Friday, January 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Amid challenges, much to be thankful for

One hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln made the last Thursday in November a national holiday. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that our country would always observe Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. Both acts solidified a practice that began early in our nation's history, with Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together to celebrate survival. Fast forward several generations. Despite the challenges of our day, there are many reasons to give thanks.

Now acted out by schoolchildren across the nation in skits and songs, one of the first Thanksgivings took place in 1621. That feast brought together the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag Indians. The three-day event focused on sharing and gratitude.

May we mimic the settlers and their neighbors today, seeing through the cacophony of daily life to find the good. We should look beyond the partisan politics of Washington and celebrate the economy, growing modestly but on the upswing. We should cheer a falling unemployment rate and appreciate a health care law that, although seriously flawed in its rollout, should provide coverage for millions of uninsured. And we should give thanks for members of the military, who put themselves in harm's way for our country, and for their families, who share them with the nation.

Of course challenges persist. Because of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, rising rates put coverage out of reach for many. But property insurance has regained some stability after several thankful years of no hurricanes. In Florida, Citizens Property Insurance again is becoming the insurer of last resort while the private market services less risky policies.

Today could find airplane travelers stranded or delayed, or drivers on roadways slickened by a wintery mix of ice, rain and snow. Once travelers reach their destinations, they will likely take comfort in what this holiday is all about — family, friends, food and, for some, football. In Florida, we should give thanks for the end of hurricane season and the eighth consecutive year the state escaped a direct hit.

For many, Thanksgiving brings out bargain hunters, while others express disgust that commercialism threatens to overtake the day. The obsession with snagging early-bird deals, and those who are repelled by it, represent the most American of ideals: the opportunity to choose to participate or not. For now, silence that debate, gather round a table, nestle a TV tray on your lap or slide deeper into an uncomfortable airport chair and reflect on good things. Despite all of our personal and collective challenges, there is much for which to give thanks.

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Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18