U.S. space program needs new 'giant leap' | June 5, Bill Maxwell column
America must return to space
Finally, someone — Bill Maxwell — brings up the disgraceful end of the space program.
Probably the most amazing technological achievement in the past 100 years — the space program and moon landing — is about to become history.
However, we don't need a Remembrance Day, we need a reinstatement of the space program. This country manages to waste billions on everything imaginable, but for something miraculous and beneficial like the space program, there are no funds.
Like Maxwell, I remember staying up all night to see the moon landing. All America was filled with pride.
The ending of the space program is bad enough, but what is unforgivable is the silence of our politicians, particularly those from Florida and Texas.
Soon we can trade in our Space Coast plates and stickers for "Space Ghost" ones.
Gary Keats, Clearwater
Remember Robespierre? He was the French guy who oversaw sending the arrogant royals and superwealthy to the guillotine in the French Revolution. What more has to happen in the financial sector of this country?
The chief executive of General Motors believes that the government mandates for his company to come up with fuel-efficient vehicles should be paid for by the middle class — by raising the gasoline tax by $1 a gallon.
Gasoline is already overpriced thanks to oil companies and especially Wall Street investment firms that speculate in it. But now the price should go up to help the bottom line of GM?
I have a better idea. Let's collect all the corporate taxes that companies like GE didn't pay, take back all the Wall Street CEO bonuses, establish a maximum wage of $2 million per year — we have a minimum wage, so why not a maximum wage? — and use the money to buy every family in the United States an electric vehicle.
Joseph Markowitz, Tampa
Education crusader fights former agenda June 9
Stop testing; start teaching
When a former federal assistant secretary of education sees the error of her ways regarding this obsession with testing above all else, then we must take notice. Diane Ravitch calls so much testing "institutionalized fraud, since we are still graduating just as many kids who can't read."
She also thinks "Gov. (Rick) Scott is trying to privatize education." Her remarks that our society, and in this case, Florida, is disrespecting teachers en masse is on the mark. Teachers and all educators have been saying this to deaf ears.
When are we going to wake up to what is really needed here in Florida — letting teachers do what they do best, just teach, without bound hands but with respect and support?
Lilyan Dayton, New Port Richey
Deterrence vs. revenue
It must be determined if red-light cameras are intended to be a deterrent or a revenue producer. They can't be both. If they are effective as a deterrent, then they will not produce much revenue. If they are a good revenue producer, then their effectiveness as a deterrent is questionable.
If a deterrent is needed at certain intersections, then the fine must be onerous, say $500 subject to appeal. If the cameras are found to be an excellent deterrent, then perhaps all major intersections should have them.
Finally, it is ludicrous to post signs indicating the next intersection has a camera. The cameras should be hidden to preclude people from making panic stops. Just let the cameras do their job.
Peter Brock, Sun City Center
Troubles dogging Pinellas shelter May 31
Shelter does much good
An article needs to be written about the heartbreak of what goes on every day at Animal Services that's not caused by anyone who works there but by an uncaring, irresponsible public. That is, the caging and killing of sweet, innocent animals because no one wants them.
How about an article highlighting the good that goes on at the Pinellas shelter?
How many people know that workers regularly foster animals too young to survive the environment of a shelter? And why not write about the personal agony experienced by workers who have to look into the eyes of abandoned pets and then end their lives. Why? Not because of anything the worker did, but because too many in the public won't be bothered to do anything to help alleviate the real problems: pet overpopulation, abuse, breeding, pet stores and puppy mills.
Andrea Barlow, Seminole
Privatization is back
Here we go again. In 2005, President George W. Bush tried to partially privatize Social Security, and Congress would have none of it. Now, an even more radical proposal, called the Savings Account for Every American (SAFE) Act, by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, would put recipients at the mercy of private markets.
Since its inception, Social Security has been the scapegoat for many budget woes. In the 1936 election, the party trying to defeat Franklin Roosevelt said, "The so-called reserve fund … for old-age insurance is no reserve at all, because the fund will contain nothing but the government's promise to pay."
In 2005, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said the Social Security Trust Fund is not truly solvent because it is "filled with IOUs."
Now, Sessions and congressional Republicans continue to make the same sky-is-falling argument.
Surely we can find more appropriate ways to ensure the security of our budget than taking from seniors and gambling it in the stock market.
Tim Heberlein, Tampa
Toward a water ethic | June 5
This was a great article by Cynthia Barnett in Sunday's Perspective section. I'm glad to see the Times devoting effort to raising awareness on this issue. Water truly is life.
Steve Heidt, Clearwater
Is hell a real place or not? | June 5
Go to the source
Someone please give Rob Bell a Bible.
Dick Parvin, Clearwater