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Yes, Ivy Leagers can handle the real world

Ivy retardation | Aug. 17, Perspective

Yes, Ivy Leaguers can handle real world Having read this entire diatribe, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to feel sympathy for the poor boob who was a Yale or Harvard graduate, or attempt to understand the obstacles of such an education.

Tsk, tsk — he can't talk to his plumber. (Believe me, at the rates they charge, you'd better just let him do his stuff and forget trading opinions on the Red Sox.)

Does this mean that those of us who graduated from "lesser" schools can, by virtue of that, strike up an illuminating talk with Mr. Plumber? Come on.

William Deresiewicz also sold other Ivy Leaguers short. I've read of many who could overcome this terrific education to become real, caring human beings, and actually could talk to the "common man."

One, in particular, was featured on the same day in your Floridian section. With Phillippe Houdard's master's from Harvard, he left behind a lucrative career and started the Developing Minds Foundation in Colombia. He offers rehabilitation and education to former child soldiers.

Universities are cocoons, and most of us who have experienced that cosseted environment go out and grow up in the real world. I'm sure Yalies can do it, too. (At least, I hope so.)

Lilyan V. Dayton, New Port Richey

In thrill of victory, all primates strut the same | Aug. 17, Perspective

Insult to a great athlete

I wonder if Michael Phelps were black, would the Times compare him to a monkey? Would the Times compare Usain Bolt, whose achievement in the 100-meter sprint was also amazing, to a monkey for his chest pounding? I doubt it. In fact, if someone else was to do so, I bet the Times would cry foul and suggest that the comparison was racist.

In trying to again draw similarities between humans and primates to suggest a common ancestry, the Times, by narrowing in on Phelps, has done nothing more than insult a great athlete, denigrate one of the greatest athletic achievements of all time and belittle the elation that such an achievement would elicit in anybody.

Mike Merkle, Clearwater

How apes are like us | Aug. 18, commentary

No, apes aren't like us

Barbara King refers to the "stunning event in 1996" when a female gorilla rescued an 8-year-old boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at a zoo. The gorilla handed the boy over to zoo personnel instead of treating the child violently. While that does appear to be an extraordinary action, I don't think that one should make such a sweeping generalization such as "apes are like us" as a result.

When apes start building research universities that study the history and habits of human beings, then it would seem reasonable to write such an article. Coyotes band together in the wilderness to achieve a common goal; does that mean coyotes are like us too?

I don't condone the mistreatment of apes or any animal. However, they are here to be of use and enjoyment to humans. We have a responsibility to treat them in a humane manner. Because some humans don't take that responsibility seriously doesn't mean that we ought to start drawing parallels between humans and apes.

Lawrence Schoen, Riverview

Managing to vote GOP | Aug. 17, Robyn Blumner column

Let the market set salaries

Some logic and foresight is missing here. If the Employee Free Choice Act is passed, watch out. If 50 percent of employees merely have to sign a certification card, then any business will be obligated to answer to a union if it becomes unionized.

If Wal-Mart, Target, Publix, CVS, Walgreen's, etc., all become unionized, guess what? Their employees may get higher wages, but by the time they pay monthly union dues (making only the union leaders wealthy) and pay extra for all the products they buy from these retailers, will they be financially ahead?

Also, please recall how the union from Winn-Dixie (now nearly broke) tried unsuccessfully to unionize Publix by using a "plant."

Let the market dictate salaries. Wal-Mart has no problem getting help when it opens a new store; hundreds apply.

Don Janssen, St. Pete Beach

Bush's forgotten invasion and Who is he to talk? | Aug. 14, letters

Don't equate Iraq, Georgia

The letter writers couldn't resist the opportunity to bash President Bush for his condemnation of Russia's invasion of Georgia. Apparently they think he should applaud Russia. Either that, or typical of all Bush haters, they use any excuse to bash anything Bush does, even if it was the right thing.

In addition, yes, we did invade Iraq. But whether or not you agree that we should have, there is one huge difference between the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Russia's invasion of Georgia: The United States deposed a brutal dictator who had systematically murdered thousands of his own citizens for years. Russia's invasion intended to topple what is regarded as the leading example of a democratically elected government to emerge from the former Soviet Union and replace it with its own brand, which seems to be rapidly devolving back into a dictatorship.

Ted Milios, Hudson

So, yes, go ahead and raise my taxes | Aug. 17, Perspective

Cut taxes, increase revenue

Ben Stein's piece was disappointing.

Economic history shows an inverse correlation of tax rates and tax revenue. Coolidge drastically lowered taxes, yet mysteriously witnessed a budget surplus. Reagan slashed taxes, yet tax revenues decreased by only 1 percent. After Bush's tax cuts, American millionaires doubled. In 2003, millionaires paid $136-billion in taxes; in 2006, the "new rich" of Bush's tax cuts paid $274-billion.

Stein believes that taxes must be raised to balance Washington's ballooning budget. We are not serfs bound to the whims of our lords. In a republic, government answers to the people.

James Roesch, Oldsmar

So, yes, go ahead and raise my taxes | Aug. 17, Perspective

It's time to give back

Thank you Ben Stein for reminding us of our great nation's responsibility to be responsible. I am, like you, a Republican who doesn't relish the idea of paying more taxes. I have been frustrated and confused by my party. I thought the Republican Party represented fiscal responsibility. Instead I have seen this administration engage us in a costly war while unbelievably reducing taxes, insulating the general population from the sacrifices of war.

History taught us nothing. During World War II we rationed food and consumer goods; as a nation we all shared in a common sacrifice.

Each day we rack up more and more debt. And it's debt we owe to China, Brazil, Russia and other foreign countries; not necessarily our best buddies. As Stein so aptly wrote, "But our government — run by the people we elected — needs the revenue." Do we pay it or do we make our children pay it?

Those of us who have benefited from the good fortunes provided by our country now need to give back to our country.

Roz Fenton, Hudson

Yes, Ivy Leagers can handle the real world 08/23/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 24, 2008 10:34am]
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