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Returning troops deserve better than our dismal economy

Back from war, out of work | Nov. 11, story

Troops return to dismal economy

Being a Vietnam War veteran, I was at least fortunate enough to return home and not have to worry about getting some kind of employment. That was back in 1967. Now in 2009 it is a completely different story.

On Nov. 9, President Barack Obama signed an order to prompt federal agencies to hire veterans, but just how many can be hired by the VA or others? How many private companies can hire veterans when they can't or won't even hire civilians? This economic recovery of ours was just geared to bail out big business, and they responded by not hiring and by rewarding top executives. They continue to outsource jobs and manufacturing as well.

So what hope is there for our returning veterans? Do we have to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan so they can receive a paycheck to provide for themselves and their families?

My heart goes out to Pfc. Casey Hengstebeck and the thousands of other Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who will return home to find such a sad state of affairs in their country.

It is a disgrace that this country is ready at the drop of a hat to defend other countries in promoting democracy not hesitating to place its own people in harm's way, and yet it is turning its back on them when they return home to continue their lives. Words of thanks and praise don't pay the bills!

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

The military option

Although I do sympathize with the young man living in Holiday after being discharged from the military, and his quest for employment, I see an option that apparently has not been considered.

When my father was discharged from the Army after World War II, he spent some time trying to find a job that paid enough to support his family, to no avail. So he did the obvious and re-enlisted in the military, staying until he served 20 years and could retire.

Right now the military is desperate for people willing to serve. My father decided to enlist in the Air Force the second time, so Casey Hengstebeck could take his pick of military options and sign up for that steady job that would be available immediately.

J.S. Black, Tarpon Springs

A slanted survey

from Rep. Young

What a surprise to find a "survey" from congressman C.W. Bill Young in our mailbox the other day. After closer examination, it wasn't a survey, but an exhaustive list of goading and slanted questions posed against the current administration's policies — a mailing funded by my taxes.

Funny, I don't remember receiving a survey like this when the former administration's approval rating was at an all-time low. We weren't asked if the invasion of Iraq was a serious mistake. No one asked if it was okay to treat the rest of the world with arrogance. Rep. Young didn't want to hear our opinion on big business running rampant, hate crimes, and serious environmental issues facing this state.

The first 21 questions in this document are obviously aimed at arousing suspicion and inciting unrest. Only in the last few lines, almost as an afterthought, are we asked our thoughts on the lack of a Social Security increase, illegal aliens and, oh yeah, economic sanctions against Iran. Now there's a topic that really concerns the average voter.

Asking us about drilling for oil off our shores? You know he doesn't need our opinion on that issue. Skyrocketing insurance rates? Nothing. Crime? No. Alternative energy? Get serious.

So he wants our views at this "critical time." Excuse me, it's the ramshackle government we faced for the last eight years that got us into this irresponsible mess. That was the critical time, Mr. Young. I guess you missed it.

Ray Dabkowski, Dunedin

It's no town hall

I received a mailed survey from congressman C.W. Bill Young titled, "Town Hall by Mail." After answering the survey's 26 questions, I would have to pay postage to return my answers. The survey results would be posted on the Internet, or mailed or e-mailed upon request.

It seems to me this survey is nothing like a town hall, since town halls are supposed to involve interactive meetings where people voice opinions or questions and hear direct responses from elected officials.

Upon calling Young's office, I was told that he chose this method because "yelling and shouting" mean just a few people are heard in regular town halls, and Young "wanted to hear from everyone." According to the survey, it was sent to every resident in his district, yet I bet the number of returns on the postage-due survey will represent just a small portion of his constituents anyway. It's hard to comprehend why his office chose to survey constituents with a postage-due flier.

Interactive town halls have been held successfully around the nation, and it's only the disruptions that we hear about. It's really too bad that Young lacks either the courage or the confidence in his crowd-management skills to conduct a real town hall.

Joe O'Conor, St. Petersburg

The line of culpability | Nov. 11, letter

Creative blaming

Well that didn't take very long. A letter finds its way to this page linking George W. Bush to the events at Fort Hood.

President Bush led the right and the left into the war with broad bipartisan approval. He stood by his decision long after the left no longer wanted to admit that they initially supported the war as well.

The left took over Washington, D.C., and immediately began blaming everything but the Lindbergh baby kidnapping on George Bush. And now, because a psychiatrist turned traitor/terrorist allegedly was suffering from other soldiers' war flashbacks, the blood at Fort Hood has been imaginatively placed on the hands of George Bush.

One thing you have to give the left: They are resourceful. With all of this creative brilliance I'm sure it's just a matter of time before President Bush receives a subpoena from the Lindbergh estate.

David Fraser, Clearwater

The line of culpability | Nov. 11, letter

The real responsibility

To say that what Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of doing at Fort Hood, Texas, was hideous is to say the least. But the letter writer states that President George W. Bush went into Iraq for personal reasons.

The letter writer should be on the TV program Medium. He has a talent for reading minds.

Because of the invasion of Iraq, the letter writer claims, the major was affected by the returning soldiers' stories. This is outrageous.

When are we going to be responsible for our own actions? A direct line of culpability? My eyes are open, and I see Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as culpable. And leave President Bush alone.

Thomas Smithers, Sun City Center

Reporter hired for school position | Nov. 6

Misdirected funds

I'm sure the individual hired at $63,483 (plus benefits?) is thrilled and probably highly qualified. However, the thought of filling a PR position for the Pinellas County School Board is crazy.

Who, exactly, is our target audience? Oh, that would be the taxpayers. This is not exactly a competitive-bid situation and these funds, without question, should have been spent in the classrooms. Maybe our School Board needs to go back to school.

Robyn Dalton, Largo

Returning troops deserve better than our dismal economy 11/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009 6:25pm]
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