Iraq sits on $79B oil windfall as U.S. pays Aug. 8, story
We have wrought a bitter harvest in Iraq
With what a fanfare of cunningly contrived falsehoods did we go whooping into another inoffensive land and lay it waste! What shocking news, for years now, has come out of that land: thousands of our troops killed, deaths of innumerable civilians, unimaginable suffering, hunger and desolation over a country as we build an enormous embassy for ourselves there and fence off a security zone.
And with what despair we see our economy at home staggering, uncertain. Tax cuts for the wealthy and more hardship in the future for those already sinking into poverty. The country we invaded so proudly will show a $79-billion budget surplus by year's end. And our treasury? We all know its condition by now.
We cannot avoid facing the terrible truth, the heartbreaking irony, of the fact that we have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind.
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
Time for Iraq to pay up | Aug. 9, editorial
We broke it
This editorial misses one very important point: We caused the destruction by our foolish attack on their country. It is our responsibility to repair the damage that we have wrought.
Carter Karins, St. Petersburg
Awesome! I could not take my eyes off of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijng. Each scene was more spectacular and lavish than the previous one. I was totally engrossed in the artistry.
The self-discipline instilled in the thousands of individual performers was commendable.
The pride and patriotism of all individuals were apparent throughout the ceremonies.
Joseph Welch, St. Petersburg
State military fund sits idle | July 25, story
Help for reservists
Florida's military members and families are strongly supported by the governor and state Legislature. Legislation passed during the past several years was designed to support Florida military service members, particularly our National Guard and Reserves, and matches that of any state in the country. An important element in Florida's outreach to service members is the Family Readiness Program Assistance Fund.
Established in July 2005, the fund provides need-based assistance to families of Florida National Guard and Florida-based U.S. Reserve members on active duty for the war on terrorism or participating in state operations for homeland defense. As of July 2008, 172 military families received more than $600,000 in financial aid through the fund, allowing them to address unique financial hardships.
Recently, the governor and state Legislature expanded program coverage to include unmarried Florida National Guard and Reserve members and extended the eligibility period to 120 days after service members leave active duty. We strive to enhance fund awareness through meetings with Reserve Component leaders, through development of educational materials, regular conference calls with other military commands and improvements to our Web site: www.dma.state.fl.us/family/ documents/FRPAFbrochure.pdf.
While the number of military families receiving assistance through this fund has been lower than anticipated, it is extremely helpful to those families affected by deployments. Requests for fund assistance are directly related to the number of Reserve Component members called to federal duty. For the Florida National Guard, the number currently mobilized is less than 1,000. However, as many as 5,000 Florida Guard members may be called to active duty in the near future. The fund will make a significant difference in the lives of these military families, and Florida's military is truly fortunate to have the continued support of the governor and Legislature.
Brig. Gen. Mike Fleming, Florida Army National Guard, St. Augustine
An education in silliness | Aug. 9, commentary
Test our leaders
One cannot argue the merits of competency exams. Lawyers have the bar, doctors have the boards and teachers should have a subject area test. However, as the writer states, "but the standards to which teachers are being held here are not high standards; they are just a high pile of standards."
It is a travesty that a teacher in Florida must pass more than eight exams, while our esteemed leaders have no standards. Therefore, may I suggest competency and proficiency exams for our leaders in the following areas: basic accounting, budget preparation, effective listening and communication, as well as an intense course in ethics and morals.
Maggie Tur, Oldsmar
Sheriff gives voters what they want Aug. 2 letter
We need tough policies
Kudos to the letter writer for backing Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his popular campaign to make jail time as uncomfortable and unpopular as he can while saving taxpayers a ton of money.
As a native Phoenician now living in Pinellas County, I often ask myself why the St. Petersburg Times doesn't use its bully pulpit to support our sheriff and concerned taxpayers to implement a similar policy. Hurrah for Sheriff Joe! He gets it even if others don't.
Harvey Smith, Tarpon Springs
New airport scanners
I cannot believe people are getting upset at the fact we have body parts. If the faces are blurred, who cares?
In this day and age people are bringing all kinds of contraband on planes. I would rather the world know I have breasts, than be in a plane destroyed by a fanatic. Get a life, folks.
Karen Simpson, Spring Hill
New airport scanners
See and be seen
Perhaps the alarm of being viewed au naturel would be lessened if the viewing were two-way, with the selected traveler getting the same view of his inspectors as they get of him.
It would certainly make it more amusing for me. I mean, fair's fair.
Donald Rourke, Tampa