Lawyers make a case for advertising | Nov. 25
Reputations, not ads, are critical
Personal injury law appears to be dominated by a handful of big advertisers. Billboards, television and radio spots, phone books, and even paid Internet search placements all seem to point to the same few firms.
On this evidence, it's easy to assume the majority of people who need an attorney make their choices based largely on advertising. Struggling firms may even find it soothing to blame these circumstances for their lack of success. But if the majority of clients really based their decisions on advertising, then those who spend the most on advertising would have a majority of the clients.
And they don't.
Compared to any individual firm with a more modest budget, big spenders clearly dominate in market share. But when you compare the total number of clients they serve with the combined client base of smaller, nonadvertising firms, suddenly these big spenders are a much smaller part of a much bigger whole.
So how do the overwhelming majority of people needing an attorney actually choose one? What allows smaller firms to stand their ground against the big spenders? Relationships and reputation.
Tom Young, Tampa
Brooks off the mark | Nov. 24, letter
In writing about the Penn State scandal, David Brooks' point was not to excuse Mike McQueary's inaction but to point out the hypocrisy many of us face when we condemn him for inaction.
According to the research cited by Brooks, ironically conducted at Penn State, most people tend to believe that they will do the right thing when facing a given situation (e.g., report abuse), but when confronted with an actual situation, most tend to do the opposite (in this case, not report abuse).
This does not excuse McQueary's behavior; it only serves to remind us that moral courage may be a rarer virtue than most are willing to admit (I include myself in that category), and that, as the prophet Jeremiah once said, "The heart is deceitful above all things." We may wish it otherwise, but the research tells us something different.
Jerry King, Dunedin
Thud gets louder | Nov. 26
Give fans more respect
I found the subheadline "Bulls players grow grumpier as fans increasingly stay home" offensive in its implication that the fan base was declining due to the team's poor performance this year. My friends and I have been season ticket holders from Day 1 of USF football. We have even traveled to out-of-state games before the team was ranked nationally. We are not fair-weather fans.
Our treatment by USF football, however, has not been acceptable. What kind of turnout would a sane person expect at 11 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving? This holiday is one of the most heavily traveled as families take the opportunity to visit relatives. Plain and simple, USF football chose to go for the TV revenue.
I do not know the statistics, but I am willing to bet that turnout is lower at games played during week than at those played on Saturday, the traditional college game day.
A conscious decision was made to go for the money without concern for the fan base. If you want to increase attendance, you have to treat fans with more respect.
George Ellsworth, Dade City
After 25 years, it might be time to change the name of Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the "Gutless Deadbeats Deliver the Debt Act." In 1986 our debt was $2.6 trillion. Now, at over $15 trillion, it is clear that both political parties have decided to burden future generations with unprecedented levels of spending and commitments.
The irresponsible limiting of revenue to pay for legislated obligations is morally bankrupt. But this isn't about responsibility, the future of the country, the welfare of future generations, or our image in the world. It is about getting elected, and signing a cowardly pledge.
Charlie Brusovich Jr., Tampa
Not so happily ever after | Nov. 26
It's not that complicated
Rachel Jolley and Charlotte Lambert got legally married out of state and are having issues in the state of Florida with their name changes. John Grant, a former state senator who introduced legislation to make same-sex marriage in our state illegal, said he did it in part to avoid this sort of confusion, and that same-sex marriage has "difficult practical applications."
Really? Heterosexual couples change their names when they get married … and when they get divorced. People seem to have figured out how to deal with this very difficult and confusing topic of name changes.
We should have same-sex and opposite-sex legal unions in this country. Marriage is a religious ceremony and shouldn't part of the legal system.
Instead of being negative and bashing the lifetime commitment of two women who love each other, perhaps the religious right should look at the high divorce rate of heterosexual couples and clean up their own back yard first.
Sharon Herman, Lithia
Headed toward plutocracy
It boggles the mind that the top 1 percent in the United States has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. And the concentration of wealth in the hands of a select few is projected to continue. Since extremely wealthy people do not need to spend more than a small fraction of their income, their wealth is bound to increase just from the effect of interest or investment return. This is especially true when the growth from investment return (interest and dividends) is taxed hardly at all.
Add to that the access to favorable regulation and legislation that the super-rich enjoy, and one can easily see that we are headed toward a plutocracy, where just a few people have all the power and wealth and the rest are barely able to eke out a subsistence living. We are far advanced in this direction already.
This grim future could change if our legislators could stand up to the big-money interests and do not give them unfair advantage. Unfortunately, it seems that many in Congress, especially Republicans, are more than willing to legislate ever more advantages for the very wealthy, including lower income and estate taxes and minimal regulation.
Terrence Greenwood, Venice