Thursday, November 23, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Afghanistan history lessons

RECOMMENDED READING


Facing hard reality in Afghanistan | Feb. 17, Perspective

History lessons from Afghanistan

Whether readers agree or not with Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis' assessment of our situation in Afghanistan, they might be interested in Frank Holt's book, Into the Land of Bones. Historian Holt lays out the historical account of Alexander the Great's 3rd century B.C. attempt to conquer that country. His was the first of the four world superpowers, to include Britain, Russia and the United States, to attempt such a feat. It's an informative and fascinating read. His research led Holt to remark that "victory is the proud parent of vengeance in the wars of Afghanistan."

George Stovall, St. Petersburg

It's right to hold S&P's feet to fire Feb. 18, editorial

Early warning on S&P

Readers might like to be reminded that columnist Robyn Blumner first brought the question of Standard & Poor's failure to our attention some five years ago. She asked how the ratings agencies could remain in business after such an abject failure.

Her column was in January 2008. Months later, you carried a New York Times piece on the same theme. Kudos to Blumner and the Tampa Bay Times.

David Cadogan, Gulfport

A minimum wage that beats poverty Feb. 17, Robyn Blumner column

Unrealistic economics

Robyn Blumner's remarks about how little Speaker John Boehner cares about the struggles of average people are unwarranted. And her idea, that every job can be a good job, is unrealistic.

As a 90-year-old who has lived through the Depression, I can tell you that any job that was available was a good job. Our ambitions may have been thwarted, but we worked at whatever was available. Every young boy I knew had a newspaper route, or delivered groceries, or washed cars, or acted as a helper for some local tradesman. No job was too small or demeaning.

In today's atmosphere of entitlements I see a generation of working-age men and women who are totally dependent upon the government and their overly protective parents for the manner in which they live.

Watching TV, playing video games, and texting their friends without purpose is their unproductive pastime.

Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole

Hurts the low-skilled

Economists disagree about the overall relationship between the minimum wage and employment. There is, however, near consensus that it negatively impacts the low-skilled, mainly the young and minorities. Many also agree that minimum wage mandates frustrate the aim of obtaining a living wage since employers pass on the costs, which makes goods and services even less obtainable by the working poor.

J.P. Byrne, Largo

Give little guy a break

Every time someone proposes an increase to the minimum wage, naysayers cry that Armageddon is around the corner. And when the minimum wage is raised there's not a whimper to be heard from the economic landscape. Businesses small and large seem to manage, continue to thrive, and the little guy gets a break.

It is an embarrassment that the greatest nation on the planet can't manage to ensure a semblance of a living wage to its citizens. I've seen the trials and tribulations of many working poor: single moms, retirees and laid-off workers struggling to make ends meet. Many of our leaders champion the trickle-down effect of corporate tax breaks, but what about introducing a "trickle-up" strategy?

Robyn Blumner's column is the first time I have heard this concept even suggested. She cites research that counters the claim that raising the minimum wage is a job killer. In reality the opposite is true. Put more money in the pockets of minimum wage workers, who in turn buy more stuff, spur the economy, and more stuff gets sold and more jobs are created. Let's fly the "Trickle-Up" banner.

Roz Fenton, Hudson

The secret to fixing bad schools Feb. 17, commentary

Three simple steps

This column ought to be a must-read for Florida politicians. It tells the story of how Union City, N.J., remarkably improved its schools by doing three simple things. First, every child receives two years of prekindergarten, leveling the playing field for the haves and the have-nots. Second, the city improved its schools, not by new tests, higher graduation requirements, or top-down curriculum mandates, but by trusting its own teachers to develop curriculum. And third, teachers were allowed to build lessons and units reflecting the best in their own training — learning-by-doing, rather than quick-fix "back to basics," rote learning, and teach-to-the test methodology.

In case the point has been missed, the Union City approach is as different from the road Florida is taking as day is different from night. I'll put my money on Union City's approach any day.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Thinkers, not test-takers

This commonsense column from David Kirp should be required reading for Gov. Rick Scott, all Florida legislators, and all public and private school boards and officials.

Not everyone can go to Union City, N.J., to see firsthand their good public education results, but we can read about it. As the article says, "To succeed, students must become thinkers, not just test-takers."

Esther Kirk, Riverview

A day in the park, with 'spice' | Feb. 17

Compassion, insight

Last Sunday's front-page feature is one more reason I love this paper. The writing of John Woodrow Cox is akin to poetry. What an incisive yet compassionate portrait of the drug- and alcohol-addicted residents of Williams Park.

I understand why the city would want to repurpose the park but also, through the eyes of this reporter, understand how the occupants would not want to leave. The customs and actions of those who reside there are the everyday patterns of their lives. Is there a solution? I wonder.

Victoria Najjar, Oldsmar

Comments

Friday’s letters: Find private investors for a new stadium

Opening offer from Rays on stadium sounds too low | Nov. 17, editorialFind private investors for stadiumThe Rays "offered" to pay 18.75 percent of the costs? How outrageously presumptuous to say that they offered! Put another way, they demanded t...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Thursday’s letters: Tax plan won’t help wages

Tax billThis won’t help stagnant wagesThe unfair tax proposal that cuts taxes for the rich and most powerful and cuts the ability of working people to claim any comparable deductions is no more than another greedy power grab by the rich and powerful....
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/22/17