Keep children safe on the Web
June is National Internet Safety Month and an appropriate time of the year to remind parents that online vigilance should go hand in hand with the annual school break for summer vacation.
Like so many, my two sons are looking forward to their summer vacation. With kids of all ages spending more time at home during the summer, and more time on the Internet, we as parents should reconnect with them about some important rules.
The best advice for parents is to be aware of what kids are doing on the Internet and regularly monitor their activity. The good news is that we are not alone. There are many free resources available that offer guidance and the technical know-how needed to keep kids safe online.
Parents can also make kids understand that personal information is just that, and not to be shared on social networking sites that might endanger them or family members and friends.
For parents feeling a little guilty about too many rules, keep in mind that our kids are just coming off a year of following rules in school. A few house rules during the summer shouldn't be a big deal.
Finally, we all can communicate with our children. It's easy to get caught up in our busy lives and neglect the opportunity to ask children about what they do online or to discuss such things as inappropriate content or cyberbullying. Just add cyberspace to the many areas in life where we as parents must educate our children on what's expected of them.
Michelle Robinson, Temple Terrace
Ala. enacts strict immigration law | June 10
Law worth applauding
Cheers for Alabama's new immigration law requiring documentation for children to attend public schools. Legal American citizens pay for schooling through taxes, so only legal American children should be recipients of this privilege.
Illegals are taking basic jobs from Americans and escalating our costs of police, education and criminal justice. I applaud Alabama and wait for the day when Florida follows suit.
Jeannie Field, Largo
Intolerance and bigotry
What harsh irony indeed that as Alabama — and the nation — should be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders, that state, a longtime bastion of intolerance, passes a draconian immigration policy that could well result in violence and worse against undocumented residents.
Some perspective is in order. Back when the U.S. economy was robust and politicians didn't see a need to play the fear card to pander to voters, immigrants — undocumented and otherwise — were welcome throughout the nation, since they filled job positions the majority of U.S. workers deemed beneath them.
Now, with the U.S. Treasury being drained by the Pentagon's endless wars and other brazen money grabs by politicians and their puppet masters, it is time to demonize an entire class of people. It is worth noting that many immigrants escaped their own countries for a better standard of living, since companies in their homelands (some owned by U.S. corporations) paid slave wages.
I have little doubt Florida will be among the next states to fall in line with this growing pattern of bigotry and injustice.
Michael Henry, Bradenton
A welcome exit
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a simple man with a nice haircut, has talked about seceding from the union. This can't happen fast enough.
Don't let the door hit you, Mr. Perry. And make sure you take your bad ideas, your obsession with guns, your prevalent social problems and your red state voters with you. You can keep the Bush family and Tom DeLay on your side of the new border.
Maybe if you ask nicely, Mexico will take you back.
Scott Cochran, Tampa
Israel's behavior is outrageous June 10, letter
External threats are real
I find both the analogies and logic in this letter to be faulty.
"Illegal border"? Actually, this "border" is a mutually acknowledged and internationally recognized cease-fire line. This would be comparable to the situations which exist between North and South Korea or between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.
"Civil disobedience"? That presumes that the people engaging in this activity live under the authority of the agency whose rules are being protested. The Syrian/Palestinian activity was more analogous to thousands of "unarmed" North Koreans "peaceably" marching through the DMZ to reclaim their ancestral homes in the South.
What would the letter writer have us do if thousands of Mexicans marched across the Rio Grande to "peacefully" protest our immigration laws?
Israel has same right as any sovereign nation to defend itself against any external force that threatens its domestic tranquility, whether it's an army, a single terrorist or a mob of "peaceful" protesters.
Ronald S. Leight, Seminole
Gates: The future of NATO is at risk | June 11
Defense Secretary Robert Gates' recent statements on NATO prompt some questions.
What is NATO's mission since the end of the Cold War? Why does the United States continue to provide the bulk of support for this huge organization? And why do we still maintain tens of thousands of troops in Europe two generations after the end of World War II?
Ed Flanagan, St. Petersburg
Frustrated School Board tells Janssen: We need to talk | June 10
Pinellas County school superintendent Julie Janssen states, "I really don't think I'm doing that bad a job." Well, when a superintendent's actions create a high level of concern, anxiety and suspicion among parents, teachers, administrators and School Board members, then obviously the superintendent's performance requires immediate attention.
Where there is smoke there is fire, and Janssen has been a walking human torch for way too long.
Mike McGinnis, Clearwater