Rhonda's Finger

Re: "From Artists to Jell-O Shooters" by RhondaK (June 21-27)

I appreciated the non-linear, anecdotal writing that comes from a strong sense of rootedness in Tampa and Ybor, specifically. Please send more assignments to Rhonda. She has her finger on the city's pulse.

Robin Leigh
Via e-mail

Measured Analysis

Re: "The Other Side" a letter to the editor from E. Abislaiman (June 7-13)

Yes, please write no more letters attacking "aging right-wing fanatics" and deranged well-to-do minority." "Those people" to quote Ross Perot, are not deserving of any criticism, nor do they engender criticism when they lose ill-gotten power and send death threats to certain Vermont senators. Your paper has no business criticizing such well-armed individuals nor attempting to place any other perspective in the public eye other than that of the more powerful media.

Please do not do it anymore. From now on, for my "measured political analysis of an international sort" I'll exclusively rely on NBC, owned by General Electric and ABC, owned by Disney/Capital Cities.

For my information about chemical treatment of my meat supply, I'll go to Channel 13 in Tampa, I'm sure Jane Akre will be able to tell me if my burger is tainted with poison. For my intellectual stimulation I'll turn to 98 Rock to hear the slaughter of live animals on the air. For straight solid hard-hitting news, For political coverage of mayoral contest in local cities, I'll go to St. Petersburg Times. For open-minded truthful coverage about tax issues and supporting professional sports teams getting stadiums at taxpayers expense, I'll read The Tampa Tribune. See? I have all these media outlets to provide me with "measured analysis" of what I "need" to know.

Please, please please don't add your perspective to this illustrious body of media. There I can find the truth. Please print stories about Survivor guests, Britney Spears, the private lives of the Clintons, Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche break up, and JonBenet Ramsey. And don't EVER forget to tell me what lucky person had the correct numbers for the SUCKER TAX this week. I want something to distract me from what is really going on in this country as it is divvied up amongst corporations who are achieving unprecedented concentrated power and wealth while our quality of life slowly decays. Please, please don't exercise your independent voice; do what Mr. Abislaiman says, he's an erudite fellow who knows measured analysis.

J. Steele Olmstead
Via e-mail

Growth Industry

Re: "Bucks Behind Bars" by John F. Sugg (May 31-June 6)

Privatizing prisons! What a concept! Mr. Sugg's article is a fine example of why I look upon Jeb Bush's push to privatize government services with a jaundiced eye. Who benefits from this? The privateers, of course.

Since Wackenhut Corp. is the largest operator of private prisons, and since they are based in Florida, let's take a look at some recent/current members of Wackenhuts' board of directors and what they used to do for a living. Clarence Kelly (Director, FBI); Frank Carlucci (Secretary of Defense, Deputy Director, CIA); Bobby Ray Inman (Deputy Director, CIA, Director, NSA); James J. Rowley (Director, U.S. Secret Service); General P.X. Kelly (Commandant, U.S. Marines).

All of the above, prior to private business, agitated for, and insisted on, the draconian penalties imposed upon people selling/using drugs, including MANDATORY MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCES — as a method to fight The War on (Some) Drugs. Our prisons are packed to the gills with nonviolent drug offenders, and the men listed above are raking in the cash while people are locked up in their prisons. As a bonus, they no longer have to deal with pesky little things like FOIA requests either.

Label me a cynic if you wish, but my hunch is the results of ol' Jeb's privatization plan will yield the same results as prison privatization — government insiders and campaign contributors stuffing tax dollars into their pockets while Joe Lunch Bucket gets less bang for his buck.

Mentioning drugs and prisons, I wonder what the market price of doobies is inside Wackenhut's prisons? And how is it that joints are sold in their joints?

Brian Treleven

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