Scott goes out of state for jobs | June 9
Great for CEOs, not the rest of us
I can envision the CEOs of those firms targeted by Gov. Rick Scott to move to Florida being interested in moving to Florida due to our supposedly low tax rates. After all, they will hide out in their gated communities, paying no state income tax and having their beach home insurance subsidized by the rest of us. They probably won't even care that our state motto for education is, "Thank God for Louisiana and Mississippi" or that Scott just made it easier to sidestep environmental regulation and send innocent folks to death.
I am sure those CEOs will be thrilled that our Legislature passed a bill that makes it harder for local governments to implement a business tax; and who can forget the recent bills to disenfranchise voters? If they actually bring employees, think how thrilled those employees will be to have given up the uniqueness of their old hometown to enjoy the cookie-cutter subdivisions with their cookie-cutter homes all situated next to dozens of Publix, Winn-Dixie, Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target stores every 5 miles.
How happy they will be when they find out that when the next hurricane hits, they will have to help rebuild the mansions on the water and the homes that were allowed to be built on barrier islands with an assessment that may well bankrupt us all.
My advice to anyone considering moving a business to Florida is, "Careful what you don't pay for."
John Hayes, Sun City Center
The assault on privacy | June 9, editorial
Outrage is misplaced
Sunday's lead editorial headline denounces the federal government's telephone and Internet surveillance programs as an "assault on privacy." My dictionary defines "assault" as a "violent attack, either physical or verbal." But no matter how hoarse President Barack Obama, the director of national intelligence, the director of the National Security Agency, or the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees have become in publicly explaining the limited intrusiveness of these programs and the proven benefits they have rendered to our national security, critics, including Times editorial writers, seem unable to contain their misplaced outrage at these congressionally authorized and closely supervised programs.
The editorial's injudicious and overreaching statements go so far as to brand the decisions of the secret FISA (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court, a panel of 11 federal judges who rotate periodically onto that bench and rule on the legality/constitutionality of these programs, little more than a "rubber stamp" on the government's surveillance activities. Apparently, the Times editors know better about such matters.
In sharp contrast, no outrage has been directed at the person who leaked highly classified information about these programs deemed so vital to our national security. But where would editorial writers be without such leakers, whose illegal actions frankly border on sedition?
Finally, Times editors cap their high dudgeon with, "Americans have a right to know the basic structure of surveillance programs that gobble up so much private information." And just how would that knowledge be disseminated without also informing our enemies about the government's efforts to safeguard our security? What Americans have a basic right to are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," all of which are threatened by those whom our once secret surveillance activities seek to identify and stop in their tracks.
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center
Florida's spring baseball boost | June 9, letter
It seems that the Chambers of Commerce from three communities have nothing but praise for the state decision to give $5 million to "construct and renovate stadiums used for spring training." Since the practice of coming to Florida began 100 years ago, I am curious how (up until now) these teams were able to come and play here without being subsidized with taxpayer money.
The public keeps hearing about shortfalls in all aspects of government operations, yet government can "find" $5 million for projects like this with no problem. If indeed there is a need to build or renovate these facilities, get the funds from the owners' pockets and the fans.
Believe it or not, there are people who couldn't care less about sports, so why should they help pay for others who do?
Robert Delimon, Largo
Tea party brews trouble for GOP June 9, commentary
Move to the center
I believe that the downsizing of the tea party movement may be an opportunity for the Republicans to right the ship that has been taking on water the past several years. The reason Republicans are losing elections is not because candidates aren't conservative enough; it's because their candidates are too conservative, even the so-called moderates.
The Democrats have moved more closely to the center after Bill Clinton's time in office, and that has proved to be the magic potion for their party. Our country has changed demographically in the past decade and the older conservative white base is drying up. Our country has shifted from a center-right country to a centrist country, and the party that moves closest to that center (which has been the Democrats lately) will win national elections. In the pure red states, of course, the most conservative players will win, but not on a national playing field.
The reason I and many other former Republicans have left the party is because of the extreme elements like Ted Cruz that the party now embrace. They can't make a long-term strategy by piling on President Barack Obama. At some point they are going to have to produce solutions like one of the great Republican presidents of our past, Dwight Eisenhower.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
America's worst charities | June 9
Giving till it hurts
Unfortunately you left out the worst one in the country. This organization takes in over $3 trillion per year. There are billions and billions in waste and mismanagement, bloated salaries and pensions, lavish trips, expensive vacations, and the list goes on and on. No one is held accountable and everyone blames someone else.
In case you haven't guessed, that charity is one that every hardworking American who has a job is required to give to: the U.S. government.
At least with the charities that you have outlined there is no one forcing you to donate. With our government you don't have a choice.
Jim Byers, St. Petersburg