Jobless lose again | April 29, editorial
Lawmakers prove their uselessness
Republicans are fond of saying that less government is good. Well, their refusal of $444 million in federal unemployment benefit compensation certainly provides more evidence that the current Republican-controlled Florida House could be abolished with no bad result.
As your editorial points out, one out of every 10 Floridans is without work. Given this state's precarious fiscal situation, what could be the possible motives of the Republican leadership in opposing this federal stimulus money?
Choose one or both: a knee-jerk opposition to popular President Barack Obama and/or a cold-hearted desire to punish the poor even while lawmakers continue to support every request of big oil and other major corporate interests?
All concerned Floridians should e-mail or phone the governor or Speaker of the House Larry Cretul at (850) 488-1450 to protest this latest outrage.
Tony Branch, St. Petersburg
Hurting average people
Kudos to the Legislature for reaching a broad agreement on a budget loaded with new "fees" and "surcharges" for the working man. I do not understand how these lawmakers in Tallahassee sleep at night.
Case in point: Letting the bottled water companies get one of our natural resources for free, and passing up millions in revenue to charge them for it, while at the same time asking for more from the average citizen.
I hope Floridians are outraged at this Legislature and remember this at election time. I know I will. Thanks for nothing!
Ken Hill, Pinellas Park
Seat belt law a click away | April 29, story
Here comes the nanny state
At a time when our government is known to have spied on its citizens without the prerequisite judicial warrants, it's not surprising that our state Legislature is poised to pass a law allowing the police to stop drivers who appear not to be wearing their seat belts. But it bears noting that, should this come to pass, it will be at the hands of politicians who claim to support limited government and personal freedom.
Yeah, I know: "But think of the children" (not to mention millions in federal dollars otherwise —when the moon is in a certain phase — disdained by these self-proclaimed small-government types).
I get it: The nanny state will arrive on your best intentions, but kindly spare us the hypocrisy of your political slogans.
L.E. Brinkley, St. Petersburg
Young inmates stay in limbo | April 26, story
Throwing lives away
Concerning the story in Sunday's paper about giving a "second chance" to youthful offenders, it's refreshing to know that the chairman of the Criminal and Civil Justice Policy Council believes in throwing lives away instead of rehabilitation.
Now I understand why Florida's prison population has soared over the last six years. The "lock 'em up and throw away the key" policy mentality is not working, but scare tactics apparently do.
Dee Nicholas, Tarpon Springs
2nd chance bill deserves a hearing | April 28, editorial
Letting us down
I am absolutely stunned that one person can kill a bill in the Legislature. I cannot see how this bill, if passed, would compromise the security of the citizens of Florida as Rep. William Snyder declares.
Thank for at least keeping us all informed about how this Legislature seems to keep letting us all down time after time.
Mary Lou Jenkins, Largo
State staff could see cut | April 28, story
State employee Diane Drake of Temple Terrace is facing the "ultimate insult from the Legislature: a possible pay cut after three straight years of going without a raise."
Boo hoo! Welcome to the real world. Try a 10 percent pay reduction. That's what I received. And I, too, haven't had a raise in three years. At least I'm still employed, unlike some of my friends. They received a 100 percent reduction.
Only government employees would complain about this and claim it's not fair. Welcome to the real world, Diane.
Michael Sims, Palm Harbor
100 days as the president | April 27, PolitiFact.com
Getting off the track
PolitiFact.com, lauded and useful during the election cycle, may be dubious during the administration.
Changing conditions and complex interactions, as well as the responsibilities and knowledge that are truly only available with incumbency could lead to the rightful addition, negation or alteration of any list of campaign promises.
Five hundred statements is too many to track and report with any semblance of meaning. Tracking makes no provision for the relative significance, feasibility or rectitude of pledges. Nor does it adequately differentiate "wing flapping from flying" in terms of substantive attainment or beneficial results.
It was an estimable mount, but I believe it is time to put the saddle on a fresh horse.
J. Patrick Byrne, Largo
Big bucks, bankers: Here we go again April 28, Paul Krugman column
The arrogance of bankers
Paul Krugman made me both furious and on the verge of tears. He points out that based on a New York Times story on Sunday, "pay at investment banks, after dipping last year, is soaring again — right back to 2007 levels."
It's party time again at these investment banks, and guess whose paying for the shindig? We are, and they didn't even invite us!
These banks are borrowing money cheaply thanks to TARP and lending at much higher rates.
Check your latest credit card statement and I'll bet many of you have seen some substantial increase in your interest rates. I know I did, and when I called Chase I was told it was because of the "economy."
So the next time you feel like treating yourself to a dinner with family or friends but the money isn't there for such extravagances, just think of those icons of financial industry stating the obvious: "Let them eat cake."
Veronica Kirchheimer, Tampa