Call me black, not African-American | Aug. 3
I'm just like you, actually
Aisha Harris illuminated a disturbing habit by many Americans to categorize people indiscriminately. With some it is quite innocent, but I have encountered some sneering remarks about what "my people did" over 200 years ago.
I have been living in the United States for 10 years, and I am a U.S. citizen. I look like many others, and I have a British accent.
In no other country that I have visited or lived in have I ever been so pestered by questions from other citizens asking my derivation, ancestry, etc. I suppose I must alarm them sometimes when I explain that my ancestry includes English, Dutch, French (Norman), Norse, Danish, possibly Roman, German, Scottish, Welsh and, way back, African. My mixed ancestry is shared by a majority of "English" people and, therefore ultimately, most of the European immigrants to America.
I fully agree with Aisha Harris. I do not understand the need for categorizing people into groups according to their color or language. U.S. citizens are American, full stop.
Brian Pawley, Wimauma
Of many colors
A person with ancestors who evolved darkened skin isn't "black." Black is the absence of reflected color. Those stuck with that false label are many shades of lovely, rich color: mocha, latte, cigar, but none of those are appropriate.
The old word "colored" seems reasonable until we consider that "white," the presence of all reflected color, is just as wrong.
I'm called white, but I'm a pinkish orange with areas the summer sun has darkened a bit, and many dark age spots here and there. My color needs a new word, too.
Can we just use "light" and "dark," making, if desired, a gradation of all between using "very," "slightly," or other modifiers?
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater
Florida's energy policies
State is leader in efficiency
Sound policy should not be driven by sound bites. This is particularly true regarding recent distorted discussions about Florida's energy efficiency policies.
Florida has been and continues to be a national leader in lowering energy usage. Since 1981, when most states weren't even thinking of energy efficiency, Florida implemented cost-effective programs, which have helped Duke Energy Florida customers save nearly $1.25 billion on their energy bills.
Over the last 30 years, Floridians have changed their behavior in the way they use energy. Today, 70 percent of our customers are engaging in energy-saving behaviors on their own, without the need for non-cost-effective subsidies.
Think about your habits today versus 10 years ago. Are you setting your thermostat higher when you leave? Do you have a programmable thermostat? Have you replaced your hot water heater or AC system? Have you replaced light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs? You've done this on your own to lower your electric bill and to conserve.
Data from the federal government's nonpartisan Energy Information Administration shows that over the past 10 years, Floridians are second in the nation in lowering their energy consumption. Duke Energy Florida's customers beat our state average by nearly 40 percent.
Private interest groups, like the Sierra Club, often tout that states such as California and Massachusetts are "leaders" in energy efficiency.
To the contrary, Californians have actually increased their electricity consumption by 6.2 percent over the last 10 years (fifth worst in the country) and Massachusetts increased by 2.5 percent. They are not driving down customer usage as we have in Florida.
The real question we need to ask is, "Why provide non-cost-effective incentives to people to do what they were going to do anyway?" Rational public policy suggests we should not.
Alex Glenn, state president, Duke Energy Florida, St. Petersburg
GOP may boast best field ever | Aug. 3
Rubio must learn
The article on the GOP made for interesting reading. Apparently Marco Rubio wants to be president, but he has no clue how to get there.
If he upsets the Republican Party on an issue, he has to backtrack. If he upsets the tea party on an issue, he has to backtrack.
Rubio has to be against compromise, immigration, universal health care, voting rights, minimum wage increases, women's rights, taxes, growing our economy, a jobs bill, reinstating unemployment insurance and climate change.
The article doesn't mention what Rubio has said he will do for all of America. His only concern, apparently, is Marco Rubio, the tea party Republicans and the rich.
Being against almost everything is not what America needs. Marco Rubio made his bed with the tea party. Now he has to sleep in it.
Richard Gentile, Tampa
End partisan primaries | Aug. 3, oped
Schumer promotes good idea
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recommends a change to primary voting similar to what has been done in California.
This is an excellent idea. The same idea has been proposed in the Economist (ostensibly because the rest of the world is also becoming concerned over our dysfunctional Congress). The Economist article claims the idea is from the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank in Washington.
The main difference between the two articles is that Schumer uses (as an example) the defeat of Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary, while the Economist uses the great influence of the vastly diminished labor unions in Democratic primaries.
The idea, which is not new and was popular when I was a boy (oh so long ago), is to have all primaries on the same day and all voters select a candidate for office, with the top two winners competing for the office in the general (even if both are from the same party).
The effect would be to make primary winners more acceptable to the general population, instead of extremists (left or right).
Bernard Waryas, Dunedin