The dreams of Africa’s children

Meanwhile, a world away, children are starving in Africa. Parents of Africa’s children don’t worry about schooling or their nation’s economy much. When you are facing famine, drought, civil war and other man-made devastation, simple survival is a far more pressing concern.

By Chris Ingram

Special correspondent, the Tampa Tribune

Published July 31, 2011

My girls, one 7 years old and 4-year-old twins, aren’t “spoiled” by any means, but they certainly aren’t doing without.

My wife and I worry about the normal things parents in the U.S. fret about — weirdoes who prey on kids, bullies at school, getting them a good education and the mess that the U.S. Congress is leaving them in the form of a staggering $14 trillion debt.

But for the most part, we’re relatively worry-free and optimistic about their future.

Meanwhile, a world away, children are starving in Africa. Parents of Africa’s children don’t worry about schooling or their nation’s economy much. When you are facing famine, drought, civil war and other man-made devastation, simple survival is a far more pressing concern.

Recent news reports from The Associated Press say the current drought and resulting famine in the Horn of Africa is “the worst human disaster” in the world.

Unfortunately, starvation, drought, disease and poverty are nothing new to the region.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to do some consulting for foreign governments in Africa and Eastern Europe on behalf of the U.S. State Department. My work in Africa consisted of training political leaders in the ways of Western-style governance, dealing with the media and communicating messages.

Our government euphemistically calls Continue reading “The dreams of Africa’s children”

Haridopolos ends his fantasy

Mike Haridopolos quit his ill-fated campaign for the U.S. Senate today. The Florida Senate president’s quest for a seat in the world’s greatest deliberative body ends today just as it started – with Mike Haridopolos being the only person who believed he has what it takes to be a U.S. Senator.

Once in a while the system works…

By Chris Ingram

Mike Haridopolos quit his ill-fated campaign for the U.S. Senate today. The Florida Senate president’s quest for a seat in the world’s greatest deliberative body ends today just as it started – with Mike Haridopolos  being the only person who believed he has what it takes to be a U.S. senator.

Pundits will no doubt be focusing on the repudiation of Haridopolos by the tea party wing of the GOP as the most likely reason he quit. And that point certainly has some merit. Haridopolos recently fell flat in tea party straw polls, was run off a right-wing radio show, and has had anemic support within the GOP base.

But Florida’s Boy Wonder had more problems than just the base.

His support from status quo establishment types like Continue reading “Haridopolos ends his fantasy”

Gov. Scott still fishing with wrong equipment

I recently went fishing for black drum with a couple of buddies who are retired firefighters. I point out that my buddies Tommy and Ronnie were firefighters, because you would assume that as such, they would be fully prepared for the day’s adventures.

By Chris Ingram

Special correspondent, the Tampa Tribune

Published July 12, 2011

I recently went fishing for black drum with a couple of buddies who are retired firefighters. I point out that my buddies Tommy and Ronnie were firefighters, because you would assume that as such, they would be fully prepared for the day’s adventures.

We went out on a boat with plans to anchor in between the pilings of the Courtney Campbell Bridge. When we arrived, Ronnie, the “captain,” realized we didn’t have an anchor, or even a dock line — both of which we later learned had been removed by his son-in-law. I started to wonder if he’d ever driven a firetruck to an inferno before realizing the hoses were back at the station.

After two hours of fishing with nothing to show for it but a near-empty bait bucket, our fearless captain got the idea that one of us should hold on to a piling to keep the boat from drifting and thus allow for a better feel of the black drum sucking on our bait.

This turned out to be a good idea, as within minutes of baiting the last blue crab, Ronnie hooked a 50-pounder — which he kindly let me reel in.

The day ended with smiles, ribbing our “captain” about his lack of equipment-checking skills, and thoughts of what could have been had we had all the proper tools — namely an anchor.

Our fishing adventure reminded me a lot of Gov. Rick Scott’s first six months in office.

Scott, like my pal Ronnie, is Continue reading “Gov. Scott still fishing with wrong equipment”

Mark Sharpe declares

I declare a commitment to forge ahead with those who want to deal responsibly with our financial woes and check our unsustainable and poorly thought out military commitments.

True leadership, not fear-mongering is what America needs

By Mark Sharpe

It’s the 4th of July so in respect to those who put it all on the line to create a new nation some 235 years ago – I make my own declaration. 

I am committed to working with anyone – Republican or Democrat, independent or tea party, vegan or meat eater, straight or gay, black or white, Hispanic or other ethnic origin so long as they are equally committed to answering America’s challenges and putting us on the course to greatness once again. 

Photo: Mark Sharpe

Some among us butter their bread dividing America or launching irresponsible invectives against their opponents.

I commit myself to eschewing fear-mongering or labels which attempt to identify the “other side” as unpatriotic or worse, preferring rather that we get on with the hard tasks of putting our country back on a sustainable path of economic prosperity and opportunity for all.

I declare Continue reading “Mark Sharpe declares”