A wake-up call for Congress

Robert J. Samuelson’s recent op-ed (Jan. 3 More Commentary) is spot-on. Congress seems more interested in individual re-election and ideology than the future of this country.

The harsh truth is that the only way we are going to climb out of the hole we’re in is to have everyone tighten his belt. There can be no good deals for anyone. If any group is allowed to skate, then everyone else will demand the same.

If we do not right ourselves soon, then it will be the end of so-called American exceptionalism. There is nothing exceptional about financial and moral bankruptcy.

Every single representative and senator should be required to visit the schools in their districts, look the children in the eyes and tell them that Congress is destroying their futures to ensure its continued existence.

The Republicans have no credibility after supporting two 10-year wars on credit. The Democrats have no credibility when they want us to dig ourselves out of debt by spending more. Politicians in both parties seem to believe that citizens have no recourse but to accept the hand that Congress deals them.

Joseph A. Bowden, Papillion

The bucket is overflowing

Winston Churchill had it right when he reportedly said, “I contend that for a nation to try and tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

Bill Holdcroft Jr., Omaha

Hagel not best pick for Defense

Hagel — what a poor choice! Chuck Hagel was a disappointment as a Nebraska senator, a poor example of a Nebraska Republican and a poor supporter of Republican values and beliefs.

And then he ends up supporting Bob Kerrey as the third senator from New York instead of someone from his own party.

Hagel poorly represented Nebraska and may soon be poorly representing our national defense organization. I would feel sympathy for this country’s armed forces under his Obama-style leadership.

Michael Lovejoy, Omaha

Look at who opposes Hagel

The politicians who fear Chuck Hagel most are the ones with businesses that build guns and bombs in their districts. They are thinking about votes and campaign donations. They try not to remember Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s statement upon leaving the White House to beware the military-industrial complex.

Do we, as a peace-loving nation, need a military budget exceeding that of the next 10 nations in the world combined? Couldn’t you say that smells of pork and politics?

Don Hammel, Omaha

Thumbs down on Johanns’ vote

Hurricane Sandy was arguably the worst hurricane ever to strike the United States. It devastated the most populous part of the country. To their credit, Nebraska’s three Republican representatives voted to approve relief.

To his shame, Sen. Mike Johanns voted against the Senate version of a Sandy relief bill. Will Sen. Johanns beg for federal relief the next time a terrible natural disaster strikes Nebraska? Or will he argue then, as he no doubt is now, that it would be too expensive and we’re already in debt?

George Griffith, Chadron, Neb.

Ben Nelson’s kind, loyal service

I thank Paul Wice for his Jan. 4 letter thanking Ben Nelson for his many years of loyal service to our nation and our state of Nebraska. No one could have said it better.

His letter and gratitude tell the whole story of what a wonderful gentleman Ben Nelson has been for all of us. His kindness to Mr. Wice’s mother-in-law is only one of the many, many kind and generous ways he has served us through the years.

Not only do I thank Ben Nelson for all he has done for our state and nation, but I wish him and his family all of the Good Lord’s choicest blessings.

Lee Pratt Buhrman, Omaha

Need a better school board

John Greene is right on point (Jan. 6 Pulse) in asking Sens. Ernie Chambers and Scott Lautenbaugh to get together and work on introducing legislation to shrink the size of the Omaha school board.

Additionally, voters should strongly consider voting only for board candidates who have the requisite experience necessary to help manage a half-billion-dollar business. As Mr. Greene so aptly put it, “The good old girls system” is self-perpetuating and not adequately equipped to oversee OPS.

I agree with Mr. Greene that board member Justin Wayne is the type of qualified, independent public servant needed to serve on the board. As long as we continue to elect unqualified school board members, we deserve the results we have been getting. Elections matter. (Have you heard that before?)

Lastly, the arrogance of the former board to select a new superintendent was nothing less than astonishing.

Peter Lahti, Omaha

Try ‘spending it’ by saving it

The Learning Community apparently has $3.2 million that it doesn’t know what to do with. According to a Jan. 6 news story, the Learning Community is having trouble spending this money and is soliciting “ideas” from the public on how to spend it.

I’d propose that next year’s budget for the Learning Community be a minimum $3.2 million smaller than the current budget. But I’m sure for now the Learning Community Council will find a way to squander this money. Time to eliminate the Learning Community.

Ken Krzycki, Papillion

Resolve to clean up our act

As a proud volunteer for the Keep Zorinsky Beautiful program, I am sad to say that there is a lack of respect for the environment, especially in Omaha.

It seems that everywhere I go, I can’t look at the ground without seeing a can or pop bottle along the side of the road. Do people even care about what their actions could do to the planet? Do they want to make the town look dirtier than it already is?

Sure, a half-eaten apple core might not hurt anyone, but Styrofoam, rubber, plastic, wood, metal and other materials don’t break down as easily. Earth is our home. Let’s treat it with respect this New Year.

Zach Vinton, Omaha

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