A tough ride on road to freedom | May 17 editorial
Don't forget about James Farmer
Kudos to your recent coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. We must recognize and remember the efforts and sacrifices of the heroes of the civil rights movement, both famous and unknown. Your coverage of the rides has failed to highlight the role of James Farmer, a founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and a leader of the Freedom Rides. The picture accompanying Tuesday's editorial referenced the celebratory activities at the University of Mary Washington (UMW), but the editorial did not mention the campus' connection to the rides. It would have been relevant in this context to mention Farmer, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and other honors. He was a distinguished college professor of history and American studies at UMW. As an alumna of UMW, I feel privileged that James Farmer was one of my professors (his passion for civil rights and equality was contagious). James Farmer was a dedicated man whose role and importance is often overlooked. Please remember to include him in any future coverage of the Freedom Rides.
Elena Piquer Mayberry, Wesley Chapel
It's time to legalize drugs | May 16 letter
Just stop abusing
What's the rationale? If reducing prison population is the only goal, we might as well legalize prostitution, as well as other crimes. Consider, too, if drugs like cocaine were legal, how do we determine what the age group is for legal use? What standard will we come up with to differentiate normal use compared to driving while smoking pot or using cocaine to a point where it becomes dangerous? How many legislative sessions to determine this? How long will it take? How many additional law enforcement personnel will we have to hire to ensure safe usage?
Legal issues aside, I think that a better solution would be to stop using these drugs. There are many ways to enjoy life without hurting yourself or others.
Carl E. Graham, Largo
FSU advisory board is not hurting academic freedom | May 13 column
Give FSU some credit
FSU President Eric Barron's response to the exposé of the acceptance of Koch's foundation funds at the university was clear and well written. His assertion that the terms of the agreement do not compromise academic freedom at FSU has to be taken on its surface. Given these facts, it is fairly safe to conclude that FSU's hierarchy and its Economics Department leadership subscribe to the conservative political positions that the Koch Foundation hold dear and true. Let's remember that it has been said that for every economic theory, there is an opposite and equal economic theory. There needs to be brilliance in economic thought, which can only come about by examining the many sides of each issue. When the course of knowledge is pushed in a new direction, it is all the better. But until academic freedom reigns supreme, FSU can affectionately be called Tea-SU in honor of the Tea Party, which is also funded by the Koch's.
Stuart Berney, Tampa
Greyhound racers happy for reprieve May 14
Cruelty is inherent
The greyhounds are not recipients of a reprieve. No longer a secret, cruelty is inherent in greyhound racing. Public awareness of that cruelty continues to contribute to dog racing's steady, dramatic decline. Attendance and revenues are down, so much so that racetrack owners now seek to legislatively remove mandates that force them to hold live dog races.
It is cruel and inhumane for greyhounds to live in nearly endless, abysmal confinement in small cages day in and day out. The cruelty doesn't end when they are let out to race, as they then face the risk of injuries such as broken limbs, broken necks, paralysis and death by cardiac arrest. As short-term investments, and overbred so there is always another greyhound to use as a replacement, the greyhounds are valued only as long as they generate a profit.
That is no way to treat a dog. Dogs play an important role in our lives and deserve to be protected from industries that cause them harm.
Grey2K USA will continue to lead the charge to end dog racing in states that still host this inhumane activity.
Caryn Wood, Grey2K board of directors, Gilbert, AZ
Our senior mythology | May 16 column
Seniors exceeded obligation
Robert Samuelson rails against seniors. He states most older people enjoy greater prosperity than previous generations. He forgets to state that prior to Social Security, seniors lived and died in abject poverty. He goes on to pit these same seniors against children under 18. Next, he goes after a portion of seniors he calls the high-income group. According to his article, this is four times the poverty line or almost $52,000 a year for a couple. We have people in this country livid that anyone would suggest higher taxes on households making $250,000. However, Social Security recipients making less than $52,000 should pay a higher price?
Worst is his statement, "People do not lose their obligation to the larger society by turning 65." Mr. Samuelson, most of us have far exceeded our obligation to society as evidenced by the greatness that used to be the United States. It is not we who have failed America, sir.
Robert Lloyd, Ruskin
Another expense we cannot afford | May 16
Can't pay? Don't drive
After reading your article on speeding, it appears that St. Petersburg can reduce its budget by getting rid of some of the police officers who appear not able to do the job they are suppose to do. Everybody has a sob story but they are breaking the law. If they can't afford the ticket don't speed or don't drive.
Donald Ellis, Spring Hill
In case you missed it
It was squirreled away in a bottom corner on page 6A of Tuesday's newspaper so our state legislators who approved Senate Bill 234 may have missed it. I'll repeat it here for their benefit. A federal judge in California ruled Monday that there is no constitutional right to carry a hidden gun in public.
R.C. Zahn, Tarpon Springs