Monday, September 01, 2014
   
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Letters to the Editor

Once a Nebraskan, always…

It never fails to amaze me, the people who say that Bob Kerrey is not a Nebraskan because he went to New York and served as a college president.

Many people from Nebraska have left for a no more honorable reason and never came back to Nebraska, but we claim them as Nebraskans, such as Robert Taylor, Clayton Yeutter, Henry Fonda, Willa Cather, Marlon Brando, Mari Sandoz, Fred Astaire, Johnny Carson and many others.

None of these were awarded the congressional medal of honor or gave part of their physical self for their country, or served as a very popular governor or popular senator who worked across the aisle.

Neither did Bob Kerrey attempt to take something that did not belong to him, by adverse possession.

 

Preserving rural mail service

The unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service (USPS), “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is derived from a quote by Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian.

However, of all the impediments to mail delivery envisioned, Herodotus never could have imagined the enormous financial obstacles facing the Postal Service today.

Despite the importance of postal service in rural communities, USPS faces significant short- and long-term challenges. New technology has decreased the volume of mail, and USPS does not have the flexibility to adjust to a declining market. As a result, USPS missed a $5.5 billion retiree health care payment on August 1 and defaulted on a $5.6 billion obligation on September 30.

In the coming months, Congress may consider passing a short-term measure so USPS can pay its bills, but ultimately the Postal Service needs robust reforms to address its long-term solvency. These reforms could include allowing for advertisement sales on postal vehicles, and moving to cluster box delivery in both rural and urban communities.

Without reform, USPS’ debt will balloon to nearly $100 billion by 2016, and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.

Some support giving taxpayer dollars to USPS while others have called for closing or consolidating more rural post offices. Neither of these approaches would resolve USPS’ structural problems, and focusing cuts on rural post offices would run counter to the Postal Service’s mission to serve all Americans.

According to the Postal Regulatory Commission, closing all of the 10,000 smallest post offices in the country only would save seven-tenths of 1% of the USPS’ operating budget.

To prevent rural post office closures, I have urged the postmaster general and the House leadership to consider the impact on communities, jobs, and urgent mail delivery. To this end, I have sponsored an amendment to the House postal reform legislation (H.R. 2309) which would cap rural post office closures at no more than 5% of total closures in any given year, and ensure USPS is taking public opinion into consideration, like those views expressed at more than 30 meetings held throughout the state over the past year.

The Postal Service also is considering reduced retail hours at 13,000 post offices nationwide, including many in Nebraska’s Third District. While preferable to closures, implementation of this proposal should not threaten rural service.

Fortunately, USPS is conducting an evaluation process of the proposed reduced hours over the next two years. The evaluation will include a customer survey mailed to affected zip codes and a public meeting. No changes will be made until after the evaluation process is complete.

I encourage all residents who may be impacted by these changes to complete the USPS survey. Doing so will allow the Postal Service to determine the best path forward for individuals and businesses in every community.

The Postal Service is facing hundreds of billions of dollars of debt over the next decade, and difficult decisions will have to be made to save this service for millions of Americans who depend on it. Whatever shape postal reform ultimately takes, I will continue to work to prevent cuts in service disproportionately aimed at rural communities to ensure the Postal Service upholds its original mission to serve all Americans.

 

 

   

The failures of Obama

Senator Barack Obama called George W. Bush “unpatriotic” for raising the debt $4 trillion in eight years. President Obama has raised the debt over $5 trillion in less than four years.

In 2009 the unemployment rate was 7.2% and gas was $1.80. Even with manipulation by the administration (not counting people who have simply given up looking for work) the unemployment rate is now 8.1% and gas approaching $4.00. Even if their claim of creating 4 million jobs is true, we still lost a net 740,000 jobs. Obama says, it was “worse than we thought” and he needs more time. Obamanomics = FAIL.

During their national convention, Obama, John Kerry and Joe Biden bragged about killing Osama bin Laden. Last week on 9-11, Islamic extremists in Egypt and Libya responded with violence and murder. Rioters breached the walls of our embassy in Cairo, then shredded and burned our flag.

The embassy released an apology citing an anti Islamic film (which virtually no one has seen) as the reason for the attack. Essentially apologizing for our First Amendment. Liberals are always surprised by the reactions of radicals who are emboldened by signs of weakness.

Obama tried to distance himself from the embassy statement (his own policies of appeasement). The apology didn’t jive with what the attackers were shouting “Obama, Obama there are still a billion Osamas.” Obama killed their hero.

While Obama went into hiding, Mitt Romney stepped up for America (acting presidential) by denouncing the embassy’s apology for something our government had no part in. Obama’s attack dog media criticized Romney for jumping the gun without knowing all the facts, implying that it helped lead to the murder of our ambassador to Libya.

Obama’s first statement was not to condemn the attacks, but that Romney has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. But, we must remember it was Obama who called for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt without knowing who would replace him (the Muslim Brotherhood).

Also, it was Obama who “led from behind” in the killing of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. His assumption that Libyans hated Gaddafi as much as we did, may have been a flawed one. Obama didn’t learn from the worst mistake Bush made in Iraq. Two countries where Obama took decisive action to intervene are in total chaos. The entire region is following suit. Obama foreign policy = FAIL.

One day after our ambassador and three other Americans were murdered—with the whole Middle East/North African region on fire—Obama flew off to Vegas and Golden, CO, for campaigning/fundraisers. He told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that he didn’t have time to meet, on the same day it was announced he’s doing the Letterman show. Obama common sense = FAIL.

Obama and his party do deserve some credit. They put up a good fight against the Republicans’ war on women, children, old ladies in wheelchairs, Medicare, clean air, clean water, female college students who can’t afford to have sex and Romney’s dog Shamus. Re-electing Obama and his ship of fools = FAIL.

   

One payer system inevitable

I see in the newspaper that Sen Nelson is encouraging us all to “work together on a Nebraska solution for Health care.” Thanks, Ben, but you gave us this mess.

He want’s us to come together and figure out a Nebraska based insurance exchange program so that there’s no “federal takeover.” Thanks, again, but I’m not helping you out of the disaster that you created.

The “competition” between companies, which has been denied by states over the years because of state boundaries and state insurance commissions, has never seen the light of day.

Had we been able to choose between several insurance companies, like we can with car insurance, over the years, I doubt that there would be as many un- and under-insured folks as there are. The problem with the whole scenario is that these plans, offered by the exchanges are going to be useless in a matter of years anyway.

Under the new health care laws all insurance companies are being forced to cover nearly everything. These have to accept every pre-exiting disease. Now here’s what you can’t escape…the math can’t be falsified. When you make insurance companies accept patients with all types of diseases, without letting them use traditional riders, and the like, you force them to collect enough in premiums to cover the expected increase in costs.

We can not escape the actuaries. It’s simple mathematics. You increase exposure to the any insurance company and they will have to spread the costs across all owners of their policies. So what does this mean? Costs go up.

And that’s what we’ve seen in the last three years. President Obama promised that your insurance rates would go down. They haven’t; they have nearly increased exponentially. He said that you’d be able to keep you insurance…and you won’t.

Why? Because the system is rigged to fail, leaving only the government as the only payor.

It doesn’t take rocket scientist to see this. Insurance is costing more (because of the Obama mandates) and will effectively cause you and I not to be able to choose any private company’s product to cover us, and our loved ones.

As prices for these plans go up and up, it will not be feasible for the average person to afford their own private insurance. As fewer and fewer people purchase a company’s plans, they will not be profitable, and no longer offered. One by one, insurance plans will succumb to this effect leaving only the federal government as the only payor.

So will I participate with Ben in the insurance exchange conversation? No. It would be a magnificent waste of my time. What Nebraska, or any state for that matter, does to determine what it will do for an insurance exchange is moot. Because Obamacare is rigged to cause all insurance plans to fail. Again, leaving the federal government as the only payor in the system.

If you want to help, then I suggest you financially support Republican senate candidates across the country and Romney/Ryan. That’s what I’m doing.

That is the only hope we have for a reasonable solution to healthcare. Because if Obamacare stands, not only will there be a one payor system, but the economy will stagnate and your coverage under Medicare will be severely curtailed. That’s if you can find a doctor that will even accept Medicare.

   

Airport assistance appreciated

My husband, Bill, was piloting our Beechcraft Debonair on July 29 about 40 miles north of Gothenburg when our adventure began. We were en route from on our way from Oshkosh, WI to Parker, CO.

I’m a pilot too and noticed our battery voltage getting lower, indicating an electrical problem that needed attention. After a quick call to FAA Air Traffic Control and a consultation of the GPS database, we shut down all non-essential electrical equipment, lowered the landing gear and bee-lined it to your hometown airport.

After a safe landing, your airport manager Dennis Brown and his wife, Carol, were preparing to leave when they saw our plane. Dennis recognized the plane from an earlier visit we had made and decided to stick around to greet us. We taxied to a stop and opened the cowl to find the remnants of a shredded alternator belt. Bill explained our dilemma to Dennis who is retired airline pilot. He and Carol helped us by finding the materials needed to make emergency repairs and driving us there to get them, moving the plane into the shade of a hangar and picking up hamburgers at McDonald’s. By the time we returned to the airport for the last time, I felt like an old friend of the Browns.

A suitable replacement belt was then installed but we found that a newly installed fuel mixture control had problems that could only be corrected by making an extension for the control rod. Dennis once again came to the rescue by providing the cutting tools required to modify a part needed to serve as the extension. Shortly thereafter, we were on the way to Parker, CO.

The kindness and generosity of Dennis and Carol and other members of the Gothenburg Airport community who—lent us a helping hand during this unplanned stop will live on in our memories for a long time. We will surely stop by again on future return trips from Oshkosh to purchase fuel, renew acquaintances and trade flying stories.

In September, Bill and I will visit your sister city, Gothenburg (Gotebörg), Sweden, to visit with my father’s family and we will surely tell them of the kindness and good cheer of their counterparts in Gothenburg, NE. To everyone in town who helped these pilots in distress go safely on their way, it is much appreciated.

   

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