In a column I wrote last July titled "Education is the key to the future." I commented on the financial problems faced by states and municipalities and the measures local governments were taking to clean up their fiscal houses. Among the options being considered at the time were cuts to education spending from elementary to higher education.
I don't know whether to hug them or smack them. I'm talking about the 11,000 Omahans who, according to a recent report in the Omaha World-Herald, signed the recall petitions but didn't vote in the actual election on Jan. 25.
President Obama's announcement to stop deporting certain illegal immigrants has unleashed an intense debate across the country. A Bloomberg poll found that Americans favor his policy change two to one. Although my opinions on President Obama tend to be moderate, the president's willingness to make ethical progress on immigration has elicited my support.
While few may pay attention to what goes on in Nebraska's legislature, fairly big news was announced just the other week in the Omaha World-Herald. State senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha was picked up for a DUI. His blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit, and he accepted full responsibility for what he had done.
A year ago, this story wouldn't have bothered me a whole lot. I mean, politicians behaving badly is a nightly reality show we call the news. However, this incident reminded me of that little saying: "What goes around, comes around."
Let me tell you the story.
Another day in America, another gun crime.
Last month, barely a week before Christmas, the nation was shocked and horrified when a young man armed to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons blasted his way into an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., then proceeded to shoot and kill 20 children and seven teachers.
The killing spree ended when the police showed up and the gunman took his own life.
In the weeks that followed, we were treated to almost daily reports of gun-related crimes and violence from around the nation.
This should come as no surprise; in 2009 the United States ranked among the top ten nations with the most firearm-related deaths, with 10.2 per 100,000 people.
As part of the constant search for a solution to mass shootings, a group of senators recently pushed out new legislature that would put stricter regulations on background checks for gun purchasers.
Ideally, that makes sense. You have a violent past? Well, no, you can't have a gun because you'll obviously go on a rampage. But, wait, what about the guy that's only been in a couple of bar fights?
Last Tuesday, while the rest of the nation was watching the president's State of the Union address, the city of Omaha headed to the voting booths to decide whether Mayor Jim Suttle should stay in office. The final tally was very close - a margin of just two percent decided he should keep his job. There's a lesson there: if you don't think your vote counts, think again.