In Scott, voters find less to like | May 26
Unpopularity is a good thing
The level of ignorance in your articles and editorials concerning the current governor's low approval ratings deserves clarification. The fact that the governor is unpopular is a good sign, not a bad one. He is cutting government jobs and that means that at least some of the people are having to tighten their respective belts.
Government jobs must be cut because government workers are the parasites living off the fruits of the labors of the hosts, which are the taxpayers. Currently you have a very large segment of the population getting government paychecks. Their value to the community is questionable. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that we need more people working in the private sector and fewer government workers. I rest my case.
Dave Groff, Homosassa
In Scott, voters find less to like | May 26
Pain universal in Florida
Gov. Rick Scott's unpopularity is due to much more than the budget. Every single homeowner will see an increase in homeowners insurance. Utility customers will see an increase in their power bills now that the Legislature has gotten rid of every consumer-friendly Public Service Commission member.
Every single union member is seeing his power of collective bargaining attacked. Voters will have a harder time casting a ballot. Women have restrictions on their decisions on what to do with their bodies. Public school students will see less educational resources. Unemployed people will receive less benefits. State workers are afraid of losing their jobs. And every single politician will receive more legalized bribery from special interests. There is not a single person who will not be negatively affected by Gov. Scott and this Legislature.
Debbie Terhune, Treasure Island
The job-killing governor | May 26 editorial
Scott needs to be bolder
There are two ways to read the editorial about Gov. Rick Scott: the social democratic welfare state interpretation as the "job killing governor" or through the lens of democratic capitalism as "Scott's job in killing government." In the latter sense, he seems to be effective. The problem is he has not yet found his voice to sell the democratic capitalism model, and public megaphones aren't helpful.
Scott is not alone in believing 100 years of the social democratic welfare state is a creeping disaster because the model is inefficient, immoral and unaffordable based on a misguided understanding of human nature. Ironically, progressives sold the model using scientific-technocratic, spiritual and economic reasoning, which turn out to be its greatest failures. Liberals got a big thing backward: They assumed moral problems followed material problems.
Scott would do well to drop the worn-out "government is too big" charge and articulate a tangible vision.
Here are five ideas the GOP should sell in 2012: a simple and predictable tax system, means testing, consumer-based health care reform, reduced discretionary spending, reduced nutty federal regulations. I would add more, but that would be piling on.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
Just keep your eyes closed | May 25 column
Wake up on climate change
Thank you for Bill McKibben's slightly sardonic but totally brilliant commentary on missed connections between the recent global plague of weather-related disasters and the predictions from scientists about the consequences of climate change. Fires, erupting volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, melting ice caps … what does it take to wake up reality-show-dulled minds? What are President Barack Obama, with his coal mining, and Hillary Clinton, with her oil pipeline permits, thinking? It's climate change, stupid! Stop contributing to the problem.
JoAnn M. Valenti, Tampa
Bill McKibben's op-ed article tying all world problems to climate change due to human activity gives insight into the pathetic mind-set of a true believer. Interestingly, on the day of McKibben's article, the Times ran a story of the Joplin tornado tragedy that pointed out that between 1917 and 1936 were five years in which tornadoes occurred that were more deadly than those in 2011. Perhaps a more accurate conclusion is that climate-related incidents occur periodically for various reasons not related to fossil fuel emissions. If McKibben is a distinguished scholar at Middlebury College, God help its students.
George Post, Clearwater
Tahrir provides lessons | May 26, column
Why peace is so difficult
Thomas Friedman admits that when Arab leaders have approached Israel in peace, Israel responds with large concessions. The problem is Hamas is calling for the destruction of Israel and is sending rockets into Israel on a regular basis. It is difficult to talk peace with someone who has that mind-set. Benjamin Netanyahu put it in perspective when he said "If the Arabs lay down their weapons, there will be no war. If the Israelis lay down their weapons, there will be no Israel."
Martin Horne, Treasure Island
Israeli leaders stands firm on border May 25
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties wishes to commend and thank the Congress of the United States in showing its unwavering support of the state of Israel during the address of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Rarely has this body demonstrated such unity of purpose as it did on Tuesday. The members of Congress have demonstrated that they understand the complex reality of the issues and what Israel truly is: a democratic ally that shares America's core values in the midst of hostile regimes that will kill their own people rather than let true democracy flourish. Women's rights, minority rights, freedom of religion, freedom of speech — all can be found within the confines of Israel. We applaud our members of Congress who understand that, in Netanyahu's words, "Israel is not what's wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what's right about the Middle East."
Steve Schwersky, Clearwater,
Chair, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties
Obama firm on Mideast | May 23
Israel reaction typical
It did not surprise me that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected President Barack Obama's call for Palestinian statehood based on pre-1967 borders adjusted for land swaps. Israel has been building Jewish settlements on Palestinian land at breakneck speed ignoring U.N. mandates and entreaties from the United States. Israel should be made aware that land taken by force or by trickery can also be retaken by force. I guess it does not sink in that they are surrounded by a sea of Arabs growing larger, stronger and better educated every day and demanding change from the status quo.
Humberto A. Calderon, Tampa