — his neighbor Fred has a pig that watches westerns on television.
Dennis Mixan, Bellevue
Phillips had only himself to blame
Tom Shatel's Jan. 28 World-Herald column, "Phillips remains a magnet, mystery," quotes what Lars Anderson, a writer from Birmingham, Ala., said about Lawrence Phillips, the former Cornhuskers star who committed suicide in prison, "This is a story about a young man who was failed his whole life."
And there you have it. I knew we'd get to the bottom line: It was somebody else's fault. It was the fault of, according to Anderson, the child welfare system in California, our legal system, the counsel hired to defend Phillips, and the penal system because Phillips should have never been housed with a gang member. Where should he have been housed? In a special suite because he played football at a high level?
The only people who failed Phillips were his parents.
Thousands of people have come through troubled childhoods and adolescent years and never reacted like Lawrence Phillips. At some point you have to grow up and stop blaming others. Lawrence Phillips had more chances than you and I could ever count, and he threw them away. That's the tragedy. Let's move on.
Mark Morin, Omaha
Let fix our schools, not steal from them
Advocates of the so-called "School Choice Movement" recently rallied on the steps of the State Capitol advocating that Nebraska allow charter schools, arguing they would give parents "greater choice."
Gov. Pete Ricketts has suggested that "folks in north and south Omaha would want them" and is on record for supporting school vouchers that would divert tax dollars from public to existing private and parochial schools.
I grew up three blocks west of Miller Park in Omaha and now own my home four blocks north of the park. Miller Park Elementary, the public school just south of the park, has drawn praise for dramatically improving pupil achievement. It has community support from neighborhood dads and granddads who mentor school children and the Completely Kids nonprofit, which provides after-school tutoring.
Also in the neighborhood is Nelson Mandela Elementary School, an innovative, tuition-free private school. It is funded by the Lozier Foundation and works in cooperation with Omaha Public Schools.
In his Jan. 15 World-Herald More Commentary, "Public schools should not be viewed as the enemy," York Public Schools Superintendent Mike Lucas suggested charter schools are a Trojan horse diverting critical funding away from public schools to schools that lack public accountability.
Furthermore, Nebraska parents already have school choice with the many existing parochial and private schools. My own son graduated from Creighton Prep after attending OPS elementary and middle schools. Lucas argues that what Nebraska's public schools need is more state aid to lessen their dependence on property taxes.
Is Gov. Ricketts listening?
Craig Reisser, Omaha
Make compassion the law
The Legislature is debating a bill that would improve the lives of thousands of ill and suffering Nebraskans, including myself, by legalizing medical marijuana.
Complications from a stroke and a faulty sense of balance have contributed to several falls, which have left me walking with a cane. Every movement causes me pain, and I am on a multitude of medications.
FDA-approved drugs keep me in an almost constant incoherent state. If legalized, medical cannabis could replace several of those medications. I tried medical cannabis and was able to move around without as much pain and was able to think more clearly.
This bill is about compassion — compassion for those who cannot speak for themselves, such as the children whose seizures are uncontrollable and the parents who watch helplessly, as well as for individuals like myself who deserve a better quality of life.
Nebraskans know how to show compassion, and they show it, from rebuilding after tornadoes and flash flooding to the recent fire in the Old Market. However, a few of our senators, as well as our governor, will often say, "I'm compassionate but . . ."
There is no "but" in compassion.
Maggie Graham, Omaha
Truly our best friends
The World-Herald's articles on therapy dogs recently have shown why so many of us love our pets. They make our spirits rise. They become part of our family.
Students feel the love these dogs give them and they respond. And there are the guide dogs who work so faithfully for their owners.
When my sons attended Edison Elementary School, each morning and evening they were greeted by a neighborhood cat who loved the affection the students showed him, and he returned it to them.
Dave Haar, Omaha
Time to lure pro sports teams?
With both Creighton's and Nebraska's basketball teams headed for another mediocre-to-bad season, once again I am reminded what a bad decision it was for those schools to switch from their natural conference affiliations. Joining the Big East and Big Ten was a financial boost, but both of those schools were wealthy before switching. And besides, the money doesn't go to the players but to administrators, coaches and staff.
I'm convinced the business model of the NCAA, where everybody gets rich but the "student-athletes" who travel thousands of miles to play a game while classes are in session, will ultimately fail. Lawsuits abound, and if justice is served, the NCAA will fall.
If that happens, I believe Omaha's facilities, TD Ameritrade Park and CenturyLink Center Omaha, might be in danger of eventually losing their main tenants. So I propose professional sports for both properties, especially the baseball park.
Right now that place is almost always vacant, and without the College World Series, things would really be dire in north downtown Omaha. We should get a Lincoln Saltdogs-type professional team to play 75 baseball games downtown during baseball season.
Omaha's leaders should be far-sighted and realize the college sports largess will not last forever.
Ricky Fulton, Omaha
Not a birthright
Just a reminder: In Nebraska, it is not a "Godgiven right" to drive, it is a privilege. Sometimes that privilege needs to be suspended.
James W. Thompson Sr., Omaha
Scrap the caucuses, Iowa
As a former Omahan who now lives in Illinois, I always thought one advantage Nebraska had over Iowa was its primary system rather than the caucus system in Iowa. In Illinois, we have the primary system.
Regardless of party affiliation, primaries are easier and more convenient for voters. All you do is walk into the polling place, sign the register, go to your polling booth and vote. You are in and out, usually in under 10 minutes. Plus, you can vote at your convenience as long as it is done within the open polling hours of your state.
The caucuses are a mess. You have to be at a certain location at night. And you have to sit around with a bunch of other people, regardless of whether it is the Democratic side or the Republican one. Sometimes you have to be there several hours, as opposed to waiting 10 minutes or a little longer in line for a primary, depending on the number of those entering the polling station.
Yes, Iowa had a record Republican turnout. And the Democratic turnout was high, too. But that was by caucus standards. Still less than 20 percent of all registered voters in the state turned out.
If Iowa had a primary, turnout would be higher and more convenient for the voters.
Herb Vermaas, Salem, Ill.
Can you tell the difference?
So if a Wall Street company hands a career politician $675,000 under the table, it is viewed as some sort of bribery. But if the same company "pays" $675,000 in "speaking fees," it is viewed as a career politician earning a living?
Jim Busenbark, Omaha
Kudos to Max I. Walker
Kudos to Max I. Walker for all the effort it put into collecting prom dresses that have had a prior owner, refurbishing them, cleaning them, and preparing them to sell for $30 ("Dress sale racks up big bucks for charity," Jan. 31 WORLD-HERALD).
It was a wonderful opportunity for girls who never could afford to go to a retail store to purchase one. The fact the establishment raised $2,700 for Lydia House is amazing. Talk about paying it forward.
We are privileged in Omaha to have such a respectable company.
Katherine Braunlich, Omaha