Botched execution fallout likely small | May 4
Intimidation of court is alarming
I understand why people are concerned about how this execution was handled and the type of drugs used.
What I do not understand is why there has been so little concern about the Oklahoma Legislature intimidating the state's Supreme Court into reversing its original decision to put a hold on the execution until research was done on the drugs.
Members of the Legislature threatened to impeach members of the Supreme Court who voted to halt the executions temporarily.
How is a court going to stay independent of politics if its members are going to face the threat of impeachment any time they make a decision that may be controversial? So much for the separation of powers.
Anthony Artemisio, Weeki Wachee
High court okays legislative prayer | May 6
I am disappointed the Supreme Court ruled that religious, sectarian prayers given at town meetings are constitutional, even if they consistently favor one religion over another. Having attended several official public and military gatherings, I can tell you of my displeasure when the invited clergy offered a strictly Christian prayer, as if everyone in attendance practiced that faith. It should have been obvious from the numbers alone that many people attending were not adherents of that religion. I felt as if I was a nonentity, excluded from the masses and dismissed as unworthy of some respect.
After the opening sectarian blessing at those occasions, my interest in the whole ceremony was diminished and all I could think about was what I might say to the clergy for the insensitivity shown to me as a non-Christian attending a nondenominational, nonreligious event inevitably attended by members of different faiths.
Further, it was inappropriate for the court to defend their judgment with historic precedence, as if that justified a decision totally lacking in understanding of the multiethnic nature of our society. Prayers, in my view, do not belong at nonreligious public meetings unless they are nondenominational and inclusive in nature.
Stephen Feldman, Valrico
Obama's critics aren't just neoconservatives May 5, commentary
Wars benefit the few
Lawrence J. Haas is trapped in the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about. He, not the president, is wearing blinders.
The defense industry needs profits. A more peaceful world doesn't work for them. Therefore, if a dog barks, they want people to shoot and then buy more ammo.
I'm 75, retired Army and a university graduate. Plus, I lived 16 years overseas in nine countries and spent time in 21 more. It is impossible to declare what the world thinks of America, as Haas brazenly does. Blinders limit his vision.
As a Vietnam veteran, I know what war does. To Haas, it's theoretical. During my years I've experienced the expanding gap between haves and have nots, and unnecessary wars harm many and benefit few.
Doug Hicks, Tampa
Careful foreign policy
This column is simply a rehash of the usual Republican talking points against President Barack Obama's careful, measured foreign policy. The right wing apparently cannot stand the fact that we have a president who would rather talk than fight; who would rather use sanctions than troops.
Instead of the bellicosity of the previous president, this president is determined to use a softer approach, which is fully in keeping with the public's desire to avoid more wars.
Lewis Lederer, Clearwater
A good springs bill dies | May 7, commentary
Voters must be heard
Estus Whitfield's article about "business as usual" in Tallahassee regarding the state's springs was enlightening as well as disheartening. Come on, Floridians, think about what drew you to Florida and vote these myopic, self-serving, business-over-environment pols out this November. Let your voices be heard.
Dan Boyle, Sun City Center
Radicals kidnap more girls | May 7
Protect the weakest
We sit at home and watch the kidnapping of women in Central Africa who are treated like property. But this is not some mythical Game of Thrones — it is all too real. As a descendent of Holocaust victims, I do not see how this is any less a crime against humanity than that was.
Yes, we cannot be responsible for everything that happens in the world, but this is beyond abhorrent. And as the biggest and strongest guy on the block, it is our responsibility to protect the weakest. President Barack Obama issuing statements is almost laughable. Words don't scare anyone.
Action needs to be taken. Go to the United Nations and get a force together and do whatever it takes to free them and bring their medieval, barbarian captors to justice. And if the United Nations won't act, find allies who will.
Jeffrey Hausman, Tarpon Springs
SunRail system up and running | May 1
We need rail too
On April 30, Orlando ushered in a light-rail mass-transit system with 12 initial stations. Gov. Rick Scott approved a deal because he was sold on its job-creation benefits and potential to reduce congestion on Interstate 4. On the first day of operations, the crowds were overwhelming.
You have to wonder when Scott will approve a deal that affords Tampa the same opportunity as our Central Florida neighbors. Tampa roads are also badly congested. I'm looking forward to taking a light-rail train to Tampa International Airport and beyond in the near future.
Fred Dettmann, Oldsmar
New inquiry sought on Benghazi | May 3
A recent report on television mentioned the fact that during the George W. Bush administration there were 13 strikes on U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people were killed. Why are none of these incidents in the news with a comparison made to Benghazi?
Marge Poland, Sun City Center