It's no world for these oysters | Aug. 18, Perspective
Stop damage before it's too late
Diane Roberts should be required reading at the Florida and Georgia capitols. In her article concerning the impending destruction of the Apalachicola River ecosystem, she accurately points out the adolescent disregard some "leaders" in Georgia have expressed toward the environmental effect of hoarding water for Atlanta residents instead of letting it flow south.
She rightly points to the Army Corps of Engineers, which capitulates to local influences. And it is true that Georgia does appear to carry the lion's share of the responsibility for this escalating water-hogging affair.
Though she points out that Gov. Rick Scott is seeking re-election, she falls a bit short in not mentioning Florida's tarnished history in being responsible stewards of our environment and water resources. But that's the only blemish in her fine article, which makes the case that something needs to be done, and soon, or a great environmental treasure, along with an equally irreplaceable culture, will be irreversibly destroyed.
Ron Thuemler, Tampa
The great divide | Aug. 18
"The great divide" was thought-provoking. Might the rise in income inequality and the corresponding rise in distrust that the government can successfully address the issue be due to a sense that government is contributing to the problem?
I suspect that transfer payments like Social Security are included in measurements of income. An increasing number of baby boomer retirees draw from the Social Security taxes paid by young working people who, demographers tell us, are declining in number relative to the total population.
Young people, many now burdened with mountains of college debt that the government encouraged them to incur, increasingly find that their college degrees do not translate into high incomes sufficient to pay down their debt after taxes — like Social Security taxes — have been withheld.
Might decades of government policy unwittingly contributed to the "great divide" as we know, or at least sense it?
Jim De Furio, Tampa
Government no longer ours
In the last line of this article, the authors declare that while Americans are concerned about our astronomical rise in inequality, "a much more difficult task is convincing them that their" (my emphasis) "government is up to the task of addressing it."
This statement misses the point. The problem is that the government that was at least partially "theirs" in the past, no longer is. Their (our) government now belongs to the corporations who have bought our Congress and our elections outright and freely get away with running it to benefit the "haves" by proceeding to dismantle anything our former government installed to solve this problem.
It is time to take back our past, more humane democracy, but with this level of inability to connect the dots, I have little hope.
Claire Cummings, South Pasadena
Capitalism systematically increases wealth concentration by squeezing "efficiency" out of land, labor and capital. The worker is employed because he or she has inherent redistributable wealth — hand dexterity, arm and back strength, vision, knowledge, experience, judgment, patience — by which wealth is created that is out of their ownership and beyond their control.
The tree doesn't own its apples, or the cow its milk. Those who gain the wealth produced devote as little as possible of it to induce its creation. The remainder is mercilessly arrogated to themselves as upward redistribution.
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater
Even before recorded history, and certainly after, there has always been the divide between the rich and the poor, the not so rich and the not so poor. It is a matter of human existence that some are better than others.
Many have tried and as many have failed to change the everlasting great divide. Most notably Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin tried redistribution. They failed.
America cannot solve this continuing event by taking from those who have and giving to those who don't have.
All Americans, those with and those with less, should be ever vigilant of a government that would take from those who have and give to those who have less.
Norman S. Cannella Sr., Tampa
Have this talk with your sons Aug. 18, Bill Maxwell column
Community in crisis
I agree with Bill Maxwell that all black fathers should have this talk with their sons. However, with 70 percent of black children being born out of wedlock there are way too many of these sons who do not have fathers. In place of fathers, their male role models are rap singers, athletes, gang bangers and drug pushers.
This problem will have to be solved by black people and will require a major change in belief and lifestyle. This will have to be led by the black leaders of the community.
Ken Leiser, Seminole
The faith that holds power Aug. 18, Robyn Blumner column
Try a little silence
It is unfortunate that Marco Rubio, 33 other senators and the Obama administration want to have "invocations at government meetings that persistently prefer one creed." The Supreme Court has generally ruled that prayers for predominantly one religion at government meetings are unconstitutional. This decision avoids the appearance of government favoring one religion over another, an apparent intent of the First Amendment. The religion that is almost always favored at public meetings is Christianity, relegating all other denominations to "second-class" status.
If some senators cannot start government meetings without a prayer, why can't they simply begin sessions with a moment of silence? Their concern that such prayers be vocalized and persistently one creed suggests an insensitivity to the feelings of non-Christians and gives further credence to the false idea that this is a Christian nation.
Stephen Feldman, Valrico