Kudos for a TSA agent
Because of medical issues connected to and resulting from my service as an Air Force nurse, traveling, and staying healthy and mobile while doing so, can be a rigorous venture that requires much planning and many medically necessary items — some that cannot be checked at the airport. All baggage requires certain "infection-control" procedures when handling anything in my bags — checked or carried on board.
Last November I had the opportunity to travel to Israel with a group of people. This was the first time I had flown with all the gear I needed. One of the things on my check list was to contact the Transportation Security Administration. The agent I spoke with provided me with a customer service person at Tampa International Airport.
Then, within the last month, I again needed to travel domestic air, and I contacted the same TSA agent.
My gratitude to Chris, the agent, who went over and above in easing the process for me to go through security and ensuring that not only my needs were met but some of the "wants." He also contacted a customer service agent at the originating airport for my return to Tampa. That agent also assisted me in a similar manner as Chris, though I must say that Chris' service was superior.
In addition, the female agents who assisted Chris and the agents for my return to Tampa treated me with dignity and respect while performing the required demeaning task of a pat-down and bag checks. One of the agents at the return airport exceeded even Tampa with infection-control processes.
When we recognize that the agents are human, as we are, we can find that many, for the most part, experience similar medical issues and that what they do is a job that feeds their families. They go through an orientation, or learning process, and testing for doing tasks that are demeaning to us travelers. Not all seem inhumane like the ones we so often hear about in the media.
Chris in Tampa initiated a positive experience with TSA agents outbound and for those on the return inbound domestic trip. These agents were courteous and apologetic when little "accidents" happened that many people would never think to apologize for. It truly was customer service performed in a personal manner specific for my needs.
The Newark TSA agents I came in contact with in November could certainly learn from Chris. What a nightmare I hope to forget. All should keep in mind that a greater authority than the government that employs them watches all.
Regarding "Face your responsibilities" (Letter of the Day, July 14):
I agree with this letter, except for "handouts" in the first sentence of the second paragraph. I suspect the author, who receives retirement income from the U.S. military (i.e., the federal government), used this term defensively. Why? No need. He made, in effect, a contract with the government, and that included retiree pay if he fulfilled all the requirements.
After 22 years active in the U.S. Army, I, too, receive retired pay but do not at all consider it a handout; it is instead part of the contract I made with the federal government years before.
I believe I provided good service to the Army and the country. Presumably, the writer did as well.
Contract? Yes, I do believe the federal government requires a professional military — a good one and a voluntary one — to carry out its defense responsibilities under the Constitution.
Whether or not federal officials' decisions to get the military involved in wars all over the world is really "defense," etc., under the Constitution" is up for legitimate debate.
Much of the money, but not all, the federal government otherwise provides all over this country (and abroad) does indeed fit the dictionary definition of handouts. Our government has little money it does not obtain from taxpayers.
And I much believe in "civilian control" of our military. I, for one, a retired colonel, do not want some general, et al, running America.
Dallas B. Tuthill
Sun City Center
Look in the mirror
Some of our neighbors are outraged that our Olympic team's uniforms were made in China and not in the United States by American manufacturers.
It surely seems someone was asleep at the switch, but someone has been asleep at the switch for many years.
We American consumers want it both ways. We want to make $20 an hour in a union shop and still be able to make products that compete with those products manufactured in China and India by people making $1.25 an hour.
We run off to Walmart and Target and buy all kinds of products made everywhere but here because they are cheap, and so are we.
Like it or not, we made our bed years ago, and now we have to sleep in it.
The good old days, when every town had a mill or factory employing residents of the community, are gone the way of the dinosaur. They are now found in places named Beijing and New Deli.
I guess it's human nature to complain, but in this case the problem is staring back at us in the mirror and we don't like what we see
Stiffing the country
Something just doesn't smell right.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive presidential candidate for the Republican Party, announced he will only disclose two years of his federal income tax returns. He previously provided his 2010 return, so, apparently, his only additional disclosure will be the 2011 return, whenever it is filed.
Romney maintains he has already provided thousands of pages of financial documents. To whom did he provide them? Did the editorial board of The Tampa Tribune or other newspapers receive boxes of financial documents from the Romney campaign?
Is he limiting the vetting of his potential vice presidential candidates to the disclosure of their returns for the last two years? That seems unlikely, since he reportedly provided Sen. John McCain with 20 years of his returns in 2008.
After McCain looked at Romney's returns and other qualifications, he picked Sarah Palin.
The importance of this disclosure comes from Romney's representations that he had nothing to do with Bain Capital after 1999 — therefore, he had nothing to do with the subsequent outsourcing of jobs by Bain companies.
Documents filed with the Securities Exchange Commission suggest his ownership of Bain continued for years after 1999. The tax returns should reflect how long he received an income, continued to be the sole shareholder and/or served as president of Bain.
I practiced family law litigation in this community long enough to recognize that if you want to know where a person's wealth comes from and what he has been doing, you first look at his tax returns — and you don't limit the inquiry to the last two years.
Romney isn't just stiffing President Obama by his failure to disclose his tax returns; he's stiffing the country as well.