A scandal that matters | Column, Aug. 8
Markets, government both err
Kimberly Strassel ends her column about the alleged massive bank fraud perpetuated by government employee Imran Awan and his family by equating the failure and incompetence of the government to catch him with the classic line of "that's the same government that wants to run your health care, reform your children's schools and protect the environment."
Strassel seems to conveniently forget that in 2008, the markets committed a massive debacle of banking incompetence that almost destroyed the entire country. The government's incompetence to catch Awan pales in comparison to the "too big to fail" banks' incompetence to see their own failures. And today, those same businesses are flagrantly repeating those same behaviors.
The constant bickering that markets are capable of running everything well and governments are inept at running anything is simply not true. Instead, let's focus on the real issue: humans. Within markets and government we have many good and capable humans and we also have incredibly greedy and incompetent humans. Both have created wonderful things — the internet (government), Google (markets). And both have created horrible things — Awan's alleged bank fraud costing taxpayers millions (government), 2008 Great Recession via bankers' incompetence (markets). The truth is, we need both markets and governments. If we want both to work well, let's put our energy in strengthening the humans within them. The result? Stronger markets and government working effectively together.
Ann Kramer, Brandon
North Korea dismisses threat from Trump | Aug. 10
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said that "Americans can sleep well tonight" regarding the North Korean threats of taking out Guam. Let's face it, North Korea is a bully much in the same way our president is a bully.
North Korea knows that the United States possesses far more nuclear capability than it could ever hope to have. Kim Jong Un isn't a dunce. He is a master politician at his young age, and he knows that any nuclear attack on the United States or its allies would mean certain destruction for his country and, more important, him.
So what should the response be? Christopher Hill, past ambassador to South Korea, thinks we should continue sanctions and wait them out. He knows they're posturing, as is President Donald Trump, so "watchful waiting" may be the first order of defense.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Families of immigrants | Letter, Aug. 10
With hope, they'll come
The letter writer self-righteously proclaims that his ancestors came to this country legally in 1891. Many others say the same. A quick review of American history reveals that the Immigration Act of 1921 established quotas of 3 percent of the existing population of that nationality group at that time. So all those whose ancestors arrived prior to 1921, of course, they were legal. Contagious disease was about the only thing that kept them out.
The Immigration Act was designed to maintain the northern European dominance in this country and limit the influx of southern and eastern Europeans and others. Current immigrants, legal and illegal, are looking for the same things his ancestors sought: work and a better life. As long as American business hires them, they will probably come.
Alice P. Williams, Sun City Center
Mother shares story of Jimmie | Aug. 10
They were children
Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the children who perished in the car crash. And make no mistake, they were children, but older beyond their years from years on the streets.
We cannot imagine the horror and grief of all involved, including the police and the first responders who showed up at the scene of this terrible outcome.
The innocent person who happened to be in their path survived the impact of 112 mph. His injuries will no doubt affect him forever. And this man forgave the lost ones.
As the Times reported in its "Hot Wheels" series, these kids and their families, and many others just like them, are caught in the throes of nothingness for their future. "How do we stop this from happening?" I wish we knew, but apparently no one does when desperation and despair are involved. Bless the souls of the dead teens.
James Major, Palm Harbor
Hopeless start can bring on tragic end | Column, Aug. 8
Spend on this, not that
A stark contrast came to mind while reading John Romano's column on hopelessness that is brought on by poverty. What if the millions of dollars spent on political campaigns were used to improve the lives of children living in poverty?
Anne Snyder, Belleair Beach
HART slashes bus routes | Aug. 8
A need to move people
I have never been to a world-class city that did not provide every transit option. If Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik wants to build a world-class city right here, then our political leaders may find it prudent to start acting instead of talking about mass transit. A recent Washington Post article referenced Los Angeles and its adoption of light rail, and along with it, its success. The $2.43 billion project (funded by a tax) has received incredible reviews. The article also references that 70 percent of the population were not users of transit before (does that ring a bell here?).
With new technology like hyper loop, trains can be a step to the future of building smarter, sustainable communities rather than a slower form of an airplane. There is no excuse for our local government officials anymore.
Thomas Vacca, Tampa