Osama bin Laden
Time to declare mission accomplished
The original reason for our involvement in Afghanistan was to get Osama bin Laden. We got him. It is time to declare victory and get out, fast.
It is important to remember that the cowboy jingoism of "shock and awe" was ineffective, and an intelligent diplomacy with worldwide ramifications moved the Pakistan government to assist America in the effort to find and kill the world's worst terrorist.
American might has limitations. Visceral reactions to world problems limit intelligent response.
I congratulate President Barack Obama on his cool head and thick skin, and I hope this portends a realistic foreign policy that keeps American boots off the ground in impossible situations.
Robert Clifford, Tarpon Springs
Quiet dignity called for
The death of Osama bin Laden is certainly a case of justice being well served. However, celebrating the event by dancing in the streets evokes images of those who gleefully celebrated the collapse of the twin towers nearly 10 years ago. All our celebrating will accomplish is to inflame the zealots and anger the moderates in the Arab world.
We would be far better served by observing his passing quietly and with dignity in our churches, synagogues and mosques, offering up our thanks to the God of Abraham.
Robert A. Shaw, Madeira Beach
With terrorist Osama bin Laden dead and President Barack Obama saying "justice has been done," when do we get our pre-9/11 freedom back, like the pre-shoeless, patdown stuff we now go through at our airports?
Richard Kwiecienski, Sugarmill Woods
I was shocked to find the large, saintly looking picture on the front page of the Times Monday. This picture would suitable for our enemies as a memorial to bin Laden.
Judith Durling, Clearwater
One big bill, no waiting | May 1
Greed over nature
It boggles my mind that our state Legislature would be so casual in passing a bill that endangers not only our tourism industry but our beautiful state.
In the end, when businesses have made their profits and when consumers have been temporarily made content with their green lawns, we will then have to deal with the inevitable, and that is the limited resources of our waterways, our greenlands and our planet in general.
It is so sad to see greed take priority over nature, because once it's gone, there's no bringing it back.
Mary Miller, New Port Richey
For labor, it's Mayday, not May Day | May 1, Robyn Blumner column
Unions' bad decisions
I usually find myself wincing after reading Robyn Blumner's columns and asking, "Does she really believe that?"
For more than 26 years, I was in the highly unionized manufacturing sector in various capacities in human resources. While loving the manufacturing sector (I grew up in Detroit), I left given its bleak future. While there were dubious management decisions that contributed to the sector's decline — along with significant global shifts, market events and government policy — the ability to reshape the manufacturing base was herculean if a company was unionized. Today, we are seeing the same direction with other unionized sectors.
For the past 13-plus years, I have been with a nonunion, high-growth global technology company in human resources. The company has dealt with many of the same challenges manufacturing has: intense global and domestic competition for market share and talent, rising costs, customer and employee satisfaction, product development decision, poor management decisions, etc.
The main difference is that my company remains flexible and can quickly adapt to our market changes and demands. There isn't one unionized company or sector that can say that. Unions' role in the early 1930s to mid 1970s achieved a great deal in added value for their members and the enterprises, primarily in the areas of work and safety conditions. There are still some sectors in need of such advocates. But for the most part, employers will do the right thing without a union in order to keep its people safe and retain the best.
The unions' No. 1 problem is internal politics. It undermines everything unions espouse to be. The union parallels to our various government and political entities are uncanny. Bad decisions get made for the wrong reasons. I speak from my experience in dealing with the UAW, IBEW, Teamsters and Operating Engineers. While the reps I worked with were good, honest and dedicated individuals, their decisions and guiding principles were driven out of strong political considerations. I can't imagine a senior executive making tough, strategic decisions based on the vote of the enterprise's employee population. Would St. Petersburg Times editors allow their tough decisions to be subject to a vote of Times employees?
Jim Massey, Palm Harbor
Protect legal workers
Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski is going around the state criticizing the Florida Legislature for attempting "draconian measures" to prevent illegal immigration.
As someone in his 50s who has been unemployed since December 2008, I say that Florida's proposals don't go far enough to protect those of us who are American citizens or otherwise authorized to work here legally.
Wenski contends that potential changes in state law affecting illegal immigrants "threaten the economic stability of Florida."
But common sense and many economists tell us that wages can become depressed from an oversupply of workers — and not just for the low-end jobs that supposedly only illegal immigrants are willing to take.
Do elites such as Wenski — who has a guaranteed job for life and thus a skewed view of the real world — ever consider actually helping their fellow legal citizens and legal immigrants by working to prevent undocumented workers instead of enabling them?
Michael Kersmarki, Tampa