pheasant (copy)

Habitat, not pesticides

I doubt if J.A. Conley’s Dec. 18 Public Pulse letter (“Are biocides killing pheasants?”) blaming pesticides for the disappearance of pheasants in eastern Nebraska holds water, considering that there is a huge pheasant population in South Dakota, where farmers use pesticides.

The difference is habitat. South Dakota has it; eastern Nebraska has lost it.

John Strain, Lincoln

Tired of government spending

After receiving my real estate tax statement for 2020, I can’t resist giving my opinion of our big spenders from the federal level down to the state, county and city.

Look at where we come in compared to other states. Please find a place to sign the 35% tax-credit petition. Our elected officials can’t seem to control spending and then want to take in additional refugees.

Hello, that costs money either directly or indirectly. There should be no more new spending, and the salaries of all elected officials in the state, county and city should be cut until our property taxes are in line with the middle of all the states, money-wise.

Tax dollars that go to the universities should be cut by 10%. Maybe they would think twice before making foolish decisions like paying the university president a base salary of $934,000.

Max Hopkins, Omaha

Act now on climate change

I am deeply disturbed by David Harsanyi’s column denouncing Greta Thunberg’s Time Magazine recognition as its Person of the Year. At least he doesn’t deride her for her diagnosis — just that she is a teenager and therefore cannot be recognized for her efforts and popularity.

More importantly, he uses the same redirect that all climate deniers use — that there is no problem currently and that only alarmists and misguided environmentalists claim that climate change is real and the planet will continue to experience predicted worsening impacts from carbon dioxide emissions and associated global warming.

His argument is the only aspect of his article that is unserious. Climate deniers no longer hear the facts about global warming that are occurring around us. Current deniers forget that Exxon Mobil and other energy producers began funding “conservative” think tanks such as the Heartland Institute and other similar organizations over 30 years ago to foment doubt about the looming destruction the use of their oil, gas and coal products was creating.

This process of denial has been thoroughly documented by Dr. Naomi Oreckes’ narrative “Merchants of Doubt.”

Sadly, these attacks have continued to drive a wedge between the actual science of assessing the development and worsening of our global climate and the conservative attitude that “everything is great now and getting better.”

I hope that we can overcome the talking faces of climate denial in time to limit the damage that will continue if we don’t.

Craig Tuttle, Omaha

What is abuse of power?

Abuse of power is a unlawful act. Let’s look at past presidents and their “abuse of power.”

President John Adams had a journalist arrested and jailed. President Andrew Jackson used his power to move Indians from their home in the southeastern United States to west of the Mississippi River.

President Abraham Lincoln shut down 300 newspapers and had reporters arrested and jailed. He also suspended habeas corpus, which requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or court to determine if detention is lawful.

President Woodrow Wilson had socialist opponents and reporters locked up under the “Espionage Act of 1917,” which was passed to prevent interference by enemies of the country.

President Franklin Roosevelt forcibly moved and interred Americans of Japanese descent without legal recourse. President Lyndon Johnson tapped the phones of his vice president and political opponent Barry Goldwater.

President John Kennedy used the IRS against his opponents. He also appointed his brother as attorney general.

The charge of “abuse of power” has been used against almost every president by their opponents. Which of these presidents were charged with impeachment? The answer is none.

I guess “abuse of power” by definition is whatever side you are on with regard to your party.

Ginger Gosch, Omaha

People redefined

“We the People” is a great rallying cry. But I can’t take anyone who uses it seriously any more.

Have we all so quickly forgotten about corporate personhood and that corporate money is protected speech?

Your elected officials are, in fact, answering to “the People.” People who go by names like Sanofi, Monsanto and Johnson & Johnson.

People who hold such extremist views like water being a commodity rather than a basic human right, or that us peons have no right to know exactly what is going into the food we eat, or who fight tooth and nail for relaxed toxic waste regulations.

People who provide very cushy retirements after a long career “representing the people.”

John R. Larsen, Omaha

Short-sighted on parking needs

Why in the world did the city OK a giant, six-level apartment building and commercial first floor with 60 underground tenant stalls for 112 apartments at 36th and Farnam Streets?

We aren’t New York City, with a massive subway/train system. Our workers in Omaha still need cars to get to far-flung workplaces.

Our Blackstone neighborhood is parking poor. For GreenSlate to insist that its tenants will somehow “work it out,” not having a parking place designated is terribly short-sighted.

Blackstone is an unusual and popular neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants, beautiful old homes, the Kiewit building and the University of Nebraska Medical Center nearby and, soon, the Cottonwood Hotel. What we don’t have is enough street parking.

Eddith Buis, Omaha

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