Recast workforce in Fla. earning less | Aug. 5
Manufacturing is key to success
This article reaffirms that job creation in Florida and most of the country is ailing. Service sector jobs produce absolutely nothing of value, are low-paying, and are often menial. This trend is a disaster. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American manufacturing workers are now forced to compete with China's average wage of 81 cents an hour and Mexico's average of $2.92 an hour.
Some corporate CEOs and their paid politicians fail to understand the significance of the disappearance of the American middle class. It will negatively affect their bottom line sooner or later. Why? Americans will not have the money to buy their products regardless of the price.
CEOs and politicians could learn from Henry Ford. In 1914, Ford paid his works $5 a day so that they could afford to buy his Model T car. Ninety-nine years later, Florida's minimum is only $2.79 higher at $7.79.
Returning manufacturing jobs to the United States will greatly improve the lives of workers, increase jobs, improve the economy and, in the end, corporate profits.
Howard F. Harris Jr., Tampa
Smart, social and captive | Aug. 4, Perspective
Stop breeding orcas
Thank you for this article on orcas in captivity. Orca captivity generates large profits for companies like SeaWorld. However, life in a shallow concrete tank causes shockingly short life spans.
To keep these valuable captive animals alive, it is common to administer ongoing prophylactic medications such as those that reduce stomach acid production and block histamine. Also, antibiotics are often the immediate response to an animal appearing "off." The deleterious effects of chronic antibiotic usage are well established.
Killer whales can swim a hundred miles a day in the wild. In captivity they spend many hours without significant movement. The obvious change is seen in the bending of the dorsal fin.
Orcas are carnivores, not scavengers. In the wild they consume a large variety of live prey items. In captivity they are fed essentially the same dead fish daily which makes them more susceptible to vitamin deficiencies.
Approximately 50 percent of the orcas born in marine parks since 1977 have died. SeaWorld has lost at least 10 mothers.
Scientifically and morally, the answer is to stop breeding orcas. The life we force on these animals is cruel and pathetic.
Isabell Stawicki, Beverly Hills
Pity the poor old straights Aug. 7, commentary
What was the point of running Simon Doonan's hateful, bigoted piece that denigrated straight people? Would you run a piece that was equally insulting and outrageous to the gay community? You and Doonan owe everyone, not just straights, an apology.
Norm Nash, Seminole
Pasco's gain is Florida's loss | Aug. 7, editorial
He represented the people
How sad to hear that state Rep. Mike Fasano is leaving the Legislature to become Pasco County's new tax collector. The Republicans are delighted because he is to my knowledge the only one in that party to represent the people who elected him.
I wish him all the best in his new job, but I will miss someone who cares about me and others like me.
Del Murray, New Port Richey
Tampa plans for Rays move | Aug. 7
Suddenly, there's money
It is comforting to know that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan will apply a stringent cost-benefit analysis to the Rays stadium project. Let's hope it is as thorough as what was done for the new Bass ProShop and the decision process regarding keeping city swimming pools open a little longer.
Buckhorn proudly announces the addition of two more code inspectors in next year's budget to root out slumlords and blight. Cue nice photo op.
Now, surprisingly, there is money everywhere for a new stadium, according to our prominent land use attorney. Fools and their money are about to be parted.
David Cardina, Tampa
Layoffs hit online school | Aug. 8
Bashing brick and mortar
So the state Legislature has changed the funding formula for virtual schools, resulting in "less money (given to schools) for each student who takes an online class."
Let's see, the requirements for graduation include, "Beginning with students entering grade 9 in the 2011-12 school year, at least one course within the 24 credits required in this subsection must be completed through online learning." Just another way to take money away from our brick and mortar schools. Well played, state Legislature, well played.
Jeannie Wallace, Pinellas Park
For Rays, both sides must unite Aug. 8, editorial
Transit fuels attendance
The only way baseball — or any major sport — is going to survive in our area is with complete cooperation of all the areas within reach of the playing field. So far we have been acting like a bunch of isolated and self-sufficient ninnies.
I believe that baseball and football could both thrive in the Tampa Bay area if we had something we should have had years ago: good, comprehensive rapid transit. Without it, Tampa should not waste its time and money on baseball. They cannot even fill the football stadium.
Stanley Murphy, Zephyrhills
I write about the dead | Aug. 4
Behind the scenes
I loved the article by Andrew Meacham about obituary writers. No one seems to think about them, but they serve an important function in our lives.
Everyone has a story to tell, and I envy these individuals because they get to hear so many good stories. More articles about the people who make the paper possible, please.
Sylvia Fies, St. Petersburg