Mosque near 9/11 site clears hurdle | Aug. 4, story
No mosque near ground zero
No way should a mosque be built anywhere near ground zero! What a slap in the face to those whose family members died. My only child (a son) joined the military after 9/11 and served for six years. I am outraged that the so called "city panel" would vote for this. America needs to wake up.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that this is a key test of Americans' commitment to religious freedom. Give me a break.
American citizens should write him and let him know how they feel. What a sad day if this happens. America needs to take back what's American. Our country is going down the tubes. I am not the only one who feels this way. Bloomberg must have other motives than religious freedom.
Wait until November and remember to vote. Wake up, America. This really makes me upset. No mosque near ground zero!
Cheryl L. Thomas, St. Petersburg
Has anyone bothered to note that none of the numerous Muslim consuls or U.N. representatives in New York have weighed in on this issue? They know that they would face a barrage of embarrassing questions concerning the building of churches, synagogues (or any non-Muslim house of worship) in their countries.
To quote Daniel Greenfield in the Canada Free Press: (We) "might ask just how many new churches and synagogues have been built in the Middle East over the last 20 years. As opposed to how many new mosques have gone up in Europe. While Europe's proportion of Muslims continues to rise, the proportion of Jews and Christians in Muslim countries continues to decline. If they were truly interested in protecting religious freedom, they would be at least as agitated over the treatment of non-Muslims in Muslim countries, including the deaths of thousands of guest workers in Dubai, the ghetto prepared for Jews in Yemen, the oppression of Christian Copts in Egypt or the second-class status of Zoroastrians in Iran. But somehow religious freedom only seems to matter when it's the religious freedom of Muslims."
Muslim complaints about religious persecution are blatantly hypocritical.
Pete Wilford, Holiday
A disappointing face-off
I wanted to know about jobs. I wanted to know about leadership, about character, about values and morals. Instead, all I got was a lame excuse of he said, and then he said regarding the debate between Republican candidates for governor Bill McCollum and Rick Scott.
I was watching a political food fight. Neither candidate was impressive in displaying any attributes to lead Florida out of this major economic downfall and into a period of potential prosperity, jobs and defining quality-of-life improvements.
It was an outsider vs. an insider, neither of whom was above the fray. They instead used valuable time, in which voters had hoped for answers, to simply attack, accuse and act as if each was the Knight in Shining Armor who is the clear-cut choice.
It is a shame that the two candidates just rehashed their TV ads only live in person.
Rich Unger, Sarasota
McCollum, Scott fire away | Aug. 6, story
Sorry state of affairs
The verbal slugfest between the two Republican candidates for governor was indeed a "nasty confrontation" that included little meaningful content. Hopefully, however, it sounded an alarm to voters about the state of politics and policy in Florida.
Florida's unemployment ranks among the highest in the country as does our rate of home foreclosures. Inequitable property taxes and intolerably high insurance rates continue to pound what remains of Florida's middle class. Our beautiful environment seems constantly under assault. Corrupt practices so permeated our Republican legislative "leadership" that it is no wonder so many citizens are now cynical about government.
We know that Attorney General Bill McCollum used state funds exceeding $100,000 for a few hours of testimony from an "expert" witness against gay adoption who turned out to be both a fake and a disgusting hypocrite. We also know that Rick Scott was CEO of a firm that was fined $1.7 billion for notorious Medicare fraud of which he claims not to have been aware.
What we don't know, unfortunately, is what either of these two sorry candidates propose to do about Florida's growing list of serious problems!
Tony Branch, Madeira Beach
BP oil spill
Some credit is due
Everyone has been quick to jump on the bandwagon to criticize BP about the gigantic oil spill from its drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. And much of that criticism was well deserved.
But now that the spill has been capped and back-filled with "mud," isn't it time to give BP some credit? They have been working 24/7 to cap the leak, clean up the spill, and set up a fund for reimbursement for damages. Now only 26 percent of the oil spill can be detected. This has been a herculean effort.
For capping the well and the cleanup, a special thanks to BP and kudos to Adm. Thad Allen for being tough, relentless and straightforward.
Victor Wood, Indian Rocks Beach
A step toward normal — by the numbers July 29
A very significant number is missing from the Times' otherwise-fine article on the BP oil rig disaster, namely, the ultimate cost to the federal government and taxpayers.
While BP runs multimedia ads insisting that they are absorbing the costs, tax write-offs, drilling credits and diminished taxable corporate profits will dip their hands right into the public purse. These figures are starting to appear in the business sections of the news, even in the Times. They should have been included. In the end, we all stand to lose much more than BP, itself, will lose.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
A new window into their world | Aug. 1
Help from many hands
I was thrilled to see your article on the P.L.A.Y. Project and children with autism. It is a wonderful therapy that I fully endorse. However, it was disconcerting to see the implication that by pursuing this play-based approach families can "essentially eliminate" other therapies. It brings to mind the adage, "It takes a village to raise a child."
Children with autism need a multidisciplinary team — speech and occupational therapists, behavior therapists, physicians, play therapists and caregivers — who collaborate in assessment and intervention to effectively treat the whole child.
Danielle Sutton, Ph.D., Tampa