Fuel for Obama tax fight | Aug. 2
Analysis from other side needed
This front-page article was very favorable to the Obama administration's campaign tax plan as compared to the Mitt Romney campaign tax plan. The article essentially stated that Romney's plan would raise taxes on Florida's middle class while giving a tax break to millionaires.
The Times quoted the analysis prepared by what it referred to as the "nonpartisan" Tax Policy Center. A brief look at the Tax Policy Center's website reveals that it is associated with the Brookings Institution and the Urban Center. These are very credible organizations, but they are definitely "center-left." They are no more "nonpartisan" than the Heritage Foundation which, like the Tax Policy Center, is a think-tank, very credible, but center-right.
The Times article was a big boost for President Barack Obama. I believe the Times now has an obligation to research and print what the Heritage Foundation has to say about the candidates' relative campaign tax plans. Times readers would then have both sides of the argument.
John Galloway, Tampa
Tasty fish makes comeback
Red snapper is a much sought-after target for recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico — a delicious species that is also fun to catch. Unfortunately, this species had been fished at levels greater than it could reproduce in the past, and its numbers decreased as a result.
With stricter catch limits over the past few years, the snapper population is beginning to come back. We are not at the rebuilt level yet, but if we keep to the plan, all will benefit from a recovered population. Catching fewer individual fish allows more fish to grow larger, which creates better spawners. Indeed, a single 24-inch red snapper can produce as many eggs as approximately 212 17-inch snapper can.
In 2008, most snapper brought home by anglers were two to three years of age. Four years later, the typical fish caught is five to seven years of age, with some reaching 10 years and older. The older females are much more productive to help rebuild the gulf population.
Let's keep rebuilding this critical and popular species. Stricter rules now will make for a much brighter fishing future for ourselves and our children.
Ann Vanek-Dasovich, board of directors, Florida Wildlife Federation, Tampa
Fans flock to area Chick-Fil-A's | Aug.2
Remember lunch counters
The Chick-fil-A chicken-eating show of support was hardly a "unique American protest" that involved food and restaurants. When civil rights activists used lunch counter boycotts in the 1950s and '60s to protest restaurants' denial of service to African-Americans, white racists and counterprotesters would often flock to the offending restaurant to show support for its discriminatory practices. In essence, this is exactly what the Chick-fil-A supporters did.
To be fair, Dan Cathy's restaurants do not discriminate at the counter and will serve anyone. His savvy is in selling to anyone in order to have money to fund anti-gay rights groups. The racist anti-civil rights element in the 1960s could have learned a thing or two from Dan Cathy.
Between these Chick-fil-A shows of support and the various voter registration suppression laws being enacted in some states, it sometimes feels like the civil rights era all over again.
Marc Welling, Dunedin
A hearty heave | Aug. 2
Great story, and lesson
The front-page story about Gulfport banding together to help with a stranded vessel on their waterfront was a wonderful beginning to my day.
The "we can do this" attitude should remind all of us that it's our job to help our neighbors. Far too many today leave dealing with situations to the government and walk away. Somehow that just doesn't work well. Helping each other is a win-win situation.
Thanks for a great story.
E. Keith, St. Petersburg
Award is overdue
A bill to award Muhammad Yunus the Congressional Gold Medal passed in the last Congress. Nearly two years into this Congress, Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, still has not received the award nor addressed Congress.
Through Yunus' Grameen Bank, millions of women are borrowing their way out of poverty in Bangladesh. They are bringing teachers to their villages, getting children vaccinated and building economic assets for their families.
These poor women own 97 percent of the Grameen Bank, yet the Bangladeshi government, with only 3 percent ownership, wants to take over. This government seizure of a private enterprise must not happen.
This is a time when the U.S. medal can make a real difference. Our representatives should request of House Speaker John Boehner that this honor be bestowed this year with some fanfare, so that we highlight Yunus' great work and perhaps have the Bangladesh government rethink the proposed takeover.
Ken Schatz, Tampa
Public denied Pier vote | Aug. 3
Sad day for the voters
This is a sad day for the residents of St. Petersburg. The City Council voted to not allow citizens a vote on the issue of their Pier and waterfront. More than 20,000 residents signed a petition. How arrogant and above the people this City Council appears to be. The city attorney may say it is legal, but is it moral?
Carol Gray, St. Petersburg
Gabby wins gold, which is just a start | Aug. 3
A victor's wise words
"Oh yeah, I forgot about that," in the words of Gabrielle Douglas when "reminded" that she was the first African-American woman to win a gold medal for gymnastics.
Wouldn't it be nice if we all could "forget about that" and look at her as part of the most hard-working, courageous, patriotic, gracious and multiethnic group of women America has ever showcased?
It's E Pluribus Unum, not "first," "last," or "only." Until we in America act like this team, there will be no gold for us.
Larry Spicer, St. Petersburg