Selfless act is 'how he lived his life' | April 10
Rare bravery and self-sacrifice
With the endless stream of reports depicting all that's wrong with the world, the story of Alan Hall reminds us that we never know the depths of bravery and selflessness in the strangers around us.
Hall had just begun enjoying the ease of retirement when he saw three young children in danger of drowning. When only two could be immediately rescued by parents, he surrendered his own safety to the uncertainty of a rip current as he swam to rescue the third young victim. Not until devoting his final living breath to making certain the child was safe did Hall quietly succumb to the danger, exchanging his own life for the future of a life too young to quite comprehend the sacrifice.
Every day people nowhere near each other experience the best and worst that life has to offer. Rarely do the two intersect with such grief, joy and heroism.
May God bless the soul of Hall and be with his family.
David Fraser, Clearwater
Pre-K program report pans quality | April 10
Student success tells tale
What is there to be "panned" in a pre-K program that enrolls more students than any other state, has the students do almost 50 percent better than students who do not participate in the program and does it for almost half of the funding?
I would say this is a success. This is what is so wrong about our public education system. Spending more per student does not always produce better results. The National Institute for Early Education Research set one of the benchmarks as how much is spent per student. I would think that student success would trump spending.
Nancy Dalley, Clearwater
Majoring in football | April 11, commentary
Bring pay out into the open
Joe Nocera's article is a must-read for anyone interested in college sports. It's a known fact that college athletes, for the most part, are enrolled in crib courses, often live in the athletes' dorm, eat special foods and get special stipends.
But these stipends are not from the university; that would be downright illegal and certainly draw the ire of the NCAA. I am aware of one athlete who used to receive $1,500 monthly to spend 15 minutes a week cutting a booster's lawn. Scores of athletes have been "compensated" for performance on the field and lack of performance in the classroom.
What's so wrong with majoring in football or "sports" and receiving remuneration from an institution that is reaping millions from one's talents?
Nocera ably points out that universities need to come clean and make college sports a paid major. For those who qualify, throw in an accounting course, science or psychology. When colleges stop sugarcoating their programs, just maybe some athletes will graduate with academic skills.
John Osterweil, Tampa
Guillen suspended, damage done | April 11
They're just words
The Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games for remarks in which he praised former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Guillen was just expressing an opinion; no one has to agree with it. Where are we, Cuba?
Wayne Rutledge, Brandon
Override Scott veto of key prison reform April 11, editorial
I was stunned when I learned that Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the bill providing intense drug treatment to nonviolent state prisoners, particularly after the near-unanimous support for the bill by his party. There was no logic in it, though that does not seem to be a requirement in any of his decisions.
What think tank could he be listening to now? Maybe there was a monied interest behind it?
Arthur Eggers, Tampa
Doctors under increased scrutiny over painkillers | April 9
Regulate pill distribution
Why don't officials make pain medications only available from one place, like with methadone? At least methadone clinics have success with keeping people well and able to work, function normally, and keeping them off the streets. I've never read about "big underground methadone sales."
Amber Black, Tampa
Learn the benefits of health care reform April 11, commentary
A history of overspending
Americans who enthusiastically support the health care law would be wise to exercise care in what they wish for. They should review the last few decades of other expensive government programs. Both Medicaid and Medicare have become more massive and expensive than anyone predicted. Social Security still seems headed over a cliff unless drastic changes are made.
In addition, the IRS finds itself fighting massive fraud involving taxpayer refunds. And a new financial storm seems to be forming involving the college student loan program. Need I even mention the latest expensive parties held in Las Vegas by the General Services Administration?
It is clear that President Barack Obama's administration lacks the ability to solve these problems. He is too busy working on getting re-elected.
It seems to me a voter would have to be ignorant or naive to think our current president is capable of establishing and operating an efficient and effective national health care plan.
Phil Sachs, St. Petersburg
Did tides and mirages sink ship? | April 10
More deadly disaster
One hundred years later, the Titanic sinking is usually referred to as among the worst maritime disasters in history.
In this context it is worth remembering the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff on Jan. 30, 1945, off the coast of Poland in the Baltic Sea. It is estimated that over 10,000 souls were aboard the ship, which was attempting to escape the advancing Soviet army.
The passengers were old men, women, infants, children and some wounded German soldiers. A Soviet submarine put three torpedoes into the ship and it quickly began to list and sank, taking with it more than 9,000 lives.
Terry Hobt, Tarpon Springs
Republicans love to call the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare," so I think we should call the super PACs "Supreme PACs" so people will be reminded who caused the corruption of our elections.
Walter M. Keehn, Tampa