Anthropologist apologist | Oct. 15, letter
All knowledge worthwhile, useful
I was troubled by this letter rebutting Gov. Rick Scott's ill-informed comments about anthropology majors (and, by extension, all of the liberal arts).
The writer is probably correct in perceiving that the best way to argue with anti-intellectuals is to point out what should be obvious: that anthropology has many "practical" applications. But it is a sad situation when learning in academia can be justified only by pointing out that it has immediate practical applications in fields such as medicine, government or industry.
The real meaning of the university is that all knowledge is worthwhile and ultimately useful, and that increasing our understanding and perspective on the human condition is always worthwhile (and eventually useful, often in unforeseen ways).
The governor reminds me of those annoying students who ask, "Is this going to be on the test?" If they don't need this knowledge in the next two weeks, they prefer to remain ignorant. This sort of close-mindedness is usually a good indication of a student not ready for higher education.
Richard Long, Temple Terrace
Scott unveils jobs plan | Oct. 13
Science in daily life
As a scientist, I am actually excited that Gov. Rick Scott is promoting the need to train young people in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Ironically, many Republicans oppose the teaching of scientific concepts that are the basis for the physical, chemical, biological and geological sciences, and their applied sciences such as astronomy, agriculture, medicine, industrial chemistry and petroleum geology.
The basic concepts, known by scientists as "unifying theories," are widely dismissed in Republican circles as "only theories." Yet these same people (and all of us in modern societies) utilize, for example, evolutionary theory every day when we use fossil fuel-generated electricity, eat food, wear clothes, apply makeup, take medicine and so on. I challenge anyone who opposes teaching of evolution to spend one day not using anything developed using modern science — even most natural fibers have been modified based on genetics.
Pamela Muller, St. Petersburg
Keys to communication
A student's choice of study is a personal one. And the characteristics that make a standout worker in any profession are not based on his or her technical prowess at the outset. These characteristics include a strong work ethic, a commitment to excellence, respect of others and, perhaps most overlooked, a deep sense of intellectual curiosity.
When I hire new employees, I am more concerned about their intelligence, character, "fire in the belly" and the above-described characteristics than I am about their choice of study.
I studied English in college. It is a choice I will never regret. English taught me about reading and thinking critically and how to communicate effectively with my superiors, peers and staff. The writing skills of many students with advanced degrees are beyond appalling. This hurts them as they look for ways up their chosen career path.
My fervent hope is that students of all ages identify Scott's opinion for the claptrap it is and search for their own and true work passion.
Diane E. Hamlin, Pinellas Park
Blackouts of Bucs games bug Fasano | Oct. 16
Good game plan
State Sen. Mike Fasano scores a touchdown when he advocates an end to blackouts of sporting events that occur in taxpayer-funded venues. He refers specifically to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' blackouts.
The only problem occurs when he tries to introduce such a measure in the Republican-dominated Legislature among a group of people whose main concern is defending the interests of big business. The NFL is nothing if not a very successful big business. I'm afraid his chances in that arena are slim to none.
However, I wonder if our esteemed Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the City Council might be willing and able to pick up the ball and score a touchdown.
Frank Entis, Tampa
How to stop the drop in U.S. home values Oct. 16, commentary
How about those who paid?
We should figure out a way to stop the bleeding in home values so the patient can survive. Martin Feldstein has a great idea in giving borrowers a reduction in their mortgage balance by writing down the mortgage. Banks don't have to spend thousands on the foreclosure process. It's a win-win situation.
What seems unrecognized here is the victim in this morass: the poor, hapless homeowner who faithfully paid his mortgage and had the value of his house drop by 40 percent. There should be some remuneration here. Can there be some tax credit for those who did the right thing and continued to pay? There should be some reward for doing the right thing.
Anita Clifford, Lithia
Obama's Hispanic support slipping | Oct. 16
This headline suggests that the support among Hispanic voters for President Barack Obama is lagging as we head toward next year's election. I have read similar reports from the black community.
But what is their alternative? Do they think that they will get a better deal the day after a Republican becomes the president?
Raghu Sarma, Odessa
Veterans say Haley won't pay for treatment Oct. 16
I read this article with interest because I occasionally use the Veterans Affairs Department facility, although my primary care is provided through Medicare. Every time I have used the VA, I have received outstanding service.
I also know a lot of veterans in Sun City Center who praise the care they receive from the VA. In addition, the James A. Haley VA Medical Center is performing leading-edge care for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
So why would the paper focus on these four guys? Your sample size was too small and does not reflect the true picture of the outstanding service performed by the James A. Haley VA Medical Center.
Edward Nove, Sun City Center