Clean energy for a secure nation
It is clear to me as both a small businessman and retired Air Force officer that America's reliance on fossil fuels is causing undue stress on our economic stability and national security. We are currently sending billions of dollars overseas — often to hostile regimes — to heat our homes, transport our products, fuel our cars and run our military. In 2008 alone we spent $1.2 billion every day; $50 million every hour; $837,000 every minute; and $14,000 every second on oil. In these tough economic times, I would rather my money go to Americans.
An energy policy that focuses on clean, renewable, affordable, American sources of energy will free us from the perils of a reliance on nonrenewable, polluting fuels that threaten our national security, environmental health and economic stability. I support putting Americans to work and taking our brave young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines out of harm's way.
Transitioning to a new, clean-energy economy will create millions of American jobs in struggling industries such as manufacturing. Increased investments in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency will create more than 94,000 jobs in Florida alone.
Moreover, moving toward clean American energy will make our country more secure and save our young men and women from engaging in situations that can be avoided. Climate change, which is happening because of our massive scale of pollution, is a "threat multiplier." It reduces the availability of resources such as food and water, causes populations to migrate to find those resources, and fosters political instability. The result is an environment that is prime for recruiting terrorists. If we don't act now to stem the changing climate, the U.S. military will have to act soon to prevent terrorists from gaining a foothold in vulnerable areas.
The United States is already a world leader in so many areas. Isn't it time we led the world in developing a clean-energy economy?
Bill Moline, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force (retired), Tampa
Stimulus spending clips the taxpayer Oct. 23, editorial
Grants reveal more government folly
Kudos to the St. Petersburg Times for the editorial criticizing the federal government for its stimulus grant of $2.3 million to train more hairstylists.
I was amazed and furious when I read of the grant. As stated in your editorial, there is already a plethora of cosmeticians and these Pell Grants seem the height of folly in an economy in which many people are forced to tend to their own locks.
There are so many deserving places that could make good use of this money. People unable to find work could be given scholarships and trained in careers that may well be rewarding financially and would probably be popular in any economy.
Surely very little effort would be involved in finding a more appropriate place to spend our hard- earned bucks.
Renee G. Salzer, Seminole
Stimulus spending clips the taxpayer Oct. 23, editorial
It's just meddling
With all of the problems that we face today, the St. Petersburg Times is focused on students receiving Pell Grants for cosmetology? You mention in your editorial that there is a growing jobless rate in manufacturing, public safety, technology and construction. Do we tell St. Petersburg College or USF, FSU or UF students in any of those fields that it is wrong for them to pursue those professions or, better yet, receive help to achieve your education in that field?
While I may agree that going to school to become nail techs or hairstylists might not be the best choice right now, how do we say one profession is okay and another is not? After all, you can still get a Pell Grant for pursing a journalism degree, but is that a good idea with the state of the print media today?
I'm concerned that in making this into an issue we are in effect encouraging the federal government to control what are appropriate careers by only providing grants for the "correct" field. Aren't they in our lives enough?
Dave George, Clearwater
A lawsuit, a fight and a 6-year-old girl Oct. 22, story
Make an exception
This is yet another national black eye for the state of Florida and Pinellas County in particular.
I have served as a director and president of a condo association for many years, and first and foremost in a delicate case such as this, common sense and humanity must be used. I absolutely understand and recognize the need for restrictions, rules and regulations and bylaws. I believe they should be strictly enforced, the majority of the time. However, in this particular case, as in life itself, exceptions can and should be allowed.
From what we read, the association did have a provision in their bylaws to allow children to stay for no more than 60 days per year. However, the allocated time has expired and these grandparents are doing the right thing, the commendable thing.
The association could and should make an exception in this case. The attorneys on both sides should meet and come to an agreement that would/could possibly satisfy both parties. Why not make an amendment proposal to the existing by-laws, put it before a vote by the members of the association and if passed, grandfather this child in and permit her to stay.
I seriously doubt these circumstances would be repeated down the road. I am also curious if the same board members have been in place during this entire ordeal. If that is the case, I understand their actions as it would be the same continuous mind-set: a law is a law, a rule is a rule, etc. There are always exceptions to the rule, aren't there?
Dick Holt, Clearwater
New shelter idea catches flak | Oct. 22
The value of human life
Everyone has to live somewhere, even if they can't afford their own home and the accompanying political influence. Between East Lake and the Floriland office complex in Tampa, someone should have had the decency to allow people basic shelter.
A lot of homeless people come to Florida because the weather is relatively mild in the winter. If they have nowhere to live here, some might have to move north and increase the risk of freezing to death. How are property values more important than human lives? When the East Lake residents open their newspapers and read about homeless people dying of exposure in New York or Minneapolis, or someone killed because they were alone and vulnerable, will they think it was a good trade for a picturesque neighborhood and higher property values?
If you don't want a chance of other humans living near you, Florida isn't the right place for you. Try rural Alaska.
Kathryn Dorn, Tampa
Mobilize for jobs
At the end of 1941 the United States was at the tail end of the Depression and going to war. Within one year, we were able to totally mobilize. We completely turned our country around and put millions to work. Where is that resolve today that we had then when the country was in such need of cooperation among industry, labor and government?
The lust for political power is more important than the best interests of what our country needs. Our capability, the know-how and the technology are waiting to be used. The millions of unemployed are waiting for some of this to take place.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor