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State airplanes show Florida needs to curb wasteful ways

Ground a state plane, Senate leader says | Feb. 10, story

State needs to curb wasteful ways

Thanks to Mary Ellen Klas and Breanne Gilpatrick of your Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau for alerting taxpayers to the fact that during this time of economic crisis, state officials are wasting huge amounts of money owning, operating, insuring and maintaining aircraft to haul top-tier public servants around the state when clearly there are transportation alternatives available at a fraction of the cost.

Of course with the size of Florida, it is not cost-effective for many of our public servants to drive to and from Tallahassee. However, there are less expensive ways to fly Florida's friendly skies.

I just about choked when I read that our state planes were flying empty to pick up politicians for one-way trips to Tallahassee. Privately owned air taxi services only bill for the time the passengers are in the aircraft and could easily calculate the cost of added passengers for those public servants who want to bring along family members and reimburse the state for their travel.

It is painful to think about our police, firefighters, teachers and other public servants being laid off because Florida is in the red while seeing this kind of waste.

Debra K. Hedding, Lutz

The destructive center | Feb. 10, Paul Krugman column

For some, spending will never be enough

Recently the St. Petersburg Times opinion pages have provided a good amount of space for radical left-wing economist Paul Krugman to expound upon his politics as well as his economics. Nobel prizes, at least in the "soft" disciplines such as economics, seem to be awarded as much on politics as well as accomplishment (provided those politics lean in a direction favored by the selection committee).

Krugman would like to reset the current "centrist" position so far to the left that it would be in danger of falling off the far edge of the flat Earth. He and his ideologue comrades will not be happy until the federal government grows until it controls virtually all of our goods, services and means of production.

No amount of taxpayer money for an economic "stimulus" package will ever be enough for them, no matter what the consequences to our children and their children on down the line.

Joseph Hill, Panama City

Stimulus needs to be big

Having read many articles (pro and con) on the necessity of these large stimulus packages, I have been convinced by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman's observation that Roosevelt's New Deal programs were actually too timid and that it took the massive stimulus of World War II to finally pull us out of the Great Depression.

As a child, I lived through the 1930s and '40s, and Krugman's points ring true. So I am convinced that a stimulus is required now and it must be very large and very fast to save jobs — especially to counter teacher layoffs and provide health and economic benefits to the unemployed.

Ralph Sullivan, Port Richey

Crist, Obama go bipartisan | Feb. 11, story

Wise choice

As our state and country continue to face so many unsettling events, I was appalled at the statement by Ana Navarro, a Republican consultant, who said, "Politically, Charlie Crist is putting the Florida Republican federal elected representatives in a very tough spot."

Gov. Crist chose to make a bipartisan appearance with President Obama in Fort Myers rather than have lunch with Jeb Bush and other former governors.

I commend our governor. He made the appropriate decision.

Valerie Ginn, St. Petersburg

Don't gloss over the waste in stimulus Feb. 10, letter

Selective frugality

The letter writer states: "Personally, I'm glad some people in Washington still care about those of us who pay the bills they create."

Oh, really? Where were those folks who cared about those of us who pay the bills when President George W. Bush was dumping a billion dollars or more a week — which was not budgeted — for his stupid little war in Iraq? We reaped a big windfall from that giant exercise in futility. And it was what?

Doug Bauer, Clearwater

Joe Biden

A gaffe riot

I knew when Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his vice presidential candidate we were in for some entertaining press. I have not been disappointed. Biden simply cannot go a week without saying something stupid or embarrassing to the president or his party.

In a recent moment of candor, he said that no matter what the administration does, they have a 30 percent chance of getting it wrong. This was by far his best to date. (Although I think the percentage should have been about 95 percent.)

You have to wonder what happens to him after one of his infamous gaffes. Does Obama threaten to muzzle him? Does he sit him down and warn him to say as little as possible, or else?

Don't be too hard on the old guy, Obama, he is an American comedy treasure!

Patricia Pearlman, Largo

Month of black history outdated | Feb. 9, Cynthia Tucker column

We need to remember

I have to disagree with Cynthia Tucker's thesis that Black History Month is outdated. Like Germany's goal to never forget the Holocaust, the United States should never forget how people were captured in their native lands, brought across the ocean in chains, in worse conditions than animals, and sold in markets, like cattle, and then cared for and used by their owners in ways we wouldn't care for and use jailed criminals.

History is still all about the successes and failures of white males who came from Europe, killed or rounded up the Native Americans and forced them onto reservations, brought Africans and Asians from their native countries to slave for them in jobs they would not do. Still, today, they use and abuse Central and South Americans and Asians who are "allowed" to cross the borders or to be shipped in trucks or container ships into this country, illegally, so they can slave at poverty wages until they are found to be an inconvenience. And women's historical contributions are all about sewing flags, raising kids and working in the home or in the menial jobs of government and business.

So we should not do away with Black History Month.

M. Diane Hodson, Ph.D., St. Petersburg

Month of black history outdated | Feb. 9, Cynthia Tucker column

An overdue idea

Well done. This was very well written and it is such a simple proposal that is overdue.

I hope more readers review this and come to support this idea. Yes, I think we could all live with this change in thinking.

Ralph Dixon, Gulfport

Evolution debate may be back | Feb. 10, news brief

No alternative

So Republican state Sen. Stephen Wise wants schools to "teach the other side" of Darwinian evolution.

There is no "other side." Evolution is testable, observable, falsifiable fact. So-called intelligent design is fundamentalist religion.

As Richard Dawkins says, if you're going to teach the creationist alternative "theory" to evolution, then you have to teach the "stork" alternative theory to parturition.

Nick Hobart, New Port Richey

Tolerate celebration | Feb. 10, letter

Destruction is intolerable

I wish to remind the letter writer that a "celebration" is supposed to be just that. It's not a time for destroying and mangling people's property. And it's certainly not a time for urinating, fornicating and throwing up on someone's property — and not in public. Those who feel this is the way to attend a celebration need some "heavy duty" evaluation.

Once a year or 10 times a year, this is not right. And the people who live in those areas of destruction and filth are the ones who must clean up and re-sod or whatever else is needed to restore their property.

Martha Wakaruk, Brooksville

State airplanes show Florida needs to curb wasteful ways 02/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 7:09pm]
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