Bypass nuclear; go with the sun
Instead of committing billions of ratepayer and shareholder dollars toward the (possible) construction of yet another nuclear plant, why not spend that money placing state of the art solar panels on customer roofs?
The risks inherent in nuclear plant construction and utilization have been well documented. Human error and this changing Earth appear to trump engineering cleverness. Homes, condos and apartments already are wired into the grid and don't require expensive transmission lines to be built from any new plant.
Florida is the Sunshine State. Let's use it in the most direct and sensible way possible. Homeowners could sell excess generation back to Progress Energy to reduce their costs and the federal government (i.e., the taxpayers) will not be stuck with additional liability to insure another nuclear plant that the private insurance industry continues to duck.
Mike Judd, Dunedin
Thieves live large on tax refunds | April 22
Change the tax system
With millions lost to fraudulent federal tax returns in just one county, can you imagine the losses nationwide?
Why not replace the federal income tax with a federal sales tax? With a sales tax, all pay — citizens, visitors, illegals, etc. — and with no regard to how they earned their money. You spend, you pay. You spend a lot, you pay a lot.
Leonard Romano, Treasure Island
Tighten up procedures
These articles about the IRS scams and what it is costing our government are infuriating. One way to cut down on these thefts is to hire more people in each IRS office and stop mailing refund checks. Make people who are getting refunds come to the offices and identify themselves before they are handed a check. It would give more people jobs and save our government millions of dollars.
Margaret Crerar, Tampa
U.S., Afghan accord set | April 23
A great game — for them
What don't we understand? The Afghan government and citizens do not want us there; they have made it clear. But they do want our dollars, and we are dumb enough to keep their game going.
Irmgard Knorr, Sun City Center
Afghan leader calls photos disgusting April 20
Time to head for the exit
I agree: Posing for pictures with body parts is disgusting. Homicide bombers blowing up innocent citizens, however, is unconscionable. This unfortunately has become a regular occurrence in Hamid Karzai's lawless wasteland. Afghan forces are incapable of any substantive "security," as Karzai has become the ineffectual puppet for terrorist factions.
A Taliban spokesman calls these photos "disrespectful." Of whom? The cowardly murderers whom these mangled remains memorialize? Remember, too, that we were castigated for destroying texts, once holy, that had already been defiled with hateful inscriptions by Islamist prisoners meaning to incite organized violence. The disconnect is analogous.
The young people sent overseas to that hostile desert fear death and dismemberment daily. Under such pressure, it is understandable that they might momentarily forget propriety to take these photos. Their behavior, though, cannot be considered immoral in the context of the despicable limbs with which they pose.
What is truly disgusting in that we have sacrificed so much precious American life for a pathetic government that doesn't appreciate us. Let's get out of that horrid place, as Karzai asks, and devote our resources to countries that have proven to be friends and allies in our war against terror.
Steven Warren, St. Petersburg
No savings from drug tests | April 19
Keep on testing
With a year of testing welfare applicants under our belts, the rate of only 2.8 percent discovered using drugs is hailed by liberals as proof the testing is unnecessary and actually costing the state more to administer than is saved in welfare payments.
The big unknown is how many people who would have applied did not because they use drugs and knew they would be caught. We will never know how many, but I suspect the figure would dwarf the 2.8 percent. Keep on testing.
Hardy W. Bryan, St. Petersburg
St. Anthony's Triathlon
Get with the times
I know that the small headline at the top of the front page is a teaser to get people to look within, in this case the Personal Best insert. But I was shocked to read Saturday's line: "A 46-year-old mom is set to compete in St. Anthony's Triathlon." Is that really such a phenomenon?
I'm sure there are parents and grandparents of both genders in their 50s and 60s in the race. It's not an Ironman we're talking about. I don't want to diminish Laure Blume's athletic achievements. It just doesn't belong on the front page.
And honestly, mentioning that she's a mom is silly, too. That a strong woman in her 40s, whether she has children or not, can be an accomplished athlete hasn't been news since about 1950.
Sidney Smith, St. Petersburg
Small loans fight poverty
Microfinance is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against global poverty. Access to financial services and financial opportunity has been shown time and again to provide families with the help they need to lift themselves out of poverty. Proceeds from microloans for small businesses can bring food to the table, provide a family with housing, and enable children to attend school.
The Microfinance and Microenterprise Enhancement Act of 2011 (S. 2027), a bipartisan bill, does not ask for any additional funding, only that current resources are used in the best possible way to reach the poorest people and to place a special emphasis on poor women.
I encourage Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to co-sponsor this important bill.
Ken Schatz, Tampa
Bribery claims shake Wal-Mart | April 24
Cost of doing business
Come on — anybody who has done business south of the border knows it's impossible to do business there without some form of bribery. It's customary at all levels and more like a tip in a restaurant than a dark criminal act. Sounds more like someone here didn't get paid enough. Big boys always play rough and they don't cry.
Rob Dennard, Belleair Bluffs