20190917_new_palermoBJS04 (copy)

Councilman Vinny Palermo of District 4 at the Omaha City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Hard to believe what he’s reading

I must admit that I often am left dumbstruck after reading The World-Herald. There are stories that beg the question of equal justice or even simple justice under our laws.

Whether they are local, state or federal laws, seemingly identical crimes yield different outcomes. Perhaps some nuance in the circumstance of the crime or better lawyers?

So when I read about Vinny Palermo, businessman and current Omaha City Council member, and how he somehow failed to file tax returns for … three years, well, I figure there must be some mistake.

Taxes — gee — pretty hard to miss that obligation. And he’s a businessman.

Inequality in justice. Yeah, it happens. But when it keeps happening, it erodes any perception of true justice and the “equal under the law” thing.

When laws aren’t enforced or are enforced unequally, there really aren’t any laws. That has never ended well.

Richard Smiley, Tekamah, Neb.

Clean energy revolution

It is good to read that William Kallmer has been thinking seriously about the Green New Deal (“Pondering a new deal,” Sept. 10 Public Pulse).

His pessimism about giving up fossil fuels, however, is misplaced.

I would invite him to consider the clean energy revolution that is already happening — people are still driving, eating and living in houses that are comfortable in summer and winter.

My favorite example is Georgetown, Texas, where Republican Mayor Dale Ross has presided over switching the town’s electricity entirely to wind and solar.

Ross points out a benefit of wind and solar: With wind and solar, there is no worrying about price fluctuations of fuel.

Conservatives who have trouble with a change as big as the Green New Deal might take a look at carbon pricing, which harnesses market forces to make the transition. If market costs of coal, oil and gas are slowly and predictably increased, energy planners will be able to switch to clean energy on a schedule that works for them. They can keep using the more expensive fossil fuels as long as they like.

The best two carbon pricing bills being considered in Congress are the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and the Climate Action Rebate Act. Both bills would return revenue to consumers so that no new government bureaucracy is created. Nebraska U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, as well as Nebraska Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Don Bacon and Adrian Smith, should get behind these bills.

Frances Mendenhall, Omaha

Don’t sell auto parts, either

Some letters to the Public Pulse have praised Walmart for its decision to stop selling firearms and related ammunition.

It has been reported that nearly 40,000 people die each year from gunshots. It should also be pointed out that nearly two-thirds of this number are suicides.

While I appreciated Walmart’s efforts to be part of the solution to firearm deaths, it is my opinion that the company is also quite hypocritical. Deaths each year in the United States from alcohol use, tobacco, prescription drugs and yes, even food-related obesity result in at least 900,000 deaths annually.

Included in this number are automobile deaths. Although, to my knowledge, WalMart doesn’t sell autos, it does sell parts and accessories necessary to keep autos on the roadways. Yet Walmart advertises, markets and sells these products.

If the company is really concerned about the well-being of its consumer base, perhaps it should also consider removing these products from its stores.

Don Brunken, Logan, Iowa

Time to end priestly celibacy?

In light of recent revelations of priests’ sexual abuses, I feel somewhat sympathetic as they have been deprived of this gift God has given us. However, I recently heard that this abuse reached its high in 1987 and since declined.

The Roman Catholic Church requires celibacy of priests and nuns, but our God created us male and female (Genesis 1:27) with a sexual desire to re-create (Genesis 1:28). So is celibacy disobedience to God’s command to re-create? Sexual desire may be our strongest desire, so we are easily tempted. But God requires commitment (Genesis 2:24), and haven’t all societies required such, and considered activity outside of that as a violation?

Pope John Paul set aside Latin in favor of a local language, so cannot Pope Francis now abandon celibacy for the sake of priests’ and nuns’ happiness and fulfillment? Is that too much?

Oscar Blomstedt, Lincoln

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.