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Workers should be alert to the illegal demands of employers

Letters to the Editor
Published August 22, 2006


Re: Floridians make up for lost overtime, Aug. 18.

You did employees throughout the state a service with your recent "overtime lawsuit" story. The Fair Labor Standards Act comes from the Roosevelt era and truly is designed to protect employees from employer abuses and to enforce the "honest day's work for an honest day's pay" concept for the working class.

There are more overtime cases being filed only because employees have become less willing to be exploited by being forced to work off the clock by employers who require employees to show up earlier than clock-in time, to travel without pay, work through lunch or stay late without getting paid.

Employers also love to give blue collar workers a fancy "manager" title to avoid paying overtime as well.

Far from the "legal extortion" that some employers believe these cases to be, the Fair Labor Standards Act simply protects the little guy and requires the employer to pay proper wages. When an employer fails to do so, the employer is literally "stealing time" from the worker.

W. John Gadd, Esq., Clearwater

We must hold firm to our liberties

The judge who ruled against President Bush's warrantless wiretapping gives me back some hope that there are those who are not afraid to stand up for justice in our fragile democracy. This should be another moment to really look at the difference between right and wrong as opposed to "right" and "left."

When people are afraid to speak out against wars, occupation and injustice being committed in our name for fear of being called anti-American or anti-Semitic, then we have a dictatorship, not democracy.

If we are supposed to be fighting for freedom (which is doubtful), why are we so willing to give up that freedom, and do we even deserve it? The politics of fear seem to have many ready to surrender the very freedoms upon which our country was founded.

If we truly value life, liberty and freedom, then let's do everything we can to preserve it by not allowing others to distort the truth. In war and peace, we must demand transparency and accountability. In this case, the FISA court has never been shown to have jeopardized the safety and security of our people. So George Bush can take off his crown because, while he may think he is the Decider, he is not the King.

Marcella Respini, St. Petersburg

 

The essence of our struggle

British Prime Minister Tony Blair put it brilliantly, saying recently that the fight against Islamic terror is a "global fight about global values."

It's more than that. It's about freedom-loving people who believe in democracy not constantly living in fear of being blown up or kidnapped by irrational religious fundamentalists who provoke bloodshed and hatred from sea to shining sea.

Kevin B. Kamen, Palm Harbor

 

The dollar is okay with Hezbollah

Re: Hezbollah buys hearts - in cash, Aug. 19.

Coming from a country torn apart by a bloody civil war (the former Yugoslavia), I can't help but look at all those photographs and reports from Lebanon and Israel. Memories of all the pain and suffering are still vivid. In every military conflict, civilians are the ones who always suffer the most.

In the story about Hezbollah giving money to Lebanese civilians who lost their homes, there was a photograph of one elderly man accepting money from a Hezbollah representative. I'm sure Hezbollah wanted to show the Lebanese people that they do care for them. However, they are showing it in very strange way. They have been handling out U.S. dollars!

Don't they blame the U.S. government for almost everything? I guess that for Hezbollah's leaders, the U.S. dollar is okay, but almost everything else that comes from this country is dirty and rotten. This world is a strange place.

Zoran Tomasevic, New Port Richey

 

Israeli influence is real

Re: On the wrong side of propaganda war, letter.

The Aug. 19 letter writer denies the obvious fact that interest groups favorable to Israel, while perhaps not running the U.S. government, do have some sort of veto power over foreign and domestic policy. To assert otherwise is in itself proof that one has swallowed the Israeli line on the Middle East, hook, line and sinker. Narrow religious depictions are unfair to all sides in the conflict.

Leonard Martino, Tampa

 

Let a different opinion be heard

Re: Democrats captured by the far left, letter, Aug. 18.

The letter writer said that Joe Lieberman's defeat shows that "what is good for the country, including the airing of different opinions and approaches to problems," is not a high concern for the Democratic Party.

I would assert that the very defeat of Joe Lieberman is a step toward allowing a different approach to a problem. The voters of Connecticut (in a strong case for the power of democracy, which is what we're supposed to be spreading, right?) chose to go with a different approach, an idea that to continue the insanity of George W. Bush's war in Iraq (as opposed to the war on terror, which we should be fighting) is not making us safer and is, in fact, harming this country.

Lieberman didn't feel that way, but the people did. So their opinion is in line with the different approach, and it was aired.

When we see something so egregious as this un-righteous war, we have the duty to have a different opinion and to voice it as loud and long as we can. And the best way to do that is to vote.

Matthew Clark, Clearwater

 

Look who controls the GOP

Re: Democrats captured by the far left, letter.

The letter writer should look in the mirror before espousing his sanctimonious diatribe on the far left. The Republican Party has been hijacked by the far right for lo these many years. The party that gave us Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan has now put forth George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. Wow.

What is good for the Republican Party is dictated by the religious right, corporate America and Bush's oil buddies in the Middle East. It is indeed a sad time for our democracy, and the last time I looked, Republicans controlled just about all of our government.

James A. Somma, New Port Richey

 

Where is the justice?

Re: Man pleads guilty in cross burning, Aug. 17.

A man who burned a 6-foot cross in his yard was charged with intimidating and interfering with an African-American family looking at a house for sale in his neighborhood.

The possible penalty is 10 years in prison, $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a special assessment of $100. He could have sold them a week's supply of crack and marijuana and gotten probation!

Liberals burn American flags in public places, intimidating the entire conservative (nontraitor) population, but that is free speech !

The old motto was "Justice is blind." For decades it has been, "Justice is dead!"

Fred Miller, Hernando

 

Emotions in the news

Re: Nothing infuriates like a silly, useless ranking of angry cities, Aug. 14.

Talking about anger and why St. Petersburg is the second angriest city in the nation, your Sue Carlton should look no further than my front door when the Times is delivered!

Anton Tabar, Treasure Island