Arctic Ocean ice sets new low | Sept. 20
Rising sea level is cause for alarm
Considering the implications for the Tampa Bay area of the report by the National Snow and Ice Data Center concerning the drastic melting of arctic sea ice this summer, it is rather surprising that the only mention was a small paragraph on Page 7 of Section A.
As the New York Times quoted Dr. James Hansen about the report: "The scientific community realizes we have a planetary emergency," an emergency that will be felt in the Tampa Bay area primarily because of the rising sea level. The article goes on to say scientists are very concerned: "Many of them fear they may still be underestimating the speed and severity of the impending changes."
What will it take to convince the Tampa Bay Times to report on the looming and huge problems this area faces in the decades ahead as the sea level rises? And as the report points out, the rise may be coming far faster than anyone realizes.
What will happen when sea levels rise a foot, or 2 feet, or as conservative estimates now say, 3 feet by the end of the century? Will there still be a chain of barrier islands as we know them — from Egmont Key to Anclote Key, or for that matter, anywhere around Florida's current coastline — in 100 years? What about 50? Or, as the rate of melting accelerates, what about in 20 years?
Tyler Carder, Largo
Who should pay more?
Which person below is the "entitled" one and should pay more federal taxes?
One who pays no income taxes but pays about 7 percent payroll taxes (for a laborious, near minimum-wage job), who also pays a relatively larger percentage of income on gas taxes, 7 percent sales taxes, and property taxes (likely via rent with no tax deduction benefit), and who must spend all leftover income — from perhaps $25,000 — to inadequately support a family of four.
Or one who pays 14 percent income taxes but pays no payroll taxes (for this person need not labor for any wages), and who pays a smaller percentage of income on gas taxes, sales taxes and property taxes (despite having multiple homes providing large income tax deductions), and who spends very little leftover income — from a $20 million income — to generously support a family of two?
Oh, and by the way, the latter one is campaigning for a smaller income tax burden on any wages he or she may decide to earn.
Bryon Ehlmann, Tallahassee
Young: Get out of the war | Sept. 18
Perhaps apology is in order
I'm glad to see that Rep. C.W. Bill Young wants us to get out of Afghanistan, but I wonder what took him so long. Like the congressman, I have been visiting the VA hospital for years. I sustained a non-combat injury when I was in the service during the Vietnam era. I have watched the current veterans returning with massive injuries, both physical and psychiatric, and it angers me. There were many mistakes made in Vietnam. The "wise men" like Young promised us that they would not make the same mistakes again. Not only were they repeated, they were repeated in two wars and for longer periods.
The congressman explained that one reason for his change of heart was the death of a young man in Afghanistan who had written Young a letter about poor decisionmaking by the command structure. In his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War, professor Andrew Bacevich writes that he does not think we have good leadership in the military. I found Bacevich's statements powerful because he is a West Point graduate, a combat veteran in Vietnam, a retired colonel, and also the grieving father of a son lost in Iraq.
In 2004, NFL player Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. His mother and widow have continuously complained about how the poor decisionmaking of the command structure led to his death. They also feel that the Army and politicians have lied to them about Pat's death. Perhaps Young owes an apology to the grieving survivors of all the other injured or dead servicemen and women.
John Burrell, Tampa
Extremists get the headlines | Sept. 20 letter
Mark Cattell condemns Israel for mistreating the Palestinians. He would do better to castigate the Arabs who treat Palestinians as pariahs and deny them rights in every Arab country. On the other hand, in Israel, Arabs enjoy treatment in Israeli hospitals noted for excellence.
Cattell would also do well to bear in mind that the United States and indeed the world are threatened by Muslim fundamentalism.
Norman N. Gross, Tampa
Media's bias is glaring
While our embassies are being attacked and our flags burned all around the world, while one of our ambassadors is killed along with three other Americans, while the Fed continues to devalue the dollar and all our savings, while American casualties in Afghanistan continue to accrue, while the labor participation rate is the lowest since 1981, while gasoline prices have more than doubled in the last four years, while the country and the whole world are on the edge of economic collapse, what's the focus of our mainstream media? Mitt Romney's poorly worded but basically true comments during a private fundraising event.
Hitler or Mao couldn't have asked for more from a state-run propagandist media.
Mike Grace, New Port Richey
Romney: Nearly half 'believe they are victims' | Sept. 18
Character and lack thereof
After hearing and reading what Mitt Romney said at the $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in May, I can only say this: A leader's true character is shown in how he or she treats the people who work for him or her.
What he said about people like janitors, landscapers, waiters, seniors, day care workers, school bus drivers — all the people who toil every day so the more affluent can relax — truly shows his character and how he couldn't care less about them.
Ala Roberts, Largo
Foster rewards 70 top staffers for RNC work Sept. 21
A perk for a few
I am a public school teacher in St. Petersburg. Like your managers, I am on a salary and I regularly work 12- to 16-hour days to provide my students with a quality education.
I would like to know when I can take my 16 hours' paid time off.
Dayna Nichols, St. Petersburg