Help at Pinellas schools shrinks | July 14
Seniors, can you help a child?
I was so sad to read about the drop in volunteers in the Pinellas County schools. True, the economic situation may be the cause. However, there are many, many senior citizens and retirees who could participate in this program.
I am a 91-year-old senior who has been tutoring in the Pinellas elementary schools for 21 years. The help given is so beneficial to these young people, and it is so rewarding and fulfilling to know those who need help are getting it. Teachers do not always have sufficient time to devote to those who so badly need it.
I do hope more seniors (much younger than I) will turn out for the coming school year just to give one or two hours a week. Try to spare the time.
Muriel Kott, Palm Harbor
Ex-Reagan aide high on online sales tax July 19
Tax Wall Street trades
Let's be clear here and explain to all the people how a small tax on every Wall Street trade would not only bring in way more revenue than Internet sales taxes but it would also bring Wall Street into the game of really helping America get out of the economic slump it helped dig in the first place.
Put that on the federal bill and do what is right for the country instead of nickel-and-diming all of us have-nots.
Daniel Orsello, Tampa
One standard tax, split
I believe I have a simple solution to the proposed Internet sales tax. The dilemma is that e-commerce dealers may have to correctly collect from and submit taxes to 50 states, and each state must be broken down by the county, for a total of 3,143 counties.
As an e-commerce reseller, we've been watching this, and to the best of my knowledge, no such software exists that can handle it. It would be a huge burden for the small, medium or even "large" reseller, with the exception of Amazon, of course, which is now backing the idea of an Internet sales tax.
My solution: Make it a standardized sales tax, of say 5 percent, and pay half to the state and half to the county where the business is actually based. This would cover all sales, in state and out of state, for items ordered over the Internet. This levels the playing field and adds little to the overhead of the reseller. It may even create some competition between states and counties to encourage e-commerce businesses to locate in their jurisdiction.
Joseph Wagner, St. Petersburg
A pretty lame case for firing July 18, column
Wife guilty of 'lookism'
Michael Kimmel educates the reader on the societal concept of "lookism," a concept that bestows preferential treatment on those conforming to social standards of beauty and withholds benefits from those deemed lacking. Kimmel asserts it is only the male estimate of beauty that defines the concept. In the case of Melissa Nelson, Kimmel claims James Knight, her employer, fired Nelson because he was worried he would have an affair with her.
Kimmel glosses over one important point and ignores another. He states that Nelson was fired at the insistence of Mrs. Knight, seemingly the instigator of the firing who believed her weak-kneed husband would fall under Nelson's spell. It seems Mrs. Knight, not her husband, defined this "lookism" instance of beauty. Second, neither the Knights nor the jury or the judges seem to give Nelson moral credit to simply reject any advances Knight may have ever made, thereby keeping her job.
Earl Barrett, Clearwater
Sustenance for children and society July 19, editorial
Family meal is sacred
If food were the only sustenance children need, then I would agree wholeheartedly with your editorial regarding the addition of dinner to the breakfast and lunch already offered to low-income students in Pinellas County schools.
Who, after all, could argue against feeding children?
Children also need time with their parents and vice versa. The family meal is a precious time for the family to connect and sort through the events and challenges of the day. It provides both nutritional and emotional sustenance.
Food stamps are widely available for low-income families, so lack of food at home is not the problem. Perhaps the problem is the inconvenience of being a parent. So we support a program that allows poor parents to abrogate the most basic responsibility of breaking bread with their children. How much further can we lower our expectations?
Eric Burns, Palm Harbor
Stiff term for fraud's 'first lady' | July 17
Gross incompetence at IRS
It is incomprehensible that safeguards in the U.S. Treasury Department are so lax that a person deemed to be ignorant and uneducated could steal millions of dollars that the honest people in our nation contributed with their tax returns. Someone in the Internal Revenue Service needs to be accountable for this gross incompetence.
The next obvious questions are: How many others — less ignorant and more educated — have taken from the U.S. Treasury? Do we have safeguards now or is the barn door still open for others to enter and take?
Many taxpayers (or is it most?) feel that they pay too much in taxes, but it is a gross insult to them to see the ease with which nontaxpayers can defraud the IRS. We need assurance that the problem is solved.
Sidney Sistrunk, Clearwater
Prenup requirement may be deal breaker July 15
Prenup can be a good thing
When consideration is being given to a prenuptial agreement, care should be given to the reason needed for such an agreement. In the case of my wife and me, our thoughts were to save any headaches for our children in the event of the first of us to die. We wanted to make clear our decisions as to the disposition of our properties. My future wife needed the prenup more than I. She was a widow with a house fully paid for, and I'd had three failed marriages.
After more than 14 years of a beautiful marriage, we still have the prenup and it will stay to protect any misunderstandings among our children. So far, our worst disagreement concerns the proper way to cut a grapefruit. (She will not adhere to my superior knowledge.)
David S. Swan Jr., Clearwater