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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: Scientology makes it in classroom door
By Letters to the editor
Published May 27, 2007
I read the article on the Louisiana school that is using L. Ron Hubbard's technology on study and I thought: Good. Finally, someone had the integrity to tell the truth. As a Christian pastor I am always looking for programs that work to help my congregation.
When my daughter struggled in school, I found out about Hubbard's study program. My wife worked with my daughter at home, using materials based on this methodology. Over time, my daughter astounded the teachers with how fast she improved in reading and math.
I've looked at the study technology myself and I've used it; it's a completely secular program.
The school in Louisiana should be applauded for having the integrity to use methods that work and to not be thrown off by petty prejudices and misunderstandings.
Michael Davis, senior pastor, the Dream Station Church and Outreach Center, Pinellas Park
Hubbard wasn't first
Saying that L. Ron Hubbard's "study technology" is his original idea is like saying Scientology is a religion: It simply is not true.
Dr. Maria Montessori founded several of these methods long before Hubbard's technology was introduced in 1964.
Montessori's method incorporates classrooms with smaller groups of students who learn at their own pace. The children use physical materials to learn various concepts, an idea mirrored in the circumference example of Hubbard's "mass" idea. Montessori began educating other instructors about her method in 1909, according to her foundation's Web site (www.montessori-ami.org).
It's wonderful the children in Louisiana are learning using these methods, but the basis of them is the Montessori method, and that's where the credit should go.
Christina Tischner, Palm Harbor
Toward an inclusive faith May 20, Bill Maxwell column
Take it or leave it
Bill Maxwell should know that religion is a set of serious beliefs, not something necessarily designed to be inclusive or condone all behavior.
People are free to pick the religion or morality they think is proper. Jerry Falwell was under no obligation to condone ideals or behavior that he didn't believe in or that went against his faith. If that offended those who did not share his beliefs, too bad.
Religion is not up for negotiation or debate. If you don't like it, don't join it.
Pat Pearlman, Largo
Museum, shelter lose out May 25, story
I applaud Gov. Crist's leadership. The headline makes it sound like he committed some sort of crime. At least he is trying to budget and attempt to create tax relief down the road. I would rather have some "shelter" from property taxes rising horrendously as they have in the past. Thank you, Gov. Crist.
Pamela Ericson, St. Petersburg
Cuts are peanuts
In your front-page headline and an editorial, you applaud our fearless governor for "slashing" the budget ... by less than 1 percent! And even that was achieved through creative accounting.
Actually, I think Gov. Crist is one of the better ones to come along in recent years - but I damn him with faint praise.
Peter C. Ray, Parrish
Tax the churches May 25, letter
Tax, and destroy
Anyone who is involved in the administration of a church knows the real financial situation. As past treasurer of two churches, I can testify that most churches have a shortfall each year on their budget. To tax churches would certainly cause many to close their doors.
Eleanor Nicholas, St. Petersburg
The provisions in the immigration bill remind me of similar actions taken by the Roman Empire. They, too, welcomed any and all, some of whom became citizens and most who never did. They were allowed to keep their same customs, their same religions and their same languages, and received all the benefits of the government. Eventually, this liberal view resulted in such disunity and welfare costs that the Roman economy nose-dived, which was a major factor in the empire's downfall.
Amazingly, we are heading down that same path. Maybe someday, anyone elected to Congress will be required to take a course in the history of other great nations of the past and gain the wisdom not to make the same mistakes that were made by them.
Sandra Tracey, Tarpon Springs
Stay-at-home moms take big financial risk May 13, Robyn Blumner column
I read the letters from irate mothers in response to Robyn Blumner's column about the chances they take in leaving the workplace. I do not agree that they are "better mothers" by staying home with their children.
I worked most of the time my children were growing up, as did my mother, and we both turned out to be solid, taxpaying, educated citizens. It has been proven that children of working mothers are more self-reliant.
But I wish to bring out another issue: Social Security benefits. Due to our antiquated laws, women who stay at home all their lives and pay in nothing to the system still qualify for Social Security benefits as "spouses." They get a sum equal to one half of what their husbands get, so as a couple they draw 150 percent of what he would get.
The working women of America are paying for those who never worked, including wealthy women who never needed to. This is a gross miscarriage of justice and there are those of us working to see it changed.
Nyla Hubbard, Tarpon Springs
Not wearing a seat belt is dangerous to you; driving 25 miles over the speed limit is dangerous to you and others. The accident involving the governor of New Jersey was not caused by the absence of a seat belt - it was caused by reckless speeding.
If the governor had worn a seat belt, his injuries might have been minor; if his driver had obeyed the speed laws, his injuries might be nonexistent.
Mike Hayney, Treasure Island
We the people May 20, photo essay by Chris Zuppa
Taking advantage of the Walker family's grief sets a new low for your newspaper. How you could let this shoddy piece of work be printed is beyond my comprehension. Please, no more!
Don Olson, Tampa
I just read another story of a death sentence carried out by lethal injection requiring multiple needle sticks. I think it is unseemly for an advanced, civilized nation to use the death penalty. But having said that, I am tired of these incidents being dwelled on and called "cruel and unusual." They may be cruel - although unintentionally so - but they are not unusual. Every day, thousands of hospital patients endure the same or worse. Multiple needle sticks are sometimes required for difficult blood collections or IV placements.
If each hospital patient who endured pain during a procedure was given a mention, the paper would be filled from front to back every day with such stories, and the stories of the "cruel and unusual" treatment of death row inmates would pale in comparison.
Bruce Moyant, Seffner
The Great Maryland crab cake hunt May 20, story
A tasty story
Your Maryland crab cake article was very entertaining. I recall the Washington Post doing a similar story about eight years ago with the same conclusion: G&M Restaurant had the top crab cake.
As a Marylander at that time, neither I nor my friends knew of this restaurant and had to check it out. All of us visited it many times and agreed that it was the best, because the 8-ounce crab cake was baked, not fried, and had no filler.
Al Kamosa, New Port Richey
Hate the love bugs
The person or persons responsible for unleashing love bugs on the people of Florida should be apprehended, stripped of their clothing and staked out over the nearest ant hill. Just to show that I'm not completely heartless, they can choose the brand of honey we apply most liberally to their bodies. It won't rid us of the love bugs, but it would sure make a lot of us feel just a little better.