National anthem protests
Get off sidelines, work for justice
My father used an old phrase a lot: "If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem." Yes, athletes have the right to speak their minds and show their views. But like the vast majority of us who are not self-employed, we have to abide by the rules set forth by our employers. Not only can I not express views during my work hours that may have a negative impact on my employer, I am also restricted from doing so on social media. How many people have been reprimanded or even fired for writing something on Twitter or Facebook or saying something on TV?
Yes, racism does exist (in all races in my opinion). I urge those who want to show their support for social justice to do so outside of the playing field. Take the advice of Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Chris Archer and do some real good. Meet with kids in poverty-stricken areas; find out what can help them the most. Coordinate meetings with kids, their parents and leaders of those communities with the most issues with our first responders (and I include medics and firefighters).
The key is to make these meetings result in actions and make sure they are held more than once a year.
We can do this. It just takes some work from all involved.
Tom Craig, Riverview
Trump jolts health law | Oct. 14
Both sides must agree
The president does not have the authority to alter one letter of the Affordable Care Act. His only power is to cancel extralegal measures to prop up Obamacare ordered by the previous president.
The president does not have the authority to cancel any subsidies guaranteed to needy citizens as outlined in the law. He is only able to curtail the bailouts to the insurance companies that enable everyone to pretend that the law is viable. The smoke and mirrors hiding the ACA’s implosion are being removed, nothing more.
The solution is to undo the malpractice in its creation by following the original promise made by President Barack Obama: open negotiations to arrive at something both sides agree on enough to pass it in bipartisan fashion, which is how any gargantuan piece of legislation with profound societal impacts should be undertaken.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
Promising attention to opioid crisis | Oct. 1, editorial
Remember those in pain
The opioid crisis is real. Nobody can deny that people are dying from drug overdoses. But there are a great many elderly and infirm who depend on strong pain control medication to relieve severe pain.
Not long ago, rating pain on the 1-10 scale became popular. It was a huge help in determining and treating relentless pain for patients in general and in our aging population. We appear to be trashing that in an effort to control drug-seeking behavior and illegal use of opioids.
As a registered nurse with decades of experience and a special interest in hospice care and pain relief in general, I think this new approach is shortsighted. Not all severe, debilitating pain arises from cancer or proximity to death. I hope that before mandating unrealistic rules related to post-op patients and those with chronic disabling pain, someone will act to study this carefully before mandating regulations that will halt relief for those in need.
Alice Pandolfi, Tampa
Monitor deeds, not tweets
President Donald Trump’s base often shouts "drain the swamp" at his political rallies. They are right. There is a "swamp" in Washington, and here is one example.
As reported by the Washington Post, the pharmaceutical companies that produce the opioid pain medications that kill thousands every year influenced Congress to pass a cleverly worded 2016 law that made it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to halt suspicious drug shipments that posed a an "imminent danger" to the community. How did they do it? The companies donated $1.5 million in political contributions to the 23 lawmakers who sponsored the bill, and a total of $106 million lobbying Congress between 2014 and 2016.
The DEA voiced little objection. Why? Because many of its top enforcement officials had been hired by the drug companies for compensation many times their government salaries. They knew the DEA strategy and wrote much of the bill that Congress adopted. Voters need to pay attention to what their representatives and the president are actually doing, not just their slogans and tweets.
Robert H. More, Riverview
Understanding his support | Oct. 15, letter
Promises not fulfilled
The letter writer explains why supporters of President Donald Trump haven’t abandoned him as he "speaks" to their anger. His behavior, while concerning, is not the mystery. It’s the wealth of evidence that he in turn abandoned his supporters. While he "speaks" to them, he supports legislation in direct opposition to what he’s been offering.
Mexico is not paying for the wall; Obamacare was not repealed/replaced with universal coverage; there’s no discussion on infrastructure spending or modernizing the government; no change in course fighting ISIS; the move to bring back jobs from overseas appears abandoned; and the latest tax bill doesn’t simplify anything.
That’s what we would like an explanation for — or is it simply too challenging for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and admit we’ve been conned?
Barry Duran, Palm Harbor
Juvenile car theft crisis persists | Oct. 19, editorial
Try asking the parents
St. Petersburg police Chief Tony Holloway plans to visit the juvenile detention center to talk to kids in custody and ask: Why are you doing this? When he’s through, maybe he should visit their parents and ask them this: Why is your 14-year-old out stealing cars at 3 o’clock in the morning?
John Waitman, Palm Harbor