Rodman and his new pal in N. Korea | March 1
Echoes of Charles Lindbergh
Dennis Rodman, the former basketball star, returned from a visit to North Korea filled with admiration for President Kim Jong Un. In an interview on ABC News he proclaimed that Kim is a great guy who takes good care of his people, hates war, and wants to be friends with America.
While watching this interview, I could not help but think of another famous American who returned from a visit to an evil regime. Just before World War II, aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh visited Germany and came back praising Adolf Hitler and the way the Nazis were running their country.
Lindbergh, who had been one of the most admired and best-loved men in America, suddenly found his reputation swirling down the drain. Though he did much patriotic service after the war started, he never recovered his prestige.
Lewis Lederer, Clearwater
Beyond the forever fields | March 3
Sexism on display
In this article about the Florida Strawberry Festival, the president of the festival, Ron Gainey, is quoted as saying that "our strawberry girls" are "the pick of the litter." Does your newspaper think that it is responsible in 2013 to parade this sort of blatant sexism before your readership? If this quote were blatantly racist would it have been printed?
Barbara Rosenthal, Tampa
To get to economic truth, delete ideology March 4, commentary
Prescription for disaster
Years ago I was interviewing a young man for a job. We went through all the formalities and I asked him what he wanted to be paid. It was an amount much higher than customary, and I said so. He explained that the expenses he had were such that he had to have that level of pay per hour.
Spend the money then figure out how to pay for it — sound familiar? Charles Kroncke and William Holahan wholeheartedly agree with that young man, as does our president and Congress. The columnists wrote, "Income must always equal spending." How about: "Spending must always equal income"? A mere subtlety? No, it is the difference between solvency and economic disaster.
Perry Cross, Largo
Federal duty on economy
This column should be required reading for all members of Congress who keep confusing the budget of this country with the budgets of private individuals.
When money gets tight, people must cut back; the same goes for states and cities. But the federal government has the duty and the authority to borrow money to keep the government running and to, in times of stress, conceive projects like roads and bridges, construction of a more reliable power grid, paying for better schools and more efficient health care, etc.
This investment in our country employs great numbers of people who are paid living wages. These people pay taxes, which cuts the draw on unemployment insurance, food stamps and Medicaid.
It seems like a simple concept, but our members of Congress do not seem to be able to grasp it. This is not the time to talk of spending cuts. And the deficit — while important — must be deferred for at least a decade until we are once again running our country with full employment and no threats of default.
James Teske, Tampa
Nature lover fights for a little Eden | March 4
Holding the higher ground
Eden aside, Ken Conklin holds the higher scientific and moral ground with regards to his practice. His moderate display of a sustainable and somewhat native dry prairie is commendable with regards to our continual polluting of local environs.
In a state where any form of bio-remediation or restoration should be embraced, we have a lack of understanding and commitment by local and state leadership. If the epidemic loss of pollinators and the continued degradation of our water table and waterways is not enough to get official action, I don't know what is.
A well-managed native landscape should be rewarded, not ostracized.
Ben Mercadante, Odessa
Scott's money would deter challenges March 3
State shouldn't be for sale
The residents of Florida deserve better than this. The people are not chattel to be bought and sold. And our state is not a corporation to be taken over by the highest bidder.
The fact that candidates for governor are backing off because Rick Scott has enough personal cash to buy this state — not once but twice — should serve as a warning, not just for Florida but for the entire United States, that our political process has been seriously compromised.
The standards for public office should be high, and the candidates who seek election should have strong principles along with the intellectual capacity to understand all the implications of the decisions they make, not just the "bottom line." Good government cannot be reduced to a spreadsheet.
Sallie Elmore, Largo
Kerry announces aid going to Egypt March 4
I find it interesting that the White House has approved $250 million in aid to Egypt, which is run by the Muslim Brotherhood. But this same administration is harping that the sequestration will hurt the poor the most. What's also interesting is that the president can wave his magic executive privilege pen on numerous orders, but he chose to sign into effect the automatic budget cuts. Why? So he can keep blaming the GOP.
Chuck Marshall, Riverview
Sides dig in on budget | March 4
The big lie
In remembrance of your front-page headline about the PolitiFact Lie of the Year a few months ago, I think that what the president has been telling the American people about the outcome of the sequester qualifies him as Liar of the Year.
With all the wasteful government programs he could be cutting, no jobs would need to be furloughed. By the way, how much did it cost taxpayers for the president to come down to Florida and play golf with Tiger Woods? How many furloughed jobs would that have saved?
Michael Grace, New Port Richey