After months of care, loss is unspeakable | July 30, story
Many were moved by dolphin tragedy
I remember reading about Dunham when that kind fisherman first found him stranded on Anclote Key. To most people with any empathy and compassion, the plight and subsequent triumph over injury and certain death by this courageous dolphin touched us deeply, as did the laudable efforts of his rescuers.
I read with disgust that "some people poked fun at their work," and "their work was being made by some into a national laughingstock." What kind of morons would mock the rescuers' good work and the suffering of a helpless creature? The locker-room mentality kind, the hopelessly juvenile kind, locked in some pathetic "cruelty is cool" mentality, that's who.
Please let me state that, yes, there were many of us who cared, many who cheered the dolphin and his rescuers, and who were devastated to hear that it ended tragically. And I want to think that my kind of people were in the majority.
Karen Fostel, New Port Richey
Stay out of the way
I found it interesting that after months of rehab, nature finally took over. What was the cost involved in "rehabbing" a sick dolphin? The man-hours, food, vet costs, etc.?
Nature has a way of handling its own, and we need to stay out of the picture. Dolphins die; there's nothing we can do about it. The cost of care for one sick animal would be better spent taking care of things we can help shape. Stay out of nature's way. It's what God intended.
Ronald E. Elgin, Hudson
Driving, devices don't mix | July 29, editorial
We need to stop this highway hazard
Cell phone use should be forbidden while driving for the benefit of auto drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The other day I saw two close calls and wondered why people are allowed to use cell phones while driving. Then I read your editorial.
I saw a lady almost run into a family at a shopping center. People screamed at her as she missed a child by inches. Her only response was a dumbfounded look on her face, as if she was drunk. She kept right on going, still talking on her cell phone. While traveling south on Highland Street I saw a pickup weaving back and forth. The driver almost ran head-on into a car going the other way. I thought he was drunk. When I pulled up next to him, I confirmed that he, too, was using his cell phone.
I see no valuable or beneficial reason to use a cell phone while driving. Cell phone use causes needless medical expenses, death and injuries, and should be prohibited. Cell phone users, while driving, should be severely penalized just like drunken drivers because cell phone users, while driving, are impaired as much or more than drunken drivers.
Larry French, Dunedin
Dangerous yes, but who cares? | July 30
Lives are at stake
In answer to your headline's question, I do! Bird-brains who walk down the street and around the aisles in a supermarket yakking away on their cell phones are merely a nuisance, but the use of cell phones (and particularly texting) while driving is dangerous and should be outlawed.
For cell phone use, the first offense should cost $250 and the second a six-month driving ban. For texting the punishment should be doubled. Make the clowns reach their destinations before contacting others.
We are talking about the loss of innocent human lives here, but unless some politician becomes a victim I doubt whether much will be done.
R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg
Welcome reforms for labor | July 19, editorial
Your editorial states one of the main reasons the U.S. labor movement has been withering the past few decades is that workers are afraid of intimidation and retaliation by employers if they participate in union activity. As usual, the St. Petersburg Times liberal bias prevents accurate representation.
Why are unions in trouble? One reason is that unions promote anticompetitiveness. Union wages are substantially above the wages paid to nonunion workers. Therefore, many union-made products have become so expensive that sales have been lost to less expensive foreign competitors and nonunion producers. Corporations have been forced to move their production facilities out of the country in order to remain competitive and survive.
Unions also have caused a decline in the value of merit. Union workers do not advance on their merits, but within the limits defined by union contracts. Employers may have trouble weeding out ineffective employees belonging to unions. When workers become comfortable and protected, they can lose their incentive to work hard. Outstanding employees can lose their incentive to excel.
Unions have the power to impede a company's ability to compete and thrive. A firm might be in desperate trouble, yet its unions may be unwilling to bend or compromise in order to help the company survive. In other words, unions "bite the hand that feeds them."
Possibly the unions should look to themselves for reform instead of looking to the Democratic majorities in Congress and the labor-friendly president to bail them out.
Mary Sadler, St. Petersburg
A picture is worth a thousand names July 21, story
Catching the crooks
It's nice to finally see our tax dollars working! Kudos for the good work of this Pinellas deputy and the use of facial recognition technology.
Crime is not going away, and criminals use anything in their means to continue their crime sprees. If the only way to identify them is to confirm identifications by pictures, then I'm all for it.
Checking the identification of all people in a vehicle is the safest way for officers to ensure catching their criminal(s). To only identify the driver leaves the officer's life hanging on a thread.
Stan Emergese, Pinellas Park
Schools bring hope to Afghanistan | July 23, letter
A war of ideas
I was pleased to read the letter on Thomas Friedman's column praising Greg Mortenson's work in Afghanistan. I would just like readers to know that their letters are read and are appreciated. I have written only a few letters to the editor, but, after each one, I have met at least one person who commented on my letter.
Congratulations on recognizing the importance of Greg Mortenson and the work he is doing "to fight terrorism and build nations … one school at a time."
The war on terror is a war of ideas. The Taliban knows this and it's good that "the U.S. military has gone through a huge learning curve. They now know it's all about building relationships from the ground up," as Mortenson says in the Friedman column.
Mohandas Gandhi showed long ago that you don't have to kill people to win a victory. Nonviolent means are more effective in a war of ideas.
Charles Sollinger, Safety Harbor
More good work
I too read with interest the column by Thomas Friedman called Can we leave yet? No. He reported his personal experience in Afghanistan with Greg Mortenson, who authored the book Three Cups of Tea. Friedman was in Afghanistan to witness the dedication of a girls' school that Mortensen's organization, the Central Asia Institute, helped to build. Friedman made the point "that these are secular schools that will bring a new generation of kids that will have a broader view of the world."
While I do not disagree with this observation, Friedman didn't mention that Mortenson also developed a program called "Pennies for Peace" that works in the classrooms of America. The Pennies for Peace curriculum introduces children in the United States to the cultures of Pakistan and Afghanistan while raising money to help build these schools. So when we can say "yes" to leaving it will be because our children have built a bridge of understanding and peace that stretches from the United States to Afghanistan.
Veronica Kirchheimer, Tampa