Re: A senator of sharp tongue, by George Will, March 16.
A strange bedfellow, indeed, is George Will when he climbs into the same political bed with Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Nebraska. What Will finds praiseworthy I, and millions of other Americans, find absolutely reprehensible.
Kerrey is quoted as saying he is "ashamed" of seniors who do not want to "reform" Social Security and Medicare. Will says Kerrey is surprised that seniors don't know that "there are times when we have to do things we'd rather not do."
But guess what? Neither Kerrey nor Will are actually going to participate in something "they'd rather not do." Both men are wealthy beyond most Americans' dreams. Kerrey will have a Senate pension which is more than most people make when they are working. So they will not be taking part in this "sacrifice."
I am ashamed of a Democratic senator who would say he is "ashamed" of seniors who are fighting to preserve programs in which they believe. I thought that is what America is about.
We are not talking about equal sacrifice at all. We are talking about "reforming" both Medicare and Social Security by putting the burden on those who can least afford it. Will and Kerrey will not even notice cuts in both programs nor will their well-to-do friends.
As for Social Security, is it "reforming" this program by introducing radical schemes to invest huge chunks in the stock market or is it dismantling and destroying a program that has helped millions?
One hopes Will, the baseball fan-prig, and Kerrey, the corn state pseudo-populist, will be happy with each other. One does not hope, however, that they are successful in forcing all of us to work until we are 70 for an ever-diminishing "reformed" and shaky Social Security and Medicare.
Douglas Spangler, New Port Richey
Work for cleaner air
We all need clean air to breathe and to stay healthy. Particulate matter in the air and ground-level ozone can seriously affect our lungs, leading to acute flare-ups in asthmatics and aggravating the breathing of people with chronic lung problems. Carol Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (401 M St. SW, Washington, DC 20460), has proposed strengthening air quality standards and is asking for public comment. I am encouraging the newspaper readers to write letters to Browner and request continued monitoring of air standards, reduction of pollution and cleaner air.
We can all help in another way also: reducing use of our automobiles and utilizing public transportation whenever possible. As the bay area grows, our transportation problems with traffic and congestion will increase and add to the pollution in our air. We all need to help in finding solutions.
Hazel Heddings, Tampa
Blaming the Republicans
Re: Between a rock and Vietnam, by Russell Baker, March 19.
I was a vitally concerned observer of the political scene in the '60s and a scared but zealous combatant in Vietnam (268 combat missions in an F-100 in 1968-69). My friends, too many of whom did not come home, and I fought under the impression that President Kennedy broke the ground for that Hadean hole, which President Johnson then dug so deep that the only way out was to climb over the bodies of the 58,000 noblest souls of a generation, whereupon Henry Kissinger convinced Ho Chi Minh that we wanted out so badly we would disgrace ourselves in any manner that would please him.
Boy, were we naive. But Russell Baker has set us straight after all these years. He approvingly quotes LBJ paraphrasing that classic childhood retort, now elevated to case law by enlightened liberals: "Mom, it's not my faultthose ruthless Republicans made me do it."
D. Wetterling, Oldsmar
Strive to end trade deficits
Re: Faith in the global economy is misplaced, March 8.
William Greider describes how international trade ceases to be good when it becomes unbalanced. Many countries have prospered in our open markets, but after 27 years of lopsided trade, the party is winding down. Because of our debilitating trade deficits, those countries are finding fewer Americans with money to buy their exports. Greider is right: The world economy would be stronger with balanced trade.
Instead of beating around the bush, we should tell the world: "We like international trade, but we will not tolerate large trade deficits." It is reprehensible to use import restraints to achieve trade surpluses the way we did in 1930 (with Smoot-Hawley) and the way Japan does now, but it is perfectly reasonable to use them to reduce trade deficits. Therefore, when our trade deficit with a country exceeds 20 percent, we should apply an excess imports tax to all imports from that country until that trade deficit gets small.
Jack Gregg, Largo
A slap on the wrist for Tyndall
Re: Former Pinellas commissioner gets probation, March 18.
Once again we see "justice prevail" with the sentencing of the "honorable" Bruce Tyndall to the proverbial wrist slap by our wonderful judicial system.
Again setting the example of what money and influence can do for the "fallen angel" of the political realm.
"But your Honor, this is the poor man's first time."
His first time at being caught, that is. Why doesn't society show such compassion on first-time bank robbers or rapists? Maybe they would if it were a judge or politician doing the crime. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. What an example to set for our already disillusioned youth.
Bud Trill, Palm Harbor
Librarians should act
I would like to comment on the librarians at the Peninsular branch library in Hillsborough who felt they had to "watch helplessly" as a man lured three young boys to a computer to look at pornography.
In 30 years I have never met a librarian unable to keep patrons from acting inappropriately in the library _ especially children. Without disturbing anyone (including the man at the computer screen), I am sure the librarian could have directed the children to the juvenile section of the library. Regardless of the ACLU or American Library Association' policies on censorship, I can't imagine anyone standing back and watching an adult publicly expose minors to pornography. Isn't that a violation of the law?
To all of you timid librarians (wherever you are), please ask my child to move away from that man at that machine. I appreciate your efforts.
Lisa Green, Land O'Lakes
Re: Enterprise Florida fights for tax breaks, March 14.
It appears that the state of Florida has a "Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program" under which Enterprise Florida, the new state development agency, provides tax rebates to corporations that locate in Florida and have "better-than-average-paying jobs."
This is an unnecessary raid on the state's treasury. Industry comes to Florida in any event and by locating provides employment not just to local workers but attracts employees from outside the state. This adds to population growth, increasing the pressure on roads, schools and other public services, and also on natural resources such as water, wetlands and wildlife.
Currently, Florida has an unemployment rate lower than the national average. There is no need for a tax rebate program.
When the state is short of funds for education, why should it give tax rebates to new corporations to bring in new employees and their families and burden already overloaded schools?
Another article (Lawmakers threaten agency, March 15) reports that Enterprise Florida has not told Florida legislators how it spends its money. Enough of this boondoggle! Shut it down completely!
William N. Leonard, president, Floridians for a
Sustainable Population, Tampa
The facts on building in Jerusalem
One of the major problems with reporting regarding the Middle East is that the story is often incomplete. As a result, readers are given a biased and one-dimensional account. Coverage of the controversy over the housing project in Jerusalem is a glaring example of this. An examination of some additional information would, indeed, give readers a more enlightened picture.
First, Israel's plans to build new housing in the Har Homa area of Jerusalem have been misrepresented by both the media and Palestinian spokespersons. It is a fact that over 76 percent of the land in question is Jewish owned. In fact, much of the 460 acres in question was owned by Jews prior to Jordan's occupation of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem. Moreover, all of the land is vacant, most of it forested by the Jewish National Fund. No resident, Arab or Jewish, will be displaced by the project and all owners will be fully compensated for the land taken.
Second, the building at Har Homa is strictly consistent with the Oslo Accords. Neither the Declaration of Principles nor the Interim Agreement place any restrictions on Israel concerning Jerusalem. In fact, the agreements specifically bar the Palestinian Authority from having any offices in Jerusalem, a prohibition violated by the Palestinians. Israelis building in their own capital is no more a violation of the accords than the extensive Palestinian building currently taking place throughout Palestinian controlled areas. Finally, it should be noted that the Israeli government intends to expand housing for its Arab citizens in Jerusalem in the near future.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Throughout history Jerusalem has been occupied time and time again; never, however, has it been a capital of any people other than the Jewish people.
Norman N. Gross, president, Promoting Responsibility
in Middle East Reporting, Palm Harbor
Law and order in Cincinnati
Re: Is meter-feeding really a menace?, letter, March 12.
It seems that one of your letter writers didn't like the way we Cincinnatians think of law and order. We believe that public parking spaces should be shared and shared alike. Nobody should hog a parking space half a day. You should park your car there, do your errand and get out so somebody else can use the space. There are plenty of long-term parking spaces. The income to the city is secondary.
This woman gave the policeman a "hard time" so when she continued, he had to arrest her. If you don't believe in law and order, please stay away from Cincinnati.
F. Wilkerson, Ellenton
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