Way down is the Suwannee River | June 26
Precious Florida resource at risk
I almost cried when I saw what has happened to one of the most beautiful places I used to visit. I haven't been on the Suwannee for almost four years. I have a picture of me and my 4-year-old daughter at Peacock Springs. It looked beautiful back then. She is 11 now. Is this what pumping for bottled water does? Pumping for green lawns?
Last week I read about someone trying to be environmentally aware. She planted an artificial lawn, but the city didn't go for it. Don't our elected officials understand what makes Florida special?
Next time you pick up a case of spring water, think where it comes from. Buy filtered water. Better yet, get it from the tap.
Water is a precious resource that has been taken for granted. It is not endless. Just take a look at the pictures in Sunday's paper.
If you have ever been to natural springs, you will know what I'm talking about. They are beautiful. People come here from all over the world to dive in them.
Kathleen Jones, New Port Richey
Obama errs like Bush on War Powers June 26, Robyn Blumner column
Constitution limits power of Congress over wars
Robyn Blumner charges that President Barack Obama's failure to comply with the War Powers Act proves that "he is willing to manipulate language to ignore inconvenient limits on his power."
However, there's a good chance that the act is unconstitutional. Many scholars contend that the framers of the Constitution expressly limited congressional power to that of declaring war. In fact, they rejected the clause in the Articles of Confederation granting Congress the right to conduct war, transferring that power to the president as commander in chief instead.
John McFadden, Inverness
America is overextended
Robyn Blumner demonstrates how power tends to corrupt. The two Bush presidents did not wish to engage in "nation building" yet put us into three wars. Then Barack Obama comes along and continues the engagements, adding Libya.
We need to get our troops home and take care of our own affairs.
Henry L. King, Clearwater
The blame is all his
Robyn Blumner wants to tell the truth about Barack Obama's illegal actions, yet cannot do it without blaming former President George W. Bush's actions. Obama is proving that he is not a man deserving to be president.
Attilio Corbo, Palm Harbor
The rise of the corner cutters June 27, commentary
Learning and short cuts
C. Ryan Barber joins cartoonist Garry Trudeau and Judge Robert Bork in concern over students cutting corners in pursuit of education.
Trudeau weighed in Sunday with his cartoon questioning the need to read books when you can instantly find answers on your iPhone.
Bork, in 1996, wrote a whole chapter about student apathy called "The Decline of Intellect." His analysis was that America gradually extended education to all youths, which was admirable, but the rage for egalitarianism also led to the notion that the education must be the same for all levels of ability. Those with higher levels of academic talent were no longer pressed to achieve as they once were.
A reasonable answer to Barber's "Do we really have to read this book?" is "perhaps." By all means, read a book if the cost-benefit ratio of your time, effort and the book's content convinces you of added value over, say, a Web-based video of the same content, taught by a proven rock star teacher, available 24/7, with pause and replay button. Increasingly, technology suggests Web education opportunities are cost-effective, tailored to actual jobs, efficient and entertainingly instructive.
Barber is right that opportunities to emerge from the pack are there, but they will have to be seized from the dead, cold hands of government and union education czars.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
Pinellas route off-track
Anyone who wants a usable mass transit system in Tampa Bay should be disturbed by the decision by Pinellas on Track, the group studying a potential light rail line in Pinellas County, to have the line run through St. Petersburg on I-275.
According to Pinellas on Track's website, St. Petersburg residents strongly favored a route on Fourth Street, home to one of the city's main commercial corridors and a well-used bus route. But because of concerns over travel time and storm surge, officials chose I-275.
Until one looks at a map of the route, that seems sensible. But after seeing that it leaves the interstate at 62nd Avenue North, turning north at U.S. 19 and east on Gandy Boulevard before returning to the interstate, it's hard to see how any speed advantage is maintained.
For the cost of the large, curving ramps required due to the technology involved, one would think that an elevated route on Fourth Street would be possible. Such a route wouldn't be slowed by traffic, and would likely fare much better against a large storm surge.
Especially after taking into account that it ends the city's hope of eventually being connected to high-speed rail, Pinellas on Track's chosen route for light rail seems strange at best.
Bill Williams, St. Petersburg
A worthy aid mission
Soon ships will be coming from all over the world to deliver needed provisions to the Palestinian people. I hope and pray that Israeli leaders who do not support this will do nothing to harm those on the ships who are bringing in these needed supplies.
Those opposed to this mission are saying that it's okay to take from the Palestinian people their right to life and livelihood, land, medical care and medicine, food, homes, and above all, the God-given right to be treated with dignity and respect.
Marilyn Elsen, Dade City