A huge fuss is being made about the civilian Defense Department sequester furloughs that are starting and involve many well-paid people in our area having to endure 11 days of unpaid vacation this summer. It has been mentioned how this will have a negative impact on the local economy. This is being used against Republicans who are being blamed for the sequester.
What about the thousands of county school substitute teachers in the area who make a fraction of the salary of the DOD workers, have far less benefits and are on unpaid vacation for more than 40 days during the summer? You don't hear on the news every year about what they have to do to make it until school starts again or how this hurts the merchants they buy from? This situation is just accepted and taken in stride by the community.
Let's keep things in perspective.
History and today
Regarding "Celebrate Founders' true courage" (Joe Henderson, July 4): I have to take extreme umbrage with Henderson. While I wholly share his reverence for Independence Hall and our Founders' work in the summer of 1776, he made many claims and assumptions that are false.
First, Jefferson and Adams were fast friends, meeting in 1775 in the Continental Congress. Henderson could not be more wrong on this point. It was Adams who suggested Jefferson the better writer and pushed him to write the Declaration. In 1784 they served diplomatically in France and Britain, where they traveled together and deepened the bonds of friendship.
While the new nation found them both on separate sides of the Federalist/anti-Federalist debate, they remained friends until the campaign of 1800. Actions taken by Adams' final appointments undermined Jefferson's infant presidency, to which Jefferson felt betrayed, leading to a break in friendship for more than a decade.
The two resumed writing back and forth all the way to their death - ironically on the same day, July, 4, 1826! This was the 50th anniversary of independence.
While I agree the Founders would have liked the tea party, most would not have liked the two-party system. Washington warned of factions and political parties in his farewell address. Most of the Founders left public life by the time of the emergence of a party system in the election of 1800. What the Founders would have been most concerned with, perhaps, might be the process taken recently by Congress to pass significant legislation without deliberation. Our Founders spent considerable time looking at the possible ramifications of declaring independence that summer. They also took great pains, with great deliberation, while crafting our Constitution.
We can all agree "they got it right," as Henderson suggests. But it is we who often fail them, not the other way around. Today we face tyranny far in excess of what was experienced by the colonists - with the IRS, NSA, Obamacare and a federal government that spends in excess of the labors of the citizenry.
Thomas J. Gaitens
Where's mosquito control?
What has happened to mosquito control in Town 'N Country? We used to get mosquito control by trucks or planes at least every week, and we could walk outside in the morning or evening. I've lived here more than 40 years, and this is the worst I have ever seen it. We sure get billed for it on our taxes. It's about time for someone to get off the office chair and do something about this very serious problem.
Town 'N Country
The July 6 article "Congress takes on those pesky 'patent trolls'?" (Other Views) highlights a serious problem with current U.S. Patent Office operations. From my 35 years as a professional searcher and consultant in intellectual property searching, I concluded long ago that the patent system is not a one-size-fits-all system. It does need tweaking every once in a while. There is surely an invite for junk patents to enter the trolling community.
From a technical point of view, in light of the new first-to-file requirement, it is the applicant's task to make sure the patent has broad claims. During the examination period, the examiner is usually focused on clarity, which can translate into a narrowing of claims. This is a clear invite for junk patents to surface once again, which leads to pesky patent trolls.
The patent office has always been weak in the area of literature. New applicants might focus on researching prior art in old book stores, museums, libraries and on the Web, in addition to patent art, before filing a patent application. This might support their contention with the examiner that their invention is not obvious. It can also serve as evidence to "shoot down" or invalidate junk patents when they surface.
There is nothing wrong with the patent system that can't be fixed; it has served us well through the years. Congratulations to President Obama for endorsing this much-needed task and lighting a fire under Congress. Let's hope Congress will address this task quickly.
Sun City Center
Regarding "Arrests creating an image problem for pro football" (Other Views, July 6): As a young boy in elementary school in Milwaukee in the 1940s, I would go to the neighborhood mom-and-pop grocery store and purchase a bubble gum packet with a picture card of a famous baseball player. I think the cost was a penny or so.
Fast track to 2013. Today the bubble gum packet (sugar free) would have a picture of a football player in prison garb. And instead of his jersey number, there would be a number about five digits long.
Robert F. Sawallesh