Obama confident court will okay health care law | April 3
Warning to court was out of line
Instead of his Chicago-style "barbed warning" to the Supreme Court, wouldn't it have been nice if President Barack Obama had said, "I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution to the best of my ability. I firmly believe the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, otherwise I would not have signed it. I am equally confident the Supreme Court will agree with me. But if they don't, I will attack the problem of affordable health care in this country with even more determination."
I was embarrassed to hear our president basically question the Supreme Court's legitimacy and do so in the presence of the president of Mexico and Canada's prime minister to boot. Better to have said nothing.
Billy L. Lewis, Clearwater
Bipartisan effort will help start-ups, add employment
Despite the partisan gridlock we hear so much about, Congress recently passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.
It's an overwhelmingly bipartisan measure that will allow business start-ups the opportunity to grow, hire and create meaningful economic opportunities right here in the Tampa Bay area.
As Americans, we value an economic climate that rewards entrepreneurship and hard work. Small businesses create nearly two-thirds of new jobs nationwide, and the best path to growth and prosperity revolves around the ability of these businesses to flourish.
In order for someone to make their idea a reality, they need the ability to effectively raise capital. The JOBS Act makes it easier for start-up companies to get off the ground and raise money from investors.
Specifically, it allows companies to raise up to $1 million annually through a large group of everyday investors, which is called "crowdfunding."
The JOBS Act relaxes bureaucratic rules that prohibit companies from advertising when they want to raise funds, and makes it easier for companies to file public offerings.
Websites seeking to list companies will register with relevant financial regulators and provide information about the companies they list, and "crowdfunding" companies themselves will provide disclosures to investors and regulators.
This is an important step in the right direction, but more can and should be done. The House has passed more than 30 bills aimed at empowering entrepreneurs, reducing taxes and restoring economic confidence that the Senate and president should consider soon.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor
Repeal state's license to kill | April 3, editorial
Lawmakers to blame
I could not agree more with your editorial urging the repeal of this law. I will not equivocate. The legislators who passed this measure, as well as the governor who signed it, are morally complicit in each resulting death.
Sadly, they will not correct their stupidity unless their positions are threatened by removal from office.
Harold Mathews, Riverview
Under the NRA's thumb
The "stand your ground" law is truly a license to kill. The National Rifle Association wrote this law and our legislators voted for it. Now they are trying to say it does not allow someone to chase after an individual and shoot them. As the Times correctly points out, chasing someone down is irrelevant.
Unless this law is repealed, we will see more Trayvon Martin stories in the news. Shame on you, Jeb Bush and the legislators who supported this license to kill and who are now trying to justify this horrible law. Our nation functioned just fine under the common law doctrine of using deadly force only when confronted by deadly force.
Will our Legislature ever be able to send the NRA lobby home and write its own laws?
Paul E. Riffel, Tampa
Incidents are rare
The tone of the editorial seems to imply that concealed weapon permit holders are gun-wielding vigilantes. Nothing could be further from the truth. With nearly a million concealed carry licensees in the state, incidents are rare.
Having armed citizens benefits the state, according to the FBI's Uniformed Crime Report from 2007, which showed that states with concealed carry had 30 percent fewer homicides and 46 percent fewer robberies.
It is criminals who make Florida dangerous, and concealed carry has been proven to reduce violent crime rates. Far from being a license to kill, "stand your ground" serves as a license to deter crime and should be upheld for the safety of all.
Margaret Beck, St. Petersburg
City not allowed to limit firearms | April 3
Stand up for safety
It's time to stand up to Tallahassee.
While I appreciate the measures Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is taking to keep the city safe during the Republican National Convention, I feel that all of it will be for nothing if we allow firearms in the "Clean Zone" downtown.
I understand that state law prohibits the city from enforcing any restrictions on firearms, but that's a state law that we need to break. The maximum penalty for a local government enforcing gun laws is a $100,000 fine. This would be a very small price to pay to prevent a potential death, or worse.
Cole Bellamy, Tampa
Tampa Bay Lightning
Service to the community
I attended the Lightning's last home game of the season Monday. The team didn't make the playoffs this year, but the organization — players, administrators, service personnel and the Lightning Foundation — made enormous contributions to our community in many other ways.
Owner Jeff Vinik contributed $50,000 at each home game to a local community hero for work done to improve the lives of people in the bay area. Over $2 million was directed to all sorts of humanitarian causes, and tens of thousands more was contributed by the players through their own foundations and support of charitable causes.
Vinik not only created a top-notch cadre of professionals, he infused his enthusiasm for the sport and dedication to the community throughout the organization. Spending millions to modernize the Tampa Bay Times Forum and acquiring top-flight players made many fans happy, but we should all be grateful for the contributions of this man and the Lightning organization to our community.
H. Roy Kaplan, Tampa