Abortion doctor is killed | June 1, story
Religion begets home-grown terror
The cold-blooded murder of Dr. George Tiller is the latest example of home-grown terror. Like most terrorists, the man accused of shooting Tiller was motivated by religion. Unlike most terrorists, he is supported by a shadowy group of American activists who have been whipped into an ongoing frenzy by hate radio and talking heads on television.
These religious leaders, media parasites and other freedom-haters have been inciting the far-right mob with antiprivacy, antiwoman hatred for decades. For them, the possibility of rational discussion is nonexistent — they get their marching orders from the voices in their head, and of course "from God."
Dr. Tiller should be remembered as a hero who served those who needed him at great personal risk.
His terrorist killer should be made into an example for others who think themselves above the law.
Scott Cochran, Tampa
Another heinous act
While the killing of the abortion doctor is indeed a heinous act of violence, as noted by President Barack Obama in this story, he (we) must also acknowledge that abortion, especially late-term abortion, while not normally violent, is indeed a heinous act as well.
Chet Rogowski, Valrico
It won't stop
Do abortion foes know any history? Back in 1963, at a my high school, a girl died from an illegal, back-room abortion. Prohibition did not stop the consumption of alcohol, and a reversal of Roe vs. Wade will not stop abortions. Women will find a way, and sadly, it will not be at the hands of a caring and skillful doctor.
If you are against drinking, don't drink. If you are against abortions, don't have one!
Melanie Woods, Palm Harbor
Sotomayor nomination | May 29, letters
Weigh all the facts before passing judgment
One letter writer says Judge Sonia Sotomayor's record "is absurd" because, of five decisions she made on the appellate court that have been heard by the Supreme Court, three (60 percent) were overruled.
Another letter writer says a jurist who "cannot" or — more sinisterly — "will not" administer the law correctly 60 percent of the time "fails the smell test" and should be rejected by the Senate.
Now that these gentlemen know — thanks to your PolitiFact column the same day — that most cases the Supreme Court hears each term are reversed, and that fully 85 percent of last year's cases were reversed — will they change their minds and endorse Judge Sotomayor for having a superior record upon review?
Now that they know, thanks to PolitiFact, that of Bush-appointee Samuel Alito's rulings prior to joining the highest court, at least two were heard by the Supreme Court "and both were reversed," will they change their minds and endorse Judge Sotomayor for having a superior record upon review?
This quick-to-condemn reaction is probably the result of a few bombastic talk show hosts who inflame their followers with selective facts and simplistic rhetoric, rather than with "fair and balanced" information. That doesn't serve their listeners, who may be embarrassed when they too quickly raise aloft the banner of the day, and it sure doesn't serve the country, which needs citizens forming opinions without bias resulting from anger generated by radicals — on either side.
As for me, forgive the expression but "the jury's still out" on the Sotomayor nomination. But I'm going to do my best to make an informed decision.
Terry Dunham, St. Petersburg
Criticize, then confirm | May 30, Charles Krauthammer column
Empathy is needed
Charles Krauthammer argues that empathy is a virtue to be exercised in private life or in the legislative life of a society, but not in its judicial life.
Justice, he states, is blind; it cannot be a respecter of persons. However, justice must begin in the legislatures of our democracy. If it begins there, its laws will rarely end up in the judicial arena.
When issues do end up in the judicial arena, it is often because legislators have legislated without regard for persons, without empathy and without justice.
It is then up to the judiciary to decide whether or not laws are constitutional. And since laws involve people's rights, the laws themselves must be respecters of persons.
Blind justice would have sliced the baby in half without regard to the effect on the mothers in Solomon's court. We laud Solomon's decision precisely because he showed empathy.
Blind justice is no justice at all. That may be the justice of conservatism that Krauthammer wants, but I, for one, reject it.
Susan Segal, Palm Harbor
Obama: Criticism of Sotomayor "nonsense" May 30, story
No free pass
President Barack Obama suggested that the "nonsense" being said about his Supreme Court nominee should stop during Senate confirmation hearings.
Has he forgotten so soon what the Democrats in the Senate did to Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito and what other Republican nominees were put through?
Why should Sotomayor be given a free pass just because she was nominated by Obama, who apparently believes he should not be questioned about anything he says?
Robert G. Foxwell, Gulfport
Rays face stadium dilemma | May 31, story
Just stay put
What is the dilemma? If, in fact, Rays executive Michael Kalt wants the least expensive option, staying at Tropicana Field is it. The Rays are contractually obligated to stay there until 2027, the stadium is almost paid off and there are no moving expenses involved.
Even with massive renovations, it would never cost $450 million to deal with the Trop. And keep in mind, the $450 million estimate was made by the same guy who estimated the new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium would cost $900 million.
In addition, you will never have rain delays of 307 minutes over the span of five games, as we just had in Cleveland.
In the meantime, will the Rays ever enumerate the specific issues with the Trop? Are they fixable? If so, at what cost? If not, why not?
Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg