Warning on global warming | Sept. 28
Our obligation to the future
Last week, the world's leading climate scientists concluded that global warming is "almost certainly" a result of human activity — chiefly the consumption of fossil fuels. The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it crystal clear: If we do not change course, we will commit our children to a future of extreme heat waves, disrupted agriculture, bigger storms, higher seas and ocean acidification.
Action will be required at all levels of government. For starters, the Environmental Protection Agency's recent announcement of new standards to limit carbon pollution from new power plants is a step in the right direction.
The EPA should move forward with regulating carbon pollution from existing power plants. State leaders should support these actions. As a born-and-raised Floridian who has grown up on our coasts, I believe we have an obligation to protect our children and future generations from the consequences of global warming.
Juliana Buonanno, Tampa
Dedicated public servants
I am a member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. I would not dispute that government spending is out of hand, that there is waste and fraud, that the government is bloated and too big, and that federal employees make mistakes.
But after hearing all the "broad brush" federal government bashing in recent years, I find it interesting that now that some government services have been curtailed because of the shutdown, suddenly people are realizing the good, important and essential work being done by the overwhelming majority of honest, hardworking and dedicated federal employees.
Edward Fleck, Tampa
Out of order
I contacted Sen. Marco Rubio's office via email to express my dismay at the government shutdown. I got this response: "Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please be advised that due to the government shutdown, my office is currently closed."
I can only wonder what the senator is doing during this manufactured crisis. I know he is getting paid, but apparently the shutdown has crippled the ability of his office to function. I only wish there was some mechanism for a nationwide recall of the entire Congress so that we could start with a fresh set of faces.
Kenneth Jezek, Tierra Verde
During the Nixon administration when the politicians were absorbed and deadlocked by the impeachment crisis, the professional federal civil service went to work every day to maintain the peace, deliver the mail, provide health benefits to veterans, inspect the food, provide safety for our travelers, maintain the country's credit standing, etc. The country went on despite the dysfunctional politics.
Today, the politicians bring down everyone with them by stopping the everyday government activities relied upon by all Americans for their safety and well being. Our representatives sent to Washington to govern abdicate their responsibilities to us to our great loss and dismay.
Nicholas E. Karatinos, Tampa
Texting while driving ban starts today | Oct. 2
Keep safe: Don't text, drive
On Tuesday, texting and driving became a violation of Florida law. As the nation's largest wireless carrier, Verizon Wireless has long supported legislation, programs and commonsense practices for safe driving and the responsible use of wireless phones.
This new law will help deter some danger, and we at Verizon congratulate the Florida Legislature and the state's outstanding law enforcement agencies for taking this significant step toward greater public safety.
But the most important Floridians in making our roads truly safe are drivers themselves. With this new law as reinforcement, our plea remains resolute to readers here and residents all across the state: Please don't text and drive.
Chuck Hamby, Florida public relations manager, Verizon Wireless, Tampa
Weatherford: Coaches can lead prayers Oct. 1
Rites and rights
I have never been able to understand why so many people find it necessary to have teachers and coaches in public schools leading their students aloud in prayers. Of course these are almost always Christian prayers. Would they feel the same if Jewish or Islamic prayers were continually recited? I doubt it.
For those parents who want their children to have religious inspiration, that is commendable and for that they are free to turn to their own churches.
If a coach wants to inspire his students before a game, what is wrong with giving them a pep talk and then saying, "Okay, we will now have a moment of silence to allow each of you to pray (or not pray) as you wish"?
And if House Speaker Will Weatherford is concerned about a coach's inability to express his own religion, he can take solace in the fact that the coach is perfectly free to do so outside of the school setting.
Michael Ross, Pinellas Park
Don't look other way as community trashed Sept. 28, letter
For a cleaner community
I have to agree with the letter writer that we are a nation of slobs. Seeing people throw stuff out of their cars as they drive down the road has always been a pet peeve of mine.
My sister and her husband spent two weeks in Japan in June and upon their return were showing us pictures and telling us how clean everything was. I'm sure Japan's population per square mile is much greater than most places in the States. She said you never find trash on the sidewalks or streets, and people take pride in their yards (however small), even in the poorer areas of the cities.
Maybe our schools need to teach our young people how nice our country would look if the citizens worked together to keep it clean.
Jo Ann Sanderson, Temple Terrace