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Sunday, Dec 28, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: The vivid realities of war

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The vivid realities of war

If we could take the profit away from war or get those profiting from war to fight the wars, we would have far fewer cemetery pictures than we do now.

When Russia was the “Evil Empire” we used to hear that the people were fine but the Russian leadership was bad. Now, the world is saying the same thing about American (neo-con) warmongering. Americans are ignorant and apathetic while our military is at the breaking point due to too many no-win wars.

We are entertained with Super Bowls, Stanley Cups, the World Series and “Dancing with the Stars” when really we should be visiting a few VA hospitals. Nothing makes war more vivid than seeing humans with body parts in another part of the world stumbling around the gray corridor maze at a VA Hospital.

Bill Madden

Tampa

Investigate numbers

Regarding “College assault details sought” (Metro, May 21): The article is one of several recently on this topic that makes the statement that “one out of five” women in college is a victim of sexual assault. No support is offered as to how this “one out of five” statistic is arrived at. Doesn’t it strike you as an outrageously high number that you should investigate before publishing?

The article indicates that in 2012, the latest figures available, USF reported seven forcible sexual offenses on or off campus. The University of Tampa also reported seven, and Eckerd reported five. These numbers are nowhere near the one out of five being tossed around as the national sexual assault rate in colleges. The Tribune could do its readers a service by investigating exactly where these national numbers came from and how they were arrived at.

Ray MacGrogan

Tampa

Outrage about Republicans

The problem with Charles Van Zant isn’t what he said; it is he is pretty typical for Florida’s Republican legislators. Not just Florida, but the nation has reacted with outrage over Van Zant’s comments that the American Institute of Research (AIR), the group administering Common Core in Florida, is trying to turn children gay. What I don’t understand is why this is outrageous considering all the other things Republicans in our Legislature have said and done.

They voted for cheap and comprehensive health benefits for themselves while denying Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of poor Floridians who desperately need it. They balanced Florida’s books on the back of its teachers and public service workers when they took 3 percent of their pay. They did this while at the same time giving a tax break to people who bought yachts.

With vouchers the Legislature had to twist itself into knots ignoring their stances on STEM, accountability and teacher evaluations to vote for an expansion this year. Then they forced merit pay on teachers despite the fact that study after study says it doesn’t work, and testing experts say tying teachers’ pay to a high-stakes test is foolhardy. They routinely thumb their nose at educators who they have practically reduced to second-class citizens.

There are, however, plenty of reasons not to like AIR, and there are plenty of reasons to dislike Common Core, too. It doubles down on high-stakes testing, which has sucked the joy of learning and teaching out of education for many students and teachers alike. It’s untested, and it doesn’t address our real problem in education: poverty. What the Republicans in Tallahassee haven’t told you as they have been running around saying the sky is falling on education is that if we factor out poverty, then our scores zoom to the top, and that was before Common Core. What do you think is a better idea — to give our struggling schools extra resources or to blow up the entire system? Gov. Rick Scott and most of the Republican-dominated Legislature think it is the latter.

Yes, we should be outraged by Van Zant, but Republicans in the Legislature have given us many other opportunities to be outraged, too.

Chris Guerrieri

Jacksonville

The writer is a school teacher and publisher of Education Matters.

Telling numbers

What is a girl worth? In Africa, 200 of them seem to be worth $12 a head, stolen in slumber from their school by men who think education is wrong for women.

What is a girl worth?

For registered nurse Manouchcar Pierre-Val, the Bucs’ ex-cheerleader suing the organization over back pay, “less than $2 an hour.”

What is a girl worth?

Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for information about the killer of little Felecia Williams, age 9, who was murdered in our community. This is at least $2,000 less than the amount philanthropist Claudia McCorkle spent renting an elephant to provide “a bit of extra joie de vivre” to celebrate her 60th birthday.

My joie de vivre has all but expired just thinking of what a girl seems to be worth.

Donna Marie Kostreva

St. Petersburg

Conservative grief

Regarding “In hyperpartisan U.S., no room for compassion” (Leonard Pitts, Other Views, May 18):

Pitts is typical of liberal leadership today. To wit: Express compassion but do nothing substantive to solve the problem. In the liberal world, good feelings count on the same level as good results. This is wrong.

The uproar in the conservative world is that Boko Haram has long been murdering innocents, and non-Muslim Nigerians have been murdering innocent Muslims in retaliation. And yet U.S. leadership has done nothing about this.

Conservative grief is not over the expression of compassion for the girls, but over the substitution of this compassion for truly effective solutions to the situation in Nigeria and everywhere that terrorism, be it Islamic-inspired or otherwise, exists.

Conservatives want results.

Pitts and liberals are satisfied with sympathy and compassion.

We don’t need hashtags. We don’t need compassion.

We need leadership that leads to effective action.

James Frick

Tampa

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