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"Manatees do not need swimming partners'

Re: Manatees' home may not be refuge, June 10.

How many of us would enjoy someone coming to our home, opening the door and walking in without an invitation? It would be a fairly safe bet to say not many. Why, then, would we think that the manatee would be any more pleased with our dropping in on him? It seems that as the "dominant" animal on this planet, we feel it is our right. Furthermore, we seem to feel that exploitation of the animal for our own profit is perfectly legitimate.

I doubt that $7-million in tourism would go away if humans could no longer "swim" with the manatee. The manatee is not a large version of our family pets. Manatees do not need other swimming partners. What the manatee needs is a knowledgeable world's support to save his environment.

I am in full support of man's exploration of the environment, but exploration is not the same as intrusion or exploitation. Man has no more business swimming with the manatee than he does holding out a piece of raw meat to a bear in Yellowstone Park.

If we truly want to protect endangered species, the first line of defense should be education, not a pat on the head or the side. Can't we best protect by first understanding and appreciating the manatees through better knowledge of their environment and behavior?

Stephen R. Alcorn, Palm Harbor

Wolves in danger

Re: Alaska still plans to kill wolves despite protest, June 10.

I lived for four years in Alaska when it was a territory and saw the wonder and majesty of our last frontier. The delicate balance of nature that helps make Alaska the remarkable country it is is about to be ravaged.

The Alaskan government plans to slaughter the wolf population in order to increase the caribou population. Their rationale is the oldest of all, the almighty dollar. More caribou, more hunters; more hunters, more licensing fees.

It sickens me to know that such a wondrous country can be reduced to a size suitable to slip into a cash register. Florida has exercised the same greedy practices, interrupting nature's cycle, and wildlife has all but disappeared from the state.

Kathryn L. van Heyningen, Palm Harbor

Neighbors on Earth

Taxpayer dollars have been wasted not once but twice in Somalia. During the '80s, $450-million was wasted on bad military and economic programs that actually worsened the situation for hungry people. During the last decade the U.S. government sent $748-million, mostly in aid for weapons. Now, at least $800-million has been spent on relief operations for the Somalia crisis. How much better to have used this tax money earlier for health care, education and farming tools to make these poor and hungry people more self-reliant. Essential long-term needs for saving lives need to be addressed adequately.

If we could do a lot more to help hungry people in Somalia and elsewhere, shouldn't we seize this opportunity? We now have a bill in Congress called "Many Neighbors on Earth," supported by the citizens' advocacy group Bread for the World, which calls for no tax-dollar increases in foreign aid. It does propose a cut in the amount of foreign aid dollars wasted on security and military aid. The money would be used to increase funding for development programs to reduce poverty and save the environment.

As a U.S. citizen and member of the world community, I strongly urge Sens. Graham and Mack and Rep. Bilirakis to cosponsor this bill. It will save tax dollars and invest wisely in our neighbors, our earth and our future.

Marilyn Elsen, Bread for the World, Saint Leo

"When will men be men?'

When are men going to start fighting back?

When are men going to take back the military and leave the sensitive worlds of choreography and art to the gays and feminists so inclined?

When are men going to assemble together to hang out, talk shop, play politics, shoot craps or take a few strokes of golf without having to defend their rights, their clubs, their relaxations of choice?

When are men going to refute any and all unfair charges of sexual harassment by interpretation, by underdressed women trained from infancy by mass media to look, act and dress seductively; strident women in the workplace; aggressive women in the military; and (some) predatory women in sports?

When are men going to learn to ward off intentional set-ups and contrived trappings by angry women seeking publicity and notoriety?

When will men, like those who now occupy the White House, stop catering to feminists, leftist-lawyer wives and constituents, and start treating all people with fairness and consideration of qualifications and natural and learned abilities?

When are men going to take back their rights, their confidence in their masculinity and strengths, their pride and, yes, their male mystique?

When will men be men again?

Joann Arcuri-Wald, North Redington Beach

I'm one of those white males who is the devil on Earth. I'm not gay so I don't dress so stylishly. I can't jump or dance so well, nor am I hip enough. I have no sense of history or culture. What do we do with all these white males? Offer a bounty for a scalp or two? The only solution is to remove all white males from their jobs so women and minorities may fill those positions.

No, I'm not sexist or racist. I'm for equal opportunity and equal pay. I'm tired of being a target because of someone else's oppression, real or perceived. I'm not in a position of authority or a manager or whatever; I'm just a laborer. I'm just like everyone else _ a flesh and blood human being.

John Johnson, St. Petersburg

Learn and improve

It seems to me that instead of blaming party affiliates for past mistakes, we should devote more energy to learning from the past and to improving the future to promote a greater "United States of America." Today we live, yesterday is dead.

Eileen Choate, Clearwater

England was humiliated

Re: Things not so jolly in England lately, June 11.

Your readers should be aware of the erroneous and misleading report under the above headline.

The U.S. soccer team did not humiliate Britain, as was stated.

They did, however, humiliate England to the unbounded delight of millions of Scots, North Irish (Eire, too, no doubt) and Welsh fans whose countries constitute Britain and who all have their own national soccer teams.

Indeed, my editor tells me from Scotland that the words to the Norwegian National Anthem (Norway beat England 2-0 last week) and The Star Spangled Banner are being learned and sung by all of Scotland who, contrary to your report, have never enjoyed two weeks of such rejoicing since the Scots Army defeated their English counterparts at Bannockburn in 1314.

In fairness to your editorial staff, it is not uncommon for Americans to refer to England when they mean Britain. Even CNN reported Brits causing trouble in Oslo, when, of course, it was the English soccer hooligans, of which there are plenty.

Douglas G. Proctor, Homosassa Springs

Investigation urged

I find it exceedingly difficult to have any patience with the many insurance companies who hiss and moan, and rant and rave, because of the losses they suffered from Hurricane Andrew. Just who was it that decided that the insurance business should never lose money? Unfortunately, it happens in other businesses, so who said insurance companies shouldn't suffer a hit occasionally? I find it absolutely repugnant that the moment their profits aren't up to their expectations, they can bail out and leave their previous customers (and supporters) high and dry.

If we _ the millions with our regular, ongoing, never-ending premiums _ decided to abandon them, as they are so quick to abandon us, how long do you think they could survive? It's unfortunate that Andrew gave some of them a direct hit; it's unfortunate that it is costing them a pretty penny. But their whole setup is a gamble from which they have amassed millions _ billions! This time they lost (which is indeed rare), so why can't they be made to pick up and continue on instead of picking up their marbles and leaving?

It's about time the whole insurance industry was investigated to determine how they can have so much and keep it, too. Unfortunately, along with their tremendous holdings, there is also tremendous power and it is highly unlikely they would submit to, or allow, an investigation in any real depth.

J. Howard Audibert, St. Petersburg

"Partisan slip'?

"Florida's best newspaper," as the St. Petersburg Times boasts of itself, was caught with its partisan slip showing in the June 6 Sunday edition.

Careful readers had to wade through 16 pages of the first section to find this small headline on page 17A: For Senate, Texas picks Republican.

In a mere 29 lines of type, the Times reported that a Republican had been overwhelmingly elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas, replacing the governor's handpicked Democratic appointee _ a defeat that portends more serious trouble for the Clinton administration.

By contrast, in the same edition, the Times ran 41 lines on the new Venezuelan president considering policy changes, 39 lines on San Diego strippers voting against joining a union, 32 lines on Guatemala trying to choose a new president, and even 26 lines on David Koresh's funeral.

Major newspapers across the country saw the Texas story in a different light. The Tampa Tribune ran the story with a three-column headline on page 2, as did the Boston Globe. It was the lead story on page 1 of the Atlanta Constitution. The Washington Post ran the story on page 3 with a major headline. The Miami Herald used a three-column headline on page 8A. The Florida Times-Union ran it on page 4. And the Orlando Sentinel ran it on page 16 with a headline across the page.

The ouster of a Democratic senator by a Republican less than five months into President Clinton's term is major political news, whether the St. Petersburg Times likes it or not.

The Times should apologize to its customers for shortchanging them in news judgment.

John V. Wilson, Pinellas Park

"Old time religion'

Re: A liberal's discussion of spirituality overlooks religion, by Charles Krauthammer, June 7.

I couldn't agree more with Krauthammer's call to bring back that old time religion. And, of course, it shouldn't be weighed down by any of that wishy-washy "liberal" stuff like human rights, non-violence or tolerance. We want the real thing. You know, that monotheistic, ethnocentric, "I'm saved and you're not" kind of religion. Maybe we could recreate those great days of yesteryear: pogroms, witch trials, the Inquisition, the Crusades, those wonderful Protestant vs. Catholic wars that ravaged Europe throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and maybe even another Holocaust (oh, yes, that's already being recreated in Bosnia). But seriously, don't people like Krauthammer remember the Enlightenment? And wasn't Jefferson a "liberal"? And can't some of those (out of the 94 percent, as quoted in the column) Americans who believe in God also be "liberal"?

Jeff Teas, St. Petersburg

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