Letters to the Editor for Jan. 6
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
On pillows and poverty, developers and socialism
Here we go again. In his Dec. 24 Speaking Out, Bob Sh'mal Ellenberg is upset at the number of pillows someone has in his or her home, along with the developers who put up condos for people to live in.
Evidently Bob is truly amazed that someone will spend money on pillows even though he only uses one to sleep with. Makes me wonder who would let him spend the night in their home.
He says "It all seems unfair, maybe immoral, that so much is given away to developers when the commissions can't seem to do a thing to house the homeless."
Perhaps at least we can be happy that much of the money spent by developers actually creates value for someone, along with providing homes to people who truly want to work for a living, instead of government throwing money at the homeless so someone can drink more beer or wine or whiskey or whatever.
Socialism doesn't work because it has much more corruption and waste than we have in our free capitalist society. Democracy works, but freedom is not totally free. Some people work for freedom, while many others sit around complaining their whole lives about what they do not have.
Solutions do not come from handing people something on a silver platter, and the problem is not too many pillows. It is mostly a problem of lazy people and not largesse toward some developers.
This is not to say we do not need to be compassionate and kind, it just means we need to use some common sense.
Fluorescents and mercury threaten the environment
The current drive by environmentalists to "save the planet" by replacing incandescent lights with fluorescent ones overlooks the very real and serious danger of these lights. They contain mercury, a neural toxin which, when turned loose in the environment, does not break down and eventually finds its way into ground water if disposed of in normal trash or garbage.
It does not go away. When a bulb breaks, mercury vapor is released; older bulbs may dump liquid mercury. The effect upon developing children is catastrophic and irreversible. Do not use fluorescent in young children's areas or anywhere the children can reach them.
Special care must be taken in disposal of old or broken bulbs. Never touch a broken fluorescent bulb. Wear gloves and sweep it up with on a piece of cardboard or some such material. Do not vacuum it up. Place the pieces in a dry container with a snap top lid. Wipe the area with a damp cloth, put this into a zip lock bag, and put into the can with the bulb.
Ventilate the area. Take the broken or inoperative bulb to the Alachua County Hazardous Waste Center, or phone them at 334-0440 for more information.
The need to protect from mercury poisoning outweighs the desire to reduce electrical consumption. This is especially true in homes with children. Therefore think carefully before replacing all incandescent bulbs with the very dangerous fluorescent ones. There are other ways to reduce electrical use.
Darwin's theory evolves
The quote from "Origin of Species" in Sue De Shazo's letter ("Time to update science," Dec. 28) clearly shows Darwin's scientific integrity in recognizing that his theory proposing a model for "how" evolution proceeds is, like all scientific models, provisional. They last only as long as they remain the best and simplest explanation for the matters they address.
Too many biological "authorities" fail, or refuse, to recognize the crucial distinction set out in Encyclopedia Britannica and many other references between evolution, the process, and Darwinian evolution, which incorporates Darwin's model.
The first is a proven scientific fact. Even if Darwin's theory "absolutely broke down" (his words), evolution would still be a fact, as his grandfather's generation of scientists had accepted years before.
I suspect that his theory is not false, but is incomplete - some crucial factor appears to be missing, particularly in view of the questionable ability of random chance to produce life's enormous complexity.
As our science and technology advance, Darwin's model may well become a subset in a broader theory that explains evolution better, in the same way that Newton's model of gravity became a subset of Einstein's. If this happens, it will not be a victory for biblical literalists trying to insinuate their dogma into science classrooms, nor will it be a setback for those who believe, as I do, in an ultimate Creator.
Don't believe them
Claims by some presidential candidates that they will rein in the influence of lobbyists while increasing the size of the regulatory state are incongruous. Any attempt to bridge the divide between the "two Americas" or to institute a pro-life agenda that stretches from the cradle to the grave will increase the size of the regulatory state, and thus increase the demand (and the need) for lobbyists.
When the state assumes responsibilities traditionally reserved to the private sector it must necessarily listen to certain private citizens - lobbyists - to ensure that (1) the particular program has sufficient support to be implemented and (2) the implementers are knowledgeable enough to implement the program.
I urge my fellow Floridians, regardless of political affiliation, to ignore the incongruous claims of candidates like John Edwards (and to a certain extent Mike Huckabee) that call for an expansion of government while simultaneously calling for contraction of lobbyist power.
Mohammad O. Jazil,
The Republicans did it
My exchange with a Republican friend sums up the state of our nation, as I see it.
My friend said: Both parties stink. The Democratic Congress has been an abject failure for its first year. And I won't even go into sleazy Bill Clinton.
I replied: You are 100 percent wrong. Just look at some specifics:
This country is flat broke while the super rich have become even richer, primarily due to a totally mismanaged trillion dollar war and GOP tax legislation.
George Bush and Dick Cheney have trashed America's reputation. Our nation now has zero credibility abroad.
Health care is a disaster because of the Republican Congress and its patrons, the big pharmaceutical, insurance and health care companies.
Energy conservation is a joke because the Republicans bow down to the auto, oil and energy industries.
The credit and mortgage crisis may yet destroy us all and it is due 100 percent to the Republicans who looked the other way and did nothing for 6 years.
Bush and Cheney have ridden roughshod over the constitution while a GOP Congress said and did nothing.
This so-called "Democratic Congress" has a razor thin Democrat majority with not nearly enough votes to enact anything over Bush's vetoes and the solid support he gets from his fellow Republicans in Congress.
Historians will credit this entire disaster to the GOP, its foolish leader and his sleazy handlers.
Robert J. Siegel,
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