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U.S. protects rights

I noticed an article in The World-Herald about a federal court in Boston ruling that warrantless U.S. government searches of phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment.

U.S. District Judge Denise Casper said U.S. border agents need “reasonable suspicion” of contraband such as classified national security information or child pornography in order to search travelers’ devices at U.S. ports of entry without a warrant.

I wondered — where in this world but in the good old U.S.A. can the rights of both the citizens of a country and those from other countries rights be protected?

That’s why I call the good old U.S.A. the greatest country on the planet.

Robert Martinez Sr., Omaha

Kudos to youth ballet

A huge shout-out and congratulations to the members of Heartland Youth Ballet for another outstanding performance.

These pre-professional dance students performed “Madeline’s Rescue,” a delightful children’s story, in front of hundreds of people last weekend, inside the beautiful Kish Theater at Marian High School.

Under the direction of Rachel Vickrey Hartley, these students were absolutely amazing. Thank you to Rachel for providing these students such fantastic opportunities to perform in so many beautiful ballets.

Our family is looking forward to the next production in April, “Hansel and Gretel.”

Janet and Rich Phipps, Papillion

Anxiety on campus

Rick Ruggles authored an excellent and thought-provoking article on counseling of college students in the Nov. 18 World-Herald (“UNL is putting counselors in dorms to meet growing need for mental health care in college”).

He mentioned that a sizable number of students suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness and feelings of hopelessness. Why is this happening? This “old school” retiree offers these causes:

Many of the students are not academically prepared for college life. Statewide testing of high school students indicates that many are deficient in various areas of study. This is not a good indication that they will be successful as college students.

The misuse of social media contributes to wasted time and lack of discipline on “hitting the books.” What portion of students who require counseling use their phones more than two hours per day? The answer would probably be alarming.

Student debt has soared to over $1 trillion. Much of that can be attributed to undisciplined and ill-prepared students who are wasting time on a college campus.

There is no easy answer for the dilemma outlined in Ruggles’ article. One suggestion is offered to address this situation. Parents should be realistic before their sons and daughters are sent off to college. Check their ACT scores and their study habits. If they are not ready, help them consider an alternative path for their early and formative years.

Dean Podoll, La Vista

Counter-arguments don’t track

I am really having problems with the counter-arguments for President Donald Trump’s guilt in the impeachment hearing:

1. The witnesses so far did not have direct contact with the president. Perhaps these civil servants more than anyone would know what was going on as they implement the orders from their superiors, including Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton. Each has refused to testify, which doesn’t make sense as they certainly could clear things up if the president is innocent.

2. The aid to Ukraine was released after the whistleblower’s complaint was made known. Therefore, the argument goes, Trump only attempted bribery, and his behavior is not impeachable. This is like saying attempted robbery or attempted murder is not a crime. Come on.

3. The whistleblower must testify. I really don’t know what this would do as he/she only alerted superiors of the problem, and plenty of people have confirmed his/her account. Also, it is illegal to “out” a whistleblower.

4. The Democrats are not allowing equal time for Republicans to speak and question witnesses. Not true. I observed both parties questioning the witnesses. Reps. Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff both had time for opening remarks. Both parties attended the closed-door hearings.

5. President Barack Obama did not allocate as much aid to Ukraine as Trump has. I don’t really know what this has to do with what the president did or didn’t do in terms of a quid pro quo, etc.

Charlotte Shields, Papillion

Questionable accomplishments

Before deciding the merits of President Donald Trump’s possible impeachment, we need to remember some of his questionable accomplishments.

1. Provided a sugar rush to the economy and the stock market by passing massive tax cuts that largely benefited corporations and the richest Americans. Sadly, these tax cuts added a trillion dollars to the U.S. deficit.

2. Nominated two conservative justices to the Supreme Court.

3. Saved money for U.S. taxpayers by not buying beds for immigrant children crowded in cages.

4. Provided paper towels to desperate hurricane victims of Puerto Rico.

5. Helped diversify American’s diets by allowing coal companies to dump mining debris into rivers, increasing American’s chances of getting mercury and arsenic in their diets.

6. Helped teach Americans concepts such as: quid pro quo, emoluments clause, campaign-finance violations, obstruction of justice and foreign election interference.

Hold on tight. There will be more questionable accomplishments to come.

David and Barb Daughton, Omaha

Gift of groceries

I would like to thank the generous lady who paid for my groceries recently at the WalMart at Interstate 80 and Highway 370. It was a pleasant surprise and such a nice gesture. It was very much appreciated by this Korean War veteran.

Bill Dahlheim, Gretna

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