Ethanol plan fuels a fight | Dec. 21
Give drivers a no-ethanol option
According to this story, the ethanol people want to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. It's been my experience that this is bad and heading us in the wrong direction.
I purchased a Ford 500 in 2006, and the stated highway gas mileage was 29 miles per gallon. My daughter lives in Bonita Springs and we live in Inverness, so I thought the drive to visit her was a good test for highway gas mileage. I was happy when I recorded 31 mpg. I travel with the cruise control set at 70 mph and I consistently got between 30 and 33 mpg on trips to visit her.
Then they added 10 percent ethanol, and my gas mileage dropped to 27 to 28 mpg. Now the best I can get is 25 mpg. My concern is that if we continue to use ethanol, we will have to replace the car before we can afford to buy one. Changing to 15 percent ethanol will only speed up the problem.
Why doesn't our government allow selling both ethanol and straight gasoline, and let the public decide what they want? Or is this another case of the oil companies running our government? Please, officials, do something good for a change.
William McCaw, Inverness
As schools resegregate, progress gets reversed | Dec. 23, commentary
Schools in poorer areas
will require more money
"Resegregating" schools is a matter of culture, not policy. To argue that it is the same as the de jure segregation of the past ignores common sense.
The problem is equity, not equality. There are cultural differences in schools — donations, parent support, community support, volunteerism, PTAs and so on. Those are a reflection of the differences in the cultures of surrounding neighborhoods.
Those differences make a huge difference inside schools, in donated computer equipment, software, uniforms, trips, extracurricular activities and the like. Let's not kid ourselves — these also affect school and student performance.
And those differences can be made fair by school officials by recognizing they are also a matter of money. And the money should be provided.
Does that mean schools again would have unequal funding? Yes it would, but in a far different manner than in the segregation era. Poorer neighborhood schools would clearly benefit. And it would produce a better answer than busing for equality. Crossing "the color line" again on a yellow school bus isn't the only way.
Peter Klingman, Tampa
Scott closing drug office | Dec. 23
Step backward on drugs
I am deeply saddened to hear that Gov.-elect Rick Scott has decided to close the Office of Drug Control. It's obvious that he doesn't have a clue about the deadly epidemic running rampant in our state. The Office of Drug Control has been instrumental in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Pill mills continue to pump drugs onto the streets, leading to death, addiction and jail. As a parent and concerned citizen who has spent four years trying to alert officials to this problem, it is disappointing to see Scott setting back our efforts.
Lynn Locascio, Crystal Beach
Seven deaths per day
With Gov.-elect Rick Scott's decision to close the governor's Office of Drug Control, there will be fewer resources and help for substance abuse. As a result, Florida will continue to experience seven deaths per day due to prescription drug abuse. It puts a new, grim meaning on Scott's 7-7-7 plan.
Jeff Truscio, Seminole
Dancer's suite dreams | Dec. 23
The myth of suffering
I wish the media would stop perpetuating the myth that a ballet dancer should happily endure pain to feel successful. It's the kind of absurdity that makes a film like Black Swan credible.
Bleeding feet are an indication of improperly fitted shoes, inadequate pointe technique, poor training, or an obsession. Doing 1,000 crunches a day does not sound like healthy conditioning.
A passion for one's art needs to be balanced by a healthy personal life for that person to have a successful long-term career — and to pass on to others a healthy and balanced work ethic.
Bill Philin Ploplis, Palm Harbor
Andy Marlette editorial cartoon | Dec. 24
An insulting cartoon
This cartoon on Christmas Eve, with its mocking, leering faces of the "Three Wise Men," is despicable.
There were beautiful celebrations going on in our cities — and, in fact, throughout the world — to honor the birth of the Christ child, and you had the audacity to insult Christ and every Christian who honors this sacred event.
Rita Reber, Palm Harbor
I find the cartoon on your editorial page to be tasteless and disrespectful of the most sacred event in the lives of those of the Christian faith. The caricatures of the "Three Wise Men" are ridiculous, and those of the Holy Family are equally distasteful.
The cartoon's caption is also highly demeaning to the sanctity of the blessed event that it makes reference to. The publishing of this cartoon is yet another example of the total lack of respect paid to Christians in the media on a regular basis.
Douglas K. deWolfe, Odessa
The way they do business | Dec. 19
Cronyism run rampant
I'd like to commend your reporter, Lucy Morgan, and the researchers who assisted her for the phenomenal effort they made to shed light on how a $50 million courthouse project managed to happen during, and in spite of, the worst recession Florida has experienced since the Great Depression. That sort of investigative reporting is why I continue to be a subscriber to the Times, in spite of the fact that your business section is down to only two pages.
The Taj Mahal affair is a perfect example of cronyism at its best. People in power (whether justices or legislators) do favors for each other and they also do favors for lobbyists who fill their re-election coffers and who can do favors for them in return.
Unfortunately, the legislators who allowed the Taj Mahal to happen will never be held accountable for the role they played in this affair. The judges who promoted and allowed this to happen will, likewise, never be held accountable.
Joel Salus, St. Petersburg
A little less flash, please
I've tried and tried to read Daniel Ruth's columns. But his overwritten, simile-in-every-sentence style obscures a fine mind and perceptive thoughts. To imitate: "His insights peek through the verbiage like the sun on a mostly cloudy day."
His attempts to be funny are showoffish. I like his thinking, but I can't stand reading him.
Ratchet it down a notch, Daniel.
Bill Clark, Homosassa