Jobless put at mercy of computer
We as a nation are dumping perfectly good, talented, hard-working skilled people off the grid for corporate profits. I recently lost my job after eight years, and in that time something has drastically changed. You can no longer go into a business, fill out an application, introduce yourself to a manager with a handshake and a smile, and present yourself for who you are and what you have to offer. Now you are instructed to apply online, where your application — if you get that far — is often scanned by computer software that predetermines whether you are even considered.
This is not sci-fi; it's happening. None of us is perfect, but we all need a job. It's all about the bottom-line profit for the company. I used to be able to find a job in a week or two; it's been going on four months now.
Bruce Dampman, Brooksville
Rebranding Common Core | Jan. 20
Goalposts keep moving
As an educator, I want to do my best for the children, my school and — dare I say — for myself.
Florida legislators and the State Board of Education continue to pull the target this way and that. My chosen profession and my family's well-being depend on my job, too. These moving targets of what I need to accomplish will eventually hit my students' success, my school's grade, my evaluation or all of the above. Any one of those situations could mean I am out of a job that I dearly love — not because of my professional inadequacies, but from the inadequacies of those in charge.
Every day I am here for the children. I am not an unmarried teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in the 1800s. This is the 21st century and I should count also. I cannot zero in on the target when it continues to move throughout the school year.
Sharon Pelchat, New Port Richey
What we'll be when we're No. 3 | Jan. 5
The problem of growth
Florida's future cannot be founded on the misguided principle that perpetual "growth" is what makes Florida successful. It's what is killing Florida. Perpetual growth is a myth, a form of magical thinking that's been heaped on us by unscrupulous developers for half a century. Their legacy? That endless monotone suburbs, depleted wetlands, overbuilt coastlines, polluted lakes and waterways, and overcrowded roads to nowhere are good for Florida.
Florida is overcrowded and it must find a sustainable way to "grow" — one that is not undertaken by bringing in thousands more people a day to an already overcrowded, overburdened state.
Ron Thuemier, Tampa
Landmark step for NFL | Jan. 20, commentary
Entertainment or injury
"This settlement will at last provide the care and support to those who made professional football the great game it is today." Did anyone else think this comment in Shawn Wooden's column was ironic? Part of what made the game great was the rough-and-tumble nature of it. So what do we want? A watered-down version of the game through increased head-to-head contact penalties, or fewer penalties with increased injuries? I don't know the answer, but what's becoming clearer is that players and fans can't have it both ways.
Of course that's what Big Tobacco, Sea World, the NRA and their consumers are wrestling with: freedom to smoke or freedom from cancer; freedom to enjoy a spectacular water show or freedom to mistreat orcas; freedom to hunt or freedom from a lunatic shooting up a movie theater.
You can't have it both ways.
Rita Williams, Clearwater
Tuition hurdle may be cleared | Jan. 20
Immigrants and hurdles
This article at first seemed to state that something is very wrong with our present immigration policy regarding tuition assistance for those who are in this country illegally.
Upon reading again I have a few questions. Because Mariana Castro is an illegal immigrant, she is being denied assistance by a college, USF, that was and is funded by taxpaying legal citizens. The article did not mention what her parents, even though they choose to break our laws, have done to remedy their and their daughter's situation over the years. Do her parents file tax returns, do they have a command of the English language to pursue employment opportunities, and is there any documentation that they have made an effort to abide with our immigration laws?
I am a second-generation American citizen on one side of my family and for over 10 generations on another. My ancestors paid taxes to England before they gave their lives to form this nation. Each succeeding generation has served to preserve and uphold the Constitution right up to the present day. My grandfather was a rag picker when he first came here legally; his children went on to become citizens.
I believe this nation is the best in the world. It did not just happen; it took years of other people's sweat to make it what it is and can be. I understand that this young lady is caught in a Catch-22. This situation is not the system failing but the consequences of those failing the system. Fix your own problems first, then seek the remedies for those to follow.
Lois M. Spatuzzi, Brooksville
Economic argument for extending benefits Jan. 20, commentary
I look at the Republican reasoning for not extending unemployment benefits and I am somewhat baffled by some of their reasoning. The column by William L. Holahan and Charles O. Kroncke should give us pause.
One of the Republican reasons for not continuing these benefits is that there are not enough openings for employment in the "present economy" to hire so many people seeking the few openings. Out of the other corner of their collective mouths, Republican lawmakers (and most of their adherents) argue that they are very much against investing in the president's call for repairing and modernizing the nation's infrastructure, which would both modernize our nation and instantly create millions of job opportunities.
How do these arguments make any sense except in their continuing contempt for President Barack Obama?
David M. Childress, Palm Harbor