Mandatory data recorders
Senate bill undermines privacy
Federal legislation recently passed by the U.S. Senate and heading for the House, SB 1813 or "MAP-21," deals with mandatory "black boxes" to record data in all new vehicles from 2015 onward. Also included are restrictions on Americans' ability to use their passport if they owe the IRS money.
I am alarmed at this overreach of government power. The government wants to eavesdrop on me in my private vehicle. I am not reassured by any proposed restrictions that the "box" would be available to the government only through court order.
I value my freedom. Efforts such as SB 1813 aggressively attack the core of everyone's freedom of movement.
I urge your readers to contact their members of Congress to defeat this outrageous scheme.
Rick Waldemar, Inverness
Scott okays 12th school | April 21
They simply don't care
Just what Florida needs: another state-supported university for the taxpayers to pay for. Where do these spendthrifts come from? They grovel at the public's feet, begging for the job to politically represent them, yet once in office they dump that idea when it conflicts with their own personal needs or those of a good political buddy.
It isn't that these guys "just don't get it." They do get it. They just don't care. Their words are worthless. Gov. Rick Scott was obviously just paying off a political crony whose ego trip is to have his name on the building on a university. What a shallow bunch we continue to put into office.
Florida's other 11 universities are forced to take drastic budget cuts and these political clowns are opening yet another taxpayer-supported school. We can't continue to let these people steal from us .
Bill Goggin, St. Petersburg
Sen. JD Alexander's comment that the new university is not about him is wrong. It is about nothing but him. The university's name should be changed to JD Alexander University so his ego can be fully satisfied. And the first building should be named for Gov. Rick Scott.
Madelyn Lawson, Clearwater
Caving to pressure
I am outraged that the governor caved in to political pressure to close off needed money for existing campuses in order to create a separate college that has no resources as yet to justify this move. He had been asked to delay this decision, but ignored this advice. I feel sorry for the existing colleges.
Bea Donis, Tampa
Zero business acumen
Gov. Rick Scott's refusal to veto an expensive new university at a time of economic hardship in the state and at a time when he has eviscerated the K-12 funds does not just go against his supposed commitment to cost-efficient government. It is yet another example of political malfeasance and manipulation, this time in collusion with Sen. JD Alexander and who knows who else.
Scott, who lauds himself for his business acumen, has chosen to sign a bill that shows no business acumen of any kind.
Flora A. Napoli, Riverview
In his book Red Plenty, Francis Spufford writes how Josef Stalin changed the subject matter being taught in Soviet universities. Engineering, technology, pure sciences and math were "designed to feed the economy with specific skills. … Humanities departments were closed down …. philosophy died, anthropology died, sociology died. …The Soviet Union was a society ruled by engineers, with a well of idealism among mathematicians and physicists."
It's a delicious irony that our tea party governor promotes this highly centralized ideal of higher education as a transmission belt to the job market.
James Bond, Valrico
Hurdles to education
I recently watched House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speak on the subject of opportunity in America. I wonder if he is aware that education is the No. 1 path out of poverty and into prosperity, yet it is his Republican Party that is making it harder for ordinary Americans to achieve higher education.
Not only is more of the burden of college tuition being placed on the backs of students, but interest rates on student loans are on track to double this summer. Recently, a Democratic initiative was put forth to stop that increase; Republicans essentially blocked. How can they speak of opportunity yet block the primary path to it?
On a larger front, how can we possibly compete with the rest of the world when we are making it harder for our youth to obtain a higher education? If a person has the brainpower and the drive, he or she should not be impeded by the cost. We should be promoting and supporting their achievements, not only so they reach their dreams, but so America can stay on top and stay competitive.
Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater
Ann Romney's phony outrage April 19, commentary
Candidate is out of touch
The subtle subtext of Hilary Rosen's comment about Ann Romney having "never worked a day in her life" is that the Romneys cannot relate to or fathom the contemporary struggles of the 99 percent — the middle class and the poor — the real drivers of the American economy.
Add this to the context of some of Mitt Romney's pronouncements — the $10,000 bet, "I'm not concerned about the poor," "I'm also unemployed," "corporations are people," and "(My wife) drives a couple of Cadillacs" — and a picture develops of a presidential candidate out of touch with the real America.
Gerard Meyn, Dunnellon
Rubio takes on the role of professor April 23
Nice work if you can get it
Does Marco Rubio explain to his students why U.S. senators work only three days a week? They are off Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I'd like to hear that lecture.
Mortimer Brown, Lutz