A terrible bet for Florida | Oct. 23, editorial
Gambling creates hidden costs
What is the financial difference between Florida's Legislature gambling that a major hurricane will not wreak havoc on our economy and expanded casino gambling? None.
If a major hurricane strikes Florida, the wreckage is there for all to see, and taxpayers will be assessed because Florida's hurricane insurance program is underfunded.
Casino gambling eats away at the income and assets of a person or family who cannot resist the lure of making a quick buck. Then Florida taxpayers eat the losses when losers seek free medical help, food stamps, rent subsidies and other government programs. There is no storm damage to see, just a further expense buried in the state budget. It is a hidden tax on funds needed for necessary state programs.
When I was in college in the 1950s, I worked at the Mile High Kennel Club in Denver and saw firsthand who showed up at the betting windows. Florida's elected officials have foisted a losing wager (hurricane insurance and casino gambling) on Florida taxpayers.
Donald R. Crane Jr., St. Petersburg
Science or art? Not an easy answer Oct. 24, PolitiFact
Delivering scientific results
Unlike many other disciplines, anthropology covers a wide range of areas related to the study of humans. PolitiFact is correct in defining anthropology as an art (humanities) and as a science. That being said, it would serve the public well if Gov. Rick Scott, along with other prominent public officials, dug a little deeper to better understand the many ways in which anthropology is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field.
For example, anthropologists conduct research on biological variation in order to examine genetic, physiological and body size similarities and differences across human populations. The findings from these studies are used in medicine and public health to address differential risks for infectious and chronic diseases.
More recently, anthropologists have made important contributions to our understanding of the role that prenatal stress has on birth outcomes (e.g., low birth weight) and risk for diseases later on in life (heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes).
Finally, because many anthropologists study the dynamic interaction between biology and culture, they offer unique insights into human behavior that are being used for the development of disease prevention and health promotion programming, which ultimately can lead to reduced health care costs.
David Himmelgreen, Ph.D., professor, University of South Florida, Tampa
Judge says no to drug testing | Oct. 25
Testing is appropriate
Federal Judge Mary Scriven has blocked drug testing as a condition of receiving welfare payments. She says that it violates the Fourth Amendment regarding searches.
What about mandatory testing when you apply for a job, even if there is no probable cause? Is that legal? What about random drug testing in police departments nationwide? Such tests have been upheld in the courts for years.
I see nothing wrong with someone being required to take a drug test as a condition for welfare payments. Many people who use drugs have dropped off the welfare rolls because they know they will not pass the test. I say keep it going.
Wayne Parlow, Ridge Manor
Progress rates will go up | Oct. 25
Consumers need protection
It seems the Florida Public Service Commission tends to work with Progress Energy and gives them what they want. Many seniors will not see this nuclear plant because they won't be here, but they have to pay every month to pacify Progress Energy. This is totally unfair.
How do customers get any kind of protection from the Goliath, Progress Energy?
Deme Varidin, St. Petersburg
Carmaker gets fed loan, misses goals Oct. 22
Empty promises of jobs
On the heels of the Solyndra loan guarantee mess and pending bankruptcy, we now learn that the $529 million loan to Finnish-based electric automaker Fisker has bought nothing but failed projections and empty promises of future U.S. job creation.
I suppose we are expected to applaud the announcement that Fisker will soon unleash the Karma — its $96,000 "luxury" electric vehicle manufactured in Finland — upon the U.S. economy and ignore the delay until 2013 of any domestic production of the more "reasonably" priced Nina due to "issues beyond the manufacturer's control."
Given yet another failure by the current administration to stimulate the economy and create jobs, can anyone question the growing opposition to President Barack Obama's latest half-billion-dollar "jobs bill"? Just like a so-called "luxury" electric car, to the informed it smacks of nothing but more "bad" karma.
Robert E. Heyman, St. Petersburg
LeMieux says college is too cheap | Oct. 23
Out of touch
It's no surprise that a man who sends his 4-year-old to private school and pays more for tuition per year than a student at the University of Florida would think that college is too cheap.
It just goes to show how out of touch the Republican Party is with the middle class. A lot of people are working two jobs just to be able to afford to send their kids to college or pay off student loans.
If this isn't an eye-opener for voters in the next election, I don't know what is.
Doreen Sloman, Seminole
State's incentive plan falls short on new jobs Oct. 25
This article points out that contracts signed by the state were worth $1.7 billion to create 225,000 new jobs. The contracted companies have created only one-third of the jobs but have received 43 percent of the funds.
Obviously, no one in Tallahassee has ever read about incentive plans. Why care? It's not their money. The basis of all incentive plans are measures of performance. When, and in this case if, the company creates a new job, then and only then should they be rewarded with an incentive. No jobs — no money.
Charles J. Rutz, Clearwater