Arab nations on sidelines
It's terrible to see television footage from Syria of a shelled city and reports of civilian deaths.
Syria is not what I would call an ally of the United States, and it is definitely not a friend to Israel. However, on television there was a Syrian man asking for America's help. He wasn't shouting for help from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or any other Arab nation.
Why aren't we hearing reports of Arab nations threatening to send in troops to quell the senseless killing and bring stability to Syria?
Randy Eisenberg, Valrico
Obama's budget blueprint | Feb. 21, editorial
Obama's lack of leadership
Certainly the enlightened way to address critical budget issues — especially the alarming deficit — is to both raise additional revenues through tax increases and closed loopholes, and to slow the growth of America's entitlement programs.
This is a balanced approach. And the Times has rightly emphasized the failure of Republicans in Congress to look realistically at raising taxes and closing loopholes. But isn't there an important distinction here? Republicans don't control the White House. President Barack Obama, whom I often admire, is a Democrat. Quite correctly, Americans look to presidents more than to Congress for leadership.
Particularly after the abysmal failure of Washington to address the deficit crisis last year, I would have been far more confident in national leadership if Obama had been less "politically prudent" and more fiscally responsible in leading the way with ideas to trim entitlements effectively.
Eventually, someone has to do it. Surely it will involve presidential leadership — Republican or Democrat, now or later. The sooner we start, the easier it will be on us all.
Larry Paul, Nobleton
Is he running for pope?
With Rick Santorum's thinly disguised theological pronouncements on contraception, abortion, public education and the environment, it sounds like he's running for pope, not president of one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world.
Mark W. Brandt, Dunedin
Keep church, state apart
Why all the questions about who is Muslim, who is Mormon, who is Christian, and who is not? Whatever happened to separation of church and state?
Candidates must be judged on what they stand for and who they are — not on what their religion is or is not.
Cynthia Gay, Dunedin
Stewards of the Earth
I recall the days in the 1970s when I taught confraternity of Christian doctrine to my Catholic confirmation class students. On the cover of the workbook was a picture of the beautiful Earth in a box covered with gift wrap. The lesson was about Earth's gifts and our obligation to take good care of them by respecting human life and wildlife and by preserving the air, land and sea. In more familiar words, "Be stewards of the land." There hasn't been a change in that doctrine, and my grandchildren were taught that same lesson.
Now Rick Santorum preaches in his speeches that we should not work to preserve it but "use it up." That sounds a lot like Santorum's own theology and not that of any religion.
Jean Becker, Sun City Center
Deal lessens rate increase | Feb. 21
Hardly a refund
Doesn't "refund" mean getting money or something back? Progress Energy is still getting an increase in rates. So now refund equals rate hike?
Of course the lawyers for Progress Energy say this increase is fair, just and reasonable. Why is the company not responsible for the damage that occurred due to their lack of judgment in trying to repair the plant themselves?
Marianne Gaeta, Palm Harbor
Start a car campaign
NASA didn't build a replacement space vehicle, so why not put all of that unused genius brainpower to work to develop a better Earth vehicle? If they could figure out how to build a vehicle to get a man to the moon and back in 1969, I have great confidence that they can figure out how to build a vehicle to cheaply and efficiently travel a few hundred miles on Earth — without dependence on oil. Let's face it: battery and hybrid cars have major limitations.
This would be a catalyst to launch a whole new industry and potentially put thousands of people to work. I'd rather look at this option than $5 a gallon gas. Now let's get to work.
Ken Gagliano, Clearwater
Odyssey to relinquish Spanish coins | Feb. 18
Don't reward the thief
The federal judge's ruling to return the bullion salvaged by Odyssey Marine Exploration to Spain is clearly wrong. This was obviously stolen silver to which Spain never had any legal claim. To return stolen merchandise of any kind to the thief goes against everything that is moral. It is probably true that the original owners may not be definitely known, but the thief is known.
I believe a far more equitable solution would be to return the silver and artifacts to Peru with a generous finder's fee given to Odyssey Marine Exploration. Spain should get nothing.
Sidney Sistrunk, Clearwater
Shutting out Florida students, yet again Feb. 20, commentary
Make your voice heard
The authors of this column are of course correct that the Legislature has little interest in Florida students having any say in education.
To these young men, I recommend two things. First, find someone with deep pockets to get behind your issue, and you will see the Legislature reverse itself quickly.
And second, get out the vote. Florida's elected officials are not the sharpest tacks in the shed, so they actually think they can get away with such counterproductive (yet self-serving) behavior because they don't have to worry about your vote.
Terri Benincasa, Palm Harbor