Paranoia strikes deep | July 25, Daniel Ruth column
Truth about McCarthy's record
Daniel Ruth again dredges up the same old discredited arguments about Sen. Joseph McCarthy's record on fighting communism.
The truth has been established since the 1990s, when the Venona files, FBI information and research by Yale scholars given access to Soviet files were all released to the public. The Times of Oct. 25, 1998, gave extensive coverage to this startling new information.
The bottom line is that McCarthy's most significant error was that he dramatically underestimated the number of Communists working in our government.
As mentioned in the Times' 1998 article, the Observer of London acknowledged in 1996: "McCarthy has gone down as one of the most reviled men in U.S. history, but historians are now facing the unpleasant truth that he was right."
James Bowers, Madeira Beach
Penn State penalties | July 24
Don't punish the players
What a huge injustice. Penn State has been stripped of its trophies and scholarships, and the football program is in disgrace. That's not fair. Dozens of young men gave their all to the team and their school to earn those trophies. They do not deserve to be thrown under the bus because of a perverted man in power and a coach who covered for him.
Punish those who did the deed, but let the players keep their reputation and their program.
Lois Jolley, Pinellas Park
The role of a university
For those who have been critical of the penalties imposed on Penn State, may I remind them that it is a university first and foremost, which is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. Football is just a game, not the be-all and end-all of a university.
The lives of young boys were shattered by those we were asked to venerate just because they could win more games than anyone else.
The penalties are deserved.
Marie Everleth, Oldsmar
Energy-producing homes in works | July 25
Good idea, but buy U.S.
Building new green energy homes in Florida is a great idea. This is long overdue and should prove to be an excellent investment in our effort to become more self-reliant on energy.
However, why is Planet Green buying its solar products from a major European solar manufacturer? Why didn't Planet Green contract with First Solar, SunPower or another U.S. company? We need to invest in U.S. manufacturers, U.S. technology and U.S. labor.
This is almost as bad as having our U.S. Olympic uniforms made in China. Paavo Salmi should reconsider his choice of solar technology/manufacturers and invest in America.
Al Hunt, Tampa
St. Petersburg pier
Architects out of touch
St. Petersburg's pier architects remain out of touch with reality with their proposed changes to the pier design.
Shown in a drawing in the Times is a pelican feeding area. Have these architects never left their offices and noticed signs in every park in the nation warning people not to feed the wild animals and birds?
The reef "viewing and education area" remains another disconnect from the reality of Tampa Bay. It is the architects who need to be educated about the facts of bay waters; 90 percent of the time the water is too murky to see anything. People trying to view underwater life would quickly understand that they were sold a $50 million fiasco.
Lastly, they attempt to sweeten the pie by spending public money to build a shore-side restaurant to compete with the local private businesses that helped revive St. Petersburg and make it the popular place it has become. The restaurant proposal is further proof that the pier lacks anything of interest. People are now expected to admire the design from the shore while sitting in a restaurant because this piece of overpriced civic art has no value other than something to admire from afar.
"Foster's folly" and the "toilet seat" are descriptions used to describe the Lens design. This latest evolution of the design is an attempt to add fluff and baloney to sell a poor design and proof that after all the "listening" the architects did they still can't make their design work.
Bruce Mattern, St. Petersburg
They have it backwards
In real life, a developer or property owner prepares a detailed program that specifies the project's functions and size. This then goes to the architects to create a building that will embrace the program.
In the case of the pier, the city, against the first principle of architecture — "form follows function" — proceeded by designing a useless, extremely expensive sculpture that serves no purpose, a form without function. Now officials are coming back asking the people what could it be used for. It is like having an awkward suit made and then going around looking for someone to fit in it.
It is time to stop this nonsense, cut the losses and start over by developing a comprehensive program based on the residents' needs and input. Such a program should include the basic human needs like bathrooms, air conditioning, comfortable approaches for all age groups, then add restaurants, cafes, shopping and spaces to gather, mingle and party — a place that is full of life as opposed to this dead Lens.
Hani Matta, Tierra Verde
Guns wouldn't add safety
In the last few days, I have read a number of letters from gun advocates proposing that, had more people been carrying guns in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater, it is possible that the killer would have been shot before he was able to kill 12 people.
I can just imagine if, in the dark, two or three people started to shoot at the killer, who by the way was wearing a bullet-proof vest. First of all, they would probably be hitting innocent people or each other, and the rest of the people would not know who was the shooter whom they should try to get away from.
If police and soldiers are sometimes hit by friendly fire, think of how many people could have been hit by these licensed gun carriers.
If people are allowed to carry guns into a theater or bar, I'll never go there. If we are not careful, we will soon look like Somalia, with people driving around with guns sticking out of their cars or stuck in their pants.
Roger Gambert, Palm Harbor