Minimum wage

By executive order President Obama signed a minimum wage order that provides $10.10 per hour for newly-hired federal government employees.

The vast majority of Americans have become "glassy eyed" having listened to the pros and cons of this debate. What the vast majority of Americans don't know is many union contracts have escalators that are tied directly to the minimum wage.

Therefore, if the minimum is increased union workers will also receive an increase based upon their contract. What a clever way for the president to satisfy the unions in an election year.

Ed Gilligan

Marsh Hawk Lane

Kiawah Island

Public servants

How is it possible that Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS, a public servant who gets paid with taxpayer money and has all her job-related perks paid for with taxpayer money, is allowed to not answer questions directly related to her public duties?

Something is wrong here.

Greg Firpo

New Castle Loop

Goose Creek

An eye for greatness

My friend Ted Stern had an uncanny eye for greatness, even at its most incipient stages.

We all know how he transformed the struggling College of Charleston and led Spoleto Festival USA from idea to international acclaim.

What is less well known is the role Ted Stern played in the life of a student who began his life in Ben Tillman Homes, one of Charleston's public housing projects.

Upon graduation from Garrett High School, this kid was torn. Should he follow his father's advice and take the Civil Service Exam, in hopes of a lifetime of employment at our Naval Shipyard?

Or should he follow his heart, and apply to colleges, knowing full well that the only way he could attend college would be through a full scholarship?

He began pursuing both choices. He got a near-perfect score on the Civil Service Exam. And he applied to several colleges, including the College of Charleston, where he was immediately accepted with a full scholarship - except that the college's acceptance letter never reached him.

Ted Stern was so impressed with this student's admission application that he telephoned him personally, encouraging him to attend the college. Ted even invited the boy and his father to his office, where he talked about ways the college could benefit this gifted student. As usual, Ted was very convincing.

Ted had spotted greatness, and he wanted to nurture it. Four years later, his young protégé graduated first in his class, and he won the college's top award for student leadership and academic excellence.

He went on to Duke University, earning three graduate degrees (including a doctorate), all on full scholarships.

Since then, he has forged an extraordinary career at Stanford and Harvard and worked closely with many of the world's most prestigious corporate citizens, including Boeing.

And it all began because Ted Stern - a man who could see greatness early on - took a special interest in a kid who originally came from Ben Tillman Homes.

That kid's name is Dennis Encarnation. He is called "Jody." And he is a finalist candidate for the presidency of his alma mater, the College of Charleston.

Ted Stern would be very proud.

David L. Rawle

Anson Street

Charleston

Wind turbines

Your editorial on an article by Mark Jacobson is an insult to intelligence. Jacobson's love of wind turbines takes him so far as claiming they can slow down category five hurricanes. Jacobson is a smart guy, but he is an engineer, not a meteorologist.

An array of 78,000 wind turbines off the coast of New Orleans would have had no effect on Hurricane Katrina.

I can hardly believe I am responding to this preposterous notion that the array would decrease Katrina's wind speed by 92 mph.

Hurricanes derive their energy from the latent of evaporation from the ocean surface and re-condensation to rain as air rises and cools.

The strong rotating winds are the result of conservation of angular momentum imparted by the Earth's rotation as air flows inward toward the axis of rotation.

When people go around reality to get to their prescribed conclusions they are not scientists searching for answers; they are merely perusing their agendas.

Howard Graham

Billowing Sails Street

Summerville

Lax penalties

Laxity of penalties for white collar crimes is an especially distressing injustice. Too often well-planned frauds bilk hundreds and thousands of dollars. But sentencing amounts to a good-old-boy joke. As a nonviolent crime it somehow becomes less threatening.

I would rather survive a robbery than discover my retirement funds have disappeared.

This pain often is compounded when those "fleeced" occupy positions of trust - family, religious, political, etc. Some might have invested because of another trusting the scoundrel. Those who dash the dreams and lives of so many elderly deserve a special place in hell and a long stretch in the "pen" on Earth.

Why should someone be incarcerated longer for an assault where the victim completely recovers than another for thoroughly ruining the lives of many?

John C. Godfrey

Kracke Street

Charleston

Gun control

On occasion mentally disturbed individuals will bring guns into a public place such as a theater, school or shopping center and cause a rampage of senseless violence that is tragic.

This is followed by two weeks of press coverage that calls for stricter gun controls, despite the fact that crime is down as gun ownership increases (FBI statistics).

Where is the reporting and moral outrage at the religious separatist attack in Kumming, China?

Eight al-Qaida terrorists attacked a railway station with knives killing 29 and injuring 130.

An event such as this with firearms in the United States would cause a moral outrage lasting for weeks. Are Chinese lives of less value?

Robert Savin, M.D.

Privateer Creek Road

Johns Island