Computer science grad couldn't find job | Sept. 2, commentary
Missing piece of puzzle: internship
The writer claims to have been a top student in his computer science program at Penn State. He complains that he did not receive job-ready, practical training because his courses were theory-laden or required memorization.
A quick review of the computer science curricula at Penn State's central and branch campuses confirmed my suspicion that the programs are dedicated to teaching the theoretical concepts required to understand the design issues involved in computer systems. Because of this, students are encouraged to take advantage of internships available both in business and government in order to get up-to-date practical experience.
Penn State's program certainly seems appropriate, and it is hard to imagine that a top student could not find internships or part-time work that would have rounded out his education. The grabby headline, designed to make college education look worthless, is disingenuous.
Robert Silverman, Wimauma
Medical pot not an easy victory | Sept. 4
Heed dangers of marijuana
Adding an amendment to the Constitution, especially one legalizing medical marijuana, should not be done lightly.
According to the California Narcotics Officers Association, "Marijuana is an unstable mixture of over 400 chemicals including toxic psychoactive chemicals which are largely unstudied and appear in uncontrolled strengths." No scientific studies demonstrate that marijuana is safe.
Marijuana has a high potential for abuse, and there is currently strong evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. Mental illnesses such as psychosis, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and suicidal thoughts have been associated with chronic marijuana use.
Marijuana acts on specific targets in the brain and causes difficulty with thinking and problem-solving, impaired coordination and judgment, and disrupted learning and memory. Its effects on developing brains are concerning.
The Florida Medical Association and law enforcement organizations strongly oppose Amendment 2. Amendment 2 is not good for public health or public safety. Vote no.
Diana Gilbert, Niceville
Flip-flop on Florida land and Restoring Florida's ecosystem | Sept. 1
Claims don't match facts
I am stunned by the audacity displayed by Gov. Rick Scott and state Rep. Steve Crisafulli in their claims to be responsible and generous stewards of state lands.
First, we have Scott promising to hike Florida Forever funding to half its intended $300 million annual level — after three years where he signed off on a total of $27 million. Then we have Crisafulli's specious piece to provide cover for Scott by obscuring the funding actually allocated to environmentally sensitive land acquisition and boasting of increasing funds on other initiatives to shadows of former levels.
Adding to this are memories of the attempted selloff of state lands and a Scott-inspired move to pay a developer to build golf courses in state parks. The tactic of tailoring a weakness to appear as a strength is stretched well beyond its limits in this area.
G.T. Kaszer, St. Petersburg
Scott: Cut $1B in taxes | Aug. 30
Better uses for the money
Instead of cutting taxes for businesses or others, why doesn't Gov. Rick Scott use those funds to provide medical coverage for some of the almost 800,000 Floridians who are without it because of Florida's rejection of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion? Or he could put that money into our public school system, which certainly needs it — or the environment. A competent governor could certainly find many ways to use these funds besides rewarding his deep-pocketed supporters.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
No Syria ISIS plan yet, Obama says, as Nelson urges strikes | Aug. 29
Quiet the drums of war
Who knew that Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was such a war hawk? This kind of rabble-rousing is why the rest of the world views us in such low regard.
All gunboat diplomacy has done for the United States is to result in an out-of-control National Security Agency and long lines at the airport with our shoes in our hands. I expected better of Nelson.
Rick France, Tampa
Overstep on painkillers? | Sept. 2
Don't do the doctor's job
Thank you for this timely article on the difficulties facing doctors and patients in getting prescriptions filled for legitimate pain medications. Pharmacists are not doctors and, as such, they have absolutely no right to refuse to fill a legitimate prescription from a board-certified medical doctor. The quote from the pharmacist deriding the practice of pain management was reprehensible. If he or any other pharmacist wants to practice medicine, I encourage them to apply for medical school.
On the other hand, I make it a practice to personally introduce myself to the pharmacists in my neighborhood and discuss my prescribing habits, and I rarely have a problem.
Marty Landry, M.D., Largo
From grief comes grit | Sept. 1
The power of perseverance
What a heartwarming story and an affirmation of the strong human spirit. Dakota Rockwell is a role model — especially to struggling precollege students or anyone seeking a goal with a tragedy that's occurred in one's life — that hard work, patience, perseverance and a bit of stoicism will pay off. I'm so proud of Rockwell and only wish him success in his studies and all of his personal goals.
Nora Zaki, Temple Terrace
Lane DeGregory does a brilliant job on this story about Dakota Rockwell. I needed a Kleenex to finish it. After all the killings and political babble we read every day, to learn about the many people who are helping Dakota is heartwarming. Thank you, Tampa Bay Times and Lane DeGregory.
Mary Lou Jenkins, Largo