Re: Immigration policy redux, June 20.
The time has come to be truthful about immigration, and the truth is that the United States of America does not have the resources to support immigrants into the United States.
The truth is that the United States does not have enough good jobs for its own citizens, let alone good jobs for immigrants.
The truth is that the United States does have enough low-wage jobs for its own citizens, but is it fair to the American low-wage earners that immigrants compete for the low-wage jobs, which depresses wages?
The truth is that our schools are overcrowded. Is it fair to American-citizen school children that we will overcrowd them more by allowing immigrant children in?
The truth is that Medicare and Medicaid recipients are being told that their benefits will be lowered. Is it fair to ask them to make cuts and then pay for medical services for immigrants?
The truth is that the United States of America does not have enough money to offer every American citizen decent shelter, education, medical care and food, and until the U.S. government can provide these services for its citizens, it should ban immigration.
Mark Drebin, New Port Richey
Who's the coot?
Re: AARP critic anything but retiring, by Ceci Connolly, June 24.
How I laughed upon reading Alan Simpson's words about St. Petersburg: "That's where all those damn coots are!" Does this bubba envision himself a young Tyrone Power reincarnated?
His one goal is to weaken or destroy the AARP, the only strong voice of those over 50. Have these people not earned the right, through hard work and skills that built this country, to be heard?
The popular political song of the elected officials in Washington is "Let's do in our nasty federal government" Another laugh, as they get rich remuneration in the form of salaries, insurance, freebie lunches, health spas, trips, and on and on from that same government.
It is my sincere opinion that our federal government is the best. It's not perfect, but it's the best there is.
Patricia A. Casey, South Pasadena
Re: AARP critic is anything but retiring, June 24.
I read with great amusement the Times article on Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming, and his ilk.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that his comments and efforts are to cover over the "witch hunt" regarding Social Security and Medicare "rights" of the elderly.
Regarding his comment about St. Petersburg, if Simpson is not the personification of an old coot, I don't know who is!
Robert F. McKendrew, St. Petersburg
Cartoon was disgusting
It is most unusual for anything that I read to provoke me to a point where I feel compelled to write a letter of protest to the editor of the offending publication. However, I feel that the cartoon by Pat Oliphant, carried by the Times (June 21) demeaning Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady demands a response.
Cartoons are intended to amuse, to make you laugh, to make you think, but this piece of trash by Oliphant evoked another emotion from me _ disgust. What type of a sick mind could find anything humorous about a military pilot, shot down and injured over enemy territory, surviving for six days and nights behind enemy lines and existing only by drinking rainwater and eating insects? I would dearly love to see Oliphant placed in that situation and then see how funny he found it to be.
Through none of his own choosing, Capt. O'Grady and his squadron mates were placed in harm's way by an inept administration and under a U.N. command whose rules of engagement change from day to day. Capt. O'Grady is a true hero in every sense of the word. He is a very brave, unassuming man who, after surviving an ordeal that most of us cannot even imagine, was thrust in the international limelight through no effort on his part. I think that all of us who flew, or are still flying for the military, as well as 99 percent of all Americans, will agree with me on this.
Bernard J. Schulte, Clearwater
I consider the Pat Oliphant cartoon on June 21, on recruitment to the Air Force, an insult to every soldier who has fought for this nation.
Does a soldier have to die first before being called a hero? Capt. Scott O'Grady lived because he trained well, and now does not need an insult because he survived.
I think Oliphant should be dropped over Bosnia with his pencil and pad.
Gerald Bloom, sergeant major, U.S. Army (retired),
Will's partisan drivel
George F. Will's column Private rights continue to sit high in the saddle (June 22) was pretty good. I say pretty good because in the final paragraph, Will blew it.
From a fairly straightforward discussion of the suit brought by GLIB (the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston) against the St. Patrick's Day parade organizers, Will descended to predictable, partisan drivel. The final sentence reads: "It (the unanimous Supreme Court decision against GLIB) vindicates the wit who said that liberals do not care what you do, as long as it is compulsory."
I disagree that this decision is a blow against liberalism. When this Supreme Court renders a unanimous decision, it is virtually by definition a statement of moderation based on the merits of the case, and nothing else. Moderate opinions are possible, but not from Will.
Jonathan Wade, Largo
Reefs and rights
Re: Private property at sea, letter, June 26.
I am not a member of Greenpeace and cannot really speak for that organization, but Greenpeace was not objecting to the sinking of a metal oil platform. It objected to the sinking of an oil platform containing 130 tons of petroleum-based sludge that would leak out and pollute the surrounding water.
Here are a few other points. First, existing submerged land property rights (oil leases) are the reason the state of Florida is currently threatened with the prospect of oil drilling off our west coast and Florida Keys.
Second, I don't know how the letter writer went from sinking an oil platform in the North Sea to building artificial reefs, but consider this: Live coral reefs are only found in clear, warm, shallow water that receives abundant sunlight. At Shell Oil's proposed sinking site, the water is cold, deep (16,000 feet) and the weather is overcast most of the time.
Third, speaking of artificial reefs, if one were to take a small amount of time and consult Florida coastal navigation charts or any reasonably current guide to scuba diving sites around Florida, one would find numerous artificial reefs along both coasts, most of which were installed at the request or with the assistance of some level of (dare I say it?) government! And unlike the author's proposal, there is no monetary charge or trespassing charge for fishing or diving on these reefs.
Fourth, a quick review of 19th- and 20th-century history of big business clearly shows that the Gestapo mentality is not limited to governments.
Fifth, if it is the duty of government to recognize and protect private property rights "in all things," wet or dry, then I am certain that no one would mind if I purchased the lot next to his or her house and started burning old truck tires, as would be my right. Be serious.
Last, my whining, crying complaint is that I prefer the air that I breathe to contain 20-percent oxygen and as little smog as possible, that the water I drink be just that _ water, that the food I eat doesn't poison me, that skies be blue _ not brown, that fish swim in the sea _ not rot on the beach, and a bunch of similar stuff.
Gregory J. D'Amario, St. Petersburg
Norway's good example
I would like to tell about Norway's way of life and compare it to America.
I am of Norwegian descent _ both my mother and father were born in Norway and came to this country around 1920.
My two sisters and I were brought up in a small village in Wisconsin where my father worked as a stonecutter and my mother as a dedicated wife and mother.
If the youth of the United States had a young life as we did they could be so very, very grateful _ there was never a doubt that our father was dominant in our family, but don't get me wrong that he was an ogre or mean and showed us no love in his disciplining of us _ he did love us very much. He showed that in many ways _ our mother was also shown great love by him.
He told and showed us how far he would allow us to go. If we overstepped those bounds he was quick to retaliate _ and he made an indelible impression on us.
Today, we do not see the role of the father in the homeI believe the mother was substituted herself into this role!
Trond Viggo Torgersen, Norway's Commissioner for Children (1-million kids 18 and under), has said: "In Norway they don't live statistically correct." In an article earlier this year he furnished the reader some stats, facts and observations:
Family Living In Norway: Some 83 percent of Norway's children live with both their biological parents. That compares with only 58 percent in the United States.
Maternity Leave: Parents are entitled to one year of paid maternity leave. The first six weeks must be taken by the mother. To qualify for the full year, one month must be taken by the father. (Note: The country of Norway pays for all vacations, one month per year and other than selected professions, you must take this vacation. They have a complete free medical care system.)
Spanking: Illegal! If you slammed your child in the shopping center people would react and the police would promptly take you to the station. Within the home, that's another story.
Breastfeeding Mothers: They're entitled to work one unpaid hour less per day. Breastfeeding babies is encouraged and practiced by a very high percentage of mothers.
Guns: Norwegians don't have guns. Nobody has a pistol under their pillow. We might have some people wearing guns because they are hunters. Our police do not go out with guns on them _ unless they're on a very special mission.
Pre-teen Girls Becoming Mothers: We have a few _ you can count them on two hands.
One only has to read our birth column in the paper to note the number of births to ladies with single names to see the high percentage of these births. I draw no conclusions from this.
It all comes together in Norway!
Roy W. Holmes, St. Petersburg
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