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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Rolling over

Published:

Rolling over Our forefathers must be rolling over in their graves after U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine gave his speech on the Senate floor in Spanish. It is bad enough that we have to make signs and forms in Spanish, and we have to hire Spanish translators in the workplace and push the number 1 for English on our phones. If this was his attempt to push the immigration bill through, it stunk.

This would be the perfect time to make English our official language.

While I support most of the immigration bill, I would not vote yes until our borders are secured. That part of the bill must be re-written, or we will keep facing this same problem over and over.

How can we afford at least 11 more million people on our health care, Social Security and welfare systems? I have no idea, and neither does our government, but that is another issue. For now, let’s concentrate on our borders and making English our official language.

Cindy Conti

Apollo Beach

Overhaul education system Regarding the letter by Dr. Rebecca Waggett, an assistant professor at the University of Tampa (“Investing in students, economy,” Letter of the Day, June 12). She extols the virtues of students being taught STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and implies that all students need to be proficient in these topics, or somehow our economy will be worse off.

I disagree vehemently about the precept that all students need to be proficient in STEM — and furthermore, many students do not need to learn very much at all about STEM. Waggert obviously is ignorant of the fact that the generation that designed and constructed the interstate system did not study STEM topics to any great degree. Nor apparently does she know that the generation that followed, without the benefit of STEM, designed virtually all four-lane highways in the state of Florida consisting of mile after mile of routes such as U.S. 27, S.R. 60, U.S. 441, U.S 98, et al. I can testify to this as the person who learned from these experienced designers and who not so long ago was responsible for the design of numerous state roads in the Tampa Bay area.

The belief that STEM is so imperative in order to improve economics and society is flawed. What about those who desire to enter trade and skill occupations that we cannot possibly do without? American educators have lost sight of what truly is important on an individual basis. The best education for students is not a one-fits-all practice. Believe me; I learned this from decades of experiences in many types of major endeavors outside of transportation.

Our entire education system needs an overhaul, and its leaders need to study and learn (emphasis added) from the past successes we so fruitfully enjoy.

David Heckman

Valrico

More important needs Regarding “Who will get that $100m?” (front page, June 10): If the Tampa Bay Rays move to Tampa, that does not seem like a wise move. Baseball in Tampa has not been a big draw in many years. Let St. Pete spend its money on a new baseball stadium.

I will admit Tropicana Field is not ideal for baseball. My wife and I go to a lot of games at the Trop, and it feels good inside when the outside temperature is 90-degrees plus — or when it’s raining.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, let’s spend our money on road repair, the homeless, drainage and improving more old neighborhoods like Belmont Heights and Geary. Ride up Florida and Nebraska avenues and see Grant Park. Seminole Heights has received some attention, but many areas could use a lot more funding to improve them.

Semian (Doc) Frazier

Tampa

Government power Regarding “Data mining is legal, necessary” (Our Views, June 11): Your condemnation of Edward Snowden seems premature. He has sacrificed his liberty, his home country and possibly his life to meet a burden of conscience, unless you or anyone else can prove that he had other motives for his actions. I do not say that he warrants titles such as “hero” or “martyr,” but the risk he took to expose the extent of the NSA’s program and revealing his identity testify to his candor.

I am not convinced that this program saved as many lives as our government would have us believe. In the case of Sami Osmakac, he may never have had an opportunity to carry out his plans if the FBI had not supplied him with the means of his designs before arresting him.

After 9/11, al-Qaida learned its phones and electronic media were subject to surveillance. Whether they knew the nature of this surveillance remains another question. In any event, they began using curriers to carry messages and brokerage systems to pass money for their operations. Neither of these activities can be traced electronically.

The enormous load of data sifted daily by the NSA does not ease my concerns, since the searching algorithms can be rewritten and used to obtain data for any pattern of calls made by any one of us at any time.

This administration has broken the law in order to further its own agenda (Fast and Furious), used the tax code to harass its detractors and reward its supporters with exemptions for which neither should have qualified, and shown disdain for religious liberties (forcing Catholic institutions to provide birth control contrary to Catholic teaching). As a result, I find President Obama’s assurances regarding my phone conversations rather unconvincing.

When governments seize power in times of war they do not generally give them up during times of peace. Our choice, as citizens, does not seem to lie between our liberties and our security, but rather between a Caliphate and a secular dictatorship. The first wants to impose a brutal religious code upon those not of Islamic persuasion (shariah); the second, a rather arbitrary political agenda for the sole purpose of continued existence. I can’t decide which is worse.

Peter Neuhofer

Dade City

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