Medal honors fight on poverty
Economics professor Muhammad Yunus is only the seventh person in history to receive the Congressional Gold Medal as well as the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Gold Medal was awarded to honor Yunus for his many years of work creating and developing the concept of microfinance and his lifelong pursuit of eradicating poverty.
Worldwide, 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. A majority of those in poverty are women and children. Yunus founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, providing very small loans to poor people who were desperately seeking to improve their positions. The venture exploded myths about conventional banking and was very successful, bringing positive change to millions of people who were lifted out of poverty.
We generally think of a good investment being in big businesses, but investment in individuals, especially the poor, can actually create consumers, decrease the effects of poverty (disease, crime, etc.) and grow the economy of the community.
U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, C.W. Bill Young and Sen. Bill Nelson co-sponsored the legislation awarding the Gold Medal to Yunus. I am proud of their efforts and appreciate their support of Yunus and his important contributions.
Yunus has inspired Congress with his commitment to ending poverty. The medal was greatly deserved, but Congress needs to act on this inspiration by funding poverty-ending programs that can further the economic development, health and education of individuals who can then spread that economic growth throughout their communities.
Diane Gainforth, Tampa
Sterilizing feral cats proposed as control April 29
Effective means of control
As a onetime resident of Nairobi, Kenya, I can personally attest to the success of the neuter and release programs as a means of controlling feral cat colonies.
I owned commercial property, and it was a common practice to neuter/spay the alpha cats who, once released and through "nature's ways," controlled the proliferation of cats throughout the colony thereafter.
The colony itself was beneficial in that it controlled the rodent population and ultimately the reptile population, namely poisonous snakes.
While it is easy to speculate, I never had problems with the cat colony usurping the wildlife. I also note that such programs are less expensive to taxpayers than euthanasia. Euthanasia is not a means of "control" — the colonies will continue to repopulate.
Stacey Lenz, Tampa
Breeders part of problem
What I found interesting about this article is that there is a dog breeder as part of the task force that met for months at the direction of county commissioners. Breeders are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Along with a trap-neuter-return program for cats, there should be a moratorium on all breeding of cats and dogs. It isn't only domestic shorthair cats and mixed-breed dogs that are euthanized on a regular basis year after year. Many people do not hesitate to surrender their purebred dog or cat no matter how much they paid for them if that purebred dog or cat destroys their rug, furniture or even their lawn.
There are plenty of adoptable animals at shelters everywhere, so that no breeding should be allowed until these numbers go down.
This, along with the TNR program, will ensure that dogs and cats everywhere have a chance for a forever home.
Mary K. Lodato, Tampa
Entertained and appalled
It seems that the Florida Legislature is finishing its business at about the same time that my Florida sojourn is coming to an end this year. I have been entertained and appalled by the carryings on in Tallahassee as has the rest of the nation.
The most ridiculous item has to be the turning back of federal tax dollars for medical care of the poor and disenfranchised. Will Weatherford, the latest handsome leader of the House, bungled this issue from the outset by describing how his family had needed exactly this kind of assistance long ago when the family was without options. Florida did provide for him and his family using this very helpful medical support with no strings attached.
Weatherford's looks will fade, like those of Marco Rubio, and I suppose it is possible that he could get smarter, but I doubt it. Please keep him local; our nation doesn't need another good-looking Florida pol who understands nothing.
John O'Neill, St. Petersburg
Painful case of hoof and lout disease April 30, Daniel Ruth column
I read Daniel Ruth's column about The Great Bull Run with a sense of laughing-out-loud humor and incredulousness that people would actually participate in this event. I did a bit more research and found that the event in Dade City is only one of many scattered around the United States in nine locations.
Besides the Running of the Bulls, they also have a follow-up event called the Tomato Royale Food Fight where participants are provided tomatoes to throw at each other.
I don't believe I would be as afraid of the running bulls as I would be of people who would take part in such events.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Politics plays up debt to China | April 30
Rhetoric vs. reality
It is interesting to have proved that the GOP scare tactics about our "huge" debt to China are just that — scare tactics. China may be our largest foreign creditor, but our government owes more than twice as much to Social Security as it does to China. China holds just 7.23 percent of our national debt, and that figure is dropping.
All these draconian cost-cutting measures that have been forced on us by the Republican-held House and the antidemocracy, 60-vote Senate have been fueled by these scare tactics and have only served to cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs and greatly slowed our recovery.
The government should start acting like a government and investing in the country rather than acting like a business and cutting costs in a down economy.
Bill Balmer, Seminole