Clinton's job well done | June 10, commentary
Education project yields big return
Nicholas Kristof's column about Hillary Clinton highlights a most important issue. He says, "She understood that educating girls isn't a frilly 'soft' issue, but a way to transform a country to make it less hospitable to extremists."
If you don't think educating girls makes a big difference, consider that the Taliban thought it was important enough to storm a school bus and attempt to assassinate a teenage Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai. The progress that they fear is exactly the progress we want to have accomplished.
The administration is surely very busy with important and urgent matters. So it isn't too surprising that some important matters that don't have evident urgency go to the back burner.
Right now one of these issues looms. The Global Partnership for Education, a multilateral fund with proven success, holds its replenishment conference June 26 in Brussels. The United States has a chance to make an important difference with a significant pledge of $125 million a year for two years. This money would come from funds already in our education budget and would merely shift them to the global partnership. It will also draw corresponding funding from other donor nations.
If we don't make more than the nominal type of pledge we have in the past, we will badly interfere with the education of children globally, especially girls and all children in the poorest and most fragile countries. With expanded literacy rates, these countries can rise from poverty to be stable allies and customers for our exports.
Ken Schatz, Tampa
Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Help put a stop to abuse
With over 4.7 million seniors across the state, it is imperative that we educate Floridians regarding the signs of elder abuse and exploitation. Elder abuse can come in the form of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment or even financial exploitation. In our last fiscal year, Florida had more than 40,000 reports of abuse and neglect. Nationwide, almost 90 percent of all elder abuse occurs in a domestic setting, usually by someone the victim knows. What's even more startling is that for every case that is reported, there are an estimated 24 cases that are not.
At the Department of Elder Affairs, our philosophy is that education is the key to prevention. Our programs focus on education and outreach to prevent abuse. We have 11 local abuse prevention coordinators throughout the state who provide information in their communities. We conduct presentations for seniors, family members, caregivers and any professional who may come into contact with seniors.
Our dedication to fighting elder abuse is marked today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. At the Department of Elder Affairs, it is our goal to end all forms of elder abuse and to teach seniors, their families, friends and other caregivers to recognize any sign of abuse. If you are a victim or suspect elder abuse, please contact the elder abuse hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or the elder affairs helpline at 1-800-963-5337.
Charles T. Corley, secretary, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Tallahassee
Cruz gives up his Canadian citizenship June 11
Since when can a person not born in the United States become our president? Has the law changed? Neither Henry Kissinger nor Arnold Schwarzenegger where eligible for the White House.
Jutta M. Teichman, Ruskin
Lack of leadership on Pier persists June 11, editorial
Tear it down, start over
All of us have heard the adage that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Well, it now seems that the Pier "committee" is wasting its time in trying to develop a "camel" for our waterfront's future.
Forget it, people. The access road is almost a century old, the pyramid's structural condition is a life-safety issue, the current budget allotment is far short, and the mayor's time schedule is unrealistic.
Tear it down and start over. Clear our waterfront of that outdated excess. Let us see the shoreline clean, clear and unencumbered for a while.
Ronn Ginn, St. Petersburg
Society's fright meter | June 11
Guns create problems
As unkempt as it may be, there is no law against wearing your pants too large and low on your hips. I, and most reasonable people I know, am far more concerned about anybody, "average" or not, carrying a firearm openly in a location where there is no need to do so.
How do others know whether the gun carrier is a good person or a bad person? What is to stop someone who feels threatened in the vicinity of a stranger displaying a weapon from using deadly force and claiming "stand your ground" protection?
Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg
Baptists won't budge on gays | June 12
What about other religions?
It's interesting that the media has singled out Baptists and Mormons for their scriptural adherence without checking to see how other religions might weigh in on the subject of gay marriage. It's easy to throw stones at people trained to turn the other cheek, but it's not very gutsy reporting.
The Koran, like the Bible, also has a few things to say about homosexuality. I don't know exactly how Muslims feel about the subject, but why not send a few reporters to the Middle East and ask around? Sure, it might be more dangerous than mocking Baptists, but if you are looking to ridicule religious conservatives, why discriminate?
David Fraser, Clearwater
Hagel, GOP critics clash at hearing about swap | June 12
A plan for failure
President Barack Obama's foolish decision to release five high-ranking Taliban commanders for a man who appears to have walked away from his responsibility has all but assured our defeat in Afghanistan. Why would any young Afghan soldier continue to cooperate with America? Why wouldn't he turn his gun on our troops and assure himself a place in Afghanistan's future?
I suggest Obama never had a plan for victory, only a plan for our slow, painful failure.
Ronnie Dubs, St. Petersburg