Doing the right thing: nudge or not? | Aug. 11, commentary
The breakdown of responsibility
We need more than a nudge. The last 75 years have seen a devastating breakdown of personal responsibility in this country. When I was raised, two names were required on a birth certificate, and two people were required to fund and oversee the child — whether by law or by enforcement by the family of the mother of the child, often wielding shotguns.
The huge onset of births by unmarried mothers has left children to be cared for by one person, with many mothers working or unable to cope. Result: difficult-to-teach children, who are likely to continue on the same path of lack of personal responsibility. It is not a racial issue — there are more whites than any other race responsible. Slums and low-income people will continue to grow in numbers as the country falls from its dominant position in the world.
Enforce personal responsibility or go down the drain.
Richard Durstein, Palm Harbor
Tampa and the birth of the cool Aug. 11, commentary
As a former denizen of West Virginia, that eternal bastion of jokery, I took Lena Dunham's comments about Tampa with a chuckle and a grain of salt. Would it have been better if she'd referenced Des Moines or Poughkeepsie? Look at it (as I did) as more of a backhanded compliment — she thinks Tampa is an up-and-coming threat to New York's superiority.
Caitlin Chaney, Tampa
Teachers cash in on failing kids | Aug. 11
Politics and payoffs
How dare teachers get money for tutoring students outside regular hours. Don't they know that they are supposed to teach for a pittance, putting in unpaid overtime if it is required? Besides, accepting money from those whom you evaluate/regulate is reserved for state legislators.
Harry Ellis, Tampa
Special interests rule
What do the following have in common?
The citizens of Florida paying billions of dollars to Progress/Duke for nothing.
The citizens of Florida having less access to affordable health insurance and paying higher fees for it.
The citizens of Florida paying outrageous premiums for homeowner's insurance and receiving less for that too.
Answer: the Republican Party of Florida. The Republican-controlled Legislature. A puppet Republican governor.
The formula is simple. The more you and I pay to mega-business the more our politicians earn through contributions from these corporate benefactors. Politicians claim it does not affect their decisionmaking, but they can't enact a single law without "unintended consequences." In the Republican universe there is no consumer protection and no environmental protection (think Mosaic) because there is no money in it for them.
But let's not let Democrats off the hook either. As former Times columnist Howard Troxler pointed out many years ago, what led to the Republican-dominated Legislature a few decades ago was a corrupt, self-serving Democratic-controlled Legislature.
The only answer is to return government back to the people. The only way to do that is through public financing of all elections and making contributions (read: bribes) to elected officials illegal. Only then will politicians be forced to truly answer to the public and only then will the public, not big business and not special interest lobby groups, be represented by government.
Len Keller, Seminole
Family lost at sea to fly home | Aug. 11
Hannah Gastonguay decided to take her family and leave the United States because she felt that our laws on abortion and gay marriage were a government interference in the practice of her private religion. However, when storms forced them to land in Chile they didn't mind U.S. government interference in getting them back to the United States.
It's funny how so many people who object to government interference in their lives don't refuse that same government's interference when they need help, whether it be a storm at sea or a storm at home.
Roger Gambert, Palm Harbor
Here's hoping Post sale can save journalism Aug. 12, commentary
Old-fashioned, still relevant
I agree with Leonard Pitts about the value of basic journalism and old-fashioned beat reporting. The Tampa Bay Times' in-depth reporting has brought to light many stories that needed to see the light of day.
I, for one, hope the "old-fashioned business of printing on dead trees" is here to stay.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
Deciphering the pier ballot | Aug. 11
Just say no
A wise man once told me that when you cannot understand a ballot issue, the smartest and safest thing to do is to vote "No."
Willi Rudowsky, St. Petersburg
Theft plain and simple
Imagine you are a young person wanting a home but unable to afford one. A homebuilder approaches you with the promise that if you will make monthly payments over the next 10 years, he will build you that brick home of your dreams. You accept, make your monthly payments, only to find out 10 years later that the builder will not build your home.
When you ask him to return your money, he refuses. Since he is guilty of fraud and theft, a judge awards you the funds you have paid plus damages.
How is Duke Energy any different? It took our money with the promise to build power plants, but built nothing and kept our money. It simply has to give that money back or be guilty of theft.
Joe Yarborough, St. Petersburg