Let's draft our kids | Aug. 5
National service good for young
The idea of drafting young adults into military or civil service is excellent. Many kids coming out of high school have no idea what they want to do. Serving in the military or civil service would give them time, real-world experience and an income. It should not be so much an idea of "cheap labor" but part of the learning process.
Many European countries have military and/or civil service requirements of approximately two years. In some cases, students who know what they want to do in college are allowed to attend, but when they complete university, they must complete the "draft."
We baby our kids too much. We already start them later in school so they don't graduate until 18 or 19, and they finish still not knowing what to do, how to work, or how to leave home. It makes me cringe to imagine our young people responding to any of the world disasters that movies frequently display. They really aren't prepared unless it's a battle of the thumbs.
Alison Meyer, St. Petersburg
Like it or not, race isn't going away Aug. 5, Bill Maxwell column
We're all connected
I almost always find myself agreeing with Bill Maxwell and I enjoy his scholarly writing. Though I agree in part with his assertion that "race isn't going away," I invite him to embrace a larger perspective. Racism is but one form of separation. It is said that the only problem is the illusion of separation. Looking from this broader world view, it can be noted that even within a race, or a religion, or even a family, there is often division.
The new sciences are showing us that we are indeed one and connected — with each other, with the earth, and with the intelligence of the universe (called by many names). This is a time in human history when the emerging sciences and the progressive spiritual community are in agreement. The evidence confirms that our survival as a species depends upon us understanding and embracing our interconnectedness.
In a nutshell, it is either breakdown or breakthrough. As Einstein said, we cannot fix a problem on the same level that it was created. To effectively address racism, poverty, social injustice, terrorism, ecological destruction and so on, we need to expand our world view in line with the new sciences and the enlightened spiritual movement.
Douglas Bonar, St. Petersburg
Next time he should listen | Aug. 5, Robyn Blumner column
Health care in Britain
Because I was born and raised in London and have benefited firsthand from the British National Health Service, I can attest to the fact that the British people do not have to face the gut-wrenching fear of being rendered impoverished without access to health care due to job loss, chronic or catastrophic illness, or injury.
That fact alone means that they not only enjoy better health, but also a far more democratic environment and compassionate attitude toward their well-being than do most Americans. Married to an American for 42 years, and having an American child and grandchildren, I have lived and worked in this country for many years alongside average Americans, and have witnessed and shared their struggles on the health care front.
Meanwhile, two cousins of mine in London have, in the last few years, been treated for cancer, enjoying an equally excellent standard of care as is available in the United States. No death panels or euthanasia there. They, like all Brits, paid for their care through payroll deduction during their working lives, just as we do for Social Security.
Lies about single-payer health care have been perpetuated in this country by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that benefit hugely from the disgusting status quo. They fail to point out that the NHS in Britain thrives alongside a private insurance system that anyone can participate in if they want.
Gail Morris, Safety Harbor
Stadium plans revealed | Aug. 9
It's got to be in Hillsborough
So now, after Hillsborough County wants dialogue with the Rays, a developer in St. Petersburg comes forward with another proposal. When will people understand that the best place for a new stadium is either downtown Tampa or where the Fairgrounds are currently?
This team will not get the attendance it wants unless it is centralized in the greater Tampa area. The proposed area is not going to do that for the team. The Channelside or Fairgrounds area will.
John George, Brandon
Another try at open carry bill | Aug. 9
I don't understand the need to carry a gun (concealed or not) on your person when conducting everyday "legal" activities. The United States has the highest "death by gun" numbers in the world (not including war-torn areas). I don't want to live in fear that I can't walk my dogs at night without the possibility of getting shot in the crossfire between two crazies who have a beef with each other.
It's time for Marion Hammer and her ilk to stop using the Second Amendment as compensation for their personal fears and inadequacies.
Kathy Sanford, Dunedin
Don't drive away tourists
Think about 944,582 possible sidearms on display from Key West to Pensacola. Miami and Tampa will replace Dodge City and Abilene in history. Disney could open "NRA Land," and dads would be able to slap on a gun to protect the family from line jumpers.
In reality, if 944,582 legal permits start open carry, how long will it be before people without permits blend into the mix? As a state where tourism is still king, do we want to scare away families from London, Berlin and Rio?
Robert Spencer, Clearwater
RNC will ground or divert air traffic | Aug. 9
They must be terrified
It is interesting to see the lengths everyone is going to and the amount of taxpayer money being spent to protect the Republican National Convention attendees from us, the public they are hoping will vote for them to be in charge of our country and our lives.
Now small planes must be banned from airspace, forcing a small airfield to close down during the whole affair. The only thing they have not requested, to my knowledge, is food tasters to be sure we are not trying to poison them.
I guess the big world outside the ivory tower of the GOP elite is truly frightening.
Patricia Houghtalen, New Port Richey