Medal of Honor
Timely reminder of war burdens
Your placement on the front page Wednesday and coverage of the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House deserves the highest praise.
It is the first time since 1998 that a living recipient received the nation's highest award for heroism on the battlefield. The presentation of the medal to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta should cause each of us to stop for a moment and realize this nation is still at war.
For most of us, out of sight out of mind is the order of the day. While many Americans carry on in their daily lives, shopping at the mall, preparing for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, young American men and women afford us the opportunity to live in peace and freedom.
As you watch an athlete dashing down the field to score a touchdown, remember the Salvatore Giuntas of the world who at that same time may be rushing to save a comrade or to defend a position in the midst of hostile fire.
Let's not forget that what is still transpiring in Iraq and Afghanistan is a war. So as this Thanksgiving approaches, let every American devote a few moments before a meal to rise for a moment of silence to give thanks to the men and women who wear the uniform of our country and to say a special thank-you to Staff Sgt. Giunta for his heroic act of bravery. He represents the best our nation has to offer.
John Osterweil, Tampa
Too much in salaries
The fact that 28 staffers of Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon and 33 staffers of Senate President Mike Haridopolos will earn above $100,000 per year in salaries is an egregious violation of economic justice.
Although the Republican Party of Florida is being purged of its corrupt recent past, the good old boy network is still alive and well.
I urge Gov.-elect Rick Scott to institute ethics guidelines for politicians in Florida who see our tax money as their own personal slush funds for their cronies. A market analysis should be conducted, based on the highest academic degree held, and each staffer should make no more than the private sector's industry average for that respective degree.
Without clear ethical guidelines, legislative leaders will just continue to milk our state of money.
Robert J. King, St. Petersburg
Facing a strong headwind | Nov. 4
Wind power's appeal
It's great that Next-Era Energy Resources is investigating wind energy in St. Lucie County. While more research needs to be done, wind energy, unlike traditional electricity generation, has zero emissions and does not use any water.
St. Lucie is a popular location for sailing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. It is time to take advantage of these winds to produce clean, renewable energy.
Recently, turbines have been developed that can produce energy even in areas with low wind speeds. Furthermore, wind turbines are constantly being improved. Granted, a strong enough hurricane could pose a threat to a wind farm — but aren't all man-made structures, including coal-fired or nuclear power plants, and even solar panels, susceptible to destruction by hurricanes?
Sean Esterly, St. Petersburg
Why don't we put pictures of car accidents on liquor bottles? Or pictures of people on IVs on the entrance doors to hospitals reminding them of how many people get sick or die from infections? Or pictures of dead people on legal drug bottles since they cause all kinds of side effects?
Maybe our newly elected politicians, who are for smaller government, will tell the FDA to stop pandering to drug companies and do their real job. If a person can't read what is on cigarette packs now and does not heed the warning, it says something about our educational system. I thought picture books were for preschoolers.
Jere Rapp, Gulfport
The way of the world
The article on University of Central Florida business students cheating on the final exam makes me wonder why any of these young people should worry about how this will affect their job prospects.
There are obviously many employers who positively value the ability to lie, cheat and steal with equanimity. Business schools actually teach and encourage the kind of moral and ethical impairment that supports the Gordon Gekko approach to our Brave New World — with maybe a token "ethics" course for snickers and comic relief.
So not to worry, students. Deny everything, lose your memory like our new governor, and stick to your story. There's lots of room for you in the so ironically named business community.
Jon McPhee, St. Petersburg
Two items in the Times, juxtaposed with another item in the news, simply baffle me.
Retired Gen. Don Infante's excellent piece on how the obesity epidemic in our youths affects not only our nation's health but also our defense, combined with a story about a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the Times Pulse section, illustrate the well-documented problems of obesity and diabetes.
Contrast these two stories with Sarah Palin's rant against Pennsylvania for suggesting limiting the amount of sweet treats for school-age students. She illustrated the depth of her ignorance by bringing cookies to a private school. More sugar for kids; just what our overweight nation needs.
Lee Nolan, St. Petersburg
On Veterans Day the Times opinion page ran two stories side by side. The story on the left detailed how soldiers returning from war were having to fight yet another battle with the VA to obtain the benefits they were promised and so richly deserve. Next to this article was a piece written by retired Gen. Don Infante of Clearwater about the nation's need to combat childhood obesity so that more of America's youths could be eligible for military service.
The notion that we should better nourish our youths so that we can send them off to war and then have to deal with these issues at the VA is a disgrace. If Congress doesn't like the expense of veterans benefits, our leaders should stop sending them into endless combat.
Steve Dennis, Clearwater
Misspent funds | Nov. 12, letter
Money goes to work
A letter writer bemoans all the money spent by politicians during the recent election campaign. Does she think the politicians took the money and burned it in an incinerator?
The money was spent with ad agencies, newspapers, TV stations, hotels, travel agencies, airlines, printers, restaurants, hotels and the list goes on. Does the letter writer not understand that all of the above businesses employee workers?
There is a good chance that some of those employed by those businesses mentioned might very well have saved their home or remained employed.
The letter writer might not have enjoyed all the commercials (who does?), but it does put money into the economy.
Dan Mason, Tampa